Lasting Joy

John 16b 


Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I  will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.        John 16:20-22

There will be fullness of knowledge, the day Jesus is talking about. Jesus says to His disciples, “At times you won’t need to ask Me for anything” (John 16:23) There are always unanswered questions and unsolved problems in life. We must walk this path of life by faith, and not be seeing. We must accept the things we cannot understand. We are only able to grasp a fragment of the truth about God, but when Christ comes again, there will be complete knowledge. If we walk with Christ, the questions will disappear and the time of answers will dawn.

There will also be a new relationship with God. When God really knows us, we can ask him anything, we know that the door to God is open and that he has a heart of love. Jesus says that in this relationship we will be able t ask God for anything. If a child loves his father, he knows very well that his father sometimes says no, because a father’s knowledge and a father’s love knows best. We can become so intimate with God that we may go to him with everything, as long as we end with, “Let your will be done.” this new relationship with God is made possible through Jesus. It is because of who Jesus is and what Jesus did that our joy is complete and indestructible. Everything we have comes to us through Jesus. It is his name that we ask and receive, in his name that we approach God and are welcome.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

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The Birth of A Savior

Luke 2C

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room available at the inn for them.                 Luke 2:7

Can any of us here today try to imagine the King of Kings, and Lord of Lord being born in a stable, a smelly one at that. And yet he was, he was not born in a fancy place where a earthly king’s child was to be born and place in a soft bed, the God of the universe was place in a manger, a manger made of straw, such a humble place for a King to be born. The joy and promise of Christmas is that the miracle of Bethlehem still happens. God still enters into the reality of our messy everyday lives. And so on this day, we open wide our hearts to receive the Christ child with joy. When Christ was born, so was our hope. The manger dares us to believe the best is yet to be. And it all can begin today for each and everyone of us. Prayerfully surrender your hopes to God, trusting that he is already at work to provide the light you seek, the help you need, the deliverance you long for.

Prayer: Lord Jesus please make my heart your home forever.          Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

Matthew 1.pngThis is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet. The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”) When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lo0rd had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And He gave him the name Jesus.                                                           Matthew 1:18-25) NIV

I wanted to take a moment to consider the faithfulness of Joseph. We hear a lot about Mary, and rightly so. She was, after all, the mother of Jesus, the only person constant in the life of Jesus from the cradle to the grave. But what do we know about Joseph? In all the New Testament he never utters a word. Yet, he’s one of the principle figures in the Christmas drama. And so, let’s take just a moment to give Joseph his due. Tradition has it that Joseph was a simple man of an honorable trade: A carpenter from Nazareth. Sometimes you see Sunday school pictures showing him in a wood shop making furniture. But “carpenter” in Joseph’s day referred to a wide range of trades. Joseph could have just as easily worked with metal or stone, as with wood. The regional capital, Sepphoris, was under construction during this time, and it was within walking distance of Nazareth. It’s possible that Joseph was one of the stone masons there.
In any case, craftsmen worked with strong shoulders and callused hands. They were educated by apprenticeship. Their place was respectable but not on one of the higher rungs of the social ladder. Remember the flap in the synagogue in Nazareth when Jesus preached his first sermon? The elders raised their eyebrows and asked, “Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judah, and Simon?” (Mark 6:3).Jesus’ father was neither a rabbi nor a scribe nor one of the civic leaders. He had but two qualifications to play a part in the Christmas drama – he was a descendent of David and, for whatever reason, he was God’s choice. In this regard, I like to think that Joseph is someone with whom we can all identify – a common man who dared to be obedient to God’s will for his life.
His place in the Christmas story, of course, is that of Mary’s husband. According to Matthew, Joseph and Mary were “betrothed,” but not yet married. William Barclay explains that there were three steps in a Jewish marriage: The engagement, which was often arranged by the parents through a matchmaker when the boy and girl were children; the betrothal, which was a formal ratification of the marriage-to-be, usually done a year before the couple was married; and the wedding itself, which lasted a whole week, at which time the marriage was consummated. During the betrothal, the couple was legally bound to each other so that, if the man died before the actual wedding took place, the woman was considered to be a widow. They were actually referred to as husband and wife, though they refrained from having sexual relations. And then, in one further act of faithfulness and obedience to God, Joseph publicly named the child. Matthew says simply, “he named him Jesus.” In so doing, he claimed the child as his own and gave him the benefit of a noble ancestry, making him a descendent of the house of David. Because of the faithfulness of Joseph, Jesus would have a father and Joseph would have a place in the drama of God’s salvation.

