Acts 2: 1-4
When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.
God wants to set us on fire for Him- to be living sacrifices– holy and pleasing to HIM. ( Romans 12) The disciples had willing and obedient hearts-do we? Are we able to lay down our all and take up God? If not, why not?
( and if you need help-please feel free to contact me- I’m always here to listen, to pray, to encourage, equip, empower you to move forward with God. I say this because many, many, many folks have helped me lay my stuff down-too many to count. We are the body of Christ-here to help each other in our walk with God. I truly desire to see people walk into the plan that God has for their lives. Sometimes it takes others to help us see….)
When we do lay it all down- it will cause us to cry out and say, “ O God, Creator of the Universe, rend my heart, create in me a clean heart, OH MY GOD!”
We cannot fully receive God while carrying other things. We MUST empty ourselves at the foot of the cross-make our heart, soul and mind totally and wholly HIS. Don’t look back, don’t listen to the naysayers and forge ahead with holy determination. It’s between YOU and GOD.
I thank God for the examples of faith in Hebrews, but more so in my life, today, right here and right now. I have many awesome examples of faith in my life. I have watched many of them change from the inside out as they have followed God. One of the things I have been taught is holy determination. To set my eyes on Christ and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of what God is telling you. Only YOU know what God is telling you. Other people think they know and want to veer you off of God’s path, but you must listen to GOD and not the world. Put the horse blinders on, perk up your ears and stay alert to danger. Don’t look to the right or to the left. If you’ve ever ridden a horse you will understand what I mean. ( and if you haven’t-try it and you’ll understand! LOL)
One of the best pieces of advice I have gotten from all of my friends of faith is this:
“who cares what people think? What does GOD think?”
I think that’s how Peter and John were thinking too…
Acts 2: 38-39
38-39 Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.”
Peter said we MUST change our life. No holding back on God. The only way to get Him IN is to let your SELF out. Let it go, scream , cry, weep, wail and lay it down, argue, question, ask, forgive, turn around, and love until it hurts. Remember when Abraham laid Isaac down on the altar? THAT is what WE must do with our stuff. Our homes, husbands, children, families, finances, ministry, our church, our favorite pastor, and even friendships. We have to want GOD more than anything ELSE. It is a yearning that dwells deep inside of us for people to see and know WHO the LIVING GOD is.
When you take a risk on God everything changes.
Risky business is scary isn’t it? Just ask Peter and John! Well, the promise is that God always wants what is GOOD for us AND He will not harm us.
Jeremiah 29: 10-14
10-11 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
12 “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.
13-14 “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.
and in Genesis-after every day of creation what did God say?
…”and God saw that is was good…” and after He created man He said what? “ And God saw it was VERY GOOD!”
Other people might try to harm us or tell us we are crazy for “doing that-“ for listening and following God. When you hear God telling you to do something-no matter how crazy it is- you need listen, trust and obey.
Pastor Pam and I have been talking about the church at Acts and what it means to be bold and take a risk and what that might look like. Pam is a woman walking in the middle of God’s heart and God has planted bold prayers inside of her heart from His. She has taught me much about prayer. When she prays I feel the power behind it- the Spirit of the Lord.
Well, last night, she preached while I painted. I couldn’t get the picture in my mind onto the canvas in the short time we had so this morning I re-painted what I was seeing. I was awakened at 3:30 am. I got up and met God in the Word and we talked. The early morning hours are best for me to think and read and pray and even paint!
Yesterday was a day filled with ministry. I cannot even attempt to put it all into words right now and maybe never will. However I think what has happened is that it came out on the canvas at 4 am! Woohoo!
Put simply- we are called to start fires for God.
Matt. 28:18-20 (MSG)
18-20 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
We are also called to fan the flame and encourage, equip and empower people to walk into the covenant heart of the Father.
2 Timothy 1: 5-7 ( MSG)
5-7 That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
This painting represents a person who has risen from the grave of the things that used to suffocate them. There is a crack in the ground to show the power of the Lord, as well as the risen life. When the Holy Spirit comes it can cause the wind to blow and shake the ground-causing everything in it’s midst to break off and be changed. This is what you see here. A changed heart for God.
Intimacy with God.
God’s promises are in the people-the rainbow colors represent the covenant that God made with Noah.
“This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and everything living around you and everyone living after you. I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth. From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life. When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth.”
It is a willing heart that has change and received the love of God through the Son, and has been filled with power of the Holy Spirit. Hands, heart, mind, soul and body a living flame for God. When the Holy Spirit inside comes out- things happen. People are affected, new life happens, and people come to meet God. This is what happened in Acts. Through Peter and John- God was undeniable. People were forever changed and had Peter and John ( and others) NOT been bold in the Holy Spirit then souls would have been lost and we wouldn’t have such wonderful examples of faith today.
This was Pam’s message to us. That we need to take a risk, be bold, encourage, equip and empower others to become dangerous for GOD! When I say dangerous- I mean we are to lift UP the body of Christ-to show them who they are IN Christ, to love them, to take their hand wherever they are, and lead them and guide them in the love of Christ, to meet our Heavenly Father. God is not pushy or a God of wrath and rage. He is a good God, full of love, peace, hope, and joy. God’s perfect love casts out fear-just ask Peter and John! Every page of the bible is a declaration of HIS love for you. He never gives up and He never lets go.
1 John 4:18
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
So, let me encourage you to take a walk into the heart of God today. Each step takes you a little closer and a little deeper…
I’ll be praying…
love you all so very much….