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April 1, 2010

The Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Trinity.  He is a person, not just a force or influence.  Certainly not a ghost.  When we come to faith, trusting in God’s salvation offered through Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit (God Himself) makes us to be spiritually alive (born again), places us into the church, assures us that we are God’s children today who have an incredible future forever with Him, and He takes up residence within us.  What the Holy Spirit does for us, within us, and through us is astounding.  How sad it would be if we settled for something far less.

Yet so many Christians do.

The Apostle Paul writes, “Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you, instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18 GNB) 

Paul’s bottom line is to consider what it is that controls our lives.  Will we allow ourselves to be controlled something which will lead us to destruction (such as drunkenness - or finances or illness or...).  Or, the Holy Spirit, Who desires to mature us, empower us, and use us beyond what we are willing to settle for.

We’ve all seen pictures or seen first hand the destructive effects of powerful wind.  Its violent, untamed, scary.

At Pentecost the Holy Spirit came rushing in like a mighty powerful wind.  In the Gospel of John, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit, like the wind, blows where He wills and we hear the sound of it. (John 3:8)  That can be frightening.  What will the Holy Spirit do if we yield control of our lives to Him?

In the Bible we read that the Holy Spirit blew into people’s lives and they were empowered to lead armies, to defy ungodly leadership, to perform superhuman feats of strength and courage, to speak boldly for God, to write Scripture, to change the course of history.  All of that is a little beyond where most of us live our lives.

Yet, we need to keep in mind that this same Holy Spirit is God who also speaks in a gentle whisper, lovingly to our hearts.  He knows our hearts, our struggles, our cares, and our concerns.

Trusting is hard for us because it means completely surrendering ourselves to the Holy Spirit, yielding to His control of our lives, to live and serve as He commands.  That goes against every fiber of our pride and what naturally makes us comfortable.  But its the only way to live as God calls us to live.

Jack London’s masterpiece, “The Call of The Wild” is a story about a magnificent dog named Buck.  Buck was half Saint Bernard, half Shepherd.  He was 150 pounds of pure muscle.  Because he was such an impressive animal, he was stolen, kidnapped from his home in the Santa Clara Valley and taken to Alaska where there was a tremendous need for powerful dogs to pull sleds through the wilderness snow.

Buck was treated so cruelly by his kidnappers and then by his first owners that he was nearly broken in spirit by the time he fell into the kind hands of John Thornton.  Thornton was so humane in his treatment of Buck that Buck developed an undying loyalty to Thornton.

One evening during a conversation in the El Dorado Saloon, Thornton was lured into making a $1,000 wager that Buck could break a sled loaded with 1,000 pounds on it from a frozen standstill and move the sled 100 yards.  Some dogs had been known to break 500 pound loads, maybe 600 pounds, but 1,000 pounds seemed impossible.  It was a foolish wager, but Thornton believed that if any dog could do it, Buck could.

Several hundred men spilled out into the streets of Dawson to see if Buck could perform the impossible.  The odds were 2 to 1 - then 3 to 1 against Buck.  A sled holding twenty 50 pound bags of flour was standing frozen in the snow.  The ten dog team that had been pulling it was released and Buck was harnessed in their place.

John Thornton put his face against the face of his great dog.  This time he didn’t playfully shake him as was he normally did.  Instead he knelt down by Buck’s side and whispered in his ear these unforgettable words, “As you love me, Buck. As you love me.”  Then he stepped back and allowed Buck to do the rest.  And of course Buck did.  “As you love me, Buck. As you love me.”

You and I face a task that the world says is impossible - claiming the world for Jesus Christ.  Just to live life often seems overwhelming - the odds are stacked against us.  And yet, we hear a Voice that calls to our hearts, “As you love Me. As you love Me.”

Do we love God? If we’re willing to completely love Him, passionately, devotedly, to surrender to Him everything that we are the Holy Spirit will have the freedom to work in our lives and do in us and through us what we could never do on our own.