Pentecost 2020 – Repost: Who is the Holy Spirit? Part One.

After being filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Peter preached the first sermon of the newly born church. He began by quoting the prophet:
But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
And I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
the sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
    before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:16-21 ESV).
Our Father in heaven has been pouring out his Holy Spirit from that first day of Pentecost until now; and these are those last days spoken of by the prophets.
Who is this third member of the Trinity, comprised of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? What is his mission? What can we expect him to do in these last days? How does he work within us and through us? When do we receive him, and how can we receive more of his sanctifying power?
As we approach Pentecost 2020 and beyond, we can increasingly expect to see the evidence of God’s hand moving on the earth and among his people – and the activity of the Holy Spirit operating through his Church, the Body of Christ.
If you would like to know more about the Holy Spirit and how he works within us as believers, please join us in reviewing our eight-part series, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” from May 2019, re-posted weekly.
Here is the link to Part One: 


Happy Easter! He is Risen!

This Easter Sunday we want to remember the families and friends of all of those who have lost loved ones, especially over the past year, and all of us, like myself, who are celebrating Christ alone this Easter.
The message of hope on this Resurrection Sunday is that because Jesus came, and lived, and died, and lived again, our hope is in him, and whosoever believes in him will never die but have eternal life.
As Jesus hung on the cross between two thieves, one of them mocked him saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” While the other said, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? ...but this man has done nothing wrong. And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’” From the cross Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:39-43 ESV).
Christ’s Blood poured out through Jesus’ suffering and death are the proof of our salvation. His Resurrection is the proof of the promise that God has given us of eternal life (John 3:16).

Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 KJV).
God has not left us alone and he has not left us as orphans. He sent his Holy Spirit to be with us forever, and as the surety of our secure place with him in eternity.
As we celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection today, even if we are unable to hug and kiss and hold all of our loved ones, please remember that because our hope is in Christ alone, we are never truly alone. And we will see those who have gone before us again one day in Paradise, with Jesus. “Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18 KJV).
Beloved Friend, if you have not yet received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and you are feeling confused and alone, please pray this prayer with me now, to receive Christ into your heart, and I promise you, he will send his Holy Spirit to abide with you forever as your Guide and Comforter.
Dear God, I believe with all my heart that Jesus died on the cross for my sake, and that He has risen from the dead for my deliverance. Lord, I receive your Word, and I repent of my sins.  I receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. I receive Your complete forgiveness and my new birth into Your kingdom. I receive Your Holy Spirit to guide me and teach me, and I make You the Lord of my life. I receive salvation in the holy name of Jesus, today and forever.
If you prayed this prayer from your heart today, then you have been cleansed of all your sins and born again into new life through Jesus Christ, and we are so happy for you! We are praying for you, we love you, and God bless you, in Jesus' name.
All of us at Speak Comfort wish you and your families a very Happy Easter.
If you have a moment, please enjoy this article: “MUST SEE 'In Christ Alone': Virtual Choir of 48 Singers, Produced by ICU COVID-19 Nurse, Gives 'Gospel in a Nutshell'”
Scroll to the bottom and click the photo to hear their moving rendition of “In Christ Alone.”Link to Article

Good Friday: John 3:16

I have a dear friend, Jedidiah, whose name means Beloved of God, who sits a vigil to keep awake and pray during the time that Jesus was in the tomb. She waits with great sorrow for all that we caused him to suffer on the cross, and she sits with wonderful anticipation for all that we will continue to receive through his resurrection.
Under what we used to call normal circumstances, many of us would be busy on Good Friday organizing egg hunts and Easter baskets, cooking for celebrations with our families, and looking forward to wearing colorful Spring outfits to church services where we are likely to see friends who haven’t been in attendance for a while, but made a special effort to come and worship at Easter time.
But this year, everything is different.
God has allowed us to be taken out of the hustle and bustle of holiday planning and is giving us the opportunity to look at the world and each other from a new perspective. This Good Friday, we are all keeping vigil.
On the very first Passover, God commanded all the people of Israel to remain in their homes, while the final plague that he intended to send into Egypt passed over them:
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb.  Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.”
At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. It was a night of watching by the Lord, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord by all the people of Israel throughout their generations. (Exodus 12:21-22, 41-42 ESV).
While they were waiting, God had a plan, and he was working.

While Christ was in the tomb, his closest disciples had gathered in the same Upper Room where, just two evenings before, they had celebrated the Passover Supper with Jesus. On that Good Friday between the Last Supper and the Sabbath, their world had fallen apart. They were together, but they were agonized, confused, and terrified. They did not realize that the Blood of the Lamb of God had been poured out for them, so that they never had to be afraid again.
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?... in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31, 37-39).
While they were waiting, God had a plan, and he was working.

Forty days later, the Risen Christ gave his disciples specific instructions:
He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. (Acts 1:3-5, 8-9)
While they were waiting, God had a plan, and he was working.
After ten days had passed, 120 of Jesus’ disciples were watching and praying in the Upper Room when something unimaginable happened:
“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).
While they were waiting, God had a plan, and he was working.

That same morning, Peter – filled with the Holy Spirit - stood outside the Upper Room in Jerusalem and preached the Church’s first sermon:
And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.’… So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls” (Acts 1:38-39, 41).
While they were waiting, God had a plan, and he was working.
Beloved Friends, during this time of waiting, God has a plan, and he is working.
This is his plan: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
And this is how he is working: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17).
Everything that we see happening in the world is for the furtherance of his plan.

While we are in this time of waiting, God is preparing us to serve as a part of his plan. This is our Upper Room experience, and God’s plan is always working behind the scenes.
Shortly after Peter’s sermon at Pentecost, Luke witnesses in Acts 2:46-47 that, “… day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” The time of waiting will not last forever. God intends for his people to serve as joyful witnesses to his grace and goodness, and we cannot do that if we are always in the Upper Room.
But while we have this precious time to be set apart, let us come together in the Spirit and seek the Lord and pray that God will prepare us to meet whatever challenges lie ahead with joy and strength, in Jesus’ name.

“…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Like my friend, Jedidiah, we are all Beloved of God. And like her, let’s all sit vigil, watching and praying, in anticipation of the unimaginable miracles God has planned for us as we celebrate his resurrection, alone but most definitely together in Christ Jesus.
“None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’” (1 Corinthians 2:8-9).


All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation.

Comfort for Today: Our Lifeguard Walks on Water!

When I was younger, my husband and I enjoyed wilderness backpacking and camping. One summer we hiked the west coast of Vancouver Island, and while we were walking a deeply forested path, suddenly the view unfolded and we found ourselves on a cliffside high above the Pacific Ocean. Jutting out from the cliff was a narrow spit of land that led to a spire of rock rising hundreds of feet above a small bay where a herd of seals played in the sparkling water and sunned themselves on the rocks.
As I stood there drinking in the glorious view, my husband said, “Let’s go out there!” “Out where?” I said, wondering if he wanted to somehow climb down the side of the cliff. “To the top of that spire,” he replied. “NO WAY.” I said. “Yes, you can do it!” he said. “The path is three feet wide. There’s plenty of room and nothing to be afraid of. You can walk anywhere with three feet of room!” Somehow, that made sense to me, and I thought, “OK, sure. I can do this. I’ve got three feet of solid ground to walk on and it will be fun!”
Beloved Friends, when you picture a path consisting of three feet of solid rock in your minds, you, too, may think, “Oh sure! I can walk across that!” But let me tell you the truth – when you’re in the middle of a spit of rock a thousand feet in the air that is about ten yards long and three feet wide, you feel very differently about the entire operation! Somehow three feet wide becomes three inches wide, and it feels like walking on a tightrope! The wind was blowing, the waves were crashing, the seals were barking, and I was freaking out!

Of course, my husband dashed across like he’d been brought up by the Flying Wallendas and was cheering me on from the plateau about five yards ahead of me. It looked like he was standing in empty space.
Once I got to the top of the rocky spire, which was perfectly flat and round, about the size of the top of a dining table that could seat maybe six people, I stood there weak-kneed with my teeth chattering in fear, gazing out to sea and wondering if it would be painful when I fainted and plunged headlong into the Pacific.
I heard my husband’s voice say, “Sit down.” Again, I said, “NO WAY.” (I was afraid to move even one inch in any direction.) He said, “Sit down. There’s plenty of room and once you sit, you won’t be afraid.” I figured, “What the heck, I’ve come this far. I might as well be comfortable because I am not walking back over that tightrope. I’m gonna be here ‘til the park rangers come and rescue me.”
I sat down.
And, miracle of miracles, my whole body relaxed, I took a long deep breath, and realized that I was immersed in a view that was glorious beyond imagining. Friends, it was incredible! The sky was so blue it colored the wind. The ocean sparkled like a field of diamonds in the sun, the seals were frisking and frolicking below us – and, I am not kidding – grey whales were migrating up the coast, while bald eagles soared over our heads. It was one of the most spectacular afternoons of my life. Literally a taste of what we can expect in heaven.
And, maybe most wonderful of all, we had brought lunch. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

We spent the afternoon on that tiny tabletop of rock over the vast sea - suspended in the air, glorifying God. And, another miracle, when it was time to walk back to the cliffside, I wasn’t afraid at all! We just walked on back to the forest, in about three minutes, tops. Seriously, we were practically skipping! Something about all that fresh air, exercise, good food and magnificent beauty wiped away every fear and soothed my weary soul.
This story reminds me of the time that Peter walked on the water. You remember, in Matthew 14, when very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus, who had stayed behind on a mountain alone to pray, saw his disciples on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee when a storm came up – and he walked across the water to rescue them? The first thing he said to them as he drew closer over the crashing waves was, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (v. 27). Peter, who had no problem taking risks while Jesus was around, said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come out on the water” (v. 28). Jesus said, “Come.” And Peter leaped out of the boat.
He had good success for a few steps, until he took his eyes off Jesus, and got distracted by the wind and the waves. The scripture says that Peter became afraid and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me” (v. 30).
Of course, Jesus was standing right there on the water, and he reached out his hand and rescued Peter, who had never been alone and was never in any danger. (Notice that the scripture says that Peter began to sink. Not that he obeyed the laws of physics and sank like a rock. Nope. He began to sink. Was he maybe waist deep when Jesus grabbed him? Can you imagine the look on his face? I’ll bet he was feeling pretty sheep-ish!)

Then Peter and Jesus walked across the water and back to the boat. “And when they got to the boat, the wind ceased” (v. 32).
So here, Beloved Friends, is the point. Three feet of solid rock is plenty of ground to walk on, even if you’re a thousand feet in the air. And, with Jesus by our side, we can accomplish the impossible - like walking on water!
Then why, when challenges come, are we so afraid?
If you took a yardstick and drew a path on the ground that was three feet wide, you would be absolutely confident that you could hop, skip, jump, run or cartwheel over it. But suspend it in the air over the ocean, and NO WAY. Walking hand-in-hand with Jesus on a normal day? It’s a blessing and a pleasure! Walking next to him on a stormy sea? Not so much, and we lose heart and begin to sink.
You see, Beloveds, it isn’t the path we are on, but the circumstances surrounding us and where we place our focus that distract us and makes us afraid. While I was walking on the shady path in the woods, fear never entered my mind. Surround that same path with empty space instead of solid earth and it became very scary. Would Peter have spent more time above water if the sea had been calm? Maybe, but the whole reason Jesus walked on the water in the first place was because he saw his disciples struggling in the very storm that rattled Peter. Peter never would have walked on the water at all if there had been no storm; and I wouldn’t have spent an unforgettable afternoon hovering over the ocean if I hadn’t been willing to walk through thin air.

Today our world is engulfed in a storm of biblical proportions. And even though the situation is dire, God has not changed one bit. He is still on the Throne and he is still in control. Remember his first words to his disciples as he approached them were, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (v. 27).
So, Beloveds, please take heart. Jesus is with us. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, and he will never leave us nor forsake us. Don’t be afraid. Everything will continue to happen according to his perfect plan. We can trust him, and if we get distracted and find ourselves beginning to sink, Jesus is standing right by our side, to lift us up above the waves.
Jesus Calms a Storm
 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.  And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.  And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.”  And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
(Matthew 8:23-27 ESV)




All scriptures are quoted from the English Standard Version translation.