A Person of Mystery (Episode 2)

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“From out of the clear blue of the western sky comes Sky King!” Another TV program I enjoyed watching as a young child was “Sky King.” Similar to the “Lone Ranger”, “Sky King” was originally a radio program which aired from 1946 through 1954. In 1951, the TV program ran along with the radio airing until 1954. The television show aired first on NBC, then on ABC, and ran until 1962. “Sky King” was based on a real-life person, Jack Cones, the Flying Constable of Twenty-nine Palms, during the 1930s. It is a story about an Arizona rancher and airplane Pilot, named Schuyler “Sky” King who lives on “Flying Crown Ranch” near the fictional town of “Grover,” Arizona, with his niece, “Penny” and his nephew, “Clipper” who are also pilots, but still relatively inexperienced. There are also a ranch foreman, a neighbor and a sheriff on the show.

fly Sky King

What appealed to me, and to all the kids who tuned into the show (I think), was seeing Sky King fly his trusty twin-engine Cessna 310B plane, named “Songbird” and vicariously flying alongside with him on his countless adventures, capturing “bad guys” and finding lost hikers. As a kid, and even now, I would love to fly. As a kid, I thought Sky King had the best job ever! As an adult, I flew on many plane flights to many destinations. I even flew in a small plane, much like “Songbird.” But, how would it feel like flying without a plane? This question brought me to my best experience of feeling like I was actually flying. I flew in a helium balloon (twice). Seeing birds flying right along next to me, feeling the breeze on my face and looking down at the tree tops and the traffic on Route 9, in Hadley-Amherst, with only the occasional burst of helium to keep the balloon flying, was a thrillingly serial, yet peaceful feeling. It was “another level” feeling.

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Knowing that “Sky King” was based on a real-life person made the TV show extra special. But, I either don’t remember or never found out what happened to the parents of Sky King’s niece and nephew but, I guess. I didn’t have to know in order to enjoy the adventure show. Knowing the story behind the story helps to appreciate it more. It is even more important to know the story behind the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a real Person. He is not just “the Spirit in the Sky” who I’m going to go to “when I lay me down to die” as Norman Greenbaum’s 1969-70 one-time hit song says. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person in the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Triune God (Godhead).

Several New Testament Scriptures show us the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Triune God is still a mystery too difficult to wrap my finite mind around. However, the following Scriptures do help me have some idea of who The Holy Spirit is because God has given me the faith to believe in a God in Three Persons Who is too BIG for me to totally comprehend.

clover threeJesus' Baptism

WHO is the Holy Spirit in relation to the Trinity?

“As soon as Jesus [the Son] was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God [the Holy Spirit] descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven [the Father] said, ‘This is My Son, Whom I love; with Whom I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:16-17).

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

“And I [Jesus] will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him or knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you see and hear” (Acts 2:32-33). [Peter is talking to a large crowd and tells them the Holy Spirit’s power in raising Jesus from the dead is the same power by which the disciples have, as they speak with boldness about Jesus‘ death and resurrection.]

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (II Corinthians 13:14).

WHO is the Holy Spirit in relation to the Son?

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“Because you are sons [and daughters], God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit Who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Galatians 4:6).

“Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19).

OT SCROOLS

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searching intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things” (I Peter 1:10-12).

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WHO is the Holy Spirit in relation to being a Person?

The Person of the Holy Spirit has a mind, a will and emotions:

“And He Who searches our hearts knows the MIND of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Romains 8:27).

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit…All these are the work of the one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as HE DETERMINES” (Romans 12:4 and 11).

“And do not GRIEVE the Holy Spirit of God, with Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption…Be kind and compassionate to one another, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:30 and 32).

“In all their distress He too was distressed,
And the angel of His presence saved them.
In His love and mercy He redeemed them;
He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
Yet they rebelled and GRIEVED His Holy Spirit.”
(Isaiah 63:9-10a)

WHAT are the other names for the Holy Spirit and WHERE do these names come from?

