Pentecost must have been an amazing sight to behold. Men were quite literally on fire for the Lord, as the Holy Spirit descended upon them in tongues of fire. The apostles began to speak in languages they did not know, so that everyone there could hear the Gospel in his own language. Some mocked the apostles, claiming they were drunk. But many did believe, and after Peter’s sermon, Acts 2:41 tells us that “those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Whoa. Three thousand people? And a short while later, after Peter and John healed a lame beggar, John preached again about Jesus, and that day five thousand men believed! That’s astounding. Suddenly the growth of the Church in our own day can seem very meek in comparison.
Some time ago I did my quarterly …
semi-annual … okay, annual (if I’m lucky) full-house carpet cleaning. I’m talking pulling out beds, moving dressers, and rearranging furniture. Oh, sure, I use it here and there to spot clean, but this was different. I focused on a different room each day, and by the end of the week, the carpets were squeaky clean, and I was feeling pretty happy about my progress, so I decided to use the upholstery tool to clean the couch and armchair as well. Looking at our couch beforehand, it didn’t look especially disgusting. It’s beige, so it showed a few discolorations, sure, where the kids spilled something or other. But I had the false impression that it was fairly clean overall. Boy, was I wrong. Continue reading “Deep Cleaning”
Baptism is a dangerous thing. Yes, you read that correctly. But give me a chance to explain. Think about it. What happens in baptism? A person becomes a child of God. That’s a good thing, mind you—a great thing. It’s a gift beyond comparison, one we could never earn on our own merit. But there’s a catch. Someone isn’t happy about this gift, and that someone wants to take that gift away. He will stop at nothing to steal that gift right out from under you. That “someone” is Satan.
For a kindergartner, my daughter has a pretty decent concept of what baptism is. Her class had a unit on baptism in the fall, and she came home excited about it every day. One day she announced to me seriously, “Mommy, if the devil tempts me, I can tell him, ‘Get away from me, devil. I am baptized.'” Absolutely true, and incredibly mature for a kindergarten student. But how many of us really take our baptisms that seriously?
We have an amazing bush in our front yard. I think it may be a holly bush of some type, based on the leaves, but my knowledge of plants is slim at best. At any rate, this bush died over the winter, and once spring came the entire thing was an ugly brown. I didn’t know if I was supposed to prune the branches and wait for new growth, or if the thing just couldn’t take the brutal winter and was really dead. Once everything else in our yard was starting to bloom again in spring, I finally ventured over to it for a closer look. What I saw shocked me. Green leaves were starting to form, but not as you might expect. As the picture shows, green was actually forming inside the brown leaves. Those brown leaves I had supposed were dead were turning green from the inside out. I’d never seen anything like it. And yet I have, and so have you.