What does the Holy Spirit do?

Published 6:00 pm Friday, March 22, 2019

A Tornado: What is it?! According to the National Weather Service, a tornado is “a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground.”

Tornadoes can completely destroy a well-made structure, uproot trees, and hurl objects through the air like deadly missiles, while leaving the house next door untouched. According to the people in Alabama and Southwest Georgia, and specifically in Cairo, Georgia, near where I live, a tornado is the “devil on a pogo stick!” About 1,200 tornadoes hit America every year.

The peak “tornado season” for the Southern Plains extends from May into early June. It is earlier near the Gulf Coast and later, June and July, in the northern plains and upper Midwest. But, remember, tornadoes can happen at any time of year; they can’t read calendars. Tornadoes can also drop down at any time of the day or night, but are most active between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

The most common and practical way to measure the strength of a tornado is to look at the damage it causes. From the damage, the tornado experts can estimate wind speeds. An “Enhanced Fujita Scale” was implemented by the National Weather Service in 2007 to rate tornadoes in a more consistent and accurate manner. The tornado that came through our area was reportedly an EF2. The National Weather Service says, “The EF-Scale takes into account more variables than the original Fujita Scale (F-Scale) when assigning a wind speed rating to a tornado, incorporating 28 damage indicators such as building type, structures and trees. For each damage indicator, there are 8 degrees of damage ranging from the beginnings of visible damage to complete destruction of the damage indicator.” As we drove around Cairo, we saw EF1 damage, and we saw EF8 damage!

This is the twelfth week in our “Absolute Basics of the Christian Faith” asking, “What does the Holy Spirit do?” And the answer is, “The Spirit leads us to repentance, gives us new life, and empowers us to follow Jesus.” From Titus 3: “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

The Holy Spirit empowers us from the beginnings of “remorse” all the way through our Christian growth toward “holiness” or “sanctification.” And the Holy Spirit’s presence is the difference between talking (with good intentions) and praying (with power!).