Acts 1:11 . . . .
"They asked, 'Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking at the sky? Jesus, who was taken from you to heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.'"
The 11:11 . . . or 1:11 ie., phenomenon has been interesting to experience and observe. There are various different theories about it . . . and reading some recounts of Pentecost today . . . Acts 1:11 came up and for a moment I wondered if it may partially or wholly be an alert . . . to some . . . that we are near time when Jesus returns "the same way" he went to heaven? Anyway, just a passing thought . . . . And regardless, why not, if and when you happen to look and it's 11:11 or 1:11, recall the promise of Acts . . . so, wake up, get ready....!
Meanwhile, oh how grateful I am for the Holy Spirit! He who leads and interprets and shows truth and error and indwells to sustain and motivate and clarify and warn . . . .
What I have witnessed and experienced in the last half year or so . . . with the Spirit's transforming and sanctifying and instructing power . . . in my own life and the lives of certain loved ones . . . is not exaggeratedly to be called breathtaking, "miraculous" . . . incredible . . . wondrous . . . even "mind-blowing" to behold. It is literally "mind-blowing" . . . because what He, the Holy Spirit does . . . is regenerate, rearrange, reorganize . . .and quicken the mind--He "blows the mind."
He is like an alive, giving, breath; a rushing wind, a clean-sweeping gale . . . Who comes and sweeps away the old, hidden, moldering leftovers of slovenly, world-trodden self . . . .
The hard, cold, dead heart starts to thaw under His warm, enlivening presence . . . . The "eyes" sharpen in focus, discerning falsity quicker and clearer . . . . The "ears" understand concepts, promptings, teachings with deeper and piercing alacrity . . . as the truth stings, but with that same bittersweet melancholy a sunset can bring . . . where, we increasingly hear specific messages, meant for our individual correction, but which bring relief and hope, because we realize that we are "hearing" God, speaking to US . . . intimately, targetedly, ongoing . . . addressing our needs, as much as we are willing to ask and engage and listen--HE IS THERE, including those times when a seeming no-response . . . is the response that, whether we realize it at the time or not, that is just what we need . . . .
How lost, how destitute, how desperate, how hopelessly deluded this world would be, if it were not for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, which has provided for and maintained a remnant of witnesses throughout all the darkened years, through the wars, the famines, the tyranny, the disease . . . . Through all the heavy, oppressive repercussions of fallen corrupt creation . . . the Spirit has yet resided in meek, receptive, willing AND elect souls--most times He has come to "the least", the poor, the solitary, the imprisoned, the persecuted, the "ugly", the "wayward" . . . so that the weak are made strong--made holy ambassadors for the very King of Heaven and Earth . . . whereby His glory is magnified, shining, resplendent in the otherwise dreary, Godless world . . . .
Oh!, how foolish and vain are those who believe they walk and breathe and live in their own light; and how pitiful the state of the person who considers themselves self-sufficient and capable . . . OF ANYTHING, outside of the God Who gave them their life, their mind, their strength, their health--all that they have.
Is there any gift, any treasure, any wealth or asset which compares to the gift of the Holy Spirit? Where God Himself deigns . . . to dwell within and with . . . the wretched creature due for death? Where, once there was a condemned sinner, guilty, dead already and hurling headlong for the decay of the grave . . . BUT NOW there is a reborn, redeemed, spotless soul being made ready to be wed to the bridegroom of all creation, for eternity? Is this not a day to dance and sing and shout hallelujahs?! We, by ourselves, could never transcend this earth, this short, brutish life . . . yet God Himself imparts His Son . . . and then His Spirit to rescue us ABSOLUTELY, IN FINALITY! . . . from an entropic descent to obliteration and the chaos of evil . . . in order that we will one day be restored, revived, resurrected . . . with new bodies . . . replete and filled to the brim with spiritual glory . . . to live in peace, joy, holiness, perfection, sacred pleasure . . . in the presence of the Almighty!
Good grief, this is astounding and wonderful news! Should we not be trembling with eager anticipation . . . every day, every moment, never forgetting what is in store . . . to those who believe?
Rather than focus on all of the lack and deprivation . . . and on our failures and faults . . . and daily struggles and worries and yearnings . . . related to a person and a body that belongs to the temporary age that was, let us realize . . . with full righteous fury . . . THAT WE HAVE BEEN SAVED! And that His Spirit dwells in and with us, to guide, to console, to instruct, and amazingly . . . to literally TRANSFORM us into the being and image of that same One who was always perfect and Who never failed!
Once saved, our Father no longer holds our sins against us. Even those we will commit today and tomorrow. When you are saved . . . and you fully realize and accept this fact--SURPRISE--you are less and less inclined to sin, so grateful are you for this incalculable gift; and when you do, you quickly confess and recall and accept again that it is forgiven . . . and in knowing this, the thankfulness is so great that the next time you find yourself more able to avoid the sin--it has lost its flavor and temptation, because now you love God so much for His mercy . . . that, like any one you love, you do not enjoy hurting them . . . .
Oh my this thing is good! The freedom and grace and mercy and faith the Holy Spirit brings when He starts blowing through your mind, your heart, your entire soul . . . fanning the little flame of faith so that it starts to burn brightly . . . fanning the flame of your own spirit, heating the seed, the sapling of new life, melting the old heart . . . !
I am praying today in thankfulness and for all who've accepted the Holy Spirit into their life, and for those teetering on the cusp of the new life, that He bursts forth in you, renewing and inspiring, from this day forward, never to retreat, but only to grow and blaze and blow all that is old, cold and dead away, away!
Away we go! Out with the old, in with the new . . . let this fall in fertile soil, to sprout and thrive, never to look back! I pray, amen and hallelujah!
your friend and brother in the Spirit, thomas