Kindling the Embers
Scriptures: Acts 1:4-11 Acts 2
Take yourself to a hill outside Jerusalem, standing with the disciples on the Mount Olivet, as the glorious Risen Christ ascends into a cloud and is gone from their sight. Sit with them in the upper room waiting for the promise Jesus had made to them to be fulfilled. They had no idea how it would happen, how they would receive this power from on high, but Jesus had said it would only be days. So, worshipping and praying, they waited.
Then came the day of the Feast of Pentecost, the celebration of the harvest.
“And in the day of the Pentecost being fulfilled, they were all with one accord at the same place, and there came suddenly out of the heaven a sound as of a bearing violent breath, and it filled all the house where they were sitting, and there appeared to them divided tongues, as it were of fire; it sat also upon each one of them.” (Young’s Literal Translation)
Recently we were away for a couple of nights, in a unit at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, where the next landfall is 8000 kilometres away. In the night a howling gale blew in, straight off the ocean. The whole building was shaking. Imagine that within the room where you sit with your fellow believers waiting for the power from God to arrive. That violent breath filling every space, and tongues like fire appearing upon each of them.
This was what could be seen on the outside. But this power, this divine flame, was filling their being. Holy Spirit no longer rested upon people for a season, now, He chooses to make His home within each child of God. This was and is the promise of Jesus Christ to His followers, then and now.
The sound of that violent breath had been heard by so many people in the neighbourhood, Luke records that a crowd gathered wanting to know what was going on. What happened next shocked them even more. Because of the Feast Day, there were Jews from different regions, different countries, crowded into Jerusalem. Suddenly, each of them heard the disciples speaking to them in their own dialect, their own language, and they were totally bemused by this astonishing phenomenon.
Again this was an outward expression of the infilling of Holy Spirit. Those tongues of fire that had appeared upon each of the disciples was evidence of the Holy fire that was now burning within them and overflowing in this miracle of “other tongues”.
And this Fire burns within us just as it burned within those men and women 2000 years ago. But what is this Power that they had been told to wait for? Jesus breathed on His disciples saying “Receive the Holy Spirit”, just as God had breathed Life into Adam. They had received Holy Spirit, yet, not until those embers were breathed upon as that violent breath filled the room, could they move in His Power. So it is for us. When we surrender our lives to Christ, we are filled with Holy Spirit, we are filled with the abundant fullness of His Life. And it takes the breath of God to blow upon those embers in our hearts in order for us to move in whatever outpouring of Holy Spirit, God has determined as our destiny.
And how God allows that to happen is entirely and utterly His decision. Some of us may be great evangelists, most of us will simply pour out Holy Spirit’s love to the one before us. Our uniqueness is what delights God, our desire to pour out in whatever way He knows we are able to best glorify Him, fills Him with overflowing joy.
Our tongues of fire may not be as dramatic as those in the upper room, but they are just as real and just as valued by God. When He blows upon the softly glowing embers, He kindles our own unique fire.
Prayer: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.(Romans 15:13) Amen