Archive for May, 2023

Pentecost Sunday 2023–“Happy Birthday, Church”

May 28, 2023

Today, May 28, 2023, Pentecost Sunday, many Christian believers joyfully say, “Happy Birthday, Church!”  Pentecost also corresponds to Shavuot, a Jewish festival of historical and agricultural importance, occurring fifty days after Passover when the Book of the Law was given to Moses. Notably, the Christian feast of Pentecost means “fifty” and takes place on the fiftieth day after Passover.

John the Baptist prophesied of the first Pentecost where Jesus Christ would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  Jesus Christ ended his earthly ministry with a promise to his disciples that they would be baptized with Holy Spirit, far beyond John’s baptism in water. He told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the fulfillment of the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, from whom they would receive power to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. After Jesus’ ascension to heaven, they returned to Jerusalem to wait to be endowed with power from on high.

On the Day of Pentecost, just as promised, “a rushing mighty wind” filled the house, and tongues of fire came to rest on each of them and all were filled with the Holy Spirit.  After the coming of the Holy Spirit, the disciples and those who were added to the Church daily went forth to tell the world. This was the beginning of the Church as we know it.

The fire of Pentecost fell and ultimately transformed the lives of those present, and they in turn transformed the world with their witness of the saving grace and power of the Holy Spirit. Since that time, revival fires have burned brilliantly for a season and then subsided and lay smoldering in the frigid dark nights of those who have lost their way.

Paul R. Dienstberger describes the circumstances out of which revivals have been birthed. “…[T]here appeared to be cycles like the book of Judges. First, a period of spiritual fervor and blessing, then a falling away, then a revival of spiritual activity, then religious regression, and the cycles continued to repeat the pattern.” In their desperation, while at what the Psalmist declares is “their wit’s end,” the people cry out to God. Such heartfelt cries have gone out at various times for God to “send another Pentecost.”

At various times and seasons the fire of “another Pentecost” was reignited. One such revival that swept through a nation and ultimately spread abroad was the Welsh Revival of the early 1900s, and parallel to that occurrence was the Azusa Street revival in America in 1906 and the years following leading up to the Jesus Movement of the 60s. This move of God is depicted in the recently released film, “Jesus Revolution.” Since that time believers have been seeking to catch the wave of the next approaching revival movement. As the Twentieth Century drew to a close, various prophetic words spoke of another move of God, a coming “spiritual tsunami” that would dwarf all preceding movements.

In discussing revival movements, A.T. Pierson notes,

“There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.” In light of that statement, not only America but the entire world has been united in prayer in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The recent prayer movements have brought together churches, pastors, leaders, and individuals across the globe to pray for miraculous healing of our lands from the coronavirus and a spiritual awakening among the nations. Today, May 28, 2023, is not only Pentecost Sunday but also the Global Day of Prayer for Jerusalem and the Nations.

Here is an  original psalm of celebration for the Birthday of the Church:

The Song of Pentecost

Acts 2:1-4

Those with ears to hear seek your song of grace.

With no song to soothe the soul, all is lost.

Your melody makes life a quiet place

When the heart sings the song of Pentecost.

There in Eden’s garden fell the first frost

Where stillborn silence chilled the human race.

The purest harmony with God was lost.

Those with ears to hear seek your song of grace.

Voices of patriarchs could not replace

The inner melody from God.  At most

Their sound was an echo, only a trace.

With no song to soothe the soul, all is lost.

With the sign of blood upon the doorpost

Moses led Israel toward the promised place.

The lyrics of the Law were their guidepost.

Your melody makes life a quiet place.

Man hears life’s sublime music in the grace

By Jesus Christ, who died and rose to post

A higher law that death cannot erase

When the heart sings the song of Pentecost.

Sound of a rushing mighty wind: signpost,

The prelude to the promised song of grace.

With the outpouring of the Holy Ghost,

The song of Pentecost can now embrace

Those with ears to hear.

We close with “Prepare the Way”  featuring Bethel Music

In case you forget, here’s a reminder:

May 18, 2023

The Verse of the Day for May 18, 2023, on comes from the Book of Hebrews where we find a reminder of who God is not as well as who God is:

Hebrews 6:10 (New Living Translation):

For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.

