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Being Pentecostal nicely...

There is more to be said. And as Walt Whitman, the American poet, said, “Do I contradict myself? Very well I contradict myself ... I contain multitudes”. (Cf Bob Dylan in his song on the newish album “Rough and Rowdy ways.)

So it is foolish for my wife to cradle a picture of me and talk to it and express love for it when I am sitting in the room! God has poured out his Spirit, and he is never less than present and never less than at full stretch. And he us with us all the time. He is always at the height of his powers. He is lively, a never fading overflow of love and exuberance, the same in intensity as ever he was brooding over the chaos at the beginning of the world, or when robustly he fell on people as we read in the book of Acts. As 2 Corinthians 4:7 says. “The transcendent (or excellency as older versions have it) power belongs to God and not to us.”

A real bugbear of mine is when I hear well meaning but ill-informed people pray, “We come into your presence.” I can’t help thinking - where (literally) on earth, in heaven, or the world of the dead, have they been?!

What makes the difference then between the promise and the enjoyment? Faith holds everything together. But again let me state clearly: faith is not screwing yourself up to believe the impossible; it’s not about desperately clinging - but restfully trusting. Faith is a relaxed knowing that God in his tender love and his almighty kind power will do what he has promised.

And so this is where the insightful prayer of Paul in Ephesians 1:16ff comes in. The power available to us - which please note is immeasurably great -becomes ours as we “believe.”

Happy Pentecost!

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