The Greatest In The Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 18.jpg

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”                          Matthew 18:1-5

A little child cannot influence a person’s career, cannot teach us things; give us things. It is just the other way round. A child is typical of the person who needs things, and it is our duty to find and help those in the community who need things. But this comes with a serious warning. It is easy to form a relationship with someone who can do things for us and whose influence can mean a lot to us. It is just as easy to avoid the company of someone who expects something from us. It is easy to nurture the kindness of important people and avoid the simple, humble person. It is easy to seek the company of people who are important in the community while neglecting your unimportant family member. 

Jesus is in fact saying to us not to find favor with those who can do things for us, but with those who we can do things for. In this way, we week the fellowship of none other than Jesus. It is a different way if interpreting our Scriptures verse above and this is our duty as Christians from day to day. 

Prayer: Beloved Savior, keep me humble in my relations with other people.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Advertisements

Lasting Joy

John 16b 


Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I  will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.        John 16:20-22

There will be fullness of knowledge, the day Jesus is talking about. Jesus says to His disciples, “At times you won’t need to ask Me for anything” (John 16:23) There are always unanswered questions and unsolved problems in life. We must walk this path of life by faith, and not be seeing. We must accept the things we cannot understand. We are only able to grasp a fragment of the truth about God, but when Christ comes again, there will be complete knowledge. If we walk with Christ, the questions will disappear and the time of answers will dawn.

There will also be a new relationship with God. When God really knows us, we can ask him anything, we know that the door to God is open and that he has a heart of love. Jesus says that in this relationship we will be able t ask God for anything. If a child loves his father, he knows very well that his father sometimes says no, because a father’s knowledge and a father’s love knows best. We can become so intimate with God that we may go to him with everything, as long as we end with, “Let your will be done.” this new relationship with God is made possible through Jesus. It is because of who Jesus is and what Jesus did that our joy is complete and indestructible. Everything we have comes to us through Jesus. It is his name that we ask and receive, in his name that we approach God and are welcome.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Season of Lent

17361561_828864757262653_4241296724091145117_n.jpg What Is Lent?

Lent comes from the Angelo Saxon word lencten which means spring. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wildness enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. Lent is a time for repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and this year that day is on February 14, 2018. In the early church lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. Sunday’s in Lent are not counted in the forty days, because each Sunday represents a mini Easter and the reverent spirit of lent’s tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection. Every year the day of Easter is different the reason for this, is that Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon in spring, and this year will be March 31 I believe and Easter Sunday is April 1, 2018.

Mardi Gras? What does that have to do with Jesus?? Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” It refers to the day before Lent begins. Lent always starts on a Wednesday, the day before is always a Tuesday. And it’s call “Fat” or “Great” because it’s associated with great food and parties. In earlier times, people used Lent as a time of fasting and repentance. Since they didn’t want to be tempted by sweets, meats and other distractions in the house, they cleaned out their cabinets. they used up all the sugar and yeast in sweet breads before the Lent season started, and fixed meats available. It was a great feast! Through the years Mardi Gras has evolved (in some places) into a pretty wild party with little to do with preparing for the Lenten Season of repentance and simplicity. However, with the next day being Ash Wednesday can begin a time of all Christian to self-exam their own lives.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

God’s Gift Called Grace

Ephesians 2a.pngBut because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works so that no one can boast.                                                 Ephesians 2:4-9

John Wesley the founder of the Methodist movement, grace was the powerful process by which believes came to experience God and know God’s salvation. Wesley believed grace was ever present and influential in believers coming to repentance. He believed grace could lead believers to love God with all their being and to love neighbors and the world as they loved themselves. Mr. Wesley understood God’s grace as a unified piece, but teaching he defined grace as having three aspects; prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying.

Prevenient Grace: Is the grace that comes to us even before we know God. God showers it upon all people whether they are aware of it or not. Through prevenient grace, God takes the initiative in beginning a relationship with us. Prevenient grace is God’s way of showing us that no matter who we are or where we are, God is already there ahead of us, waiting for us. God’s prevenient grace precedes us wherever we go.

Justifying Grace: Brings a big change to the relationship we have with God. Through justifying grace we begin to realize and trust (have faith) that we are restored to relationship with God. We come to acknowledge our sinfulness and trust that we are forgiven by God’s grace. Just as justifying text in a document aligns it a certain way, (right or left-justified) justifying grace aligns us with God through Jesus Christ. This is when “God reaches out to a person with accepting and pardoning love.” This change includes feelings of peace, hope, and joy. Such as experience “may be sudden and dramatic, or gradual and cumulative. It marks a new beginning, yet it is part of an ongoing process.”

Sanctifying Grace: Prevenient grace is God meeting you at every corner. Justifying grace is God reaching out to you with love. When you say yes to the invitation of justifying grace, you turn a corner in your faith journey. One of the most controversial teachings of the early Methodist movement was that it is possible for us to realize Christian perfection in this life, perfect love, loving perfectly. Wesley called this process “going on to Christian perfection,” or sanctifying grace. This part of grace challengers believers to go deeper in faith, to love the world more energetically, and to keep growing in the knowledge and love of God. For Wesley, God’s sanctifying grace led believers to have their hearts “habitually filled with the love of God and neighbor. For you, this might mean coming to understand your life as more and more focused on living by faith. Faith becomes the center out of which you live. Little by little, God’s sanctifying grace uncovers more and more of God’s image in you. As one who has been forgiven, you become more forgiving. As one who is loved, you become more loving. Wesley emphasized that we are continually filled with God’s love, we are led more fully to acts of mercy and works of justice.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends npoty

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.

Waiting on God

Psalm 27.jpgAll of us have hard times at some point in our lives, or even at many points for a few of us. For unbelievers there is absolutely nothing solid to lean on for strength. How often are we reminded how temporary and insubstantial the things we trust in really are? People fail us, memories and health decline, things get old and break, stock markets crash. But if we find strength in the Lord, we will never be disappointed. He never fails, declines, ages, or loses value. And he has given much to have a relationship with us. But he wants it to be an honest relationship, with nothing hidden or falsely represented-no creative online profiles. He wants to know when we are unhappy and when we are happy, when we are in distress and when we are excited, when we’re in a loving mood and when we’re downright angry. In short, he wants with us the kind of relationship he has with his Son Jesus Christ.

When at times I found that it is hard to “Wait on God” my mind wanders to the book of Psalm in which this chapter King David wrote in chapter 27: The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Through an army besiege me, my heart will not fear, through war break out against me, even  then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy, I will sing and make music to the Lord. Hear my voice when I call Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you .”Seek his face”! Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. Through my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Teach me your ways, Lord, lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witness rise up against me, sprouting malicious accusations. I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

So on this day Lord I wait patiently for you, to guide me where you shall lead me, even thro I may be scare I remember these word from Proverbs: Trust in the Lord with all of my heart, and lean not on my own understanding, in all my ways acknowledge him and he will direct my path. (Proverbs: 3:5:6)

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

 

 

Praise the Lord, my soul

Psalm 103.jpgThere are times in our lives when we find it difficult to Praise our Lord, when our pain within the very being of our soul, that is when we find it so difficult. This is when I find that reading the book of Psalm brings me comfort. King David was one of the writers for this book, it is a book that is filled with prayers, many prayers, as well as songs that truly express the full range of human emotion, that we all seem to go thru. It represent personal journals of the different writers and their relationship with God. The thoughts and feelings they express helps people like you and me draw near to the Lord just like they did. I personally have been on a difficult journey in my own life, just trying to understand it all, and how painful this has been and still is, and not having answers of where I am going and just trying to understand it all. As I opened up my Bible and just thinking of what I want to say to God and longing for that deep relationship with him, I came across these words that King David wrote and it reminds me of myself.

Praise the Lord, my soul, all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—-who forgives all your sins, and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things, so that your youth is renewed light the eagles. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses; his deeds to the people of Israel: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever, he does not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is his love for those who fear him, as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him, for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field, the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children–with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding who obey his word. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul.             (Psalm 103 NIV)

It really doesn’t matter where I am going, or how long it all may take me, all I need to do is simply Trust My Lord day by day.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends