The Mizpah Coin (Guess Blogger)

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But it was also called Mizpah (which means “watchtower”), for Laban said, “May the LORD keep watch between us to make sure that we keep this covenant when we are out of each other’s sight. Genesis 31:49

I have always liked these necklaces, I even had a mezzuzah on the door until the sun faded it, though I am not Jewish or Messianic, but grafted in through Jesus. I have a Catholic miracle medallion, and a necklace with water from Lourdes. My faith is not in these objects but in Jesus, they are not talismans or charms but reminders, they don’t make miracles, He does and love does.

The Mizpah coin uses the verse from Genesis, it is Laban’s covenant with Jacob, who was to work seven years from Rachel to be his bride, it was like no time because he loved her. But while apparently Jacob kept his part of the bargain, Laban deceived him with a well veiled bride, Leah, and it was seven more years for Rachel. Jacob goes on to deceive his father.

The Bible is full of covenants and promises, and while there grace in the beginning and a repentant Abraham who has lied ends up rich, and Jacob ends up with sons that become the twelve tribes of Israel, they made a lot of sacrifices. And the day of Atonement covered sin once a year.

The Ten Commandments were given because they wanted to follow them, anything God could command they said. And they could not, they starting breaking them right away. Thankfully, Jesus gave us a better covenant and promises, and like God, He cannot lie and keeps them, even if we don’t always, we are back under grace.

Paul even calls the commandments the ministry of death, and the era of grace with Jesus, the ministry of the Spirit, how much more should we be blessed, favored, healed and protected. The Holy Spirit is in us as believers to teach and guide and settle us in the one commandment given by Jesus to love, then we are not breaking all the others, but if we sin we have and advocate, He is our High Priest on the Day of Atonement, and really year round. His sacrifice was once and for all.

Whether you have a Mizpah coin or not, He is watching to see that you are keeping covenant, like marriage, business deals, ministry. He knows your heart and what you are keeping or neglecting and is there to help. I’m so glad he keeps His word even if we don’t always, whether by commission, or omission.

Mizpah was also a place where intercession was made and a rock was placed there. The Old Testament is full of altars, you can create your own in your home. I used to have a Bible displayed and a nice set of golden cups and a decanter for Communion. I still have a beautiful lion, lamb and dove painting over the mantle, and one called the Invitation, with a dinner table. Some things I have had to move at times because of children.

I even decorated my Victorian Christmas tree, with crowns, crosses, keys, ( to the kingdom ) and angels, family photos and lots of things, doves and feathers, anything to remind me of the reason for the season, maybe, I can add some Judaica, I scaled down Christmas for a while but it might be back bigger and better. You can scroll back to July and see that I’m ready. Hanukkah coins, made of chocolate are called gelt and given to children as gifts. The Hebrew word for coin is matbea, mat bayh ah. Ancient coins were called zuz or zuzzim, and the phrase piece of money would have been silver.

Jesus even mad a point of a lost coin in a parable and sent Peter to get a coin from a fish’s mouth to pay taxes, He mentions widow’s mites, and once had to clear the temple of the money changers, and was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, so you see, coins are significant and not just tokens or so called good luck pieces, I don’t believe in luck, I believe in love. Look at all the coins that have bee found in the sea, they are considered treasure, Jesus is our and we are His, I hope this story is a reminder that He keeps His covenant, and watches while He is apart from us, though He is ever present by His Spirit.

Whatever traditions, jewelry, statuary, paintings or even baubles, whatever the meaning to you, It is important not to just remember the keepsake, but the sentiment and the promise, to keep covenants and promises. God holds them in high esteem, even with grace, it is sacred to Him, intimate, like a marriage vow or wedding ring. May He watch between us until you visit me again. Rebecca Jones / public domain

Thank You Rebecca for you blog post you can read more of Rebecca’s writings at adaughtersgiftoflove.wordpress.com

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God’s Garden

John15.png   I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.                                                    John 15:1-2

There are people who say that gardening brings you into close contact with nature, I do agree since I have enjoy doing it. It also enhances your property, provides flowers for the house and food for the table. In spite of being hard work, it gives great joy to those who do it. 

People in Israel were familiar with the gardener who looked after the vineyard and harvested the grapes. The role of the gardener and of the shepherd, the farmer and the judge was a reference to God. The gardener was in control of the vineyard and the vines were his pride and joy. Christ was God’s vine and thus theFather”  was the owner of the vineyard and the primary agent in taking care of the vineyard and yielding a crop. The small and insignificant Christian community who follow Jesus’ teaching, soon realized that God, the owner of the vineyard had planted a new vine and that these branches were now given preference over the old vine, Israel. In reaching his goal, God was in control of his “garden”, like any hardworking gardener or farmer, he did everything possible to ensure a good and abundant harvest.

Take note that, above the buzz and din of the world’s business God is still there and at work, looking for ways to motivate His missionaries so that He may be sure of a good and fertile crop. Sometimes He plants more vines and patiently carries on working until the first fruit is seen and He can gather the harvest that he has been waiting for. Always look around and see his wonderful handy work he has already done.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Little Christmas or Three Kings Day

Matthew 2.pngAfter Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east to Jerusalem and asked “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. In Bethlehem in Judea, they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written. “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judea; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel. Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. A soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child and his mother Mary, and they worshipped 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 way.        Matthew 2:1-12

Today is known as Little Christmas and some Christians also called this day   “Three Kings Day”, since is known that Christmas season last for twelve days beginning on December 25 and ending on January 6.

The magi began their search in unbiblical ways, following messages hidden in an alien faith and wisdom. But their search led them to the God of the Bible. There is a lesson here for us. These Gentiles followed the star, building on the own motions of what it meant. They may have been following their own wisdom, but it was God who put eh star in the sky to attract them. They were Gentiles and they were among the first to recognize the birth of the Messiah. Already, in the birth of Jesus, Matthew sees the dividing walls between us and them, breaking down. What about the star? Was it a supernova? a comet?  We do not know. But identifying the star would not change the faith which Matthew is writing. The star is important, he says, because it is God’s gracious gift. The dream is also about God’s grace. “Going home by another way” has been represented as a language of conversion ad changed lives, and it could mean that. It could also mean simply “to take a different road when you go home.” God is revealed not only in the special revelation of Scripture but in our natural world as well.

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

Give Thanks To The Lord

1 Chronicles 16.pngGive thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Cry out, “Save Us. God our Savior; gather us 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.                                         1 Chronicles 16:35-36

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

 

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

My Redeemer Lives

Zephaniah.jpgSing, Daughter Zion shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hand limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior saves. He will take great delight in you, in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:14-17

Jesus is our Redeemer and I know that my Redeemer Lives. Before we knew him, we were a slave to sin. In order for Jesus to redeem us-to deliver us from bondage-he paid the full penalty for our sins. The price was astronomical, the sacrifice of Jesus’ own blood! So we belong to Christ, and we will live with him throughout eternity. Since we were brought at such an high price, we need to glorify Jesus in our bodies and in our spirits. We glorify Jesus in our bodies by taking care of ourselves and abstaining from immorality. Our lives is a precious gift from God, and he wants us to live fully in ways that brings him glory and give us healthy pleasure. We glorify Jesus in spirit by delighting in him above all else. This is a most joyful pursuit! The world contains much beauty and many sources of enjoyment, but Jesus outshine them all. As we orient our spirit towards him. He blesses us with the joy of his presence. The pleasure is independent of our circumstances, it flows from the fountain of his eternal love. Because Jesus is our Redeemer, and I know he lives, I will continue delight in my spirit with my singing because of what he has done for me.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends