Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

These men are drunk

Day of Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

There were Jews living in Jerusalem, religious men who had come from every country in the world. When they heard this noise, a large crowd gathered. They were all excited, because each one of them heard the believers talking in his native language. In amazement and wonder they exclaimed, “These people who are talking like this are Galileans! How is it then that we all hear them talking in our own native languages?” (Acts 2: 1-8).

Amazed and confused they kept asking each other, “What does this mean?”

But others made fun of the believers, saying, “These men are drunk.” (Acts 2: 12-13).

Peter’s message

Then Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles (together with Matthias, who replaced Judas) and in a loud voice began to speak to the crowd: “Fellow Jews, and all of you who live in Jerusalem, listen to me and let me tell you what this means. These are not drunk, as you can suppose; it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. Instead, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about:

‘This is what I will do in the last days, God says.

I will pour out my Spirit on everyone.

Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message;

Your young men will see visions, and your old men will have dreams.

Yes, even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my spirit in those days, and they will proclaim my message.

I will perform miracles in the sky above, and wonders on the earth below.

There will be blood, fire, and thick smoke;

The sun will be darkened, and the moon will turn red as blood,

Before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.

And then, whoever calls up to the Lord for help will be saved.’

Listen to these words fellow Israelites! Jesus of Nazareth was a man whose divine authority was clearly proven to you by all the miracles and wonders which God performed through Him. You yourselves know this, for it happened here among you.

In accordance with His own plan God had already decided that Jesus would be handed over to you; and you killed Him by letting sinful men crucify Him. But God raised Him from death, setting Him free from its power, because it was impossible that death should hold Him prisoner.”

Significance of Pentecost

Sunday marked the 50th and last day of Easter. The word Pentecost’ is an English translation of the Greek word ‘pentekostos’, which means fifty. In the church it’s the commemoration of the day God poured His Holy Spirit down upon His first followers, and the day about three thousand new members were converted into the group.

Holy Spirit

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised His followers that He would send them a helper. On the day of Pentecost He fulfilled that promise. The Holy Spirit, as seen in the book of Acts, came down, and empowered the disciples to go out there and spread the gospel of the Lord.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the power of the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to everyone for their particular service.

The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all. The same Spirit gives one person a message full of wisdom, while to another person the same Spirit gives a message full of knowledge. One and the same Spirit gives faith to one person, while to another person He gives the power to heal.

The Spirit gives one person the power to work miracles; to another the gift of speaking God’s message; and to yet another, the ability to tell the difference between gifts that come from the Spirit and those that do not.

To one person He gives the ability speak in strange tongues, and to another He gives the ability to explain what is said. But it is one and the same Spirit who does all this; as He wishes, He gives a different gift to each person.

One body in Christ

Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it’s made up of different parts. In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into one body by the same Spirit, and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink. (Corinthians 12: 3-13).

Peter’s message on Pentecost to the people who had gathered (and what each one of us should reflect on) was, “Each one of you must turn away from his sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God’s gift, the Holy Spirit.

For God’s promise was made to you and your children, and to all who are far away-all whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” (Acts 2: 38-39).

 

 

 

The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Ascension of Jesus

Last Sunday-1st June-was the seventh Sunday of Easter. If anyone hasn’t wished their friends/family a happy Easter, they only have a few hours left to do it because this is the final week of Easter. Forty days since the resurrection of Christ ended last week Thursday, 29th May, which was the actual Ascension Day, but as it was a weekday, the solemnity was celebrated on Sunday.

In the Acts of the Apostles, a continuation of the Gospel according to Luke, where he-Luke- tells about the work of the apostles, guided by the Holy Spirit, he starts of by writing to Theophilus:

Dear Theophilus,

In my first book I wrote about all the things that Jesus did and taught from the time He began His work until the day He was taken up to heaven. Before He was taken up, He gave instructions by the power of the Holy Spirit to the men He had chosen as His apostles.

Prove beyond doubt Jesus rose from the dead

For forty days after His death He appeared to them many times in ways that proved beyond doubt that He was alive. They saw Him, and He talked with them about the Kingdom of God. And when they came together He gave this order, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised. John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

The ascension of Jesus

When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked Him, “Lord, will you at this time give the kingdom back to Israel?”

Jesus told them, “The occasions and times are set by my Father’s own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After saying this, He was taken up to Heaven as they watched Him and a cloud hid Him from their sight.

They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as He went away, when two men, dressed in white suddenly stood beside them and said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw Him go to heaven. (Acts 1: 1-11).

Message of hope

The ascension of Jesus is a story of hope. It fills all those who believe in Him with the hope of being reunited with Him one day. He went up to prepare a place for all those who obediently live by His teachings.

Before He went up, He instructed His disciples to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. We’re called to be evangelists, and that doesn’t mean we should all be ordained priests/church ministers. Anyone can spread the word by showing acts of love and kindness to all, whether they believe in God or not. It’s not our place to choose who deserves to be loved or not.

As we wait for Pentecost, for God’s promised gift-the Holy Spirit-to come down upon us, we should pray, asking Him to fill us with His strength, so that we can see things as He wants us to; and for His empowerment, so we can live by His commandments, loving and serving Him.

Of Christianity and voicing opinions

speak up

Of my parents, the one who seems to understand how my mind works more is mom, not because she always gives me time to explain myself, but because when we’re not arguing we have a tight relationship. Even when I’m being purely hormonal she’ll even try to pacify me so I don’t throw a fit; but that’s mostly when she knows she’s the one at fault. Don’t mistake me for a brat though; I’m many things but that ain’t one of them.

I don’t get to spend much time with dad, even when we’re both home he’ll probably be in the living room reading the paper and I’ll be in a different part of the house doing something else. Most of the time we get to ‘converse’ is when he’s drunk and we’re arguing, our voices raised, because that’s just how it is. The only difference is that it’s more of a monologue because he doesn’t let anyone else speak when he’s ‘airing his grievances’.

Naturally, I have this policy, ‘If I’m not getting a chance to talk, I won’t listen either’. I don’t always practice it in every occasion because sometimes the best option is to just listen, but when it’s about matters of voicing opinions, I just find it unfair if I have to listen to someone going on and on about what they feel about something yet they deny me the chance to share my opinion. I believe it’s called a dialogue because it consists of atleast two people. If it’s a monologue, I won’t be a party to it.

If one was to ask my dad, he’d say I’m a very opinionated person. I find that ironic, given that he hardly gives me the chance to talk. I’m guessing he knows that because he finds the most trouble trying to shut me up.

One thing I particularly find trouble with is a statement he’s repeated severally, “Yet you go to church every Sunday.” He gives me the impression that just because I’m religious, I should be submissive, letting him get away with things anyone would consider repulsive. I’m a Christian, true, and my faith is something I take very seriously because that’s what my life is founded on; nonetheless, I feel there’s one thing people misconstrue. Being a Christian doesn’t mean one doesn’t get offended; being a Christian doesn’t mean one should be denied the chance to voice their opinion; my faith doesn’t automatically gag me; it only means, by being a Christian I should practice more self-control, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit, when dealing with people.

My faith in God doesn’t mean I should be submissive, watching wrong things happen stoically because I don’t want to step on people’s toes; it just means I should be more understanding; I should learn to tell the difference-when to remain silent and when to act, but by no means should I let people walk all over me just because I’m a Christian. I would even feel like I’m letting God down, because I believe He, in His mercy, has given me the wisdom to discern when something is wrong or right.

Why God will say “NO”

God says no

The first post I ever posted on this blog was how to pray. It wasn’t a ‘mistake’ that I chose to give a guideline on how to conduct personal prayers when clearly my blog is all about memoirs and personal opinions (the way I see it). It is something I did, to honour the presence of God in my life, because my life-who I am-revolves around Him. My thoughts; the essence of who I am is based on my faith. So when all’s said and done, everything comes down to my relationship with God.

In ‘how to pray’, I mentioned that one shouldn’t expect immediate results as that could dampen one’s faith if a prayer isn’t answered immediately. One crucial fact a person should always have in mind is that God’s answer to our prayers could be YES, WAIT or NO.

In Luke 11: 1-4, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray- The Our Father Prayer. It is basically a prayer that’s short and precise. Then Jesus went ahead to tell them how they should be persistent in their prayer; in Luke 11:5-13 He says to them, “Suppose one of you should go to a friend’s house at midnight and say to him, ‘friend let me borrow three loaves of bread. A friend of mine who is on a trip has just come to my house and I don’t have food for him!’

And I suppose your friend should answer from inside, ‘Don’t bother me!’ The door is already locked and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ Well, what then? I tell you that even if he will not get up and give you the bread because you are his friend, he will get up and give you everything you need because you are not ashamed to keep on asking.

And so I say to you: Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks will receive, and he who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks.

Would any of you who are fathers give your son a snake when he asks for fish? Or would you give him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will the Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

Jesus teaches us to pray with persistence and with hope. Our prayers will be answered; that’s His promise. One would wonder then, why even after all this-Jesus encouraging people to ask, and they shall receive… would God the Father still deny us some of the things we ask for? Why would God say NO?

God is infinitely wise; He’s omniscient; if He knows whatever one is asking for will bring them harm, He will say NO. He loves us too much to give us things He knows would hurt us.

If one is asking for a problem e.g. an illness, anxiety, financial problems, etc. to be taken away and God knows that in His mysterious ways the particular problem will help one achieve salvation. For instance, in Matthew 26: 39 when Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane praying, shortly before He was arrested He threw Himself face downward on the ground, and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what You want”.

He was asking God not to allow Him to go through the intense pain and torture He knew awaited Him-it had been written in the scriptures. But even though He is God’s only begotten Son, The Father didn’t grant Him that prayer; because He knew His Son would achieve so much more in death. To date, we celebrate the fact He conquered death; it gives us hope. If He didn’t die, we would be telling an entirely different story.

God will say NO, if one isn’t doing much to make the situation better. If a student is praying for success in their examinations, they should revise; if a farmer is praying for an abundant harvest, he must sow…one should give God something to work with. Our faith must be in sync with our actions.

God will say NO, if one isn’t being persistent in prayer. Jesus teaches us to pray without ceasing; the prayer might not be answered instantly, but eventually it will be. If one wants something, they should pray for it in faith, believing that they will find what they seek. Sometimes it is difficult to hold on, but one should keep the faith. In the bible, the story of Isaac’s birth, Samuel’s birth, Jacob’s marriage to Rachel… this stories are all about faith and persistence…