Thursday, July 19, 2012

Read Acts 2:14-21
Title in NIV: Peter's explanation of Pentecost.

Vs. 17- "In the last days.." the Spirit will be poured out on all people including men, women and servants. I believe we are in the last days. The Spirit was poured out on many at Pentecost. There are 15 different nationalities listed with all having a different language. I read there were closer to 70 different languages represented. (I know there are many opinions about the last days...and that is ok.) I believe the last days started when Jesus died and ascended to heaven.

Vs. 18 Sons, daughters, men and women will prophesy. Prophesy is simply an inspired revelation about future events. We prophesy when we say "Jesus is coming back." We prophesy when we say there will be a new heaven and a new earth. We prophesy when we say our sins will be washed away (they already are). We can prophesy with bold confidence because we know God cannot lie and we know who wins... Rev 17:14 "They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings-- and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers." I mess up at times but I AM a chosen and faithful, follower. Are you confident in that?

Vs. 19  There will be wonders in heaven and I can't wait to see them, but I bet they pale in comparison to seeing Jesus coming in a cloud. There will be signs on the earth too "blood, fire and billows of smoke."

Verse 20  Talks about the sun being turned to darkness. (also in Rev 16:10, 9:2; Joel 2:2,10, Matthew 27:45 (when Jesus died on the cross). Also, talks about smoke (Rev9:2) and the moon turning to blood (also in Matthew 24).

All these events/signs sound horrible, but if we are in Christ, we will call these things what Joel did…’great and glorious'.

Vs. 21  says ‘everyone who calls on the name of the lord will be saved.

QUESTION: What is more important?  Understanding what is meant by the 'last days', the smoke, the moon turning to blood, when the darkness will come and figuring out when Jesus will come? OR Sharing Jesus with those who need it and bringing a little heaven to those who live in hell on this earth. (Hell on earth I expect would be those who do not have a job and they have a family to support; the homeless; the addicted; some disabled; those who do not know the Savior; the hungry in other countries; the oppressed; on and on.)

How can you bring some heaven to people??

More on Peter’s explanation of Pentecost next week.

Answers to my question: What does the Holy Spirit manifest itself as? Fire, dove (Mt. 3:16), wind, sword of Spirit Eph 6:17. Can you think of any others?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Internet and Division

This is a special blog sent to special people who are my supporters. You may think I'm crazy, but you love me anyway. Thanks!! -Erin

I have two stories. Then I will connect them at the end.

Recently, I figured out how to search for blogs I might be interested in reading. That may sound easy peasy, but remember I am computer illiterate.
Story one: I searched the Internet with words like: Christian blog, faith blog, spirit blog (i tried to find mine but I guess it is buried under a mountain of other blogs). To my absolute, horrified amazement, I found blogs bashing Christians. Ok- I knew they were out there but never searched for or found them before. (I like my naivety and I also realize the depravity of the world.) I was curious about a blog and its post about someone finding an image of the Virgin Mary in a tree. The writer's first mistake was to clump all Christians into Catholicism. He assumed all Christians put stock in seeing images of the Virgin Mary in flakes of cereal or wet window screens. (We do talk about and appreciate Mary, but we don't light candles, have a shrine and ask her for things, but you know that). Then I read the comments!!!!!!! I was applaud at the disrespect, dishonor, filthy images and down right blasphemy of God's character the commenter's hurled. I wrote a message but could not make myself send it. I didn't want my e-mail out there for them to respond. I said, "The Christians who understand what Jesus is all about don't worship the created (like tree trunks and cereal). We worship only the Creator. As a Christian I can say I love all of you because you are beautifully created by God. I pray blessing on all of you because you are all his children." I'm sure that would have sparked 1000 negative comments and not made a dent, so I did not see the point.

Story two: As a Christian, we need support. We know how the world is and it helps when we feel like we are not alone. When we band together, we can find confidence we never knew we had. When we get support, we feel like our talents are not for nothing. I realize God should be enough, but it sure gives me a spark to keep going when others support me and love me unconditionally. The opposite is also true: It sure snuffs out my fire when others, Christians and family especially, don't support me and dangle approval before me based on my actions. I have both in my life and I praise God for both. I learn so much from both sides of the coin.

The connection: Shouldn't Christians stick together and support one another? Christians surely would not follow and support those bashing blogs ( I couldn't even support them with a comment of Truth), but how much more harmful is it when Christians don't support other Christians because of pithy things like the name on the building or musical instruments. Pick your poison and I call it poison because it divides and kills!!!!!!! We are to be unified. A precious lady I know said, "Unity has less to do with what we believe and more to do with Who we believe in." Not sticking with others who are following their God given desire is hurtful and lonely. It may cause one to think the other has a 'holier than thou' attitude.

I listen/read a little bit of everything. For example, a sweet lady comes to my house every couple of months from the Jehovah's Witnesses. We share bible verses together and even debated about something I said for a couple of months. I made a list of verses to make my point, she made a similar list. I finally said, "Let's stop this. Whether we agree or not, this is not a concept against what God teaches. (If you want to know the topic, e-mail me. I'd love to share, but not now.) It is not wrong nor is it a salvation issue. It boils down to our opinions being different." Then we agreed-- to disagree. Point is, she is a Christian sharing Jesus. I don't go from house to house. I stay behind my screen. In ways, she is bolder than I. KUDOS Kelsey!!

I read so much from Christian writers. Some are radical, some, I think, have it wrong, but they try hard. I read stuff from non-Christians too, like Deepak Chopra (I was studying why he was such a big deal) and Bonnie Goldberg, an author of a writing book I have. Many people have great ideas and concepts but they do not focus on Jesus. Bonnie focuses on the Buddhist religion, but her writing advice is solid. If I just refocus her thoughts, I can use them because I know Proverbs 16:3: "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." I know some succeed who are not Christians, but their success has no eternal value and when the fire comes, their success will burn up. Not so with eternal plans that God has blessed (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

Therefore, I can listen/read other's opinions but I don't overvalue what they say. I can take those concepts that are TRUE and aligned then with the Lord and leave the rest. Some get so offended by 'the rest' that they miss out on some really good stuff. Just because someone is a different denomination, do not think that is who the Lord is saying we should not  associated with. That is Christians dividing Christians just like when Jesus was accused of being Satan when he drove out a demon. Jesus said, "If Satan is divided against himself, how can he stand?"(Luke 11:18) How can Christians stand if they find things about other Christians to divide them? I don't care if another Christian is poor, rich, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Pentecostal, black, white, Indian, Jew etc. I want them on my side in a fight against the Evil One!

So, work hard at being a Christian. Test everything. Don't just rely on someone to preach the Word to you and agree with every thing without thinking about. Don't just read or listen to what someone from your denomination writes or says (are they the only one's who have a connection to God through writing or speaking? Does God only give gifts to those in your building) Doing so does not stimulate your mind nor does it prepare you to give an account of why you believe what you believe.  When Kelsey and I debate, I am preparing for when I have to give and account in heaven or to someone who asks why I believe in God when times are touch. If you have never defended your faith, you might be tongue tied or at a loss for words when you are asked.

Also, support other Christians. Support family. We ARE Christians. The labels we give ourselves are not as important as Who we follow.