The opening phrase makes known that God is not unjust. On the contrary, God is just. One translation of the first part of Hebrews 6:10 states, “God is fair . . .” The Psalmist declares, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

Psalm 145:17 (AMP) notes:

The Lord is [unwaveringly] righteous in all His ways and gracious and kind in all His works.

Deuteronomy 32:4 (NKJV) says this:

He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.

The Verse of the Day goes on to say “For God is not unjust so as to forget. . .” How well we have come to learn that God does not forget, except He does not remember our sins and shortcomings, as Hebrews 10:17 (AMP) reminds us that in certain areas of our lives God has “selective amnesia”:

“And their sins and their lawless acts I will remember no more [no longer holding their sins against them].”

Hebrews 8:12 (AMP) reiterates this message:’

“For I will be merciful and gracious toward their wickedness, and I will remember their sins no more.”

Though God does not remember our sins and iniquity, He is mindful of us and does remember this:

He has given food to those who fear Him [with awe-inspired reverence]; He will remember His covenant forever.

Ezekiel 16:60 (AMP) makes known God’s covenant relationship with His people:

[The Covenant Remembered] “Nevertheless, I will remember [with compassion] my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.

As believers we endeavor to serve God and minister to one another, but we must remember this: Our efforts may not always be recognized nor appreciated. Those whom we serve in love may not always remember what we say and do, but we are assured that God never forgets. Not only is God, our Father, faithful and just, but He is also a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

The Verse of the Day inspired this original psalm:

A Reminder: God Is Faithful

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love,   

which you have shown toward his name,        

in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister.

 Hebrews 6:10

The good deeds that you have done may not be extolled

When the fervor of God’s love has long since grown cold.

Some quickly forget all the good that you have done

And fail to recall that you were the only one

To answer the call, seek the Lord, and intercede.

Time after time you were the one to meet the need.

When others were busy and chose to walk away,

You were there and remained in the thick of the fray.

In dark times when words of thanks are distant memories,

Recall that God knows all things, for He alone sees

Your labor and saves all the tears that you have shed.

Our Father is ever mindful of how you serve,

And He shall reward you beyond all you deserve.

As you strive to finish your course, have no regret:

Our God is faithful–He will never forget.

This medley from the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir musically reinforces the message of the Verse of the Day: He’s Been Faithful and Great is Thy Faithfulness:

Not just on Mother’s Day

May 14, 2023

Special Mother’s Day blessings to a special lady:

Lady Brenda, BJ,

My beloved Brenda Joyce,

The wife of my youth in whom I rejoice

On Mother’s Day and every day, I thank God for you.

Though I may not express my love in every way,

Read between the lines and hear me when I say,

I thank God for you on Mother’s Day and every day.

The Prayer of Jabez personally applied

May 2, 2023

This morning as  I continued my daily reading plan to read through the Bible in one year, I read a familiar passage from 1 Chronicles 4:9-10: The Prayer of Jabez.

There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. 10 He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.

As I finished the reading, I thought of lyrics to an original song composed more than twenty years ago:

The Prayer of Jabez

(I Chronicles 4:9-10)

Jabez called on the God of Israel,

And so I call on You as well

And pray the prayer that Jabez prayed.

He touched the heart of God when he said:

Oh, that you would bless me indeed,

Oh, that you would bless me indeed,

Oh, that you would bless me indeed,

And enlarge my coast,

And enlarge my coast,

And enlarge my coast,

And that your hand might be with me,

And that your hand might be with me,

And that your hand might be with me,

And that you would keep me from evil,

And that you would keep me from evil,

And that you would keep me from evil,

That it may not grieve me.

That it may not grieve me.

That it may not grieve me.

And as God granted Jabez all he asked,

So He will give us our heart’s desires

If we walk in faith and keep holding fast

To the promises of God,

To the promises of God,

To the promises of God.

The closing refrain also brought to mind a verse that I continually apply when reading the Old Testament: Romans 15:4 (New Living Translation):

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

The celebrated passage from 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 also became the inspiration for the best-selling study by Bruce Wilkinson: The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life.

We conclude with a musical rendition of this well-known prayer by Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers: