Day of pentecost

Pentecost ~ God’s Spirit Poured Out

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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

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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

5 Steps Toward Beginning a Great Day

For those of us that suffer from the effects of chronic pain, it is often difficult to get going in the morning. I am often tempted to lay in the bed and let the day pass me by. But I am learning how to get my day started on the right foot. Let me share 5 steps toward beginning a great day. I preface this to say that I totally understand that some days are worse than others and I only encourage you to try.

S – T – R – E – T – C – H and B – R – E – A – T – H – E

I am thankful for a good stretch. When I first was dealt this terrible pain, I could not move, up or down, roll over, sit up, you name it. Any movement at all caused a debilitating contraction of pain across my lower back. So there was no stretching going on here. But now that I have learned to manage my pain, I am grateful for every stretch. I do several stretches right from the bed and others throughout the day. Identify your points of pain and look up some gentle stretches that will help release stiffness. If you ignore this, you may end up completely tight and unable to move. Here’s a place to start…

Exercises to Reduce Chronic Pain

MEDITATE

This begins right where we left off. I’m not much of a Yoga fan, but I do take in some good deep breaths every morning. I spend some time listing things that I am grateful for. You may be in a lot of pain or there may be a lot of problems in your life, but there is always something we can be grateful for. Get a small notebook and start a gratitude list. Then if you have a particularly bad morning, you can go back and remind yourself of all the good things in your life.

I then spend a little time reading and meditating on the Holy Scriptures. I start with Proverbs. There are 31 chapters. One for every day of the month. You might relate to how things haven’t changed much over the centuries. Secondly, I turn to the Psalms. It was suggested to me once that I should read a Psalm every day. Honestly, it’s a great idea. I am always encouraged because they often start out with the trouble and the psalmist will end up praising God. Now that is a great way to get the day going!

[Actually, now I’m reading 5 Psalms. It only takes a few moments. I start with the day of the month. ie today is the 16th, so I read Psalm 16. Then I add 30 and read Psalm 46, then 76, then 106, then 136. This seems to add some variety to the reading. The only time I switch it up is that I save Psalm 119 for the 31st day of the month. This Psalm is long, so I give it its own day.]

There are plenty of great apps available for this time of reading if you prefer something else.

First Five – an awesome app offered by Proverbs 31. As it indicates, It only takes 5 minutes to read.

BGEA – You can’t go wrong with Billy Graham’s devotions!

Check out some other possibilities here.

HYDRATE

Get started with your hydration goal by downing 2 8-ounce glasses of water right off the bat. I take my medications with the first one with apple cider vinegar; the second, with your medications. Why Apple Cider Vinegar? Because it has so many benefits including:

  • stabilizes blood sugar levels
  • increases body metabolism
  • decreases your appetite
  • improves digestion
  • Keeps osteoporosis at bay
  • constitipation relief
  • helps overcome fatigue
  • reduces inflammation
  • detoxifies your liver
  • read here for more

Start small with the vinegar, maybe just a capful. Add a squeeze of lemon juice or even a bit of liquid stevia if you can’t deal with the taste. It is definitely an acquired taste. And do this first before your glass of clear water so that you rinse the acid from your teeth.

MAKE YOUR BED

5 steps toward a great day
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Seriously, take a couple of minutes and make your bed. It will help you sleep better at night and you will be more rested tomorrow. It adds to your stretching routine as well. Another note: When it the last time you wash your bedsheets? Once a week is advised to remove germs and dirt.

BREAK A SWEAT

It only takes ten minutes to get your heart rate up and challenged. Dr. Livinggood [yep, his real name], suggests ten minutes of Tabata. This is a high-intensity exercise, but high-intensity is relative. You do what you can do. Great for your heart! Here are the videos I use to help me get going without going to the gym…

Silver Sneakers for those on Medicare

Faithful FInishlines – {affiliate} a great place to get lots of weight loss help. Here’s a free 5-day challenge

Actually, just go to YouTube and type in Tabata.

Of course, you could just take a brisk walk.

CONCLUSION

All this takes less than an hour and you will be ready for a great day!

Mandy

BONUS

– If you are married, you might like to add this to your morning routine! – Make Love To Your Spouse!

2022 Healthy Spiritual Habits: Part 3 Prayer

Welcome back to Time in the Word! Two weeks ago we started our 2022 Healthy Spiritual Habits adventure talking about Bible Reading and Bible Study. You can catch part 1 here and part 2 here. Last week, in part 2, we tackled learning how to be a student of the Bible. A great way to study the Bible is to use the S.O.A.P. method. We coved S, O, and A. Today we will cover P, for prayer.

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2022 Healthy Spiritual Habits: Part 2

Welcome back to Time in the Word! Last week we started our 2022 Healthy Spiritual Habits adventure talking about Bible Reading and Bible Study. You can catch part 1 here. Today we will take a deeper dive into reading and studying the Bible by discussing a few “helps” you can use to make your time enjoyable and enriching.

We are privileged to be blessed with multiple Bibles in our homes. At one time having your own Bible was unheard of. Being able to read was in itself, a luxury, afforded to the wealthy. Many European churches chained the Bible to the pulpit; if you wanted to read it, if you could read, it was to be read right there.

The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Bible as THE BEST SELLING NON-FICTION BOOK. The Bible has its own rich history that goes behind its age, authors, and development.

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2022 Healthy Spiritual Habits

Welcome to 2022 Time in the Word! I’m glad that you’ve dropped in and I look forward to the adventure that awaits. Whether our lives in 2022 will be white water rafting or floating on the lazy river, we’ve got Jesus to see us through. I thought it was important to get 2022 off on the right foot and form some healthy spiritual habits.

This time of year we hear about “healthy eating” and “forming healthy eating habits”. I think emphasizing healthy spiritual habits needs to be done as well. Healthy spiritual habits are key to growing spiritually. Without spiritual growth, we become stagnant and lose our spiritual edge.

In this series we will focus on:

  1. Bible reading and Bible study
  2. Prayer
  3. Living the life
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Avoiding Spiritual Drift

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 6:19-20

Drifting from safety

When my children were small, my greatest fear was taking them shopping. My son stayed right by my side, but my daughter was the curious type. She wanted to see everything. And it would only take a moment for her to wander away from me. She was a tiny thing and could get easily hidden within a rack of clothes. I would be frantic.

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How Are Christians the Salt of the Earth?

Jesus said [with confidence] {my words}

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Matthew 5:13-16
Salt of the Earth
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Salt

The shaker on our table is what we bring to mind, but in Jesus’ day, salt was a valuable commodity. It was sometimes even used to pay one’s salary. Jesus called the disciples salt because they were as important to the Gospel as salt was to the society. Have you ever eaten a French fry without salt? Just a little salt makes a world of difference!

Impact

Consider the impact the disciples made on the world once they were anointed with God’s power through His Holy Spirit. Just twelve men initiated worldwide change as a result of God’s power! (Acts 2)

Savor

As powerful as salt is, it can lose its savor if it is mixed with other additives. RealSalt.com says salt will never go bad, but common table salt has agents added which degrade over time causing the salt to lose its savor. Society in Jesus’ day was mixed with many sinful impurities. If Christ-followers were not careful, their lives would be overrun with the effects of sinful choices.

Preservation

This leads to a need for preservation! In ancient times, salt was added to prevent food from spoiling. When the disciples began spreading the Gospel, they were keeping the world from decaying without the Hope offered through Jesus’ offer of forgiveness. Salt can go both ways. If we allow society to rub off on us, we will lose our savor; but if we rub off on society, we hold out the life-giving freedom of Christ! 

How can you and I effectively be Salt of the Earth?

By choosing to engage those around us with the hope of Christ! If we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and allowed the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our lives, we HAVE Christ’s power in us to be salt to the world and we will WANT to season the world. 

Examine Your Heart

If you don’t have the deep desire to be a Salt of the Earth disciple, it would be wise to follow the apostle Paul’s teaching and examine your hearts “to see whether we are in the faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6) 

Have you ever known a person who rubbed you the wrong way? Comparatively, have you known someone who always blesses a room when they enter? This is how we season the world. A preacher once asked, “If you record yourself, what would you see/hear?” This challenged me and still does, to take special care in what I do and I say, making sure I’m surrendering myself to the Spirit’s power alive in me. 

Showing love, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness is how believers share their Salt with the Earth. (Ephesians 4:29-32)

Let’s begin our days with King David’s prayer,

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord. My Rock and my Redeemer.” 

*excerpted from my writings at Gracefully Truthful

click the image below to read about “Being a Light to the World”

gracefully truthful
www.gracefullytruthful.com/blog

Sources

Enduring Word Commentary by David Guzik

7 Steps Toward Regaining Your Strength

But God is my strength. Oh, what a promise! I’m writing devotionals this month on scriptures that use the phrase, “BUT GOD”. It’s been an awesome journey. You can follow along by subscribing in the pop-up.

god is my strength

I’m ten years and going into my journey with chronic pain. (Read my story here) Not far into this journey, God brought this scripture to life for me. This verse sounds good when you are healthy and living well, but have a turn of events, and this verse comes alive.

Some would be tempted to turn away from God when struck with struggles that seem too hard to bear. But I found greater hope in God because of my pain.

David said, “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.”

Psalm 119:71

I laid flat on my back for over a month. And after that, I was only moving about because of the large doses of steroids I was taking until receiving my diagnosis. I spent much of that time reading the scriptures and falling more deeply in love with my Lord.

Indeed I found that God was the only thing I needed. He was and is my strength and my song.

Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Psalm 34:8

Steps Toward Gaining Your Strength

regaining yoru strength
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Accept Your Weakness

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10


Just like Paul, I had several conversations with God about removing my pain. And, just like Paul, God said, “I am enough”. We talked many times about my busy-ness “for Him” and how I had forgotten to let Him lead in my ministry. He asked me, “If I take away your pain, do you think you would keep your eyes on Me?” Truthfully, I had to admit, probably not.

Seek God

Beautiful girls and strong young men will grow faint in that day, thirsting for the Lord’s word.

Amos 8:13


But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:4


I found I now had plenty of time to read and I spent much of this time reading the Word of God. That summer I signed up for a study of Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is all about the importance of God’s Word. This verse spoke out clearly to me,

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn your statutes.

Psalm 119:71

Take Refuge in Him – Rest

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Matt 11:28-30

My pain and suffering gave me a chance to rest. I needed it desperately. And through it, I was given His rest.


Hope in the Lord

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.

    They will soar high on wings like eagles.

run and not grow weary.

    They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 –

This was always one of my favorite verses. Perhaps because I struggled with fatigue long before we ever realized there was a health problem. But this verse became, even more, real to me as I struggled with my illness. My hope in Him alone has given me the strength to live each day

Look for Joy

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

Nehemiah 8:10

We often think that the blessings of life are the good things like family, success, lots of stuff. But I have learned that if we take advantage of the troubled times, they become blessings in disguise because they draw us closer to God.

Not too far into this journey with pain, I was introduced to Ann Voskamp and her story with depression. Someone challenged her to start making a list of 1000 blessings. In accepting this challenge she journaled each day at least three blessings she found from God. Soon her depression had taken a back seat to joy.

It’s true, you know, laughter is good medicine. When we start focusing on all the good God has done for us, we find joy in the journey, even when it’s a hard journey.

Laughter is Good MEdicine

Prayer

King David said, “On the day I called, You answered me; You emboldened me and strengthened my soul.”

Psalm 138:3.

They say that talking about it is very therapeutic. Now if only we would realize that if we talked to the Lord about it and listened to His answers we could probably save ourselves a lot of money spent on counselors.


Philippians 4:6-7 says Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Praise God

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him— my father’s God, and I will exalt him!

Exodus 15:2; Psalm 59:17;

O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.

Psalm 59:17;

I know sometimes, it is very difficult to praise God. Our words seem to just get stuck in your throat. But trust me, praising God and singing to Him will lift your spirits. If you can’t do it, at least play some praise music and turn it up. Soon you will find yourself singing along.

Connect with Others

Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith.

Acts 15:32

There is nothing better than connecting with other believers. That is why we are instructed to come together to worship.

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Hebrews 10:25


Meeting together is difficult in the midst of this pandemic; however, most of us have cell phones and internet access. Be sure you are regularly attending church and visiting with fellow believers. There are thousands of opportunities to participate in worship if your own church doesn’t offer its services online. My husband and I have really enjoyed the preaching of Greg Laurie at Harvest at Home.

