Discover what Pentecost means, why it’s so important, and why it offers us a re-birthday.
A little background
Pentecost means ‘fifty’. It’s celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday and is the fulfilment of earlier promises. John records Jesus’ own words at his ascension: ‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth.’ (John 14:16-17).
The timing is also significant. In adopting the name, early Christians followed the example of Greek-speaking Jews who used Pentecost as an alternative name for their holiday – the Feast of Weeks. Leviticus 23:16 decreed that this festival be celebrated 50 days from the end of Passover. This Jewish celebration is known by other names too, including: the Feast of Harvest, and the Day of First-fruits. In England, Pentecost is also known as Whitsun and Whitsunday, probably derived from ‘white Sunday’ in recognition of the white baptism clothes worn by the recently baptized.
But what happened?
The Book of Acts tells us: ‘When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.’ (Acts 2.1-4).
Both wind and fire are notable symbols of the Holy Spirit. His activity that day transformed those present. To put it mildly, the event caused a stir. The disciples were so overflowing with the Holy Spirit that they attracted a crowd. They began to speak in tongues and, miraculously, people in the crowd understood them, each hearing in their own language. Perhaps, not surprisingly, some said that the disciples were drunk.
Peter spoke. This was the same Peter who had made a catalogue of mistakes before finally denying Jesus three times and running off to weep, then hide. But it was also a vastly changed Peter. He challenged the crowd head on. The power of his message converted 3,000 people that very day.
The church’s birthday
Because of Peter and his powerful message, Pentecost marks the establishment of Christianity for many believers. It’s the birthday of the church. Of course, its foundation stone is Jesus, but this was the day that the baton was passed to his disciples. They became the first apostles, initially carrying the Christian message to the crowd, but then going on as Jesus had ordained: ‘you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ (Acts 1.8).
Questions and doubts
Even after Jesus appeared in person following his resurrection there were doubters, and I don’t just mean (doubting) Thomas. When Jesus appeared to him a week after he’d appeared to his other disciples, Thomas saw the crucifixion wounds for himself. It seems more than pure chance that this arch-doubter gave the first recorded declaration of Jesus’ divinity. He said of Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God!’ (John 20.28).
Lots of people – including Christians – have doubts and questions they really want explained. Alpha provides a great opportunity – face to face and online – and it’s available worldwide.
Alpha is a series of free sessions that explore the Christian faith in a completely open way. Several sessions explore the role and activities of the Holy Spirit and there’s a special time for renewal and/or inviting him into our lives. It’s a great (re)launching pad – rather like a personal re-birthday – our own mini-Pentecost. For more about Alpha: https://alpha.org.uk/tryalpha.
Pentecost is a time of celebration. Through Jesus, the Holy Spirit is available to all of us all the time. We only need to ask and be open to him. If we are, we too will be empowered and can more fully participate in Jesus’great commission – ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.’ (Matthew 28.19).
We should always remember that our testimony is worth sharing. When we tell others all that God has done for us through Jesus and the power of his Holy Spirit, we are not simply sharing our story. We may be setting someone on the pathway that leads to eternal life. And that’s definitely worth doing.
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Did I mention my dog is a Karen? On Monday, my wife and daughter worked a second plot for a garden. They dug the grass from the lawn and turned over the soil. They started at nine in the morning and toiled until lunchtime preparing the new section to receive melons of several varieties.
Ginger, our resident four-legged Karen, promoted herself to the boss of their work. She stood in judgment over them for the three hours commenting on their endeavor with a disappointing groan or a yap at the lack of appreciation for her suggestions.
After Lunch, the two urban farmers tilled the clay soil with its rock-hard clumps and dirtballs. Karen grumbled audibly upset for the two failed to bring her with them, and so, I let her out. My enterprising cultivators did not hear Ginger’s micromanagement style over the spinning blade of the electric tiller. They finished the initial turning of the land around four o’clock just in time for me to start cooking supper. Our Karen oversaw the preparation of the evening meal. Her fault-finding supervision consisted of her walking through, around, and across my path while cooking.
On Tuesday, my gardeners started adding compose and topsoil to the garden to replace the volume of the removed grass and enrich the soil for better yield. This took most of the day with Ginger still as acting manager. Small-Group met at our house on Tuesday night. As we all know, a Karen had to be the center of attention and Ginger pushed her way in front of all the guests.