Tune in to the next “episode” to find out.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Lydiaa nap with Tannin

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A Person of Mystery (Introduction)

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“We couldn’t have done it without you. You saved our town from that notorious gang of outlaws. Isn’t that right sheriff?” “Yes, that’s right. How can we thank…Wait! Where did he go? Who was that masked man? Look, he left a silver bullet.” In the distance, the town’s people hear, “HI-HO SILVER! AWAY!” As a child, I loved to watch re-runs of “The Lone Ranger” on Saturday mornings. The series originally started on the radio from 1933 through 1954. In 1949, “The Lone Ranger” became the first western on TV and ran through 1957. Since I was born in 1955, I enjoyed the re-runs. In fact, “The Lone Ranger” was my favorite TV program. How cool is it for a “good guy” to wear a black mask and a white hat and a Texas Ranger uniform, who rides a white horse named Silver and has a Native American Indian named Tonto as his friend who rides a pinto horse named Scout, and they go around the wild west saving people from “bad guys“? (As a little girl, even though I didn’t know it, I loved it when stereotypical ideas were broken.) The coolest thing of all was that no one knew the Lone Ranger’s identity, except his loyal friend Tonto, and before anyone had a chance to thank him for saving them from a cruel injustice, he would mysteriously disappear into the sunset. The Lone Ranger was a person of mystery.

a lone ranger and tonto

However, to truly appreciate the Lone Ranger, one needs to know his history. He was indeed a Texas Ranger. One day, he was part of a group of six Texas Rangers, including his brother, who were tracking some “bad guys” with the help of a guide. Unbeknownst to the Rangers, the guide was one of the “bad guys” and led them into a canyon, where the Rangers were ambushed and murdered by the gang they were tracking. All but one Texas Ranger was killed. John Reid, the only survivor, managed to make his way to a watering hole, where he was found by Tonto who nursed him back to health. Tonto recognized Reid as the one who once saved his life. Tonto says to Reid, “You Kemosabe. It mean ‘trusty scout.’” Tonto vows to stay with the “Lone Ranger” to help avenge the deaths the four other Texas Rangers and Reid‘s brother. Tonto made Reid’s mask from his brother’s vest and they dug six graves to make it look like all six Rangers were massacred.

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The Lone Ranger needed a horse, so he and Tonto went to the “Valley of the Horses”, where Reid remembered seeing a beautiful white stallion. When they found the horse, it was wounded and was about to be gored to death by a wild buffalo. The Lone Ranger shot the buffalo and he and Tonto nursed the white stallion back to health. When the horse was fully recovered and joyfully running in the field, Tonto remarked, “It reflects like silver from the sun.” “Silver” the Lone Ranger replies, “that’s what we’ll call him, Silver.” After Silver is trained by the Lone Ranger’s calm voice and gentle manner (horse whisperer-like), he and Tonto ride to see an old friend of the Reid brothers who is a retired Texas Ranger. The friend knows about a silver mind that the Reid brothers operated. The Lone Ranger asks his friend Jim to work the mind for him, so he and Tonto will have spending money and also he wanted him to make silver bullets for his gun. The last part of the Lone Ranger’s request was rather odd, so Jim asks, “Silver? Why in the world would you want silver bullets?” The Lone Ranger explains that the silver bullets will be a symbol of justice. And that’s the history behind the Lone Ranger, a person of mystery. It is only when one knows the history behind the mystery that one can truly understand and appreciate the person of mystery, the Lone Ranger.

(For more about the origin of the Lone Ranger, google: loneranger.wikia.com/wiki/Lone_Ranger)

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One may say that another Person of mystery is the Person of the Holy Spirit. Who is He? Is He an “IT”? Is He a “ghost” If so, is He a spooky ghost or is He like “Casper the Friendly Ghost”? Is He a vapor that hovers over the earth? Is He like a genie who grants wishes by answering prayers? There are so many stories out there about the Holy Spirit. Which one is true? A good place to find the story behind the Holy Spirit is to look for the answers in the Christian Bible. I am going to use the journalistic approach and answer the questions Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.

Who is the Holy Spirit in relation to God the Father?

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The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity (Triune God, Godhead). The Holy Spirit is not a New Testament idea. We see Him before the beginning of time, in the Book of Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the SPIRIT OF GOD was hovering over the waters (1:1-2). We see God referring to Himself in the plural: “Then God said, ‘Let US make man in OUR own image, in OUR likeness’” (Genesis 1:26a) The Triune God was involved in the creation of all life. In Job 33:4, Job says, “The Spirit of God has made me; the BREATH OF THE ALMIGHTY gives me life.” In Ezekiel 37, “the SPIRIT OF THE LORD” placed Ezekiel “in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones” (v. 1) and He told Ezekiel to “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the Word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones…I will put BREATH in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD’” (vv. 4 and 6b). The Holy Spirit is the BREATH OF LIFE.

