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,

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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

 

Christ Is Risen! Alleluia!

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When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, Who, will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb? But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has Risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, and tell his disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

Mark 16:1-8

According to the Scriptures, our Risen Savior appeared to different individuals before ascending to the Father. It was a random coming and going, but specific encounters to teach us certain things. This took place during the period between Easter and Pentecost, between the Resurrection and Ascension. In today’s Scripture verse, Jesus gives us some “resurrection comfort.” When the men who walked to Emmaus were back in Jerusalem with the joyful news of their encounter with the risen Jesus, the other disciples replied, “The Lord has really risen!” (Luke 24:34) Paul says, “He was seen by Peter and then by the twelve” (I Corinthians 15:5-6) All these pronouncements tells us that, firstly, the Risen Lord wants to give the remorseful sinner back his self-respect. The first apostle Jesus appeared to was the one who denied Him. (Peter) Here the greatness of Christ’s love is demonstrated. He thought about the bitter grief of the Peter who wronged him, instead of wrongs and grief He himself suffered. Put yourself in this situation. Imagine with how much trepidation Peter received this message! Could it be true? Did he hear correctly? Did Jesus really mention his name? He has been the cause of so much of Jesus’ sorrow. He had denied Him three times! But this is how Jesus treats the sinner. Wo will ever be able to fathom the depth of God’s forgiving grace?

Against the dark background of Peter’s denial, the light breaks through in the disciples’ words to the men from Emmaus: The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34) A jewel glitters so much brighter on a dark background. Likewise, the grace of God and His saving omnipotence are best seen in a deeply fallen sinner. This short extract from history should encourage even the greatest sinner to go to the Father and confess their sins.

The gospel gives us no sensational or gripping detail of the conversation between Christ and Peter. Peter didn’t tell anyone what happened between him and Jesus. In life there are intimate and personal things that cannot bear up under the harsh glare of public exposure. There are spiritual experiences that must remain private because they are part of one’s personal fellowship with God. We dare not reveal every spiritual blessings to inquisitive publicity seekers, or shout it from the mountaintops. 

Three long nights of consuming grief followed Golgotha as well as the shock of Judas’ gruesome death. The offering that God seeks is a broken heart and a downcast spirit; He will not break those who are struggling. Peter discovered what true remorse meant, being tearful, unsure of his next step, knowing he was a fallen sinner, with hands outstretched to heaven in an impassioned plea for grace. And Christ in His unfathomable love and mercy is there, a place of true repentance. He meets in quiet reclusion with the remorseful sinner.

Prayer: Dear Jesus:

I come to you with a humble heart asking for forgiveness of my sins that I have committed. I thank you for taking my place on the cross at Calvary. Help me to become more like you and to serve others in your name, as you did here on earth.    Amen

Blessings to All of You on this Easter Day!

 

Growing Closer to Jesus This Season!

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Lent is a time for self-reflection and deepening one’s relationship with God in Jesus Christ. For many this season leading up to Easter will be weeks of giving up something they enjoy as a sign of contrition for mistakes they have made. Others will spend extra time in devotions and prayer, while a few more will carry a cross or nail in their pocket as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for them and the whole world.

If those practices work for you, wonderful! Others may want to find different ways of observing this holy season. Consider adopting one or more of the following creative uses of the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

  1. Pray for others you see as you walk to and from throughout your day
  2. Volunteer one hour or more each week with a local shelter, tutoring program, nursing home, prison ministry.
  3. Participate in a Lent-a-Day-practice and pray each day with your camera in your hand. start praying
  4. Cultivate a life of gratitude. Write someone a thank you letter each week and be aware of how many people have helped you along life’s journey.
  5. Create a daily quiet time. (this is something I do, I drive my youngest back and forth to school, and when I pick her up I am at her school an hour to spend time alone with God. Read a daily devotional for the season of lent.
  6. Give up soft drinks, fast food, tea, or coffee. Give the money you save to help local folks or those in a different part of the world who are in crisis.
  7. Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it ( maybe even yourself)
  8. Go deeper into your study in the Bible, be a part of a study group, and meditate on the words “I Am” sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of John
  9. Start a prayer rhythm. Each day of Lent, pray for another person.
  10. Tray and electronic fast, give up tv, face book, tweeting, e-mail and all things electronic for one day each week.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Ash Wednesday

25446120_10156169087488627_7353441604527499735_n    Today is Ash Wednesday the beginning of the Lent Season which is forty days between now and Easter Sunday, except that each Sunday in the season of lent in not counted. Ashes is a reminder that we are dust, and to dust we shall return, and repent, and believe in the gospel. Ashes were an ancient symbol of our humanity. In Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. On the first day of lent, we come before God recognizing our humanity and repenting of our sins. Lent leads to Easter the day we celebrate that though our bodies are flawed, a day of resurrection will come when we lived in the presence of God forever. On Ash Wednesday we go to church remembering who we are, with the hope of who we can become. 

