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.

Your source, means and end – Ps 89 rewritten for you

my prayer journalDear friend,

God has found you, his servant. With holy oil God has anointed you, his hand shall establish you and his arm shall strengthen you.

The enemy shall not outwit you; the wicked shall not humble you. God will crush your foes before you and strike down those who hate you.

You once were lost, but now are found. Thank God. God searched for you, as one would search for their misplaced phone, fearing for it’s well-being, hoping it hasn’t fallen into hands that will take advantage of something that isn’t theirs. God found you. I remember the panic I felt when my wallet was missing with $300 and my brand new phone; and the relief when it was returned. God feels this over you.

With the holy oil of baptism, God adopted you into his family. You are called by God’s own name. God will always be with you, you will never be alone and God will make you strong so that you may bear the good load given you to carry.

The ones/forces who wish you confusion and shame will be handled by God. God will grant you holy cunning and confidence in facing and defeating those against your health and wholeness. God’s faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with you and in God’s name shall your horn be exalted.

You shall cry, “You are my Father, my God and the Rock of my salvation.”  And God will respond, “You are my honored child.”

God’s steadfast love will keep you forever and God’s covenant will stand firm.

My responsive prayer: 

Lord, my companions today are your loyal trueness and your constant love. We shall walk together and as I live for you, acting according to your good and loving character I shall have your authority and blessing.

You will give me power to handle the strong and vast unknown; wisdom to navigate the rush of the everyday twists and turns this day holds.

I will remember: I am in your family, I am your servant, I have been saved by your solid, unmovable strength. From me will come new followers of you, I shall be the best me thinkable.

You will never quit loving me. You will always keep your promises to me. Amen.

With you on the journey,


Who does God hate?

You know you are worshipping a false God, when this God hates the same people you do.

 -spoken by an unknown person at a retreat I recently attended

Jesus welcomes all questions, and all questioners. Mark 12 shows us three types of questioning souls. The first were people who came to Jesus with the intent of proving him wrong and getting him into trouble with the authorities. They came with false hearts and impure motives and left in “utter amazement.” The encounter changed them.

The Sadducees represent the next type of questioner. (Mark 12:18-27) They came to Jesus with a query about the law (on which they placed a high value) attempting to determine Jesus’ orthodoxy. Would he answer correctly? Would he be on their team?

Their minds were made up, only the right answer from Jesus would prove him credible. Notice I wrote that their minds were made up, their hearts were not involved.

Again, Jesus avoids their “game” and shows them their lack.

Is this not the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?” Mark 12:24

They did not fully understand the scriptures (the moral law) and they didn’t understand the power of God (the mystical Spirit.) Both are needed.

Ask St. Paul. His mind was made up and his heart was hard. It took the mysterious intervention of the Holy Spirit to expand his narrow understanding of God’s word. Paul’s excellent mind, with it’s predetermined and finite understanding of the Scriptures, needed to be set aside, his heart needed to be penetrated with the mystery of the living Lord.

Oh, there are Sadducees among us and within us; using Scriptures that prove our point, minimizing or ignoring the rest. Convinced of the correctness of our doctrine, or our theology, or style of worship, or spiritual practices, or who’s in the kingdom and who’s not (sadly, the list can be endless), we need God to agree with us. We have already determined which questions are allowable to ask and have the acceptable answers at the ready. Like the Sadducees, our minds are made up, we think in black and white.

I know this all too well. Jesus lovingly allows gray to enter the picture. He gently introduces paradox and mystery. He instructs from the Word of God and the Word of the life’s experience. Entering this mystery, letting go of our predetermined answers is the threshold of mature faith. God allows the questions, the unknown, and the uncertain, hoping it will cause us to give up control and cast ourselves on his love.