Can you imagine what it was like to be one of the disciples when the Holy Spirit came up on them? Jesus, their beloved Master and Teacher, had gone back to Heaven to be with His Father. No doubt, confusion mingled with anticipation as these men awaited the coming of the Comforter He promised to send them. Then, while they were celebrating Pentecost, fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits (Leviticus 23), they heard the sound of a mighty rushing wind that filled the whole house. They saw what looked like tongues of fire that rested upon each one of them. Suddenly they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke with other languages they hadn’t even studied. In the days that followed, these Spirit-filled disciples preached and taught with power and boldness that they’d never known before, (Acts2). Thousands turned to Christ all because the Comforter had come. The excitement, the joy, and the thrill they experienced must have been beyond measure!
As the violinist softly played the familiar melody, the words to the hymn ran through my mind–“And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.” For a few moments, my mind left the sanctuary and the Sunday morning service where I sat, and I was transported back 15 years to a small town in Tennessee.
When I saw my friend, my heart was sick. Her face was unbelievably black and blue. I’d heard that she fell again, but I didn’t realize that she hurt herself so badly. Now that she’s 90, she’s growing progressively more feeble, and her gait is wobbly. The thing that amazed me most when I saw her was that in spite of the many colors stretched across her face, she was smiling and a sparkle of joy filled her eyes. Truly her wounded face was beautiful.
I watch the little guy in my office playing with Legos and I notice how deliberately and carefully he places every block. There’s a design in his mind, but I cannot see that. I must simply watch and wait as he places block after block, brick after brick in order according to the plan that he alone envisions. Slowly, over time, the structure takes shape, and his plan becomes clearer and much more obvious. Ah! Finally his structure is formed and I see the tall tower with the castle by its side. The young builder smiles as he looks at his work and then at me for he knows he has done well.
Nearly every day new words crop up in the English language. Words like “deskorations” (small decorative items that are used to brighten a work cubicle) and “stresscalation” (when stress from one individual mounts up and passes on to others) are formed to describe new situations and items. And as surely as new words are created, old words are retired by less and less frequent use when they are no longer needed. As life changes, items become a thing of the past, and the words that name and describe them become antiquated. When was the last time you talked about your record player or a juke box? Words come and go according to their functionality.
The flashing sign outside a local factory always has a clever saying to inspire, encourage, or bring a chuckle. Today it reads “DROP BY DROP THE JUG IS FILLED”. Immediately it reminds me of the words of Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet who warned Israel to flee from their sin and grow in righteousness rather than experience God’s judgment. The key to their success would have been in hearing and heeding God’s Word; sadly they rejected His warning and His Word.
I’m not perfect! As much as I wish I were, my mistakes, mishaps, and downright deliberate wrong choices and bad attitudes all tell the story of a sinful heart that rebelled against God. His Word tells me my sin will keep me from Heaven and an eternally blissful relationship with Him—unless I get rid of the sin. Now how can I do that? Once again, His Word has the answer . . . The price must be paid and that price requires the shedding of blood. (Romans 3:23 and 6:23)
“Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” the people shouted as Jesus entered Jerusalem that day. They were excited for at last their promised King had come! Waving palms and hailing Him as their Messiah the crowds went wild, but in just a few short days their praise would turned to jaunting and the crowed that honored Him would rejected Him. Knowing all of this was to come, it must have been hard for Jesus to sit calmly on the back of the donkey and stroll humbly into Jerusalem. What was He thinking as He rode through the crowd? What did He see when He looked into their hearts?
St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, but I doubt that most people really know much about the man the day was named for. Born into a Christian family around 385 A.D. in what is now Great Britain, Patrick grew up hearing God’s Word preached by his father. However, when he was just sixteen, he was captured by Irish warriors who invaded his local village and dragged him to Ireland and sold him as a slave. There Patrick lived poor and lonely as a simple herdsman.