Brokenness

Matthew 19.png

Jesus looked at them and said, ” With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”                             Matthew 19:26

They did not yet understand from the Scriptures that Jesus must rise from the dead.

John 20:9

Could there have been a greater tragedy for Jesus disciples and his followers than that Jesus was now dead. For three years they all were following Jesus and learning what it meant to Seek God’s Kingdom. To learn to have forgiveness for others, to have compassion for others and to know what it was to love, unconditionally the way the Master had loved them. And yet, here it is the day after the death of their friend and teacher. All their all knew was Jesus was dead. The Master’s body was lifeless and was buried in a tomb, they don’t yet know about the Resurrection. If we go to the Gospel of John 11:21:26 after the death of his friend Lazarus, Jesus went to comfort his sisters.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. The one who believes in me will live, even through they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.

You are feeling brokenhearted and bound, entangled in webs of discouragement. Pick up the pieces of your broken heart, scattered all around you and bring them to Jesus. Place them on the altar that he provides and wait on his healing presence. Be still in His Holy Light while he cleanse you from binding webs of discouragement. Look into His face and see the great love he has for you. Because Jesus love is limitless, he never runs out of compassion. When you feel on the brink of giving up, remind yourself of his great faithfulness, and remember he will not give up on you. Through your disappointment is real, his presence with you is even more real. Stay close to the Master as he works on mending your broken heart. Of course, your repaired heart will not be exactly as it was before, but in some ways it will be much better. Your renewed heart stripped of its cherished hopes will have more space for Jesus than ever before. And as you remember the crucifixion of Jesus on this Holy Saturday just remember “Joy Comes In The Morning”

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

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“Father, Forgive Them”

Luke 23

Two other men, both criminals were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with two criminals, one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. The people stood watching and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the chosen One.”            Luke 23:32-35

The seven times Jesus spoke on the cross are like seven windows that gave us insight into the mind and heart or our dying Savior. In the first three, our Savior elaborates on the love in His heart for His enemies, the two thieves on the cross and also His mother Mary. 

Today, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we reflect on these words, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing. The crucifixion was a brutal act that was not only accompanied by humiliation and scorn, but also by terrible suffering. In those moments of Jesus’ deepest agony, Christ speaks not a curse but a prayer, not a prayer of vengeance, but of sympathy and forgiveness. It is unbelievable by true.!

However, Jesus has a haven amid his suffering: His Father. His Father is also our Father. In our worst grief we can pray to Him. Jesus prays a prayer of compassion. “They don’t know what they are doing!” Jesus prays for others, not for himself. He makes excuses for them rather than condemning them. He preached it, now He was doing it. It was a test of discipleship. He loves us until the very end. His prayer includes everybody: “Father, Forgive them.: And to this day, Jesus intercedes for us. We learn to receive and grant forgiveness at the cross.

Dear Jesus, by your wounds we are healed, thank you for your great sacrificed in our place and your forgiveness of our sins even when we don’t deserve it. Help us to forgive others the way you have forgiven me.                       Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

How To Forgive

 

Matthew 18   Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”                               Matthew 18:22

It was a rabbinical doctrine that a person had to forgive their fellow man three times. They believed that God’s forgiveness covered three transgressions and that he punished the fourth. Peter, the rash disciple with his impulsive nature, answered his own questions by saying that we should forgive seven times. Peter expected Jesus to compliment him, but Jesus answered that the Christian should forgive seventy times seven. there is indeed no limit to the Christian’s forgiveness.

Jesus tells the story of a servant who was forgiven an enormous debt, yet soon afterwards he had no mercy on a fellow servant who owned him a much smaller debt. This message runs through the entire New Testament like a golden thread: You must forgive others to be forgiven yourself. Those who cannot forgive others dare not expect God’s forgiveness. Godly and human forgiveness must go hand in hand.

In Jesus’ story the fact that stands out in the size of the two people’s debt. The point Jesus is making here is that nothing we do can be compared to what humankind did to God. If God forgives us our sins, we must also forgive others. We were forgiven an enormous debt that we would never have been able to pay, because our sins brought about the death of the Son of the Living God. We can find mercy in God’s eyes only if we forgive others like God forgave us.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

What Is Advent?

10389133_423507684465031_9016953425129766019_nI would like to take this opportunity to share with all of you the meaning of advent. Too many times everyone seems to be so busy with the shopping, baking, presents, parties etc. we simply do not take the time to slow down for the season of Advent, What is advent it is a time four weeks before Christmas that we take the opportunity to invite God into the season before we get to Christmas Day.                                                               The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.]
During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was. So where did the season of Advent come from? Here is an attempt at a partial response — going back to the sacred Scriptures and to the early centuries of the church.

