“I Did It Just For You”

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Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the Christian “Holy Week” as we journey together this week I will share with all of you the last seven words that Jesus spoke while hanging on the cross in our place. Can you even imagine that split second when your face will be brighten as you watch perhaps in fear, your eyes will be widen, and God will hear you whisper with tears rolling down your face! “YOU DID THIS FOR ME?”

 

The diadem of pain
which sliced your gentle face,
three spikes piercing flesh and wood
to hold you in your place.

The need for blood I understand,
Your sacrifice I embrace.
But the bitter sponge, the cutting spear,
The spit upon your face?

Did it have to be a cross?
Did not a kinder death exist
than six hours between life and death,
All spurred by a betrayer’s kiss.

“Oh, Father,” you pose,
Heart-stilled at what could be,
I’m sorry to ask, but I long to know,
Did you do this for me?

(Poem by Max Lucado: He Chose the Nails)

Jesus did all of this for you and for me because of His great love for mankind. Why, some may ask because of our great sins that have separated us from our Creator God Almighty”. Just imagine if you will, take a nail and go towards the cross where Jesus first laid down and then you hammered the nails (which repents your sins) on the cross, as your heart breaks into so many pieces, “My Lord, and My God, you do love me so.” and that is why “You Did This For Me”

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

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Be Joyful

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“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”                                                           John 15:11

The central idea of this portion from Scripture is that Jesus tells His disciples, that they are not the ones who chose Him, but that He is the one who chose the. We didn’t choose God either, but God, in His infinite grace, chose us by making us and offer borne out of His love.

The important of this verse lies in the fact that we can use it to make a list of things we have been chosen and called for. In the first instance, we are chosen to be joyful. No matter how steep and difficult Christ’s road might be, both in its journey and purpose, it will always be a joyful road.

There is always joy in knowing that you are doing the right thing. If we have sidestepped some duty or another, and then go back and do what had to be done, we experience special joy. Christians are cheerful people who live by the words in Philippians 4:4. “Always be full in the Lord, I say it again, Rejoice!. A heavy-hearted Christians is a contradiction and nothing in the entire history of Christianity has done more harm than the negative connotations of black clothes and long faces. It is true that Christians are sinners, but they are saved sinners, it is in this that the secret of their joy lies. How is it possible to be unhappy if you walk the road of life with Christ?

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Jesus The Way To The Father

John 14 a

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know hi and have seen him. “                 Matthew 14:5-7

If you know what it feels like to lose your ticket for an important event or journey, you will know how embarrassing it is to explain what happened, and to ask to be allowed access because you did in fact pay for it. You will also know how frustrating it can be if the person in control will not under any circumstances give you permission without your ticket. But if someone you know arrives on the scene, and has the authority to tell the person to help you, you will probably think, “This is my lucky day!”

Christ is your “ticket” to the eternal and holy presence of the Father. Do you know Him as your “in”? There is, however, much more to what Jesus says in this verse. Jesus was emphasizing how He and the Father are one. They know and enjoy complete fellowship and unity with each other. For this reason, those who know Jesus and are given right of admission by Him, also have access to God the Father.

Jesus’ pronouncement raised many questions. But in fact everything is straightforward and easy to understand. It simply means, “Get to know Jesus. Stay with Jesus and always be “in” Jesus, as Paul puts it. As long as you have fellowship with Him, you will also have fellowship with the Father. Don’t look for inferior ways to find God, You find Him in Jesus and in Jesus only. So make Jesus your road to follow, acknowledge Him as the highest truth of the world and of life. Look for nothing bigger and more glorious than the life you find in Him, and He will lead you to the Father. 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Walking The Walk

Walking where Jesus walked.pngPerhaps no other symbol is more revealing of the journey of Christians through the season of Lent that a pair of Biblical sandals. Sandals speak of our journey through the promises, perils, and pitfalls of life that can only be authentically experienced through “Walking the Walk” of Jesus. To be sure, Jesus was the supreme, historical walker Biblical scholars have estimated that, during his 33 year lifetime, Jesus walked over 21,000 (400 miles from Egypt to Nazareth; 18,000 miles from Nazareth to Jerusalem and back-at least seventy-five times by age 30, and 3,125 miles during his 3 year public ministry, averaging 20-25 miles per day.) And then, of course, there was Jesus 40-day walk in the desert, where he was subjected to three Satanic temptations. All this walking was more that just physical exercise, it was instilling patience, persistence, and soul-sustaining endurance in the one, who in human and Divinely resurrected form, would be God’s eternal model of “the Truth, the Way, and the Life” for the world that followed him in time.

So, how do we-how can we-follow in the footsteps of Jesus during the forty days of the Lenten season? For one thing, we can symbolically emulate Jesus’s pre-ministry walk through the desert-fasting, praying, examining ourselves, and trying to cleanse ourselves of transgressions and wrongdoings that have been haunting us for the past year. Secondly, we can discipline ourselves, through our “walk” through the Lenten season, to focus our thoughts, prayers, and actions squarely on the two greatest commandments that Jesus professed: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and You shall love your neighbor as yourself”  (Matthew 22:37-39) How rewarding it is for those who, on Easter Sunday, can affirm with great Joy and Certainty:

“I walked today where Jesus walked, and felt His presence there!”

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Are You Listening!

1 Samuel 3.pngThe boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, Here I am. And he ran to Eli and said Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call, go back and lie down.” So he went back and lay down/ Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” My son, Eli said, I did not called; go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord. The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he called you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”                                          ( I Samuel 3:1-10)

Samuel said to the Lord, speak for your servant is listening. How often as Christians do we say these words to the Lord, Lord we are listening, and at times we are not truly listening at all, our minds are in too many other places. Perhaps the reason is that we have over commit ourselves in our lives. As adults when we begin to work, we go out with friends to have a good time because we feel with the hard work we have done we deserve some down time, some fun. On our journey in life we may get married and begin our own family and we still don’t seem to have the time to be still and listen for the voice of God. As our children start school with continue to be over worked, and over committed with all the extra school activities, as well as the many things we committed to do within our own church. And through our lives we as Christians forgot an important step we learn in the beginning of our Christian walk, which can be found in the book of Psalm 46:10 (one of my favorites) ‘BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM, GOD” We have forgotten what it means to be quiet long enough to hear the voice of God in our lives. How can we possibly know what God’s will is for our own lives if we don’t become quiet. As parents or not when we have something  important to say to someone we ask them to be quiet to listen, correct!. So why doesn’t God deserve the same thing from us, and that is to be still and quiet. In the book of Isaiah 11:6 a young child shall lead them, Samuel was a young boy when he first heard God calling him, speak Lord your servant is listening. We need to slow down in our lives and just listen, just as you would listen to the birds singing, children laughing, because when we do we can truly know what God, the creator of our universe just might be saying to us. Are you truly listening for the voice of God today?

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Do You Have Room?

Luke 2E.pngAs Mary and Joseph journey on to Bethlehem because of the census they came upon a dilemma, which was that no one I mean no one had a place available for them. However, because they were humble they were willing and did make the stable a home for themselves for a short time. Regardless that Mary was about to give birth to a King at any moment the stable was fine, and a manger where food was kept for animals, was good enough for her son to lay his head upon and rest.  Doesn’t this when you begin to think for a moment or two how our Lord Jesus Christ the King of the Universe came into this world and begin his life as a human. There were no fancy birth announcement, and she didn’t give birth to Jesus in a nice warm hospital bed, but she gave birth among the lowest of the earth, the animals. You see Christmas is not about fancy trees, or the parties that we attend or throw ourselves, not about the Christmas cards and definitely not about the presents either. This season is all about the birth of a child who would change the lives of men and woman forever. Our sins as humans have separate us from God and for all of eternity, but God did not give up on his people. His love is unconditional that is why even through we are sinners he sent his only begotten son. Look at the words of the Gospel of John 3:16-18 “For God so love the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosesoever believe would not perish but have eternal life”. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to received glory and honor, and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being,

Revelation 4:11

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.        Revelation 3:20

GiftsThere is only one gift that we could ever possibility give to the Christ child and that is our hearts. It doesn’t matter to Jesus how poor we are, how rich we are, what we have or don’t have, what matters it our hearts and that is all he wants, and for us to give of ourselves to others. Christmas is a season for giving, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we can keep that same Spirit all through out the year and not just one month a year. The greatest commandment that Jesus teaches us is this ” Love the Lord your God will all your heart, soul, and mind, and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourselves.

Matthew 22:37-39

Prayer: Dear Lord

We come to you just as we are, as sinners, and ask for your forgiveness, and to say please come into our hearts and live with us forever. May we become the people that you have created us to be, not just this Christmas but forever.

In Christ Name we Pray

Amen

Grace and Peace To You My Friends

Third Sunday of Advent

Joy.pngWe have lit the candles of Hope and Peace, and relight them now to remind us that our hope is in Christ and that he will come again to bring peace to the world. Today begins the third week in our Advent journey, and so we light the third candle, the candle of Joy. In ancient times, the prophet Isaiah said, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; to those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.” Many suffer from despair, anxiety, or holiday blues. Others experience only the dark side of human nature. Christ’s light has power to overcome all dark places in our society and our souls. The Psalmist tells us “to make a joyful noise to the Lord, for the Lord is God who made us and whose we are, whose steadfast loves endures forever and faithfulness to all generations. Now we light the third candle, the candle of Joy, as we remember the angel’s words to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people.” We light it so that all who reap blue harvest from seeds of sadness may know the joy of Jesus Christ. We light it in honor of those who show us the joy of following Christ.

Let us pray: God of Good News, as we await your coming we give you thanks for the joy we have in Christ Jesus. May all who seek such joy find it. For all who have ceased to believe in its possibility, may you work through us to show your joy already present. Come, God of Joy, come.               Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends