“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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Walking Humbly With God

Micah 6.pngWith what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good And what does the Lord require you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.                 Micah 6:6-8

Micah exposed corruption in Judah on every level of society. The rulers, prophets and priests were unjust, the people oppressed the poor and worshipped idols. Micah alternates between words of judgement and words of forgiveness and restoration. Micah is telling the people of Judah what God requires his people to do. To give God His due. God is deserving of our heart, body, soul, and spirit; our wisdom, understanding, judgment. Jesus tells us (Mk. 12:28-30) that the first commandment is to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Because He created us in His own image, God rightly and justly deserves all of our worship and adoration. “This is the first commandment.” To give your neighbor his due. Jesus continues (Mk 12:31) His discussion of the greatest commandments with the second, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Can we sin against someone we truly love? Perhaps we might momentarily sin against a loved one, but not continually. True love desires to bless and not to injure. Note however that we are not to give that which is due to God to any man – neighbor or self .To give to yourself what you are due. According to Paul, we are not our own but instead our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). So what we have coming must be tempered by what we must avoid. Paul reminds us first of all to “flee sexual immorality.” Elsewhere Paul gives us lists of characteristics to avoid and attain (Gal. 5:19-25)

To Love Mercy

God realized what man has come to know; justice, while necessary, can be cold and unfeeling. (Micah 7:18.) To do justly alone is not sufficient for a child of God; we must love mercy and do what it requires. Mercy comes from characteristics that include kindness, benevolence, and charity. Part of what mercy requires is to be willing to forgive the sins of others as God is willing to forgive our sins. It is this aspect of mercy through which our own salvation comes (Titus 3:5).

To Walk Humbly

But how are we to do this? We must first acknowledge our sins and then be willing to submit to God’s mercy. It is only through a humbling of ourselves that we will be allowed to walk with God. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Pet. 5:5.) Paul points out that it is high-mindedness that leads to unbelief and lack of faith in the power of God (Rom. 11:20; 12:3). The humble attitude required by the Lord will make itself manifest in a life of prayer, contrition, and service. There is no “Christian To Do List.” It is just not that simple. And yet we know that living Christ-like is not impossible (Mt. 11:29,30). But we must be mindful it is a “life” and not a series of accomplishments.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

 

Walking By Faith

2 Corinthians 5.pngTherefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith and not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that we each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

2 Corinthians 5:6-10

The believer not only is well assured by faith that there is another and a happy life after this is ended, but we have good hope, through grace, of heaven as a dwelling-place, a resting-place, a hiding-place. In our Father’s house there are many mansions, whose Builder and Maker is God. The happiness of the future state is what God has prepared for those that love him: everlasting habitations, not like the earthly tabernacles, the poor cottages of clay, in which our souls now dwell; that are moldering and decaying, whose foundations are in the dust. The body of flesh is a heavy burden, the calamities of life are a heavy load. But believers groan, being burdened with a body of sin, and because of the many corruptions remaining and raging within them. Death will strip us of the clothing of flesh, and all the comforts of life, as well as end all our troubles here below. But believing souls shall be clothed with garments of praise, with robes of righteousness and glory. The present graces and comforts of the Spirit are earnests of everlasting grace and comfort. And though God is with us here, by his Spirit, and in his ordinances, yet we are not with him as we hope to be. Faith is for this world, and sight is for the other world. It is our duty, and it will be our interest, to walk by faith, till we live by sight. This shows clearly the happiness to be enjoyed by the souls of believers when absent from the body, and where Jesus makes known his glorious presence. We are related to the body and to the Lord; each claims a part in us. But how much more powerfully the Lord pleads for having the soul of the believer closely united with himself! Thou art one of the souls I have loved and chosen; one of those given to me. What is death, as an object of fear, compared with being absent from the Lord. We need to continue to focus our eyes on Jesus on a daily basis and yes I know that is not an easy thing to do. This is why it is important for us Christians to continue in being in fellowship with each other, reading scriptures and having a prayer life each and everyday. And by doing so our faith becomes stronger one day at a time.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

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

 

Are You Able?

Jeremian 32.jpgIn the Gospel of Matthew a man came up to Jesus and ask “Teacher , what good thing must I do to get eternal life? Why do you ask me about what is good? Jesus replied, There is only One who is good. If you want to eternal life, keep the commandments.” Which ones? he inquired. Jesus replied. “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself. All things I have kept, the young man said. “What do I still lack? Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. The Jesus said to his disciples. “truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven, Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God”. When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved”? Jesus looked at them and said. “With man this impossible, bit with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:16-26

