Christmas is past and most of us have returned or exchanged some of the gifts we received. There is one gift, a perfect gift from our Father above, that many of us overlook, never even open or just plain ignore. It’s that gift that we receive when we accept Christ as our Savior. It’s the same gift He promised to His disciples, the gift of the Holy Spirit. As Christ explained to His disciples beginning in John 14:16, “.. . He (the Father) will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor Knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. ” Unfortunately many of us who claim to be Christians don’t really know Him or take advantage of the power that has been placed within us by our loving Father.

As I began to be more serious about my faith, I discovered that there is a reluctance to talking about the Holy Spirit even in Christian gatherings. As president of a local women’s church group, I twice asked speakers to our annual luncheon to speak on the topic of the Holy Spirit. Both times I was immediately asked if I really wanted Him to be the focus of the talk, because it usually made people feel uncomfortable. Truly both speakers had the same concern. That amazed me, but I assured both of them that we needed to hear and learn more about the Holy Spirit. Both ladies acquiesced to my request and their talks were well received. Both focused on our need to be “plugged in or tuned in” to His presence and guidance.

We tend to fear what we don’t understand and, I believe, that is why we avoid the topic of the Holy Spirit. Some ministers tend to avoid the subject totally or mention Him at Pentecost because that is when He appeared as tongues of fire to the apostles and filled each one of them. We receive Him within each one of us in a less visible way. He enters our heart when we sincerely welcome Christ into our lives. How wonderful and glorious! We need to become attune to His Presence and guidance in our lives. Just as Elijah had to recognize God speaking to him in a still, small voice and Samuel had to recognize as a youth that God was calling to him and not Eli, we need to be listening to His promptings within us. The Holy Spirit is who separates us from the world and protects us from ourselves and our sinful nature.

A few years ago Jim and I had taken a vehicle to be detailed in Conway. When we returned to pick it up, I was in a hurry to get to my volunteer position as an after school aide at our church’s daycare program. I have always been a person who gets places on time and I wonder how many times I missed the prompting of the Holy Spirit because of this attention to detail. On this occasion the woman who had worked on our vehicle asked me if I had a few minutes to listen to something she felt lead to share with me. My first reaction was to say “No!,” but I felt something stopping me. I know now that something was the Holy Spirit and definitely not a thing but the third body of the Trinity. I followed His prompting and discovered she wanted to sing a song she had written about the Holy Spirit. I called Jim over to listen with me and we were both truly blessed. Her song was beautiful and came from her heart, expressing her gratitude for her salvation and the gift that lived within her. You see  she had been a drug addict for years and then accepted Christ. It was so evident in the joy that radiated from her face and in the words she sang. How happy I was that I hadn’t refused her request! I thought of the courage she had to offer this witness to others and wondered how many times that offer was refused. Only the Holy Spirit could have released me from my hangup on being punctual and enabled me to realize what a blessing was being extended to me/us. It is an experience I will never forget.

The Holy Spirit always leads me when I write or speak to gatherings. He brings things to mind that I would never think to share on my own. My next few postings will be focused on what I have learned regarding His Presence in our lives and the potential within us that we must acknowledge and summit to as we struggle to live as Christians in the world.