Peter Marshall, the one-time chaplain of the United States Senate wrote, “If God does not enter your kitchen, there is something wrong with your kitchen. If you can’t take God into your recreation, there is something wrong with your play.” Perhaps what is most needed today is for us to bring God into the common places of our lives, to allow His presence to bring fire and smoke in the humdrum of our routines. Allow me to share a couple of stories with you that illustrate the difference that the power and presence of the Holy Spirit makes in our lives.

Calvin Miller in Tales of a Transformed Preacher talked about what happens to us when the fire of God intersects our life. He writes, “We must journey to the edge of heat if we would catch the flame. When Blaise Pascal died in 1662, his servant found a scrap of paper hidden in the lining of his coat. It turned out to be a testimony of something that had happened eight years earlier: ‘From about half past ten in the evening until about half past twelve FIRE…’” Miller continues, “Whatever happened to him that Monday night, “FIRE” was all Pascal could say about it. For two whole hours, nothing but fire. Not the fire of philosophers and scholars but the fire of God. And when the fire has burned through us, our passion is the evidence that we are aflame with significance.”

R.A. Torrey talked about the reason as to why God used D. L. Moody. “It was that he had a very definite empowerment from on High. In his early days he was a great hustler; he had a tremendous desire to do something, but he had no real power. He worked very largely in the energy of the flesh.

But there were two humble Free Methodist women who used to come over to his meetings in the Y.M.C.A. One was “Auntie Cook” and the other, Mrs. Snow. These two women would come to Mr. Moody at the close of his meetings and say: ‘We are praying for you.’ Finally, Mr. Moody became somewhat nettled and said to them one night: ‘Why are you praying for me? Why don’t you pray for the unsaved?’ Auntie Cook once told me of the intense fervor with which Mr. Moody prayed on that occasion. She told me in words that I scarcely dare repeat, though I have never forgotten them. And he not only prayed with them, but he also prayed alone.

Not long after, one day on his way to England, he was walking up Wall Street in New York; (Mr. Moody very seldom told this and I almost hesitate to tell it) and in the midst of the bustle and hurry of that city his prayer was answered; the power of God fell upon him as he walked up the street and he had to hurry off to the house of a friend and ask that he might have a room by himself, and in that room he stayed alone for hours; and the Holy Ghost came upon him, filling his soul with such joy that, at last, he had to ask God to withhold His hand, lest he die on the spot from very joy. He went out from that place with the power of the Holy Ghost upon him, and when he got to London, the power of God worked through him mightily in North London, and hundreds were added to the churches; and that was what led to his being invited over to the wonderful campaign that followed in later years.”

Billy Graham spoke of a similar encounter that occurred in his early ministry in Wales while he was praying with Dr. Stephen Olford. As they searched the Bible together and prayed for several hours, Billy Graham suddenly cried out, like the biblical Jacob, “Lord I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me!” And then something happened. He claimed that his heart was “aflood with the Holy Spirit,” and he began pacing back and forth, saying, “I have it! I’m filled!”

You and I have a choice… we can be full of ourselves, or we can be full of the Spirit… I’ll give you a hint—be the second! Paul said in Ephesians 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.”

I love being your Pastor and remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new.

For God’s Glory Alone,
Pastor Ray
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