Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
// Shelby Hawks //
Come, Holy Spirit.
In the first chapter of Acts, we hear about the preparation and the eager longing that occurs as the apostles wait for the Spirit. And in the second chapter, the Spirit comes and the Church begins. But there is a tiny detail that I missed for years and years, until a podcast I recently listened to (shout out to Abiding Together) drew my attention to it.
There are 120 gathered in the upper room: the twelve apostles are there and others are with them.
“All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:14). The apostles, the women, the Mother, the brethren—these are the people gathered. And then Scripture says that Peter stands up in the midst of the brethren, the total of which was about 120.
Sisters, 120 people are gathered in the upper room. I am so struck by this fact because it reminds me that Jesus transformed lives and effected change. He healed and encountered so many people throughout his ministry, but I think I often forget that these moments of healing and encounter led to radical conversion in these people’s hearts. He left an impression, He left a mark, He walked among people like you and I and they knew Him to be the Messiah.
The blind man, the lame man, the paralyzed man. The demoniac. The woman with the hemorrhage. The little girl raised from her sleep. The centurion’s servant. Lazarus, Mary, Martha. The woman at the well. The thankful leper. I am certain these were all gathered in the upper room.
They were the ones who stayed. They were the ones who echoed, “Lord, to whom else shall we go?” They endured the Cross. They believed the promise. They suffered the doubt. They waited, with eager expectation. And when the Spirit came on that glorious Pentecost, they were ready and they were filled. They experienced the restoration promised to them at the words of Jesus: “Go, your faith has saved you.”
It leaves you and I with a question, sister: Where am I?
Am I in the Upper Room? Am I waiting to receive what He has for me? Am I eager and prepared and hopeful? Or am I running to see what the world has for me? Am I distracted and unprepared? Am I doubting that He can fill me? Am I hiding in shame? Am I lost but too afraid to seek Him? Have I been afraid to ask Him for the grace and strength to persevere?
Where am I?
The beauty of this faith, sister, is that Pentecost is for us right now and always. The Spirit comes where He is invited. There is nothing more fulfilling than a life lived in the presence of the Spirit. He is our Comforter, our Advocate, our Consoler. He refines, strengthens, emboldens, encourages. He is ready to meet you wherever you are. He comes to us, and gives us the grace to make our way back to the Father.
The Spirit moves among us. Sure, we do not see Jesus walking around on our streets or touching the crippled with His Healing Hands. But we do have the Spirit—who lives and moves in our being and makes us living tabernacles of Christ. Because of the 120, Christ is here and He dwells in the baptized souls of our brothers and sisters. It is only in accepting the Spirit that this miraculous reality is manifested in us. It is only in accepting the Spirit that revival fire begins.
Jesus is inviting you to receive the gift He has promised. Open your hands and receive, sister!
My invitation and encouragement for you is this: Be with the 120. Call upon the Spirit and invite Him to restore. Pray over and over, Come Holy Spirit, and trust that wherever you breathe His name, He is indeed there.