First, recall that the building blocks of Advent — its images, stories, memories, promises, songs, and hopes — are already present in the Bible. The rich images of the prophets Isaiah and Amos are there. The stories of John, Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, and John the Baptist are found in the Scriptures. There are Israel’s memories of exile and the hope for a day when God would restore hope, justice, and rulers in the line of David. There you find the songs: Mary‘s song, Zechariah’s song, and the psalms of lament, anguish, and hope. The vision of a new heaven and a new earth is there. Jesus’ call to be alert because we don’t know the day or the hour when the Son of Man will come is there. Paul’s and Peter’s words to believers awaiting the return of the risen Lord (the second coming) are there. All of this was there by the end of the first century. It was only a matter of time until the churches in various places began to find ways to weave these elements into their worship and into the ways they kept time together’s promised by his first coming.

What Is the Advent Wreath?
The Advent wreath is a circular garland of evergreen branches representing eternity. On that wreath, four or five candles are typically arranged. During the season of Advent, one candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday as a part of the Advent services.

Each candle represents an aspect of the spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
The lighting of an Advent wreath is a custom that began in 16th-century Germany among Lutherans and Catholics. In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24.
Symbolism of the Advent Wreath Candles
Set on the branches of the Advent wreath are four candles: three purple candles and one pink candle. A more modern tradition is to place a white candle in the center of the wreath. As a whole, these candles represent the coming of the light of Christ into the world.
Each week of Advent on Sunday, a particular Advent candle is lit. Catholic tradition states that the four candles, representing the four weeks of Advent, each stand for one thousand years, to total the 4,000 years from the time of Adam and Eve until the birth of the Savior.

On the first Sunday of Advent, the first purple candle is lit. This candle is typically called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ:
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, NIV). So each week from now through the Sunday before Christmas I will share with you what each candle means and what color that Christians light on that day. You can also purchase your own advent wreath or even make one for yourself. So friends lets not rush this beautiful season of Advent let us journey together to find out what is all the fuse is about during this season, and why God had to send his one and only son Jesus into this world to be able to save his people from their sins.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Being Humble

Micah.jpgAS we read in the book of Micah he exposed corruption in Judah on every level of society. The rulers, prophets and priests were unjust; the people oppressed the poor and worshipped idols. Micah alternates between judgement and words of forgiveness and restoration.  Micah tells us in chapter 6:6-8 With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with offerings with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand river of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you O mortals, what is good. And what does the Lord requires of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

As we read thru the Bible both Old and New testament the people of long ago sound a lot like us today. So many people feels that if they do enough good deeds they will get into heaven, or another saying is I am a good person. News flash everyone, we are all sinners in this world and our sins have separated us from our Creator, God Himself.  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 2:4-5) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works so that no one can boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believers in him shall never perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  (John 3:16-17) Wow! what a gift that God has given to all of us. Could you do the same sacrifice your own child, but God did. After the news a few years ago from doctors that my oldest daughter has lupus I was so angry at God, I sat in my car and yelled at him (boy I thought I let him have it, so to speak) I kept asking why my child what did she ever do to deserve this and then when I become quite I hear the following then Eileen why my son in your place at Calvary (wow). From that point on I knew that God understands the pain a mom goes thru watching her child suffers from this disease and others. I can not explain why he is allowing this for her because I don’t see the full picture of her life, however God does. For me I grew up as a Christian but it has been thru all of the doctors, hospital visits, being admitted, testing and more I have grown closer to my Lord. I continue to study his words to go deeper in my faith journey and I am allowing him to use me to be able to minister to others. Before every time we see a doctor or my daughter has a test done we go to God in pray for him to guide the doctors. I have shared my faith journey with anyone who has a listening ear, and when I am ask how to I get thru my difficult times with my daughter I tell them these words from Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. My daughter Victoria’s faith has always been strong however now I am seeing how God is using her thru a page on face book called Chronically Hopeful and a blog as well as leading woman Bible study on line for other women (older than her) who suffers from something, like illness, depression and more. She even started a blog about what she goes thru as well as educating about other illness, and her page on face book Victoria has more than 13,700 followers, what an awesome way God is using her in spite of having lupus. God wants us to continue to walk with him, to continue to be humble and help one another. We are all his children wouldn’t it be nice if we all act like we are children of the most high King Jesus Christ, and to think of others before ourselves. I always love teaching children and doing vacation Bible school for more than 15yrs now and next week I am leading once again ( at my church I have been a member 20yrs now ) besides being the interim pastor of another church, and the one true reason I always love to is this, children hearts are pure, they already know God does exist, and for the ones who are not aware as of yet, the staff and myself are able to share God’s love and believe me it  is a beautiful thing to see it all unfold and to allow God to use you, and the only way to do this is to continue to stay humble.

 

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.