Grace and Peace to you My Friends

 

 

 

John The Baptist Birth Foretold

Luke 1.pngIn the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. Once when Zechariah’s  division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshippers were praying outside. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him, “Do not ne afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of their parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Zechariah asked the angel, How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years. The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not be able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.               Luke 1:5-20

In Biblical times it was a disappointed for a woman not to have her own children and for others to look down upon Elizabeth because she was barred. However, little did they know of or anyone else know the plan that was in place by God. The child that was to be born to Elizabeth and Zechariah called John was to be the one chosen to prepared God’s people for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even through they had no children they never doubt that somehow or someway that God would bless them, and that God was the one true God, “The Great I Am” that was told by Moses, and by other prophets. Can you even try to imagine the joy that was in Elizabeth’s heart when she came to realize that she was with child even pass the child bearing years. Jesus’ own words to his disciples later in his life would be, “With man this is impossible, but not with God, all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)  Because regardless of your situation in your life right now at this very moment, all things are possible with God.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Thankfulness

James 1.pngEvery good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change life shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.   James 1:17-18

This week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving here in America are we can take the time to remember the history behind the first Thanksgiving celebrate with the Pilgrims and Indians years ago. However, as you think of that time we learn in school do you also take the time to celebrate the many blessings that comes from our Heavenly Father, our Creator, the “Great I Am” I truly believe that too many times we as humans take for granted our blessings that we do have. Take the time to take a walk to see all the beauty that our land has to offer, the beauty that God has created for all of to enjoy. Everything that we have, everything that we own truly are God’s bless to all of his children. Try to think for a moment just imagine you standing in the presence of God, the “Great I Am” the Alpha and Omega, our Creator. His very name at times my soul shakes because I am unworthy to look into his eyes because I am a sinner. I am standing in His presence and I take my shoes off because I am standing on Holy Ground with My Great Redeemer. I can hardly breathe or simply say a word for I am totally amaze as I look into his eyes. His love for me his child, can I simply and honestly  put it into words within my heart, what I am truly feeling at this very moment at this very second.  I stand in the presence of the “Great I Am”, in His embrace, I loose all sense of time and all my problems I may have brought to him in this place as all but disappear for I am in His presence. Whenever I feel tempted to grumble I will simply go to you and simply talk it over with you. As I open up to you my Lord, give me your peace to calm my spirit down, so that all the cares of the world simply fall away. Help me to trust you by opening up to you each and everyday. I can’t wait until I become so discourage I just need to come to you with all of my concerns. As I talk it over with you, I will remember to thank you for all that you have done, for all the prayers that have been answered and the ones that will be answer in your time. My gratitude will provide a helpful framework for the things that concerns me. As you and I talk about everything, I think of looking into your face with all of its beauty and amazing light and my worries simply disappear forever. When I spend this time with you my Lord I will come away with joy and peace spending the time with you and this world that I have come to know can never rob me of that anymore.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The God of All of Our Tomorrows

Isaiah 46.pngListen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you: I will sustain you and I will rescue you. With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?  Isaiah 46:4-5

As I read these words this morning from the book of Isaiah, God is not just talking about just the descendants of Jacob. He is talking to all of his children even to all of us of today, that regardless of human beings aging over time, he is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God compassions never fails, they are new every morning. You and I can begin each day confidently, knowing that his vast reservoir of blessings is full to the brim. This knowledge helps us wait for him, entrusting our long unanswered prayers into God’s care ad keeping.  God assure you that not one of your prayers has slipped past him, unnoticed. He wants you to drink deeply from his fountain of limitless love and unfailing compassion. As you and I wait in his presence, these divine nutrients are freely available. You may drink without cost from the spring of water of life. Although many of our prayers remain unanswered, we can trust in his great faithfulness. God keeps all of his promises in his perfect way and timing. Among other things, God has promised to give you and me peace not as the world tries to give us but only true peace that comes from Jesus Christ, because in the middle of the craziness of the world our soul finds peace with the Master. Even through for all of us tomorrow is never promises to any of us however, it is a wonderful feel deep in our soul, that God is already there, and he has not forsaken any of his children.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

DO NOT BE AFRAID

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Do not be afraid, I am sure some of you maybe thinking, well that’s easy for me to say. But it is more than that, these words I speak of are taking from the Gospel of Luke in the second chapter. Read these words that are taken from Luke, Do not be afraid, I bring you good news that will be to all people, For unto you this day in the city of David a savior has been born. This will be a sign to you, you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying. Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rest. (New International Bible) As I shared with you in a previous writing that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was born in a stable among the animals. Of all the people in the world at that time that God sent his heavenly angels to the lowest of mankind, to the shepherds. Shepherds worked in their fields taking caring for their sheep’s, they didn’t smell to good, and they were poor men, but God felt it was important to send his angels to the shepherds, to announce the birth of his son, and not to any king who lived in a palace. What God was seeking back then and even today,on the day his son was born in Bethlehem was the hearts of all his people, and not something that can be brought. It was necessary for Jesus to be born because he would be the bridge between us and God. I could never imagine spending all of eternity away from God, because for me I can never be able to face each day with out God’s unconditional love for me, his child. When Jesus walk the earth many years ago he never promise to any of us that this life here on earth would be easy for us. If you look in the book of Hebrews chapter 13:5 NEVER WILL I LEAVE YOU, NEVER WILL I FORSAKE YOU. My friend God has never and I mean never broken a promise to his people, can any of us say the same, that we never broken any promise we made to God. Sometimes their are promises we make when we are in a jam, and when things get better we forget the promise that we did make to God in our difficult times, and yet he continues to love you and me. When things get hard for you or me instead of us running to our Lord and laying our problems at his feet, we run totally away from him, instead of towards him. The best friend that anyone could have is Jesus he will never disappoint you, his love will always be unconditional. On this Christmas Day I ask you won’t you open your hearts to the baby in the manager, as well as the child who grew up name Jesus, and once you accept Him as your own personnel Lord and Savior you will never regret it, because I never had.

Merry Christmas to one and all