The Holy Ghost is in us to do more than make us shout. He has come to give us the power to live holy.
This year marks the observance of the 100th anniversary of the Church of God in Christ, the body of believers I am privileged to serve as general supervisor of the Department of Women. Our founder, Bishop Charles H. Mason, was sovereignly led to establish the denomination after having experienced the great move of God during the Azusa Street Revival. Four years later, Mason called Mother Lizzie Woods Robinson to serve with him as the first organizer of the women's department.
During the early years, the women came together on occasion to fellowship, encourage one another and pray. Eventually, their soul-winning and evangelistic work would lay the foundation for the birthing of churches and the expansion of the ministry.
Like the saints before us, women of God everywhere today have a mandate from heaven to declare God's power. We are blessed with so many things, but in the midst of our blessings we need to be able to tell others that the Savior is the source of everything we have. With God's help, we must let them know how sweet it is to know Him; that He is a comforter, a consoler and a friend to the friendless.
WOMEN LOVE JESUS
From the very beginning, women have been drawn to Jesus. It was the women who followed Him from the cross to the grave (see Matt. 27:55-61).
Luke tells us that following Jesus' crucifixion, the women had seen Him placed in the tomb. Then they went home, and prepared the spices with which they would anoint His body (see Luke 23:55-56).
On the morning of the third day, they returned to the tomb. The Bible says that they got up early in the morning, and they returned to the tomb to see about Jesus, but they found the tomb was empty, and He was not there (see Luke 24:1-3).
Instead of seeing Jesus, the women were met by an angel, who said to them: "'He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him'" (Matt. 28:6-7, NKJV).
On the way to Galilee, the women met Jesus Himself. The Scripture says they were both fearful and joyful (see v. 8-9). We can relate to this because sometimes we are afraid, too, but God tells us to go forward, just as Jesus told the women that day: "'Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me'"(v. 10).
Jesus is alive today. We know He's alive because He lives in us. Let us have as much love for the Lord today as those women had then. They loved Him with all their might, and so must we.
We must be about His business, serving Him. It is a wonderful experience to be alive and serving the Lord at this time, but soon the responsibility for carrying the work of the Lord to the next level will fall to a new generation.
We who are mature in Christ must do all we can to demonstrate His power before those who are looking on. With all the wisdom we will pass on, we must leave behind a testimony of what we have discovered to be the most important truth—that we can do nothing without the power of God and the guidance of His Holy Spirit.
WHEN THE SPIRIT CAME
The book of Acts provides us with eyewitness accounts of the events that gave birth to the church. More than 2,000 years ago, a spiritual match was struck in Jerusalem. At first, the fire touched only a few people in that corner of the world. But soon it spread beyond Jerusalem, to all the people of the earth.
What began with only a small group of believers in one city, traveled across the civilized world, to the far reaches of the Roman Empire. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, this courageous band of men and women preached the gospel, healed those they encountered who were sick and demonstrated the powerful love of God everywhere they went.
They taught on the streets and hillsides, onboard ships and along desert roads. Wherever God sent them, they went, and they made history. Their obedience forever changed the lives of those who received their message.
Today, that same gospel fire should be raging within us, so that wherever we go we are making history and changing people's lives by sharing with them our experience of what God has done for us. We should find it easy to tell somebody else that Jesus is a Savior, that He is our Savior, and that He suffered, bled, died and then went back to heaven. But He didn't stop there. He sent the Holy Ghost to empower us to do the work of the Lord.
I thank God that the fire didn't just burn in Jerusalem, but came all the way to Goose Creek, South Carolina, where one night I heard the gospel of holiness preached and gave my heart to the Lord. I can tell you, it has been a wonderful experience since that time. Yes, I've had trials. I've certainly had my ups and downs, but the Lord's grace and mercy have brought me through.
When the Holy Spirit was poured out, He gave birth to the church and inspired evangelism (see Acts 2:5-47). The way in which Christianity was first proclaimed, along with the workings of the Holy Spirit in the early church, left no doubt that the gospel was supernatural, that it's miraculous power was beyond that of any man.
If you have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit, you know it does not come from you; it comes from on high. He gives us more than just a reason to shout, dance and wave our hands. The Holy Spirit is the source of our motivation, energy and ability to share the gospel.
This Savior we've come to know, comes with power, anointing and grace. He has chosen us to be part of His plan on this earth, and each of us has a job to do in reaching the world for Jesus Christ.
