Be Transformed This Shavuot!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holy Spirit

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

Leviticus 23:15-17 'And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord. You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord.

The Lord (YHVH) commanded the grain offering on Shavuot, (known as Pentecost among Christians), to be made of the finest flour, baked with yeast, that is, leaven. Leaven, in the Bible, is almost universally, a symbol for "sin", and in the OT is strictly forbidden on the altar of YHVH., yet here, in the Feast of Weeks it is commanded as part of the offering. Just six weeks prior to this festival, Israel had spent a week eating unleavened bread, a clear picture of the connection between the Passover Lamb and the removal of sin from our lives. Now the grain offering for Shavuot contains yeast; two loaves with it. Why? A common interpretation of this for NT believers is that the loaves represent Jews and Gentiles, the two types of redeemed people, who, of course, still contain sin in our lives.

So the sequence of these two spring festivals can be seen to illustrate, on the one hand, our perfect deliverance from sin and death through the Passover Lamb (Yeshua); and subsequently, the reality of our true condition as "leavened loaves" offered to the Lord as "first-fruits". We know that having come to faith in Yeshua (Jesus), cleansed by His shed blood, we stand righteous and perfect in Him; and yet, we constantly struggle with our Adamic nature. In this light, Shavuot begins to emerge as a festival marking and illustrating the opportunity and means for our transformation. The Lord's sending forth of His Holy Spirit at this time awakens and empowers us to change; to be inwardly transformed from the old creation into a new creation.

On the day of Pentecost, 2000 years ago, this transformation process was dynamically accelerated and made accessible to every believer. Baptized with the Holy Spirit of God, and with His fire, our sinful nature with all its impurities and "leaven" takes a back seat to the powerful indwelling of the Spirit of Messiah, so that as we continually pray, walk in obedience, and thus cooperate to be filled with His Spirit, we are sanctified and transformed into His likeness – "from glory to glory", and so become His effective witnesses. Praise God that He works with our issues– and is transforming us into a bride without wrinkle or spot!

Allow the Holy Spirit to burn away the impurity of your sinful nature; to purge out the dross, and deeply penetrate your life. The process can be "firey" and involve some painful sacrifices, but the result is purity and the holiness without which no one will see God. And remember that Yeshua is returning soon, greatly anticipating a bride who is prepared for His arrival!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holy Spirit

Fill up!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holy Spirit

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Jeremiah 31:31-33 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

This Saturday evening begins the celebration of Shavuot. Most Christians might recognize this as the celebration of Pentecost in Acts 2. However, the very first Shavuot actually took place fifty days after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea about 1500 years before Acts was even written. It was on this day that the law was given on tablets of stone.

Interestingly, it was also fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus that Shavuot was celebrated again. But this time, the law of God was written upon the hearts of men, just as God promised through the prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah.

Shavuot is both a celebration of the God's faithfulness in the early harvest and an anticipation of the abundance of the harvest yet to come. This day, a couple of thousand years ago, 3000 Jewish people came to faith in Messiah. The day will soon come when those for whom we've been weeping and petitioning God in prayer will come to know the Lord and all of Israel shall be saved!

Let's pray for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit today, and let's anticipate great things! Be praying for revelation for those we love who haven't yet seen the truth of the Lord. And please also be praying for the salvation of Israel!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holy Spirit

Spread the good news in power!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holy Spirit

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Act 2:38-39 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

One of the greatest moves of God took place in 1727 on the estate of Count Zinzendorf. Count Zinzendorf was a strong believer who was deeply influenced by the faith of his grandmother and aunt. At the tender age of 22, he opened a portion of his estate to refugees seeking asylum from the religious persecution throughout Europe.

After five years, this fledgling settlement of three hundred was growing; but in the midst of their growth, divisions were arising among the brethren over doctrinal issues. Then on May 22, 1727, the Moravians made a covenant with Zinzendorf whereby they committed themselves to the Lord, confessed the sin of religious quarreling, and "sincerely renounced self-love, self-will, and disobedience…deciding, each one, to be led by the Holy Spirit in all things."

