God’s Not Dead!

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So then woman hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”                    Matthew 28:8-10

As we recently celebrate Easter Sunday we remember the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The women after they had gone to the tomb left with great joy knowing that their teacher, friend, and Lord had risen from the dead, and could not wait to share with His disciples what they had learn. As Christians how many of us can not wait to share the Resurrection story with our family and friends, perhaps not many of us. It is okay to talk about at church on a Sunday morning but as followers of Jesus are we doing what he has called us to do and telling others about Him.

For myself, I grew up as a Christian, always going to church on a Sunday and being involved, but can I truly call myself a Christian. Let me take the time with all of my readers to share my own story and why I want to shout to the world that God is Not Dead! He is truly Alive. A couple of years ago as I was searching the scriptures for a sermon that I was going to share, I began to have a dream. I have the same dream more than once and I truly thought that it was only a dream and it never happen to me at all. After I have shared the dream with my oldest daughter she mention to me that I should google it and so I did and what I thought was just a dream, it was something that I did experience and that I witness. 

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Growing up there was a train that I went on called the Freedom Train, and on that train in all the different cars that I visited was about the history of America. However, except this one car as I followed all the other visitors this particular car had a huge class case that set down on top of something on the floor. This glass case had the Burial Cloth (Shroud of Turin) of Jesus Christ. You can see that this man was very tall perhaps close to six feet, and he also had a beard. On the top of his head you can see that their were some kind of crown that laid there, where their was drops of stain blood going down the face. The nails were not in his hands but the wrist (because the flesh couldn’t hold him up if the nails when through his hands). As I continue to walk slowly I can see that his side was pierced with something. His feet were together with holes through them, because of a huge nail that had gone through both of them. I continue to walk slowly and on his back you can tell that this man was whip many times,  (a whipped of leather thongs, which was used in Biblical times, with bits of metal or bone attached) The words from Isaiah 53: 4-5 came to my mind Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his strips we are healed. For whatever reason unknown to myself I somehow forgotten what I had seen until that one day while asking God for directions in sharing a message that I remember. Every time I think of that one day when I saw the Burial Cloth of Christ tears forms in my eyes and down my cheeks, as what is happening as I write down these words. My God, My Lord and My King you did this all for me, I didn’t deserve it, I am a sinner and I am unworthy for Jesus to suffer for me like that. And yet because of His great love for me even before I was ever born he died at Calvary in my place. As I read the words in Ephesians 2:4-5 But 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. Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For all who have read these words I did see the Burial Cloth of Christ in 1976 here in America

Since God help me to remember what I witness I can never remain silent any more, I must tell anyone that I meet the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The stories in the Bible are not just stories but, real accounts that took place, written by men and inspire by God. It is not an easy journey I am on now being a disciple of Christ, I have had even family members and friends disown me all because of what I believe and I know what is true, and yes I am fine with that. I do hope that someday if not from me the ones who say because of what I believe I am nuts, will come to know Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior and decided to follow him. My Lord would want me to tell others about him, that he overcame death and that the tomb is empty, because My God Is Not Dead, He is Truly Alive,

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Holy Thursday

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Then came the day of unleavened bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” Where do you want us to prepare for it? they asked.” He replied, As you enter the city a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples? He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God. After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said. “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, “This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays me!” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this. “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the young and the one who rules like the one who serves?  For who is greater, the one who is at the table? You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelves tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon (also know as Peter) Satan had asked to sift all of you was wheat. But I prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death, Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”           Luke 22:7-35

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Today is Holy Thursday or as some call it “Maundy Thursday, the night in which our Lord and Savior is betrayed by one of his disciples, as well as being deny three times by another, and others scatted when he was arrested. By the end of this night many Christians from around the world will gather together to celebrate “Holy Communion ” while remember the night in which Jesus would be betrayed and handed over to the chief priests, and the elders. Jesus will full the Scriptures that many years ago that Isaiah foretold us.

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his stripes we are healed.                      Isaiah 53:3-5

Do we even take the time to try to understand this night, or just sit and listen in a church pew? Could it be that on the hill of Calvary in which the cross that held God’s greatest gift his son Jesus, who whip, tortured, and crown of thorns laid upon his head ( and not a crown of jewel) He will then carry his Cross to the Place of the Skull also known as Golgotha, then my friends look deep into his eyes and hear Jesus whisper to you and me:                                                                       “I DID THIS FOR YOU”

 

Blessings to You On This Holy Thursday 

Sorrow Becomes Joy

 

 

 

 

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Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me, and ‘Because I am going to the Father? “What does he mean by a little while? We don’t understand what he is saying.”

Jesus was looking beyond the present century to the new period that would come. He used an image that was deeply rooted in the Jewish mind. they believed that all time was divided into two parts, the present time and the time to come. The present was altogether bad and subject to damnation. The time that would be the Golden Age-the time of God. The time in between was called the time of the Messiah.

Jesus knew the Scriptures and He knew about these images, he said to his disciples, “I am leaving you now, but I will come back when My kingdom comes and I start to rule. Before this, however, you will have to suffer hard times.” Jesus went ahead to outline all that the Christian would have to endure. There would be times when Christians would experience sorrow, but their sorrow would be changed to joy. And the day would come for a turnabout. The world’s reckless joy would change to sorrow, and the Christians’ apparent sorrow would change to hoy. Christians should always remember  this when their faith is costing them.

There are two exceptional things about Christian joy: First, it can never be taken away because it is rooted in God. For this reason, this joy will be complete, while there is always something missing in the pleasure the world knows. Second, the sorrow that went before Christian joy is forgotten like a mother forgets labor pains, like the martyr forgets their suffering in the glory of heaven.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

What Is Advent?

10389133_423507684465031_9016953425129766019_nI would like to take this opportunity to share with all of you the meaning of advent. Too many times everyone seems to be so busy with the shopping, baking, presents, parties etc. we simply do not take the time to slow down for the season of Advent, What is advent it is a time four weeks before Christmas that we take the opportunity to invite God into the season before we get to Christmas Day.                                                               The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.]
During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was. So where did the season of Advent come from? Here is an attempt at a partial response — going back to the sacred Scriptures and to the early centuries of the church.

First, recall that the building blocks of Advent — its images, stories, memories, promises, songs, and hopes — are already present in the Bible. The rich images of the prophets Isaiah and Amos are there. The stories of John, Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, and John the Baptist are found in the Scriptures. There are Israel’s memories of exile and the hope for a day when God would restore hope, justice, and rulers in the line of David. There you find the songs: Mary‘s song, Zechariah’s song, and the psalms of lament, anguish, and hope. The vision of a new heaven and a new earth is there. Jesus’ call to be alert because we don’t know the day or the hour when the Son of Man will come is there. Paul’s and Peter’s words to believers awaiting the return of the risen Lord (the second coming) are there. All of this was there by the end of the first century. It was only a matter of time until the churches in various places began to find ways to weave these elements into their worship and into the ways they kept time together’s promised by his first coming.

What Is the Advent Wreath?
The Advent wreath is a circular garland of evergreen branches representing eternity. On that wreath, four or five candles are typically arranged. During the season of Advent, one candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday as a part of the Advent services.

Each candle represents an aspect of the spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
The lighting of an Advent wreath is a custom that began in 16th-century Germany among Lutherans and Catholics. In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24.
Symbolism of the Advent Wreath Candles
Set on the branches of the Advent wreath are four candles: three purple candles and one pink candle. A more modern tradition is to place a white candle in the center of the wreath. As a whole, these candles represent the coming of the light of Christ into the world.
Each week of Advent on Sunday, a particular Advent candle is lit. Catholic tradition states that the four candles, representing the four weeks of Advent, each stand for one thousand years, to total the 4,000 years from the time of Adam and Eve until the birth of the Savior.

On the first Sunday of Advent, the first purple candle is lit. This candle is typically called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14, NIV). So each week from now through the Sunday before Christmas I will share with you what each candle means and what color that Christians light on that day. You can also purchase your own advent wreath or even make one for yourself. So friends lets not rush this beautiful season of Advent let us journey together to find out what is all the fuse is about during this season, and why God had to send his one and only son Jesus into this world to be able to save his people from their sins.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Let Everything That Breathes Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150.pngPraise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power, praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise his with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.                                         Psalm 150

Sacrifice thank offering to God. Tell of his works with songs of joy!  Bearing your circumstances bravely even thanking God for them, which is the highest form or praise. God has been training you and I in the discipline of thankfulness for a long time. Yet we at times still find it hard to thank him for our own suffering or for others we know who are suffering. Sometimes we are able to do this, and when we do, we find that we become closer to God our Father. Thanking God for adversity requires a deep level of trust in his goodness, his mercy, and his love. People who are leaning on their own understanding cannot achieve this depth of trust. As you look to the scriptures to Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. We are learning to endure our circumstances bravely with thankfulness and we have experienced personal benefits from this. But there is more–much more! Your grateful acceptance of adversity has major repercussions far beyond ourselves :in heaven as well as on earth. Besides having Power to weaken spiritual stronghold of evil, your sacrifice of thanksgiving rings bells of joy throughout heavenly realms. On earth, our patient endure of suffering seeds out ripples of good tidings in every-widening circles to strengthen and encourage God’s people. So in every and all circumstances in your life or in mine we should always Praise the Lord!

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Brokenness

Isaiah 54-1.pngI know that some of you as you are reading these words that I have written, you are feeling broken within your heart. There are so many reasons that through out our lives that we feel this way, and one way is when you put your trust in someone or something instead of God and I too am guilt of this one. Too many times you open yourselves to trust another thinking that they have your best interest for you that you will not get hurt and somehow in the end we truly do .And when we do get disappointed or crush inside I know that all I want to do is run away to never be found again. I truly want to give up and not go forward why because as humans we are afraid of being hurt over and over again.  As I was going thru the different scriptures that I have highlight I come across these words from the book of Isaiah 54: 10 Through the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Once I read these words than read them again, I cry out to the Lord why Lord what have I done to be hurt in this way once again. My heart knows that through my brokenness I can draw closer to God. I am able to open up to him and simply pour out my heart knowing that he does understand my pain. His compassion for me is overflowing, and when I do open myself up to the Risen Lord his peace will fill my spirit that transcends understanding. I need to stop trying to figure everything out on my own. Instead, I need to lean on him, letting my head rest on his shoulders, and while I am resting I need to know that he will be watching over me and all that concerns me. I need to continue to trust in the Master in the depths of my being where he lives in union with me. Jesus healing work in me is most effective when I am trusting him. As I read these words more than once from Isaiah I need to remember how he has compassion for me. No matter how desperate my circumstances can be, the one thing I can always count on is Jesus unfailing love for me.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Broken Dreams & Broken Promises

Psalm 42.jpgIt has been a difficult day my Lord to say the lease, because when others seem to have forgotten you and what you long for is someone to reach out to say I do care, and truly mean it. For someone else who seems all they want to do is to judge you and you seem to say to yourself, they are not walking in my shoes to understand this deep pain of mine. So I open up your scriptures to read the following words that seem to ring so true for me today.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”. These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the “Mighty One” with shouts of joy and praise, among the festive throng. 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. My soul is downcast within me, therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls, all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt  me saying to me all day long, “Where is your God.?” 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.

Dear Lord

Help me in this holy time, at your feet, to pour my soul out to you. Enable me to be transparent. I surrender every burden, fear, question, and emotion. Empty me of myself. Free me from all the clutter in my heart and mind. Consume me with Your Spirit now and everyday of my life.

Amen

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends