Between the Resurrection and Ukraine...
Jesus, not another like him, number thirty.
You were set up.
Let me explain...
While I meant every word about wishing I could have been there when Jesus explained to his disciples who was to come after him... the truth is, in order to be ready for what came next after the Resurrection, you needed a working understanding of what Jesus had told the fellas that night around the table.
Look Guys, I am going to leave you, but it is for your good--really, it is. You see, while I am with you, I am really with you--you can reach out and touch me. But when I go into the next town, I am not with you--right? Yet, when the Comforter comes, he will be in you. And that changes everything. It is the very reason the words I will never leave you or forsake you are possible. Ohhhh....
The biblical account from the gospel writer Luke gives us the what came next in Acts chapter one, [please read slowly, Friends, as this is really good stuff]
In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.
Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1.1-5
His followers heeded his words. Walking the short distance across the Kidron Valley, his mother, the disciples and others close to Jesus stayed together and prayed. And as foretold, the Holy Spirit came, just as Jesus said He would! If reported today, it would be said that the Spirit came with a show of pyrotechnics, with what looked like tongues of fire, resting on the heads of those present. Acts 2.3, and then they began speaking in the languages of all of the people who were in town for Pentecost, telling of Jesus, his love, his sacrifice and the message of forgiveness of sins. Only God.
From that day forward, the Holy Spirit of God is in/with Christians. That day changed everything for the young believers in Christ in Jerusalem and for you and me. The Holy Spirit within comforts, convicts, guides, empowers!
Friends, sometimes the world, the culture, the demands of our personal lives, carnage in our own families - well it can be overwhelming... Ukraine, inflation and declining moral values, the bombardment of noise (news, social media, etc.). BUT, GOD. Check it out - the same Holy Spirit lives in us today. Unaware, Christian? Maybe you have crowded him out.
We truly need to quiet ourselves, give him some space, desire his presence. Ten days after the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit came bringing the very presence of God - and it has been that way for two thousand plus years! It is true...we who believe have both hope and power in God. But. we. must. reach. for. him.
I wanted to share this prayer with you--
“We are daily aware of more grief, O Lord,
“than we can rightly consider,
of more suffering and scandal
than we can respond to, of more
hostility, hatred, horror, and injustice
than we can engage with compassion.
“.... remind us that we are but small
and finite creatures, never designed to carry
the vast abstractions of great burdens,
for our arms are too short and our strength
is too small. Justice and mercy, healing and
redemption, are your great labors.
“…. Give us discernment,
to know when to pray,
when to speak out,
when to act,
and when to simply
shut off our screens
and our devices,
and to sit quietly
in your presence,
casting the burdens of this world
upon the strong shoulders of the one who
alone is able to bear them up.
Between the Resurrection and today, we have God the Holy Spirit in our lives,
**from Every Moment Holy Douglas Kaine McKelvey