I grew up in a Christian family, reading the Bible pretty well every morning, writing it out for penmanship, and memorising it in chunks and by using Colin Buchanan’s amazing cds that I’m now using for our children. Mum was laying down the rail’s well for her children to follow, and yet there was one thing I never remember talking about. Who is the Holy Spirit?
Oh I’m sure He was mentioned but when I went to Papua New Guinea at age 14 for 6 weeks with my Dad, I discovered a whole new person to the Godhead and one who changed my life forever; I’ve written about this in my book Dad and Me in PNG, published through Creation House. Suddenly I started hearing from God in a way I’d never experienced before and was changed from a shy teenager who wouldn’t say grace in public to preaching in front of 400 people. Sort of like that story about Peter in Acts.
You’ve taught your children about Easter or Passover good and proper, but what about the Pentecost, that massive event that changed the world? Can we explore the person of the Holy Spirit together?
First the Holy Spirit, is part of the Trinity. The three in one Godhead. I’ve found from my Sunday School teaching days that a good way to explain this is either a three leaf clover or the illustration of a power point. Our Aussie ones have two prongs for smaller appliances or three prongs if you want full power, and you definitely want to be all plugged into God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Another hands on activity is to make little chocolates using 1 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup honey and 3 heaped TBS of cocoa or cacao powder, as the three ingredients become one component.
Now let’s dig into some meaty Scriptures put together by my husband’s Aunty, Robyn Small, co-pastor of a church in Toowoomba, Australia. These were originally put together for one of her ‘quilt chats’, but she’s graciously allowed me to use them.
(Check the bottom of this post for 2 more resources I highly recommend in teaching your children about the Holy Spirit and how He wants to change the world through them. There is no Junior Holy Spirit, the same power that worked through Jesus is available to us and them, but as parents we need to be brave enough to help them hear from God.)
- The Holy Spirit is like a dove. We see this not only when Jesus was baptised by John in Matthew 3:13-17, but also because at the beginning He was hovering over and involved with this world, even before creation. (Genesis 1:1-2)
- We the see the Holy Spirit at work all through the Old Testament. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God.
1 Peter 2:21For no prophecy was ever brought about through human initiative, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
But mostly in the OT we see him coming upon people, to empower them for a certain specific task.· Eg. Numbers 11:25 The 70 Elders with Moses prophesied as the Spirit came upon them. · In Judges we read of the Holy Spirit coming upon Gideon (6:34) · upon Jephtath (11:29) · upon Samson (13:25) and each of them was filled with supernatural ability to go and fight and win battles against insurmountable opposition. In 1 Samuel 10:10 He came upon Saul and enabled him to prophecy.
3. But it is in the NT that we get the clearest picture of what He is really like. Not only do we see Him at work there, but He is the one who enables us to understand what we read.
Before I read the Bible, I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand what He meant when He whispered in the ears of those who wrote down the words.
Ephesians 1:17. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.
4. As we open the pages of the New Testament we see the Holy Spirit being very much involved in all that happened. When it was time for Jesus to come to this earth
- He was the One who overshadowed Mary and planted the seed that would become the earthly body of Jesus in her womb. (LUKE 1:35) Then the angel said to her, the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
- Then He filled John the Baptist, while John was still in his mother’s womb. Luke 1:15
- Then He filled Elisabeth, John’s mum so that she prophesied over Mary. Luke 1:41.
- Then He filled Zechariah, John’s dad, at John’s birth, and he prophesied about out all that was ahead for John. Luke 1:67
- Then He led Simeon to be at the right place at the right time. Luke 2:25-28
5. And then He came upon Jesus as Jesus was baptized by John, and God declared for all to hear, “This is my Beloved Son. With Him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16.
- And then the Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the wilderness to be tempted. At the end of that time of testing, Jesus was now FULL of the Holy Spirit. (Luke 4:1).
- All through the life of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was the One empowering Him. Luke 4:18
- 6. Even in preparing Jesus for His death, the Holy Spirit was the power that enabled Jesus to be the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.And then in His resurrection, the Holy Spirit was involved.
- Romans 8:11 says If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is dwelling in you He will also give life to your mortal bodies. Everything Jesus accomplished was through His dependence upon the Holy Spirit.
- Acts 10:38. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil.
- Matthew 12:18. God said, I will put my Spirit upon him and He will proclaim justice to the nations.
- Luke 4:18.Jesus said, the Spirit of the Lord is on me because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.Acts 1:2. Through the Holy Spirit Jesus gave instructions to the apostles He had chosen.7. So that is the Holy Spirit at work in olden times, but now we come to the present; to us! And just like He was at work then, so He wants to be involved with us “ right now, today.Jesus knew that if we are to do the works that He did, as He has commanded us, then we also must depend upon the Holy Spirit to work through us.
- Zechariah 4:6 Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.When Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure back to heaven, He said to them, Wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:4.He also said to them, It is for your good that I am going away, unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you. John 16:7. And that applies to us too.And we all know that He came. On the day of Pentecost.. Acts 2. And the church has never been the same since. Right now, God the Father is in heaven, Jesus is seated at His right hand, interceding for us until the day that He returns. So it is the Holy Spirit who is at work in our world.
- He is at work in us.
- He is the One who drew us to God in the first place
- He is the One who first convicted us of our sin.
- And He is the One at work to help us develop and grow our relationship with the Father.
I love the way the Amplified Bible always puts in the full description of the Holy Spirit whenever it refers to Him. It calls Him, the Comforter, Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby. He is also our Teacher.
The Greek work that the NT uses to describe the Holy Spirit is, Paraklete, which means, the One who comes alongside to help. And that is what He wants to do with us. To help, to counsel, to have fellowship with, to come alongside and work with us and through us.
8. Gifts are instant! We don’t work to earn a gift. We just receive. And that is how the gifts come that the Holy Spirit gives. Gifts that are there available for our use when we need them.
- words of knowledge,
- discerning of spirits,
- gifts of healing,
- of the working of miracles,
- the ability to speak in unknown tongues,
- the ability to interpret those tongues.
These gifts all seem to be supernatural, not ones that we could develop out of our own natural talent.
But He also enhances and develops and grows our own natural gifting.
Romans 12:6-8 says, We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us. And it goes on to list some of those:
- showing mercy.
And I don’t believe that the list is complete. I truly believe it goes on and on, for every area of our lives where we need the Holy Spirits help.
Another gift that is very precious – He also gives us the ability to witness about Jesus. Acts 1:8.And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be My witnesses.
And not only does He give us the confidence to talk about Jesus to people, but He goes ahead of us and prepares the person to understand what we say. Acts 10:44. The Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.
- 9. FRUIT, Fruit grows slowly, develops over time.Galatians 5:16, 22-25 So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature… but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another.
- We cooperate with the Holy Spirit to allow the fruit of His presence to grow in us. It is really important to have both gifts and fruit operating in our lives. Nothing injures the Kingdom more than a powerful person, moving in the supernatural gifting, yet moody or angry or stingy with money at home. The same with the most peaceful pleasant person who doesn’t understand how he is meant to be making a stand against the demonic realm.
- 10. The Holy Spirit is also symbolised as the oil of joy, the oil of comfort and the oil of anointing. In the Bible times, the lamps were made of clay and leaked oil everywhere. We need to be constantly filled both to leak the oil of the Holy Spirit but also to have a light.
- We should continually be asking the Holy Spirit to come fill us:
In Matthew 251-13 is the story of the wise and foolish virgins. The foolish virgins ran out of oil, but the wise virgins had enough even though the journey was long. We need to constantly be in God’s presence, reading the Word and staying full of His Spirit.
- Hebrews 1:9 NIV
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
PRAYER. Romans 8:26. In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weaknesses, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirits mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
One of the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us is the ability to speak in other tongues. This is such a dishonoured gift but really, it is so needed, and so empowering, not only to be able to pray directly to God,
1 Corinthians 14:2 He who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed no one understands him, he utters mysteries with his spirit.
But this gift is to build ourselves up, it speaks of recharging our spiritual batteries.
1 Corinthians 14:4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.
In a study done by Dr. Carl Peterson, a brain specialist at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it was discovered that as people pray and worship God in tongues, the brain releases two chemical secretions that are directed into our immune systems, giving a 35 to 40 percent boost to the immune system. This promotes healing within our bodies.
As amazing as this seems, this secretion comes from a part of the brain which has no other apparent activity in humans. The only way to activate it is by praying in the Spirit!
In summary, these are the effects of speaking or singing in tongues:
- Stress goes down
- Immune system boosted 30-50%
- Releases endorphins (which block pain and increase feelings of pleasure)
- Brings down blood pressure
- Produces a sound mind
- Love flows
That lines up with what Paul wrote about praying in tongues edifies us.
The Holy Spirit also joins with us in praying for the return of Jesus.
Revelation 22:17. Both the Spirit and the Bride say, Come!
12. The Holy Spirit gives us direction. He leads us in the way we should go. He guides us into all truth. But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, the Father will send Him in my name, and He will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. John 14:25.
John 16:12. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
He will guide us literally, and guide us with His peace. If we are making a decision, His peace will rest on us to show us which answer is right.
If you are looking for further resources to stir up your faith and that of your children and show them the Holy Spirit wants to work through them too, I highly recommend Children and the Supernatural by Jennifer Toledo. This book is great as a read aloud, with short chapters in story form, of how God is using real children around the world to pray for the sick, preach the Gospel and just encourage the woman in supermarket next to them.
I first heard of Jennifer Toledo when I was 16, speaking on a cd called the Undiluted Gospel, a message of how she found herself in one of the most famine-stricken areas of Africa as a single young woman, and the strategies God gave her to see the people set free, including children. I found it again this year and played it for our Tuesday night group to listen to. Right towards the end she began to speak about how she was training to children to walk in the supernatural, a topic that we had been searching for inspiration on.
Her companion book Eyes that See and Ears that Hear provide practical ideas and suggestions for training yourself and your children to hear from God better. Describing God as a ‘chatterbox’ Jennifer encourages children to ask God any questions relating to their daily life before teaching them how to check that what they receive is indeed Godly counsel. She provides activities to help them hear clearly and accurately before suggesting ideas that they can use in outreach.