Salt of the Earth

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For everyone will be tested with fire. Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and leave in peace with each other.                              Mark 9:49-50

Jesus discusses three diverse things. “Everyone will be tested with fire.” According to Jewish law, each sacrifice offered to God had to be purified with salt (Leviticus 2:13) The salt for sacrifices was called a covenant of salt (2 Chronicles 13:5) It was the addition of salt to a sacrifice that made it pleasing to God. According to the New Testament, fire does two things: it purifies and destroys, It purifies all a person’s desires, and destroys all fear of persecution. Salt is good, but once it loses its saltiness, it loses its good qualities. Salt has two good qualities in particular. It adds flavor to things and it preserves something from decay. So salt preserves from corruption and the lowering of standards.

It is the Christian’s duty to add flavor to life. Jesus is busy challenging the Christians. The corrupt world needs the flavor that only Christianity can supply. If Christians lost that flavor where will the world get it? “You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.” Here salt means the purity of life. The ancient world regarded salt as the purest of all things because it is created by two of the purest things: the sun and the sea. Jesus says that Christians must have the purifying quality of salt in themselves. Only the life that is emptied of self and filled with Christ can really live in peace with their fellow humans.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

God’s Not Dead!

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So then woman hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”                    Matthew 28:8-10

As we recently celebrate Easter Sunday we remember the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The women after they had gone to the tomb left with great joy knowing that their teacher, friend, and Lord had risen from the dead, and could not wait to share with His disciples what they had learn. As Christians how many of us can not wait to share the Resurrection story with our family and friends, perhaps not many of us. It is okay to talk about at church on a Sunday morning but as followers of Jesus are we doing what he has called us to do and telling others about Him.

For myself, I grew up as a Christian, always going to church on a Sunday and being involved, but can I truly call myself a Christian. Let me take the time with all of my readers to share my own story and why I want to shout to the world that God is Not Dead! He is truly Alive. A couple of years ago as I was searching the scriptures for a sermon that I was going to share, I began to have a dream. I have the same dream more than once and I truly thought that it was only a dream and it never happen to me at all. After I have shared the dream with my oldest daughter she mention to me that I should google it and so I did and what I thought was just a dream, it was something that I did experience and that I witness. 

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Growing up there was a train that I went on called the Freedom Train, and on that train in all the different cars that I visited was about the history of America. However, except this one car as I followed all the other visitors this particular car had a huge class case that set down on top of something on the floor. This glass case had the Burial Cloth (Shroud of Turin) of Jesus Christ. You can see that this man was very tall perhaps close to six feet, and he also had a beard. On the top of his head you can see that their were some kind of crown that laid there, where their was drops of stain blood going down the face. The nails were not in his hands but the wrist (because the flesh couldn’t hold him up if the nails when through his hands). As I continue to walk slowly I can see that his side was pierced with something. His feet were together with holes through them, because of a huge nail that had gone through both of them. I continue to walk slowly and on his back you can tell that this man was whip many times,  (a whipped of leather thongs, which was used in Biblical times, with bits of metal or bone attached) The words from Isaiah 53: 4-5 came to my mind Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his strips we are healed. For whatever reason unknown to myself I somehow forgotten what I had seen until that one day while asking God for directions in sharing a message that I remember. Every time I think of that one day when I saw the Burial Cloth of Christ tears forms in my eyes and down my cheeks, as what is happening as I write down these words. My God, My Lord and My King you did this all for me, I didn’t deserve it, I am a sinner and I am unworthy for Jesus to suffer for me like that. And yet because of His great love for me even before I was ever born he died at Calvary in my place. As I read the words in 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. Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For all who have read these words I did see the Burial Cloth of Christ in 1976 here in America

Since God help me to remember what I witness I can never remain silent any more, I must tell anyone that I meet the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The stories in the Bible are not just stories but, real accounts that took place, written by men and inspire by God. It is not an easy journey I am on now being a disciple of Christ, I have had even family members and friends disown me all because of what I believe and I know what is true, and yes I am fine with that. I do hope that someday if not from me the ones who say because of what I believe I am nuts, will come to know Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior and decided to follow him. My Lord would want me to tell others about him, that he overcame death and that the tomb is empty, because My God Is Not Dead, He is Truly Alive,

The Hope In The Resurrection!

