Pentecost 2020 – The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

“’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 2:17-21).
When the Holy Spirit is being poured out from heaven, he does not enter quietly, he is accompanied by signs and wonders. When God poured out his Spirit on that first day of Pentecost, “…suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where [the 120 disciples] 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 2:2-4).
On the night of his crucifixion Jesus spoke to his disciples about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, saying “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16: 7-11).

These are the three convictions that are being manifested through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh in these last days. On the first day of the church age, the Holy Spirit came to breathe life into and empower the newborn Church. In these last days of the church age, the Holy Spirit is being poured out to convict the world of sin, the Church of righteousness, and the enemy of judgment.
The Greek verb for “to convict” is elegcho, which can mean to accuse or rebuke, but also means to tell or to expose. Before a behavior can be addressed, it must be exposed. One of the names of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. As Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13). The presence of the Holy Spirit exposes the truth of what has been hiding behind the scenes.
Jesus promised that he would send his Spirit to demonstrate the three convictions. First, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of the sin of unbelief – the sin from which all other sins arise. Next, he convicts the Church of righteousness – he reminds us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7), and that all of our righteousness comes through our faith in Christ by the grace of God (Romans 3:19-27). Finally, he convicts the enemy of judgment, because Satan, the obsolete, defeated prince of this world and all his demons are judged guilty in the presence of God (John 16:11).

The signs and wonders that were prophesied to accompany the outpouring of the Spirit by the prophet Joel in the Old Testament (Joel 2:28-32), and by the apostle Peter in the New Testament (Acts 2:16-21), are the evidence of the three convictions of the Holy Spirit that Jesus foretold would accompany the outpouring of the Spirit in the last days.
Therefore what we are witnessing playing itself out in the world at this time is not random or willy-nilly, but is in fact the evidence of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh – the sinful and the righteous – so that their works may be exposed.
As the works of the enemy become darker, the Church is meant to shine brighter and brighter to expel that darkness. Isaiah 59:19 says, “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (KJV). The standard that the Spirit lifts up against the enemy is the righteousness of God in Christ as demonstrated through his Church.
This is the time for God’s people to shine the light of Christ into the world, and not be afraid. As Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

God is not pouring out his Holy Spirit on all flesh because he wants to persecute people. He is pouring out his Spirit in order that the works of the enemy will be exposed, and the light of Christ will shine into that darkness and overcome it.
In the outpouring of the Holy Spirit there is great transforming power. On the first Pentecost of the church age, “…those who received his word were baptized, and there were added [to the church] that day about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). Peter and the prophet Joel both promised that at the outpouring of the Spirit, “…it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” (Acts 2:21).
Romans 10:14 asks “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
But what kind of preaching are we to present to the world? Should we run out to the front lines of every crisis and hit people over the heads with our Bibles? By no means! And yet, we must not remain silent. As Jeanette has been asking in her series, “What Can the Righteous Do?”
Revelation 12:11 states that we overcome the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:2 that it was the believers themselves who were his “letter of recommendation,” written in his heart and open to be read by everyone. And as Jesus instructed his disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Beloved Friends, it is up to us as the Church and the Body of Christ on earth to present ourselves to the world as Christ’s letter of recommendation. To be his ambassadors, so that his will is done on earth as it is in heaven as we demonstrate the workings of his kingdom. As Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus:
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:1-10).

Beloved, if you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you have been prepared by his Holy Spirit to carry out the good works that God designed for you from before the beginning of the world. And if you are alive on the earth right now, then this is your time to walk in them and to make plain your testimony as an overcomer in the name of Jesus by showing faith and love, hope and compassion to all people, whether they be red, yellow, black, white, old, young, man or woman, treating every person equally in Jesus' name.
As Mordecai the Jew said to his niece Esther the Queen of Persia, “…who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b).
For more information on how the Holy Spirit is poured out at Pentecost, continue with parts five and six of our series, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” here:
Who is the Holy Spirit - Part Five: Pentecost the Breath of Life
Who is the Holy Spirit - Part Six:  Pentecost the Holy Spirit and Fire

 

All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation, unless otherwise noted.

What Can The Righteous Do? Part 3

Yahweh’s Revelation To Elijah

Then He said, "Go out and stand

on the mountain before the Lord."

And behold, the Lord passed by,

and a great and strong wind

tore into the mountains

and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord,

but the Lord was not in the wind;

and after the wind an earthquake,

but the Lord was not in the earthquake;

and after the earthquake a fire,

but the Lord was not in the fire;

and after the fire a still small voice.

So it was when Elijah heard it,

that he wrapped his face in his mantle

and went out and stood

in the entrance of the cave.

Suddenly a voice came to him, and said,

"What are you doing here, Elijah?"

And he said,

"I have been very zealous

for the Lord God of hosts;

because the children of Israel

have forsaken Your covenant,

torn down Your altars,

and killed Your prophets with the sword.

I alone am left;

and they seek to take my life."

~1 Kings 19:11-14

Although they are now with Yeshua, I have fond memories of visiting my grandparents through the years. The home of my fathers parents was mostly quiet with the exception of a small monster of a chihuahua named, Pipsqueak. She was old and mostly blind until one came too close and she was quite an obstacle to face for small children as my cousin and I cautiously navigated the house. Eventually I did overcome the fear as I grew bigger and wiser and though I never gained her affection, I was actually sad when Pipsqueak departed this world. Her bark was worse than her bite.

As I grew up I noticed a plaque on the wall of my grandparents home which said, "Oh God, Your sea is so great and my boat is so small." It caught my attention every time I visited and I knew it was true as the trials and fears of life grew with me. I was inspired with wonder and awe at just, "Who was God?".

Eventually I came to realize that there was so much more to Him than a book with a set of rules to follow like chores. He actually knows who I am. He made me for the purpose of being victorious in this crazy messed up world, to do my part in His incredible plan to overcome evil in the world. And on top of that, He would be with me even when stuff gets scary. This is the offer to each and every soul that He created. Why would anyone turn that down?

The Challenge

Elijah, a great prophet of Yahweh (God), challenged the false yet powerful religious system of the day and had a great victory. Queen Jezabel and her minions were so angry that they wanted to kill Elijah, and so he fled in fear. The Lord strengthened him with a snack and a nap and then encouraged him with His still small voice, "Elijah, what are you doing here?" Yahweh assured him that he was not the only one of His children left in the world and that He still had something important for Elijah to do, which he did. (1 Kings 19) 

He calms our fears and helps us pull through the most trying of circumstances.

Shema - Hear and Obey

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-6  This is the first part of what is called in Hebrew, the "Shema"(schmah), which means, not only to hear, but also to obey.

Instruction

How can we know this Yahweh? He gave us His Word, the Bible, which tells His beautiful and unique story from the beginning of time. And when we accept His invitation for salvation through His One and only Son, Yeshua/Jesus, we are given the precious gift of the Ruach Ha Kodesh/Holy Spirit to teach us and to guide us in His perfect will.

Certainly we can glean from pastors, teachers, Godly friends, books and other resources, but our primary source of instruction should come from our personal study in the Word and listening to His still small (occasionally audible) voice which comes through the Ruach. The life examples set forth throughout scripture were people just like us who sometimes failed, but persevered in faith and in truth.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. ~John 14:26

Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still. Teach a righteous man and he will increase in learning. The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One (Yeshua) is understanding. For through Me your days will be many and years will be added to your life. ~Proverbs 9:9-11

Make every effort (KJV says, "study") to present yourself before God as tried and true, as an unashamed worker cutting a straight path with the Word of truth. ~2 Timothy 2:15

As for you, the anointing (the Ruach) which you received from Him abides in you, and you and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as Hos anointing teaches you about all things, and is true (to the Word) and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. ~1 John 2:27

Obedience

After the time of Israel's Babylonian captivity, many of the Jews did not return to the land of Israel. A Jewish girl became queen in the land of Susa. Her people, the Jews, were hated and in danger of annihilation, so her uncle Mordecai instructed her to intercede to the king on behalf of her people. The Jews were God's people. They were raised and taught to live righteously and they had learned that their disobedience to righteousness had gotten them into the trouble of captivity in the first place.

Esther did not have to question what the right thing to do was, she already knew. She also knew that her entrance to the king's court without being summoned could cause her to be put immediately to death. Fasting and prayer were in order and even though Yahweh is not mentioned in this thrilling megillah (book of Esther), His presence is very much implied.

And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain cmpletely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" ~Esther 4:13-14

Esther used wisdom, discernment and knowledge of Yahweh to be obedient for this righteous cause and her life along with those of her people were spared. Both Elijah as well as Esther had to overcome fear in faith in order to be obedient.

Your ears will hear a word behind you (the Ruach), "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left. ~Isaiah 30:21

I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. ~Ezekiel 36:27 

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. ~Yeshua, John 14:15

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

Part Four of our series, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” gives us insight into Jesus’ last words to his disciples before he was carried up into heaven. He instructed them: “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49 ESV).
“The promise that they were waiting to receive was the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5).
But before he could send his Spirit, Jesus had to return to the Father:
“He told them, ‘You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.’
 These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, ‘You Galileans! —why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left’” (Acts 1:7-11 MSG).

After they recovered from the surprise of witnessing Jesus’ ascension into heaven, Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the zealot and Judas the son of James – along with Jesus’ mother, brothers and other disciples – men and women - totaling 120 persons, went to Jerusalem, returning to the upper room where Jesus had eaten the Last Supper with the twelve apostles; and “…all these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together…” (Acts 1:12-14 ESV), for ten days.
This timing is very important….”
Click here: Who is the Holy Spirit? – Part Four: The Ascension and the Promise.

What Can The Righteous Do? Part 2

Psalm 63 – My Soul Thirsts For You

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

O God, You Are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory.

Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You.

So I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips,

when I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the watches of the night;

for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.

My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
 
But those who seek to destroy my life shall go into the depths of the earth;

they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals.

But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by Him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

 

As times continue to be uncertain and it seems that people are becoming more divided, young versus old, left versus right, believer versus non believer, etc., we must keep in mind that those who oppose and persecute followers of Yeshua are simply deceived and controlled by sin and spiritual blindness. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ~1 Corinthians 6:11

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down of arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God... ~2 Corinthians 10:3-5 

Praise and prayer are the most powerful weapons there are for battling in the heavenlies. Praising Yahweh, and praying for loved ones as well as for our enemies (against their actions, but for their salvation) is what we are called to do. 

Praise 

Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway. ~unknown  I could not find who actually said this, but it really is true. God covets our praise, and isn't it true that we ourselves are more willing to listen and be generous to those who encourage us with kind words and are thankful for us? Praise opens doors. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. ~Psalm 150:6  and ....give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ for you. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, (as they were in prison) and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. ~Acts 16:25-26

Prayer

Books and books and books have been written, and sermon after sermon after sermon have been preached on prayer, so I will keep it simple here. God knows our heart, but He wants to hear from us anyway. We are His children, so let us approach our Abba with such wonder and amazement as a small child approaches a parent. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. ~Psalm 145:18  

Then you will call on Me, and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you will search for Me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:12-13

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 18:1-4

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. ~1 John 5:14

...they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. ~Isaiah 40:31 

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays. ~Soren Kierkegaard 

Any concern too small to be made into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden. ~Corrie Ten Boom

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

Part Three of our series explains how the presence of the Holy Spirit provides us with the anointing and the power to live, work, and witness:
“Through the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in us, we are established in Christ, anointed for ministry, and sealed with the guarantee of our legal standing as children of God and co-inheritors with Jesus.
Therefore that same anointing that was demonstrated by Jesus is extended to us through his Holy Spirit, and we also are called to declare the good news of liberty to all those who are oppressed, herald the recovery of sight to the blind and to proclaim the wonderful grace of God’s favor.”
Here is the link to the article: Who is the Holy Spirit? – Part Three: The Oil of Anointing.

What Can The Righteous Do? Part 1

Psalm 11 – Faith In The Lord’s Righteousness

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

 

In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, "Flee as a bird to your mountain"?

For look! The wicked bend their bow, They make ready their arrow on the string, That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart.

If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?

Wow! Are the foundations being destroyed right under our feet? As times grow increasingly chaotic, it is so important to stay close to the Savior. We desire healing, revival, restoration and defeat of the enemy who seeks to destroy us, and we may very well see some of these things happen. So what can we do? In this three part series we will cover some of these elements which include faith, repentance, praise, prayer, instruction and obedience. 

Faith  

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen. For by it the elders received commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the Word of God, so that what is seen did not come from anything visible. ~Hebrews 11:1-3

The Lord is in His holy temple, The Lord's throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.

The Lord tests the righteous, But the wicked and the wicked one who loves violence His soul hates.

Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.

 

For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.

Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Gideon, David and many others through the centuries (Hebrews 11): why were they considered righteous and blameless? We know from our studies that they were not perfect. It was because they walked with God. It is this close and regular communication with our Abba Father through Yeshua (relationship) where we receive our daily, and sometimes hourly, instructions and assignments which produce our confidence in Him and then acts of loving kindness which convicts the world.

