Pentecost

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The day of Pentecost celebrates the empowerment of Jesus’ disciples by the Holy Spirit fifty days after Easter. The Christian holy day is often called the birthday of the church and may be celebrated with balloons, cakes, banners, red cloths, crimson vestments and candles.
Acts 1-21 describes the disciples gathered in Jerusalem with a multitude of other Jews from the Jewish festival of Pentecost, the Feast of weeks, one of the three annual pilgrim festivals of the Holy City. The feast was observed at the beginning of the wheat harvest (Leviticus 23:15-21) fifty days after the Feast of unleavened bread. Having been told by the risen Christ to remain in Jerusalem until they received “power from on high” (Luke 24:49) a large group of disciples were “all together in on place. (Acts 2:1)
The experience of the Holy Spirit described in the book of Acts fulfills promises and predictions given in both books of Luke and Acts. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. John the Baptist said of Jesus in Luke 3:16. Jesus promised the same at the beginning of Acts. John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now (Acts 1:5)
The Holy Spirit conferred the ability to speak in other languages, so the disciples could be understood by all the Jews in Jerusalem, who had come from all over the Mediterranean world and spoke a variety of languages. This had the effect of reversing the Tower of Babel experience, in which separate languages confused and blocked communications which is in Genesis 11. The visiting Jews heard each in his or her language the disciples tell about “God’s deeds of power,” culminating in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Peter interpreted the event for them as a fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32, the pouring out of God’s Spirit before the final judgment. The purpose of the display of the power of the Spirit was salvation. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:21)
The gift of the Holy Spirit equipped the church for ministry and witness. Peter, who once denied knowing Jesus, not once, not twice, but three times, spoke boldly to the crown some of whom may have cried “Crucify Him” fifty days before. Peter would lead, teach, and heal in the name of Jesus, and would soon be joined by Stephen, Philip, Barnabas, Paul and others. The manifestation of God’s power at Pentecost met a mixed reception, much like Jesus’ first sermon in Nazareth (Luke 4:22-30), suggesting that the church would soon be persecuted as Jesus had been.
What does all this mean? The disciples felt a new sense of power-power that changed them from quiet, hesitate believers to bold witness to the Resurrection. This power, they said, came from the Spirit resting upon them. It was like the power we feel in a “violent wind” or recognized in fire. The fire may suggest that power needs to be channeled into uses God intends, or else it can run out of control and become destructive and deadly. In any case, the Holy Spirit was present in the experience identified by the metaphors of fire and wind. The Spirit guides our growth in faith. How have your beliefs changed if any through the years of you become a Christian? As Christian, believers of the Risen Lord as we grow closer to our Lord we can begin to see the changes of ourselves from the inside, out.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Great Discovery

John 4 16.png“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samarians  worship what you do not know, we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. The woman said, “I know that the Messiah (called Christ)” is coming. When he comes he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you–I am he,”     John 4:21-26

A sobering revelation now dawns on the woman at the well: It was quite possible to be in contact with the Lord for years and still not made the Great Discovery. For example, Job thought he was a godly man because he could defend God and his faith. Then God revealed Himself to Job and he confessed, “I had only heard about You before, but now I have seen You with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” (Job 42:5-6) When Isaiah saw God in the Temple, his reaction was, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!” (Isaiah 6:5)

This type of meeting not only makes us aware of our own weaknesses, but also of our inability to save ourselves. Only Christ can save us-this is as clear as day. In our own strength we are doomed to fail. God has a wonderful plan with our lives; we only have to become aware of it, like the sinful woman at the well did. The Lord does not necessary use competent people,,, He equips those He uses. Then this former ignorance becomes a song of jubilation; a song of incredible joy. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! The ignorance of the past makes room for a great discovery.

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

Why Am I Here

Esther.jpgI am not sure how many of my readers have read the book of Esther which is in the Old Testament. The story of Esther was set among the captive Jews in Susa, the capital city of Persia. A courageous and beautiful Jewish girl named Esther becomes queen. She risks her own life to expose a plan to exterminate her people. Jews then probably saw themselves as harmless, trying to live as the people of God while adjusting to the foreign conditions. Yet their unique ethnic and religious identity and their worship of God as the one and only God led to problems. In cultures that worshipped various gods, the Jews’ behavior was viewed as criminally negligent, a caused for elimination. The heroes of the story, Esther and Mordecai (Esther’s uncle) rise to honor and a privileged status in a foreign court as Jews. Little did Mordecai know that, through God’s providence, his good deed for a Gentile king would protect his own life. Neither did Esther know that her position would resent her with the “opportunity” to risk her life to save her people. The Jews’ people were going to be destroyed however Mordecai reach out to Queen Esther and how it would be very important for her to speak up in Esther:4- 14 He tells her, in fact, if you don’t speak up at this very important time’ relief and rescue will appear for the Jews from another place, but you and your family will die. But who knows? Maybe it was for this very moment like this that you came to be a part of the royal family. Over time and thru many prayers Queen Esther knew what God was calling her to do with her own life, how about you. Do you know the real reason that God has created you, how important that you are to God and what job that you and only “You” can do, and that God has already equip you to do.

I am not sure how many of you have heard the name Bruce Wilkinson who is one of the most foremost Christian teacher and he is best know for many books, The Prayer of Jabez, The Dream Giver, The Purpose Driven Life and more ( I have read many of his books) The book in which I will share some of, is called “You were Born for This” is sits on my desk next to my computer and I have read this book more than one, as I continue to journey with Christ and always asking what in the world am I here for. From his first chapter ” What if I told you, I’m certain you missed a miracle yesterday? And not just any miracle but one that Heaven wanted to do through you to significantly change someone’s life for the better–maybe your own? I would understand if you were doubtful. But right alongside that doubt, most of us can identify a nearly universal experience. God uses one person to deliver something that met a big need for another person (could that  be you) and in a way that was clearly miraculous. God did not place you or me here on earth to just notice his handy work once in awhile, we can see God at work each and everyday. You see when we all have a walk with God not just once in awhile or when we feel like it, but everyday, we can see things happen. All of us are truly in ministry (even if you haven’t notice) Ministry without the Spirit of God is merely our best efforts. But Ministry with the Spirit of God is the stuff of miracles, because with God in the center of own lives, miracles can and does happen. I can not reach thru my computer to you and tell you why you were born, or what is God’s will for your life, only you are able to figure that one out for yourself. However  you begin to search and seek God with all of your heart in time God will reveal to you what His Will for your life is. You have nothing to fear but fear itself, and remember like I have shared with you in past writings in Luke 18:27 these are the words of Jesus, ” What is impossible with man is possible with God” In order for you and I to do the work that God has truly called us to do, he will equip us for the job, no worries are needed, just faith, the faith as tiny as a mustard seed.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Palm Sunday

Psalm Sunday.pngJesus Come to Jerusalem as King                                             ( Matthew 21:1-11) NIV Bible

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethpage on Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away. This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: Say to Daughter Zion, See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” ( Isaiah 62:11) The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut braches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted. ” Hosanna, to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” ” Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and ask, ” Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The significance of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem comes from the prophecy stated in Zechariah 9:9 (The coming of Zion’s King)” See, your king comes to you righteous and victorious lowly riding on a donkey.” The symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Easter tradition that it is an animal of peace, verses the horse, which is the animal of war. Jesus entry into Jerusalem thus symbolized his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king. However, the people who greeted Jesus were not greeting him as the spiritual leader who would take away the sins of the world, but as a potential political leader who would overthrow the Romans.

Christian congregations around the world begin this day with Palms in their hands and waving and singing or saying ” Hosanna, Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, shouting louder, and louder. This day is the beginning of the week known to us as Christians Holy Week, so much happens during this week more than two thousands years ago. Were the people back then truly happy to see Jesus, the man who preach on love, who healed the blind, raised the dead, turn water into wine, fed more than 5,000 with two fishes and five loaves, or was it that they were just caught up in the moment. Just like so many of us today we get caught up with movie stars, musicians, with politicians, thinking that any of these could fill the void we seems to have deep within ourselves. For the Jews the people of Jesus’ time they believe that Jesus came to perhaps start a revolution however they didn’t understand the reason he did come into this world. Jesus came into a world that is full of sin, hatred, lust, a world that worship idol’s, people who would murder someone else. Why, have you ever ask this question, let us look no further that the gospel of John 3:16 & 17  “For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not 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. The reason that Jesus came into this world of sin was to take our place on the cross and to be a living sacrificed for all of mankind. Jesus loves YOU that much to spread his arms out and die for You and for me. Our sins put him on that cross, but his L-O-V-E for all mankind kept him there to die for us. Let me ask you a question if you love someone so much such as a child, any family member, friend, would you allow them to die in your place? Your answer like me would be are you NUTS of course I wouldn’t give up any of my children to die for me, and yet that is what God did for YOU, he sent his one and only Son Jesus to died for you and me.

My friend if you don’t have a close walk with the Lord, with this man called Jesus, would you like to. Right now bow your head and repeat these words, Jesus I ask you to come into my heart and become my personal Savior in my own life. I don’t know you yet, but Lord I want to get to know you, will you walk with me thru my own life. Jesus I know I am a sinner and I have heard that you have come into this world to die for me, and no one has ever loved me that much to do that, and I thank you for taken my place. Come and change me from the inside out.

Amen

You my friend has prayed a sinner prayer, you are a Christian, a follower of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to begin your journey look around your hometown  for a church, this is the perfect season to do so. If you don’t have a Bible you can pick one up in places like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or even a Christian bookstore. I have read different ones, and the one I use everyday is called New International Version, or you can down load the Bible on your computer or I-phone or even a tablet, their are many ways to have a copy of God’s word. Start to read the New Testament beginning with the Gospel of Matthew, and get to know Jesus on a personal level, spend sometime with him during your day, Jesus has been waiting to talk with you my friend.

 

Grace and Peace to all of you my friends

Faith

Luke79.png The Faith of the Centurion                                 Luke 7:2-10

There is a centurion servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue. So Jesus went with them. He was far from the house when the centurion sent his friends to say to him. “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, “Come”, and he comes. I say to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ” I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

What is faith a little child ask me during Sunday School one day. Well, I said, faith means we believe in God even thro we cannot see him or even touch him. We are all created in the image of God and therefore we know God does exists. If we take the time to google the definition of faith you will find that it tells us that faith is a complete trust in something or someone. It is believing something that you know in your mind it is not true, however your heart tells you it is. However, from a Christian point of view we can look up what faith is in the book of Hebrews 11:6. Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance what we do not see. Also in Hebrews 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe he exists and he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

In the book of Luke we can read the amazing faith of a Roman solider. This centurion had a faithful servant who becomes sick and is near death. Somehow this centurion learns about Jesus and how he has healed others. With this knowledge he sent others to look for Jesus and to see if he would be willing to heal his servant. Jesus was willing to go to this centurion’s home to heal his servant, however he didn’t feel that he was worthy for Jesus to enter his home.  All Jesus had to do was to say the words and his servant would be heal, he had such great faith, knowing what Jesus was able to do. Throughout the scriptures we see men and women with amazing faith, and I will share with all of you over time. If you are sitting at your desk reading these words and ask yourself how do you come to have faith, my answer to you is this, by having a daily walk with our Savior Jesus Christ. We need to earnestly seek him. God doesn’t expect perfection in our search for him. He does rejoice when we seek him day after day, because nothing pleases him more than our longing for him to be a part of our daily lives.  How do we do this, first off by being a part of a Christian community such as a church family, fellowship with one another is important to our growth. Bible study, another way to understand the scriptures is during a bible study. Another important is having a prayer life with our Lord daily. We need time alone with God to ask for guidance for our own lives, and to have a closer walk with him, as well as praying for one another. As you begin to think of the scripture that I share with you today as well as a short message, reach out to God in prayer today to help you to have faith, faith as tiny as a mustard seed, and he will.

Grace and Peace to you my fiends