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The season of Easter brings hope to not only Christians but also others who are seeking to know and understand the truth. These words of Jesus before he was crucified: “At that time people we see the Son of Man coming with great powers and glory. And he will send his angles and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heaven.  Now lean this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you will know that it is near, right as the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”   Mark 13:26-31                    “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. ”                                          Matthew 24:36

Jesus is our Risen Savior and Lord! Through his resurrection you have been born again to an ever-living hope. It is vital for you to remain hopeful, no matter what is going on in your life. People put their hope in a variety of things, wealth, power, health, material things and even other people, but these are all insufficient. When storms bre4ak upon your life, you can find only one adequate source of help which is Christ! The hope he provides is an anchor for our soul, firm and secure even in the difficult storms in your life. A good way to stay anchored with Jesus us to whisper his name an often as possible and calling on his name for help. This affirmation strengthens you and keeps you connected with him. 

Jesus gives you hope that the best part of your life is not behind you. Rather, it stretches out before you gloriously, into an eternity of experiences that will get better. For now, though you inhabit a world of death, sorrow, crying, and even pain. Let the hope of the resurrection empower you to live since I have over come even death. In heaven Jesus will wipe away every tear from your eyes permanently! If this world were all there is, it would be tragic beyond description. The day will come when Christ will return and destroy the entire universe as you know it. And he will replace it with a new universe where his followers will live forever in ceaseless ecstasy. Let this hope give you courage to keep holding your head up high as you endure suffering and sorrow. 

The best part of your life lies ahead, stored up for you in heaven, awaiting for your arrival, This is true for all Christians, both young and old. As you grow older and deal with infirmities, you may feel as if your life is closing in on you. Physically, your limitations do increase with age and illness. However, your spiritual life can open up even wider as your soul grows strong in the nourishing light of Jesus’ Presence. When you graduate to heaven, your soul-joy will instantly expand exponentially! Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Be Joyful

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“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”                                                           John 15:11

The central idea of this portion from Scripture is that Jesus tells His disciples, that they are not the ones who chose Him, but that He is the one who chose the. We didn’t choose God either, but God, in His infinite grace, chose us by making us and offer borne out of His love.

The important of this verse lies in the fact that we can use it to make a list of things we have been chosen and called for. In the first instance, we are chosen to be joyful. No matter how steep and difficult Christ’s road might be, both in its journey and purpose, it will always be a joyful road.

There is always joy in knowing that you are doing the right thing. If we have sidestepped some duty or another, and then go back and do what had to be done, we experience special joy. Christians are cheerful people who live by the words in Philippians 4:4. “Always be full in the Lord, I say it again, Rejoice!. A heavy-hearted Christians is a contradiction and nothing in the entire history of Christianity has done more harm than the negative connotations of black clothes and long faces. It is true that Christians are sinners, but they are saved sinners, it is in this that the secret of their joy lies. How is it possible to be unhappy if you walk the road of life with Christ?

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Walking The Walk

Walking where Jesus walked.pngPerhaps no other symbol is more revealing of the journey of Christians through the season of Lent that a pair of Biblical sandals. Sandals speak of our journey through the promises, perils, and pitfalls of life that can only be authentically experienced through “Walking the Walk” of Jesus. To be sure, Jesus was the supreme, historical walker Biblical scholars have estimated that, during his 33 year lifetime, Jesus walked over 21,000 (400 miles from Egypt to Nazareth; 18,000 miles from Nazareth to Jerusalem and back-at least seventy-five times by age 30, and 3,125 miles during his 3 year public ministry, averaging 20-25 miles per day.) And then, of course, there was Jesus 40-day walk in the desert, where he was subjected to three Satanic temptations. All this walking was more that just physical exercise, it was instilling patience, persistence, and soul-sustaining endurance in the one, who in human and Divinely resurrected form, would be God’s eternal model of “the Truth, the Way, and the Life” for the world that followed him in time.

So, how do we-how can we-follow in the footsteps of Jesus during the forty days of the Lenten season? For one thing, we can symbolically emulate Jesus’s pre-ministry walk through the desert-fasting, praying, examining ourselves, and trying to cleanse ourselves of transgressions and wrongdoings that have been haunting us for the past year. Secondly, we can discipline ourselves, through our “walk” through the Lenten season, to focus our thoughts, prayers, and actions squarely on the two greatest commandments that Jesus professed: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and You shall love your neighbor as yourself”  (Matthew 22:37-39) How rewarding it is for those who, on Easter Sunday, can affirm with great Joy and Certainty:

“I walked today where Jesus walked, and felt His presence there!”

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Season of Lent

17361561_828864757262653_4241296724091145117_n.jpg What Is Lent?

Lent comes from the Angelo Saxon word lencten which means spring. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wildness enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. Lent is a time for repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and this year that day is on February 14, 2018. In the early church lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. Sunday’s in Lent are not counted in the forty days, because each Sunday represents a mini Easter and the reverent spirit of lent’s tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection. Every year the day of Easter is different the reason for this, is that Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon in spring, and this year will be March 31 I believe and Easter Sunday is April 1, 2018.

Mardi Gras? What does that have to do with Jesus?? Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” It refers to the day before Lent begins. Lent always starts on a Wednesday, the day before is always a Tuesday. And it’s call “Fat” or “Great” because it’s associated with great food and parties. In earlier times, people used Lent as a time of fasting and repentance. Since they didn’t want to be tempted by sweets, meats and other distractions in the house, they cleaned out their cabinets. they used up all the sugar and yeast in sweet breads before the Lent season started, and fixed meats available. It was a great feast! Through the years Mardi Gras has evolved (in some places) into a pretty wild party with little to do with preparing for the Lenten Season of repentance and simplicity. However, with the next day being Ash Wednesday can begin a time of all Christian to self-exam their own lives.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Heart of Worship

1 Samuel 16.pngI will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.           Psalm 57:9-11

The Lord does look at the things people look at. People look at the things at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.                            1 Samuel 16:7

Worshipping God is something Christians do each and every Sunday or many of us do it every chance we do get to Praise the Lord. However, are we truly worshipping God is Spirit and in Truth. In the Gospel of John Jesus tells a Samaritan woman that God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.  ( John 4:24), but are we doing what we are called to do, or are we just going through the motions. It seems that most Sundays we as Christians are too busy with the fellowship of one another, and at times of the latest gossip that we are not centering ourselves with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And by doing this we never realize that we are short changing our Creator as well as us when we do not worship God in Spirit and Truth.

God is the firm foundation on which you can dance and sing praises and continually celebrate His presence, just as you long to. Most of the time, however, you feel earthbound and weighed down. Worshipping God requires the engagement of your entire being, something you will delight in and yet somehow you may resist.

If you want to learn how to celebrate God more consistently, more abundantly, begin by lingering in God’s peaceful presence. Think of these words from the book of Psalm 46:10, “Be Still and Know That I am God.”  As you relax in His everlasting arms, sense how safe and secure you are. God is indeed the rock-solid foundation on which you can live exuberantly. Dancing, singing, and praying are ways you can express your delight in Him.

God’s very presence radiates Joy deep within our soul, unmeasured fullness. When you praise God, your joy increases, as does your awareness of His Holy Presence. Your body may or may not be mightily engaged in this endeavor, but God sees within our heart. This is where the ultimate celebration of God’s presence takes places.

Just empty your mind and think of nothing else but your loving Savior Jesus Christ.

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Are You Listening!

1 Samuel 3.pngThe boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, Here I am. And he ran to Eli and said Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call, go back and lie down.” So he went back and lay down/ Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” My son, Eli said, I did not called; go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord. The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he called you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”                                          ( I Samuel 3:1-10)

Samuel said to the Lord, speak for your servant is listening. How often as Christians do we say these words to the Lord, Lord we are listening, and at times we are not truly listening at all, our minds are in too many other places. Perhaps the reason is that we have over commit ourselves in our lives. As adults when we begin to work, we go out with friends to have a good time because we feel with the hard work we have done we deserve some down time, some fun. On our journey in life we may get married and begin our own family and we still don’t seem to have the time to be still and listen for the voice of God. As our children start school with continue to be over worked, and over committed with all the extra school activities, as well as the many things we committed to do within our own church. And through our lives we as Christians forgot an important step we learn in the beginning of our Christian walk, which can be found in the book of Psalm 46:10 (one of my favorites) ‘BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM, GOD” We have forgotten what it means to be quiet long enough to hear the voice of God in our lives. How can we possibly know what God’s will is for our own lives if we don’t become quiet. As parents or not when we have something  important to say to someone we ask them to be quiet to listen, correct!. So why doesn’t God deserve the same thing from us, and that is to be still and quiet. In the book of Isaiah 11:6 a young child shall lead them, Samuel was a young boy when he first heard God calling him, speak Lord your servant is listening. We need to slow down in our lives and just listen, just as you would listen to the birds singing, children laughing, because when we do we can truly know what God, the creator of our universe just might be saying to us. Are you truly listening for the voice of God today?

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

You Are The Light

Matthew 5.pngYou are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone.                                 Matthew 5:14-15

Jesus expects His followers to be like him. The light that shines from a child of God is reflected light. Christ does not ask us to produce our own light. We must shine with the reflection of His light. It is light that is born from the presence of Christ in the believer’s heart. What does Jesus mean by this? Light can be seen. Before matches were made, lighting a lamp was a problem, so when people left their homes, they put it under a bowl so that it kept burning without being a danger. But the primary purpose of the light was to be seen. Likewise, Christianity is something that must be seen. Our Christianity must not only be visible in the church, but also in our daily life and activities. Light is a guide. Lights along the road warn us of cliffs and rock falls, along the seawall or breakwater lights warn us of the tide. Christians must show the right path to others by means of their examples and way of life. A light is often a warning to stop there is danger ahead. It is sometimes necessary for Christians to warn people of danger. Our warning should not be given in anger or irritation, or with criticism or judgement. With love, it will be effective. The light that can be seen, that serves as a guide; and that is a warning, this is the light Christ calls us to be.

The words of Martin Luther King Jr- Darkness, cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Forgiving Yourself And Others

Hebrews 10.pngThis letter to the Hebrews went to Christians in danger of slipping back into Judaism because of persecution. It interprets the Old Testament, explaining many Jewish practices as symbols that prepared the way for Christ. It stresses that Christ was from God and is higher than angles. Moses, Joshua, and any priest or sacrifice. As we read in Hebrews 6:15-18 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. Then he adds: Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

In the book of Matthew 18:21-35 one of Jesus’ disciples named Peter ask Jesus a simple question, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me. haven’t we all asked this question at least once? Then for some reason Peter answers his own question seven times? But Jesus’ answer was seventy times seven, you mean then 470 times?  In other words there is no limit on how many times that we should forgive one another. I am sure that there is some who are reading this is saying to themselves, do you realized what so and so did to me, and you want me to forgive them (NEVER) Jesus then told a parable of the servant forgiven a great debt who has ask for mercy from his master for the great debt, and so the master showed great compassion on the servant and forgave him all that he owe. However, this same servant did not show compassion on others who had owe him money. This parable teaches that lesson which runs through all the New Testament that a man or woman must forgive to be forgiven. If we do not show compassion on others and forgive them when they for what ever reason sin against us how do we expect God to do the same when we do sin, and believe me we all do plenty of that day in and day out. Another important lessons is this to learn to forgive yourself as well, God knows you are not perfect and if He can forgive you, you must learn to forgive yourself. When as children we learn the Lord’s pray in Sunday School in that pray the word trespassers or debts, the word F-O-R-G-I-V-E means just that, forgive someone and yourself.  Jesus already paid the price for our sins when he died on the cross, and we are forgiving. Praise His Name we are!

Grace and Peace to You My Friends