A debut Christian guide explores the redemptive power of the Holy Spirit.
John the Baptist in the Gospel of Matthew warns his followers not to mistake him for the one who’s coming. John baptizes people with water, but the Messiah will use the Holy Spirit and fire. In her slim handbook, Brizendine concentrates on this prediction as a promise and a way for her fellow fundamentalist Christians to conduct their own faith journeys. She urges them to take the risk of accepting the Holy Spirit into their own lives, even if that prospect frightens them. The “fiery furnace” of the Holy Spirit is their friend, she writes: “We should not fear it but embrace it.” In this engaging manual, she tells many stories from her own walk of faith and from the odyssey of a friend and mentor, who likewise had some dramatic personal encounters with the Holy Spirit. Brizendine does a remarkably smooth job of integrating the ordinary world into these tales of spiritual exultation. The sense that spiritual experiences are somehow walled off from everyday life (a common split vision in faith memoirs of this kind) is never present in these pages. Rather, this is a working-world, real-time urging on the author’s part for her readers to feel the “unquenchable, eternal, life-preserving” fire of the Holy Spirit in their own lives. Christians are in a transition period, she assures her audience, between the “law to grace” initiated by Jesus and the arrival of the kingdom of heaven. In her view, the fire of the Holy Spirit is provided as a source of strength for the faithful. In clear and enthusiastic prose, she often encourages her readers to embrace the full force of their religious beliefs. “You are a child of God,” she writes. “He has placed a powerful anointing on you and in you, and he wants to release it through you.”
An appealingly urgent view of the way Christians can sanctify their relationship with God.