Dear Members and Co-Workers,
As I write this letter, it has been more than 50 days since we kept the Days of Unleavened Bread. When you receive this letter, the correct Day of Pentecost will have been observed by those of us in God’s Church.
Together with Passover, these Spring Holy Days picture the start of God’s plan for us and eventually for all of mankind. After the New Testament Church had begun in Jerusalem and the first group of disciples had received the Holy Spirit, there was a great swelling of people within the Church. We read in Scripture that that early Church was mighty in boldness, power, miracles, healings and in giving glory to God.
As we think about the Days we have kept, we pictured removing sin from our lives with the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in conjunction with removing sin, we also understood the need to replace sin with righteousness (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). The Day of Pentecost shows us that we must receive and grow in the use of God’s Holy Spirit. We must allow Christ to work in and through us by the power of His Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, emanating from Christ and God the Father, allows us to operate on a level that people in this world cannot achieve. Without this gift from God, we would end up again as they are. We need God’s power to continue living as Christians. In order to accomplish this properly, we must really continue to put God FIRST in our lives.
As we examine all the situations that we go through, and maybe the situations of those who we may know, it should be plain for us to see that without God in our lives, things are so much harder. Without God, life can oftentimes be ridiculously frightening and frustrating. It is only by focusing on God and His ways that we can cultivate and grow in the use of God’s Spirit working in us. The early Church didn’t do all the things they did because they were shrinking from their responsibilities or because they were hiding who they were. Rather, they focused on growth. They adhered to and followed a certain Way of Life, and we see that God was pleased with this. God opened the doors as a result.
Since we have celebrated the Spring Holy Days, what is it that we are going to do now? What can we do differently and sustainably in the coming days that we may not have been doing before?
Will we grow in our ability to search God’s Word?
Acts 17:11-12 reads: “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.”
The Word of God directs, teaches, inspires and leads us to answers in our lives. Hebrews 4:12 (New International Version) tells us: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Will we grow in prayer?
Colossians 1:9-10 says: “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…”
Ephesians 6:18 (The Amplified New Testament) adds: “With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all [of] God’s people.”
Will we choose to find ways to implement deeper the fruit of the Spirit into our lives?
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) states: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Whatever we choose to do, we should realize that our time is now! We have to GROW NOW! It all matters what we choose, how we choose to do it, how we interact with God’s people, and how we use God’s Holy Spirit in our lives. I used to think when I was growing up that Christians were kind of forced or compelled in some way to do these things. But I have come to realize that no one is going to force or compel us to follow God. No one is going to make us choose a different path. The decisions which we choose to make every day give meaning to our lives. We choose to allow God to lead us in our lives, or we choose to live without Him.
Christ plainly states in the book of Revelation that He is knocking at the doors of our lives, inviting us to open the door and allowing Him in so that He can show us the Way. “I’m too tired, I’m too busy, I’m not feeling like it, I don’t like to read, I don’t study well, I’ve got too much going on”—these are all excuses that seem to be legitimate in their own ways IF WE LET THEM! God doesn’t force us to love Him. Nor does He force us to accept His laws. We can choose to keep some of them and brush others aside, but that would be a terrible mistake.
When I think about the times in my life I have chosen to do the opposite of God’s Way, I see sadness and pain. The idea is false that happiness or truth or any other spiritual thing can come other than seeking after God’s ways and implementing them. It is a lie which we may swallow all too often because we are seeking after physical instead of spiritual things.
Peter’s admonition to us in 2 Peter 3:18 is to continually grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. The only way to be doing that is to be actively focused on this Way of Life in EVERYTHING that we go through. This is truly how we make more progress in our lives. All of us should focus on how much we can grow. Perhaps it would be a good idea to take a specific area and focus on that for a while and to see what results are produced. The Holy Spirit is NOT static. It must flow into us and through us and out of us and then be renewed.
We all have much to accomplish and to do. Let’s make sure we are seeking God’s Will in doing so.