After two days of supervising her workers lead to exhaustion and she plopped into her bed for much-needed rest. However, I was leading the group through Luke 24:36-48. This was a rather excitable section of the Bible and we became quite animated during the discussions. During one of the more ruckus portions, Ginger jumped from her slumber to investigate any danger.
Wednesday morning made me the first out of bed. Being in my sixties, this came with the cracking of joints, moans and groans from old muscles not wanting to move, and my wife complaining about the noise. As my feet planted firmly on the carpet, the room filled with a long disgruntle groan from our dog, the Karen.
It seems dogs require a good eight hours of sleep every night with twelve hours of naps in between. After two days of missing naps makes our dog is quite grumpy and sleepy. This meant she required twenty-four make up hours of sleep. There is usually a dozen reason for her to howl at something in the neighborhood, but this past Wednesday, she only finds one by coincidence at the end of the day. I wave a dog cookie under her nose, just to get her out one last time before bedtime.
Subscribe for alerts at my website: About | Danny Mac – Author (dannymacauthor.com)
A couple of months back, I approached the owner of a local coffee hot spot called Coffee in the Valley. The owner agreed to host my Meet & Greet from nine to noon on Saturday, May 21, 2022. She is allowing me to take up a corner of the restaurant and sell my books.
I started advertising on Facebook a month ago. This process included making a new audience called Local. This audience included readers, book topics, and coffee drinking. I set the demography to our town plus ten miles. This covered neighboring communities. I boosted a second time for a week and today added a third for the next twenty-four hours. I copied several local FB groups to help spread the word. I have a dozen people marking interested in attending.
My darling wife created a flyer showing the coffee house, me, and my books. I posted these flyers in as many establishments as I could for people to see generically. Wherever I go for the past month, I mentioned the book signing and the coffee shop hoping for a good turnout. With god’s grace both the coffee shop and I sell more product.
My wife then made a poster for me this past week. It has the background of our small community with a picture of me and my books with a brief description of them. The print shop laminated it to a stiff board for displaying and calling patrons to my table. Again, she knocked the design out of the park.
My nerves are under control as of writing this blog. But, I think tomorrow around nine in the morning that will change. My life has been filled with moments of gaffes and faux pas over the years. Please pray that I remain calm, cool, and collected while maintaining a personable disposition for my potential readers.
Did I mention my dog is a Karen? Ginger, our dog is nine years old and that equates to sixty plus in people’s years. Like any being reaching their sixties, she has become a little grumpier as the gray starts showing under her chin.
For the previous nine years when I roll over in the morning that was her clue to jump on me to rise and shine. The other morning I stumbled out of bed and spotted her giving me a death glare for waking her up. However, with Ginger being a Karen, it did not end there. The rest of the day I got the cold shoulder from her. Then it became worse. I called to her for an ear scratching and she turned a strutted off with her tail lightly flicking from side to side in defiance and retaliation for waking her ten hours before. Not only did I receive the cold shoulder, but I also got the cold butt too.
Subscribe for alerts at my website: About | Danny Mac – Author (dannymacauthor.com)
This is a story for the fathers of daughters, please share with them although moms will also find humor in it.
I had a daddy’s little girl. As an infant, I curled her up in my arms during her worst moments and she became peaceful. It drove mom crazy to see how she calmed down instantly. I read to her every night before bedtime starting early on. Her favorite was the Disney Princesses books my mother bought her. It was not enough to just read to her and I made up voices to go along with the story.
Around five years old, I mentioned Ariel sleeping until the prince kissed her back to life. “No, dad that was Aurora, not Ariel,” came at me with authority and indignation. This comment proceeded with a five-minute lecture on the differences between the two. Only after satisfying her concern over the lack of my knowledge of Disney Princesses did she relent and allowed me to continue with my day.
Fast forward to my thirteen-year-old and not my little girl anymore as we watched a Marvel movie together. This movie introduced several other characters into the plot with another faux pa by me going into a commercial break. “Is that Poison Ivy?”
With an extended eye roll, “Poison Ivy is DC. (Duh, a two-year-old knows that) That is Natasha Romanoff. Don’t you know anything?” Luckily the commercial break was only three minutes long or she would still be lecturing me to this day. Apparently, DC and Marvel may not interchange at any time. Her brief sermon on the devastating effects of combining them compared to a fire and brimstone preacher on the end of the world.
Did I mention my dog is a Karen? For the past three days, Ohio shivered through near-freezing temperatures. The previous three days we enjoyed eighty-degree weather. (28 to 0 for my metric friends) During the warmer nights, I opened the window to allow fresh air into the room for sleeping. Sleep came blissfully as the cool spring air wafted over the room and all was right with the world.
