Sunday Mornings (Guess Blogger)

I would like to welcome back Crystal Russell back as our guest blogger today.

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Sunday Mornings
On Sunday mornings we have a special time of prayer before everything gets started at church.

A group of women gather together to pray.

We pray over the Word that the pastors will bring, the Sunday school teachers, and everyone who will be attending that day.

“for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” – Matthew 18:20

Promise from Jesus
I often think of this verse when I think of our prayer time.

We can (and should) prayer on our own but I also think that is important to gather together for prayer as well.

We have this promise from Jesus.

Why would we not gather together. He tell us He will be with us in a special way when we do.

The prayers of the early church opened the doors of a prison for Peter (Acts 12:5-10).

It makes in difference in our lives today too.

One of the blessing of learning to pray with another is the rich friendships I have gained. My most trusted friendships are with friends that pray with me.

A Challenge
I challenge you to spend time in prayer
alone, with a friend, with a group.

Prayer is our most powerful weapon.

We need to use it.

My Prayer
Father, thank you for the privilege I have in prayer to come into Your Holy presence. I stand in awe of you as my God and Creator. If that weren’t enough, and it is, when I come before you I get to call you Father. You call me your beloved daughter. You hear every world I pray and when I have no words you know the cry of my heart. Thank you Jesus for your promise you gave us that where two or three are gathered you are with us. Prayer is powerful, may we (your church) be faithful to come before you and use it.
-Amen

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Even To The End Of The Age

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Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20

This Scripture gives us the assurance of the holy and continuous presence of the living Christ. Our Savior makes sure there is no doubt about it. Christ appears to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. These apostles were the founders of the universal church. Would this small group be able to carry out such a challenging task? To found and expand the church? Not if it depended on their own abilities, but it was possible with the omnipotence of the Master, who said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18) Christ rules His church through His Word and leads it through His Spirit. Our task is merely to contribute towards it. When is Jesus with us, in the church, and in the hearts of His believing children? Our Scripture says “always”! His promise is that He will always be present in our lives with His Spirit and with His grace, an enduring and uninterrupted Presence. 

We know that all days are different: There are sunny days, but also ominous and dark days; there are days when our hearts sing with joy, but also days when our hearts sob with misery and grief. There are days of firm and unshakable faith, but also days of doubt and stumbling, when we need to plead, “Help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) In His supreme wisdom God broke our lives up into pieces that we call days. the days all differ, but Christ promised, “I am with you always!”

Prayer: Thank you Jesus for the promise that you will always be with us now and forever.                        Amen

Grace and Peace To You My Friends

Brokenness

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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.

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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 

Holy Thursday

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Then came the day of unleavened bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” Where do you want us to prepare for it? they asked.” He replied, As you enter the city a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples? He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God. After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said. “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, “This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays me!” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this. “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the young and the one who rules like the one who serves?  For who is greater, the one who is at the table? You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelves tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon (also know as Peter) Satan had asked to sift all of you was wheat. But I prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death, Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”           Luke 22:7-35

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Today is Holy Thursday or as some call it “Maundy Thursday, the night in which our Lord and Savior is betrayed by one of his disciples, as well as being deny three times by another, and others scatted when he was arrested. By the end of this night many Christians from around the world will gather together to celebrate “Holy Communion ” while remember the night in which Jesus would be betrayed and handed over to the chief priests, and the elders. Jesus will full the Scriptures that many years ago that Isaiah foretold us.

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 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 stripes we are healed.                      Isaiah 53:3-5

Do we even take the time to try to understand this night, or just sit and listen in a church pew? Could it be that on the hill of Calvary in which the cross that held God’s greatest gift his son Jesus, who whip, tortured, and crown of thorns laid upon his head ( and not a crown of jewel) He will then carry his Cross to the Place of the Skull also known as Golgotha, then my friends look deep into his eyes and hear Jesus whisper to you and me:                                                                       “I DID THIS FOR YOU”

 

Blessings to You On This Holy Thursday 

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

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Jesus is preparing his disciples for when is to die and leave them behind, read his words from the Gospel of John 14:23-27  “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 

When we die, we leave everything we own behind. But we also leave behind memories, traditions, experiences and relationships. Sometimes there are small gifts, treasures and photos.

Jesus had no possessions to leave behind. But he had other things that would never spoil and were more precious than anything else. One of them was peace. When conflict was rife outside the Upper Room; while violence was being planned; when death was knocking at the door, Jesus gave them peace.

