Summertime is finally behind us and we are firmly into fall! Ah, summertime in Georgia! By my estimation, there should be absolutely no sinners left in the state after they get this mild taste of what hell will be like! Wow! It’s hot. I’m talking about sweating-while-you’re-toweling-off-right-after-a-shower hot!
Several days ago, due to a hurricane in another part of the world, we had what can only be described like a square-dancing hoedown on the roof of my home. I mean, it sounded like the roof was about to fall in! No thunder, no lightning, just raining cats and dogs! My poor beaten-down flowers were probably screaming in their teeny, weak, high-pitched, rain-soaked, flowery voices, “Enough, enough! Make it stop! We promise not to attack you with any more pollen!”
To that I say, “Take that, you evil, brightly colored harbingers of Satan . . . or at least runny noses and itchy eyes!” Anyhow, I don’t mind taking antihistamines. Who needs all that extra money that gets spent on medicine every month, anyways?
All this rain has got me thinking about what the Bible calls the “latter rain.” It’s exciting stuff, and you and I could be a part of it . . . if we wanted to be. What is the latter rain? Before we can talk about the latter rain, we’ve got to talk about the former rain, or the rain that’s already happened.
When I talk about rain, I’m not talking about actual watery rain but rather what the Bible refers to as the pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit! You see, in the New Testament book of Acts, the author, Luke, writes that Jesus, “before he was taken up, . . . gave orders to the apostles he had chosen with the help of the Holy Spirit. For forty days after Jesus had suffered and died, he proved in many ways that he had been raised from death. He appeared to his apostles and spoke to them about God’s kingdom. While he was still with them, he said: Don’t leave Jerusalem yet. Wait here for the Father to give you the Holy Spirit, just as I told you he has promised to do. John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Contemporary English Version, Acts 1:2-5).
You see, Jesus promised the disciples that they would receive power to do the assignment He had given them (Matt. 28:18-20), which was to give the good news of salvation to the entire world. They didn’t have to wait long because in Acts 2:1-4 we read that “on the day of Pentecost all the Lord’s followers were together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the house where they were meeting. Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone.”
Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus gave the disciples everything they would need to get the job done, and boy did they need it! The Holy Spirit gave them power to speak and understand languages they didn’t know before; the power to raise the dead; the power to heal people; the power to get rid of demons; the power to resist the venom of deadly animals, and so much more. Basically, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, gave the disciples the power to complete the work that He had started. If you read the book of Acts, you see an incredible, interesting, true, and accurate account of what happened (the author was a doctor, after all).
So the disciples were all hanging out in one room, and the Holy Spirit was given to them so powerfully that they all began speaking languages they didn’t know before but others understood. It was about 9:00 in the morning, and bystanders who didn’t speak those specific languages thought the disciples were drunk! The apostle Peter explained that they were witnessing the raining down of the Holy Spirit. He went on, speaking the Old Testament prophet Joel’s words: “When the last days come, I will give my Spirit to everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will have dreams. In those days I will give my Spirit to my servants, both men and women, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17, 18).
Did you catch that? You and I are now the disciples in charge of completing the work that Jesus and His disciples started! All we need is a heart and spirit that’s available, teachable, plus God’s Holy Spirit power, aka “the latter rain.” Isn’t that exciting? I truly believe that right now God has already started pouring out His latter rain! Do you want it? I know I do.
So do you know what specific “vision” has God given you to finish His work? What types of things are you naturally good at? Has God given you something to do that seems absolutely crazy, and you’re kind of embarrassed to even mention it out loud because it seems so absolutely impossible? You don’t think that you could do it on your own? Well, you can’t. It requires God’s Holy Spirit, and chances are good that it was God who gave that idea to you. So pray, pray, and then pray some more. At the same time, talk to people and get their wise advice; don’t be discouraged or unfocused.
Then, confidently move forward in faith knowing that God will continue giving you His Holy Spirit to get the job done that He started more than two thousand years ago. God can and will use you. You’ve just got to ask Him to keep it raining cats and dogs!