Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Huh? (01/21/10)
TITLE: History's Climax
By Ruth Thoutenhoofd
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Imagine the expressions of bewilderment on the faces of each and every person in the temple square. Jews of every language in the area were hearing Galileans praising God in their own language. It was more than bewildering; it was astonishing! Fishermen and their friends don’t suddenly acquire a new language, not do they often preach with such commanding eloquence. I’m sure “Huh?!” was expressed in many languages that morning.
At this specific moment in history, everything changed. If the Bible were a novel, this would be the climax and the rest of the New Testament the denouement. Up until this day, men and women had struggled with their faith, alternately following Him and falling away, perhaps receiving the Spirit for special events or needs, occasionally seeing His hand at work in supernatural ways, but then struggling to continue to believe in what was not visible. But ever since this pivotal event everything has changed.
Two thousand years later we say this so easily: “When we become followers of Jesus He fills us with His Spirit”. Maybe it’s good to ponder for a moment the enormity of this truth. The God of the universe is within us. It’s true! No longer do we have to struggle on our own to obey. No longer do we have to wonder if we’re in right standing with God. As He indwells us, comforts us, teaches us, we know we are His, because He tells us so. We now can have real victory over the sins that plagued us. We can have courage and faith and wisdom. We have special gifts that make service amazingly natural and joy-filled and genuinely useful for the Kingdom of God. We are free; our lives have purpose, and we have the ability to truly love those around us. It’s an astounding difference from what had been.
These are facts.
If we really get this, then just like at Pentecost, the world will see it. It will be impossible not to notice the difference in our lives. If our lives don’t show it, it’s because we’ve forgotten the facts, never really knew them, or haven’t really trusted Christ to be our Saviour. If I understand scripture correctly, all that is needed now is true faith, which results in a closer than close walk with God. “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7) God’s Holy Spirit gives us His wisdom, His desires, and then His abilities. It’s really that simple!
As a young girl, I knew what it was to be without the spirit of God, to feel defeated and afraid of what my sin would mean for my eternity. Our church taught that following its complex rules was of ultimate importance, and the feeling was that failure to do so would result in damnation. So after years of giving up on the whole thing and following a destructive path, I experienced the true meaning of conversion and the resulting indwelling Spirit of God.
My private “Pentecost” was complete and joyful. I know the difference between having Christ within or not. No, I didn’t speak in a new language or startle people with unusual behaviour, but I was thoroughly, permanently and noticeably changed. My thoughts were different. My desires were new. My habits were completely changed. I have never been the same.
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