Filled with the Spirit: Understanding God's Power in Your Life (3 page)

BOOK: Filled with the Spirit: Understanding God's Power in Your Life
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The Promise Fulfilled

And when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place,

When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting.

And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them.

And they were all filled (diffused throughout their souls) with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other (different, foreign) languages (tongues), as the Spirit kept giving them clear and loud expression [in each tongue in appropriate words].

Acts 2:1-4

Ever since the ascension of Jesus, the disciples had been waiting for the promise of the Father, which Jesus had told them about. On the Day of Pentecost, that promise was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them as they were all assembled together in one place.

What was the immediate result of this outpouring and infilling of the Holy Spirit? The disciples were given the ability to speak in tongues, in foreign languages they had not learned.

The Gift of Tongues

Now there were then residing in Jerusalem Jews, devout and God-fearing men from every country under heaven.

And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together and they were astonished and bewildered, because each one heard them [the apostles] speaking in his own [particular] dialect.

And they were beside themselves with amazement, saying, Are not all these who are talking Galileans?

Then how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own (particular) dialect to which we were born?

Acts 2:5-8

When the disciples began to speak in tongues at Pentecost, it was in languages that they did not understand, but others did.

Later, in 1 Corinthians 13:1, the apostle Paul writes,
If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love …, I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

So apparently it is possible to speak in “the tongues of men,” meaning languages known to other people but not known to the speaker. It is also possible to speak in “the tongues of angels,” or languages that are known only by God and which no one, not even the one doing the speaking, can understand unless the Lord gives the interpretation.

The basic message of this chapter is the power, efficiency, ability and might that is made available to believers by the infilling of the Holy Spirit. We will examine the subject of tongues and the interpretation of tongues in more detail in a later chapter, but it was mentioned here because it is one of the manifestations of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The Outpouring of the Spirit

And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels] and your young men shall see visions (divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams.

Yes, and on My menservants also and on My maidservants in those days I will pour out of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels and predicting future events pertaining especially to God’s kingdom].

And I will show wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth beneath….

Acts 2:17-19

This passage, a reference to Joel 2:28-30, is what Jesus was referring to when He spoke of the promise of the Father. He was saying that the time had come for this Old Testament prophecy to be fulfilled, and it was on the Day of Pentecost.

Since that day when the Holy Spirit was first poured out upon God’s people, the Lord has been showing forth greater signs and wonders through believers. As we read in Mark 16:20, after Jesus ascended into heaven, His disciples …
went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied [it].

He is still doing that in our day. Throughout history there have been different outpourings of the Spirit like the one prophesied in Joel Chapter 2. Particularly since 1900,
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God has been pouring out His Spirit upon all those who will open up their hearts to Him and receive a new move of His Spirit in their lives through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s look at how the Spirit moved in the disciples’ lives when they were empowered by the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.

The Empowerment of the Disciples

For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the Lord our God invites and bids to come to Himself.

Acts 2:39

When the multitude heard the disciples speaking about the wonders of God, each in their own native language, they were …
beside themselves with amazement and were puzzled and bewildered, saying one to another, What can this mean?
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Some of them, however, were not impressed, claiming that the disciples were just full of too much wine.

But Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit, stood up before the crowd and preached to them, telling them in verses 14 through 16,

…You Jews and all you residents of Jerusalem, let this be [explained] to you so that you will know and understand; listen closely to what I have to say.

For these men are not drunk, as you imagine, for it is [only] the third hour (about 9:00 A.M.) of the day;

But [instead] this is [the beginning of] what was spoken through the prophet Joel.

Then, full of the power of the Spirit, Peter went on to explain to the gathered Jews that Jesus, Whom they had crucified, was the long-awaited Messiah sent to save the world from its sin.

When the multitude heard this, they were cut to the heart and asked Peter and the other disciples what they should do.

In Acts 2:38 Peter answered them,
Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and he baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

What Peter was telling these people was that they needed to repent, be born again and receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to empower them to live the Christian life.

We believers do not have to live a powerless life. We are to live as Christ lived — empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The empowering of the Holy Spirit is part of our spiritual inheritance as sons and daughters of God.
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I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, We speak only of what we know [we know absolutely what we are talking about]; we have actually seen what we are testifying to [we were eyewitnesses of it]….

John 3:11

In this chapter I would like to share with you my testimony of how I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and what it has meant in my own life.

I came from a very rough background in which I was abused verbally, mentally, emotionally, physically and sexually. So although I was born again at the age of nine, by the time I became a grown woman, I still had problems because I had brought the effects of my childhood abuse forward into my adult life.

The reason I had never manifested any of the fruit of the Spirit in my life was that I had never received any teaching of the Word of God. But through all this time the Lord was with me attempting to lead and guide me the best I would let Him. I believe He kept me out of a lot of trouble that I would have gotten into had He not been protecting me.

When I married Dave Meyer, he was born again, baptized in the Spirit and loved God with all of his heart. But although he had been baptized in the Holy Spirit, he never talked to me about this marvelous experience. He didn’t speak in tongues either because he knew nothing about it. But he was definitely full of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Dave did not even know that what he had experienced had a name, that it was called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. All he knew was that God had met him in a very special way at a time when he was crying out to the Lord for more power in his life. God did meet him, and he was transformed into a more powerful Christian from that point on.

This occurred when Dave was about eighteen years old, and I met him when he was twenty-six. I used to say that God baptized Dave in the Holy Spirit and gave him a few years to walk in it and receive instructions from the Lord to equip him to be able to handle me because I was a woman with problems.

Because I was so troubled, the Lord had to send me a Christian husband, one who was able to walk in love with me although I was not being very lovely.

On the Way to Work

… I have appeared to you for this purpose, that I might appoint you to serve as [My] minister and to bear witness both to what you have seen of Me and to that in which I will appear to you.

Acts 26:16

After we got married, Dave asked me to go to church with him, and I agreed. Somehow I knew I needed to go to church and have a closer walk with God. I had so many problems in my life that I needed someone to literally take my hand and lead me.

So I started going to church with Dave, and I began to get closer to the Lord because I was in the Word, and I really loved God. I was born again, but I was still a weak, powerless Christian with many problems I didn’t know how to overcome.

After Dave and I had been married for about ten years, I was on my way to work one day totally fed up with myself and the way I was acting and aggravated because I had no power to overcome anything.

As I drove along, I was talking to the Lord about it and said, “God, there has got to be more. There must be something I am missing because I see in Your Word that people lived in victory, and I certainly don’t have any victory.”

To my utter astonishment and amazement, God spoke to me in something like an audible voice. I was not accustomed to that kind of thing happening, but if God speaks to you, you certainly know it’s God. I knew what He said to me was God because it was something that had been in my heart that only He knew.

I was so excited that God had spoken to me that when I got to work, I called Dave and told him, “You won’t believe it, but God spoke to me in the car this morning!” Dave could tell I was excited, and just my excitement alone convinced him that God had indeed spoken to me.

After that, I moved into a realm of faith that was uncommon for me. I just absolutely knew that God was going to do something in my life, but I didn’t have the slightest idea what it was. Yet I had such rest and peace in my mind and heart that it really didn’t matter to me what God did or when He did it. I just knew that He was in control in a way that I had never known before.

That was on a Friday, and I always got my hair done on Friday. Then Dave and I always went out bowling that night.

I was on my way home in the car and had just turned onto an exit road that led to our house. I was waiting for a traffic light to change when all of a sudden I was engulfed by the Holy Ghost. It felt like someone had opened me up and poured a whole bucket of liquid love into me.

When God begins to move in your life, He starts moving from all directions, and from that moment on, I have been radically different. I had peace. I had a new love in my heart for everyone, even those whom I could not stand previously. I would drive down the road and even the weeds along the highway would look beautiful to me. I was entirely changed and transformed.

People began to say to me, “Joyce, what has happened to you? Something is different about you.”

I realized that God had done something special for me, but I still didn’t know what to call it.

A New Language

And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe: in My name … they will speak in new languages.

Mark 16:17

The Lord began to lead me to turn on the radio when I came home from work at night, something I had never done before. I found a Christian radio station that had a program called “Testimony Time.” As I listened to people give testimonies about being baptized in the Holy Spirit, I began to realize that was what had happened to me. They talked about speaking in tongues, but I didn’t know anything about that. However, they did recommend some books to read.

One of the first books I read was by Pat Boone called
A New Song.
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In this book, he described his experience with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and how, he had received the gift of speaking in tongues. As I read that testimony, faith rose up in me to open my mouth and try to cooperate with the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues.

At that time I received only four words, and it didn’t take the devil long to convince me that I had made them up. So for two or three weeks I didn’t know what to do. I kept asking God to give me the gift of tongues, which He had already done, but I didn’t know it.

Later, I was helping one of my children with a project, and I looked up something in the dictionary. When I did, I discovered that this dictionary contained some Latin words that I thought looked like some of the words I felt I received when I was asking God to give me the gift of tongues. As I continued to look up the others, I discovered that all four of them meant something like “Omnipotent heavenly Father.”

Once God gave me that confirmation, I knew for sure that I had received them from God and that there was no way I could have made them up, and I began to try to exercise the gift of tongues. Suddenly one day as I was going to work, I received a whole language from God. I pulled the car off the road and sat there and wept, praying in tongues.

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