In a natural sense, our assignment is an impossible job. It takes the power of the Spirit working in and through us in order for our efforts to be effective. By faith, we can witness to people, love them and teach them, but we must have the Spirit's help if we are to bring them to the Lord. The Spirit of God has to speak to their hearts (see John 6:44).
It is by the Spirit of God that we are given the power, grace and desire to be a living witness to a lost world. This is why, as God's women, we must continue to cry out to Him not just for more things but also for more of the Holy Spirit.
WHISTLE TO THE WIND
I want to encourage the younger women. Be strong; anchor yourselves in prayer and the Word. God is going to impart great blessings to you. He's already blessed you with so much more than previous generations have seen.
God has given you the Internet and all the advantages of technology. Use all of these tools to spread the gospel, but don't let go of the things God used in the past to establish His people in holiness.
Sometimes we need to pick up some of the old-time ways. I know some of you would rather not. However, the Holy Ghost is not new, and holiness never gets old or goes out of fashion. You would be doing yourself a favor if you reached back to some of those old faithful habits.
One morning, the Lord woke me up, and I heard Him say: "Whistle to the wind." Suddenly, I was wide-awake, thinking, Whistle to the wind? Lord, whistle to the wind?
I meditated on that thought for a while, and as I did, the Lord took me back in my mind to Psalm 1, which makes a comparison between the godly and the ungodly. Psalm1:4 says the ungodly "are like the chaff which the wind drives away."
Then I was led to Acts 2, where on the day of Pentecost, believers were gathered in one place, when suddenly the Spirit of God came like "a rushing mighty wind" and filled them all with the Holy Spirit (see vv. 2-4).
When I inquired of the Lord as to what He wanted me to understand, He took me back to the past once again, to the time when I was a little girl. I can remember, as a child, picking dry peas and putting them in a sack. Then we'd take a paddle, and as we turned the sack over and over, we'd beat it with the paddle, until all the peas were out of their hulls.
Once the hulls were off, we'd get what we called a "fanner." Now, for those of you who don't know what a fanner is, it is a big, wide pan or basket that we used to separate the peas from the chaff. We'd dump the peas into the fanner, and then my grandmother would send us outside so we could finish removing the chaff from them.
The chaff was simply the small, remaining bits and pieces of unwanted trash and material that was still in among the peas. In order for the chaff to blow away, we needed the wind.
If the wind wasn't blowing, my grandmother would tell us to "whistle to the wind." We'd start whistling, and sure enough, the wind would start blowing. Then we'd toss the peas up, and all the chaff would blow away, leaving the peas in the fanner.
God is saying to us, "If somebody would whistle in prayer, whistle in fasting, then the wind would start blowing." God is going to blow away the chaff. Be encouraged, and whistle to the wind.
Whistle in our homes. Whistle so that God will send the wind of righteousness to cleanse us and remove the chaff from our spirits and our churches. The wind is going to blow, and the chaff has to go.
At one time it was said that women and girls should never whistle. But today we need some whistling women because we need the wind to blow until all malice disappears. Let the wind of God blow until we become settled and solid in God.
Our world is dying, and our communities are in trouble. We need Jesus Christ to help us. I want my soul and yours to burn with a desire to press forward and tell somebody that Jesus is the Christ.
God wants to use women today, and there are wonderful, young women who are prepared to declare the power of God to the coming generation. They have so much work to do, and they need your guidance and mine. They also need training and encouragement.
We're living in an emotional age right now, where we like to shout and make a lot of noise. But when all the shouting is over, we sit back and do nothing. God is saying that it is time to be about our Father's business.
I encourage every older woman to find a way to connect with this next generation and declare God's power to them. Let's make sure the rich legacy and teachings of holiness are passed on. Holiness is God's absolute standard.
Are you willing and ready to serve the Lord? It is the Holy Ghost that gives you power for service. The Scripture says we should be filled continuously with the Spirit of God (see Eph. 5:18). Why don't you ask Him to fill you again.
That's what I desire. I'm praying, "Lord, send the wind. Send the wind, Lord!" I don't want to be chaff. I don't want God to send the wind and blow me out. I want to stay in the fanner of righteousness and holiness.
And I'm saying, "Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. Whatever you say, I'm willing to do."
Mother Willie Mae Rivers is the international supervisor for the Church of God in Christ Department of Women.