"And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability." (Acts 2:4 NLT)
Pentecost! We are to Pentecost, the start of summer and even starting to "get out." We are still being careful to "physical distance" (I like 'physical' better than 'social'!) but we are starting to actually SEE people again. As Caregivers we are being especially careful to "follow the instructions" to keep our care receivers safe while still being able to do more. We are trying to "share."
The Disciples had followed instructions also. They had waited, "for the gift my Father promised" (Acts 1:4), but now sound "like the blowing of a violent wind" filled the house and "tongues of fire" were with each of them. (Acts 2:2 & 3) The Disciples were so filled with excitement they were able to tell everyone around, all the people from all the countries you can read of starting with verse 5, about all that Jesus was and is. Everyone was able to understand because they heard their own native language from the Disciples "as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability."
Have you thought about the languages you speak? Yes, some of us (not me!) can speak several foreign languages. But I mean because of the gifts God has given you - the language that goes with said gift. I speak needlework fluently but struggle with cooking and can not speak gardening at all. But I can share God's love, presence, strength and guidance through needlework. I can talk about all of those things while I'm working AND with the gifts I give. What about you? What, and how, do you share?
"They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them." (Acts 1:10)
How do you look for something? How often are you looking for something? I know I can be looking for my cell phone at regular intervals. If I haven't put it "back" in my pocket, because I have set it down, I have to look for it -- usually rather "intently." Then there are the things I have put away in a "safe place." I'm sure they are "safe" I just have to find the place I put them! Then, with schedules still going crazy, things changing every day (sometimes several times in one day) and trying to 'keep up' we can also be looking for calm, quiet time - again rather "intently."
The Disciples had also gone through a lot of changes rather quickly. They were now watching their Leader, Teacher, Friend return to heaven. So, yes, I can imagine they were watching "intently." We also know, from the Gospels, the Disciples were waiting on what Jesus had promised "I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven." (Luke 24:49 NLT) So it was a "hurry up and wait" kind of looking mixed into the changes happening. No wonder they were looking "intently"!
So.......what are we looking for? Are we looking to follow where God is leading? Are we looking for time to take care of ourselves? Can we look "intently" to God? Something to think about........
"If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you." (John 14:15-16 NLT)
This is such a crazy time! We are all "sheltering in place," which means staying home, but how many of us have finished (or even worked on!!) the various projects we have put back to do when _______ - fill in the blank. There are boxes to unpack (I have lived here almost a year now), books to be read, needlework to finish and "stash" to be worked through. I will even admit to actually working on some of this. I will also admit that working from home has meant a busier (more difficult?) schedule.
Then we get the Scripture reading "if you love me obey my commandments" and the one in Mark 12:30 "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength." God FIRST! Oh, dear....... Putting God first, spending time with God first. Following where God is leading first. Is that what we are doing? Are we spending the time in God's Word? Are we taking the time to be with God?
Yes, this is a crazy time. Yes, there are things, especially as primary care givers, that have to get done. Yes, there are things more difficult as we have to adjust to new schedules and (my least favorite!) learn new things with technology. Crazy, difficult times mean we NEED the time with God even more!
"'You know the way to the place where I am going.' Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?'" (John 14:3--4)
Directions can be such interesting things. For instance I have great difficulty figuring out "north/south" directions unless the sun is rising or setting. When I know which way is "one" direction I can figure out the others. When I ask for directions I ask for right/left turns NOT "turn north" directions. I also tell people I "follow directions except on my needlework - I reserve the right to do my own thing with needlework." I am also getting better at following directions to actually cook something - but I do have to follow exactly what the recipe says.
How are you at following directions? Do you follow the directions? I know some people who "when all else fails" follow the directions. As Caregivers we can have a lot of directions we have to follow -- medications, actual care, and making sure everything gets done to name just a few. We can be very careful to follow these 'directions' but do we also follow other directions.
Jesus is pointing out the "way" to be with Him. In John 15 He reminds us He is the vine and we are the branches and the importance of "remaining" in Christ. Self care is an important part of giving care. Are we "following" the directions?
"All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need." (Acts 2:44--45)
Sharing is something we, as caregivers, do every day. Sometimes it is like our mothers taught us -- when you share something one person cuts it and the other person gets first choice. Sometimes it is sharing everything -- our time, our home, our 'free time.' Sometimes, like in this reading, we have "all things in common." (v. 44) No matter which way, or how much, we are already sharing but is God asking us to do more.
Each of us also has skills, gifts and talents we share -- some "just" taking care of the receiver is a skill to share (health care workers being one example) -- but some also are sharing sewing, knitting, cooking and other skills even as they are being caregivers. "As any had need" can even, when we are really busy and very tired, make us wonder who is sharing with us? We also wonder about how we might be able to share even more......
This brings the skills each of us has to mind........ Those who do know how to do needlework (sewing, knitting, crochet) can be making prayer shawls, quilts, scarfs, and even masks while spending time in prayer. Those who actually understand the technology can be helping keep people in touch with loved ones during this "shelter in place." Those who are good at cooking can be, at least, explaining to the beginners if not actually helping with the cooking.
How is God asking you to share your gifts and talents? How is God asking us to be there as "any had need"?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.