Second Sunday of Advent

Peace.pngWe began Advent last Sunday by lighting the first candle, the candle of Hope. We light it again today to remind us that Christ is coming to fulfill God’s promises. Today we light the second candle of Peace. The prophet Isaiah said, “Comfort, comfort my people” to a nation anxious about invasion and exile, as he foretold the coming of the Prince of Peace. Our world is still filled with violence and abuse, where families are torn apart by war and children used as soldiers. Isaiah’s words continue to speak to us that Jesus will bring us to an everlasting peace. Mary and Joseph found no room in the inn to give birth to Jesus, but we can heed John the Baptist’s command to make room in our hearts. Wherever there is war or mistrust between people, families, or our own hearts, God is present and leading us to imagine new ways of living in peace. Christ is our only hope, and our peace is found through him. We light this candle to remind us of Jesus’ life-giving peace to all who trust him. We light it in honor of those who live the Gospel truth that war does not make one great. It is the peace workers who risk much so that others may live without fear.

Prayer: We’re in trouble, Holy God. So many in the world do not know peace in their countries or in their hearts. We use weapons of steel and barbed words to wound one another. We seek balm for our restless hearts in the things that only make is more wounded. Open our hearts to Jesus so we may have the peace of his holy presence and live it in our unpeaceful world. Save us from outside violence and inner turmoil. We need you. Come, peaceful God, come.                            Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

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Mary Visits Elizabeth

Luke 1b.pngAt that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting. the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for hoy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

And Mary said: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me, holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.                                     Luke 1:39:56

When one thinks of the women of the ancient world, our first emotional response is usually pity. This would even be true in the Jewish world of those days when our Lord added humanity to His deity and manifested Himself to men. There was so much that women could not do, or at least were not allowed to do. We might suspect that the limitations of biblical revelation, compounded by those of the culture, would have made womanhood a curse. The men assumed the leadership roles, especially in spiritual matters. The women seemed only fit for fixing meals and bearing children. Perhaps a few women, “blessed” by financial prosperity and social standing, may have been able to enjoy some of the benefits of the male world. Luke is well-known for his high regard for women and for the prominence which he gives them in his two accounts. We find the first instance of his highlighting of women in our text in the first chapter of Luke’s gospel, where the spotlight is directed toward two godly women. The two women are Elizabeth, the soon-to-be mother of John the Baptist, and Mary, the mother-to-be of Messiah, were truly great and godly women. Both were humble women of no social or economic standing. Elizabeth was the wife of an obscure priest. Both she and Zacharias were country people, who lived in an unnamed village in the hill country of Judah. The bore the added social stigma of having no children. No doubt in the minds of some they were being punished by God for some sin. Mary, too, was a humble peasant girl. She did not have any social standing due to her parentage or class, nor even the dignity of Elizabeth and Zacharias age. Yet the worship of both of these women is such that they are models for all true disciples of our Lord. By reading these words in the Gospel of Luke I believe that as long as anyone including a woman has a willing heart God will use them to glorified his kingdom.

Grace and Peace to You My Friend

 

Through the Eyes of God

James 4b.pngNow listen, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to this city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it sin for them.    James 4:13-17

Have you ever taking the time to think of how God sees you? I would say we have all been guilty of this as well, because we can see the good in others, there talents, but when we come to us to see what God sees our view and opinion of ourselves falls pretty short. I believe that this happens after we have been hurt by another, from a situation that takes place in our lives we begin to believe the lies from the devil himself, I am not good enough. The way you see your life shapes your life. Your perspective will influence how you invest your time, spend your money, use your talents, and value your relationships. I have read more than once the book call The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren a well known author, if you haven’t read it as of yet I do encourage you to do so. As Rick Warren shares in his book, we don’t know all the test God will give us, but we can predict some of them, based on the Bible. You will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies. I know that in my own life that God test my faith in many ways, through having a chronic ill child, times of challenges in my marriage, the disappointments I went through with people, but during these times my faith gets tested over and over again of being faithful to my Creator, my Lord and Savior, and through these times as I look back on my life I have grown closer to Christ more than I could ever image I would be able to do. Every time you or I pass a test, God notices and makes plans to reward you in eternity. In the book of James he tells us “Blessed are those who endure when they are tested. When they pass the test, they will received the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.                                                                                                   Our culture today says, “If you don’t own it, you will not take care of it. But Christians live by a higher standard, “Because God owns it, I must take the best care of anything I have because all gifts are a blessing from God, in other words everything and I mean everything I have and own comes from God and God alone. Rick shares with us in his book that Christians should carry spiritual cards (called a green card), to remind us that our citizenship is in heaven. God says his children are to think differently about life from the way unbelievers do, all they do is to worry about life here on earth, and for us as Christians is to look forward to the day when we are reunited with the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. If you are not sure how God sees you and how precious you are to him, a simply suggestion for you to do is ask him, and believe me he will tell you. He loves you so much that he sent his one and only son Jesus into this world to die for us all so that we will never be separated from him once we leave this world. Remember when life gets hard and really hard for you, and you are overwhelmed with doubt, remember you are not home yet, and when the time comes and it will in a blink of an eye you will return home to the Father, “The Great I Am”

 

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