A Season to Change

Isaiah 11.pngA shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with the righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give with justice he will give decision for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.        Isaiah 11:1-5                          I will baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, who sandals, I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirt.                                              Matthew 3:11

Once again, we have entered into the season of advent, anticipating the birth of Jesus and hoping that soon very soon that the promise of peace on earth would become true, but can we change our own lives if not the world. As we stop and look into the manager of a tiny little baby perhaps we can say to ourselves what does this all mean. We can pick up a newspaper, watch the television to take notice and to say where is this peace on earth? So much violence in our world and at times so much hate, where is this love that people seems to be talking about especially that we seem to hear it more during this season. As we begin to prepared for this season in many ways such as baking with our children or grandchildren, going shopping in a crowded mall where at times people can be a little crazy, okay you may be thinking they can be nuts at times, the beautiful lights we all see, and the music that is playing on our car radio, and even the movies on television which reminds all of us this season. I personally love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree in my home, which reminds me of the season. Are all the different traditions that we have in our own families does this tell others and also us that we are ready to make a change in our own lives? Are we showing others of what we do or say that we are followers of Jesus, we are his disciples. Even thro this is a beautiful season there are so many people who are hurting this time of year and need to hear about the hope we have in Jesus. Christmas is a profoundly beautiful season, but for some it also highlights the losses, griefs, and heartbreaks in their lives. In Isaiah 11, the prophet Isaiah speaks of a ruler who would be a descendant of Jesse. Jesse was the father of ancient Israel’s great King David. This descendant would rule with true justice and true faith, and he would establish true peace. This peace would be so great that even wild animals would be able to lie down next to one another and even a child will lead them. This descendant would also become a standard for people throughout the world. And, this descendant would be sought by people throughout the world. As Isaiah talks about this future King, he is telling us that he will be able to look into the hearts of people and judge based on the truth. The poor and oppressed will find a champion in him. This ruler to come will stand for justice and will impose punishment of evildoers. This King will not be clothed in royal purple or anything so fancy, his garments will be righteousness and faithfulness. As we heard from the gospel of Matthew we come to learn that John the Baptize was the one to prepared the way of the coming of the Lord. In most households when someone says, “Company’s coming! Everyone works and clean up the entire house in preparation of their guest. The gospel of Matthew has John proclaiming, “Messiah is coming! But do not go and clean up your house. Instead, mend your heart! Clear your lives of any obstacle that would hinder his coming.” Housework requires the right tools to use. The type of tools John has in mind are repentance and baptism. Repentance comes from the Greek word metanoia, which means change of mind, to change one’s life completely. Repentance is like driving down the wrong road, then turning around and going in the opposite direction. Baptism is the symbol that one has repented and been cleansed of sin. This was important to John’s ministry that he became known as John the Baptizer. How do we, as followers of Jesus Christ, return the purpose of Christmas to the focus of Jesus? How do we prepare for his birth and for the second coming, it is not by having parties, decorating our houses, and giving gifts wrapped in fancy paper, but instead by giving ourselves anew over to the way of Christ? I suppose giving ourselves over to Jesus Christ begins with God’s gift of grace to us. It is something we feel inside. Some call it a moment of conversion. Others call it baptism by the Holy Spirit. John Wesley the founder of Methodist called it assurance. Maybe during the season of Advent, we could call it the Spirit of Christ coming into our hearts. But whatever we call it, we will know when it happens to us, because it does cause us to confess our sins and turn ourselves away, over and over, from the trappings of this world so that we can reorient ourselves back toward Christ.

Grace and Peace yo You My Friends

 

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Broken Dreams & Broken Promises

Psalm 42.jpgIt has been a difficult day my Lord to say the lease, because when others seem to have forgotten you and what you long for is someone to reach out to say I do care, and truly mean it. For someone else who seems all they want to do is to judge you and you seem to say to yourself, they are not walking in my shoes to understand this deep pain of mine. So I open up your scriptures to read the following words that seem to ring so true for me today.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”. These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the “Mighty One” with shouts of joy and praise, among the festive throng. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me, therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls, all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt  me saying to me all day long, “Where is your God.?” Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Dear Lord

Help me in this holy time, at your feet, to pour my soul out to you. Enable me to be transparent. I surrender every burden, fear, question, and emotion. Empty me of myself. Free me from all the clutter in my heart and mind. Consume me with Your Spirit now and everyday of my life.

Amen

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

To Become A Child Again

John 13.jpgIn the Gospel of John, Jesus is preparing his disciples of things that were about to happen to him with being handing over to sinners and then crucified. Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you: Where I am going, you cannot come. ” A new command I give you, Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.                                                   John 13:31-35

Why is that adults simply cannot love others they way they seem to love themselves, at times they look to another with such hatred. Adults just seem to judge someone because of someone’s race, age, being rich or poor, the color of their eyes, how smart they are and believe me the list of the judgement seems to go on and on for way too long, all because someone is different from themselves. Hasn’t anyone ever notice that God created us in His image but not to look the same as someone else. If you think back when you were a child did it matter at all what another child look like, how rich or poor they may be, or did you simply look at the other child and think to yourself how you would like to have a playmate to play with, if you answer is yes like most of us would answer, then tell me what happen in between being a child and becoming an adult they too many times we seem to have hatred in our hearts all because someone is different from us.

God is love, that is why when you read in John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son (Jesus) into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.                      John 3:16-17

Jesus was without sin, a man who had no home to call his own, and what he had done was always good for another human being and even dying on the cross, why so we as sinners will not perish after leaving this earth, but that we will be reunited with our Heavenly Father for all of eternity. And what did he seem to do with anyone who was a little difference he simply love them.

You have heard that it was said Love your neighbor and hate your enemy., But I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  Matthew 5:44   Is it ever easy to love your enemy no it is not, and if it was everyone would do it and they don’t. What is a Christian–it is someone who is a follower (disciple) of Jesus Christ so if we call ourselves a Christian shouldn’t we love all people, just as Jesus would. This is why as Christian we need to have a walk with Christ, to help us to love all, in order for any of us to do the will of the Father we need to have a walk with the Son. In the book of Ephesians chapter 6 Paul tells us to put on the Full Armor of God because our struggles is not against  flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the power of this dark world. You need to understand that is satan w wants to destroy this world, to destroy families, friendship anyway he can. For you and me Paul tells us to Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions. So put down any hatred you have in your heart for anyone and put on the heart of love and compassion for another one of God’s beautiful creation.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Lord is My Strength

HabakkukYet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enable me to tread on the heights. For the director of music, On my stringed instruments.         (Habakkuk 3:18-19 NIV)

The book of Habakkuk is in the Old Testament, there is not much information of this prophet in the Old Testament. Habakkuk addressed his book to God, and not the people of Judah. In a dialogue with God, he discussed problems of suffering and justice. He could not understand how God could use Judah’s enemies to judge his chosen people. But the book ends with Habakkuk’s prayer of praise.

The prophet Habakkuk sounds a lot like us living  these days at this time. We all seem to question God with all of the whys. Why do people steal, why do someone kills another human being, why is there so much other violence in the world Lord, why is their earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and I know that our list goes on and on, why does some suffer with illness, poverty, so much death that seems all around them, and our pain is so very deep. Believe me when I tell you this, that God hears and I mean hears all of human’s complaints that we have, and even thro we do not understand the following, one that he has give all men and woman this thing called free will, and many times the suffering some go thru is at the hands of someone else, the other thing to realize is that even thro we don’t see our situation changing does not mean that God is ignoring any of his children, this is when we think that God is so far away from it all, is that he is closer than any of us can ever dream or imagine. Habakkuk’s prayer in chapter 3 says the following Lord, I have heard of your fame, I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord, Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known, in wrath remember mercy. God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran, His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sunrise, rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden. Plaque went before him pestilence followed his steps, He stood, and shook the earth, he looked, and made the nations tremble.

I can truly say that we all have gone thru valleys in our own lives for many reasons, however in spite of what we have all gone thru we have a Awesome God. A God who loves all of his children the same, and regardless of our many sins, his love never changes either. For it is when we are in the pit of despair we need to continue to Praise our Lord, and not only when things are going well for us, because it when we are in the bit of despair that we need the Lord the most.

Grace and Peace to you my Friends

 

 

I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

 

I am the Light.pngWhen Jesus spoke again to the people he said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Do you ever wonder exactly what God wants you to do, especially when you have so many options and demands to manager? By being in God’s word and allowing it to drench your very soul, we do walk with Jesus in the light. As we look around this world right we are, we can see the pain of hurt, despair, disappointment in someone eyes as well as reading it on someone’s face. You can be the very light in which Jesus’ talks about, and the ways are sharing your own faith with someone. Telling someone how much Jesus loves them with no strings attach. How about listening to another person, sometimes that is all that they want from someone else to hear the pain or perhaps the disappointment they are feeling.  When you see someone all by themselves away from everyone else go up to them and start a simply conversation, and be a friend to them, sometimes that is all they need, and by doing so you are also bless. God places people in our own lives for a reason, sometimes it maybe a day, a week, a season in our own lives, however God always has a plan for our lives. Although we all have the very long to do list of things we seem we have to get done, don’t allow special moments of people in your life to slip by. When God allows us to be the light with him in this very dark world don’t fret over a to do list, just allow His Spirit to guide you in your journey.

The Pharisees challenged Jesus. Here you are, appearing as your own witness, your testimony is not valid. Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going.  You judge by human standards, I pass judgement on no one.                               (John 8: 13-15)

You can come to Jesus just the way you are, you don’t need to clean up your act, like some may say to you. He is not judging you or me of our pass sins, so just come towards the light, to the one who is the Light of this World.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends