The 5 W’s of Pentecost…Let them speak to you today!

Who was there?  Scripture tells us in Acts chapters 1 and 2 that the disciples and many other Jews from every nation were gathered together.

untitled (2)What?  The arrival of the promised power from heaven that would empower them to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

When?  Pentecost was 50 days after the Passover.  It was called the Feast of Weeks in the Old Testament. It was 10 days after Jesus’ Ascension into heaven.

Where?  Jesus told them to go and wait for the helper that would come.  They returned to Jerusalem after Jesus’ Ascension just as He commanded.

41c6fe8801d24ef215fba3f9fc1c28b5Acts 2:2-4 describes to us vividly the arrival of the Holy Spirit.  “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”    Peter stood and preached to the gathered crowd and told them that this outpouring from heaven was from God.  He quoted the Old Testament prophet Joel in Acts 2:17 “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”   The arrival of the Holy Spirit was dramatic- tongues of fire- and noisy- as a strong wind and filled with many languages.  It was a surprise arrival yet it had been expected.  Jesus told them to go and wait, so they knew something or someone was coming.  In John 15:15-17, 25-26,  Jesus had promised them the Holy Spirit would come.  “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-the Spirit of truth.   And all this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”   Also in Luke 24:48-49 Jesus told them of the coming power and place,  “You are witnesses of these things.  I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” 

Why was this necessary?  When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, His Holy Spirit came to dwell within me.  This Spirit that arrived on tongues of fire and with a great sound lives within me.  He empowers me to live a godly life and to speak to others about Jesus and His salvation.  1 John 4:4 puts it this way, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is great than the one who is in the world.”      Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. ”     2 Corinthians 1:21-22  “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.  He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”    

How do you answer your own 5 W’s about the Holy Spirit?  Who is the Holy Spirit to you?  What are you allowing God to do with this Holy Spirit that lives within you?  Where are you walking in obedience and listening to His Word?  When are you  stepping out in faith to tell others about Jesus?    Why is the Holy Spirit necessary in your life?  Jesus wanted the disciples, and us too, to use the power the Father sent to do the work of telling others and living for Him.  Will you begin today by allowing God’s Holy Spirit living within you to lead you to live for Him in a mighty way that will bring Him honor and glory?

Praising Him this Pentecost Sunday,

Linda

Are you in the crowd? Why did Jesus come to you?

There is one other post-resurrection appearance I want to think about as we wait for Pentecost.  Paul recounts to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 the appearances between Christ’s purposeful death and resurrection and His ascension back into heaven. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,(Christ died and rose again with purpose foretold in scripture)and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” (Paul is referring to his encounter with Jesus on the Road to Damascus that happened sometime later.)

eyewitnessesHave you ever wondered about the large gathering of 500 that saw Jesus?  What was His purpose?  In each post-resurrection appearance, Jesus purposefully met with those who needed to see Him most- the grieving Mary, the doubting Thomas, the guilt ridden Peter and the unbelieving disciples.  What could have been His reason for appearing to 500?  Perhaps He wanted those who did not know Him as intimately as the disciples to experience His love and power first hand?  Perhaps He wanted to make known the reality that He was alive and they could carry on.  Perhaps He wanted to comfort, ignite, give hope, ….  Seeing Him again, knowing the reality of His death on the cross, knowing He had been buried and was alive for them to see must have been eyeopening, challenging, fearsome, awesome, unbelievable…..  One can only imagine what it must have been like to see Jesus.

Today as you think about this, try to picture yourself as one of the 500.  We have an advantage as we have His indwelling Holy Spirit within us to convict us and bear witness to our faith.  We do not need to see Him to believe.  Jesus addressed this issue in John 20:29 as He spoke to Thomas.  Jesus said to him, “Have you john 20 29 #2believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”   Faith is a blessing from God.   Thank Him today for your ability to believe even though you were not there with the 500. You can know that He loves, cares for you and is with you always.

Linda

Ascension Day- up He goes!

Acts-1-1-11-The-Ascension40 days after the resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven.  His ascension is recorded in Mark, Luke and the book of Acts.  It took place on a mountain top in the vicinity of Bethany according to Luke 24:50-51 “And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.”  Mark also adds in Jesus’ destination after His ascension, Mark 16:19 “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.”   In the  book of Acts, Luke, the author, gives us a more complete picture of this event.  Acts 1:9-11 “And after He said these things, He was caught up as they looked on, and a cloud took Him up out of their sight. 10 While they were looking intently into the sky as He was going, two men in white clothing suddenly stood beside them, 11 who said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This [same] Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will return in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

The disciples who were focused on where Jesus went and  the angels assured them that Jesus will return in the same way He left.   Jesus had lovingly told them that He would send a helper to guide and empower them in His absence.  Acts 1:7-8 “He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”  Jesus wanted His followers to be about telling others of the kingdom and the good news of the salvation and forgiveness available to each one though Jesus.   The promised Holy Spirit would come upon them in just 10 days at Pentecost and then the truth of Christ and His work would revolutionize the world!  

Christs returnAre you anticipating the return of Christ?  Be encouraged with these words from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. 

apologetics-1-peter-3-15-28354Are you telling others about your Savior as you wait?  Be encouraged by Peter’s words: 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,”   Be ready to tell others of your HOPE in Jesus!

Have a blessed Ascension Day, and may our prayer be, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus”.

Linda

Equipped, God’s methods bring the greatest results!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been equipped to do 2 Timothy 3-17His work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God  may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  God has given us the whole of scripture, His divine Word, so that in it and through it we can be equipped for anything He calls us to do for Him.    The author of Hebrews was also aware of this equipping that comes through Jesus.  He closed his letter assuring the readers that God equips so that His will will be accomplished.  Hebrews 13 21Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Knowing that God equips when He calls you to do something for Him gives me great comfort.  We do not need to feel we are capable in ourselves but our reliance needs to be  upon Him, His Word, His powerful indwelling Holy Spirit and His great resources.  God will see that His work and will is accomplished.  Job 42:2 ““I know that you can do all things,  and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”   We can rest in the promise given in Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  We can be certain that God’s work will be done and nothing in heaven or earth can stop it.  We can also be certain that when He calls us to do His work we can do it because He will equip, empower and provide all we need to see it through.

Linda

job 42 2Suggestion:  are you struggling with something you think God is calling you to do, are you doubting if you have the time, energy, knowledge, etc. to do this?   Pray, look into God’s Word and ask Him if this calling is from Him.  If  you feel His answer is yes, then let go and let God equip and transform you so that His will is accomplished. It is a matter of trust and faith.  You will be surprised by the growth and results when God is in charge of the equipping.

Are you sure God is listening?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have access to God in prayer.  The Bible is filled with believers’ prayers to God.  David, Job, Solomon, Daniel and the list goes on and on as they called upon God and were assured that He heard their prayers.  Jesus prayed and was heard by the Father and, he often sought a solitary place to spend time with His Father to gain strength and commune with Him.  Since Jesus died on the cross, believers have an internal connection through the Holy Spirit with Him.  Here are a few scripture for you to meditate upon today as you consider your prayer life and connection to Him.

Ephesians 2:13, 17-18 ”  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”   His Holy Spirit brings us near to Him, thank you Jesus!

ephesains 3 12Ephesian 3:12 “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”  We can seek Him boldly with confidence because of Jesus, thank you Jesus!

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  We can come before Him knowing He will treat us with grace and mercy, thank you Jesus!

Hebrews-7-25Hebrews 7:25 “ Therefore he is able to save completely, those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”  I can know that I am whole in Him and I am humbled by the truth that Jesus prays for me, thank you Jesus!

James 4:8a “Come near to God and he will come near to you. ”  Access to God is made possible by Jesus as His Holy Spirit helps draw us closer to Him, thank you Jesus!

Come-near-to-God-James-4-8-free-printable-thumb-I pray these verses assure you that as a believer you have access to God in prayer, can approach Him with confidence, know that Jesus will intercede for you before the Father and that He desires that we come and draw near to Him.  Pray boldly with confidence, Jesus is with you.

Linda

Suggestion:  pray today with confidence, assurance and hope that God will hear your prayers and draw near to you!  Then, live like you believe it!

 

What’s your fragrance like?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the aroma of Christ about me. Paul wanted the Ephesians, and us too, to think about the effect we have on others when we are around them. You can tell if someone bathes regularly, uses special soap or shampoo or is wearing a fragrance, but you can also smell one who does not bathe regularly, who ate garlic or onions recently or who is wearing an offensive fragrance. Paul says we have the ‘smell’ of Christ. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16a This is a sobering thought that to other believers or those who are open to Christ we the aroma of Christ. This aroma is pleasing to God and reminds them of life and brings knowledge of Christ to them. However, to the unbeliever the aroma of Christ and His presence in our life through His indwelling Holy Spirit smells of death, condemnation and judgement.

Today as we consider our presence in the lives of others, let us ask ourselves, Do I have the aroma of Christ about me? Can others smell His presence in my life? How strong or weak is my fragrance? If you think you are only fragrant enough for God to smell you, spend some time in His Word or in prayer or with other Christians or in worship or listening to Christian music. All of those will strengthen your fragrance towards God and others.

Linda

Suggestion: spend some time today in a fragrance a building activity- in the Word, prayer, worship, fellowship or listening to Christian music. Remember your presence speaks to others.

Rescued and Redeemed for Eternity Thank you Jesus!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been rescued from Satan’s domain and transferred into the kingdom of Christ.  These truths are stated by Paul in his letter to the Colossians.  He opens the letter with thanksgiving and prayer for the state that all believers find themselves in because of Christ.  Colossians 1:13 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.”  Our state of being before knowing Christ is one of eternal darkness and sin.  Romans 3:23 tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Our sin separates us from God and Jesus tell us that He is the light in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Without Jesus we are dead in our sins and trapped in darkness.   Following Him bring us into the light, truth and knowledge of God.  Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, a man who was seeking to know if Jesus was the Messiah.  In John 3:5 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”  Jesus went on to explain we have 2 births.  The first is our physical birth given by our mothers and then our spiritual birth that is given by God’s Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Savior.  In John 3:16 Jesus tells Nicodemus why God sent him, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Eternal life in His kingdom is ours when we believe in Jesus.  He further explains the difference between His light and darkness of the world.   John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”   Jesus wanted Nicodemus and you and me, to know and understand that being apart from Him is darkness, sin and condemnation.  With Jesus there is light, love, hope and eternal life.  He has indeed rescued us from the domain of darkness ruled over by Satan and brought us into His light and His kingdom to be with Him forever.  His death on the cross and resurrection made this possible.  Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice on my behalf to rescue me from the fate of death and condemnation.

Linda

Suggestion:  Spend some time in prayer thanking Jesus for your salvation and eternal home with Him.  Remember in prayer someone you know who does not know Jesus and pray that they will come to know Him.We can be assured that Jesus wants everyone to know and come to Him.  2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow  in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Established, Anointed and Sealed- Thank you Jesus!

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been established, anointed and sealed by God the Holy Spirit.   I put these all together as they are all stated in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22. “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”   First, Paul says we are established by God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1-21  Other words used for established are stand firm in or to be confirmed in Christ.  The Holy Spirit within us enables us to join with Christ and stand with Him in faith.   Second Paul says,  we are anointed by God’s Holy Spirit.  This anointing empowers us with His Spirit and gives us gifts to work for Him. (Gal 5:22-23, “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” In Old Testament times the Holy Spirit of God would come upon people to do certain tasks for a certain amount of time.  But since Jesus died and rose from the dead, believers now have His indwelling Spirit with us 24/7.  This indwelling starts the moment we accept Jesus as our Savior!  Believers are  anointed by God to live for Him and do His good work.   Lastly, Paul reminds us we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and His Spirit living 
2 Corinthians 1-22within us is a guarantee to our hearts that we are saved by Him and have an eternal future with Him.  When I do canning, I use heat to seal my jars to keep out polluting air and germs.  It keeps the contents fresh and usable for future time.  Likewise, the Holy Spirit is our protection from the sin-filled world around us and keeps us usable for His work now and into the future.  

Feel the joy today of being establish, anointed and sealed by God the Holy Spirit.

Linda

Thank-You-JesusSuggestion:  Remember a time when God helped you to stand firm for Him.  Remember your own coming to faith in Jesus and share it with someone if you can.  Thank Jesus that His Holy Spirit confirms you each and every day as belonging to Him!

Double promises today- access and belonging! BE Encouraged!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have access to God and belong to His household.  There are 2 powerful verses in Ephesians that define our place with God and our access to Him.  Ephesians 2:18-19  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,”  Because of him (Jesus) we have access to God through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Because of His death and resurrection we are no longer isolated by our sin but belong to God through our faith in Jesus.  God sees us as His sons and daughters and citizens of heaven awaiting a time when we will live eternally with Him.  

We have access to God through Jesus’ work on the cross and indwelling Holy Spirit.   Ephesians 3:12 “in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”    Hebrews 7:25  “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost  those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”    1 John 4:13 “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us his Spirit.”  What a privileged position we hold.  Christ sent His Holy Spirit to live within us and give us access to Him 24/7.  We can come before Him anytime be it day or night.  We know that He will listen and encourage us as we belong to Him.  

passportWe are fellow citizens in heaven and members of His household.  If we are members of His household, then He is our Father.   “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,Father.”  Galatians 4:6                                                   “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,”  Philippians 3:20    Jesus went to prepare our heavenly home.  It is where we belong as citizens of heaven, saints and members of His household!

Since we live in the hear and now, I often forget that I already am a citizen of heaven and that in the future my home will be there with God.  As for now, I can revel in the fact that I can stay in constant communication with Jesus through His indwelling Holy Spirit and that He is interceding for me there in heaven.   Romans 8:26-27 confirms this, In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”    

What dynamic promises- access to our Lord and Savior and belonging to Him.  Thank you Jesus!

Linda

Suggestion:  Spend some time interceding with God on behalf of someone else.  Exercise you privilege of prayer and thank Him that you belong to Him forever!

 

 

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True Freedom, only found in Christ

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have freedom in Christ.  What kind of freedom does Christ give?  First and foremost,  we have freedom from the romans-82bondage and penalty of sin.  “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”  Romans 8:1-2 We do not have to worry about paying the penalty for our sins as Christ paid with His life to redeem us.  We simply need a repentant, thankful, believing heart committed to Jesus.

Another freedom we have in Christ is we will not suffer eternal death but live eternally with Him.  the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.”  Romans 8:21  and John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  Heaven will be a place where there will be no more tears, no more death, and we will not suffer the decay caused by sin and death.”

The last freedom I want to mention is found in 2 Corinthians 3:17. “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”   The indwelling Holy Spirit brings within us freedom that is from the Lord.  He unleashes our full potential and puts us on a course to do great things for Him.  I love the benediction the author of Hebrews gives in Hebrews 13:21 when he reminds us that God is equipping us to do good works for His glory and our good.   “may he equip you with all you need
    for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.

freedom in christIn Christ we are free from sin’s penalty, free to live eternally with Him and free to do His work.  May you feel His freedom today!

Linda

Suggestion: Choose something to do today for the Lord.  As you do this task, thank God for the freedom to choose to do this in His power and for the ability to perform this task.  He has equipped you so that you can exercise your freedom to choose to work for Him  bringing Him glory and yourself contentment.