Until about twelve-thirty in the very early morning. Ginger, our ever-watchful Karen starts with a quick “Arf,” in her sleep. Several more proceeding “Arfs,” as she wakes from her slumber. I think what is she yapping about when I hear the call from the coyotes off in the distance and coming closer.
The whole of the house awakes to her singing the song of her people out the window at the coyotes. “Arrrrrooooorrrrooo” streams from her mouth only stopping for another deep inhale of air. It culminates in me slamming the window shut and yelling at her to go back to bed.
She lays down for almost thirty seconds and then decides it time to go out. Mom hollers out, “No go back to sleep.” Ginger replies with the nastiest and foulest of gas attack she could muster. Our resident Karen gets her way when mom lets her out.
Learn more about me at my website: www.dannymacauthor.com
Benjamin Talks About Growing Up With Autism
My first video discussing autism is now up on YouTube! A bunch of people sent in questions for me to answer Q&A style, and despite delays from some tech hiccups (and starting a little thing called NaNoWriMo) I finally got the video uploaded!
(I do have more to discuss on my experience in this year’s NaNoWriMo in an upcoming blog, but I just couldn’t wait to talk about this video any longer!)
People sent in some great discussion topics like the emotional impact of my diagnosis, communication challenges, social needs, preferred entertainment, and personal accomplishments. I also got on a tangent describing my formative years and gradually learning what it meant to be an individual in a world that included other minds besides my own.
You can check out the video at this link. And if you have any questions you’d like me to answer in a future video, you can leave a comment under this blog post below, or leave a comment under the video itself on YouTube, or you can even email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Talk to you guys again soon!
Other posts by Ben —
Read more of Ben’s blogs at benjaminfrog.com
We live in perilous times. The middle east is a hotbed of divergent nations bent upon a collision course in the near future, with Israel at center stage. Europe is rioting, Russia, China and the U.S.A. are posturing for military supremacy, and the entire world is on edge. The middle class is shrinking, as the most-wealthy get richer and the average citizen becomes squeezed between rising costs and stagnant income. The poor are getting poorer. The balance of power seems to be in the hands of a precious few as the top 1% now hold over 50% of the world’s wealth. As uncertainty and perplexity increase, the stage is being set for globalization to succeed in establishing a one world government. Anyone with the magic formula for world peace will emerge as an instant hero and hold the very life of the planet in their hands.
World societal values have become flashpoints of dissent as subjective morality and opposing worldviews vie for validation on social media, in the news and in the streets. The climate change debacle threatens to upset world economies as national perspectives vary, and science has demonstrated its partisan bias to the sources of its funding.
With the population of the planet projected to be 8.6 billion by 2030 and 9.8 billion by the year 2050, our food supply is of critical importance and our production capabilities are about to be pushed to the extreme while our innovation in agriculture will face its biggest challenge in history. There are more people alive at this moment than have lived in the history of the world up until the last 100 years in all the previous centuries put together.
Where do the solutions lie? The debate over the fate of humanity is growing louder and louder and underlying the rhetoric, the insidious thirst for power and wealth undermines the desire for a sustainable earth and humanity’s well-being. While the principalities and powers that gain from their financial investment in leading the world to believe their short-sighted narrative, most of civilization has been living a great big lie. Scientists have told us that all life has evolved from primordial bacteria, margarine is better for our bodies than butter and the world’s climate is changing at a pace that is about to end in catastrophe. Post modernism has left our society dazed and confused over gender, homosexuality, morality and purpose.
Many people dismiss the Bible as mythical and fictional based upon what they consider to be a lack of evidence for its authenticity or historicity, however when it is held to the same standard as other ancient documents of similar age, it can easily be considered authentic. There are thousands upon thousands of manuscripts with only minor variations in spelling and grammar that testify to the accuracy of the hand copied specimens of the 66 books of the Bible. Yet the Bible is continually challenged and criticized because unlike other literary compilations, it demands a response from the reader and lays claim to absolute truth.
Christians are often ridiculed for believing that Christ will come again soon. Scripture says we should not be surprised by this and in fact it is a sign that Christ’s return is imminent. “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgement and destruction of the ungodly.” 2 Peter 3:3-7.
It is no wonder that people are perplexed and fear for the future. From a secular perspective, things look rather bleak. The Bible talks about our time in history as the “last days” and describes our world today. “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” Luke 21:25-26. Humanity is about to experience events that will traumatize everything that lives and imperil even the very earth and the universe we call home.
The Bible is the word of God and it foretells of the troublesome times upon the world today. So, fear not, take refuge in the Lord! “God is our refuge and strength, an ever – present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3.
The moral dilemma we face today requires that we draw a line in the sand, in the face of confusion and political correctness. Philosophical secularism and subjective moral reasoning only serve to pacify minds that are in denial that the universe is finite, and we are all guilty of sinning against God. The Bible says “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”, 2 Timothy 4:3-4. Our only hope, in a world on the brink of disaster, is through the life altering love of Christ. Our actions will never change unless our hearts are changed.
In my soon to be released book entitled “Truth Cries Out” I tackle many existential questions and take a deep dive into the eloquence and hidden truths in the Bible. If you are not positively sure of your eternal destiny, or if you are uncertain about world events and what they mean, I urge you to purchase a copy. In a rational and thought provoking narrative, I will take you on a journey into the very heart of our existence. Be prepared to be challenged. “Truth Cries Out” will be distributed worldwide in the coming weeks by WestBow Press wherever fine books are sold. If you prefer a digital presentation it will also be available as an ebook. Simply connect with https://www.westbowpress.com/bookstore for your copy.
My prayer is that you will be blessed and that your worries will be put to rest. As Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7. Through faith in Christ and by walking in obedience to God, we can have hopes for tomorrow that are beyond our capacity to imagine! May God bless you with a courageous heart in a hostile world.
~ Clinton Bezan
Why Read a Book?
What was the reason that you last picked a book up from your bookshelf? Was it to dust it? Was it to replace it with an ornament? Or did you open it and read it?
We don’t see so many young people reading books these days. If it comes to that we don’t see so many adults reading books these days either. Too often they are keeping their mind occupied with the virtual world on their phone or an i-pad.
Whytoread.com has revealed that there are 10 main reasons why it is good to read. It will change your life. I have shown nine of those reasons below.
- Reading enables you to learn new words and expressions. It gives you the tools necessary to help you to explain yourself to others.
- Reading will improve your focus and help you to concentrate. You can become so focused on your reading that you will be barely aware of the room in which you are sitting. Does that sound familiar?…
Read more of Andrew’s reasons for reading a book on his blog at https://ratcliffescreativeworld.com/2019/02/05/why-read-a-book/
Janis Cox creates beautiful watercolour paintings and is an avid poet. Here she writes in the form of Haiku with stunning art to compliment the poetry.
“I love writing Haiku because my thoughts are short but go right to the heart of the matter.
My paintings are becoming looser as I let God help me relax and let the paint flow.
I have heard many people say they can’t paint but I love this quote:“
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
― Vincent Willem van Gogh
Its flight path straight
The hummingbird heads with speed
Sweet nectar awaits ~ Janis Cox
Continue reading to see more of Janis’ paintings and read her other Haiku. https://www.janiscox.com/finding-fun-in-painting-and-haiku/
Happy Reading everyone!
Do you know you’re called to be creative? Yes, God has invited you to follow in His footsteps, to create something for Him and to share it with others! Called to be Creative by Jan Cox tells us how.
Jan Cox blogs about being creatively called in her blog Did You Know You Were Called to be Creative?
Called to be Creative
“I hear many people say, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.”
I hope this scripture will speak to you:
‘”If you are made in the image of God you are creative.
We have been created by a Creative God to use our creativity for His glory.‘”
Creativity doesn’t mean visual art alone… ” read more
You can find Jan’s books in our Christian Authors Bookstore.
Til next time, God Bless.
Why Read a Book?
Why read a book? On his blog, author Andrew Ratcliffe gives us reasons why reading a book is such a good idea. Here are just a few:
Reasons to Read a Book
- … “Reading will improve your focus and help you to concentrate. You can become so focused on your reading that you will be barely aware of the room in which you are sitting. Does that sound familiar?
- People who read will be more likely to visit museums and concerts than people who don’t read. Readers are more likely than non-readers become volunteers with charitable bodies,and will be better informed about the world in which they live.
- Reading will improve your imagination. The reading of stories will enable you to visualise the background in which the characters are set. The writer will be describing the environment as they see it but your imagination will add further details to the picture in your mind.” … Read more of Andrew’s blog here…
You can follow Andrew on his website at Ratcliffe’s Creative World
And you can find Andrew’s book, ‘Hari & Rudi In The Land Of Fruit’ in our Bookstore.
Happy Reading Everyone!