A Season to Change

Isaiah 11.pngA shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with the righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give with justice he will give decision for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.        Isaiah 11:1-5                          I will baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, who sandals, I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirt.                                              Matthew 3:11

Once again, we have entered into the season of advent, anticipating the birth of Jesus and hoping that soon very soon that the promise of peace on earth would become true, but can we change our own lives if not the world. As we stop and look into the manager of a tiny little baby perhaps we can say to ourselves what does this all mean. We can pick up a newspaper, watch the television to take notice and to say where is this peace on earth? So much violence in our world and at times so much hate, where is this love that people seems to be talking about especially that we seem to hear it more during this season. As we begin to prepared for this season in many ways such as baking with our children or grandchildren, going shopping in a crowded mall where at times people can be a little crazy, okay you may be thinking they can be nuts at times, the beautiful lights we all see, and the music that is playing on our car radio, and even the movies on television which reminds all of us this season. I personally love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree in my home, which reminds me of the season. Are all the different traditions that we have in our own families does this tell others and also us that we are ready to make a change in our own lives? Are we showing others of what we do or say that we are followers of Jesus, we are his disciples. Even thro this is a beautiful season there are so many people who are hurting this time of year and need to hear about the hope we have in Jesus. Christmas is a profoundly beautiful season, but for some it also highlights the losses, griefs, and heartbreaks in their lives. In Isaiah 11, the prophet Isaiah speaks of a ruler who would be a descendant of Jesse. Jesse was the father of ancient Israel’s great King David. This descendant would rule with true justice and true faith, and he would establish true peace. This peace would be so great that even wild animals would be able to lie down next to one another and even a child will lead them. This descendant would also become a standard for people throughout the world. And, this descendant would be sought by people throughout the world. As Isaiah talks about this future King, he is telling us that he will be able to look into the hearts of people and judge based on the truth. The poor and oppressed will find a champion in him. This ruler to come will stand for justice and will impose punishment of evildoers. This King will not be clothed in royal purple or anything so fancy, his garments will be righteousness and faithfulness. As we heard from the gospel of Matthew we come to learn that John the Baptize was the one to prepared the way of the coming of the Lord. In most households when someone says, “Company’s coming! Everyone works and clean up the entire house in preparation of their guest. The gospel of Matthew has John proclaiming, “Messiah is coming! But do not go and clean up your house. Instead, mend your heart! Clear your lives of any obstacle that would hinder his coming.” Housework requires the right tools to use. The type of tools John has in mind are repentance and baptism. Repentance comes from the Greek word metanoia, which means change of mind, to change one’s life completely. Repentance is like driving down the wrong road, then turning around and going in the opposite direction. Baptism is the symbol that one has repented and been cleansed of sin. This was important to John’s ministry that he became known as John the Baptizer. How do we, as followers of Jesus Christ, return the purpose of Christmas to the focus of Jesus? How do we prepare for his birth and for the second coming, it is not by having parties, decorating our houses, and giving gifts wrapped in fancy paper, but instead by giving ourselves anew over to the way of Christ? I suppose giving ourselves over to Jesus Christ begins with God’s gift of grace to us. It is something we feel inside. Some call it a moment of conversion. Others call it baptism by the Holy Spirit. John Wesley the founder of Methodist called it assurance. Maybe during the season of Advent, we could call it the Spirit of Christ coming into our hearts. But whatever we call it, we will know when it happens to us, because it does cause us to confess our sins and turn ourselves away, over and over, from the trappings of this world so that we can reorient ourselves back toward Christ.

Grace and Peace yo You My Friends

 

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What Great Love Is This!

Isaiah 9.png   For unto us a child is born, for unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.                                                 Isaiah 9:6-7

Long before the birth of Jesus the prophet Isaiah foretold about his birth in the book of Isaiah. During the years when kings ruled Israel and Judah, God spoke through prophets. Although some prophets predicted future events their primary role was to call God’s people back to him. The most eloquent of the prophets Isaiah, analyzed the failures of all the nations around him and pointed to a future Messiah who would bring peace to the nation and to the earth.

Then Isaiah said, “hear mow, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

Humans had gotten so far away from God because of their sins just as all of us of today, that God choose to send his one and only Son to become a sacrifice so that we will not be separated for all of eternity. Their would come a time in Jesus’ life that he would touch a leper’s open wound, he would wipe the tears of a widow, he would heal the sick, as well as to heal others, the dumb will speak, the blind would see the “Great I Am” For Jesus will see our nakedness for we cannot hide. He will see our selfishness for we cannot give. He will see our pain, for we cannot heal ourselves. Since Jesus became one of us he depended on human parents to care for him, and a mother to see her son nail to a cross someday while her heart is in some much pain. He will be torn by the thorns of our accusations, you’ll be ravaged by the cancer of our sin. Jesus will be crushed under the weight of his own sorrow, and he will be pierced by the spear of our rejection. And he that God knew all of this way before the day that his son was born, he still choose to send him hear on earth to become one of us.  What love, what Amazing Love that the Father has done for his children.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Christmas, The Season of Hope

Ecclesiastes 3.pngIt is that time of the year once again, when so many of us begin to prepare for the holidays in many ways. However, there are so many in this dark world at times that have lost all hope. During this time some come to realize once again that they are all alone in this world, and why should they celebrate. Others have heard some bad news in one way or another, they buried a loved one this past year, their child, loss a job, a home even losing their pet to some may not seem important but to them it is truly a terrible loss for them. Then their are others who struggle with bad health either with themselves or even their loved one, and the hardest one at least with myself is having your child become chronically  ill and being on chemo. Yes my daughter does get relief from her serve difficult pain she is left deal with on a daily basis with the medication but at times doesn’t make it any easier to see her suffer. When I spend time alone with God I begin to understand the purpose of this season and why it is a time to celebrate who God is and what he means to me.

When Jesus was born and entered our mortal frame, God was burrowing down into the marrow of our grief.  His mother Mary endured pain.  Her future with this child was one of deep sorrow.  She had to watch the lifeblood which she gave him be drained out as her son was killed.  Simeon was right when he warned her, “A sword will pierce your soul.”

All of our souls are pierced.  We all suffer inevitable losses.  But God is there, beside us, beneath us, around us, within us.  That is what Christmas is about.  Martin Luther told us that God became small for us in Christ: he showed us his heart, so our hearts could be won.  And, I would add, comforted.  God enters our pain, so that we never suffer alone. Some of you might be saying as you are reading  does anyone know what’s happening to me or does anyone even cares!  But God also whispers to us that there is a future, God’s future, that we can ultimately trust, and hang on to.  That’s why God came as a child – for all mankind. “A child, more than all other gifts that earth can offer to declining man, brings hope with it, and forward looking thought.”  From the inside of our lives, the Christ child points beyond whatever we see in this single moment.

So as we are beginning our journey during this advent season, let us all remember to slow down and look all around, through the eyes of a child, in having hope for this coming season. And I will share with you the hope in Christ to all who believes

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

God Is Know as El Roi

Genesis.pngAbram’s wife Sarai had a servant girl named Hagar, and Sarai told her to laid with her husband because Sarai was unable to have a child. Sarai grew impatience waiting for God to bless her and her husband with a child. After Hagar did what she was told to do Sarai grew angry at her and her husband Abram, so Hagar ran away from her.

The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert, it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going? I’m running away from my mistress Sarai, she answered. Then the angel of the Lord told her,.”Go back to your mistress and submit to her. The angel added, I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” The angel of the Lord also said to her. You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man, his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility towards all his brothers. She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her, ” You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have seen the One who sees me.” This is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi, it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.                                                  (Genesis 16: 7-14)

No matter how difficult our circumstances, we never solve life’s problem by running away. God will find us, God knows us by name, God sees and hears our cries, God is concerned about our burdens and our cares, God knows our future.  In the book by Wendy Blight she ask this: Are you, like Hagar in a place of wildness today? Take a moment and reflect on your own life right now, right this very moment. We find El Roi throughout the pages of Scriptures. Today we can find him in one of the favorite chapter in the book of Psalm, and it is Psalm 23 The Lord is My Shepherd, and he can be your today. El Roi is also Elohim our Creator. He knows us inside and out. Nothing is hidden. Our every hurt, doubt, fear, and need is on display before him. So when our Creator El Roe “sees” our need. He will come to us, meet us, feed us, refresh us, and renew us, just as He did Hagar.

In the midst of his suffering, David wrote your road and your staff, comfort me. (Psalm 23:4) The rod and staff are tools of the shepherd’s trade. The shepherd wielded the rod to protect his sheep by driving off wild animals. Clearly, the rod and staff in the hands God gave David comfort and should give us assurance as well. God never slumbers. He never takes a catnap. His eyes are always upon His kingdom.

 

Grace  and Peace to You My Friends

GOD KNOWS YOUR NAME

Isaiah 49Isaiah was a prophet from the Old Testament, and the most eloquent of the prophets, Isaiah, analyzed the failures of all the nations around him and pointed to a future Messiah who would bring peace to the nation and the earth. As I read the book of Isaiah chapter 49:15-16 this is what it says: Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she borne? Through she may forget, I will never forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. When we as humans go thru the difficult times we seem to begin to wonder does anyone care about me, does anyone care if I’m live or die, I know most of us have said these words if not out loud so that someone else could hear them, we have said them to ourselves.  Let me tell you my friends, you are a Child of the Most High King Jesus Christ, you are apart of the best royal family that anyone can ever be apart of it, and it doesn’t matter where you family came from, rather you were born a rich person or a poor person or anything in between. All of you who are reading these words need to know and understand that it doesn’t matter who you are, what your past is like, what you may have done, the sins we have committed in the past or in the future God loves YOU! he sent his one and only son into the world to died for all of our sins, so that once we leave this earth we will be united with him for all of eternity and that is one family that you belong to forever and ever. There is more to your life than you ever thought. There is more to your story than what you have read. You have some much to give to others, God the God of the Universe has created you for a reason, you just need to figure that small part out. God took the time to shape you and mold you for his own purpose, a job that only you can do and no one else. Your life matter regardless of what anyone may of said to you, you do have a purpose, you are special. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and see him shining brightly on your future. When you are weak or weary, just call upon him and he will hear you. God is preparing a place in his kingdom for all of his children, you do not need to worry. There is joy in knowing the Risen Lord Jesus Christ and he delights in you now, but this joy will be astronomically magnified when you join him in glory. The joy you will experience in heaven is so far beyond anything you have known on earth that it is indescribable. Nothing can rob you of this glorious inheritance. But, in the mean time while you are still on earth remember how much that Jesus loves “YOU” and their is nothing you will ever go thru that is he unaware of, he knows of the joys you will have as well as the many sorrows and trials that you will endure, but never doubt for a single second that

“GOD KNOWS YOU NAME'”

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Praise the Lord

Habakkuk.1As I had my time alone with God I once again came across the book of Habakkuk which is in the Old Testament, where this book ends with Habakkuk’s prayer of praise. Through the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, through the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, through there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in God my Savior.                    Habakkuk 3:17-18

To Praise our God, the God of Creation the Great I Am during the difficulties that we are facing is never an easy thing to do, however, it is the only right thing to do. You probably saying to yourselves boy is this person a little crazy. When I go thru many storms I try to do this one thing to Turn My Eyes Upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. During my own storms in life when I stop and sing or say these words the focus immediately goes to Jesus and not the problems. I remember how much I am loved, how I am a child of the Most High King, and remember the words that the Apostle Paul had written in the book of Ephesians 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.

Happy Father’s Day

Proverbs 22.jpgThe book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon, who was the son of King David, the king of Israel. The proverbs are saying, They are based on the “fear of the Lord,” and other advice on every imaginable area of life. The style of wise living described here leads to fulfillment and contentment. Here Solomon is telling parents in his time as well as the parents of today, the most important way to raise children. Children are God’s give to all of us and therefore we should take care of his most precious thing God has given to us. No doubt there any many, too many of you out there have fathers who did not love you, hurt you in some way, or left with a lot of unanswered questions, and believe me when I tell you that you are not alone, I was one of those children left with pain and unanswered questions, that will never be answered for me. However, overtime I look to God not only as a Heavenly Father, but I also look to God as my dad, the dad that I so long to have in my own life which is truly impossible for me. Jesus called God, “Abba”, Father, and that is what I have learn to do.  There are so many wonderful and awesome dads out in the world that God has created and he has chosen you to raise his children. To love your child (children) with all of your hearts, and unconditional love, just like our Heavenly Father loves you dad, love your children. Teach them how much God loves them just as they are, even thro God is perfect we do not need to be perfect in order to have a relationship with him. When parents raise their children by God’s instructions they too in turn will do the same for your grand-children, and when they come to a time in their own lives to leave your next you can rest assure you did your very best.

 

4342-dad-father-day-poems-from-daughter.jpg Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there

 

Grace and Peace to you My friends