Today the church celebrates Pentecost - the special visitation of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples (see Acts 2:1-41). This empowering by Holy Spirit made fearful men and women bold. It gave them a surety in their belief in Jesus as Messiah that they did not have before. They went from being followers of Jesus to leaders of men.
Peter, the one who had claimed not to even know Jesus, got up and gave a speech to an international gathering of Jews. He quoted a rather lengthy passage of Scripture from the prophet Joel which promised that the Spirit would be poured out on all people and those people would be able to see visions and dream dreams.
Have you been filled with the Spirit? Do you have visions and dreams? If not, ask God now to send His Holy Spirit to you in a special way and empower you to see and dream what He wants you to see and dream.
God is able to "to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20). To Him be the glory.
Often we hesitate to ask others for help. Speaking for myself, I am generally reluctant to ask for help, but I'm getting better at it. Really, there is no reason not to ask others for help. Even Moses needed help. Because he had a speech impediment, Aaron spoke to Pharaoh for him. Of course, that would look awkward in the movies, so the movies don't show Moses that way.
In Exodus 17, during a battle with the Amalekites, Moses got help again. Ex 17:11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up - one on one side, one on the other - so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
If Moses is not ashamed to get help from others, we should not be ashamed to ask for help either. In fact, I am quite grateful for the many people who have helped me over the last several months. Many, many have prayed (and continue to pray) for me. Some have made donations of money or given in-kind donations. Others have offered words of encouragement, or even just ask how I am doing. I appreciate all of them.
If you would like prayer, I hope you will email me. I will respond with a prayer by email.
I attended a conference last week, the title of which was "Embracing Grace". There were some reflections on grace, of course, but I didn't hear anyone define grace. To me grace is the empowerment of God. God gives us power to believe, power to accept salvation, power to pray, power to live as his disciples. Without his grace, we would be unable to do any of those things.
St. Paul mentions grace quite a bit in his letters. Ephesians 2: 4-9 is one notable example: Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God, by grace, made us alive when we were dead. God seated us in the heavenly realms with Christ. And having made us (for we are God's workmanship), he graces us to do good works. God's grace is the power to live, to believe, to do as he wants. Just as we are never alone, we are never given a task which we are unable to accomplish
Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts.
I wish I had said that, but it was Jill Shalvis who said it in one of her books.
Don't we all have one or two people who rub us the wrong way? No matter what we do or what they do, it is just never right. Have you ever thought to pray for that person? I have, although it is never the first thing that occurs to me. (I won't tell you the first thing that occurs to me.)
When I do actually pray for that person, I find that I am the one who changes. I become more accepting, my attitude changes, or I see the person differently than I did before. Praise God, the Holy Spirit continues to work on me.
Sometimes fudge is even better with a few nuts in it.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.'
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
Well, what a promise. No matter what is standing in our way, with the power and the love of Jesus, we can conquer it. What is separating us from God's full, complete love? For many of us it is something from our past - broken relationships, hatred, disappointment, or loss of love and respect. What is it for you?
That person, or that situation, is not meant to separate us from the full, complete love of Christ. We must choose to forgive. Choose to let go by turning that person or situation over to Jesus. Then we can picture Jesus standing between us and that person or situation.
Or we can ask Jesus where he is in a certain situation. He is always there to help us get closer to him. With him we are more than conquerors.
When the Hebrew people complained in the desert that they wanted food, God sent manna. (Exodus 16) He sent fresh manna every day. In fact, it wouldn't keep from day to day without going bad, so they had to gather it every day and make it into fresh bread.
Just so, we need fresh food from God every day. We need to commune, to sit at table with God every day, to hear God's conversation, to eat God's food, to be in God's presence. Yesterday's conversation, food and presence were good, but we need more today.
The good news for today is that with God there is always more. He is more than generous.
Turn to him today.
A friend, Jim, kept telling me that he envisioned me taking a "substance" from God and using it to change the nature of things. Finally, one evening in worship, I saw the substance. Upon asking God "What is it?", I heard, "It's manna." The Hebrew people received manna from God while they were in the desert after leaving Egypt. For them manna was food. For me, manna can be used in many ways - so far it has been a cleansing agent, seeds, and forgiveness. I'm sure it has other uses. I'm just beginning to find them because I have not had the use of the manna for very long.
Father, grant all who read this a greater closeness to your heart. May their heart beat as one with yours. May they be refreshed and made whole.
The word of the Lord is faithful and all his works to be trusted. Ps 33
We are never alone. God is always with us, whether we see him or not. Ask Jesus to show you where he is with you today. Is he beside you in your trial? Is he showing you a way out or a way through?
I have found this to be an effective and comforting way to pray. If I ask Jesus to show me where he is, he answers, and shows me where he is in my life. Usually I gain a different perspective on what is going on. Even if he doesn't show me a way to escape the current problem, he shows me that he is with me as I go through it.
We are never alone.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.