We Can Find Joy

1 Thessalonians 5.pngAs you recalled this past Sunday we lite the third candle for Advent which is called Joy. This week, we have heard from the Apostle Paul, writing in his very first letter to the Thessalonians—the earliest piece of writing in the New Testament. What is the subject of Paul’s letter to the earliest Christian community? Joy. Specifically, joy in the midst of difficult nights. The Psalmist writes,
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:4-5, NRSV)
Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning! As I think about the season of Advent, and read from Thessalonians on this third week into our journey, I can’t help but hear traces of the Psalmist in Paul’s words:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise the words of prophets,
but test everything.
Hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely;
and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, NRSV)My friends, nobody said the journey was going to be easy. Maybe it is for the best that Advent always starts off with a hard dose of reality. But as we enter into the homestretch of the season and begin final preparations not only to celebrate the birth of Christ into the world and his coming again in final glory, but also to welcome friends and family members who are coming down home, some of whom might not be gathering with good intentions, let us not quench the Spirit. Let it be in a spirit of grace that we acknowledge that for many of us, welcoming guests or going home will never resemble in any way the pictures of perfect familial bliss that we see in the constant holiday barrage of Photo shopped advertisements, holiday television specials, and Christmas movies. Nevertheless, let us enter into this time with rejoicing, prayer, and giving thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us. For no matter how hard the journey may be some days, we know that joy is our true home, and our true home is with our Savior Jesus Christ.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

A Lenten Meditation

A thought that I was shared with all of you reading my blog, a meditation for the Lenten season  by William Booth the founder of Salvation Army.

Psalm

 

O boundless salvation! Deep ocean of love,

O fullness of mercy, Christ brought from above,

The whole world redeeming, so rich and so free,

Now flowing for all men, flowing for all men,

Now flowing for all men, come, roll over me

My sins they are many, their stains are so deep,

And bitter the tears of remorse that I weep,

But useless is weeping; thou great crimson sea,

Thy water can cleanse me, thy water can cleanse me!

My tempers are fitful, my passions are strong,

They bind my poor soul and they force me to wrong;

Beneath thy blest billows deliverance I see,

O come, might ocean, O come mighty ocean,

O come, mighty ocean, and roll over me!

Now tossed with temptation, then haunted with fears,

My life has been joyless and useless for years;

I feel something better most surely would be

If once they pure waters, if once thy pure waters

If once thy pure waters would roll over me.

Ocean of mercy, oft longing I’ve stood

On the brink of thy wonderful, live giving flood!

Once more I have reached this soul cleansing sea,

I will not go back, I will not go back,

I will not go back till it rolls over me

The tide is now flowing, I’m touching the wave,

I hear the loud call of the Mighty to Save;

My faith’s growing bolder, delivered I’ll be;

I plunge’ neath the waters, I plunge ‘ neath the waters;

I plunge ‘neath the waters they roll over me.

And now hallelujah! the rest of my days

Shall gladly be spent in promoting His praise

Who opened His bosom to pour out this sea

Of boundless salvation, of boundless salvation,

O boundless salvation for you and for me

 

Grace and Peace to you my friends

 

 

 

The Season of Lent

Lent.pngWe are approaching the season of Lent this coming week. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and last for forty days (excepts Sundays) and it last until sundown the day before Easter Sunday.  During lent we as Christians enter into a season of preparation, self-reflection and repentance when we seek to literally “turn around” and realign our lives and focus toward God. It is a time to give up things as well as take on new life-giving practices, helping us rid of ourselves of distractions and our own selfish desires. By doing so, we seek to live and love as more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. As you made realize that Easter Sunday is always a different date each year, that is because Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the full moon in springtime that we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It doesn’t really matter what any of us give up during the Lenten season because nothing can compare with what Jesus did by sacrificing his life for all mankind.

Joel 2:12-13                                                                                                                                                     Even now ‘declares the Lord return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.                         (NIV)

Let us all journey together during this coming season, as we seek forgiveness from God as well as wisdom and understanding of his word (the Bible)

Grace and Peace to you my friends.