Pentecost Sunday Musing: Holy Spirit Empowerment

Today, Sunday 6/12/2011 is Pentecost Sunday[i]. It is the day that focuses on our being filled with the Holy Spirit. It is also known as the Jewish festival Shavuot.[ii]  In terms of previous thoughts regarding Pentecost please read https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/shavoutpentecost-musings/ and https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/musings-on-pentecost-sunday-shavu%e2%80%99ot/ in addition to today’s article.  Also please take time to celebrate having God with us and being in-dwelt with the Holy Spirit.

God set aside this day for a reason and a purpose. God specifically directed the disciples to wait. They were not to go off on their own and start sharing the good news about Salvation, they needed what they did not yet have.  See, on this day something happened that had not occurred before. Sure, there were instances of people being empowered by the Holy Spirit including Moses, David, Elijah, Elisha, and others.  But there never had been the moment where God took up residence within the human spirit. It was the day that the following of God’s truth and God’s ways was given the empowerment through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit enabling God with us, every day. It was the day that God’s ways, God’s law started being written on the hearts of humanity and daily fellowship with the creator enabled. 

Granted, there is a lot of ways folks understand and misunderstand the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  But, God made it clear that there is no fruit and progress without the Holy  Spirit. He directed the disciples to wait, to not go off on their own power to spread the gospel. Something else was needed.  Even then, he directed them to start local and move outward.  There were specific steps for specific times.  Now we may not always grasp or understand. At times we may be waiting, but God does go before us. He provides us what we need, when we need it. The Holy Spirit within us is evidence of this. But God gives when He gives in accordance with His will with what is necessary.  It may not match our viewpoint or understanding at all; for we do not see things clearly, only in part.  Think for a moment to what it would be like to be a disciple and having seen Jesus ascended and being directed to wait without having any idea what was coming.  Then Pentecost comes and the Holy Spirit comes and indwells. What a glorious day but no one could have possibly known what it meant until it happened. 

 

Now note that God still gives what in accordance with His will with what is necessary. It does not always line up or look like we think it should. We are told to listen and follow. We are to wait when directed to wait and we are to move forward when God says move forward. Each step involves trust.  Each instance and circumstance and life is unique.  Too often, each of us can look toward a certain way God moved and apply it broader.  But each circumstance, each person, each life is unique. God works in us all, and those of us who have submitted to God’s way and follow the true path have God with us. It is not a special thing about any of us, it is not a ‘divine spark.’ It is God taking up residence within us, to give us the power and direction to respond to God’s truth and love God and others in accordance with God’s will.  We simply need to trust and obey and be about what God directs each day. We are given power to do so each day, but it requires a daily surrender to the Holy Spirit and a seeking out and following God’s direction but in God’s word and in the prompting of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Doing so makes each day a glorious day and leads us into the path of contentment recognizing that we can do all things through God’s empowerment which is enabled by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Thank God for this day, many years ago that allows me to walk, write, and do what God sets before me when I surrender daily.  It is this that enables us all to be conquerors and empowered to do whatever is ahead. For none of us can do what God directs on our own accord, just as the disciples needed the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, so to we need this empowerment. It starts with surrender and following God with trust and obedience.  He gives the power, we just need to stay in step. When we are obedient and not relying on self, we can know that God will see us through to where He wants us, for He is promised is always faithful and He has given us the means to be empowered for whatever He asks in whatever circumstance.

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Holy Week Musing: Preparation on the Path of Submission

Yesterday, my thoughts went to the confusion of those around Jesus as the event s of Holy Work enfolded leading to Jesus dying on the cross as payment for our sins.  He followed the path, step by step, surrendered to the Father’s will.  As already stated, to everyone but Jesus there was great confusion. However, God was working out His plan.  Prior to Jerusalem, and every step up to Passover and the betrayal the wheels were in motion.  Everything was falling into place.  Jesus with every action was preparing both His self and His disciples for what He knew was to come.  God prompted people to provide what was needed, from the colt, to the upper room and so on, God prepared and wheels were in motion.  God was at work, but it was not always recognized, expect by Jesus, who knew what was to occur. 

This is often the way in this life.  We do not recognize at the time what God is doing and how He is working.  How God set in motions things for Him to use us to carry out His plan.  Every day this is true, and when we walk and follow in submission to God’s plan, God works so that He is glorified and we are brought to further growth.  In this, we always have a choice.  Jesus at any moment could have turned away.  Every fiber of Jesus humanity wanted to turn from God’s way, to not take the cup of the suffering.  Yet, He maintained faithful. He resisted to the point of sweating blood.  It was not His divinity that enabled that, but His being dedicated to always do the Father’s will, whatever the cost, for God’s will and plan was the right way, there was no other that could redeem the fallen state of creation.  

So the question is for each of us, what do we do as we go along our varied paths in life, do we remain faithful, or to do me make the self-focused choices like Judas?  Each step on the path is another choice; choice upon choice upon choice.  And in the ever enfolding choices, when we follow God’s way, He prepares the steps before us, even when all appearances suggest otherwise.  And when we falter and stray, there is always the means to return, and God can and will meet us wherever we are at.

Sadly, we often miss what God is doing. Sometimes we learn what God intended after the fact, sometimes we just don’t “get it.”  Yet, God is who He is. He is the same God worked to ensure all that as needed was provided as Jesus approached the climax of the cross.  God worked the ways of death to bring life.  The reason being because of love, so that what was twisted can be restored and God’s love be made evident to all.  Yet, given all the God did through Jesus, we all still miss it. We all don’t get it.  For there is no words of man able to describe the height, depth, length, and width of God’s love and ways, for we cannot comprehend.  Yet, even in our not “getting it” God has, is, and will prepare us.  God not only is patient, but delights in preparing us and surprising us in ways of revealing His love that are beyond anything we could imagine.  He revealed His love in Jesus, in the events of Holy Week, and His working things  so that everything that was needed was provided, even if it made no sense. 

For all of this, the Holy week, the expectations, the confusion, the preparation, and so on all took place to reveal God’s passion for us, His deep and abiding love.  For while we are yet sinners, he took the initiative to suffer and die, so that all who respond and not reject God’s initiation, may be made right and free from the wrath that  a loving and Holy God has to carry out. 

In thinking about all of this, no that no matter where you are in life, God is still loving and initiating and active. God always is ahead of us. He knows us intimately. He knows the deepest pain, know why we make the choices we make.   He loves, and He prepares.  Even when we choose unfaithfulness, God is there, loving and working things to the good for those of us that love Him.   Without that love, without God active in our lives, there is no hope, and only survive.  Holy week, the cross, the tomb all demonstrate the reason for Hope, for God gave all He could so the way could be made for all. This way is found in Jesus alone, for there is no other that suffices.  God has, is, and will provide and prepare as we follow the path of surrender to Jesus and respond to Him with our love and submission. His love dictates no other way.

Passion Week Musing: Resurrection Sunday

Today is the day that darkness was defeated. Today is the day everything changed. Today is the day the stone was rolled away. Today is the day the tomb was found empty. Today is the day that the temple was raised again. Jesus is alive. Jesus is risen. Today is the day where when the emotions from the dark Sabbath turn to great rejoicing. The disciples initially were confused, bewildered, and uncertain. How could this be? Jesus alive! Unheard of, could it be? Yes, it in fact was. Oh glorious day. Jesus is alive. He is returned from dead. Not bruised and broken but whole. Yes, he still has the wounds, the scars, but he showed no sign of being hampered by injuries. There is nothing that can measure up to the joy the ecstasy of learning of Jesus rising from the dead. This was the true game changer. What seemed to be cause of hopelessness and despair led to great joy! Suddenly things began to make sense. Jesus became the sacrificial lamb. He fulfilled Passover that all who chose to believe would be saved. He defeat all darkness. He defeated death. He defeated the powers of this world. Why? Because He arose! His victory is why all heaven proclaims “Worthy is the Lamb, Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty!” Praise God the Lord Almighty for Jesus Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Now is the true time to proclaim Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest! Now is the time of true peace on earth, goodwill toward men. His purpose fulfilled. True wholeness, true peace is now available to all receive. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day the way is made clear. Today is the day that the truth is made known. Today is the day that brings true life. Today is the day that a miserable sinner like me has been transformed to a member of God’s kingdom with a relationship with the creator. This all because HE AROSE! He paid the price. Now I am made clean and whole. Sin has no further charge. I am free! So I celebrate because HE IS RISEN! HIS IS RISEN INDEED! Today is the day of the beginning of the end.  God’s love fully revealed.  All restoration made possible.  God’s kingdom come.  AMEN!