Let it be Good News around your Table

This week’s Stream of Water from the Word is from 1 Corinthians 2:1-4 and these verses have a timely message for us. In this passage, Paul is reminding the Corinthians that he did not come to them with flowery words and great speeches, but with God’s truth, love and the gospel of Christ. “When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters,  I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Paul’s words are a reminder that God is the one who speaks through us when we talk about Jesus. God’s message of redemption for the world and the solution to our sin problem is Jesus. Just like Paul, we need to rely upon the Holy Spirit to give us the right words when He presents us with opportunities to witness about Jesus. Paul spoke plainly and boldly so as to tell others about His amazing Savior. What about you? Are you afraid to speak about Jesus for fear of rejection, misunderstanding, or apathy? The truth of Acts 1:8 is true today just as it was in Paul’s day. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” He has appointed us as His witnesses and will give us words and opportunities to tell about Him. How can we tell others if we do not speak of Him? Paul also knew the truth of Romans 10:17 and was putting his faith into action. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

May you speak boldly of your Savior, Jesus Christ, as you gather around your table this Thanksgiving. Be it virtual or in person our words of witness need to be heard so others will know our Christ. Let your words be given with gentleness as you seek to witness for Him.

Linda

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

A Transformed Heart is filled with commitment

Commitment seems to be something that scares people in our day and age.  They seem afraid to step out and say they will be there at a certain time, place or with you in a project.  Are there so many choices in our lives that people cannot decide?  Have they had experiences where they felt trapped by agreements they’ve made?  Whatever the root of their fears, to love and serve Jesus we have to go beyond them, step above or over them and persevere.   1 Peter 3:15 appears in a portion of scripture where Peter is encouraging believers to persevere in their faith and not to fear doing good.  He tells believers to hold fast to their faith in Christ regardless of where they find themselves.  “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”    In addition to honoring Christ as Lord, we need to be able and willing to tell others about what Christ has done for us.  The hope we have in living, the hope we have in eternity, the hope we have in being forgiven and cleansed, and the hope we have in His always being with us.  We need to be prepared to tell others about Jesus.  Being committed to Jesus with your heart demands that we are ready to speak about Him.  This is not to be an argumentative discourse but words that speak of the Hope we have in Jesus with gentleness and respect that come from a heart of love and commitment to Jesus.

Reasons for Our Hope_0I love this verse in 1 Peter because it holds me accountable and tells me where my commitment needs to be.  God wants us committed to Him, loving and acting in our world with words of Hope for unbelievers and words of encouragement in that Hope for fellow believers.   Who will you tell today about the HOPE you have in Jesus?

May the Lord bring people to cross your path today that are in need of those words of hope and encouragement.

Linda

Resolve to speak of your Hope

In this next portion of Psalm 119, verses 41-48, the psalmist is struggling with resolve.  He is troubled by those that question his faith and he wants to have an answer for them.  He wants to be faithful to God’s Word.  Look at the number of I will’s he states.  He really wants to use God’s Word and live it!

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41 May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,
    your salvation, according to your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
    for I trust in your word.
43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
    for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law,
    for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom,
    for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
    and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands
    because I love them.
48 I reach out for your commands, which I love,
    that I may meditate on your decrees.

psalm 119 42In verses 41 and 42 the psalmist is asking God for his help so he can reply to those who would taunt him for or about his faith.  He asked God to give him an answer from His Word to reply to his tormentors.   Peter also tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”  We are to always be prepared to talk about Jesus and the hope we have in HimDoes that describe your attitude towards telling others about Jesus, and what He has done for you?  We are not to brag or boast over our privileged position as a child of God but to convey our love for others, our concern about their future and our belief that life with Jesus frees us from sin and all the baggage this world heaps upon us.  Jesus 1 peter 3 15has and is the answer to the world’s problem of sin as He alone is the redeemer.

Just like the psalmist, you can ask God to give you the words to say in reply to naysayers.  We need to stand firm and boldly speak of Jesus.  He will give you the words, just as He has promised.  Keep studying and learning about God and He will reveal more and more about Himself.  Remember 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  God’s Word equips us for every good work and gives us replies to those who would question our faith.

It is a blessing and a comfort to be prepared.

Linda