Blessed Shavuot and Pentecost Sunday

Wishing everyone a joyous celebration of Shavuot and Pentecost Sunday! This is the time to re-read the book of Ruth in the Old Testament. This story teaches us that sacrifice is an important part of unconditional love. Like Ruth, God always blesses those who show kindness with His goodness and mercy. Let’s remember anew the quote Ruth made famous: “…for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” (Ruth 1:116b).

What exactly is Shavuot? As Christians, we are more familiar with the term Pentecost. Let’s explore this festival’s Jewish and Christian roots for a deeper understanding of its meaning.

Jewish Shavuot…

Tori Avey explains in her words: “Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) commemorates the revelation of the Torah on Mt. Sinai to the Jewish people, and occurs on the 50th day after the 49 days of counting the Omer. Shavuot is one of the three biblically based pilgrimage holidays known as the shalosh regalim. It is associated with the grain harvest in the Torah.” (Read more at also has some interesting festival background: “Shavuot 2022 (a two-day holiday, celebrated from sunset on June 4 until nightfall on June 6) coincides with the date that G‑d gave the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai exactly 3,333 (!) years ago. It comes after 49 days of eager counting, as we prepared ourselves for this special day. People celebrate by lighting candlesstaying up all night to learn Torahhearing the reading of the Ten Commandmentsfeasting on dairy foods and more. Learn more about Shavuot” at

Another interesting fact is the belief that King David’s birth as well as his death occurred during Shavuot. Ruth and Boaz were the great-grandparents of King David, all part of the lineage of Jesus Christ.

Christian Pentecost…

When did Shavuot turn into Pentecost (its Greek name)? It began on the forty-ninth day or seven weeks after Jesus ascended into heaven. Christ spoke of His sending the Holy Spirit several times to the disciples.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”

JOHN 14:16-17 NKJV

Tell me more

Jesus also explained the Holy Spirit’s role in their lives, and why it was necessary for the Spirit to come.

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”

JOHN 16:7-11 NKJV

That day arrived

Acts 2 tells about this supernatural event. The disciples, along with Mary and a few others, had convened in the Upper Room, praying and waiting on the promised Helper. On that Pentecost day, the Holy Spirit descended like flames of fire resting above each person’s head.

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”


Peter preached…

Many Jews from different countries happened to be in Jerusalem at that time to celebrate Shavuot, and they heard these men, full of the Holy Spirit, speak in each one’s native language about the mighty deeds of God. The Jews laughed, claiming the disciples must be drunk, but Peter rose up and preached to them all, quoting from the prophet Joel:

“Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says,
‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams;
Even on My bondslaves, both men and women,
I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit
And they shall prophesy.
‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above
And signs on the earth below,
Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.‘The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.
‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

ACTS 2:14B-21 NKJV

Jesus also explained the difference between John the Baptist’s water baptism and the fire baptism of the Holy Spirit:

Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”


Water versus Fire…

At salvation, Christians are water baptized, which represents the washing away of sin and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. But Pentecost is a baptism of fire by Jesus Himself through the Holy Spirit, usually with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. What is the purpose of this second baptism?

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

JOHN 16:13-15 NKJV

“…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”


May we all experience the wonderful power of Pentecost in our lives. Pentecost Sunday is June 5, 2022.

Dear Father, thank you for sending us the Comforter, our Helper, to live inside our spirits. As you did in the day of your disciples, send us fire from heaven and baptize us in Your power and anointing. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Blessed Shavuot and Pentecost Sunday by Karen Jurgens copyright 2022 All rights reserved

Honoring Our Mothers

“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

Ephesians 6:2-3 NKJV

This Mother’s Day is more special than any other because my mother just turned 100 years old in March, and I still have to pinch myself. She has outlived everyone in her family and has won the longevity award. God has truly blessed her with a long and healthy life where she still walks without a cane and doesn’t look a day over eighty. She is one amazing woman.

People ask her how she has lived so long, and her answer is always the same: “No smoking or drinking, and living a godly life.” But I would add that she has always had a healthy fear of God–in the sense of deeply respecting Him and His Word. If I’ve heard her admonition once, I’ve heard it hundreds of times: “Always walk softly before the Lord.”

Lots of people live the same lifestyle, but they don’t live a long life.

Why is that? Good genes play a part, of course. But could it have something to do with God’s promise in Ephesians 6:2-3? How important is it to honor your parents–no matter what?

My mother’s parents struggled in their marriage, but they stayed together ” for better or worse.” Despite the hardships of growing up during the Depression, Mother always respected and obeyed them. As a twelve-year-old, her parents sent her to live with her maternal grandparents on their Kentucky farm. In hindsight, what a blessing that decision turned out to be. Her grandmother loved and affirmed her, nurturing that empty, hungry place in her heart. Most importantly, Mother attended a Christian boarding school nearby where she gave her life to Christ and studied the Word of God for the first time.

Her four years with her grandparents shaped her life and sealed her future.

Her grandfather read the Bible daily with his family and led them in prayer, thus planting Scripture in her heart. The farm became her forever home and her grandparents her forever surrogate parents. When she had to return to live with her own parents, her soul overflowed with the stability of a mother’s love and a new identity in Christ.

After high school, Mother married at eighteen and gave birth to a son at nineteen. A few years later, she experienced a tubal pregnancy, and her doctor advised that she would probably never have more children. Much to her surprise, I came along eleven years later. From the beginning, Mother and I established a bond that still endures to this day, and we have always been the best of friends.

Fortunately, I experienced an upbringing that was the opposite of Mother’s. She and my father were excellent parents to me, and they raised me in a Christian home where I met Jesus as Savior at the age of eight. That foundation turned out to be my source of strength when I became a single mother and raised my two young daughters alone. Today they are both strong Christian women who are prepared to pass on a godly foundation of love and stability to their future children. Our three generations overflow with loving honor for one another, and God has blessed us beyond measure.

Do you honor your mother?

It’s easy to honor a parent who treats you well and loves you, as was my experience. But a true test of honor comes when a parent doesn’t treat a child well. In Mother’s case, I witnessed episodes during her adult life where I would beg her to break ties with her emotionally abusive family. I hated to see her hurt over and over and go back for more. It made no sense.

At the time, I didn’t understand her motives because I didn’t come from an abusive home. But now, I see. Her healthy fear of God propelled her to respect and honor her parents, despite how they may have treated her. I firmly believe that she is a witness to the truth of Ephesians 6:2-3 and an encouragement to others to follow in her footsteps.

Jesus understands abuse.

Jesus also encourages us to obey God and live in forgiveness. From the cross, He asked the Father to forgive those who had falsely accused Him of blasphemy and had sentenced Him to death. Little did Christ’s enemies know that His death on the cross would become the supreme sacrifice for sin. This resulted in our free gift of salvation through grace and physical healing through His shed blood. His resurrection on the third day sealed our eternal life with Him in heaven. During the horrific suffering that Jesus endured, He honored and obeyed His Father all the way to death and purchased our redemption through His sinless blood.

Let’s take hold of God’s promise for a long, well-lived life.

This is one of the Ten Commandments with a promise we can count on. It benefits us in ways that we cannot imagine. As we celebrate Mother’s Day this year, let’s remember to shower our mothers with blessing and honor.

Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;

Proverbs 31:25-28a NKJV

Dear Lord, for those whose mothers have passed on, we pray for comfort as we bless their memory. For those who have a broken relationship, we pray for divine forgiveness and restoration. We thank you for our mothers and pray honor and blessing on them as we celebrate Mother’s Day. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Honoring Our Mothers by Karen Jurgens copyright 2022 All rights reserved