The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

A move of God can be bewildering because we don’t understand what God is doing. The disciples were confused after Jesus’ death and resurrection as they tried to understand what was happening. During their confusion, the disciples went fishing to engage in something familiar. While they were fishing, the Lord met them and called them again to come and fish for people.

As our life unfolds, we understand how the world works based on our life experience, but what if something changes? When a move of God calls a person into ministry, it may bewilder parents and siblings. That happened to me, and it took my parents years to understand.   

The Coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost Took Some by Surprise

The believers on Pentecost prayed as the Holy Spirit came upon them. Although it may not be what they expected, they knew the Lord would send the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.[1]  But what if you had not been expecting the Holy Spirit to come? Those people were bewildered; still, the Lord met them where they were and did the same for us.

Acts 2: They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, 8 , and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” 12 They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other. [2]

The Lord is Still Doing the Unexpected

Several years ago, we were part of a life-changing mission trip with our youth group. Some brought friends who did not know the Lord, and these became believers. One student changed his college major to spend his life helping others. One young woman, after college, went to Africa and started a school for blind students. Yet, as we reported back to the congregation, they didn’t know what to do with this excitement.

I believe the Lord loves to unfold things in our lives and around us that leave people wondering what He is doing. Is the Lord calling you to take Him out of the box you have neatly placed Him in? If so, expect the unexpected!

To learn how a move of God can be bewildering, listen here:

[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ac 1:8). Tyndale House Publishers.

[2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ac 2:7–12). Tyndale House Publishers.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a gift the Lord first gave believers on Pentecost. Today if you place your faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit dwells in you. This demonstrated the intimate relationship God wants with us.

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon people for a time to empower individuals. When Joshua replaced Moses as the leader of Israel, he needed the Lord’s assistance to carry out what God called him to do. Numbers 27:18 The Lord replied, “Take Joshua, son of Nun, who has the Spirit in him and lay your hands on him. [1]

David tells us he fears God will take the Spirit from him after sinning. Psalm 51:11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. [2] This verse helps us understand that the Holy Spirit did not permanently dwell on people in the Old Testament.

The Holy Spirit Filled Believers

As the believers prayed on Pentecost, God would do something special to change their lives. First, the wind began to blow, and then tongues of fire came to rest on each believer. Acts 2:And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. [3]

As the Holy Spirit filled them, their lives would never be the same as God came and lived in them. The Holy Spirit empowered Peter to preach a message that resulted in 3000 people coming to faith. The timid disciples who ran away at Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane now boldly proclaimed the good news of Jesus. Pentecost began the church’s exponential growth as the Holy Spirit worked through people.

Being Filled with the Holy Spirit is Life-Changing

The Lord wants to transform your life! He wants us to leave our old life behind and put on the new life in Christ as the Holy Spirit fills us. Paul tells us that instead of being drunk on wine, be filled with the Holy Spirit. Part of being filled with the Holy Spirit is letting the Lord control you. Galatians 5:16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.[4]

As we let the Holy Spirit transform us, a result is growing in fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! [5] I believe we all desire this kind of fruit!

To learn more about being filled with the Holy Spirit, listen here:

[1-5] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

Signs from God can reveal who He is, give insight into His majesty, and provide guidance when we are confused. During Jesus’ ministry, He made many signs to help people take steps of faith. John 20:30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. [1]

Signs or miracles that Jesus did were always about leading people to faith and for people to continue to believe that He was the Messiah. These signs showed the power of God. They showed that Jesus spoke the truth. Moreover, these signs continue to tell us that Jesus was who He said He was: “The Son of God.”

Tongues of Fire Appear on Believers at Pentecost

When the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost, the Lord placed tongues of fire on the heads of believers who had gathered as a sign that the Spirit had come. This sign impacted them and assured them that God was doing something new! Acts 2:1 On the day of Pentecost, all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. [2]

Why tongues of fire? Tongues may represent communication of the Good News of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit would help people communicate the Gospel. In the Bible, fire symbolizes God’s purifying presence, which burns away the unwanted parts or sins of a person’s life. I believe the Lord wants to help each believer communicate the Good News of Jesus and burn away the sin that hinders the Lord’s message.   

Signs From God Need to Match His Word

It is not wrong to ask for a sign from God, but if we receive one, we must ensure God’s word supports it. The Lord would never give us a sign that goes against His written word. Jesus used signs in His ministry to consistently reaffirm the word He was proclaiming. If God gives us a sign and affirms it with His word, He desires us to move forward or act on what He is telling us.

Sometimes God’s plans don’t make sense, and we must trust the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:7  For we live by believing and not by seeing.[3] Moses saw the burning bush but had to walk by faith when God called him to free the Israelites. No matter how the Lord is speaking to you can always trust He loves you and wants you to fulfill all the plans He has for you.

To learn more about signs from God, listen here:

[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

The Lord breaks into our lives because He is the God of intervention who works on our behalf to fulfill His plans for us. He is the divine intruder who intervenes in our lives in times we don’t expect and other times when we desperately call out to Him. Where has the Lord intervened in your life? How did that affect you and those around you?

When a person comes to faith, it’s because the Lord has intervened through the work of the Holy Spirit to open their hearts. In Acts chapter sixteen, we meet a woman named Lydia, who is going to a prayer meeting. On that day, she did not expect the Lord to intervene and open her heart, but He did. Acts 16:14 As Lydia listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. 15 She and her household were baptized.[1] Lydia’s entire household experienced God’s intervention through baptism. When the Lord breaks into our lives, He doesn’t ask for our permission but lovingly comes on us to enable us to fulfill His plans.

The Holy Spirit Breaks into People’s Lives on Pentecost

     Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit before He ascended into heaven. As the believers were praying in Jerusalem, the Lord sent the Holy Spirit as He had promised. Acts 2:2 On the day of Pentecost, all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. [2]

      The lives of these believers would never be the same because the Lord intervened. They were all believers in Jesus, but the Lord had more for them. To reach people with the good news of Jesus, every believer would need the Holy Spirit to live inside them.

The Lord Breaks into Our Lives Regularly

     Our heavenly Father always watches over us as He determines the next time He will break into our life. The Lord often prevents something from happening that we are unaware of, so we don’t realize He intervened. Other times, He intervenes to help us take the next step of faith. Our heavenly Father did not wait for our invitation before He sent His Son Jesus into the world to rescue us.

Clothing Himself in humanity as God and man, Jesus came into this world destined to give His life as a sacrifice for our sins. As people, we are weak, and Paul gives us insight into how God helps us during those times. Romans 8:26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. [3]

To learn how the Lord breaks into our lives, listen here:

[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

The significance of meeting together for spiritual purposes is vital throughout the Bible and in the church today. We have seen how detrimental isolation is for humans these past few years. Most people agree that life is better when we are together with others.

As believers in Christ, we are better together, including praying together. Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:20For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them. [1]As you study spiritual revivals, they have a common thread of people coming together to pray for revival.

The Psalmist wrote about the power of praying together. Psalm 34:Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. [2] The early believers knew the power of gathering for prayer. Acts 1:14 They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary, the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. [3]

Before the Holy Spirit Came, the Believers Gathered to Pray

Jesus had a message for His disciples after His resurrection. Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The disciples did not know when the Lord would send His Spirit, so they faithfully gathered each day to pray. When the Holy Spirit came that first day of Pentecost, it answered prayer beyond what they could imagine.

The Lord Calls Us to Gather Together

There is something meaningful about gathering corporately to pray. As we speak to the Lord, He brings our thoughts and ideas into alignment with His will. When people pray, our hearts join with God’s heart and each other. As we pray for others, we see them as the Lord sees them, giving us a different perspective. When we gather to pray regularly, a sense of anticipation arises as we anticipate God doing something. As the Lord answers prayers, excitement builds, and faith is strengthened.

Also, as people pray together, it provides space for people of greater faith to encourage those who may struggle. In addition, faithful prayers move the heart of God. When we come together to pray, we receive a fantastic gift because Jesus promises to be among us. No matter how large or small the group, or shaky our requests are, the Lord who lives in us prays alongside us. (Ref. Hebrews 7:25). Whenever the body of Christ gathers to pray, Jesus joins your group.

To learn more about the significance of meeting together, listen here:

[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

Solomon concluded that God is sovereign as he considered the times of life and their purpose. He has seen that God can use the burdens of life for good. Ecclesiastes 3: 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.[1]

Solomon wanted to know the purpose of life, but as he looked at the seasons, he realized that he couldn’t see nor fully comprehend God’s plan. There are different times in life, but God does not always reveal them fully to us; they remain mysteries. It will not be until we enter eternity that we will understand God’s complete plan.

Walk by Faith

As we study Scripture, we discover that the more we know, the more we don’t know. I think this deepens the wonder and awe of the sovereign wisdom of God. Jesus called us to have trust like a child. Matthew 19: 14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” [2]

Children do not understand the workings of the world but simply trust their parents to care for them. It is the same with us and our Heavenly Father. We may not understand what He is doing, but we can trust He is good and will care for us.

God’s Purpose is That We Should Fear Him

We have not begun to fear God until we recognize and trust God’s wisdom. We should not be in terror of Him but respect and honor Him. If we try to live without acknowledging God, we will find ourselves, like Solomon, empty, dissatisfied, and thinking life is meaningless. We must look to God for the final word.

Ecclesiastes 3: 14 And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him.[3] Most of life’s struggles come when we want to be in charge instead of humbling ourselves before God. At times we are offended when God doesn’t do it our way; some will even abandon their faith. But we must realize that whatever God does is final, and He knows best.

How can life be meaningless when God has made us part of His eternal plan? If you have trusted Jesus, God is preparing an eternal home for you. If we fear God, we need not fear anything else, for God is sovereign.

To learn more, listen here:

[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Tyndale House Publishers.

Solomon saw that God had given us gifts to enjoy in this life. Ecclesiastes 3: 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. [1]

Earlier, Solomon had found life meaningless. Ecclesiastes 1: Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.[2] As he refocused on God, he found a way to enjoy life.

Enjoying the Work of Our Hands

Solomon is not encouraging pagan hedonism but rather enjoying God’s gifts resulting from our labor, no matter how difficult life may be. Enjoying our food and drink is a simple but profound part of life. Material things give momentary pleasure, but true enjoyment is a gift from God. We can delight in the material blessings God permits to come to us through our work. Godly joy recognizes that every good gift comes from above.

God is a Joy Giver

As Solomon considered all the different times in life, he could see that life on this earth is temporary. But God is eternal and has created us to be eternal. Life is meaningful and enjoyable when we live for Him and let Him have His way. Many see God as a cosmic joy-killer, but God delights in human enjoyment. This picture is different from what most people think life is like as they serve the living God.

God was willing to send His Son to redeem and restore our joy:

John 15:11 I (Jesus) have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! [3]

John 16: 13 “I (Jesus) told them (the disciples) many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.[4] 

We have a Savior who came to restore what sin corrupted and give us joy. Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, let’s enjoy what we do have and thank God for it.

To learn how God has given us gifts to enjoy, listen here:

[1-4 Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ec 3:11–13). Tyndale House Publishers.

Ironically, Solomon speaks of eternity in our hearts in a passage about time. Merriam-Webster defines eternity as infinite time or a seemingly endless or immeasurable time.[1] God created humankind in his image, which is eternal. As a result, we are concerned about the future and desire to understand the beginning from the end. We have a sense there is something that transcends our situation.

Created to be Different

Humans are the only worshipping animal. Evolution can’t explain this quality. If you look at a well-fed dog in front of a fire on a cold day, he is satisfied. If we take a person and put them in the same position, soon they will feel a sense of restlessness. We search for what is beyond what we can feel or sense.

St Augustine prayed, “Thou has made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until we learn to rest in Thee.”[2]

God designed our hearts with a hole that can only be filled with Him. This explains why no one, including Solomon, can be satisfied with their accomplishments. Only when we allow God to enter our hearts and place His plan and purpose there can this restlessness be satisfied.

Redeemed for Eternity

God did create us in His image, but sin corrupted this. Romans 3: 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. [3] This eternity in our heart or God consciousness is still part of our nature, although sin suppresses it. Romans 1: 18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.[4]

But through His love, God sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem and restore us. Romans 3: 24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.[5]

As we believe and trust Jesus, we have the promise of eternity with Him. 1 John 2: 24 So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. 25 And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.[6]

To learn more about eternity in our hearts, listen here:


[2] Stedman, Ray, 1999, Is This Alll There is to Life, Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI, p.51.

[3-6] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. 

Solomon has seen how we have burdens in life. But then he goes on to say everything is beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3: 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. [1] What is beautiful? All the things that Solomon listed before this. Some of these things we would not consider beautiful. There is a time to die, kill, tear down, cry, and grieve. These are not pleasant but are included in the part that is made beautiful.

We have seen how God can use burdens to grow our faith. So the things we struggle with in life are used to make us stronger. That is certainly one way that these times can be beautiful. We don’t need to consider difficult times to be curses and obstacles; instead, God can use these times to bless us.

Can Enemies Be Beautiful?

A friend listed groups of people that he had learned from in life. This list included heroes, models, mentors, peers, and friends. And then he added one more group, enemies. I was confused. He went on to explain. While enemies often have opposite opinions, they attack and expose our motives. If we are willing to listen to them, they expose our self-centeredness, self-righteousness, and arrogance.

Now, some discernment is needed as we sort through charges made by our enemies. We must differentiate truth from lies. But our enemies can be brutally honest and reveal blindspots in our lives. We may not see the problem, but they have no trouble telling us about it. We can’t fix a problem until we know there is one. So, if we are willing to do some self-discovery, our enemies can give us valuable information. They become beautiful in their time.

Jesus Commanded Us to Love Our Enemies

Matthew 5: 43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.[2] 

Luke 6: 27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.[3]

John 13: 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.[4] 

Jesus commands us to love each other because He loves us, and we follow His way. Another reason Jesus told us to love our enemies is because they can give us vital information. It may be painful to hear, but useful in the long run. Even our enemies can become beautiful in their time.

To learn more about beautiful in its time, listen here:

[1-4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

We know there are burdens in life. Solomon speaks of these. Ecclesiastes 3: What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.[1] Solomon questioned the worth of hard work in the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 1: What do people get for all their hard work under the sun?[2] And now, after looking at the times of life, Solomon repeats the question.

Hard work is only one of the burdens that we have in this life. Given a choice, we would choose a life free from problems. But what would we be like in a problem-free life? I think it would ruin us. God knows that people protected from everything are impossible to live with. They become selfish, cruel, shallow, and unprincipled. They can’t identify with others and their problems.

Paul’s Burden

The Apostle Paul gives us insight into his burdens and how God used them in his life. Romans 5: We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love[3].

Paul faced all kinds of spiritual opposition as a missionary taking the Gospel out to the known world. It wasn’t easy; at times, it was burdensome. Yet, God used these times to grow Paul’s faith and to make him a better evangelist.

He knew he needed God’s help along the way because he couldn’t control the times. Solomon had come to the same conclusion. He had listed times of life at the beginning of chapter three, but he was not in control of them. If Solomon only looked at hard work from a worldly point of view, it was meaningless.

God Uses Our Burdens

Just as an athlete works out to prepare for the game, God uses the burdens of life to grow our faith. There are times when we must set aside our will for God’s. We grow to depend on God in our struggles, and our relationship deepens.

After Paul showed how the burdens of life change us, he goes on to say: Romans 5: 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

May the burdens in life lead you to a deeper relationship with Jesus. To find out more, listen here:

[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Tyndale House Publishers.

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