Faith isn't the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It's simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step. ~Joni Erickson Tada

Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time. ~Oswald Chambers

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He Is, and that He Is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. ~Hebrews 11:6

Repentance

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~2 Chronicles 7:14

Which people? Not unbelievers. Specifically, God's people. The ways of the world are wicked and we are called to not fit into it, we are called to stand out like a sore thumb, and to proclaim Yahweh's righteousness. And what will He do? All of those things we are longing for.

True repentance is firm and constant, and makes us war with the evil that is in us, not for a day or a week, but without end and without intermission. ~John Calvin  

But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. ~James 4:6-8   

If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ~1 John 1:8-9

Comfort for Mothers

A few years ago, on Mother’s Day my daughter gifted me with a sweet little book called “For You, Mom” filled with quotes and quips about motherhood. I rediscovered it on my bookshelf yesterday and thought it would be nice to share a few quotes from it with you this Mother’s Day….
Historian Washington Irving said that “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
An old Spanish proverb declares, “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.”
Nineteenth century poet Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that “The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.”
Oprah Winfrey stated that “Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.”
And George Washington, military general, and founding father and first president of the United States, summed it up when he said, “All I am I owe to my mother.”
To all our fellow Moms and Grandmas out there, I know that this Mother’s Day is unlike any other Mother’s Day we have ever experienced, and it feels like we are fighting huge battles on every front right now. Many of us are weary and worried, and we just want things to get back to normal as quickly as possible. And some of us are missing and mourning loved ones who have passed on or are sheltering in place away from our loving hands, and eyes, and arms.
But Mothers and Grandmothers, Aunts and Sisters and Friends and Caregivers, we have got this. Because greater is HE that is in us, than any virus that tries to take over the world. As Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
God has a special place in his heart for mothers, so much so that he even promises to comfort his people the way a mother comforts her child, “For thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem’” (Isaiah 66:12-13).

Jesus knew what it was to feel the comfort of a mother, and even while on the cross, he made provision for her care in the midst of her grief (see John 19:26). Time after time, when women – mothers – came to Jesus, he saw them, he heard them, he strengthened them, he comforted them. He longs to do the same for us, especially in times of crisis and uncertainty.
So for those Moms who are feeling a little unsettled and uncertain about the future for their families this Mother’s Day, take heart and remember God’s promise that “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 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 40:29-31).

And for all the beloved Grandmothers, praying for your families because you may have raised your children but you will never let them go, this promise is for you, from Psalm 103:1-5,
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.”
God is with us. His Blood covers us. His Spirit fills and comforts us. His Word strengthens us. His Promises protect and restore us. His Truth illuminates our paths. His Provision carries us, all the way home.
All of us at Speak Comfort wish you and your families a Happy Mother’s Day. We love you, and we are praying for you every day, in Jesus’ holy name.

 

 

Haywood, Robin. For You, Mom. Portland, ME: Sellers Publishing, Inc. 2015. Print.

All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation.

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

Please follow along with us as we revisit our series, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” parts 1-8.
Part Two highlights how we are reborn and made new immediately through salvation, and then how we are continuously being renovated by the presence of the Holy Spirit:
“Even though at the moment that we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are washed clean from every sin and our standing with God is made perfect in him, our souls, our mortal bodies and even our immortal spirits cannot – as a unit – receive all of God’s glory all at once. The process of sanctification while we are on earth is gradual.
The Holy Spirit transforms us into the image of Christ, renewing our “inner man,” which is another way to say that the Holy Spirit is renewing our spirits and restoring our souls, day by day. The Holy Spirit is leading us on a straight path, from glory to glory, one day at a time. He is our Teacher and Guide. God’s Spirit is the Spirit of Sanctification.”
Here is the link to the article: Who is the Holy Spirit? – Part Two: From Glory to Glory.

Trust God and Don’t be Afraid.

During this season of pandemic, it is essential that we as believers hold fast to the truth that nothing can separate us from the love of God and the protection of Jesus Christ. This is true no matter our circumstances, and now it is even more necessary that we do not lose faith in the goodness of God in these historically difficult times.
 On September 11, 2001, my daughter was five years old. I remember watching as destruction and devastation took hold first of New York City, then our nation, and finally the rest of the world as the safety and security we took for granted literally fell out of the sky. I remember whisking my daughter to another room, away from the television. She asked, “What’s wrong Mom?” and I told her, “Someone flew an airplane into a big building in New York City.” She asked, “Was anybody hurt?” All I could say was, “Yes, Honey, people were hurt, we have to pray.” How do you tell a child that everything just changed forever, in the blink of an eye? Since then she has grown up in the post-911 world and does not remember what it was like before.
Almost twenty years later my granddaughter is five years old, and the whole world is in quarantine. She started pre-K last fall and in the weeks before her first day of school she was extremely nervous. It only took her two or three days to find her place in the excitement of getting to know wonderful teachers, a flock of new friends, and activities that she was solidly prepared for. On Fridays she would say she could not wait for Monday so she could be with her pals.
Then suddenly stay-at-home orders were issued, everything came to a full stop, and she has not seen her friends and teachers for weeks. We have not explained to her yet that she may not see them again until she starts kindergarten in the fall. She knows there is “a thing” happening, and that one day it will “go away,” but that scrap of information does not make her feel any better. She can not wrap her understanding around why almost every kid in the world is stuck at home at the same time. Yesterday was gloriously sunny, and we ventured over to a local playground, only to be met with orange plastic barriers and signs that warned us to KEEP OUT. Although she is staying cheerful, this lockdown is starting to get to her. My granddaughter misses the little playmates she loves so very much.

 

During this Covid 19 crisis, my daughter is in what was once my position as she watches everything change dramatically before her eyes and wonders how the new normal will affect her precious daughter, and the world, in the years ahead. The truth is nobody really knows.
But that is the little truth. The Big Truth is that God the Father knows. Jesus knows. The Holy Spirit knows. And that is what we need to remember. In God’s eyes we are like little children, and it is hard for us to see beyond the trials in these moments and hold fast to what cannot be shaken.
The things of this world, although they are real and can indeed be very painful, are nevertheless like a vapor and insubstantial. They are not eternal, but temporary. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 
Paul said that the afflictions we suffer on earth are preparing us for glory. These earthly afflictions are “light” and “momentary” but the glory that is ours is eternal and weighty – like the difference between aluminum foil and pure gold. The things that cause us to suffer are not meant to last, and they will pass. But the ways we respond to these trials shape us and re-shape us, preparing us for our entrance into eternity.
In the Old Testament, Isaiah wrote of the suffering that Israel experienced when they strayed from God, but as always, God had a plan to heal his people even though it required a re-forming of their nation. Isaiah called upon the Lord, saying, “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (64:8). The hands of God guide and protect us. But they also mold and shape us. We are the work of his hands, and God uses our temporary sufferings to prepare us to carry the full weight of his glory. A vessel made of clay cannot fulfill its function until it is shaped and tempered. Without the potter’s wheel, a lump of clay has no purpose; without the heat of the kiln, it has no strength.

In the New Testament, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30).
 Jesus, the Lamb of God, knows what it feels like to be one of the sheep, and because his heart is full of compassion for his flock, he is also the Good Shepherd. He leads us, he feeds us, he gives us rest. He guides us through valleys filled with shadows and prepares a feast of anointing for us on the other side. He is Goodness and Mercy and he will be with us all our lives, extending into eternity.
 Hebrews 11 is known as the “faith hall of fame.” In it, we find the names of Biblical heroes like Noah, Abraham, Sarah, and Moses, and we are introduced to a nameless host of others who conquered kingdoms, quenched fires, starved lions, and put armies to flight. They hid in caves and wandered homeless. They walked by faith and not by sight and they pleased God. Yet they did not receive the full promise that we, on this side of the cross, have received by grace. “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (vv. 29-30).

The author of Hebrews goes on to encourage us, saying, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (12:1-3).
 As Jesus promised in his letter to the church at Laodicea, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline [shape and strengthen], so be zealous and repent [be strong and turn to Jesus]. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:19-21).
We are in a season of shaping and re-forming. God is using what is happening on the earth to prepare himself a people who will be strong and of good courage, for his glory. He is the Potter, the Good Shepherd, the King of kings and Lord of lords. We are his People and his Body, his Bride and his Church. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Like little children who can only see so far and understand so much, we do not know what the future holds. But our Father in heaven proclaims the end from the beginning and nothing can snatch us out of his hands. While he shapes us, he protects us. As he guides us, he strengthens us. We are being prepared for everything that lies ahead, and our Savior never lets go of our hands. With that assurance we can trust God and not be afraid, no matter the circumstances.
 “Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord! Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord! May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!”
(Psalm 134)

 

 

 

 

All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation.