The most precious gift of all....
"When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had said this, he showed unto them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. Jesus therefore said to them again, Peace be unto you: as the Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit."
And.....Spoken by the prophet Joel:
"In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy."
The same power that transformed the disciples from a quaking, shivering, huddled with fear bunch; listening for footsteps and clenched fists pounding at the door, to an "empowered by God" group that would turn the world upside down, still empowers you and I today as believers, and the church continues to flourish....
Consider these facts from Philip Jenkins:
A few years ago, Bishop Spong wrote Why Christianity Must Change or Die, and his message was that Christianity is becoming discredited in the West, the old supernatural lessons are ceasing to carry any weight, so Christianity must change or die.
I will die, Bishop Spong will die, but, as far as we can tell, Christianity seems to be flourishing remarkably. The Christianity that is flourishing in the global South is a Christianity that looks very strange to Western eyes. It takes prophecy and spiritual healing very seriously. Dreams, visions, trances are all notions that carry a good deal of currency in the countries in which Christianity is succeeding very dramatically. It would be hard to convince a congregation in Seoul or in Nairobi that Christianity is dying, when they are far too busy building a new facility for the 20,000 or 30,000 new people they have added to their congregation in the last decade.
Places considered unreachable several decades ago have now become hot spots for Christian growth, and hundreds of new churches are being planted each month in those places. Take the small country of Nepal, for example; the church there is growing faster than in any other nation. In 1960, the number of Christians totaled only twenty-five. Today, the number has risen to almost 1 million. Despite the abuse and isolation many Nepali Christians have faced in recent years, churches are springing up all over the country. And though Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims, still constitute the majority of the population, Christianity is growing twice as fast as the other faiths.
Philip Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University. He was born in Wales and educated in England, where he received his Ph.D. from Clare College at Cambridge. He has written over fifteen books and many articles on contemporary religious issues and controversy.
The list of gratitude goes on:
21. The first cup of coffee in the morning
22. People that continue to love even when it seems impossible
23. Friends that know how to fix broken washers (washer gave out this morning and very smart friend pulled part out and also repaired part) Hallelujah!
24. Precious gifts from people that remind me of their presence.
25. The knowledge that ALL good things come from God.
26. Computers that keep us in touch with our loved ones far away.
27. Telephones that do the same thing.
28. Service people that show up on time and do a good job
29. The innocence of children
30. People who go out on a limb to rescue those who can't rescue themselves