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May 2015

The Christian Pentecost

“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit”  (Acts 2:4). 

An expression I remember from my childhood is Emma go ‘het. It didn’t make much sense, but I knew what it meant. Forward with zeal and determination! I suppose the words were a rendering of a German-English phrase Immer go ahead! Always forward!

The Jewish festival of Pentecost was named Shavuot in Hebrew—meaning weeks. It fell seven weeks, or a “week of weeks,” after the Passover Sabbath. The festival, by count, was on the 50th day after the Passover Sabbath (Leviticus 23:15-16). The Feast of Weeks marked the end of the grain harvest and was the time to offer the first fruits (Leviticus 23:20). The name Shavuot later became Pentecost—Greek for fiftieth.

On the first Christian Pentecost, the one after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the promise Jesus had given to His disciples was fulfilled. He had said, before ascending, “Tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49), and “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5). The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, was poured out upon the disciples on Pentecost (Acts 2). The Holy Spirit had already brought the disciples to faith in Christ. Now the Holy Spirit was giving them special blessings to proclaim the saving Name of Jesus—courage, zeal, wisdom, understanding of the Scriptures, ability to speak other languages, power to work miracles—all to further their witness that the crucified and risen Jesus was the Savior from sin.Read More »The Christian Pentecost

Re-Gifting the Holy Spirit’s Gifts


I’m pretty sure re-gifting is not a recent idea. Although it seems to be gaining popularity, there are those who consider it a tacky practice. The idea is that if you get three toaster ovens for your wedding, for example, you could give two of them away as gifts to someone else. It is important to take stock of the things we own. “If it’s not being used, it’s wasted” is my wife’s motto. I seem to have a hard time living up to this expectation and often find unused and underappreciated items in my possession.

God gives us much more than the earthly blessings of house, job, and family. He also gives us spiritual blessings.

Gifts, of course, come to us in many different forms. Our Heavenly Father is truly the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), but God gives us much more than the earthly blessings of house, job, and family. He also gives us spiritual blessings, including faith to know Read More »Re-Gifting the Holy Spirit’s Gifts

A Mother’s Comfort

It must have been in one of the special Sunday cartoon strips that I saw it—because otherwise Bil Keane’s Family Circus cartoons were always in circles. I remember three frames. The first showed Billy (Jeffy?) in tears, running to find his mother. The second frame shows the same boy encountering his dad—tears were gone—“Oh! Hi, Dad.” The third frame, with Dad gone, shows the same son back in tears continuing in his search to find Mom.Read More »A Mother’s Comfort

The Penetrating Word


“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:11-13). 

Read More »The Penetrating Word