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March 2012

A Baptism of Fire and of the Holy Spirit, Part 2

In Part 1 of this series of posts I mentioned that I was sort of going around my elbow to get to the title topic. Still doing that. The main point of this post is that there is something in people that is spiritually alive and that responds to God's Word and his presence.

John 4:34-38
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

This is really a simple point but so foundational to being a Christian. The "harvest" in this story is people. When it says the fields are ripe for harvest it is saying that there are a lot of people who are ready to respond to God; to his presence, to his Spirit, to his Word. Something has happened in them, in their spirits. Something has taken root, is alive, has matured, and is now waiting to be "harvested."

My wife and I deliver meals and food packages two weekends a month. It is a very simple and easy activity. It is scheduled for us. We don't do it because we feel a particular way; we just do it. And we do it in Jesus' Name. The response that we get from people doesn't depend on how we feel. The response comes from what is in the people we are serving, from what is alive in them already. It can be the simplest act of kindness, the simplest good deed, but when you tell people you are doing it because you are a Christian or that you are doing it in Jesus' Name then you tap into what is already alive and growing in them towards God.

Isaiah 14:24-27
24 The LORD Almighty has sworn,

   “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
   and as I have purposed, so it will happen.
25 I will crush the Assyrian in my land;
   on my mountains I will trample him down.
His yoke will be taken from my people,
   and his burden removed from their shoulders.”

 26 This is the plan determined for the whole world;
   this is the hand stretched out over all nations.
27 For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
   His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?

It is God's plan in the whole world, in the whole earth, to free his people from all that would hinder them from knowing him, from knowing his mercy and compassion, from being full of trust and faith in all that he has done.

Luke 4:18-19
Jesus said - 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
   because he has anointed me
   to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
   and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
   19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

This is what God is doing in the whole world, in the whole earth. This is his purpose. And we are a part of it.

Sometimes we don't think we can affect someone for God because we feel bad, or because we are struggling, or because we have failed at something. That doesn't really matter. Remember that life is already in the grain in the fields, the life is already in people. This was true before God sent the Holy Spirit to the world (Pentecost). It was true before the church was birthed. And if it was true then, it is certainly true now. Don't be afraid to encourage people, to do good deeds, to share scripture, and all in Jesus' Name. Even the smallest acts can make a big difference. The fields are full of life, ready for harvest.