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In Genesis 41:38-40, we see the Egyptian Pharaoh recognizing the Spirit of God in Joseph. We see the SPIRIT OF GOD referred to in I Samuel 10:10 and 19:20, 23. The SPIRIT OF THE LORD empowered judges to deliver the people in the Book of Judges and I and II Samuel. Also, it says the Messiah will be empowered by the Spirit (Isaiah 11:2 and 61:1). Other Old Testament references regarding the Holy Spirit are Genesis 6:3, Psalm 51:11 and 139:7 and 143:10, Isaiah 30:1 and 34:16 and 59:21, Joel 2:28-29, Haggai 2:5, Zechariah 4:6 and 6:8, and there are more. There is a distinct difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament, in regard to the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit did not stay with some people, such as King Saul (See I Samuel 16:14) who abandoned walking in the way of the Lord and did “his own thing.” In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit indwells all those who believe and trust in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for their salvation and will never leave them because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross (See John 14:16-17).

a lone ranger and silver bChrist's Spirit

What do the Lone Ranger and the Holy Spirit have in common? For starters, both may bear the name, “Kemosabe” or “Trusty Scout”. The Holy Spirit shows us the way and keeps us on the right path to walk with God. Both do not want any accolades for themselves. As the Lone Ranger wants the people to rejoice that justice has triumphed over injustice, the Holy Spirit wants all glory and honor to be bestowed on Jesus Christ who triumphed over sin and death and justifies all who believe and trust in Him for His finished work on the cross.

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“But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. The righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood. He did this to demonstrate His JUSTICE, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – He did it to demonstrate His JUSTICE at the present time, so as to be JUST and the One Who JUSTIFICES those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:21-26).

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If you accept the above Scripture to be true, it is the Holy Spirit working in you Who gave you the faith to believe God’s Word is true.

What does the New Testament say about the Holy Spirit? Tune in next time and find out.

blogging2a lesson on waiting

Walking (and Rolling) in Step with the Spirit,

Lydia

An Anatomy of a Blog Post

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(If anyone is not getting the photos on my blog posts, go down to the very bottom of the post and click onto my blog link below, where it says, Trouble clicking?: https://lydslookonlife.wordpress.com etc. It has been said “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Without photos, my posts would be even longer than they already are!)

This is how I write a post for “Lyd’s Look on Life”:

a nap with Tannin

Before I start typing anything, I pray for ideas of what to write about and for a catchy title and “hook” [introduction). I already have a long list of topics to write about, but I ask the Lord for His perfect timing in which topic I write about next. Sometimes, I pray with my eyes closed, during a “Purrer Nap” with my cat Tannin. Other times, I may pray while enjoying the great outdoors and experiencing the beauty and power of God’s creation. For example, when I visit Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, I experience God’s beauty on the Bridge of Flowers. I think of how it was like before the Fall of Man, before sin entered the world (Genesis 3). God made the world for mankind to spend time with Him and to partner with Him to take care of His creation and to use his/her own God-given creativity to make thousands of kinds of beautiful flowers and plants and trees for food and for esthetic enjoyment.

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“Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food…The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:8-9a,15).

Adam was the first botanist, as well as the first taxonomist. God made the animals and asked Adam to name them in Genesis 2:19-20. God then made a “suitable helper” (Genesis 2: 18) for Adam, a woman he named Eve. In Genesis 2:18, 20 the word “suitable” (kenegdo*) denotes equality and adequacy. The word “helper” (ezer*) used to describe Eve, in Genesis 2:18, is the same word that refers to God in most instances in the Old Testament. For example: “I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my HELP come from? My HELP comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2). Also, Genesis 1:27 reads, “So God made man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God made Adam and Eve equal partners to enjoy fellowship with Him and gave them the job of caring for His creation. And “God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every living creature that moves on the ground’” (Genesis 1:28)

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When I’m on the “Bridge of Flowers” God gives me a glimpse of how Adam and Eve had it “made in the shade!” Why would they want anything more? They wanted more for exactly the same reason we want more: They wanted to be their own boss and know everything without God telling them what to do. They believed the serpent when he said God was holding out on them and there was more to have than what God had given them. God gave everything to Adam and Eve, but He told them, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16b-17). God’s instructions were clear, but Adam and Eve listened to the serpent (Satan) and his lies: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?…You will not surely die…For God knows that when you eat of it [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’” (Genesis 3:1b, 4a, 5). So, Adam and Eve chose to believe Satan and sin entered the world and made life difficult and burdensome and ultimately end in death. Most of all, sin broke the fellowship and partnership between God and mankind (See Genesis 3).

