Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK THREE
ORBIT – DAY THIRTEEN
Hello and welcome to another Orbit – the daily devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Each day we give you a short passage of the Bible to reflect on, a way of putting it into practice in your life, and a chance to pray and reflect. We’re looking at the moment at the story of Paul the Apostle, who followed Jesus in an extraordinary way in chaotic and uncertain times – he feels like a good role model for us right now.
BIBLE READING – Acts 19: 1-7
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptised?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptised with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.
How do you instinctively react when you hear the words ‘Holy Spirit’? Do you think:’weird’, or picture being made to feel uncomfortable by something supernatural? Do you imagine a benevolent ghost who doesn’t really do very much? Or do you get a tingle of excitement at the possibility of engaging directly with the power and presence of God?
Some of us have experienced direct encounters with God’s Spirit – perhaps at prayer meetings, or big festival events. Some of us have directly avoided such a thing, scared by the idea of losing control. And still others of us would love to experience what it means to be filled with the Holy spirit, but simply don’t know where to start; it’s not like we can gather in a Big Top right now…
In today’s passage, Paul finds a group of disciples who’ve been baptised into following the way of God, but they’ve never been baptised as followers of Jesus. John’s baptism was natural, and was like an intellectual decision – like an initiation ceremony to join a special club. But when Paul meets them, he explains that the one John was pointing to has now arrived – and now they can be baptised as his disciples. This second baptism is a supernatural experience – and with it comes with the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
They are filled with the Spirit – and as a result they’re changed. They begin to speak in tongues and to prophesy – kind of spiritual side-effects of encountering the power of God. But they are also changed on the inside – their lives from that point on would have begun to look different; there would have been ‘fruits’ of the Spirit’s work in them, and their characters will have begun to refine.
The last few words of that reading might seem innocuous, but they are really important: “There were about twelve men in all.” This didn’t take place in a gigantic arena, or away at a camp. There were just 12 people there, and God’s Spirit still came in an incredibly powerful way. There doesn’t need to be a special place, or a big crowd. God wants to fill all who follow him with his Spirit, right where we are. It doesn’t have to be weird or scary – we can have direct access to the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit right in our own homes, any and every day. Why wouldn’t we want that?
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord, I thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. As your disciple, I ask that you would fill me with your Spirit, and that my life would look different as a result.
We’re now going to be quiet for a few moments. Just notice God’s Spirit with you. He promises to send it; the Spirit is here.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Today the invitation is to spend a little more time, perhaps now, or maybe later on, continuing to ask God to fill you with his Spirit. Soul Survivor’s Mike Pilavachi often says that “the more we wait, the more he does”, so why not find some time to make yourself comfortable, and simply wait in quiet on the presence of God? Remember, it’s not like a commodity that some of us get, and some of us don’t – we might react differently, but God promises that we can all receive his Spirit. So receive the gift today!
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback!
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!