“It Is Finished”

 

jOHN 19bWhen Jesus had received the drink, he said “It is finished”.      John 19:30

Judas betrayed Jesus, Jesus sacrificed himself to become the perfect Lamb, laid on the altar, the perfect offering to measure up to all of God’s requirements. The enemies were defeated! Darkness turned into shining light. The power of Satan and darkness was broken and the triumphant Christ could now say, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life” Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying (John 11:25)

Sin won’t rule over us anymore, because hell is concealed beneath us and heaven above is open to us. The devil’s power has been destroyed forever for those who place their hope, love and faith in the Risen Savior.

The work of salvation had been completed. You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. You were killed, and Your blood has ransomed for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.         (Revelation 5:9)

holy-week1.jpgHere we hear the sixth words Jesus spoke on the cross. “It is finished!” What is translated into three words in English is only one word in Greek” Tetelestai. It is a triumphant cry, an exclamation of victory. It does not indicate defeat, but glorious victory! These are the only word spoken on the cross that are not directed at a specific person. They are meant for all nations, a triumphant cry of victory!

The Old Testament prophecies had been fulfilled. A virgin gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem, He was from the lineage of David; he was called Immanuel and his parents did flee to Egypt. He was numbered among the poor and the simple. He found his place among criminals, His hands and feet were pierced, His side was pierced with a spear, they gambled for His clothes by throwing dice, He made the disable walk, the blind see, the deaf hear and He raised the dead. Everything happened as it has been prophesied. The people of that time must have asked themselves, “Why didn’t we believed? Why didn’t we see it? And us? What about Jesus’ predictions about His second coming? Will the prophecies come true once again? He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him.   (John 1:11) Will you accepted or reject Him, it is your choice!

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

 

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The Path of A Disciple

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Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34
Here we get to the heart and essence of the Christian religion. First there is Jesus’ amazing honesty. No one can say that they followed Jesus because of false promises he made. Jesus never tried to bribe people by offering them an easy path. He didn’t promise people, but glory. Telling someone to take up a cross is the same as telling them to die like a criminal.
Secondly, we find Jesus never demanded people to do what he wouldn’t do himself. This is the true character of a great leader of people. Thirdly, Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me.” Simply and literally this means saying no to yourself and yes to Christ. You must say no to your own natural of love of comfort. You must say no to every path of self-love and selfish ambition. You must say no to all the instincts and desires that lure you to touch and taste forbidden things. You must answer Jesus’ voice and commands with an unmistakable yes. You must be able to say like Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. (Galatians 2:20) You don’t live to follow your own anymore, but to follow and obey Jesus’ will. One finds perfect freedom in this service.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Comfort For The Future

Revelation 21.pngAnd I heard a loud voice from the throne saying. “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God.                     Revelation 21:3

In our day fear has cast a very dark shadow over the future. On the international scene there is ever-increasing tension, clashes between races and the seeming inability of leaders to handle even the most basic issues cause people to wonder what kind of world awaiting their children and grandchildren. It is impossible not to personalize national and international affairs, because of necessity you are part of humanity.

To be sheltered n the living Christ elevates your view above the temporal, giving you an exceptional appreciation of life. You realize that the times you live in, regardless of how tense and ominous they might appear, are still under God’s control. The Lord God Almighty still reigns and has not rejected His creation.

If you do believe in the omnipotence of God and if your faith is built on a steadfast foundation, it will have practical results in creating a positive attitude in your life. You will not fear the extinction of mankind, but rather believe in God’s redemptive work that will come to fulfillment in mankind.

To believe that God is working out His divine plan with us, is spite of our sin, enables us to maintain a well-balanced and calm attitude. The choice is yours, you can look to the future without God and experience depression and fear, or you can believe in God’s plan of redemption and approach the future comforted, and with trust.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Heart of Worship

1 Samuel 16.pngI will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.           Psalm 57:9-11

The Lord does look at the things people look at. People look at the things at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.                            1 Samuel 16:7

Worshipping God is something Christians do each and every Sunday or many of us do it every chance we do get to Praise the Lord. However, are we truly worshipping God is Spirit and in Truth. In the Gospel of John Jesus tells a Samaritan woman that God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.  ( John 4:24), but are we doing what we are called to do, or are we just going through the motions. It seems that most Sundays we as Christians are too busy with the fellowship of one another, and at times of the latest gossip that we are not centering ourselves with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And by doing this we never realize that we are short changing our Creator as well as us when we do not worship God in Spirit and Truth.

God is the firm foundation on which you can dance and sing praises and continually celebrate His presence, just as you long to. Most of the time, however, you feel earthbound and weighed down. Worshipping God requires the engagement of your entire being, something you will delight in and yet somehow you may resist.

If you want to learn how to celebrate God more consistently, more abundantly, begin by lingering in God’s peaceful presence. Think of these words from the book of Psalm 46:10, “Be Still and Know That I am God.”  As you relax in His everlasting arms, sense how safe and secure you are. God is indeed the rock-solid foundation on which you can live exuberantly. Dancing, singing, and praying are ways you can express your delight in Him.

God’s very presence radiates Joy deep within our soul, unmeasured fullness. When you praise God, your joy increases, as does your awareness of His Holy Presence. Your body may or may not be mightily engaged in this endeavor, but God sees within our heart. This is where the ultimate celebration of God’s presence takes places.

Just empty your mind and think of nothing else but your loving Savior Jesus Christ.

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Jesus Calls Us

 

Matthew 4   As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fisherman. “Come, follow me, “ Jesus said, “ and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.                     Matthew 4:18-22

I wonder how many of us if Jesus was still on earth and he ask us to follow him would we drop everything at that very moment and do it? In the book of Matthew it talks about the beginning of Jesus public ministry. John the Baptist had been put to death; and Jesus had withdrawn to Galilee, not because afraid of Herod Antipas, who had put John to death, but because he had a different vision of the future. There was agitation all over Judea for a king, for someone to avenge John’s death. Jesus’ vision of the kingdom was one of nonviolence. He was not interested in revenge not even for the death of his cousin and friend but for peace. 

For Matthew, this scripture was enough to justify Galilee, rather than Jerusalem, as the center of Jesus’ ministry. It is a call for a response to God’s action. God is making a new world. Get a new sense of direction and purpose and become part of that new world. Repentance is not only about remorse, but, more important, about a change of direction.

The contrast of light and darkness is a familiar theme in describing this life direction. Jesus, in fulfillment of the Scriptures, has ushered in an age in which the repentant will move toward the realm of light, and ways from darkness, the shadow of death. The light had dawned because Jesus has arrived. Jesus issued his called to discipleship, knowing the culture, heritage, and economic status of these fisherman. He asked them to leave what they knew and were comfortable with, to come and embrace a new lifestyle with different values and goals. 

What is Jesus asking us to do? Jesus is issuing a similar call to modern, would-be disciples. We come from diverse cultures,. different worldviews, and different places on the socio-economic ladder. We, like the disciples of old, are also called to leave the comfort and predictability as we enter a life of service to God. 

The call of fisherman to become disciples is significant, because it is the beginning of the church. Jesus took the initiative, he sought out these men in the midst of their work. The call was both a command and promise. The command was to follow him. The promise was to become “fishers of people”

Peter as well as Andrew, James and John left everything and everyone to follow Jesus. He issued a powerful appeal that made disciples. And it made a real difference in their lives. How do we become disciples of Jesus Christ? It is not a great mystery. We simply follow him, Jesus calls some us to adventure of serving in the mission field in a foreign land. Others are called to adventure close to home, serving God’s people through service organizations and schools, through food pantry, legal assistance, volunteering and voting, offering prayer and healing. There are so many ways for God’s people to follow Jesus into the adventure of serving. Where do you hear, God is calling you to join Jesus in the adventure of being his disciples? What row is yours to plant? What need in your church, or community, or in the wider world cries out to your heart? How will you respond to Jesus when he says “COME AND FOLLOW ME”

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

Reflecting God’s Love

Proverbs 27.pngTherefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothes yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through him.                                                 Colossians 3:12-17

The Apostle Paul was in a Roman prison when he wrote to the church in Colossae. False teachers were coaching the Colossians to worship angels, 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.

As we read these word today from Colossians I begin to think the reflection that you would see over a lake. One of green trees, and a beautiful sky with clouds, these and others are a reflection of God’s beautiful creation. But it also make me think and perhaps you as well, the Bible teaches us how to live by the example of Jesus Christ, He loved the poor, reached out to the sick, and forgave those who hurt him, even when he hung on the cross his words were “Father Forgive them” I ask myself why is it so hard to live like Jesus. Perhaps my soul becomes stress out in the heat of the moment, and instead of taking a moment to breathe in God’s grace and then breathe out praises, I just begin at times lashing out and not taking the time to stop and think.  When I stumble along my faith journey I try to remember to stop ask God for help, and the best way is just to stop and pray, simply talking with God. When I take the focus off of myself and turn to Jesus I see that my own way of thinking can be wrong and he will guide me back on course. And overtime my own reflection will be the reflection within my heart as I become more like Jesus.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

First Sunday In Advent

Hope.pngToday is the first Sunday of Advent, so we light the first candle on our Advent wreath: the candle of Hope. Twenty-five centuries ago, in a time not much different than our own, when the Israelites had little hope for the future of their country or their people, the Jewish prophets called to God to come to the people and make thing right. They told the people and us that a messiah would come as a new hope in the midst of suffering. Their prayers were answered with the birth of Jesus, also called Emmanuel, a Hebrew word which means, “God is with us.” Today begins our Advent journey of waiting for the birth of the one who is called the Light of the World and the Hope of the Nations. As we light the candle of Hope we give thanks for the prophets of today who dare to speak words of hope for liberation who say “No” to the evil in the world, and who call us to overcome our comfortable fears so we may let go of faulty ways of thinking and doing and explore new realms of unimagined visions of how things could be.

Prayer: So many in our world, Holy God, have lost or put their hope in false promises. Sometimes it feels you aren’t with us but are far, far way. We pray that you come into our world again. Be Emmanuel for us so we may notice where you are already present. Enter our hearts to see in new ways the creative power of hope. Help us live into your hope so we may be your light shining in the dark places of our world. We pray this in the name of the one who was born in Bethlehem and whose return we await.  Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends