Saturday, May 26, 2018


Memorial Day has special personal significance for me as I remember my grandmother, “Baba,” who went home to be with the Lord on this holiday when I was fourteen years old. She loved her family sacrificially, enduring many hardships as a young wife, leaving her home and country to begin a new life with her husband, to raise my mother and then me. She was a true Proverbs 31 woman in her generosity, industriousness, and character, and I cherish the Godly legacy she left me as a model of faith (Hebrews 11), charity (1 Corinthians 13), prayer, and service.

Tangible reminders of Baba highlight my life, from photographs on the foyer table and in albums, to tea towels she hand embroidered in the Ukraine, to a print of the Lord’s Supper that adorned her bedroom wall, and even to my medical school diploma, representing the education she helped finance through her thrift and keen business sense.

As we celebrate Memorial Day in the United States, we remember our fallen troops who paid the ultimate price to protect our freedoms, and we thank them for their faithful service. By giving their lives, they showed the self-sacrificing love epitomized by Jesus Christ, Who laid down His life to save His friends (John 15:13).

Jesus paid it all to bring peace between sinful man and holy God (Colossians 1:20). He became sin for us even though He was pure (2 Corinthians 5:21), holy and sinless (Hebrews 7:26), the perfect Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He rose again from the grave on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), proving that He is the Son of God and God Himself, so that all who trust Him as Lord and Savior have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Remembrances of God’s love, faithfulness and provision also abound in the lives of His children. First and foremost, we have His recorded Word (2 Timothy 3:16), His love letter to us explaining where we came from, His instructions for how to live a fulfilled life pleasing to Him (Proverbs, Psalms), and His plans for our future (Jeremiah 29:11). Throughout the Bible we learn of tangible reminders of His goodness.

The Ark of the Covenant contained the Ten Commandments inscribed in stone (Deuteronomy 31:26; 1 Kings 8:9), a golden pot of manna that God provided to feed His children in the wilderness, and Aaron’s rod that miraculously budded with almond blossoms (Hebrews 9:4). Men of God built altars and used Ebenezer stones (Joshua 4:7-24; 1 Samuel 7:12) to remember, honor and praise God for His deliverance.

If we look at our own lives, there too are numerous emblems of God’s blessings. Our spouse and children are answers to prayer for loved ones to fill our daily lives with love, joy, purpose and meaning (Psalm 127:4; Genesis 25:21; Proverbs 18:22; 19:24). Our dwelling, possessions, clothing and food represent God’s fulfilled promise to provide for our daily lives (Matthew 6:33; Psalm 37:25). Treasured mementos, photographs and letters remind us of the legacy left by our loved ones, and how God enabled us to achieve the goals and dreams He planted in our heart (Ephesians 2:10).

Notes written in our Bible, in a prayer journal, or in our hearts prove God’s faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23; Psalm 36:5; 89:1-2)) over and over as He answers prayer in the best possible way, with His perfect timing, working all things together for our ultimate good, for the good of others, and for His glory (Romans 8:28). May we remember the name of the Lord our God, His works and wonders (Psalm 20:7; 77:11), and His Word (John 12:16; 16:4).

As we visit the graves of fallen heroes on Memorial Day and beyond, decorating them with flags and flowers, we remember their service and sacrifice. May we also never forget God’s mercy, grace, and goodness (Hebrews 4:16), from the cross of Jesus Christ, Who died for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8), throughout our Christian walk, and His recorded promise to bring us home at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) to live with Him and our loved ones in Him throughout eternity!

© 2018 Laurie Collett

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pentecost: Filling of the Holy Spirit

In Scripture, cleansing water (1 John 5:6,8) and burning oil may each symbolize the Holy Spirit, Who has qualities of Living Water (Jeremiah 17:13; John 4; 7:38) as well as of holy fire (Isaiah 10:17). John the Baptist practiced baptism by water as the forerunner to Christ’s baptism by the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:36). John’s baptism by water was an act of repentance for sin, but Christ’s baptism with the Holy Ghost was compared to fire (Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16).

Christ’s shed blood washed believers clean of all sins (Revelation 1:5). After Christ’s completed work on the cross and His resurrection, the Holy Spirit, like cloven tongues of fire, landed on the disciples at the feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). The resulting filling by the Spirit allowed the disciples to speak in languages other than their native tongue, for the purpose of spreading the Gospel message to people of all nations.

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25) suggests that only those virgins with oil burning in their lamps – those who are indwelled by the Holy Spirit – will be admitted to the marriage supper, representing the Rapture to meet the Bridegroom in the air.

To be indwelled by the Holy Spirit, we must be born again, first by water (the physical birth) and then by the Spirit (John 3:5-8). This requires cleansing from our sins through our repentance and God’s forgiveness due to the substitutionary death of His Son (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). We must place our faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection (1 Cornthians 15:1-4) as our only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). As we realize, and continue to learn more and more about, Who He is, our hearts will burn within us (Luke 24:32), and we will be on fire for the Lord.

Water is sometimes called the universal solvent, because its cleansing action dissolves impurities and flushes them away. In contrast, oil tends to adhere to small particles, keeping them in contact with the skin or other surface. First we shower and then we apply perfumed body oil or beauty cream – it wouldn’t make much sense to reverse the order!

Similarly, we need the cleansing action of the Living Waters before the oil in our Spirit-filled lamps can burn brightly with a sweet fragrance. God dealt with Jerusalem and His chosen people in a similar sequence – first He cleansed them with water, and then He anointed them with oil (Ezekiel 16:9).

We see a moving example of cleansing and anointing in Luke 7 (38-48), in the sinful woman who wept at Jesus’s feet, washing them with her tears. No doubt her tears were shed in Godly sorrow, in repentance for her sins, as were the tears of David (Psalm 6:60;119:136) and Jeremiah (9:1,18; Lamentations 3:48). First her tears cleansed His feet from the dust and grime of the dirty roads, symbolizing the sins of the world, for Jesus Himself had no sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Then she wiped His feet with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with precious ointment. The oil in ointment allows it to preserve and convey perfume, spices and other costly substances. This woman stored her ointment in a precious alabaster box, which may have represented her dowry or all her worldly treasure. Yet she broke open the box and bestowed all the ointment lavishly on Jesus without considering the cost, because her heart was ignited by the Holy Spirit with passion to serve Him.

In a rainy parking lot, we may see oil drops floating on the wet pavement, causing a striking, rainbow-hued, swirling pattern known as a fractal. The light would not reflect in this jewel-toned design were the oil not aligned in a thin film, buoyed up by the water beneath. Similarly, the light and beauty of the Holy Spirit are not visible unless carried afloat by the Living Water indwelling each believer.

Cleansing, purification and anointing, as symbolized by water and oil, are essential to true worship. Oil and water in Scripture also reflect God’s provision, blessing, power, and judgment. May currents of living water flow forth from each of us, supporting the oil of the Spirit to reflect His brilliant light!

© 2013 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives