Pentecost Sunday, June 12, 2011Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the New Testament book of the Acts of the Apostles 2:1-3. Pentecost is often described as the "Birthday of the Church".
Pentecost, Jean Restout, 1732
Pentecost is especially significant to Christians because on that day God established the New Testament Church.
"Pentecost represents God using His Church—those who are converted, revitalized and transformed by His Spirit—to do His work in this current age of Satan's spiritual dominance over humankind.Was observing Pentecost important to the apostle Paul?
"For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost" (Acts:20:16)
"But I [Paul] will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost" (1 Corinthians:16: I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.).
The Scriptures record that, on at least these two occasions, Paul carefully arranged his schedule according to where he wanted to be on the Festival of Pentecost. The only logical reason for Paul to "tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost" would be to observe this feast day with the gentile Christians there. As with Paul's instruction to gentile Christians in Corinth to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, here we again find an obvious indication that early Christians, Jew and gentile alike, observed God's annual festivals.
What biblical events are associated with the Feast of Pentecost?
"The LORD our God made a covenant with us [ancient Israel] in Horeb ... The LORD talked with you [ancient Israel] face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire" (Deuteronomy:5:2).
"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 ..." (Acts:2:1-4).
On Pentecost, according to a respected Jewish tradition, God established Israel as His holy people—through His covenant with them—after He spoke the Ten Commandments from the top of Mount Sinai. A special relationship between Him and the Israelites was sealed at that time. They then became known as the "congregation of the LORD" (Numbers:27:17)).
Equally important, Pentecost is also the anniversary of the beginning of Christianity under the New Covenant. It was on Pentecost that God first made His Spirit available to all who would repent—thus beginning the Church, which He commissioned Christ to build (Matthew:16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it).
Pentecost is especially significant to Christians because on that day God established the New Testament Church.
More with pertinent Bible verses quoted at: http://www.ucg.org/bible-study-lesson/bible-study-course-lesson-12-gods-festivals-keys-humanitys-future/pentecost/
Pentecost: The POWER to Change Your Life"What happened on Pentecost in A.D. 31 changed the apostles in a way they never could have expected. It also reveals an incredible change that can—and must—take place in our lives.
The Day of Pentecost tells of remarkable transformations in the lives of Jesus Christ’s disciples. This change was in sharp contrast to their lives 50 days earlier. The Gospel accounts are not flattering about their humanity. At Christ’s arrest and trial, all forsook Him and fled (Matthew:26:56- But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.). Peter, who avowed he would always stand by Jesus, cursed and swore—even denying he knew Him (Matthew:26:69-75) The crowd asks what they should do. Peter replies they should repent and be baptized.
Yet within the span of seven weeks, by Pentecost, we see a transformation in the disciples’ courage. They now speak openly to large crowds, declaring Jesus was resurrected from the dead. They boldly confront the civil and religious authorities. They defy orders and threats that they will be imprisoned if they continue to speak about Jesus (Acts:4:18-23)
They courageously face beatings and death threats for preaching Christ (Acts:5:17-33)
Seven weeks earlier they denied they even knew Him. Now nothing can stop them from openly publicizing what they know to be true. These men will devote the rest of their lives to the daily transformation made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Peter’s remarkable changePeter’s boldness on the Feast of Pentecost stands out. At the temple he addresses a large crowd, of which 3,000 later become disciples of Jesus. They are in Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Pentecost as commanded by God (Leviticus:23:15-16) Peter tells them they know about Jesus and what had happened seven weeks earlier at the Passover (Acts:2:22-24) Peter fearlessly tells them they are the ones who had crucified Jesus.
The reaction of the crowd is significant. There is no denial, outcry or attempt to stone Peter for this outrageous charge. They sense a personal involvement. They know of the events surrounding the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Christ. They know that many—perhaps even some standing there listening to Peter—had shouted for Christ’s blood. They’d heard of the strange events that had taken place at the time—darkness over the land as Jesus was being crucified, people resurrected from their graves and walking the streets of Jerusalem, an earthquake and the veil in the temple being torn from top to bottom. Peter now challenges them to change their lives and make decisions that will affect their futures.
The crowd asks what they should do. Peter replies they should repent and be baptized. That is how they will receive the only power that can truly transform a human life—God’s Holy Spirit.
This power starts inner changes to this frightened band of disciples who had been ready to throw away everything and flee. These adult men—who had failed miserably just 50 days before—are now, by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, changing into dynamic leaders for the Church. By the power of the Holy Spirit they perform supernatural healings for the crippled. Even Peter’s shadow passing over the sick brings instant healing (Acts:5:12-16)
The power symbolized by Pentecost
In revealing His plan for mankind, God chose Holy Days focused on the harvest seasons of the Holy Land (Exodus:23:14-17) Reaping crops at three festival seasons provided spiritual symbolism for God’s people. For us, Pentecost shows how God is harvesting people for eternal life in His Kingdom.
One picture from Pentecost is the tradition that the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai occurred on this day. For New Testament Christians the meaning is how to keep the spiritual intent of God’s law. Pentecost shows we need God’s Spirit in order to keep the law in our hearts and make real change in our attitudes. Mere form in keeping God’s law does not enable us to think like God. Becoming godly in thought, attitude and action is beyond the ability of men and women without the additional ingredient of God’s Spirit.
The first-century Church was the first (as a group) to work at this task. On Pentecost the Holy Spirit dramatically changed their lives. Their transformation started when they received the Holy Spirit. Some 20 years later they were viewed as turning “the world upside down” (Acts:17:6) Such was the dynamic, miraculous power of the Holy Spirit.
It was the same divine power at work in Jesus’ ministry (Luke:4:14) It led the first-century Church to understand their battle with human nature (Romans:7:22-25) to see that tests were also with unseen evil forces (Ephesians:6:12) and to value the sanctity, symbolism and purpose of marriage and family (Ephesians:5:23-28  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.).
Wives were encouraged to submit to husbands “as to the Lord.” Slaves were obliged to obey masters. Christians were to obey authorities, whether emperor, king or magistrate.
Firstfruits in the Kingdom of God will be able to explain, from painful experience, how they subjected themselves to the authority of men while under the authority of Christ; how they withstood the philosophies of false teachers and apostles to sort out the true from the false. In effect, they will be able to use the modern phrase: “Been there, done that and bought the T-shirt.”
Firstfruits are called to be holy—differentThey learn that when there is a conflict with a job and the Sabbath, it isn’t a Sabbath problem, but a job problem. They know the Sabbath was here before the job. They are prepared to be different to serve God. When the biblical Feast of Unleavened Bread comes, they set themselves apart by a different diet without leavened breads, cakes, cookies, etc. (Leviticus:23:6-8) 1 Corinthians:5:6-8  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.).
Firstfruits have demonstrated a willingness to follow, obey, take orders, learn and repent because God’s Spirit gives an attitude of respect. To be holy is to be different, and firstfruits don’t apologize for being different in a world under the sway of the devil. Article by Graemme Marshall
More with pertinent Bible verses quoted, at : http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/pentecost-power-change-your-life/
Gaddafi's Violent Past Catching Up in Libya.
"On Sept. 1, 1969, Libya's King Idris was overthrown in a violent coup that brought a young revolutionary Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to power. For more than 40 years his revolutionary fervor has spread mayhem and discord."
"It was early on a Monday morning. Our church office was on the lower floor of our home in the capital of the West African nation of Ghana. I will never forget the date—June 4, 1979.
As I descended the stairs heading toward the office, our office clerk came running out shouting: "A coup! A coup!"
We were about to experience a classic African coup, the violent overthrow of a government. We listened to the radio that was playing martial music, interspersed with occasional gunfire as the government-controlled (and only) radio station changed hands two or three times during the day—with junior officers of the air force attempting to overthrow the senior officers of the army who had enjoyed power for more than six years.
Two days of fighting followed, during which time it was too dangerous to go anywhere. For more than four days we had no electricity—which meant that all the meat in our freezer was ruined, food that had been difficult to find. Our water supply was intermittent, which was a far greater concern. We had two children at the time, one only weeks old.
Four days after the coup, a Friday, the headline in our local paper was simply: "NO FOOD." The new revolutionary government of young, idealistic socialists had introduced price controls on food items, leading to inevitable shortages. A few days after this a number of senior Ghanaians, including former heads of state, were taken to a local beach and summarily shot.
Libyan fingerprints on events"It turned out later that this coup had been encouraged by Libya's revolutionary Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who had himself come to power in a coup 10 years earlier. His youthful zeal inspired others to follow suit. Ghana was one of three countries where successful violent coups had a Libyan connection.
A few months later, I made a second visit to Liberia. The first time I traveled there, the ruling president was a descendant of the African- American slaves who returned to Africa and founded the country in the early part of the 19th century. By my second visit, he and his government had been overthrown in a coup arguably more violent than Ghana's. Members of the old cabinet had been taken out to the beach, tied to stakes and executed.
Over two decades of violence and civil war was to follow before the country could start to rebuild. Again, Libya's hand was in the coup.
Similar events took place in Burkina Faso, Ghana's neighbor to the north, where Thomas Sankara came to power in 1983. To another young Marxist revolutionary with pan-Africanist ideals like those of Gaddafi, violence was the means to an end.
These three coups impacted me greatly. Exactly how many government overthrows throughout the region owed their origins to Libya's Gaddafi I cannot say, but these three assuredly did.
Will Gaddafi again turn to terrorism?
A depiction of Peter striking Malchus (circa 1520, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon).
"Scripture tells us that "those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword" (Matthew:26:52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.). As I write this article, Libya's president is waging a fierce fight to keep his throne—and I do not use the term throne incorrectly. Although Gaddafi overthrew King Idris in 1969 and established a republic, he clearly wanted to start his own dynasty, planning on one of his sons taking over the reins when it's his time to go.
One thing is clear: If Gaddafi is not removed by the rebel forces on the ground—which would only be made possible by effective air raid strikes of the primarily Western coalition of forces that have come against him—he will seek to hit back against them with all the violent means at his disposal.
In the March 10, 2011, Security Weekly newsletter from Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting), Scott Stewart asked, "Will Libya again become the arsenal of terrorism?" He explained: "During the 1970s and 1980s, Libya served as the arsenal of terrorism. While this role may have received the most publicity when large shipments of weapons were intercepted that Libya was trying to send to the Provisional Irish Republican Army, Libyan involvement in arming terrorist groups was far more widespread. Traces conducted on the weapons used in terrorist attacks by groups such as the Abu Nidal Organization frequently showed that the weapons had come from Libya."
Because of Libya's continued involvement in terrorist acts, there were frequent tensions with Western nations. In 1981 the United States shot down two Libyan fighter planes trying to enforce Libya's claim to international waters in the Gulf of Sidra. In 1986, U.S. forces sank two Libyan ships and attacked missile bases that had fired at American aircraft.
In retaliation a bomb tore through the side of a TWA flight in Europe, killing four; three days later another bomb blew up a disco in Berlin frequented by U.S. servicemen. Three were killed, including two American military personnel, and some 200 others injured. In retaliation, U.S. planes bombed Libya.
Conflict with Britain and France.
Gaddafi certainly gave Libya a higher profile than his predecessor. In 1983 a British policewoman was shot and killed by gunmen inside the London Libyan embassy in total violation of international laws that govern the conduct of embassies. A siege of 11 days followed until Britain allowed the Libyans to leave the country.
In 1988 I was in Ghana when I heard the news of the midair explosion that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. I remember the date well because my wife had flown home to Detroit to visit her mother, and friends started calling thinking she might have been on the flight. I'm thankful to say she was not, but 259 people were—all of whom were killed, in addition to 11 other people on the ground.
Investigators traced the bomb back to Libyan agents. Only recently did a prominent Libyan make it clear that the bomb would not have been authorized by anybody but Colonel Gaddafi.
It's interesting to note that the French government first suggested the no-fly zone that went into effect in late March. More than 20 years ago it was France that thwarted Libya's plans to overthrow the government of neighboring Chad, a former French colony. In retaliation, Libyan agents placed a bomb on a French plane taking off from Chad's capital in September 1989, killing all 170 on board.
Clearly, Libya under Gaddafi has made many enemies, so it's not surprising that Western governments, notably the French and the British, have a vested interest in seeing him removed from power and are doing what they can to help the rebels fighting against him. However, this is fraught with danger for the major Western powers.
In his Stratfor analysis, Scott Stewart expressed concern that the current turmoil in Libya could boost Islamic jihadists. "The conflict in Libya could provide jihadists in Libya more room to operate than they have enjoyed for many years," he wrote. "This operational freedom for the jihadists might have an impact not only in Libya but also in the broader region, and one way this impact could manifest itself is in the supply of arms.
"The looting of the arms depots in Libya is reminiscent of the looting in Iraq following the U.S. invasion in 2003. There are also reports that foreign governments are discussing providing arms to the Libyan rebels . . . While it is far from clear if any of those discussions are serious or whether any potential patron would ever follow through, past operations to arm rebels have had long-lasting repercussions in places like Afghanistan and Central America."
Clearly, the attempted overthrow of Gaddafi is not simply an example of an oppressed people seeking freedom by overthrowing a tyrant. While many may want a democratic system, there are others who don't, including Gaddafi loyalists and jihadists seeking to take advantage of the situation.
In a further analysis by Stewart titled "Libya's Terrorism Option" (March 23), he speculated about further acts of terrorism against the Western nations intervening militarily in Libya: "Certainly, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has no doubt that the U.S. and European military operations against the Libyan military targets are attacks against his regime. He has specifically warned France and the United Kingdom that they would come to regret the intervention . . .
"Given Libya's past use of terrorist strikes to lash out when attacked by Western powers, Gadhafi's threats certainly raise the possibility that, desperate and hurting, he will once again return to terrorism as a means to seek retribution for the attacks against his regime. While threats of sanctions and retaliation have tempered Gadhafi's use of terrorism in recent years, his fear may evaporate if he comes to believe he has nothing to lose."
A coming clash between north and south.
Those familiar with Bible prophecy must now ask if this could be a precursor to events prophesied in the last few verses of Daniel 11: "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships" (verse 40).
References to the kings of the North and South in chapter 11 of Daniel refer to two great empires of the ancient world that came about following the premature death of Alexander the Great. After his demise, his empire was divided up among four of his generals.
One was Ptolemy, who founded the Ptolemaic dynasty of ancient Egypt that ended three centuries later with the death of Queen Cleopatra. This kingdom was to the south of Jerusalem, hence the references to the "king of the South." The "king of the North" referred to leaders of the empire of the Greek general Seleucus and the Seleucid dynasty, the capital of which was Antioch. These two powers were often in conflict.
At the time of the end, once again there will be two major powers in conflict in the region—a revived Roman Empire to the north in the form of a new European-centered superpower and an alliance from the Islamic world to the south. The former will invade North Africa, including Egypt and Libya, areas of so much recent turmoil. (For more details, see "Egypt in History and Prophecy" and "The Origins and Future of Mideast Conflict Over Israel".)
Major terrorist attacks against Europe sponsored by Gaddafi or other terrorist-friendly regimes could certainly lead to events gaining momentum towards fulfillment of these prophecies. With turmoil in the Middle East affecting many nations, it seems more likely that the outcome of the current crisis is going to be the coming to power of Islamic jihadists across the region who may then seek to attack Europe, bringing on a great war between civilizations.
We must keep our eyes on the Middle East, the ground zero of Bible prophecy! Article by Melvin Rhodes
My neighbor, Linda, was going to have a little yard sale, and wanted to borrow some signs. She wanted to have her sale on my flatbed utility trailer that is on my side lot, which is in front of their place. She was enlisting everybody's help that she could, because "she doesn't feel well", as she is "waiting for a heart transplant". For 50+ years, Linda has always needed help, as she says she was a preemie twin, and has always been sickly. That's her excuse, and she is sticking too it! But, I don't think I would be smoking if I needed a heart transplant.
So Ray and I went up in my storeroom attic and brought down some of my matching pretty blue 'Yard Sale' signs, they always attract attention. Ray and Shay were then "volunteered" to unload her truck, and get some of the
Jay called and said he 'wasn't feeling well' again, and his blood pressure was sky high. He would call me back in half an hour if he was going to work, which he did, so I went to get him.
It seems that I don't have much empathy for people who "don't feel well". Well, actually I don't, as it is mostly from their own doing. It is usually the ones who soak up food made with white flour and sugar that don't feel well, and they don't take any vitamins or minerals to counteract it, that could maybe help with their deficiency. The day before while we were shopping, he had sugar-topped dough-nuts and 2 fast-food, deep-fried, fat-laden, breaded-meat, white bun sandwiches, with sodas, and wonders why his body doesn't do right. (http://www.highbloodpressureinfo.org/sugar-and-high-blood-pressure.html and http://www.hellolife.net/explore/restrictive-diets/white-flour-alternatives/) I just won't eat there, when he wants me to take him to those places. Sometimes, I just take a banana with me, and wait to eat lunch when I get home.
Maybe it will bite me in the arse later, but I guess I feel pretty smug about being a triple great-grandma who doesn't get sick, or have arthritis aches and pains. I haven't had a day in bed, except in hospital, when I had a motor cycle accident at age 18, (concussion and broken wrist), when each of my three children were born, then hysterectomy. The latest was in 1983 when a horse kicked me in the head, (Concussion, head stitched and stroke), that isn't very many days in all these years. Even when my breastbone was cracked in the 2008 Jeep accident, (that hurt), I took a bunch of calcium with D, didn't take a day off, and it got better quicker than the doctors thought it would. But that is enough about me.
Jay and I had to operate on my front door this time. This drought has made my house shift just a smidgeon, so that door wouldn't wouldn't lock now. The night before I had to take the striker plate off, just to make the deadbolt throw. He wanted to drill new holes in the jamb for the striker plate screws, but I didn't want him to do that, as it would weaken it, and we would have to move it back again when the weather straightens out. So we chucked it up in the vice, and filed some off it. That's both outside doors that we have had to do, now.
So many areas are getting unwanted rain, and we haven't had any!
In the cargo trailer, we screwed on the ledger boards for the table on the dinette/spare bed, and put up some more paneling around the radius cornered front door.
Then, Jay got a cramp in his neck, but after taking some calcium with Vitamin D, and magnesium, he said he felt better. He had taken some blood pressure medicine, and that can cause cramps as it depletes the magnesium in your body. http://www.mg12.info/articles/cramps.html If meds don't get you one way, they will get you another.
As we were 'rolling up the tools', somehow I sliced a finger when I was folding up the chair that was no longer needed in the trailer. That turned into a "three Band-Aid wound", as it bled quite a bit! (Better than a "Three Dog Night"! http://www.idiomsite.com/threedognight.htm) Now that all the benches are in, we have plenty of places to scatter the tools we need, so the chair was in the way.
About 4.00 pm, I went outside to check on Linda. She was hot, exhausted, and upset because she had dropped some dollar bills which had blown away. So I gathered up the yard sale signs, and help her pack everything up that was left over from the day.