There are many people even Christians that are not willing to change their lives for Jesus, for me at times it is hard to understand how they would not be willing. We have become a nation that is so focus on material things and not spiritual things. For whatever reason everyone one wants the fancy cars, bigger houses, more vacation time, become work alcoholic and never spend anytime with their families and why because we have to have everything we see, guess what everyone we have created monsters within our own children.  With each passing generations most families spend less and less time with each other, eat fast food instead of someone preparing a meal and sit down at a dinner table and have good old-fashion table talk. There is a lot to be learn when doing so, learning about your child that God has created. We as adults are not teaching our children to have a personal relationship with Christ, and for the most part it is because most adults do not either. Instead of taking sometime out of their busy lives on a Sunday and spending time worshipping our Heavenly Father, they have become too busy for God, guess what when the day you leave this world, where do you think that you will be spending eternally with God? You better think of a better answer because God may said too most of us here on earth, sorry I am too busy for you, come back another time and there is not another time for you, it will be too late. However when we do decide to accept Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior, we begin to seek and by seeking I mean read scriptures and a pray life with God. And overtime God changes us from the inside out, like Jesus tells us with man it is impossible to do that on our own, however with God all things are possible. So what are you waiting for start now, remember no one is promise tomorrow, it just maybe too late for some.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Possibilities

Matthew 19.jpgJust then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ” Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life? “Why do you ask me about what is good? Jesus replied. There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” Which one? he inquired, Jesus replied , You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself. All theses I have kept, the young man said, “What do I still lack? Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ” Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter in the kingdom of heaven, Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God? When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked,” Who then can be saved ? Jesus looked at them and said, ” With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”           Matthew 19:16-26

Wow as we read these words from the book of Matthew it is a lot to understand what is going on here. First off we can not worship God and money, it is one or the other. As you can remember when God gave Moses the ten commandments which is in the book of Exodus 20:1-21 God spoke these words You shall have no other Gods before me. It is only by God’s grace that any of us are saved, thru Jesus being crucified on the cross for all mankind. Our sins have separated us from God however Jesus bridge the gap between us and God. As we also read in Genesis 18:14 Is anything too hard for the Lord?  the answer is no. Long after child bearing years Abraham’s wife Sarah had a child called Isaac, everyone including Sarah thought it is impossible, yes for man but not for God. All thru scriptures we can read all the wonders that God has done, as well as he continues to do for us today. I remember when I was first married and I long to become a mom however, the doctors didn’t give me and my husband much hope, my answer that I told my doctor at that time, I don’t know how or I don’t know when that God will bless us with a child. And within two months I was carrying a child and gave birth to a baby girl on my own birthday. We all seem to forget that we serve an Awesome God, the Great I Am, our Creator, and their is nothing impossible for him to do. I remember the year my daughter was born and I wanted to help with the children’s program at my church during the summer called vacation bible school, everyone told me it was impossible. I stood up and said I can not find the word can’t anyone in scriptures It say I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength Philippians 4:13. From then on and for more than fifteen years I directed the program. It wasn’t me but God working thru me to do his will and believe me I love every moment of it. You see children always have faith even when we as adults don’t understand but they do, that yes God exists and that God can do anything.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Welcoming The Stranger

Hebrews 13 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.    (Hebrews 13:1-2)

I grew up in a large family, my parents had seven children and I was the middle child of the seven. Since I was a teenager when my mom had died from cancer I don’t seem to remember a lot of things about my mom, and yes at times it drives me crazy. However, one of the things I do remember even thro we were poor whenever anyone drop by our home their was always room for one more at our dinner table, and somehow a miracle that we seem to have enough food to go around for that meal. Regardless of how little we had, we were always taught to share with others, and that is what we did as children and that is something I still do today. As a woman now and married if I ever know someone who is celebrating any holidays alone, I would always make it a point to invite that person or family to stop by and share a meal with my family as well.  I can honestly say that I am a people person, I can always find something to talk about even to strangers especially about my faith to others.

The church I attend our pastor is always talking to all of us about hospitality, and when he saw me how I would approach a stranger and greet them, I somehow became the person in charge of hospitality for our church. For me I always believe that Pastor Doug just made this all up, until I was searching the scriptures for myself to be able to share an evening meditation at my church, that I came across this message from Hebrews as well as from the book of 1 Peter 4:8-9 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Wow, my mouth had just drop wide open when I read both of these scriptures. I share with others it’s not a Pastor Doug saying, it is something we are called to do as Christians. Anytime you come across anyone not only the people you know,but also the stranger, offer them a smile, a kind word, just like the scriptures tell us we will never know if we are offering kindness to an angel. Doing these simple task doesn’t  cost us anything, we never know the difficult trials that someone is going thru right at that very moment, loss of a job, health issues, or anything else, so a kind word goes a long way. As adults we need to take a good lesson from children, put children all together in a room, they don’t need to know anyone at that very moment. A child would not judge others like adults, they don’t see colors to be prejudice against someone for any reason, it does not matter if another child is in a wheelchair, or disable in anyway, all they all see is a child to play with, and all they offer to one another is a smile and kindness.

I will end with this scripture for you to read, it comes from the book of Isaiah 11:6  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. We must become like little children to enter into the kingdom of heaven, just think about it.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends