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

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Your Identity in Christ

colossians_quietmoments.pngThe Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through him and for him.                                                  Colossians 1:15-16

You were created to become like Christ. From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. This is your destiny and the third purpose of your life. God announced this intention at Creation. “Then God said, let us make human beings in our image and likeness.” Genesis 1  In all of creation, only human beings, are made in God’s image. This is a great privilege and gives us dignity. Like God, we are spiritual beings, our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies: we are intellectual we can think, reason, and solve problems, like God, we are relational, we can give and receive real love, and we moral consciousness, we can discern right from wrong, which makes us accountable to God. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering, And so condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.                                             Ephesians 2:19-22

It’s extremely easy to lose our identity, furthermore, to find ourselves searching all over to find out who we are. We hear stories on the news and we see it in the people we associate with. Additionally, we certainly deal with it in a very private as well as personal way we hear voices, voices which tells us and then projected into the world. We tell the world what we think about ourselves and don’t think for a minute we’re fooling the entire world. We may fool some people, but overall, we aren’t fooling everyone. We hear the voices in our heart, spirit and mind telling us good and bad. We hear the good from those who really love and care for us, we hear that good from God–yet we tend to believe the bad which comes from Satan and from those who don’t care for us. We hold onto that bad stuff. We hear things like, you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not attractive enough, not skinny enough, not rich enough, not with the right family. We’re told we’re not enough! And countless other lies. Hearing those lies long enough and your identity will be formed by it. You feel rejected. Eventually you believe you’re not enough, and they play over and over in your mind. Then we begin to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We realize in our heart, spirit, and mind we need Jesus to help us through life. My dear friends a recently preach on this exact topic your identity in Christ, below is the link through face book please feel free to watch and listen.https://www.facebook.com/pg/ButtzvilleUMC/videos/?ref=page_internal

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

You Belong to God

Ephesians 2b.pngConsequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22

You are called to belong, not just believe. When we read in the book of Genesis it is not good for man to be alone. We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, and none of us can fulfill God’s purpose by ourselves. The Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits isolated from other believers and deprived of fellowship. The Bible says we are put together, joined together, and held together, members together, heirs together, fitted together, and held together and will be caught up  together. You are not on your own anymore. While your relationship to Christ is personal, God never intends it to be private. In God’s family you are connected to every other believer, and we will belong to each other for eternity. I am sure there are many of you out there longing to be a part of a family, having your own family, and without you even knowing that once you accept Christ into your heart you have been connected to the rest of his family. Following Christ includes belonging, not just believing. We are members of his Body–the church. C.S. Lewis noted that the word membership is of Christian origin, but the world has emptied it of its original meaning. Stores offer discounts to “members” and advertisers use member names to create mailing list. In churches, membership is often reduced to simply adding your name to a roll, with no requirements or expectations. To Paul, being a “member” of the church meant being a vital organ of a living body, an indispensable, interconnected part of the Body of Christ. We need to recover and practice the biblical meaning of membership. The church is a body, not a building, an organization. Whenever a child is born, he or she automatically becomes a part of the universal family of human beings. But that child also needs to become a member of a specific family to receive nurture and care and grow up healthy and strong. The same is true spiritually. When you become born again, which means flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John3:5) you need to become a member of a local expression of God’s family the church, his church. The Christian life is more than just commitment to Christ, it includes a commitment to other Christians. The Christians in Macedonia understood this, Paul tells us, “First they gave themselves to the Lord, and then, by God’s will they gave themselves to us as well. Joining the membership of a local church is the natural next step once you’ve become a child of God. You become a Christian by committing yourselves to Christ, but you become a church member by committing yourselves to a specific group of believers. And believe me being a part of a church, the family of true believers makes our journey in life a little easier to bear with that family and with God.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends.

The God of All of Our Tomorrows

Isaiah 46.pngListen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you: I will sustain you and I will rescue you. With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?  Isaiah 46:4-5

As I read these words this morning from the book of Isaiah, God is not just talking about just the descendants of Jacob. He is talking to all of his children even to all of us of today, that regardless of human beings aging over time, he is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God compassions never fails, they are new every morning. You and I can begin each day confidently, knowing that his vast reservoir of blessings is full to the brim. This knowledge helps us wait for him, entrusting our long unanswered prayers into God’s care ad keeping.  God assure you that not one of your prayers has slipped past him, unnoticed. He wants you to drink deeply from his fountain of limitless love and unfailing compassion. As you and I wait in his presence, these divine nutrients are freely available. You may drink without cost from the spring of water of life. Although many of our prayers remain unanswered, we can trust in his great faithfulness. God keeps all of his promises in his perfect way and timing. Among other things, God has promised to give you and me peace not as the world tries to give us but only true peace that comes from Jesus Christ, because in the middle of the craziness of the world our soul finds peace with the Master. Even through for all of us tomorrow is never promises to any of us however, it is a wonderful feel deep in our soul, that God is already there, and he has not forsaken any of his children.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

July 4th

July 4th.jpgEarly Christians often met violent opposition and Peter’s letter comforted and encouraged Christians who were being persecuted for their faith. In the book of 1 Peter 2:16 Peter tells us to live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil, live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers. fear God.

Today we celebrate the birthday of American our nation, a nation where we are free to live, free to work anywhere we want, come and go as we want and more important worship God the way we choose as Christians. However many men and women died to keep us free, this day means more than a cookout with family or friends, more than people getting drunk and doing something they should not do, and more important than fireworks. If you never had a chance to talk with a vet I encourage you to do so to listen to the terrible stories of what wars can do to you in a personal way. How many people reading this post can say that the know the words to our country Anthem Star Spangled Banner- written by Frances Scott Key

The words were written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, who had been inspired by the sight of the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry after a night of heavy British bombardment. The text was immediately set to a popular melody of the time, “To Anacreon in Heaven.”

The National Anthem consists of four verses. On almost every occasion only the first verse is sung.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Many have sung or hear these words especially during a baseball game, do you truly understand the meaning to these words. We remain free because of so many who went off to war and never came home to their families, and if some did come home they were never the same either. So I encourage you to say thank you to any vet that you see or somehow come in contact with, because without their sacrifice for our nation we would not be celebrating this July 4. Please stay safe.

Grace and Peace to you my friends

Staying Focus

2 CorinthiansPaul an apostle of Jesus Christ wrote this follow-up letter to the church in Corinth to tell them how pleased he was that the people were sorry for the way they had acted and that they were now trying to live the way God wanted them to. He also defended himself against the accusations being made by false teachers. In chapter 4:13-18 Paul teachers the church back them as well as us of today, the following  words. It is written, “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Through outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  It is never easy for us as humans to keep our focus of God and God alone, it is because we are always being tempted in one way or another, and at times too many people today have become greedy and only think of themselves, they are not worry once they leave this world of what will happen to them next. We feel at times if I have the perfect job I will have a great salary and that will make me happy, when I meet that special someone to share my life that too can bring me happiness, and if I have a bigger house, expensive car, expensive vacations year after year that will bring me a lot of happiness. I am here to tell you that all of them above that I have mention will not, you will continue to have that void within your own heart. We are created by God Almighty in his own imagine look to Genesis 1:26 Then God said’ “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. God knows the journey that each one of his children are on is not an easy one at all, this is the reason we as Christians need to stay focus on studying God’s word, a prayer life, and continue to be in the community of other believers so when trouble comes our way and believe me it always seems to find us, we are able to stand the difficult storms in our lives. So we need to fix our eyes on Jesus and continue to stay focus regardless of the storm we are in, and if you are not sure if you come up against a false teacher, please go to God in prayer so that he will reveal the truth to you always.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Insomnia

Psalm 4.jpgFor all of us at one time of another we seem to have trouble with sleeping thru the night, rather it is because of a dear one who is sick, being worried over bills, or the outcome of any situation, we just cannot sleep peacefully at night. For me when those times have come into my own life, I simply open the word of God and begin to read the following words in order to have a restful night.

In peace I will lie down and sleep for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:8

Yes, my soul, find rest in God, my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God, he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge.                      Psalm 62:6–8

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.       Matthew 11:28-30

He will cover you with feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge, his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.                          Psalm 91:1-4

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.                                         Psalm 42:5

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.         Hebrews 3:1

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, will surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:6-7

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them. He carried them on His aloft                        Deuteronomy 32:11

You are His Beloved. Although you experience many difficulties in your life, he shields you all day long. You cannot imagine what your life would be like if God was not protecting you continually. The adversity he does allow you to experience is ultimately for your good and His Glory. You can rest secure by trusting that God protective Presence is with you always, no matter what trials you may be enduring. You must be clear about one thing above all else: You are most assuredly the one that the Lord loves! In fact, He loves you so much that he carries  you through your toughest times. Beloved, you can rest between His shoulders like a lamb tenderly carried by its shepherd.

Sleep well God’s little children

Grace and Peace to You My Friends