Week Seven: Pentecost

Have you ever had that moment as a young child when you suddenly realized you were alone?  I have.  For me it was in the grocery store.  I was probably 3 or 4 years old and just old enough to confidently take my eyes off of my mom for just a moment or two.  Who knows how much time passed, maybe only 30 seconds or so.  Suddenly, I looked up and my mom was not on the same aisle as I was anymore.  Then, panic took over my entire body.  Looking frantically, I ran to the end of the aisle and cried out, "Mom!"  Going around to the next aisle I was relieved to see my mom shopping.  She had reassuring words for me, "Here I am, come here."  Relief flooded my body - I was not lost after all!  I was going to get to go home and play with my toys and sleep in my own bed.  I was going to get to eat dinner with my family after all.  As I got older I look back on that day, and I realized of course my mom was not going to leave the grocery store without me...or even let me wander around the grocery store aimlessly.  But, I can still remember the fear in my heart like it was yesterday.  The fear was real.  But so was the presence of my mom.

Pentecost represents the fact that we are never alone.  As believers, we should never have the fear of being by ourselves or taking the journey alone.  The Bible promises us that we are never alone - God is with us always (Matthew 28:20).  And, of course we know, God always keeps his promises.  The presence of the Holy Spirit is with us no matter where we go or what we do.  Often times I wonder how do people who do not have a faith in God do it?  How do they handle the terrible diagnosis from the doctor?  How do they handle that crushing phone call that a dear loved one has died?  How do they make it through the meeting at work when they are told they have been laid off due to the downturn in the economy?  My heart goes out to anyone who has had to deal with these types of things.  But, I especially feel for those who experience these life changing events without the presence of the Almighty God Himself.  It is a sad reality for too many people today.  As believers, we always have the hope within us (1 Peter 1:3).

The Holy Spirit also ministers to us as believers in ways we can't even begin to understand or comprehend.  He gives us the power to do and say things that we would never be able to do or say on our own.  His impact on our lives is enormous, and I don't believe we can accurately quantify it.  But, in those times, we need to be ready for the situations He puts us in.  We need to be ready to minister to those people He intentionally puts in our lives.  The Bible says two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9), and with the Holy Spirit we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).  So what are we waiting for?  Let's go!

Jay and Lisa Skinner

Heavenly Father, I pray to be able to respond appropriately to Christ, to love the way Christ loves.  Help me to live and work no longer just as me, but conscious of my life in You, with You and as part of Christ — who holds us together on our way to You!  Amen.


Day One: 

DAILY — PRAYING SCRIPTURE:

When Jesus died, the disciples were very afraid and confused. Afraid they might be killed as their beloved Lord. Confused because they thought Jesus was the Messiah, yet He died. Then Jesus appeared — resurrected from the dead! But Thomas was not with them when Jesus came to them, so when the other disciples tried to tell him, he remained stubborn in his doubt.

John 20:26-29 — Heavenly Father, when Thomas heard about Jesus’ return, he doubted, so Jesus came and stood by him, among the disciples, and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Lord, help me to believe those things which to me are seemingly impossible to comprehend.  Help me to do those things which I can not do by myself - but only through your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Ask yourself — Who is God asking you to minister to?  Don’t let doubt get the better of you. Let the Holy Spirit help you believe. Apart from God, you cannot do it - but with God you can do it right! 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I pray to be able to respond appropriately to Christ, to love the way Christ loves.  Help me to live and work no longer just as me, but conscious of my life in You, with You and as part of Christ — who holds us together on our way to You!  Amen.


Day Two:

Paul writes these words to the new believers in Colossae to encourage and instruct them.  He wants to offer them hope of power in Christ and eternal life, as well as, truth to counter the popular philosophies of their day. As crazy at it may seem after all these thousands of years, we still need the same words today.

Colossians 1:11-14 — Heavenly Father, your Word promises that I will be strengthened with all power according to your glorious might so that I may have great endurance and patience, able to give joyful thanks to You, Father, who has qualified me to share in the inheritance of your holy people in the kingdom of light. For You have rescued me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of the Son You love, in whom I have redemption and the forgiveness of sins. Lord, help me to endure and have patience as I do your will today.  I know my reward is everlasting life in You.  Amen.

Ask yourself — What do you think of the promise that the Holy Spirit gives you power to persevere here on earth and to prosper in His kingdom at the end of this life? What can you do to serve God here at church?  Know that it will take endurance and patience, but with the Holy Spirit you can do it!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I pray to be able to respond appropriately to Christ, to love the way Christ loves.  Help me to live and work no longer just as me, but conscious of my life in You, with You and as part of Christ — who holds us together on our way to You!  Amen.


Day Three:

In today’s text, Jesus seeks to establish Peter as the rock, the starter and director, of His new church, but Peter isn’t aware of that until later. Notice how Peter starts to worry and get distracted. Does this sound familiar? Do we worry when Jesus tries to tell us something? Do we get distracted by what others are doing? Peter learned the Holy Spirit was sufficient for him, so like Peter, let’s remember the same is true for us. All we need to do is follow Jesus.

John 21:15-20 — Lord Jesus, when the disciples had finished eating, You said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Peter replied that, of course, he loved You. And You replied, “Feed my lambs.” You went on to ask the question two more times, and Peter replied the same each time, but Peter was hurt because You asked him the third time. But You went on to tell him, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger, you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” You said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then You said to him, “Follow me!” Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. Lord, there is much to learn from your dialogue with Peter. Help me to focus on your plan for my life.  What others do is not my concern - only Your will for my life is where my attention needs to be.  Amen.

Ask yourself — What is Jesus asking me to do?  As parts of the body of Christ we all have a job to do.  What is my task and what am I doing to accomplish it?

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I pray to be able to respond appropriately to Christ, to love the way Christ loves.  Help me to live and work no longer just as me, but conscious of my life in You, with You and as part of Christ — who holds us together on our way to You!  Amen.


Day Four: 

Just as Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, He left his disciples with instructions that today’s text outlines. He wanted to assure them that even though He wouldn’t be on earth with them anymore, He would still “work with them.” Their work was not done. Let’s remember we have  the Holy Spirit to bless our efforts in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, too.

Mark 16:15-20 — Lord Jesus, at the end of your days here on earth, you told your disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” After You had spoken to them, You were taken up into heaven, and You sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and You worked with them and confirmed your word by the signs that accompanied it.” Heavenly Father, use me as Your witness today.  Help me not to be afraid of what might happen, but help me to focus on the life changing power of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Ask yourself —  Even though I might be rejected and criticized, where is God calling me to be Jesus' witness?

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I pray to be able to respond appropriately to Christ, to love the way Christ loves.  Help me to live and work no longer just as me, but conscious of my life in You, with You and as part of Christ — who holds us together on our way to You!  Amen.


Day Five: 

As you pray through today’s passage, believe that the Holy Spirit will use you and help you to bring light to areas of darkness. 

Acts 17:22-31 — Father God, Paul spoke boldly to the people of Athens, “I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. The God, who made the world and everything in it, is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Therefore, since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” Heavenly Father, like Paul, help me to shine Your light on those who walk in the darkness.  Put me in situations where Your light will shine bright.  Amen.

Ask yourself — Just like God used statues in Athens to help Paul witness to the people, God will use circumstances in your life to be a witness to others.  What situations has God brought you now, and how are you using them for His kingdom?

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I pray to be able to respond appropriately to Christ, to love the way Christ loves.  Help me to live and work no longer just as me, but conscious of my life in You, with You and as part of Christ — who holds us together on our way to You!  Amen.


Day Six: 

The Holy Spirit puts our old selves away and allows us to live new lives in Him! This verse in Galatians is packed with truth. Take your time as you pray it through — multiple times if needed — until you feel as though you’ve unpacked enough to start believing it.

Galatians 2:20 — Lord, help me to better understand these words Paul wrote so long ago, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Heavenly Father, thank You for removing my old life from me and giving me new life to walk in You anew.  Amen.

Ask yourself —  Are you clinging to your old self?  Let go, and let your new life be guided by the Holy Spirit of God!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I pray to be able to respond appropriately to Christ, to love the way Christ loves.  Help me to live and work no longer just as me, but conscious of my life in You, with You and as part of Christ — who holds us together on our way to You!  Amen.


Day Seven — Pentecost Sunday: 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I pray to be able to respond appropriately to Christ, to love the way Christ loves.  Help me to live and work no longer just as me, but conscious of my life in You, with You and as part of Christ — who holds us together on our way to You!  Amen.

The Holy Spirit came to us and our lives will never be the same.  For now and for eternity. 

Acts 2:1-4 — Father God, I rejoice as I recall the day of Pentecost, and all the believers were together in one place. Suddenly, a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.  Heavenly Father, thank You for your precious Spirit that fills our hearts with gladness and power.  It is the best gift I could ever receive.  Amen.

Ask yourself — Do you have the gift of the Holy Spirit in your heart?  If so, what are you doing with that incredible gift?  If not, turn, repent, and believe in Jesus today.  Be filled with the Holy Spirit of God for ever and ever!

Think about that special gift that you received at Christmas or maybe your birthday.  Do you remember the joy it brought you?  Now think about Pentecost and the ultimate gift of joy and peace that God our Father has given us through Christ Jesus.  The gift of the Holy Spirit is the best gift one could ever hope to receive.  By His Spirit we are sealed for eternity (Ephesians 1:13) and our future is secure no matter what happens to us in this life.  Thanks be to God forever and ever.  Amen.