Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Flying Closer to the Flame

I just finished reading Charles Swindoll's book Flying Closer to the Flame that he published in 1993. One of the things that I like about Swindoll's writing is that it doesn't go out of style from one year to the next like many of the offerings of today's uber-hip mass media connected guru pastors that have bubbled up from the ooze over the past 10 years. Swindoll's writing is reasoned, sensible, and ages well. He is humble yet passionate, firm yet tender, with his goal to bring folks into a closer relationship with God. The topic of this book was about the "missing" element of the trinity, the Holy Spirit. Really the Holy Spirit is an aspect of God that many Chrisitians are not particular comfortable with, mostly because they do not really understand what it is all about.

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. John 16:7

This verse from the gospel of John was uttered by Jesus during his last few days on Earth. In his cryptic usage of the term "Helper", He was specifically talking about the Holy Spirit that would come to indwell each of His Apostles in order to help build His church. The Helper emboldened Jesus's followers, gave them the ability to speak in languages that they had never known before, and imparted to them supernatural powers to heal the sick and the lame. In short, he gave them great power to do the work that Jesus had charged them to do. Our scripture tells us that once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit immediately indwells us as well. What does this mean? What does it do for us? That is exactly what Swindoll tackles in this book, using Scripture as his guide. He addresses the topics of:
  • What is the Holy Spirit?
  • Why is the Holy Spirit relevant to us today?
  • How does the Holy Spirit work within us?
  • What should our expectations be regarding the Spirit's power?
A simple, thoughtful book that I found very useful for my devotional time.