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Monday, October 22, 2018

Daily Devotion for June 8, 2014

Pentecost Sunday


<i>Pentecost (detail)</i> by El Greco, ca. 1596.
Pentecost by El Greco, ca. 1596. (See Full Size).

Prayers

Scripture

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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.

This hymn is so beautiful that it must be heard, even though it's in German – a translation is provided below.



For the Spirit of Prayer

Almighty God, who pours out the spirit of grace and of supplication to all who ask for it; Deliver me, when I draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, so that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, I may worship You in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, You promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples. Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in my life the work of Your grace and love.

Grant me the Spirit of Fear of the Lord that I may be filled with a loving reverence toward You:

The Spirit of Piety that I may find peace and fulfillment in serving You, while serving others;

The Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with my salvation;

The Spirit of Knowledge that I may know You and know myself, and thus grow in holiness;

The Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your truth;

The Spirit of Counsel that I may choose the surest way of doing Your will, seeking first the Kingdom.

Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may aspire to the things that last forever;

Teach me to be Your faithful disciple. Animate me with Your Spirit in every aspect of my life, today and throughout the week to come.

Amen.

Meditation

[Animate your Spirit in every aspect of my life.]


Benediction

Now, oh Lord, I pray that you may lift up the light of your countenance upon me, and give me peace; in my going out and in my coming in; in my sitting down and my rising up; in my work and in my play; in my joy and in my sorrow, in my laughter and in my tears; until that day comes which is without dawn and without dark.

Amen.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.



Coptic (Egyptian) painting of the Pentecost in icon style, artist unknown.
Coptic (Egyptian) painting of the Pentecost in icon style, artist unknown.

Proverbs 5:21-23 (NASB)

For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord,
And He watches all his paths.

His own iniquities will capture the wicked,
And he will be held with the cords of his sin.

He will die for lack of instruction,
And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.


Blue Latin Cross

Acts 2:1-13 (NASB)

Speaking in Languages

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.

They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs — we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”

And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”


Notes on the Scripture

Many Christians are surprised to learn that Pentecost was originally a Jewish holiday called the Feast of Weeks. It was named “Pentecost” by Greek-speaking Jews, meaning “fiftieth”, because it occurs exactly fifty days after Passover ends. It is no longer a major holiday for most Jews but was extremely important in ancient times, as it was one of the three pilgrimage feasts — feasts where Jews were expected not to work and, if possible, travel to Jerusalem — established by the Lord in the original Mosaic Law. (Exodus 34:22-26) It was a harvest festival; this seems strange to those who live in more northern countries and associate grain harvest with late summer, but in Palestine, cereal crops ripen in April and May.

Holy Spirit, dove with flame

As one of the three pilgrimage feasts, Jews were gathered in Jerusalem from all over the known world. Those who lived far away might visit Jerusalem only once in their lives and would, understandably, begin their visit during Passover and then stay for fifty days to celebrate the Feast of Weeks.

And what a surprise they had in store! Nobody knows why God waited ten days after Christ's Ascension to bring the Holy Spirit to the disciples, as promised by Christ (e.g John 16:5-8), and it had been a miserable ten days for the disciples. About 120 hard-core believers were huddled together, hiding from the Sanhedrin, in the upper room of a building in Jerusalem.

The drama of the Holy Spirit's coming is fully described in today's Scripture. There is, however, one particular point to be made: the Holy Spirit came upon the believers, not the crowd, and it was the disciples who were speaking in foreign languages, not the crowd who were hearing in their own languages.

The term “speaking in tongues” has become misused in modern Christianity. In English, a secondary meaning of tongue is language, i.e. we might say someone is speaking in his “native tongue”. In Greek, even more so: Greek had one word, “glossa”, that meant both tongue and language. The disciples were speaking in languages. They did not make ecstatic utterances in unknown sounds; they spoke God's praises in Latin, Greek, Parthian, Egyptian, etc.

When Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14 that, someone should speak in tongues during a service only if an interpreter is present, he does not mean some sort of supernatural interpreter who can decipher unknown noise. He means an interpreter in the normal sense of the word: someone who speaks the language that the speaker is using.

By the same token, though, criticizing other people's form of worship is prideful and destructive. There is no liturgy in the Bible. People who turn up their noses at Pentecostalists, because they use ecstatic utterances in their worship, should be thinking about the log in their own eye instead of the splinter in someone else's.

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10)



endless knot

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