Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Greatest Story

We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us... Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20

 "Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this—that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Matthew 28:19-20
The coming of the Holy Spirit empowers us to take the message of salvation into the world. Giving the "Great Commission" to the disciples before He returns to heaven becomes Christ's charge to all Christians.

God, with His unchanging faithfulness, remains our Protector and Provider; He is the Righteous Judge and Promise Keeper despite our sinful behavior. We believe then forget; we trust then rebel. In our humanity with its rebellious nature, we fall short every day. As "Christ's ambassadors" we are called to tell the story of Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Savior, the Redeemer. This special assignment of telling the Greatest Story is ours. How will we reply? ~dho


Holy Father, Creator, Redeemer, Promise Maker and Promise Keeper ~
I praise You! Your goodness and faithfulness holds me, comforts me, encourages me. You are shelter and solace.
I confess I am sin-full, easily distracted, frequently disobedient. I say I love You and trust You, but my words and deeds paint a different picture. Forgive me.  
You see the Bigger Picture; I can't. Take me and use me - teach me and make me more like You. Let me tell the Greatest Story for Your glory. In the Spirit of Jesus, Amen! - dho 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Holy Wind

You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ 

by the wind of God, the Spirit of God. 

John 3:8 (The Message)



Holy Wind

A mighty gust, some gentle breezes,
Either blows wherever it pleases.
In silence passing, roaring through,
Hidden still, this Wind chooses you,

From south to north or west to east,
From weak to strong or more to least,
Invisible, with power to
Break and mend, this Wind comes to you.

Quietly with intense yearning,
The Wind flames a fire burning
Within the soul, consuming dross
That calls repentance to the cross.

From south to north or west to east,
From weak to strong or more to least,
This Perfect Love endures each nail
Which reconciles and rends the veil.

Infinitely bolder than deep,
Broader than wide, higher than steep,
Holy Wind, hold each empty place,
Mend my soul with marvelous Grace.
 
~Donna Oswalt


Spirit of God,
Despite my sin - resume the call – define my heart!
Delight my mind – assume my sin – design my life!
Ignite the fire - consume the dross - refine my soul!
Invisible and Indescribable and Invincible! Take me now!
 ~dho

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Holy Spirit Comes

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 languages. Acts 2:1-4 

Many people crowd Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish "Festival of First Fruits" which is 50 days after Passover. The Ten Commandments had been given to Moses 50 days after they had crossed the Red Sea; escaping Egyptian captivity established Passover. The city is full of "Jews from every nation", and as they hear this sound of "a violent wind", the masses of people seem confused because each one hears "their own language being spoken". Amazed and bewildered, we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own languages. 

As promised, the Holy Spirit fills them, flows over them, and they burn with passion for God. Peter explains the prophecy from Isaiah, "I will pour out my Spirit on all people." (Isaiah 44:3) He goes on the tell the Gospel Story of Jesus, Son of God, Messiah for all people. He tells the Greatest Story in history for a broken people, defines a New Covenant to a covenant people, reaches across generations of faith, crosses boundaries of laws. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit to God's people renews His desire to dwell with His people. This fulfillment of God's Promise begins a new era of faith.

You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (Hebrews 12:22). This New Covenant blesses God's people with grace, something the law could never do. The Helper, the Advocate, the Comforter, the Counselor, the Intercessor, the Spirit of Truth - the Holy Spirit comes from the Father and now testifies about Christ. Hundreds of years before, God had revealed himself to the Israelites, writing the Ten Commandments on stone tablets with His own finger, and now at this Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus's resurrection, God writes on the hearts of Believers with the Holy Spirit. From the birth of a nation to the birth of the church, God's redemptive plan is for them, their children, for us, our children, for all! On that day in Jerusalem, about 3,000 believed. - dho

**This Sunday, May 15 we celebrate Pentecost!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

WAIT!

They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.  Acts 1:14


After Jesus ascends, the disciples gather in Jerusalem and wait! The believers, including the disciples, the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, the brothers of Jesus, meet together fervently praying and waiting. There are now 120 believers (Acts 1:15). The disciples need to replace Judas Iscariot, the one who had betrayed Jesus. Considering the parameters, to be a witness of the resurrection (Acts 1:21-22), after prayer Matthias becomes the 12th disciple. These days of waiting are the beginning of the Christian church. For now, they wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

In the waiting, Jesus words, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes likely replays in their minds, enters their discussions, and holds a prominent place in their prayers. In the waiting, perhaps they wonder exactly when and how this will happen. As they welcome Matthias into the inner circle, maybe they retell Jesus' words before He ascended into heaven or discuss what being witnesses "to the ends of the earth" might look like or perhaps they even recall those other times that Jesus had told them about sending the Holy Spirit. While waiting for something they could not fully grasp, for a power they could not exactly define, for a moment they could not completely predict, they pray.

Henri Nouwen writes about waiting as moments "pregnant with possibility" and "giving up all my attempts to control". Describing waiting as "a period of learning", Nouwen is not defining waiting as passive, rather as an active period of time, a vital and engaged time, a time of patience. He says, "patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there." The new believers of the first church actively wait in prayer and preparation, together in community and fellowship, with an assurance from Christ. I long to be better at waiting, to be more present in the moments of hope, to be patient in the silences, to find freedom in allowing the Spirit of God to lead me. How about you? How do you WAIT?  ~dho