Journal Acts 11 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation and notes are mine)
Scripture: “As I (Peter) began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized us with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way (be an obstruction)?
When they (the brothers at Jerusalem, from the circumcision party/faction) heard these things they fell silent.
And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.’” (Acts 11:15-18)
Observation: What is it about the acts, process, and function of the Holy Spirit that causes turmoil in the Church these days?
Application: Knowing that this may cause issues, I can’t do anything but follow the plain text and testimony of the Scriptures about the Holy Spirit.
One of the issues I encounter a lot is how to read without inserting prejudice. I have encountered many ways to read this section and, depending on the prejudice I have, can interpret, or influence the answer to my own bias.
I think I would rather say “I don’t know” and trust the Holy Spirit and wait years for an answer than to try to come up with an answer to fit my own preconceived notion. Refer to Deut 29:29 to validate this action.
That’s the point of journaling; write down stuff that encourages you, have questions about, have insight about, and stuff that is better off in my hip pocket to meditate and call upon the Lord about later.
Journaling is not hiding from correction if that is what is needed. In fact, journaling is imperative for growth. It gets thoughts out there objectively for review at another time.
Journaling will also lead to the need of counseling. God gave leadership in the local church to assist with that—but did not invalidate the requirement to “see if these things were so” in personal study—just like the Bereans:
“The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:10-11)
Just like the yahoos on Ancient Aliens, “you gotta ask yourself, ‘Are these things so?’”
Prayer: Father, question after question. You, the Son, and the Spirit are all One in the same. Why is it that there are questions about the Holy Spirit and how he is described? Everywhere you are described by name, Jesus, I should be able to insert “Holy Spirit” and not miss a beat.
Lord, help me be humble and persistent but not combative. Let me have persuasive words that honor You and only You.
Ricky Two Shoes