Day of pentecost

Pentecost ~ God’s Spirit Poured Out

pentecost
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Thank God for Pentecost

Since the days when Moses was given the law on Mount Sinai, the people waited for His Spirit. They were not able to keep the law on their own. Spiritual amnesia kept drawing them back into the grasp of sin and darkness. Oh, how they needed God’s Spirit to live in their hearts and lives.

    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Joel 2:28b, NLT

And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

Ezekial 36:27, NLT

Every year, the Children of Israel would bring their sacrifices to the temple. They came at Passover and offered their sacrifices to God. It would remind them about how the death angel passed over their homes and they were freed from slavery in Egypt. On the first day of the week after Passover, they celebrated the Feast of Firstfruits bringing to the Temple the first sheaves of grain from their fields.

And then they waited. 50 days for the Feast of Weeks. 7 weeks. Pentecost translates as 50 days. All these feasts were to remind them of their sinfulness and to offer praise and sacrifice to God who forgave them every time. All this time they didn’t realize that it was part of the Promise of God to put His Spirit in their hearts. It would be the only way to chase away the amnesia because then The Holy Spirit would live within them reminding them constantly of their God; Softening their hearts toward their Maker.

But not only that

With the Holy Spirit within them, they (and we) now have the POWER to live godly lives. (2 Peter 1:3) He guides us. He helps us live lives that please God. Consider Peter. Remember how he failed time and again even though he wanted to serve Jesus. He swore He would never deny the Lord, but He did… three times. Other times, he would speak out and Jesus would have to rebuke him.

Until Pentecost

What a difference it made when Peter received empowerment from above. Suddenly, He was bold and able to preach the Gospel to everyone in Jerusalem and later everywhere He went with no “foot-in-mouth” disease.

And Guess What…

We can have that same power. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, His Holy Spirit comes in to live with us. And when we die to ourselves, we are empowered to live faithful lives. Paul shared with the Galatians that when we give control to the Holy Spirit, we won’t fulfill the lust of the spirit any longer. Instead, we will produce the Fruit of His Spirit. Let’s look…

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Galatians 5:16-25, NLT

galatians 5:25
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No More Sacrifices

Jesus’ Death and Resurrection removed the need for the sacrificial system. His Great Sacrifice was perfect and suited to save all men who would accept Him. Once and for all our sins are forgiven. (Hebrews 7:27, Hebrews 9:12, 25-26)

So what does God expect of us? Are we allowed to just go about living the same lives? NO! (Romans 6:1-3) That would nullify what Jesus did for us. We are to put our carnal selves to death and allow the Spirit to live through us. Consequently, He now guides and directs every part of us. Back in the “old days”, they would say to give God the “unknown bundle”; that is, we give Him everything, even the things to come that we don’t know about. Whatever He wills, is our will.

When we sign a contract, the stipulations are all laid out and we sign on the dotted line. But with the Unknown Bundle, we sign on a blank sheet of paper and hand it to God. Then He places His plan for our lives on the paper.

And Praise His Name

He will empower us to follow the will of God. Sure, we may fail at times; but He will convict our hearts and we can ask forgiveness which He gives freely. The goal is that we will become increasingly more like Jesus.

I’m so glad that I have the Holy Spirit who goes with me every day, all day. I am empowered to live for Jesus.

How about you?

-Mandy

feast of pentecost

Feasts of Weeks – Pentecost

This weekend we celebrate Pentecost

As Christians, we are celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples found in Acts 2. But did you realize that the Israelites have been celebrating this same day since God instructed them to celebrate in Leviticus 23? Pentecost in Hebrew means 50 days. They were to celebrate on this day… 50 days after Passover and the Feast of Firstfruits. Called The Feast of Weeks.

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time of favor

Psalm of Mandy: a Pain Warrior’s Prayer

But as for me, Lord,
my prayer to you is for a time of favor. Psalm 69:13 CSB

time of favor Psalm 69
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This is a paraphrase from Psalm 69. David had many times in his life when he felt he was drowning in troubles. People who suffer from chronic pain can often feel they are drowning in pain and sorrow. When I read this psalm of David I can feel my own soul praying this prayer with just a few changed words. As you read it, you may understand some of the things that chronic illness causes in our lives. My words are in [ ]. Highlighted words link to another post I have written concerning the issue.

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intentional boasting

Intentionally Boast in the Cross

boasting in the Cross of Jesus Christ
all images in this post are provided by Gerd Altmann at Pixabay & edited by Mandy Farmer

But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through the cross, and I to the world.

Galatians 6:14 csb

Who Wrote This to Whom?

Leon Morris wrote, “Galatians is a passionate letter, the outpouring of the soul of a preacher on fire for his Lord and deeply committed to bringing his hearers to an understanding of what saving faith is.” It was written to the Churches of Galatia. It is believed that this was about 15 years following Paul’s conversion on the Road to Damascus but before the council in Jerusalem. (since it was not mentioned in the letter) ‘Galatia’ covered the territory settled by the Gauls.” There is debate about whether the letter was written to northern or southern Galatia because Paul visited them both; however, it’s a moot point because this letter has much to say to all Christians.

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Messenger of God - Jeremiah

Messenger of God – Jeremiah, Me, You

My Word of the Year is Intentional. As I began looking for a verse that I might claim, I kept finding verses where messengers of God said, “But as for me…” I thought, “These people are intentional in their lives. I want that”. So we will start looking at these scriptures. I have some friends helping me out and they are already stepping on my toes.” So here we go… Introducing Deborah Rutherford.

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How to Achieve a Great Life

What does it take to achieve “the great life”?

Psalm 81:8-16

I had a great life growing up.

Wonderful Christian parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, you name it. A big dairy farm to grow upon. But I suffered from poor self-esteem. I couldn’t explain it, but although I could make a long list of all the wonderful things about myself, I was not pleased. I wanted to be something, or someone else.

Over time, I found myself .. that is, I found that what I needed was to Say YES to God. I look at teens and young people today and I see myself. They want what they can’t have, they want to be what they cannot become because God made them for His pleasure and He has a specific plan in mind.

In high school, I wanted to be what I couldn’t be

.. a cheerleader

.. a class leader

… I had to find what God wanted me to be.

I didn’t realize it at the time but it was all a fight to say yes to God

…to give Him the right to lead and work in my life.

I found a few steps to take to find “the great life.”

achienve
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First, Listen to the people God has placed in your life for direction.

Psalm 81: 8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
if you would only listen to me, Israel!

Yes, our family was at church every time the doors opened. We served the Lord. BUT that was my parent’s “Yes to God”. They raised us to have every opportunity to live for the Lord. Yes, the Lord was important to me also, I wanted to live for Him, Sing for Him, etc. But I also wanted to be successful in the things that seemed important to every other teenager.

Looking back

I’m baffled at why I cared about being a cheerleader or a class leader. My talents did not lie in those areas, but I wanted to be recognized. Maybe there were pressures to be these things. My siblings were athletes. But God did not make me that way. I had other types of talents. I could play the piano and sing. Actually, because of those things, people said I should be a pastor’s wife.

Now we all know you can be a pastor’s wife without these talents. But I said, “No, not a pastor’s wife”. I loved animals so people said, “You should be a veterinarian” or “You should marry a farmer”. But I said “No” I don’t like farm life.

It’s interesting that as soon as I got away from the farm, that was all I talked about. (Just ask any friend from college, they’ll confirm it) God was calling me all through my life. “Get your eyes on Me and see what I’ll do!”

Secondly, Know that God is faithful.

10 I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 

 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.

Psalm 81:10-12

When I look back on my life, I see how God was working despite my plans. As the country song says, I thank God for unanswered prayers (or unwanted answers). I would be in a mess if God had answered some of those prayers the way I wanted them answered! And in spite of myself, God has protected me and provided my needs and even managed to get me to the places where He could use me.

in spite of myself, God has protected me and provided for my needs, and even managed to get me to the places where He could use me. Click To Tweet

In college, I began to own the beliefs of my parents as my own.

An example of God giving me over to my stubborn heart… It began way back as a child. I had a childhood sweetheart. There are a lot of sweet memories, but our lives went in separate directions. Little did I know, it really upset this young boy. He had great ideas for the two of us. When we got to college age, our paths crossed again and we dated for a while.

In looking back, I believe, maybe God got a little tired of hearing us fuss and complain, “I want a wife, I want a husband.” So He threw us back together to learn the hard way that He had other plans, that we were not for each other, nor were we neither one ready for a serious relationship.

Thirdly,  Put God first in your life and He’ll bless you beyond measure!

“You shall have no foreign god among you;

you shall not worship any god other than me.

13 “If my people would only listen to me

if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock, I would satisfy you.”

All these things that I thought I wanted to be were actually the ‘gods’ that I put before the one true God. I had to let them all go and once I did God began to bless me. All those “things” faded into the background and then He gave me the desires of my heart .. a wonderful husband and beautiful family, a 25-year ministry to children, and then a ministry to women. Read how we met here.

And it has been blessing after blessing as we have placed God in the center of everything.

A fun little note I like to share … remember I mentioned I did not want to marry a farmer and I did not want to marry a pastor.

Well… I married Pastor Farmer! …… hey! #IsaidYES!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

intentional

Getting Intentional With My Life

As a teenager, I remember many times saying to my father that I “intended” to do this or that. His response was always the same, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. It sounds a bit harsh but I believe there is a lot of truth in the statement. All the intentions in the world will not get the work done. There must be something more than intention.

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How Great Our Joy

Advent Hymn #3 ~ How Great Our Joy

Advent Hymn #3 – How Great Our Joy! Traditional German Carol

v. 1-2 by Theodore Baker

Theme: JOY

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Christmas Icons provided by Creative Market

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!

    For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation

    and draped me in a robe of righteousness.

