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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Your Identity in Christ

colossians_quietmoments.pngThe Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through him and for him.                                                  Colossians 1:15-16

You were created to become like Christ. From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. This is your destiny and the third purpose of your life. God announced this intention at Creation. “Then God said, let us make human beings in our image and likeness.” Genesis 1  In all of creation, only human beings, are made in God’s image. This is a great privilege and gives us dignity. Like God, we are spiritual beings, our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies: we are intellectual we can think, reason, and solve problems, like God, we are relational, we can give and receive real love, and we moral consciousness, we can discern right from wrong, which makes us accountable to God. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering, And so condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.                                             Ephesians 2:19-22

It’s extremely easy to lose our identity, furthermore, to find ourselves searching all over to find out who we are. We hear stories on the news and we see it in the people we associate with. Additionally, we certainly deal with it in a very private as well as personal way we hear voices, voices which tells us and then projected into the world. We tell the world what we think about ourselves and don’t think for a minute we’re fooling the entire world. We may fool some people, but overall, we aren’t fooling everyone. We hear the voices in our heart, spirit and mind telling us good and bad. We hear the good from those who really love and care for us, we hear that good from God–yet we tend to believe the bad which comes from Satan and from those who don’t care for us. We hold onto that bad stuff. We hear things like, you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not attractive enough, not skinny enough, not rich enough, not with the right family. We’re told we’re not enough! And countless other lies. Hearing those lies long enough and your identity will be formed by it. You feel rejected. Eventually you believe you’re not enough, and they play over and over in your mind. Then we begin to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We realize in our heart, spirit, and mind we need Jesus to help us through life. My dear friends a recently preach on this exact topic your identity in Christ, below is the link through face book please feel free to watch and listen.https://www.facebook.com/pg/ButtzvilleUMC/videos/?ref=page_internal

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

Giving Thanks

1 Chronicles 16.pngLet the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” Let the sea resound and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them! Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever. Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior, gather is and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.” Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said, “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”                                                       1 Chronicles 16:31-36

Every time you and I take the time to thank the Lord, we acknowledge that he is our Lord and Provider. And every time you receive with thanksgiving, we demonstrate our kinship with God.  Yet even thro we are his children and we know we are suppose to give thanks in all circumstances, sometimes our words ring hollow. We can say them without feeling the least bit thankful. It’s especially hard for either you or me to be grateful in the midst of a difficult time in our lives, when everything seems to be going wrong. God knows what goes on in our hearts far better than we do. He knows when we feel thankful, and when we don’t. However, God can also see in the depths of our heart, a desire to please him by offering thanks even when we truly don’t feel like it. When we struggle to be grateful, we need to stop and remember who he is God, our Creator, and the “Great I Am”, and he is the author of our lives and of our faith. We are utterly dependent on him for everything, including our next breath. Every good gift comes from above. When we thank God during a difficult day or a period in our lives, we are assuming the proper stance for a child of God. If we persevere in this thankfulness, resisting the temptation to grumble, we can find joy and peace in the midst of our struggles.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Treasures in Heaven

Matthew 6a.pngDo not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you us darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Matthew 6:19-24

These words come to us from Jesus himself, and it reminds us what we should be focusing on everyday. Too many times we get caught up with making money, and more and more, why because we want the bigger homes, cars, fancy vacations and simply we just want to hold on to whatever we can. In the midst of it all we begin to worship an idol which is call the idol of money. Many might be saying is that so bad and my answer to you is yes it is. If you go back to the book of Exodus which is in the Old Testament in the twenty chapter the second commandment from God to his people which is you and me is this, You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. There is a difference in working to take care of yourself and support your family and becoming a workaholic, because everything you see, you what and you will do anything to get it. Jesus is telling his followers of then and us now that we need to first Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you, it is also a children song that we teach the children in Sunday School or during Vacation Bible School.             Seek Ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Alleluia,  Ask, and it shall be given unto you, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you. Alleluia. We need to remind ourselves each day that God already knows what our needs are even our wants, however we need to seek him and trust he will take care of his children, that is what a parent lovely does for his children. Remember the more stuff that any of us have does not mean we will be happier when we get them. You are created in God’s imagine and we need to have a Walk with God to come to know and love him for who he is, and then we will come to have true happiness that money or stuff can not buy us.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Unexpected Blessings

Psalm 8.png Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!                                                                          Psalm 8

As you read these words written by King David which can be found in the Old Testament, these words rings so true in todays world. Too many times we as humans seem to get pleasure of complain about something or someone, and we love to give ourselves a pity party every now and then. However instead of complaining to someone what if we begin to stop and realize the blessings that God has given to all of mankind. As each day gets shorter because of the winter drawing near I take walks after dark or early in the morning, and I just love to look up to the heavens to see the beautiful canvas that God has created with the stars, it is truly breath taken for all to see. I just stand still looking up and feel the wind upon my face and listen quietly for the voice of my heavenly father, and for me to say Thank You, this is just so beautiful. As I was planting the bulbs for springtime again I think what a blessing for me to see next spring the beautiful colors within each flower and knowing with the dead of the winter it will not be the end but all is asleep waiting for the beginning warmth to burse out in song to our Creator, God Almighty and all the colors will be amazing for us humans to enjoy. When the fall season begins at least for myself I enjoy the apple and pumpkin picking with my children as seeing all the beautiful colors from each and every tree. For many people it is a reminder of the winter coming closer but for me it reminds me of the harvest blessings that God has given to his children.  There are so many wonderful blessings around each of us each and everyday we truly don’t need to look too far to find them.

So on this day that God has given to you look around for his unexpected blessings he has given to you.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Seek God Always

1 Chronicles 16.jpgGive praise to the Lord, proclaim his name, make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him, tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Israel, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob. He is the Lord your God; his judgments in all the earth.

(1 Chronicles 16:8-14)

The book of 1 Chronicles which is from the Old Testament and opens with the most genealogical record in the Bible, and then adds many incidents from the life of David. It was written for the exiles who had return to Israel after the Babylonian captivity. It’s purpose was to remind them they were from the royal line of David and that they were God’s chosen people.

Did you know that you and I are God’s chosen people, isn’t that amazing to hear, that you are not a nobody you are someone that God has already chosen even long before you were born or hear about who God is!  This is what we as Methodist call Prevenient Grace: the Grace that comes to us before we know God-the porch before we enter into a house. God showers it upon all people whether they are aware of it or not. Through prevenient grace, God takes the initiative in beginning a relationship with us. Prevenient grace is God’s way of showing us that no matter who we are or where we are, God is already there ahead of us, waiting for us. God’s prevenient grace precedes us wherever we go.  As I was read and meditating on this book from the Old Testament it is telling us to seek God’s face always, not only when a need arise and we need God at that very moment in time, but to always seek God’s face. To sing your praises to God and God alone, not an human because they are never worthy of anyone praises. Remember what he has done for us. You maybe saying to yourself, what has God done for me, let me go ahead and tell you my friend. God loves us so much he sent his one and only son Jesus into this world to die for the sins of all mankind (John 3:16) Everyone good and perfect gift that you have ever receive has come from God: such as food, clothing, housing, job, family, friends and the list truly goes on for all of us. Let us remember that God has never and I mean never broken a promise to his children, I can’t say that for us, we have all broken many promises that we have made to God over the years. In spite that we continue to sin against one another and God doesn’t stop God from loving us, because he truly knows our hearts. Once you have accept his son Jesus Christ as your personal Savior forever I can tell you that Never will He leave you, nor Never will He forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) Jesus has already taken the first step long before you were born to die for you because of your sins, won’t you take the next step and ask him into your heart forever, and believe me when I tell you that you will never regret of become a Christian, a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear Jesus

Thank you for dying on the cross for all my sins and loving me even when I have not  love myself. I ask you into my heart to live forever, help me to become the person that you has design me to be.

In Jesus Name I Pray

Amen

 

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