Christmas, The Season of Hope

Ecclesiastes 3.pngIt is that time of the year once again, when so many of us begin to prepare for the holidays in many ways. However, there are so many in this dark world at times that have lost all hope. During this time some come to realize once again that they are all alone in this world, and why should they celebrate. Others have heard some bad news in one way or another, they buried a loved one this past year, their child, loss a job, a home even losing their pet to some may not seem important but to them it is truly a terrible loss for them. Then their are others who struggle with bad health either with themselves or even their loved one, and the hardest one at least with myself is having your child become chronically  ill and being on chemo. Yes my daughter does get relief from her serve difficult pain she is left deal with on a daily basis with the medication but at times doesn’t make it any easier to see her suffer. When I spend time alone with God I begin to understand the purpose of this season and why it is a time to celebrate who God is and what he means to me.

When Jesus was born and entered our mortal frame, God was burrowing down into the marrow of our grief.  His mother Mary endured pain.  Her future with this child was one of deep sorrow.  She had to watch the lifeblood which she gave him be drained out as her son was killed.  Simeon was right when he warned her, “A sword will pierce your soul.”

All of our souls are pierced.  We all suffer inevitable losses.  But God is there, beside us, beneath us, around us, within us.  That is what Christmas is about.  Martin Luther told us that God became small for us in Christ: he showed us his heart, so our hearts could be won.  And, I would add, comforted.  God enters our pain, so that we never suffer alone. Some of you might be saying as you are reading  does anyone know what’s happening to me or does anyone even cares!  But God also whispers to us that there is a future, God’s future, that we can ultimately trust, and hang on to.  That’s why God came as a child – for all mankind. “A child, more than all other gifts that earth can offer to declining man, brings hope with it, and forward looking thought.”  From the inside of our lives, the Christ child points beyond whatever we see in this single moment.

So as we are beginning our journey during this advent season, let us all remember to slow down and look all around, through the eyes of a child, in having hope for this coming season. And I will share with you the hope in Christ to all who believes

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

Advertisements

Give Thanks To The Lord

1 Chronicles 16.pngGive thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Cry out, “Save Us. God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.” Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.                                         1 Chronicles 16:35-36

Every time that we give thanks to God, we acknowledge that he is our Lord and Savior, our provider. And every time we receive with thanksgiving, we demonstrate our kinship with him. Yet even through we are his children, and we know we are supposed to give thanks in all circumstances, sometimes our words ring hollow. We say them without feeling the least bit thankful. It’s especially hard for us to be grateful in the midst of a bad day, when everything seems to be going wrong. God knows what goes on in our heart far better than we do. He knows when we feel thankful, and when we don’t. However, he can see in the depths of our hearts a desire to please him by offering thanks even when we don’t feel like it. When we struggle to be grateful, we need to stop and remember who God is the “Great I Am” of our life and of our faith. We are utterly dependent on God for everything, including our next breath. Every good gift is from God! When we thank God during a difficult day, we are assuming the proper stance for a child of God. If we are preserve in this thankfulness, resisting the temptation to grumble, we can find joy and praise in the midst of all of our struggles,

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Why Should I Forgive

Colossians 3 F.jpgTherefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.                                                              (Colossians 3:12-13)

This has been a difficult thing for all humans to do is to forgive someone after being hurt, and more important to forgive ourselves for any and all of our short comings, and when we did something wrong. As I was reading a post from rethink church they share the following words, of why we should forgive. By forgiving someone we are choosing to let go of our pain in which we do carry and sometimes we carry that pain a long time. It is never easy to forgive anyone however when we ask Christ to help us to forgive the person that hurt us it becomes a lot easy to do. And if Jesus can forgive our sins shouldn’t we do the same?

Before the act of forgiveness can begin, there is the inward struggle of addressing the topic. Because letting go of pain and forgiving the responsible party involves both examining the wound and summoning the desire to move past anguish. Beyond even that, there is the seductive tinge of self-righteousness that comes with carrying a grudge (You hurt me. You should beg for my grace.) Rather than forgiving those who unjustly convicted him as Jesus did just before he died on a cross, the injured party would rather cry out to God, ““Forgive them not, Father, for they knew what they did!”

To live out our faith and confront our own suffering, we have to look in the mirror and ask hard questions…

Do we actually want to forgive? If not, why?

These questions form the root of the problem. As with all matters of the self, the ability to admit an issue comes first. Does a victim of bullying even want to forgive the bully? The injured party will likely feel this is unnecessary work since s/he isn’t at fault. Shouldn’t the bully apologize? The natural answer would be yes, but what if the apology never happens? The victim of the slight has his/her own decision to make. Even though time can heal a wound, the scar remains.

Maintaining a grudge requires a certain energy and a desire to indulge the pain. And the urge to engage in long-lasting self-pity may appear surprisingly attractive. That same self-pity can lock us into our current state, denying us the chance to grow spiritually and emotionally. Beyond that, bearing a grudge prevents us from experiencing greater strength and peace.

What does it say about us if we truly can move past this pain? And if we choose not to?

Forgiving does not mean forgetting. A trauma did occur, and that memory will not vanish. Yet we have control over our reaction to pain. Choosing to move past anguish draws upon a strength we often don’t know we have. In making that choice, we frequently surprise ourselves by developing a reservoir of resilience. When we forgive once, we’re more likely to summon the spiritual strength to forgive again.

What do we gain from forgiveness?

In a word, closure. Again, this does not mean erasing the memory. Rather, this is an opportunity to exercise one’s freedom and spiritual maturity and discover a lasting peace. Without releasing the pain, we can become its perpetual victim and rob ourselves of growth. Forgiveness also declares that the grace and mercy that Jesus showed on the cross is alive in us. An added benefit of forgiveness is gaining the ability to help others experience the same outcome.

Do”Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written. “It is mine to avenge, I will repay says the Lord.                       (Romans 12:17-19)

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Rest

Exodus 33.jpgGod tells Moses in the book of Exodus 33:14, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. There are times when you are quiet weary, and all you can think about is finding rest. However when we do lay down to finally go to sleep our minds are somehow racing of the many things  that we need to take care of. As a result, our awareness of God’s presence grows dim. God assure us through that even when our attention falters, He remains steadfast. We need to rejoice that the God who always take care of us has an infinite attention span! Even the most devoted parents cannot be constantly attentive to our children. We need to be able to sleep sometime, as well as we do get distracted by other demands in our lives. Many deeply loved children have drowned when their devoted parents took their eyes off them so briefly. Only God has the capability of watching over His beloved children continually–without the least interruption. Instead of worrying about where and when you will find rest, remember that God has promise to provide it for us. Worrying wastes vast quantities of energy–the very thing we need most to help us to find a resting place. When you are diving your can with little gas in the tank and the nearest service station was far away, you would drive carefully and steadily so as to minimize gas consumption. Similarly, when you are low on energy you need to minimize consumption of this precious commodity. Go gently and steadily through your day, looking for God to help you. Rest in the knowledge that God watch care over you is perfect. Thus, you make the most of your limited energy. Whenever you are struggling with weariness, come to Jesus and he will give you much needed rest.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends