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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A Day With God

1 Corinthians.jpgAs I begin my day with God I meditate on his words as always, as this morning I read from 1 Corinthians 3:16 these words were written by the Apostle Paul to address the problems in the church in Corinth, read these words: Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? Take a moment and think about these words God’s Spirit lives in us (wow) Everything that comes out of our own mouths, everything that we put into the body, as well as anything we seem to do to our own body is a reflection on God, this is how others know who we are not just by us saying that we are a Christian also by our actions and deeds. God’s knows that we are far from perfect and he is a forgiven God and His Spirit that lives in all of us, points out our mistakes and overtime we begin to draw closer to God. God delights in our desire to live steadfastly in his presence. As if we were a tree planted close to him. However, unlike a tree that cannot move we can choose to stay near to him or choose not to. Through God promise to is that never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5) At times with the problems that overwhelms you or me and you have forgotten these words start looking for ways to remind the promises God has given to all of his children thru his words. God’s Spirit who lives in us, will never leave you or me in the compromised condition. He helps us to remember who we are and more important who he is and that we are a child of the Most High King and that is Jesus Christ. We belong to Him! Returning to God is not a hard task, just simply affirm your trust in his unfailing love for you. As we reconnect with him, remember his love for you washes over all of his children, cleansing, refreshing and filling you and me. No matter how many times we may forget him, God’s love for us will never fail. Continue to grow closer to him, as well to understand that God’s Spirit dwells in us, so he is never far away from any of us.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends.

Staying On The Right Path

Psalm 2.png

Your word is a lamp for my feet, and a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. I have suffered much, preserve my life, Lord, according to your word. Accept, Lord the willing praise of my mouth and teach me your laws. Through I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law. The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts. Your statues are my heritage forever, they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.                                    (Psalm 119:105-112)

There are times in our lives when life gets a little hard, well I mean down right difficult for us, and we feel and may say to God, I just can’t take another step, I just can’t go on! Do you ever feel this way, I know I do, and believe me too many times to count when I have felt that way.  However, over the years of my life I am learning to stay close to God, to stay on the right path in my own life. One of the ways in which I am able to stay on the right path is to continue to stay close to God by reading his word.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:2) I have made it a good habit to spend time alone with our Lord, I go to a quiet place where no one can found me and just read his word, reflect on the words that I just read, and then to apply them into my own life. I read the devotional Upper Room each and everyday, beside the scriptures they suggest to us the reader, I also found other scriptures to read,and their are times before I open up my own Bible I just ask God to share with me when I need to read and learn and then I just happen to open my bible to that scripture. My bible is becoming worn out, which to me it is saying that I am using it for guidance in my own life. I have highlight many scriptures both in the Old and New Testament that means something to me. I just open to James 1:17 which states Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. Also Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Let me ask you something, if you own a car and never took it out of your garage would the battery died, I would say yes it would. If you never took care of your body with food, water and rest would eventually could you get sick, again I would say to you, most likely. So why then would you not take care of your spiritual body, because it too need to be feed, and not just once a week, just like out bodies need food to eat each and everyday so also our spiritual body needs food each and everyday of our lives. In order for us as human to stay on the right path in our lives with God, we also need to walk closely with him thru our prayers and with our studying of his word on a daily basis.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

By His Stripes We Are Healed

by his stripes.pngThe scripture in the New Testament in the gospel of Matthew 27:11-26 as well as Mark 15:1-15  talks about the night in which our Lord and Savior Jesus was be trade by one of his disciples name Judas of Iscariot. Both gospels talk about Jesus being flogged or scourged after Pilate committed him to be crucified. One essential difference between Mark’s version and Matthew’s however, is that Mark suggests the ‘envy’ of the chief priests as being their primary motive is seeing that Jesus be put away. The priests presumed that if the mob could be incited fervently enough to achieve Pilates sanction and/or allowance of scourging, torture, and mockery, the fate of this mysterious and threatening ‘Jesus” would be sealed. In Biblical times, a person condemned to crucifixion was usually first scourged with a whip of leather thongs, typically with bits of metal or bone attached. The scourging tore into the victim’s flesh and greatly weakened him before the victim was subjected to the even greater torture of hanging from a cross. Jesus was scourge forty times minus one by the Roman soldiers. Can you even try to image the pain that Jesus endure for you and me. Have you ever had crack hands or feet, that bleed and the pain was so intense, well I had that happen to me within the last month. With the winter cold  my feet became dry, I never thought about it until one of my heels crack open and bleed, the pain was so bad I had trouble walking on it. At first I couldn’t understand what I had done to it and why the pain was so bad until I went to put some cream on and look at it and then I realize the skin had crack open. The first thing that came to my mine was this, the pain that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ endure for me, I often wonder why, it is because of his love for me his child.  As you go back to the Old Testament Isaiah foretold what would happen:

Isaiah Chapter 53:1-7

Who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shears is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

My friends if you have ever wonder sometime in your own life if anyone would or could ever love you in spite of your short comings. I am here to tell you Jesus does, you don’t need to be smart enough, rich enough, you don’t need to be short or tall, thin or not, he loves you just the same. Jesus loves you so much because you are his child, just as much as any parent would love their own child, he loves you. All you need to do is to believe that he loves you enough to die on the cross, he was beaten for you and me, a crown of thorns place on his head, he spread out his arms to show all of us how much he loves us, so that one day we all can live with him eternally, and that is good news.

 

Grace and Peace to you my friends