God’s presence is real, full of love, and completely transformational. It takes what was broken and brings healing. It takes what was lost and guides us to our rightful place in the Father. It satisfies the weary, brings light to the darkness, and pours out the refreshing rain of God’s love on the dryest, deepest parts of the soul. Scripture contains story after story of God coming down to meet God’s children where they are, and your heavenly Father has the same heart for you as he did them. He longs to make the reality of his presence known to you. He longs to refresh you with his nearness. You were created for encountering God, and you will never be satisfied until you continually live in the experience for which you were created. Allow your desires to be stirred up to encounter the living God this week as we read powerful stories of God’s people encountering his manifest presence. May you respond to God’s word by seeking out that for which you were made: continual encounter with your heavenly Father.
Pentecost marks the powerful beginning of a global movement of the power of God’s presence sweeping across the earth. As we read the account of what happened as the Spirit descended with power on God’s people, place yourself in their midst. Imagine what it would look like, sound like, and feel like to witness firsthand such a powerful movement of God’s Spirit:
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine” (Acts 2:1-13).
The Holy Spirit is our greatest gift. When the disciples received the Spirit they began living as Jesus did. They began speaking to, healing, and transforming a world that had known no restored relationship with their Creator since Adam and Eve. And Scripture makes it clear that our lives are to follow their example. We’ve been given the same Spirit as the disciples, who moved so powerfully in revealing our loving heavenly Father to a world in desperate need of relationship with their Creator. I feel that there are three areas in which the Spirit would anoint us more powerfully today as he did the disciples at Pentecost. Let’s boldly seek out all that the Spirit would do in our hearts and lives today.
The first act of the disciples upon being filled with the Spirit at Pentecost was to speak to all who would listen, explaining all the powerful acts that were going on around them. And with the preaching of Peter three thousand listeners accepted the free gift of salvation. We who are marked by the Spirit’s presence are to be disciples who move in the power of love. Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The Spirit longs to use us to proclaim the goodness of God’s love to this lost and dying world. He longs to fill us with the desire to love this world the way he does. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, “Let all that you do be done in love.” Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love.” And in Mark 12:31, Jesus says that the second greatest commandment is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Is your life marked by love for others? Do you live your life in service to your heavenly Father and his children? Seek out a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit today. It’s the Spirit who bears the fruit of love in your life. You cannot love others on your own, for true love comes solely from God. But, the Spirit longs to fill you with a desire and anointing to love others around you that they might better know the love of the heavenly Father.
The coming of the Holy Spirit also brought powerful unity to the disciples. Acts 2:44-47 says,
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Only the Spirit can bring unity between broken, competitive, and needy people. Only through the Spirit do we have the ability to love and accept others regardless of our differences and unite toward the common goal of loving God and others wholeheartedly. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:1-3, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Are you a disciple marked by a desire to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?” Are you a Christian marked by grace-filled love for your fellow believers? We all need to seek out greater anointing and desire from the Spirit toward unity. We cannot be selfless in our own strength. We need the help of the God of perfect love to pursue unity through humility. Seek out a desire and anointing to be a person who works toward the goal of unity instead of division today. Spend time in God’s presence allowing him to transform your heart to look more like his.
Lastly, Pentecost filled the disciples with the ability to connect directly to God through the avenue of the Holy Spirit. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:10, “These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” Acts 15:28 says, “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements.” The disciples knew God’s desires, received revelation from him, and were transformed into the likeness of Christ through fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit. We as disciples are to be marked by direct connection with the Holy Spirit. Paul and Peter had no special human ability to talk to God. Prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit, Paul was killing children of the very God he was trying to serve, and Peter chose his own safety over Jesus, who had shown him such immense love and grace. It was only with the Holy Spirit that these men were able to connect to God so deeply, and we can have that same connection today. So, are you a believer marked by direct connection with the Holy Spirit? Do you spend time seeking his presence, counsel, and anointing? Let’s be children of God who pursue deeper connection with our heavenly Father today. Let’s seek the face of God as the early disciples did and be believers marked by relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Spend time during guided prayer pursuing all that the Spirit would do in you. Open your heart and mind to be transformed by his love. And commit to living your life with direct connection to the God who dwells within you.
1. Meditate on the Spirit’s desire and ability to anoint us with the power and desire to love others. Ask him to show you how to better love others today. Ask his forgiveness for any way in which you have been hurtful to those whom he loves. And receive the anointing to love people from his heart and strength rather than your own.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31
2. Now meditate on God’s desire to use you to bring unity to his children. Confess to God anyone who annoys you or angers you. Confess anyone whom you have a hard time loving. Ask him for his heart for that person. Ask him to fill you up with a supernatural ability to love those who are difficult or different. Ask him to help you be a person who pursues unity.
“And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
3. Now seek after a direct connection to the Holy Spirit. Ask him to guide you into the knowledge of his presence. Ask him to show you the overwhelming love, grace, and anointing he has for you today. Seek out answers to any questions you have of him. May you discover a wellspring of friendship in the Holy Spirit today.
“But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” Psalm 73:28
“These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:10
“And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:13
It’s crucial that we as children of God seek out all that he longs to give us. Relationship with God is meant to be anything but stale, stagnant, and weak. The disciples demonstrated that those filled with the Spirit of God are to be marked by adventure, mystery, and the miraculous. God has a story for the ages written with you in mind. He has a plan beyond what you could ever imagine if you will seek him out, trust him, and follow him. Rest today in the fact that God loves you enough to lead you away from a mundane life. Pursue his plans and watch as he fills your life with adventure and wonder.
Extended Reading: Acts 2