This was the peace created by complete trust in the presence of God. It was absolute faith in His omnipotence and the acceptance of His holy will. It was also Christ’s own peace. By this gift of peace, He gave them something of himself. He knew they would be confronted with danger, opposition, suffering and even death. They would need peace more than anything else.

Open up your heart now to receive Jesus’ gift. Like the disciples, you probably need them more than anything else. If you are grappling with problems, confusion, opposition, resistance, ridicule, temptation, loneliness, pain or suffering, cling with all your might to this gift that Jesus gave his disciples. Allow his peace to calm your anger. Allow his peace to take over prejudices, your doubts and your grievances. Let it take over your entire attitude, your speech and your relationships. And whenever possible, give this peace away to someone else. The more of it you give away, the more it grows inside of you.

Grace and Peace To You My Friends

I Will Testify Your Love

Isaiah 54.pngThough the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet God’s unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor his covenant of peace be removed. Nothing on earth seems enduring or immovable as huge, majestic mountains. When you stand on their heights breathing in the glorious air, you can almost smell eternity. Yet God’s love and peace are even more enduring than the greatest mountain on earth!

Think deeply of God’s unfailing love. One of the meanings of “unfailing” is inexhaustible. No matter how needy you are or how many times you fail him, his supply of love for you will never run low. Another meaning of “unfailing” is constant. God does not love you more on days when you perform well, nor do he love you less when you fail miserably. God’s love is more persistent, invariable, and steadfast than you can comprehend. Open your heart to received this gift in full measure.

 

I come to your Holy sanctuary, as I bend down on my knees my Lord, to ashamed at first  to look upon your face for great and worthy of my Praise are you. As I begin to center myself on your Holiness the world around me becomes dim, and I don’t see or hear anything but long to hear your voice upon my heart. My tears of joy run downs my face as I lift up my eyes upon your face with all of it’s glory, so much for me to understand or comprehend, as I seek your face. My soul Praise the Lord all my life, I will praise the Lord all my life, and tells others his love for all of his children. I will shout it from the mountain top for all to hear and I will continue to testify his love. I will not put my trust in any human being who simply cannot save me from my sins. How good it is to sing praises to you God, how pleasant and fitting to praise you.

Who is this Lord in which I seek all the days of my life. The Lord builds up Jerusalem, he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power, his understanding has no limits. The Lord sustains the humble but cast wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.

 

You had chosen me my Lord long before I had decided to follow you all the days of my life, and you never gave up on me. When others decided to forsake me and give up on me, you stood right by my side and your love never fail me. How can I remain silent any longer, I cannot Lord, for others need to know about your great love that you have for all of your children.  You who are brokenhearted, you who are lonely, the dying ones, the ones who have such anger within your soul, the ones who loss all hope in this world, I say Come, Come to the Lord and bow down before His throne, His love for you is and will always be unshakable for his children, for He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

Grace and Peace To You My Friends

No Compromise

Matthew 6c.pngOur God is a holy God, and He makes no compromise with sin, He doesn’t tolerate it at all! In this day and age, even the idea of punishment is becoming outdated. Children must not be punished anymore because it infringes on their personal right. But sin remains sin before God and we pay a high price for it. Now the sinful human grabs at straws. Is God not merciful? He is after all, love. But He is also just and holy! We must not play His holiness off against His love. Of course God is merciful, The fact that we are alive is proof of God’s mercy. But His love is by no means weak, it is strong and holy. It gives much but also demands much. God is merciful, but God is also just! God is just, but God is also merciful! Do you see the difference between the two concepts? Come with me to Golgotha, there the impossible became possible! There the tension was broken when Jesus was broken. Their righteousness and mercy flowed into one.

Jesus had to die for the sake of God’s righteousness. He paid the highest price so that we, the rebels, could be set free. He endured God’s wrath that we could experience His love. He was forsaken against by God so that we could know God, never to be forsaken again. He carried our curse so that we might be showered with blessings. The message of Golgotha is: God is righteous! God is Love! That is why Jesus teaches us to pray, “Forgive us our trespass, or sins or some Christians may say debts, it all means the same, we have all sin and have fallen short of the Glory of God. But through God’s love that he sent His one and only son Jesus into this world to die for all sinners (all of mankind) so that we will never be separated from God.

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Grace and Peace to You My Friends