The Lord sends the Spirit

Fire and flames.

Pentecost – Acts 2:1-16

Jack and I  lived through Hurricane Sandy. We know what the rush of a violent wind sounds like. It certainly gets your attention! Such a wind, accompanied by tongues of fire dancing among and resting upon the disciples, along with the ability to speak in a language not their own – well, that got the whole city’s attention.

The great commission begins. Notice:

  1. The disciples were all together. The community created by a relationship with the living Christ is important for the sharing of the Good News. Remember that your witness to God’s love and power is made strengthened by your union with fellow believers.
  2. It is God who initiates and displays the power. The disciples were just the channels through which God spoke the good news. For the most part, they were unlearned Galileans. The only explanation of their ability to speak a foreign language was the power of God’s Holy Spirit. (not wine!) They were in the right place at the right time, aka obedience. Jesus had asked them to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. They did and wonders followed. Remember that it your part to faithfully obey God’s words and it is God’s part to empower you to share his love.
  3. God speaks your language. It was an amazed crowd that gathered to witness the event, but it was to individuals that God communicated the gospel in a language known only to them. God makes sure the message of salvation is spoken in a unique way that each and every person can grasp. Remember that God communicates his love and power to you in a personalized language only you can understand. Listen for it.

(Written for CBC’s weekly devotional.)

The Lord sends the Spirit

We lived through Hurricane Sandy. We know what the rush of a violent wind sounds like. It certainly gets your attention! Such a wind, accompanied by tongues of fire dancing among and resting upon the disciples, along with the ability to speak in a language not their own – well, that got the whole city’s attention.

The great commission begins. Notice:

  1. The disciples were all together. The community created by a relationship with the living Christ is important for the sharing of the Good News. Remember that your witness to God’s love and power is made strengthened by your union with fellow believers.
  2. It is God who initiates and displays the power. The disciples were just the channels through which God spoke the good news. For the most part, they were unlearned Galileans. The only explanation of their ability to speak a foreign language was the power of God’s Holy Spirit. (not wine!) They were in the right place at the right time, aka obedience. Jesus had asked them to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. They did and wonders followed. Remember that it your part to faithfully obey God’s words and it is God’s part to empower you to share his love.
  3. God speaks your language. It was an amazed crowd that gathered to witness the event, but it was to individuals that God communicated the gospel in a language known only to them. God makes sure the message of salvation is spoken in a unique way that each and every person can grasp. Remember that God communicates his love and power to you in a personalized language only you can understand. Listen for it.

Acts 2:1-16

Written for Community Bible Church’s weekly devotion.

Casting out demons?

What does it mean to cast out demons today?

Dear Elle,

God has given you an assignment, one that only you can fulfill. No one else is R’s wife, S’s mother or the worship leader at your church. With this assignment comes the authority to proclaim the good news and to cast out demons. (Mark 3:14,15) This is your job description, given and empowered by Jesus.

In my last letter we spoke of how your proclamation of the good news awakens hope in the flock that is yours to shepherd. Spiritual rebirth is accomplished and new life is possible! That is good news. God now asks you to live among your family, friends, co-workers and the world at large as one who is in the business of casting out demons!

Casting out demons in our day and age is to confront the darkness of the enemy.  Wherever death has a grip, your God-empowered job is to name it and dispel it by your prayers and your presence. This is messy work. You can understand why the first order of your assignment is to be with Jesus (see letter titled “Be with Jesus before you do for him”) so that your own hope is stirred and your own darkness dispelled. You can only offer what your have received.

This is hard work because death is often unrecognizable. It disguises itself behind such masks as fun or as our “rights.” We think we are expressing our freedom, but unknowingly death is tightening its grip on us.

You, Elle, will unmask these lies. They promise life, but deliver death. You must lovingly tell the truth, identifying the death dealing lies of the enemy. Pray for the lies to be eliminated and replaced by the truth of God’s word. Stay close and connected to the ones you love. Remember the parable Jesus told about the room being cleared of demons and swept clean only to be reoccupied by this demon and his friends because it had not been inhabited by the presence of Jesus? Truth and presence is required in order to cast out the demons of death and lies. Jesus sends you to be his truth and presence.

We’ll talk more about the difficult and liberating job of casting out demons in my next letter.

With you in the journey,

Debby

Your job – to awaken hope!

Dear Elle,

You are an important person in God’s plan! You have been given a particular assignment and Jesus sends you into the world to proclaim the good news and cast out demons. (Mark 3:13-15)

Proclaiming the good news – announcing life. Casting out demons – destroying death. Two sides of the same coin. The people you love need the whole penny! Announcing the good news is the first order of business.The flock you shepherd needs to hear your voice telling them of the hope the gospel brings.

Good news is necessary and so needed in this world of ours. Most of us, knowingly or not, live in the conviction that bad news reigns. We look around and see destruction seeming to march in victory. Sure there are little pockets of life-sustaining activities operating in the midst of death-dealing events and circumstances, but they seem the minority, the underdog, the exception.

And when we turn our attention away from the big picture of the world’s situation and look within our own souls, we are even more convinced that darkness and disease has the upper hand. Of course within our soul, there are exceptions to the death principle at work within us (thank you God), but there is plenty of evidence that proves darkness and death still has control over a lot of our thoughts, emotions and actions. Ask St. Paul. He talked about his own struggle with this conflict in Romans 7. We might despair…

…except for the announcement of the good news –  the Kingdom of Heaven has drawn near (Matt.10:7). Hope stirs. “If the Kingdom of Heaven has come near to me, here and now, maybe there is hope. If God has come close, if the power and authority of the rule of God is available, Life has a chance. I can dare to hope that God’s love and power can bring life the  death’s outposts in the territory of my soul. Praise our God.”

Which leads to the other side of this coin – the casting out of demons, which I’ll talk about in my next letter.

With you in the journey,

Debby