Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, & Micah: Day 4

God’s Promise of His Spirit

by

Today's Text: Joel 2:18-32, Zechariah 10:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:2

Scripture Reading: Joel 2:18-32, Zechariah 10:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:2

It feels like I am always waiting for the Holy Spirit to move, and I have grown weary in my waiting, angry with my unmet expectations of Him. I have distrusted Him and come to believe He has poured out Himself on every son and daughter but me.

For many years I believed the Spirit was a second blessing, the first being salvation alone through faith alone, and the second coming only through the laying on of hands and impartation of the gift. But when I began to read my Bible I began to see the gift of the Holy Spirit was not a second blessing as much as a coupled blessing: my salvation came with a built-in helper and comforter and teacher, just as Jesus promised it would (John 14:15-31).

My stumbling block then, it seemed, was struggling to believe this and live as though it were true—to live as though the Spirit Jesus said He would send had indeed come and lived within me, empowering me to bear His fruit, speak His truth, live in His fullness. Because I did not believe the Spirit came with my salvation, I had spun my wheels for years waiting for something. But what? More? Some evidence that I was a true believer?

I believed I was not enough of anything for the Lord of the universe to condescend to me and give me gifts. I had read Joel 2:29 and the quoting of it in Acts, but had never noticed the words, “Even on my male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit” (Acts 2:18).

Even on.  

Those two small words began to shift something in my belief about my salvation and story. God, the Creator of all, who came in the form of Jesus to earth, and left His Spirit to lead His children into all truth, had not omitted the male and female servants from the gift. He had not passed over the lowliest and poorest. He did not have levels of Christians or levels of the Spirit to give to those Christians, because the ground before the cross of Christ was level.

Jesus is not merely a respecter of persons but a hunter of faith. Faith is the only prerequisite for the gift of the Spirit. Faith alone, and nothing else.

I know there are many views on the role of the Holy Spirit, and maybe you’ve felt confused by what you’ve heard. Today, if you’re wringing your hands and waiting, hoping and praying He won’t pass you over, I want to assure you that, if you are His child, He has not passed you over. He has given His Spirit to even the male and female servants, everyone who belongs to the household of God—no matter how long or short your walk of faith has been.

If you have trusted in the work of Christ to save you, the Holy Spirit is the seal of God upon you, helping and comforting you, strengthening and encouraging you, and empowering you for the work of God. He is the seal that was promised to the all the children of God, and if you are God’s, you have been given the seal, the guarantee, of redemption. Therefore, we need not fear, but rejoice and be glad. For the Lord has done astonishing things (Joel 2:21); He has come to rescue the souls of even you, and even me.

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Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

  • Danya Ho

    Jesus is not merely a respecter of persons but a hunter of faith. Faith is the only prerequisite for the gift of the Spirit. Faith alone, and nothing else.

  • THIS IS SO GOOD. I have always believed the Holy Spirit to be a gift “coupled with” salvation, but I LOVE how you worded this. ✨

  • Julianna

    Lore, you are selling yourself short. Yes, we get a deposit of the Spirit at salvation, by which we begin to hear His guiding and correcting voice. This deposit is also a seal of our salvation, as it says in Colossians. However, there IS a second gift of the Spirit given only by the laying on of the hands, which gives us the power and authority to preach the Gospel IN power, that draws all men to repentance. The second gift brings BOLDNESS and will be evidenced by a large increase in the fruit you bear by way of souls won. However, the second gift, my friend, does NOT come by waiting, but instead from violently pursuing it (I am referencing the verse in Matthew that says, “… the Kingdom of God is taken by violent men, and violent [wo]men lay hold if it.”) like the persistent widow. Do whatever you need to to receive it. Ask people to pray for you over and over if necessary; KEEP ASKING GOD and be willing to yield your spirit to His. Do not be afraid; He will answer you. Waiting is not the solution to receiving the second gift. However, if you ask for the second gift, you must be ready to encounter the living God and you must lay down all of your preconceived notions of the Holy Spirit. Yielding looks lime receiving Him in body, mind and spirit. You may tremble, you may laugh, you may receive another language by which you may speak only to Him. If you are offended by the last sentence I wrote, that’s probably why you haven’t received the gift. You need to receive whatever God has for you on His terms and take a risk in opening your whole self up to Him.

  • Jesus,

    Tonight I thank you for the Holy Spirit and for the conviction it brings in my life. I thank you for it’s tug to spend time with you and it’s desire to seek your face, even when my flesh says otherwise. Father I pray that as I prepare to start a new week that you help me to see your spirit as Helper, Teacher and Comforter. I feel I need all those things more in my life. I thank you that like in the passages in Joel, you are my restorer and my forgiver, that you show compassion. That no time is ever wasted with you. Lord I pray that you restore every broken place in me. I ask that you cleanse and purify my heart. I ask that you help me to walk with you and for you. Tonight I give you the desires of my heart and my prayer to trust your timing. I pray for your Holy Spirit to guide me, and show me the way I should take in my life. I need you. I need your wisdom and direction. I want to be better. I want to make better decisions in my single life. I want to be a better Christian, a better woman, I want to be prepared for what I am praying for. Lord help me to be better, help me to grow in you and to not repeat the sins of my past. Help me to turn completely and trust that your compassion waits for me soon as I turn. I love you for loving me in spite of me.

    Holy Spirit rest in me and on me, have your way through me.

    In Jesus Name

    Amen

  • Karen From Virginia

    Thank you Jesus for sending us a Helper, Teacher, and Comforter in The Holy Spirit His life and power has been very real in my life. More Lord. More of you ❤️

  • Was reminded of a song from my teenage years, and was amazed to find it on YouTube. Worth a listen for the lyrics alone. Blessings!

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=geF0tjQO__M

  • Reading this is such an encouragement, that even after trying times, God provides more than we deserve and need. I am facing the possibility of huge change and opportunity and I need to know whether it is the right thing. I am a final year student doing a family and children’s work degree. I have a family, husband and 2 children both at school. A job opportunity may have arisen but would cause massive upheaval for everyone. Family and church. I feel I may be being selfish but I really don’t know. All prayers please would really help right now. Thank you. X

    • DebbieinAZ

      Praying for you and your family that God will give you wisdom and show you the way. I pray that what ever decision you make that the Lord will use you for His glory and your family will be blessed through it. Lord give Becky peace in the decision she makes and bless her and her family , in Jesus name.

  • nancy smith

    As God is Spirit,The Holy Spirit is explained based on God is Spirit. Jesus is the visible of the invisible God.all are ONE,and yet persons of the Godhead. Very important,the Holy Spirit ,The Spirit of God has always been ,it moved , moved upon the face of the waters. Genesis speaks volumes of this Holy Spirit in just the first lines. Because of that,many know that in the tribulation the Holy Spirit will be also because there is not a time where the Holy Spirit is away ,it is always present.It also explains how people come to know truth during the tribulation. Thoughts?

  • Micahlee

    As much as I knew growing up that the Holy Spirit was a part of the trinity, I wasn’t truly introduced to him until I spent a summer working at a very charismatic Christian church. My peers’ relationship with the holt spirit as an active part of their lives was so different than my baptist heritage, and though I still today wouldn’t consider myself charismatic in most ways, that experience taught me a lot about learning to notice the spirit’s presence and power.

  • Micahlee

    For the Lord has done ASTONISHING things. Maybe it’s because I don’t run across that word as often as “awesome” or “great,” but that line really caught my attention today. Praying that I would remember to stop and notice his feats of grace and power

  • “He did not have levels of Christians or levels of the Spirit to give to those Christians, because the ground before the cross of Christ was level.” This is so beautiful it gave me chills. Our Father loves us and does not distinguish between us because He knows that inside we are all the same, sinners who desperately need His love, grace, and redemption and He gives it freely to His children. He knows our names and our needs.

  • While we were YET sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8b (Emphasis mine) Lore’s words about how Jesus has poured out His Spirit on even the male and female servants brought this scripture to mind. What a great reminder that we are not forgotten, but remembered, cherished and seen.

  • These are both timely ….and beautiful promises. I am so thankful that the world does not depend on my righteousness! I have no righteousness…..on my own. I am thankful for my measure of faith; it empowers me to trust and love Jesus, and His creation.

  • Wonderful lesson!! Thank you SRT

  • churchmouse

    In the past, my perception of God the Father was a thundering God, all fire and power. Jesus, God the Son, was much friendlier, more sympathetic, but tragically misunderstood. God the Holy Spirit… Well, He seemed like Tinkerbell, flitting about but somewhat elusive. Thankfully my childish perceptions changed as I read and studied the Bible. Francis Chan’s book Forgotten God also helped with understanding the person of the Holy Spirit. He is alive and well and moving in the life of every believer. Our awareness does not affect that fact. He is present. He is active. He is helping. He is comforting. He is guiding. Oh yes, He is.

    • Kylee

      Same, Churchmouse — & with that idea in mind it seemed impossible to believe the Holy Spirit lived inside me! Thank God, in His omnipotence and love, He’s able to be there for all of us at once. So thankful.

    • Elisabeth7291

      Churchmouse- I was thinking of Chan’s book too. A great recommendation.

  • What struck me most about today’s reading is that this outpouring of blessing (new grain and wine, the presence of the Lord) are ours as well! I believe all these blessings go hand in hand with the promise of His Spirit and are metaphors for the spiritual blessings we receive from the outpouring of the Spirit. How often do I live as if I’m walking through the valley of “suck” instead of recognizing and claiming these spiritual blessings as mine every day, regardless of what my circumstances may be? Do my coworkers see fruit of this hope and joy, see evidence of the Lord’s presence and outpouring in my life, despite the dark season they are aware is going on?
    Thank you sisters for the prayer and encouragement yesterday. I felt the strength from the Holy Spirit during my dad’s appointment yesterday, even as we received worse news than we had hoped, and as I returned to my office to finish my workday when I just wanted to go home and crumble. But there are reasons to hope that he can beat the “average survival rate”, and not just from his young age and otherwise great health. If God is for us, what can stand against?

    • Emily B.

      I love what you said about claiming your blessings, no matter what’s going on in your life or if you “feel” like it. Thank you for sharing that. Your hope about your dad’s news is so inspiring—God’s in that situation, and He’s got you all. :)

    • KimN

      I’m sorry to hear to hear that the news wasn’t what you had hoped for amylou. Praying that God will use this situation and your family to shine His light and love to those around you. Praying for peace, comfort and strength for you and yours and that you would feel His great love and faithfulness each and every day. Much love to you and yours. xo

    • churchmouse

      Praying for you and your family to lean on God’s promise that He will never leave or forsake you. He will walk through this storm with you. He will give you strength.

  • It struck me as beautifully ironic that in those years that you, Lore, weren’t even sure if you had the Holy Spirit in you, He was at work to direct you to the scripture you would need to read to recognize His presence all along! He was whispering and guiding and helping, even when you yet recognized it! How amazingly cool!

  • This couldn’t have come at a better time. After 8 years of trying to conceive, we recently found out we were pregnant only to lose our first child the next day. I have been struggling with feeling empty, feeling devoid of the Holy Spirit because all I can feel is this immense grief. But this has helped me reorient my thoughts today. The Holy Spirit hasn’t left me and I’m not empty! He is here even now interceding when I have no words. My grief doesn’t push the Spirit out! The Spirit has been poured out “even on” me and that’s a promise I will cling to when I feel so empty.

    • SB

      Polly! I am so sorry for your loss of your loved baby! I know personally how heartbreaking it can be to try to conceive. We have been trying for 4 years for our second after years of trying for our 1st. It hasn’t been till this last 6 months that my attitude has improved about the situation and it has made it better. Trusting that God knows what He is doing and He has something waiting for us! I pray for you and your husband through this time.

      • Polly

        Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement today!

    • India

      Praying for you Polly! My heart breaks in knowing the journey that you are walking… but, also relieved in knowing that God’s Spirit is guiding you and God’s arms are holding you! My husband and I have not walked through infertility, but we lost our first baby late term and lost 2 more pregnancies to miscarriage… struggling with ‘why’ in the aftermath is so hard for me each time. But, I have found comfort in knowing that God knows the pain of losing a child and willingly sacrificed Him so that we and our babies can spend eternity with Him.

      • Polly

        Thank you India for sharing your losses with me. The “whys” are killer!! I have to be careful not to become consumed by them. I recently read the same thing ( that God knows the pain of losing a child) and it overwhelmed me. I hadn’t even thought of it like that. But it’s true. He knows the pain but He did it all for us. Thanks for your prayers :)

    • Summer

      So sorry to hear that. We are trying to conceive our first child as well and I can only imagine your grief.

    • amylou

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Polly. Sending love and comfort your way.

    • Erin

      Praying for you and your husband this morning, Polly! So many of us know the exact grief and emptiness you feel right now, but I know that doesn’t make everything better. Praying you continue to find comfort in Him!

    • KimN

      I’m so sorry Polly – may the Spirit fill you with the knowledge of God’s great love and grant you peace. xo

    • churchmouse

      Oh Polly, I’m so sorry. Praying for God to hold you and your husband extra close – that you feel His love and care through this difficult time

  • Lauren G

    Wow, this was so needed this morning. For the longest time I had been struggling because all of my friends pray in the Spirit and I havent begun using my heavenly language. After awhile I began thinking that perhaps I had done something wrong or that I didnt have the Holy Spirit on the inside of me.

    Thank you so much for a wonderful reminder that he promised he would pour out his Spirit “even on” me. ❤

    • Emily B

      Lauren, I can so empathize with you. Several years ago I was in your place. I thought something was wrong with me, that I wasn’t doing something right and that was why I couldn’t use my language. I poured my frustrations out to a sweet lady I go to church with and her words stopped me in my tracks. “Stop trying so hard” was all she said. Apparently I had an interesting look on my face because she continued with just yield to His presence, His Spirit is already there just stop trying and let Him work. It wasn’t immediately, but I did begin to speak. Be encouraged and know that I will be praying for you.

    • Kimberly

      Hi Lauren, when you believed in Chirst, He gave you the Holy Spirit. The Word of God says it, and so you can know that to be truth whether or not you speak in your heavenly language. As Lore indicated, across the Body of Christ there are differing opinions and teachings regarding the Holy Spirit, but we all agree that when a person believes in Christ as the Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in his or her spirit. The Holy Spirit lives in you sweet girl and don’t ever let the enemy or anyone else tell you otherwise! “And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.”
      ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:13-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬
      http://bible.com/116/eph.1.13-14.

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