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.
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)
In today's news, Bloomberg reported that according to a recent study, Americans can add as many as two years to the nation's life expectancy if they stand up more often and watch fewer hours of television. What a concept — move around and you'll live longer!
Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Have you ever thought about how much power God releasing in our midst right now? Is it 20%… 50%… 100% of His great power?? I […]
This parable in Matthew 25 is a warning to the entire body — be ready with your oil! Each of these virgins was anticipating the Lord's return; none were atheists, or non-believers. They were all virgins who claimed to be awaiting the Bridegroom's arrival. But notice carefully that only half of them were truly ready.
An estimated 500,000 tons of water go over Niagara Falls every minute. On March 29, 1948, the falls suddenly stopped. Those who lived near enough heard the overwhelming silence, and immediately they thought it was a sign – the end of the world had come! However, after thirty hours had passed – the flow of water resumed.
During the feast of Tabernacles in Yeshua's (Jesus') day, the temple priests would set up four great lampstands with golden lampholders, which they would light with the aid of enormous ladders in the Temple courtyard. The lighting of these lamps began the celebration of the "Great Hosannah" (Hoshannah Rabbah, in Hebrew).
During the Great Depression, poverty swept across America like a whirling tornado, ripping up dreams and scattering hopes to the wind. One such poverty twister hit a small part of Texas where a man named Yates ran a sheep ranch. Struggling even to keep food on the table, Yates and his wife did all they could to survive. Finally, they had to accept a government subsidy or lose their home and land to the creditors.
As we celebrate Shavuout, we're looking at the promise given 2000 years ago: that normal people will lead extraordinary lives; that disciples, who were terrified on the night of Yeshua's (Jesus) death, were transformed into bold saints of God; and that fishermen, tax collectors, and housewives – normal everyday people – became empowered, and turned the Roman Empire inside out and upside down!
Most people have never heard of "Auntie Cooke", but I guarantee you that you'll get to know her in glory! She arrived in Chicago in 1868 as a perfect stranger, but she immediately became involved in D.L. Moody's church when he was just thirty-one years old. She described him years later, as a 'diamond in the rough', and someone who needed the divine unction and power.
As we celebrate Shavuot (Pentecost) in a few weeks, my spirit is anxiously awaiting what God will do! Each Shavuot season during the counting of the omer, I love to study past revivals and in studying them, there's two recurring themes that stand out.
Shortly after WWI, Lawrence of Arabia was entertaining some of his Arab friends in Paris. He showed them the sights of the city: the Arc d'Triomph, the Louvre, the Champs Elysees. It was a remarkable irony to Lawrence that these amazing sights were not what most impressed his Arab friends — but rather the bathtub faucet of their hotel room. They were completely astonished that someone could turn a handle…and get all the water he wanted.
While on the road to Damascus, Jesus appeared to Saul, blinded him and directed him to go to Damascus. There, God spoke to Ananias of Saul and told to lay hands on this troubled man. Ananias did as he commanded and Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit, healed of his blindness and immediately baptized.
In a documentary mini series called "Against All Odds" a remarkable story is told about an Israeli platoon who found themselves in the midst of a minefield along the Syrian border during the Yom Kippur War. When the platoon realized they were in a minefield they pulled out their bayonets and started to dig out mines and to disarm them…
Just a few weeks prior to this incident, the disciples were trembling for their lives as their Lord was arrested and then crucified. They had all fled in the Garden of Gethsemane and then Peter, whose boldness was legendary, had denied him three times. The fact that they had been serving with Yeshua (Jesus) for three years, witnessing many miracles, including Peter's amazing walk on the water…
Samson is a powerful example of a man of God who won his battles over and over again because the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. Yet when he was finally defeated by Delilah's temptations he didn’t realize that the Lord had left him, so effective was the woman's spell…
I love this passage of scripture. If you can imagine the disciples on this day — they had gone through a roller coaster ride of emotions over the past 50 days. They had seen their Lord crucified. And then had gone into hiding … until they discovered in amazement, He was alive! Just over 7 weeks had transpired and they were now watching Yeshua (Jesus) departing Earth and returning to His Father. The disciples were understandably unsure what was next, and so they asked a very reasonable question — "Lord, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?"
Often in the Bible you will see the word wind or breath. The root meaning of these words, both in Hebrew and Greek, is almost always Spirit. It is important to keep in mind that we can never dictate which direction the wind will blow. It would be absurd to think we could! The wind blows as it will. And in the same way, the Spirit of God blows where it wishes. Well if this is so, how can we be filled with the Spirit? Must we jump up and catch it and just hope for the best? No.
Simeon must have been a remarkable man, one who continued to seek God all his life. The Lord rewarded him by finally revealing to him the infant Yeshua's identity as Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world, and allowing Simeon to actually hold and bless the "lamb of God".
As we continue our study of the men who followed David, another characteristic was their ability to war.They learned how to battle with both the right hand and the left hand for hurling stones. If you have ever thrown a ball, you know that you can aim effectively with your dominant hand — but try it with the opposite hand — it's far more difficult to throw accurately. But the men that followed David learned to throw with both arms effectively! It must have taken months of training to develop such skill.