Later that same year, on August 13th, after a week of fasting and prayer, the Moravians whose average age was around 30, were gathered, when an outpouring of the Holy Spirit took place. Count Zinzendorf called it the Moravian Pentecost. This led to over one hundred years of continuous prayer, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which supplied spiritual power to one of the longest sustained outreaches the world has ever known. The revivals led by the Wesley brothers that took place in the United States and England was a direct result of the Moravians. In 1867, one of the earliest missions established in the Modern State of Israel was also fruit of this move of God.

So what can we learn from this amazing revival? First, it began when the brethren laid down their differences and came together in prayer, determined also, to lay down their lives for the Gospel's sake. Secondly, the outpouring of the Spirit is always connected to spreading the Gospel in power, which leads to widespread radical change in the world of that generation.

As we approach the festival of Shavuot (Pentecost), let's be stirred with a sense of urgency, also….to lay down our differences as believers, and then lay down our lives for the Gospel, so we can be eagerly expecting to be renewed with the power of God — not only for our own spiritual quickening, but for all the souls who have yet to receive this awesome gift! With so much work to be done — let's do it in His Power!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holy Spirit

Liberty, Freedom and Deliverance are on the way!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holy Spirit

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy  Devotions.

2 Corinthians 3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

When the Torah was given on Shavuot in the days of Moses, the sin of the golden calf resulted in the death of 3,000 men. Some 1500 years later at the same season the Holy Spirit descended causing 3,000 men to be saved! The Lord has never changed; His mercy and His holiness are the same throughout all ages. But the contrast of these two historical events during the same Holy Day may be seen as a powerful illustration of this principle: “the letter [of the Law] kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Corinthians 3:6)

Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks, is celebrated fifty days from the feast of first fruits. The number 50 recalls the Jubilee cycle described in the book of Leviticus; a number which is associated with liberty, freedom and deliverance, since each jubilee cycle required that slaves and captives be set free and every debt cancelled. As such, the number 50 and its significance as a "Jubilee" speaks to us of freedom, deliverance, and salvation from our spiritual debt and the bondage of sin. The first "Pentecost" emphatically revealed this significance with 3000 saved souls.

So for us as believers, Shavuot / Pentecost recalls, on the one hand, our freedom from the power of sin, which is the law [1 Cor. 15:56], our cancelled debt, our deliverance from the slavery of the old nature; and on the other, reminds us of the source of our life and the power of our witness and service, the Holy Spirit: "not in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of the Spirit."

Remember, you have been freed from the bondage of sin and dead works, and cannot please the Lord apart from His own empowering of your life and service. His Holy Spirit was given because apart from Him we can do nothing. Shavuot ought to be a powerful reminder of this amazing reality.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holy Spirit

Shock your enemies!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holy Spirit

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Romans 12:20-21 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Between the years 1861-1865 the United States found itself in the midst of a bitter civil war over the issue of slavery, and several other serious disagreements. By the time the North won the war nearly 620,000 soldiers had perished. There were many in the North who were so embittered that the South had dragged them into such a deadly conflict that they wanted the South to pay dearly.

At the end of the war, a group of Southerners gained an audience with President Abraham Lincoln. His gentle, kind and friendly personality quickly softened the hearts of his once-hardened foes and the Southerners left the interview with a deep respect for the man who had been their bitter enemy. Not long afterward, a northern congressman criticized Lincoln for "befriending the enemy!" He suggested that he should have had them shot for being traitors instead of welcoming them!

I love Lincoln's response. He said, simply , "Am I not destroying my enemies by making them my friends?"

If you're serving the Lord –- you can expect your share of enemies. Don't let a root of bitterness grow up because of them –- but rather, seek to win them over with gentleness, kindness, and even love. Show your enemies the Lord's grace and His peace through your Spirit-controlled response…and in so doing, you'll "heap coals" upon their heads! Satan wants to provoke you through their hatred and opposition. Don't let him! Instead, shock your enemies –- not with angry retaliation…but with Spirit empowered LOVE! Win them over; with so much work to be done, we need all the help we can get.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Holy Spirit