On top of that, connect individually with fellow believers to encourage one another. If you are lonely, for heaven’s sake, pick up your phone and call someone. They might need some encouragement from you and in the process, you will find yourself encouraged and strengthened.

My blog has connected me with so many believers and also believers that suffer from chronic illness. I have met some wonderful friends and we encourage one another regularly. You may not have a blog, but we have so many social media opportunities. Get on one of them and start commenting on every else’s posts. I’ll list some groups on Facebook that uplift me.

Strengthened in Christ,

Mandy

Facebook Groups that Encourage


intercede

Intercessory Prayer is the Spiritual Warfare Frontlines

Have you ever known someone who could really touch heaven?

If you had a need, who would you ask to pray? My mother is like that. When Mike and I got engaged, we decided to take his two young boys and go to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving to meet my family. Mom thought how nice it would be for these young Georgia boys to experience snow. So she prayed … and boy, did it snow! You can read about another time my mom prayed and probably saved my sister’s life in my memoirs blog, Raised in a Barn.

While these stories of intercessory prayers are very good, I am also reminded of two precious ladies at our last church. Mrs. Mae Thomas was a prayer warrior. She kept a notebook where she recorded everyone she prayed for. And she recorded the answers too. (By the way, it is a wonderfully encouraging way to remind yourself of the goodness of God.) When she passed away and the family closed up her home, They found stacks of prayer notebooks with years worth of prayers and answers.

Prayer Warriors

There was another precious lady in the history of that same church. I never knew her but the people still spoke warmly of this precious prayer warrior. It is told that she had a table where she prayed and studied. On that table, was written all the names of people she had prayed for. So many that had turned away from God were pleased to later find their name written on that table.

These are just a few instances that prove the importance of intercessory prayer. Sometimes, we need to get really serious with God to bring people to Him. It can’t be just a flippant sentence, “Oh God, save so-and-so”. Intercessory prayer is found on the frontlines of spiritual warfare.

Intercessory Prayer is found on the frontlines of Spiritual Warfare. #prayer #intercession Click To Tweet

The Importance of Intercessory Prayer

We are instructed in the Bible to intercede for others. One can find many verses on intercession but the one that comes to my mind first is

 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

1 Timothy 2:1-2
interceding for others

You know, as I read this verse again, I find it interesting that it says not only to pray for them but to give thanks for them. Oh my, when you think of the people that need salvation, typically, we may not really be that thankful for them. I know from experience though that being thankful can make a world of difference. You know how prayer changes things, most of the time, it is our own hearts that change.

Prayer changes things, most of the time, it is our own hearts that change. #prayer Click To Tweet

OK, that was just an aside. Let’s get back to Intercessory prayer.

Come Prepared for Intercession

We do not stride into the presence of God.

Dennis Kinlaw

I recently received an article from Titus Women and it struck a chord with me. I want to share part of it with you now…

When we come to a time of intercession, we must come prepared to be in the presence of God Himself. As Dennis Kinlaw said, “We do not stride into the presence of God.” There must be heart preparation and humility. As we prepare for lifting others in prayer, here are some means of preparation for our own hearts.
 
“Lord Jesus, we ask You for these things as we come before You to pray for others.” 

Checklist for Intercession

  • A Clean Heart: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II Cor.7:1
  • A Free HeartLet all bitterness and wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind…forgiving even as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph 4:31-22
  • A Forgiving Heart“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness spring up causes trouble and by it, many be defiled.” Hebrews 12: 15
  • A Right Spirit“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51: 10, 11
  • A Yielded Will“Teach me to do Your will, for you are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” Psalm 143: 10
  • A Loyal Affection: “You alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing; you guard all that is mine.”  Psalm 16: 5 (NLT)

*copied from Titus Women

These characteristics certainly describe the aforementioned women!



A Challenge to Intercede

I remember once being challenged to think of the greatest “Lost case” you know. The one that you think will never come to Christ; never get their hearts right and straight on the path to heaven. Then intercede deeply for them every day. You might be surprised by what God will do.

Will you join me today to pray and intercede for one person in your life? If you can’t think of anyone, how about one of the presidential candidates? Or the other myriads of people on Capitol Hill? (See 1 Timothy 2:1-2 above)

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

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