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After spending time on the Bridge of Flowers, I usually go to the Glacier Potholes, a few blocks away. We walk [or roll] from an example of God’s beauty and creativity, expressed in all the different kinds of flowers, to an example of God’s power and grace, in the rushing Deerfield River and the mosaic-like marbling on the rocks, formed by the power of the rushing water. The Glacier Potholes remind me that God’s power is stronger than Satan’s might. God uses His power to bring us back to Him by the power of Jesus’ Resurrection. Like the Apostle Paul, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming like Him in death, and so, somehow attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). In the same way the mighty currents of the rushing river destroys everything in its path and also creates beautifully marbled rocks, Jesus is able to take our sins and sufferings and turn our lives into a beautiful mosaic with His resurrection power and by His matchless grace.

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After a few days of praying about what God has shown me in His creation and through the reading of His Word, I begin doing my research by “googling” the topic I want to write about. I “google” definitions of words, the history behind the topic, Scripture references, find photos to go along with the topic and I even use real books and Bible study notes from my bookshelves and files. Once I get everything together, on my bed and little table and computer desk, and get the lighting just right, I am ready to write. The typing takes two five-hour days or longer (depending on the number of bathroom visits I have to make) and one three-hour day to proof-read and plug in the photos. Plugging in the photos is the part that‘s really fun for me. Sometimes, I have a friend proof-read my blog post before sending it out to my “most excellent” blog-readers.

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When I have finished the post and have finally sent it out into the “blog-o-sphere”, my two cats, Tannin and Tulip are very happy, and so am I. You did not see Tulip on the bed when I had all my papers and books spread out on it, but she was sleeping on the small area of the bed that was clear. She is a very good kitty. She has learned not to lie on the papers, which I think is amazing! When I put away all the papers and books from my bed and desk, Tulip finally has “her” bed she lets me borrow all to herself again, until bedtime. Having a clean computer desk also is shockingly pleasant to my rubber “chicken and dressing” who watches me type from behind my printer. Finally, Tannin is also very happy because she again gets to have another “Purrer Nap” on her “soft mattress”.

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There you have it: “An Anatomy of a Blog Post.” It is now officially nap time.

a nap with Tannin

Pleasant Dreams!

Lydia

* “Men, Women and Biblical Equality” (CBE International, serving God by giftedness, not by gender) [ http://www.cbeinternational.org/files/u1/smwbe/english.pdf ]

The website may not work, so it may be better to “google the title of the paper and where it’s from.

Holy Birthday Brothers and Sisters!

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During the last six months, most excellent Blog Readers, I have carefully researched the Christian Liturgical Calendar and have written an orderly account of the Christian Holy Days celebrated during the year. These special times in the year are celebrated all over the world, by Christians everywhere, to give all glory and honor and praise to Jesus Christ, God‘s Only Son and Savior of the world. We first went through the four weeks of the ADVENT SEASON to prepare our hearts to celebrate Jesus’ First Coming into the world as a baby on CHRISTMAS. During the Advent Season, we also anticipate Jesus’ Second Coming as our Lord and King. We ended the Twelve Days of Christmas be celebrating EPIPHANY SUNDAY.

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We then celebrated the forty days of LENT, beginning with ASH WEDNESDAY, at which time we practiced the disciplines of prayer and fasting, the reading of Scripture passages telling us about Christ’s sufferings and death, to free us free from sin and death. We also used our time and money to care for the needs of others. The culmination of the Season of LENT is HOLY WEEK [the last week of Jesus’ life before He was crucified] and MAUNDY THURSDAY, at which time we remember Jesus’ New Mandate to “Love one another” as Jesus loves us (See John 13:34-34) and we celebrate the Lord’s Last Supper “in remembrance of Me [Jesus]” (See Luke 22:19) and “the Lord’s death until He comes [again]” (See I Corinthians 11:26). MAUNDY THURSDAY ended the Season of LENT.

God's LoveChrist has risen

Next comes GOOD FRIDAY, the day Jesus died for the sins of the world. Jesus took MY place and YOUR place on the cross to MAGNIFY His Father’s LOVE for US by washing our sins away with His atoning sacrifice (See John 3:16 and I John 2:2). After two days of quiet reflection and prayer, Christians everywhere REJOICE and CELEBRATE and break out the trumpets and tambourines and drums, on RESURRECTION SUNDAY because “It is true! The LORD HAS RISEN!” (See Luke 24:33). CHRIST HAS RISEN INDEED!

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In the last month, most excellent Blog readers, I wrote to you about how Jesus appeared to His disciples to prepare them for “The Great Commission” (See Matthew 28:18-20). He stayed with them for forty days, then “He was taken up before [the disciples‘] very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight” (See Acts 1:9). After Jesus ascended into heaven, two angels assured the disciples, “This same Jesus, Who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven” (See Acts 1:11). With this, the disciples waited in Jerusalem as Jesus told them to do. Ten days later, as Jesus promised, on the day of PENTECOST, the Holy Spirit came and filled the disciples’ hearts and they were FIRED UP and God gave birth to the Christian Church! The disciples were able to communicate the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ in different languages and with boldness (See Acts 2).

Father, Son and Holy Spirit 2Christ's Spirit

The disciples were no longer afraid of anything. For example, Peter, who was known to have “foot-in-mouth disease”, spoke clearly and with conviction. He addressed a large crowd by quoting the prophet Joel: “In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy…And everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:17-18, 21 and See Joel 2:28-32). Peter also used Psalms 16 and 110 as proof that Jesus was the awaited Messiah and told of Jesus’ miracles and wonders and signs, and how He was crucified and rose from the dead. Peter urged everyone, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39). After Peter’s message to the crowd, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:41). What happened to Peter? Peter was filled the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowered him to speak about Jesus with boldness. The Holy Spirit also enabled Peter to remember Scripture. It was the Holy Spirit, working in Peter, Who added three thousand believers to their number and thus began the body of Christ on earth – the Christian Church.

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What was the “baby” Christian Church like? The Book of Acts tells us: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47). The early Church was filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Unity. The early Church was a body of believers in Jesus Christ who wanted to like Him: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you are called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of us all” (Ephesians 4:2-5).

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In the interest of unity, most excellent Blog Readers, I neglected to mention the Eastern Church, so I am doing that now, along with one more bit of information:

“In the Eastern Church, Pentecost can also refer to the whole fifty days between Easter and Pentecost; hence the book containing the liturgical texts for Paschaltide is called the Pentecostarion. The feast is also called White Sunday, or Whitsun, especially in England, where the following Monday was traditionally a public holiday. Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks (50 days) after Easter, hence its name. Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday.
The Pentecostal movement of Christianity derives its name from the New Testament event.” (From Wikipedia)

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Who is the Holy Spirit, why did He come and what does He do? Jesus says this:

“But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), Whom the Father will send in My Name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall – will remind you of, bring to your remembrance – everything I have told you” (John 14:26; The Amplified Bible).

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Where do you see the Holy Spirit working? How does the Holy Spirit work? These questions, most excellent Blog Reader, will be discussed in my next writing to you.

(I hope no one was offended with my creative writing and having fun with writing in the same way Luke wrote to “most excellent Theophilus” in Luke 1 and Acts 1. I do not, in any way believe my writing equals the Holy Scriptures. I was just having a little fun, as I am known to occasionally do.)

Your Humble Servant,

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Lydia

(There wasn’t any traffic in this small coastal Oregon town and there was no sidewalk to get to where we wanted to go, so my two sisters a I traveled down the middle of the beautifully paved road. We did move for a large delivery truck.)

 

Why Get So FIRED UP?

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How good are you with waiting? What do you do while you wait? Do you watch the pot until it boils? Do you stare out the window until your ride comes? Do you look at the clock every ten minutes and wonder why time is going so slowly for “GAME TIME” to arrive? Do you pace or, in my case, wheel up and down the length of three rooms? Are you able to think and do other things while you wait for what you’re waiting for? Depending on the degree of how much I want something to happen, sometimes I am able to wait patiently and other times I am creating a deep rut between my living room and dining room and kitchen. We read in the Book of Acts that the disciples were given advice by two men in white, when Jesus was taken up to heaven: “‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, Who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back the same way you have seen Him go into heaven’” (1:11). In other words, the two men in white [angels] were telling the disciples to stop waiting for Jesus to come back, but to do what He told them to do: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but WAIT for the Gift My Father promised you…the Holy Spirit” (See Acts 1:4-5).

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So they waited. But, while they waited, the disciples did not twiddle their thumbs. The disciples Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas son of James, Mary the mother of Jesus and His brothers “all joined together constantly in prayer” (See Acts 1:12-14). Peter also took the leadership role and told everyone that they needed to pick someone to take Judas’ (the betrayer’s) place, in order to have twelve core disciples again (See Acts 1:15-26). Jesus’ first disciples are great examples to Jesus’ present-day disciples. They stuck together and prayed together and did what they already knew was God’s will, while waiting for the Holy Spirit. We present- day disciples would do well to do the same, as we wait for Jesus to come again. We do not know when, but we can be ready by joining together in prayer, by being “completely humble and gentle; be[ing] patient, bearing one another in love [and] mak[ing] every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (See Ephesians 4:2-3). In this way, we can be His true ambassadors of reconciliation to the people who are outside the faith.

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Why did Jesus want to give His Holy Spirit to His first disciples and all believers who follow Him? Jesus wanted to give the “Spirit of Truth” to guide them [and us] “into all truth” (See John 16:13). Jesus wanted to give the “Comforter” to turn their [and our] grief into a joy that cannot be taken away (See John 16:20-22). Jesus wanted the “Counselor” to give them [and us] His peace which has “overcome the world” and all its troubles (See John 16:33). Jesus wanted to empower them [and us] with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, so that they [and us] may glorify Jesus’ Name by making “disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I [Jesus] have commanded you [and us] (See Matthew 28:19-20). With the Holy Spirit indwelling all believers, Jesus is “with [us] always, to the very end of the age” (See Matthew 28:20).

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Jesus DID NOT give the Holy Spirit in order for believers to put the Holy Spirit above Christ or for their own self-aggrandizement or to be used in any side-show type way. Jesus DID NOT give us the Holy Spirit to cause arguments and divisions among Christians. The Apostle Paul tells us of Jesus’ desire for His followers: “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, Who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).. Let us all pray and work together “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

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So the disciples stayed together and prayed and did the things they already knew Jesus wanted them to do, while they waited and, one day, it finally happened!: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of FIRE that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speak in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?’” (Acts 2:1-7).

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“Pentecost (Ancient Greek: ‘the fiftieth [day]’) is the Greek name for the Feast of Weeks, a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai. This feast is still celebrated in Judaism as Shavuot. Later, in the Christian liturgical year, it became a feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ (120) in all, as described in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1-31. For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described by some as the ‘Birthday of the Church’” (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

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Because it was the Feast of Weeks, hundreds of Jewish people from different countries gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate – the perfect time for the first disciples of Christ Jesus to get “FIRED UP” and filled with the Holy Spirit. This motley crew of disciples who ran for cover when Jesus was arrested and crucified, are now shouting from the roof-tops, proclaiming Jesus as Savior, Lord and King. The threat of imprisonment and even death can not stop them from proclaiming Jesus’ victory over the grave. When Peter and John were in front of the Sanhedrin, they “commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, ‘Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:18b-20).

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From this motley band of brothers and sisters there are now people who belong to Jesus and His Church in nearly every country in the world. We as Christians who love the Lord Jesus have the very same Holy Spirit as the early Church. This year, Pentecost will be celebrated on June 8th. It’s time to get FIRED UP for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be examples of His love to everyone we meet, for Christ’s praise and glory! Amen.

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Every believer of Jesus Christ DOES NOT possess all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, listed in Romans 12:3-13, I Corinthians 12:7-11 and 27-31, Ephesians 4:11 and I Peter 4:8-11. However, Paul admonishes us, no matter what Spiritual Gifts we are given, without LOVE we “gain nothing” (See I Corinthian 13:1-3). Paul also adds, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE” (I Corinthians 13:13). Peter begins talking about Spiritual Gifts by writing, “Above all, LOVE each other deeply, because LOVE covers over a multitude of sins” I Peter 4:8). Jesus Himself tell us, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you LOVE one another” (John 13:35). Let us all pray that we, as followers of Christ, will be known by our LOVE and not by who or what we hate. LOVE begins with loving God, then loving all the family in Christ, and “your neighbor as yourself” (See Matthew 22:39 and Mark 12:30-31).

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It is true that every Christian does not possess all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but every Christian does have the one Fruit of the Holy Spirit, with nine character qualities: “But the Fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law, Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other” (Galatians 5:22-26).

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So, I have no excuse when I choose to be impatient. Being impatient, unloving and all the opposite characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit is my old nature. Jesus has given me and you a new nature that is “in step with the Spirit”.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he [she] is a NEW creation; the old has gone, the NEW has come!” (I Corinthians 5:17).

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As brothers and sisters in Christ, let us “…not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with Whom [we] were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger…along with every form of malice. Be Kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). Also, let us “not put out the Spirits FIRE” (I Thessalonians 5:19), but KEEP THE FIRE BURNING (See Leviticus 6:12-13 and Matthew 5:15-16 and Luke 11:33-36).

Keeping the FIRE Burning Until He Comes Again!

The Lydrisen lord

 

Lydia

(I have completed the Holy Days in the Liturgical Calendar, from Advent to Pentecost. so I will be taking a few weeks off from blogging, if the Lord wills. Have a BRIGHT and JOYOUS Pentecost Sunday on June 8th!)

Waiting to Get FIRED UP!

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At the risk of stating the obvious, it has been an unusually LONG winter in New England, or so it seems to me. March felt more like February; April felt more like March. It is now the beginning of May and the market up the road from me doesn’t have its annual Mother’s Day hanging plants on display along its wall outside. The weather has been too blustery cold. We have had a warm day now and then, but not a consistent string of them much like, I’m sad to say, RED SOX wins. People are waiting and waiting to be able to FIRE UP their grills and have steaks and burgers and hotdogs and shrimp on the “Barbie” (barbeque grill). Waiting is a very difficult thing for me to do. One would think I would have waiting mastered by now. I do have to wait all the time for people to do things for me. Some mistakenly think I have the “patience of a saint”. They are half right. I am a saint (follower of Christ), but I’m also a sinner saved by grace. I may seem patient on the outside, but I am “broiling” over on the inside. I wonder how the disciples felt when Jesus told them to “Wait”?

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Just before Jesus was crucified, during His Last Supper with His disciples, He talked to them about the “Counselor” [N.I.V.] and “Comforter” [K.J.V.] Who was coming to guide them in His Truth. Jesus said to His disciples: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:26-27).

Jesus also said to them: “Now I am going to Him Who sent Me, yet none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you. When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt, in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in Me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you will see Me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you” (John 16:5-15).

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Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit to a crowd way back in John 7:37b-39: “…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. Up to this time the Spirit had not yet been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”

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The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Triune God would be given to Jesus’ disciples and He would empower them with spiritual gifts, which would give them understanding in Jesus’ teachings and enable them to glorify God by spreading His Good News of redeeming love, forgiveness and grace to all who trust Jesus for their salvation. After Jesus spends forty more days on earth, after His Resurrection, before He goes back to His Father, He gives His disciples “The Great Commission“: “…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18b-20).

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But, before this can happen, the disciples needed to wait for Jesus’ Holy Spirit to come down on them. We learn this from a man named Luke. The Gospel of Luke was written to give his friend the history of the birth, life, death and resurrection of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In Luke 1:3-4, he writes to his friend, “Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know for certainty of the things you have been taught.” Luke writes a second book, the Book of Acts, to give his friend further information, regarding Jesus after His Resurrection and His empowering His disciples with the Gift of the Holy Spirit to begin His Church, the body of Christ on earth.

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In the Book of Acts, Luke writes: “After His suffering, [Jesus] showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but WAIT for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So when they met together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, are You at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After He said this, He was taken up before their eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand looking into the sky? This same Jesus, Who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:3-11).

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So they waited. How do you wait for the Holy Spirit to transform your life, from a smoldering wick to being all FIRED UP? This will be our next topic.

My Good Sidetulips

Waiting on the Lord By His GRACE,

Lydia

 

Thinking Back and Looking Forward

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an iguana

Thinking back, what was your most favorite vacation ever? I have two vacations that cause me to smile whenever I think back on them. I will share them in chronological order and not by the best being first. Both were equally fun and enjoyable. First, in the 1990s we had a particularly cold and snowy winter, so I telephoned a friend in Boston, to see if she would take a vacation with me to a warm and sunny place. It turned out that she and another friend were able to join me on a trip to Cozumel, Mexico. We had a blast, eating authentic Mexican food (the guacamole was the best I ever tasted), swimming in the warm aqua-colored ocean (I used an inner-tube) with large silver fish nipping at our toes, and walking on the soft white sandy beaches. The people were friendly and the iguanas were cool. I remember riding piggy-back on a moped with my friend, and eating barracuda at a fancy restaurant on the beach (I ate it before it ate me!). It was pretty tasty.

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The second vacation which makes me smile when I think back on it was in 2011, when my sister and I went to visit our youngest sister in Oregon. We had a great time exploring the magnificent Oregon coast, visiting stunningly beautiful vineyards and wineries, eating and drinking Oregon cuisine, visiting historic lighthouses and breathtaking waterfalls, staying at a hotel on the beach and eating, visiting funky little shops (Northampton-ish) and eating. For one breakfast, I ate Pacific salmon hash and eggs and for another breakfast I had deep-fried oysters with eggs and hash-brown potatoes, and, of course, we drank a lot of coffee. It seemed like there was a coffee “hut” around every corner. Also, there was the “Yankee Fan Encounter” which I don’t have time to get into right now. Both vacations had their own unique charm and were very relaxing, refreshing and lots of fun.

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I wonder how Jesus’ disciple Peter ranked his last fishing trip with seven of his friends, who were also disciples of Jesus. During their last fishing trip together, Jesus was waiting for them on the beach, cooking fish on a fire of burning coals, and called out to them to cast their fishing net on the right side of the boat and they caught 153 fish (See John 21:1-13). It is interesting to me that Thomas was one of the disciples who went on the fishing trip with Peter. Thomas was not grieving or doubting Jesus anymore. Jesus met Thomas right where he needed to be met, when He appeared a second time to the disciples. Jesus knew that all He had to say to Thomas was, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it in My side. Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27b). Thomas “got it” after that. He did not want to be alone anymore. He learned how important it was to be in fellowship with other believers. Perhaps he remembered Jesus saying, “For where two or three come together in My Name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). Thomas wanted to be with the other disciples. He did not want to miss another visit from his Risen Lord and God (See John 20:28).

Christ's piercedPeter and Jesus on Beach

Jesus also met Peter right where he needed to be met. I do not know if Peter had what we now call Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder, but Jesus knew He needed to help Peter to focus on being a “fisher of men” (See Matthew 4:19 and Mark 1:17) and not just fish. This is why, I believe, Jesus asked Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love Me more than these?” (John 21:15b). He might have been pointing to the fish, his friends, the beautiful lake and its serenity. Whatever “these” were, Jesus wanted Peter to love Him above all else. Jesus asked Peter three more times, “Do you love Me?” because loving Jesus above all else was what it was going to take to “Feed [Jesus’] lambs”, to “Take care of [Jesus’] sheep”, and to “Feed [Jesus’] sheep” (See John 21:15b-17). Jesus wanted to use Peter to build His Church.

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It is important to note that Jesus did not scold Peter for going fishing. Jesus knew Peter needed time away from everything. It was very difficult for him to wrap his brain around all that happened in the past few weeks. Peter reminds me of what Peppermint Patty said in, “Happy Thanksgiving Charlie Brown”. When Peppermint Patty, who has a crush on Charlie Brown, invites herself and other friends over to “Chuck’s” for Thanksgiving Dinner, Snoopy and Woodstock frantically prepare their version of a Thanksgiving meal: buttered toast, popcorn and pretzels and candy. Peppermint Patty, who Charlie Brown describes as “a great baseball player”, is disgusted with the “Thanksgiving presentation” and says that she wanted a real Thanksgiving dinner, with a turkey and all the fixings. Charlie Brown is mortified and goes away. When a friend reminds Peppermint Patty that she was the one who invited herself and all her friends to Chuck‘s house, she recognizes the error in her ways and says, “Golly, why can’t I act right outside of a baseball field?” She asks her friend to smooth things over with Chuck and they all end up going to Charlie Brown’s grandparents for Thanksgiving dinner. When they leave, Snoopy and Woodstock have their own turkey dinner with all the fixings. (What‘s up with that?!). In the same way Peppermint Patty felt inadequate with social graces and felt more comfortable playing baseball, Peter was overwhelmed with all that was going on and just wanted to go fishing. In the same way Charlie Brown felt that he couldn’t do anything right, Peter felt that he had disappointed Jesus with his denying that he knew Him there times. Jesus wanted Peter to know that when the Father looked at Peter, He no longer saw his sin, but only Christ’s righteousness (See Galatians 3:26-27; Ephesians 2:4-10; Colossians 3:3-4).

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Then, Jesus tells Peter something very difficult to hear. Jesus tells Peter that he will die a martyr’s death (See John 21:18-19). Why didn’t Peter run for the hills? Why didn’t he say to Jesus, “No way! Get someone else to start Your Church! I like fishing. That’s what I do best.”? I believe Peter didn’t run away because he did love Jesus above all else. He believed Jesus when he heard Him say, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25b-26a). Peter also believed Jesus when He said, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me” (John 12:”25-26). Finally, when Peter was about to be executed, some say he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as his Savior died and asked to be crucified up-side-down. But, I believe Peter had the same attitude about death as His Savior. With his years of serving His Savior and King, Peter‘s eyes became forever fixed on Jesus. In the same way Peter continually looked to Jesus as his strength and hope and joy, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him Who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3). Peter also believed in a quote in one of Paul’s Letters: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9b, from Isaiah 64:4).

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I believe that Peter’s last fishing trip with his friends changed all of their lives forever because Jesus was about to use them to change the world! But, how exactly did Jesus turn this motley crew of disciples into “Christ’s ambassadors”, giving them “the ministry of reconciliation…reconciling the world to [God] in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them…[and] committed to [them] the message of reconciliation” (See II Corinthians 5:18-20)? We will explore this question next time.

May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ Be With You and With Your Spririt.

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Lydia