Sunday, June 5, 2022

Happy Birthday Church! - Pentecost Sunday, June 5, 2022

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE CHURCH!
 
Today is Pentecost. This is the 50 days after the Passover celebration. But today is the birth of the Church. The day the Holy Spirit came to dwell not only with mankind, but in mankind.
In my devotional reading through the Bible this year(I'm reading the chronological version), it's no coincidence that I read 2 Chronicles 6. In this chapter, Solomon has completed the Temple and is celebrating the place that God's Spirit now dwells. 
 
“But will God really live on earth among people? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! 19 Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you. 20 May you watch over this Temple day and night, this place where you have said you would put your name. May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place. 21 May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive." (2 Chronicles 6:18-20, NLT)
 
Today, we celebrate the Church, that is made up of people, where God's Spirit now dwells!
"Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NLT)
 
Chapter 7 of Chronicles, beginning verse 1-3, NLT:
When Solomon finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices, and the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple. 2 The priests could not enter the Temple of the Lord because the glorious presence of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the people of Israel saw the fire coming down and the glorious presence of the Lord filling the Temple, they fell face down on the ground and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying,
“He is good!His faithful love endures forever!” 
 
"On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability." (Acts 2:1-4, NLT)
 
Another non-coincidence look at the reference numbers of both of these scriptures. One from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament!
Praise the Lord!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Fighting for the Promise

Over the past 3 months I have been reading through the books of the law and Joshua. I've discovered some things this time through.
When God gives a promise, it will be fulfilled, but it won't be a smooth journey. We'll have to fight battles along the way. God's people faced resistance quite often, but when their hearts were trusting the Lord, they always overcame. I think sometimes, we as followers of Jesus think life should be set on cruise control because if "Jesus takes the wheel" we won't have any problems. Of course there is an enemy that wants to steal, kill, and destroy us. (John 10:10) As I've followed Jesus, throughout my life, it's definitely been a struggle. He told us we would suffer, have trials and tribulations, but His promise to us is He overcame the world (John 16:33).
 
One of our greatest battles we will fight is our own will and doubt. Any time they got off track in disobedience, they lost. Whether it was fighting an enemy or it was in their own doubt of trusting God to lead them.
 
I also realized that some of the "do not's" they were given wasn't to deprive them. It was to clean up their way of thinking and being. I mean when one of the laws is not to have sex with an animal, means they were doing some crazy stuff in Egypt. Think about it, the Egyptian gods were half man, half animal. Maybe the thought was they could become or give birth to a god that would give them power. Hmmmmm.
 
I find today, we are living in a world much like ancient Egypt. There are all kinds of things going on that even many Believers have adopted. I'll be the first to raise my hand. I often look to the world for comfort and answers to my problems. Jesus is who I need to look to. When the children of Israel found themselves complaining against Moses, they were bitten by snakes and died. But God told Moses to form a bronze snake on his staff and have the people look at it so they could live and be saved. This symbolizes to me when Jesus hung on the cross so that I could be saved and live! 
 
I close with these portions from the book of Joshua. As we continue to live in this new world, it's a good reminder to learn from old history. 
 
"'But if you turn away from him and cling to the customs of the survivors of these nations remaining among you, and if you intermarry with them, 13 then know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive them out of your land. Instead, they will be a snare and a trap to you, a whip for your backs and thorny brambles in your eyes, and you will vanish from this good land the Lord your God has given you. 14 'Soon I will die, going the way of everything on earth. Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed!'" -Joshua 23:12-14 NLT
 
"'So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.'" _Joshua 24:14-15 NLT
 
Choose to trust God's promises. Fight to protect them, just as you would fight to protect something precious to you. It will be worth every conquered battle! AMEN!