Why Ashes? In Jewish and Christian history, ashes are a sign of mortality and repentance. Morality, because when we die, our bodies eventually decompose and we become dust/dirt/ash/Repentance because long ago when people felt remorse for something they did, they would put ashes on their head and wear “sackcloth” to remind them that sin is pretty uncomfortable and leads to a sort of death of the spirit. This was their way of confessing their sins and asking for forgiveness.

Where do the ashes come from? On what we now call Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem while people waved and cheered him on. Less then a week later, Jesus would be killed. The palms that were waved in joy became ashes of sorrow. We get the ashes for Ash Wednesday by saving the psalms from Palm Sunday, burning them, and mixing them with a little oil. It’s symbolic.

What Do Christians do with ashes? At a service which is held on Ash Wednesday people are invited to come forward in the service and a pastor or priest make a small cross of their forehead by smudging the ashes. While the ashes remind us of mortality and sin, the cross reminds us of Jesus’ resurrection (life after death) and forgiveness. It’s a powerful, non-verbal way that we can experience God’s forgiveness and renewal as we return to Jesus.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

 

The Season of Lent

Lent.pngWe are approaching the season of Lent this coming week. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and last for forty days (excepts Sundays) and it last until sundown the day before Easter Sunday.  During lent we as Christians enter into a season of preparation, self-reflection and repentance when we seek to literally “turn around” and realign our lives and focus toward God. It is a time to give up things as well as take on new life-giving practices, helping us rid of ourselves of distractions and our own selfish desires. By doing so, we seek to live and love as more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. As you made realize that Easter Sunday is always a different date each year, that is because Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the full moon in springtime that we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It doesn’t really matter what any of us give up during the Lenten season because nothing can compare with what Jesus did by sacrificing his life for all mankind.

Joel 2:12-13                                                                                                                                                     Even now ‘declares the Lord return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.                         (NIV)

Let us all journey together during this coming season, as we seek forgiveness from God as well as wisdom and understanding of his word (the Bible)

Grace and Peace to you my friends.

 

 

Little Christmas

wisemen2.png On Friday January 6,2017 it will be Little Christmas or some may call it Three Kings Day, Christmas is a celebration of twelve days and not just one day. As we read from the Gospel of Matthew 2:10-12 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the place they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. You can find different answers about how old Jesus was when the wise men came, however, we can say this, that the Wise men or Magi (Kings) didn’t arrived to worshiped him on the same night since they did travel by camel it did take a little longer. God gave humans the perfect gift, his one and only son to be sacrifice for all, the wise men also gave gifts to Jesus, and today because we love others we also give gifts to show that love to one another. Since they were earthly kings that bowed down to the Christ child because they truly believed who he is, shouldn’t we today continue to bow down in understanding who Jesus truly is.  As I have mention before in other writings, if we search for God with all of our hearts we will find him. In order to truly understanding the true meaning of Christmas we need to open up a Bible and read it to know that God loves all of his children. People today seem to get caught up with all the craziness of the holidays season, with all the sales at the stores, the lights outside of our apartments or even our houses, and let us not forget the Christmas shows on our television. Thru it all we seem to totally miss the Reason for the Season, and that reason and the only reason we celebrate this time of year is because the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Even the churches on Christmas Eve seems to be a little bit fuller than some Sundays, my question is this, the other days (Sundays) aren’t people still searching for the baby in a manager. Why is it that we only  attend church and give thanks mostly on Christmas and Easter, and the rest of the year people seem to be way to busy to take a moment to pray and give thanks to the Father (God).

If you are truly searching for God one of many steps is to find a church that welcome you with Open arms, no matter what you look like, smell like, how rich or poor you are. I personally am a member of the United Methodist Church our words are this Open Doors, Open Mind, Open Hearts, we welcome all of God’s children whoever is searching to have a personnel relationship with Jesus Christ. Just search on the internet to a UMC near where you live and you will find one near by. For me when I walk thru the doors ( which for me was 20 yrs ago)  to where I worship today at, I truly can feel the Holy Spirit at work there, I knew then as I know now this is where God wants me and where God is calling me to do His ministry. I have true joy when I am serving our Lord. Wise men and woman still are search for the baby who laid in a manger many years ago.

 

Grace and Peace to all of you