The Holy Spirit moves in so many different ways. It’s important that we don’t look for the sensational in the small still voice or sensationalise the small, still voice, or on the other hand, only accept the Voice when it is small and still and reject it if it is sensational.
This morning, I’d like to share with you some of the ways the Holy Spirit has moved in my life.
1. Healing received. 癒しを受ける
I was irreverent, defiant and not expecting God to move. Yet God chose that time to heal me. It was God doing the healing not me. The Holy Spirit was at work, not my mind, my body or anyone else. The Spirit moved sovereignly and powerfully. 聖霊はすべてを支配され、力強く動きました。
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:3-6
2. An opportunity for healing lost. 癒しの機会を失う
CCC. Twice called forward for healing but refused. The Holy Spirit calls and invites but we always have the choice to follow or refuse. Though can God and will move sovereignly in our lives, the work of the Holy Spirit will usually require a faith step of some kind.
The Spirit was quenched. 聖霊は消されてしまいました。
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire. 1 Thess 5:19
Context: Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.22 Avoid every kind of evil.
3. An opportunity for fellowship saved 交わりの機会が保たれる
Church in Tokyo. Second visit. Strong temptation to not go. Every step toward the church brought a strong temptation to turn around. “They won’t remember you.” “No-one cares if you go or not.” “You’ll only come away disappointed.” “You’re wasting your day.” etc These were not the voices of the Holy Spirit and I knew that. The voice of the Holy Spirit was a still, small voice just telling me to “go”.
I made it and was met with the most wonderful welcome and encouraging fellowship.
The Spirit moved gently and quietly. 聖霊はやさしく静かに動きました。
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for theLord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13
4. A home gained. 家を獲得する
Pierre and I met for a Thursday night prayer meeting. We were the only ones who came. Being old friends, it was tempting to turn it into a mere chat and maybe even, after a token prayer, go for a drink. But I felt the Spirit lay on my heart very clearly and with a sense of excitement the promise that “when 2 or 3 [even just 2] are gathered in my name, there I am with them” and Pierre shared this.
He had been suffering blow after blow with regards to buying a house. Every way he moved seemed to be blocked and he faced all sorts of opposition – relationally, financially, administratively etc. We prayed, not mechanically, but in the Spirit, responding to the lead of the Spirit – it was a wonderful time of fellowship and prayer – and within a week, every barrier to buying a house had been removed. Pierre now lives in his new house.
The Spirit moved through the promises of His Word. 聖霊は御言葉の約束を通して動きました。
Through these [glory and goodness] he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:4
5. Jim Cymbala’s experience with Pakistan.
His heart was moved as he ate lunch in a cafe and read about the persecution of innocent Christians in Pakistan. The Holy Spirit was speaking. At their Tuesday night prayer meeting, he was still deeply moved by what he had read and felt a real burden to lift up the Pakistani Christians in prayer. As they prayed, he felt hopeless. He didn’t know anyone in Pakistan. He didn’t know anyone from Pakistan. What was he hoping to achieve by praying for them? He felt a bit ridiculous. I’m glad he shared his feelings at that point because I’ve felt that way sometimes and perhaps we all have. Yet he lifted up the situation to God in faith and asked His Holy Spirit to move.
Then a lady from the back stood up. She was visiting from Pakistan. It was her first time to visit the church and she had met no-one there. No-one knew her. Her husband was a pastor in Pakistan and was at that very time ministering to the Christians who had been persecuted in that village. They checked out her story and it was legit so they were able to take an offering and send it to the church there to rebuild the houses and livelihoods that had been destroyed. They were also able to establish a faith connection with brothers and sisters on the other side of the world.
The Holy Spirit moved unexpectedly, faithfully and profoundly.聖霊は思いがけなく、誠実に大いに動きました。
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Acts 10:44-48
Those kinds of Holy Spirit disruptions shouldn’t seem shocking to us if we carefully read our New Testament. Examples of the Holy Spirit’s work appear often in accounts of the early church. Unfortunately, today many of us have gotten used to doing without the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit working in our lives and churches.
Consider these honest questions:
How many Christians suffer from a life that is dry and mechanical?
How many serve a Jesus, whom they know about from the Bible, but who is not a living reality in their experience?
And do we ever wonder why Holy Spirit interventions are so rare among our congregations?
Could it be that we’re missing out on some wonderful blessings planned for our lives and churches because we’re not properly acquainted with the person or work of God the Holy Spirit?
If you want power, confidence, joy, peace, and more love in your life, ask the Spirit to come and do something new in you. Perhaps you’ll be surprised when the Holy Spirit joins you for lunch, like he did me that day in that Long Island cafe. But I promise you that when He does, your spiritual life will cease to be dry and mechanical. Instead it will be filled with awe at the power of the Spirit and the wonder of God’s goodness.