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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Laying of hands to receive the Spirit
Date Posted: January 26, 2014

Several years back, I had wondered why the apostles had to journey to Samaria to "lay hands" upon those believers there in order for them to receive the Holy Spirit. I took a closer look at the over all indwelling of the Holy Spirit which led to a closer study of the gifts of the Spirit.

I believe that understanding comes from asking God for help with my understanding so I asked Him. Several passages and other things came to my attention concerning this. One was Peter's vision of the sheet dropping down with all types of food to eat (including those things that were formally forbidden for Jewish palates). Another passage that God brought me to was about Cornelius and his household hearing and receiving Jesus as Savior; then another passage was about Paul's and Peter's argument concerning the Law. Right now I can't remember the others but it all stacked up to acceptance or receiving into the fold. The Christian Jews had to let go of the Law and receive Gentiles into their circle. As we see through Scripture the Christian Jews were almost as stubborn at that as the scribes and Pharisees were against Jesus. Read about Peter’s instant withdrawal from Christian Gentile fellowship when he saw the emissaries from James.

Curious about that word receive, I checked it out. The Hebrew word for acceptance comes from a root word that means to be pleased with, so it literally means to delight in, favor, good pleasure. The word receive is translated from several different Hebrew words, but one is especially interesting. Hosea 14:2 Take words with you, And return to the LORD. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.”

This word lâqach (law-kakh') translated receive means accept, bring, buy, carry away, drawn, fetch, get, infold, receive many, mingle, place, receive. How fascinating we use these words to describe how Jesus draws us to the Father, how we bring someone to Christ, how we will be fetched to Heaven when the Great Snatch happens, and especially how we are to infold all believers into our accepting and loving arms.

God chose to get that message across to them loud and clear by sending Peter and John to journey to the most hated country Samaria and lay hands upon formerly despised people and to see the most precious gift of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon them. (Acts 8) Any hoot, it was an interesting study and I have digressed.

It was a very tough message to the Christian Jews that the message of the Cross was for everyone not just Jews. God loved us while we were yet sinners. The Holy Spirit bestows gifts upon every believer no matter the ethnic background so that God’s glory will prevail. The gifts are to exhibit His splendor, to edify and exhort His children, and to minister to the lost. (Side note: these are also the reasons we believers suffer those trials and tribulations that we are supposed to rejoice in.)

Now when the whole passage is considered, one little verse in 1 Corinthians 12 vs 13 ...
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
...we see the truth of the matter begin to appear. Then if we add other verses from the passage such as 1 Corinthians 12 (whole chapter) and Romans 8:9 we see what Paul understood. We are all filled with the Holy Spirit or we are not His.

Speaks plainly to me how about you?

I don't have all the gifts listed, but I do have the motivational gift of Perceiver/Prophet...the gift of teaching and exhorting...the gift of administration. I fall so low on the scale with the gift of Server that you could almost say I don't have it.

When I tried to speak in tongues...all I could say was Abba, Abba, Abba...
At that time, I didn't know that it meant Daddy and it was actually Hebrew that I was speaking. The rest of what I said was nothing but gibberish so I do not remember it but have no doubt my Abba understood it.

I asked God if I had to speak in tongues and He said, "No you do not have to speak in tongues." I said, "Great! Then I don't want to speak that gibberish anymore. I want most desperately to understand what I say to You and I want to not only pray to You but to chat with You and be friends with You and have a deep relationship with You. I want to be the apple of Your eye!!! I don't see how I can have a deep relationship with you when nothing but gibberish comes from my mouth."

Then He showed me 1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

If the manifestation does not profit or edify all the body, then it is not of the Spirit of God. Nothing hard to understand about that, either.

God taught me in that one little sentence, that our purpose in life is not only to glorify Him but to also contribute/profit/edify the Body and to promote unity not uniformity of the Body. He taught me the truly important things were Glorifying Him in my living style, Evangelizing the lost, Worshiping Him, Ministering, Fellowshipping and Discipling within the church body. {Biblical reference: Acts 2:42-47} Each of these things or functions overlap and reinforce each other just as we Christians are to reinforce each other.

Lay hands on someone... wash someone’s feet... slosh Living Water all over someone. It’s why God continues to leave the light on for us.

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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