As I thought about what is happening around us I felt the Lord saying to me, It may seem dark but a new day is dawning. Then I remembered the beginning of the early church. The early church was birthed in what seemed like a time of darkness for the disciples because their Teacher was about to leave them, but Jesus had told them to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit (Read Acts 1:4-5). The Bible tells us that on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon them with power, Acts chapter 2.
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4
In our Christian culture, we acknowledge the traditions of man instead of observing the Feast Days appointed by God. Because of this practice, our Christian faith has become lopsided, rather out of alignment with the Biblical practices. The beauty of Torah cannot be realized if we don’t look at the picture as a whole to acknowledge and celebrate God in the affairs of man.
We are one week away from celebrating Pentecost, and the Lord is saying, the time seems dark but after Pentecost, there will be a rebirth of the church. The church will go forth once more with power and authority.
You may ask, what am I talking about? As New Testament believers many of us do not understand that Pentecost was not a one-time occurrence when the Holy Spirit came and empowered the disciples as mentioned in the book of Acts. Pentecost as we know it is the “Feast of Weeks” also known as (Shavu’ot), which is the celebration of the Spring harvest and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.
22 “And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end.
23 “Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the Lord God of Israel. Exodus 34:22-23
The Feast of Weeks/Pentecost occurs fifty days after Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread. Pentecost is one of the three feast days that were appointed by God which the men in Israel were to appear before Him. (Read Leviticus 23:15-23).
Here is what I want you to see. Tradition has taught us to celebrate Easter, Lent, and Christmas all of which have absolutely no biblical foundation for our faith and therefore cannot provide us with the promises and blessings that are associated with God’s appointed times of celebration. Those who celebrate the tradition of Easter have nothing to look forward to except the return of the Lord. However, for those who observe Passover as it was command by God, we can look forward to Pentecost where we can anticipate an outpouring, a time of refreshing, and renewal as we acknowledge God as the giver of all things.
In this time and season God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power love and of a sound mind. He wants His children to heed His commands and not conform to the religious practices of the tradition of man. Just as there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost when the early church was birthed and there was a harvest of three thousand souls, there awaits an outpouring for the church today, but only those who are waiting with expectation will receive of the Spirit of the Lord. God once again will use His people to turn the world up-side-down.
Are you ready for the outpouring?
I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Ezekiel 36:27
In our Christian culture, we often believe what is being taught from the Bible without question or seek the Lord for an understanding of what is being taught, which sometimes causes us to go down a path that God didn't intend for us to travel. As the Bible tells us do not believe every spirit but we should test every spirit to see whether if it is of God, 1 John 4:1. As you read what I am about to share with you, my prayer is that you do more than just merely read but also ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you.
In a conversation before He was crucified Jesus spoke to Simon, Peter, saying "Simon, Simon! Indeed Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren. 33But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” Luke 22:31-34NKJV
Most times when we hear a message from this passage of Scripture the focus is on Satan's desire to sift Simon as wheat, and the emphasis is placed on Peter's denying Jesus, but I believe that wasn't the point of this conversation Jesus was having with Peter.
In this passage, Jesus’ emphasis was not on Satan’s desire or Peter denying Him; the emphasis was on Peter’s faith and ministry.
There are a few principles that we can glean from this passage. The first principle is that “prayer strengthens faith.” Jesus told Peter, though Satan asked for you that he may sift you as wheat, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail you, and when you return to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Jesus reassured Simon (Peter) that in spite what Satan desire was, his faith is what will bring him back to Jesus. It didn’t matter what Satan wanted to do to him. It didn't matter what Peter was about to say or do, it was about his "faith." It was about his confidence in knowing who Jesus was and his love for Him. Regardless of what he was about to experience, his survival was dependent upon the strength of his faith.
Secondly, Jesus told Peter, "When you return to me strengthen your brethren." Peter's responsibility after his experience was to strengthen those around him. It was his duty to share with others how his faith in Jesus brought him through his experience. Through his life experiences, Peter experienced the grace of God.
Thirdly, Jesus taught Peter that He cannot rely on his own strength. Peter had the best of intentions when he told Jesus, "Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death. His best of intention was not the source of Peter's strength.
It was from these principles that Peter's ministry was established by Jesus. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter by the sea three times He asked Peter, "Do you love me," Peter responded, "Lord, You know I do." Jesus told him "Feed my sheep." John 21:15-17NKJV
Peter, himself warns us of the desire of Satan toward us as believers, in 1 Peter 5:8-9(NKJV) he warns us; "Be sober, be vigilant, because the adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9Resist him, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by the brotherhood in the world."
With this knowledge and experience, Peter also prayed for his fellow brethren as Jesus prayed for him, "But may the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you." 1Peter 5:10
How do we make the word of God applicable to our lives today?
As Jesus said to Peter when you return to me strengthen your brethren; even so, He requires us to do the same. There is no doubt that as believers we will suffer in this world, but how we deal with it will establish if we are capable to strengthen our brethren. We can either depend on our own strength or turn to the God of our faith for strength. If our faith is strong in Him, we will not fail. Revelation 12:11(CJB) tells us, "They (believers) defeated him (Satan) by the Lamb's blood and because of the message of their witness. Even when facing death they did not cling to life."
Let us not be selfish in our witness of God’s grace and love towards us. What are the lessons you have learned from your life’s experiences which you know without a doubt if it had not been for your faith in God and His grace you would have not made it through? Bear in mind you are not the only one who is suffering or has suffered in this world. Your brothers and sisters need to know that God is as faithful today as He was in the life of Peter and all those who chose to follow Him.
Will you strengthen your brethren today?
One of the biggest fears I had was talking to people. I have said many times before that I would rather lock myself in a room with a book or computer rather than having to talk with others. I still have that fear sometimes when I have to minister or do public speaking. As I read the account of when God (Adonai) called Moses (Moshe) in the book of Exodus, I am encouraged to know that I am not the only one who had such fear and to know God is in control even of my mouth when He gives me an assignment.
Exodus 4 verse 10 records Moshe's fear of public speaking. "Moshe said to Adonai, "Oh, Adonai, I'm a terrible speaker. I always have been, and I'm no better now, even after you have spoken to your servant! My words come slowly, my tongue moves slowly." (CBJ-Complete Jewish Bible)
In Exodus chapter four we read of the awesome encounter that Moshe had with Adonai. After Adonai gave Moshe instructions to lead His people out of bondage in Egypt Moshe's response was "I am a terrible speaker, I always have been, and I am no better now, even after you spoke to your servant." Moshe, basically told Adonai that he is not a great speaker so he should find someone else for the job. The interesting thing I wanted to highlight from this verse which Moshe said is this; "I am no better now, even after you have spoken to your servant." The reason, here Moshe is having an encounter with the All-Knowing All-Powerful God and even after his encounter, he felt no different than before. Moshe's encounter at that moment would be equivalent to what we would call today a "Holy Ghost" encounter in the church. The moment when you are sure you heard from God and you know he spoke to you. How Moshe felt is so important to us because many times as believers we feel as if when we have an encounter with Adonai our capabilities would somehow supernaturally change and we become this superhero version of ourselves.
When we are called by Adonai and is given an instruction to carry out His mission it is not about our capabilities but His willingness to use us to demonstrate His power in the Earth. We understand this truth because of Adonai's response to Moshe in Exodus chapter 4 verses 11 and 12; "Adonai answered him, "who gives a person mouth? Who makes a person dumb or deaf, keen-sighted or blind? isn't it I? Adonai? Now, there, go; and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what to say."(CJB)
Adonai is not interested in our capabilities but our willingness to go and do what He has asked of us. When you and I surrender to Adonai's will He can show Himself strong in the Earth so that those who do not know Him might come to realize their frailty without Him.
If Adonai has spoken to you and you don't feel competent or capable after your experience with Him, it is Okay. Adonai, through His Son, Yeshua (Jesus) has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us to be His witness in Earth. Acts chapter 1 verse 8 states, But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.” (Amplified)
It is in your surrender and willingness to go that the Holy Spirit can manifest Adonai's power. Today I want to encourage someone who is feeling incapable of following God's instructions just continue to trust, rely, and depend on Him, for it is He who will work through you. As Adonai said to Moshe, so I admonish you; go and Adonai will be with your mouth and will teach you what to say. Remember, Yeshua also promised never to leave nor forsake you. He said in Matthew chapter 28 in verse 20, "I will be with you always, yes even until the end of the age."(CJB)
Go and do as Adonai commanded you.
Natalee Henry- Minister, Motivational Speaker, Publisher, Author, Founder and C.E.O. of Season Destiny, a ministry designed to "empower you to make right decisions in life." Her goal is to “empower you to make the right decisions in life” through the teaching of the Word of God. Her mission is to Educate, Motivate, and Transform lives for the Kingdom of God.