I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding

    or a bride with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10

Perhaps you are not feeling it this Christmas.

Maybe you are more like Cindy Lou Who, saying, “Where are you Christmas?” Somehow the JOY has been lost. For many, it has been a dismal year. I hear of tragedy every week. Every day, my Open Doors app goes off with yet another person being persecuted. So how can there be joy?

Let’s take a closer look at this advent hymn, How Great our Joy!

Hymn of the Week How Great Our Joy

Maybe there is a clue here. This hymn speaks of the shepherds’ response to the Good News. Perhaps they can teach us about finding joy when all seems hopeless.

Verse 1

While by the sheep we watched at night,

Glad tidings brought an angel bright.

It was a quiet night. The shepherd-priests we learned of last week were settling down for another night. It had been over 400 years since they had even a word from God and the prophets. When would the Messiah come? Surely they had feelings of despair. “It’s never going to happen. We are stuck under the control of the Romans. At least they were allowing us to worship God and offer sacrifices in the temple. But When, When would the Messiah appear?

Emotions can turn on a dime. Imagine at one moment you are feeling hopeless; thinking it’s never going to happen. Nothing will ever change. I am stuck here in this trial forever. Then in a moment, everything changes. Imagine the excitement that came over the shepherds when they saw the angels and heard the Good News.

“Glory to God in highest heaven,

    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

Luke 2:14

The shepherd-priests didn’t stay stuck in their despair. They were filled with joy. They immediately said, “Let’s go see this thing…” After they saw Jesus, they were  “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.

How Great was their Joy!

Verse 2

There shall be born, so he did say,

In Bethlehem a Child today.

A Child in Bethlehem! These were keywords from the prophets. They were words of HOPE.

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,

    are only a small village among all the people of Judah.

Yet a ruler of Israel,

    whose origins are in the distant past,

    will come from you on my behalf.

Micah 5:2

They remembered the prophecy of Micah that a great ruler would come out of Bethlehem. Was it finally true? Had a child finally been born who would save them from tyranny? Hope was beginning to burst forth from the hearts. They just had to believe that it was so. After all, angels had come to tell them the news.

And again, Jeremiah had spoken of a Righteous King…

I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, [that is, someone in David’s line] a King who will reign wisely.

Jeremiah 23:5

This is another indication that salvation would come from the lowly town of Bethlehem; the City of David.

There was indeed HOPE RISING!

Verse 3

There shall the Child lie in a stall,

This Child who shall redeem us all.

A Promised Redeemer

Ah! Redemption! Whether you realize it or not, the thing your heart desires most is redemption. Just as God’s heart breaks because of the separation sin has caused, so our own hearts ache for restoration. Oh! How we need to be restored to God. From the beginning, at the Fall of Man in Genesis 3, God had promised a Redeemer. One who would restore man from the fall.

Then the Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this, you are cursed
    more than all animals, domestic and wild.
You will crawl on your belly,
    groveling in the dust as long as you live.
15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

Genesis 3:14-15

Revelation 12:9 confirms that God was speaking not just to the serpent but to Satan, himself.

This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.

And believers grasp on to the Apostle Paul’s statement to the Romans

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (Romans 16:20)

God promised Moses that He would redeem Israel for Himself. (Exodus 6:6-7 ) There was the short-term promise of redemption from Egypt. This promise was also the promise through Christ for all who would believe. (John 1:12, Galatians 4:4-5 ) And finally, the complete fulfillment will come when He returns to restore the world and set up His Kingdom. (Revelation 21 )

Now that GIFT will be JOY indeed!

Verse 4

This gift of God we’ll cherish well,
that ever joy our hearts shall fill.

This is the joy that doesn’t depend on happiness or circumstance. Things may be hard right now. But we can still have JOY in our hearts. Great Joy! We can be “overwhelmed with joy” as Isaiah was because we know that we know that God has done a great work in us.

I conclude with this from Romans 15:13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope”

Mandy

P.S. I came across this poem by Annie Johnson Flint recently. Had to share it.

For All the Morrows

Has the year brought sadness?
Joy is yet in store.
Has it given gladness?
Next year giveth more.
Let your Father measure
All your pain and care,
Let Him weigh the burden
That your heart must bear,
Sending light or shadow
As He deemeth best,
For in His sure wisdom
You can safely rest.
Peace for all the morrows,
Strength for all the days,
These shall be your portion
Through the New Year’s ways.

Annie Flint Johnson

RESOURCES

The Four-fold Promise of Redemption – The nationhood of Israel is tied together with connection to G‑d. – Contemporary Kabbalists (chabad.org)

How Great Our Joy | Hymnary.org

The First Promise of a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15) | Sharon Bible Presbyterian Church (wordpress.com)

22 Bible Verses about Joy – Uplifting Scripture Quotes (biblestudytools.com)

The Age of Innocence and Promise of a Redeemer – SLJ Institute

For All the Morrows by Annie Johnson Flint (homemakerscorner.com)