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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Love Is Indispensable!

1 Corthians 13If I speak in the tongues of men or of angles, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease, where there are tongues, they will be stilled, where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man (woman) I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall known fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1:13

Nothing can separate you from God’s love. When you trust him as your Savior, he unites himself to you in eternal matrimony. Many things threaten to rip apart this holy bound, principalities and powers, controlling people, dire circumstances, but nothing can succeed, not even death. In fact, dying opens the way to ecstatic enjoyment of God, exponentially better than your best enjoyment here on earth! I embody not only perfect love but all the fullness of the Deity as well. In Christ you have everything you can ever want. Feelings of emptiness can serve as signals, reminding you to turn back towards him. No matter what you are doing, I can be a co-participant with you. As you invite Christ into more and more aspects of your life, you will discover a growing contentment within you. In times of adversity you can lean on him for support: in joyous times you can celebrate with him. Jesus is as near to you as a whispered prayer, even nearer. His banner over you is Love.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Name For God “Elohim”

By wisdom the Lord laid the earth foundations, by understanding he set the heaven in place. Proverbs 3-19

By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundation, by understanding he set the heavens in place: by his knowledge the watery depths were divided. and the clouds let drop the dew.   (Proverbs 3:19-20)

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength not one of them is missing?                         (Isaiah 40:26)

Their are many names that people use to call God the one today that I will share with you is “Elohim” the Hebrew name for God. Which means the God who has created the heavens and the earth and more important, He has created you. I recently was reading the book by author Wendy Blight and is called “I known His Name” The scriptures declares that our God is a personal God and a loving and forgiving father. He demands justice, yet extends grace. He is kind and compassionate and allows for free will, but mandates that this free will has consequences when wrongly exercised. However, because of His grace, in the midst of those consequences, God extends mercy and promise to never leave or forsake us. Can you image if everyone in our world would come to know God on a personal level in their own life they would begin to see changes from the inside-out that only God can ever do in any of us. It is not just going to church on a Sunday morning that makes any of us to know God in a personal way, it is searching the scriptures and our own prayer life that we come to know the “Great I Am”

We begin this journey to begin to know who God is, lets read Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Try and picture in your mind a big nothing and from that big nothing God began to created the world as we know it today. So during many of my writings I will share with you the different names of God. God is an infinite being without beginning and without an end. (Revelation 21:6, 22:13)  But Genesis 1:1 God initiated a work that is measured by time as we understand it.  Our God has done great and unsearchable things beyond our comprehension. He brought into existence every natural wonder the eye can see, every twinkling star, every delicate snowflake, every drop of rain, every beautiful  cloud, every crisp cool day, everything in its beauty God has created for mankind t enjoy.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

God’s Master Piece!

Psalm 19The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words, no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.  It is like a bridegroom coming out of the chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other, nothing is deprived of its warmth.                                             Psalm 19:1-6

I am blessed to live in the county because on a clear night with not one cloud in sight this is the beauty that I look up to and I am totally amaze by it. Take a good look at the picture above of all the stars in the sky. Just think of it for a moment, this is the beauty that God the God of the universe created for mankind to enjoy all of its beauty. This is so much better than television, and computer or anything that we try to replace it with. If there comes a time in your life when you begin to doubt for any reason if God is real, take a ride to the mountains and you will begin to see the beauty that he has created for us. Try to see thru the eyes of a child the beauty in this world, yes I know that mankind has turn somethings terrible, but you need to look past all of the horrible things and the hatred and begin to see the beauty. When you can lay in the grass look up and be amaze at this beauty, look at the different clouds and try to make different shapes in your eyes like a little child and then your doubt is no more.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Wisdom and Understanding

Colossians 2.jpg Paul who was a follower of Jesus Christ was in Roman prison when he wrote to the church in Colossae. False teachers were coaching the Colossians to worship angles and follow special rules and ceremonies. Paul corrected this thinking through his letter, stressing that faith in Christ is sufficient for salvation and that nothing needs to be added to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Jesus. So he is relevant to absolutely everything! The world is such a fragmented place, with many voices calling out to all of us-claiming to have the answers, When we are learning or experiencing new things, it is vital to stay in communication with God. He can help us understand things from His perspective, drawing on His wisdom. He wants all of us to examine everything in the Light of biblical truth. If you and I keep Jesus central to our thoughts, we can discern order and design in a chaotic world. There will continue to be things any of us can comprehend, because we live in a broken world. Acknowledging the limits of our understanding opens the way to profound worship. This will encourage our hearts, as well as the hearts of our fellow worshippers, to worship Jesus and Jesus only. To worship Jesus our hearts must be united in love, woven into a beautiful love-tapestry. As we worship, this united, we can enjoy His majestic presence together in ways that transcend our individual experience. This enables us to venture further and further into Jesus vast hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends