Tag Archives: pentecost

Leaving The Doldrums

Not long after Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, other ships began to make the voyage across the pond. Several ships noticed a strange phenomenon as they sailed near the equator. There was very little wind and ships would drift there for weeks or months. In time, this area of the ocean became known as the doldrums. Sailors avoided it because they didn’t take the provisions to survive a trip that got stuck there for a long period. It was a place of stagnation, depression and death which is why it became known as the doldrums.

There are times in life when you and I sail into the doldrums. Everything seems to be going fine, we are moving along and then the wind stops. We begin to float along. We get stuck and can’t seem to get out of the place we are in. It often seems like God has forgotten us. We question ourselves and what we could have done to cause God to leave us in this place. I’ve seen people stay in these types of doldrums for years not knowing how to escape. It seems like their prayers to put wind back in their sails are falling on deaf ears, but that’s not the case.

If you read the first part of Acts, the disciples had been in the doldrums since the crucifixion of Jesus. They had moments where Jesus would appear to them, but when He left, they would feel just as stuck as before. On one of those occasions Jesus spoke to them and said, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift He promised as I told you before. (Acts 1:4 NLT).” Wait? For how long? How could Jesus leave them adrift in the doldrums? It was a dangerous time to be in Jerusalem. Just 40 days before, Jesus had been killed and they feared they were next.

They met in the Upper Room and prayed for the next ten days as they waited. Then Acts 2:2 says, “Suddenly there was a sound from Heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. (NLT)” God sent the wind of the Holy Spirit to fill their sails and push them out of the doldrums. That wind pushed them and the message of Jesus all over the world. They were no longer stuck in their depression and doubt. They were revived and renewed because they waited on the Lord in prayer.

If you’re stuck in the doldrums, let me encourage you not to give up. Wait on the Lord in prayer and ask for Him to send the Wind of the Holy Spirit into your life. I’m talking about spending some serious time in prayer. The disciples prayed and waited in one place until God answered. We need to do the same thing. We need to commit to praying not just a one or two sentence prayer, but an active, waiting on God all day kind of prayer if we truly want out of the doldrums. We need to wait on the Lord until He answers. Be prepared though. When that rushing, mighty wind blows into your life, God will take you farther than you ever dreamed possible.

One final thought: The doldrums are where hurricanes originate from. What seems like a windless place is where God launches the most powerful forces.

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The Balcony Of Boldness (Video)

That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight. These people aren’t drunk as some of you suspect. They haven’t had time to get drunk—it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. This is what the prophet Joel announced would happen:

“In the Last Days,” God says,
“I will pour out my Spirit
on every kind of people:
Your sons will prophesy,
also your daughters;
Your young men will see visions,
your old men dream dreams.
When the time comes,
I’ll pour out my Spirit
On those who serve me, men and women both,
and they’ll prophesy.
I’ll set wonders in the sky above
and signs on the earth below,
Blood and fire and billowing smoke,
the sun turning black and the moon blood-red,
Before the Day of the Lord arrives,
the Day tremendous and marvelous;
And whoever calls out for help
to me, God, will be saved.”

Acts 2:14-12 (MSG)

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Don’t Change Your Clothes

Joel 2 is known for verses 28-29 which Peter used when he preached from the balcony of the Upper Room in Acts 2. While those verses are well known, there are a couple of other ones in there that stand out to me as well. One of which is verse 13 where he is quoting God and He says, “Rend your heart, not your clothes and return to The Lord your God.” When I read that, it jumped out at me. So I began to read it in other translations and interpretations to see what else I could get from it.

The Message Bible says, “Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God.” It made me think of a show my wife and I used to watch called “What Not To Wear”. A person could nominate a friend who was a walking wardrobe disaster and the hosts of the program would secretly tape them in every day life wearing ridiculous outfits. The person would be invited to a party which would turn out to be an intervention. They had to agree to go to New York with all of their clothes for a makeover.

Once there, they tried on several of their favorite outfits and were picked apart by the expert hosts. They would be required to throw away their entire wardrobe in most cases. After throwing them away, they were taught how to shop for clothes that fit them and their style. After a day of shopping, many wouldn’t know what to purchase and would return to their former style. At the least they would lament throwing out their favorite clothes. The hosts would join them, encourage them and have a break through with them. They could then change their buying and clothes wearing habits.

That’s what God wants to do with each of us. He wants us to throw out our old wardrobe. He wants to change not just how we look on the outside to other people. He wants to change us from the inside out. We can change our clothes and how we appear to others, but that’s not what God is looking for. God looks at our hearts, not our outward appearance. That why the NLT translates verse 13 as, “Don’t tear your clothing in grief, but tear your hearts instead.” God is more concerned with us changing, tearing or rending our hearts because He knows that when we do, our outside will change as well.

Maybe you’ve tried to change how you appear to others, but haven’t changed on the inside and it’s not very fulfilling. You’ve fooled others, but you haven’t fooled yourself or God. The rest of verse 13 says, “Return to The Lord, your God, for He is merciful and compassionate… and filled with unfailing love.” God is not out to get you when you mess up. He’s merciful and compassionate. He wants to help you change your heart so that you won’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again. If you do, He’s right there to help you make better choices. All you have to do is call out to Him.


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