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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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

The Anointing Oil

Anointing oil.pngRead Scripture from Mark 14:3-9

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman (Mary) came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil waster? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish, you may do them good, but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint my body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

Spikenard, also called nard, nardin, and muskroot, is a class of aromatic, amber-colored essential oil derived from Nardostachys, jatamansi,  a flowering plant which grows in the Himalayas of Nepal, China, and India. The oil, since ancient times, has been used as a perfume, as a medicine, and in religious contexts, as an anointing oil. In the New Testament, two days before the Passover, Mary, sister of Lazarus, anoints Jesus head. The costly perfume she used came from an alabaster jar and contained nard. And it was Judas Iscariot, keeper of the moneybag, who asked why the ointment was not sold for three hundred denarii instead. Was Judas really interested in the poor at all, and more important he did not understand why Mary was doing this for Jesus, because Judas as well as the other disciples had no idea what was about to happen to Jesus soon, very soon, he was about to be crucified for all mankind. Jesus was about to take all of our places on the Cross, Jesus would talk up our pain, and bore our suffering. He would be pierced for our transgressions, and he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his stripes we are healed.                  (Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV Bible)

 

Grace and Peace to You my Friends

 

 

Little Christmas

wisemen2.png On Friday January 6,2017 it will be Little Christmas or some may call it Three Kings Day, Christmas is a celebration of twelve days and not just one day. As we read from the Gospel of Matthew 2:10-12 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the place they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. You can find different answers about how old Jesus was when the wise men came, however, we can say this, that the Wise men or Magi (Kings) didn’t arrived to worshiped him on the same night since they did travel by camel it did take a little longer. God gave humans the perfect gift, his one and only son to be sacrifice for all, the wise men also gave gifts to Jesus, and today because we love others we also give gifts to show that love to one another. Since they were earthly kings that bowed down to the Christ child because they truly believed who he is, shouldn’t we today continue to bow down in understanding who Jesus truly is.  As I have mention before in other writings, if we search for God with all of our hearts we will find him. In order to truly understanding the true meaning of Christmas we need to open up a Bible and read it to know that God loves all of his children. People today seem to get caught up with all the craziness of the holidays season, with all the sales at the stores, the lights outside of our apartments or even our houses, and let us not forget the Christmas shows on our television. Thru it all we seem to totally miss the Reason for the Season, and that reason and the only reason we celebrate this time of year is because the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Even the churches on Christmas Eve seems to be a little bit fuller than some Sundays, my question is this, the other days (Sundays) aren’t people still searching for the baby in a manager. Why is it that we only  attend church and give thanks mostly on Christmas and Easter, and the rest of the year people seem to be way to busy to take a moment to pray and give thanks to the Father (God).

If you are truly searching for God one of many steps is to find a church that welcome you with Open arms, no matter what you look like, smell like, how rich or poor you are. I personally am a member of the United Methodist Church our words are this Open Doors, Open Mind, Open Hearts, we welcome all of God’s children whoever is searching to have a personnel relationship with Jesus Christ. Just search on the internet to a UMC near where you live and you will find one near by. For me when I walk thru the doors ( which for me was 20 yrs ago)  to where I worship today at, I truly can feel the Holy Spirit at work there, I knew then as I know now this is where God wants me and where God is calling me to do His ministry. I have true joy when I am serving our Lord. Wise men and woman still are search for the baby who laid in a manger many years ago.

 

Grace and Peace to all of you