Victory In Jesus

1 John 4.pngYou dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us, but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.  (1 John 4:4-6)

The true Christian life is often described as a battle, and this becomes true when a disciple is struggling against the forces of darkness. It is true that Christians find themselves in continuous conflict with demonic powers, temptations that threaten to overwhelm them, and subtle forces that carry out their destructive purposes before their presence has been perceived. Unfortunately, it is also true that many disciples rely on their own strength and resources when they come face to face with forces over which they have no control. They do their best, but is just a matter of time before they break down.

However, followers of the living Christ have spiritual reserves that they can call on when they are confronted by the Evil One in his many disguises. deep within them lives a Spirit that is sensitive to the intervention of Jesus Christ and empowers them to fight confidently against any evil force. Never trust in your own resources, but rely on the indwelling Christ, particularly during moments when you feel weak and helpless. In the power of Christ and through His wisdom you can overcome dark forces if you realize that your help and strength comes from the Holy Spirit who lives in you.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

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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

Growing Closer to Jesus This Season!

The Season of Lent.png

Lent is a time for self-reflection and deepening one’s relationship with God in Jesus Christ. For many this season leading up to Easter will be weeks of giving up something they enjoy as a sign of contrition for mistakes they have made. Others will spend extra time in devotions and prayer, while a few more will carry a cross or nail in their pocket as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for them and the whole world.

If those practices work for you, wonderful! Others may want to find different ways of observing this holy season. Consider adopting one or more of the following creative uses of the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

  1. Pray for others you see as you walk to and from throughout your day
  2. Volunteer one hour or more each week with a local shelter, tutoring program, nursing home, prison ministry.
  3. Participate in a Lent-a-Day-practice and pray each day with your camera in your hand. start praying
  4. Cultivate a life of gratitude. Write someone a thank you letter each week and be aware of how many people have helped you along life’s journey.
  5. Create a daily quiet time. (this is something I do, I drive my youngest back and forth to school, and when I pick her up I am at her school an hour to spend time alone with God. Read a daily devotional for the season of lent.
  6. Give up soft drinks, fast food, tea, or coffee. Give the money you save to help local folks or those in a different part of the world who are in crisis.
  7. Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it ( maybe even yourself)
  8. Go deeper into your study in the Bible, be a part of a study group, and meditate on the words “I Am” sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of John
  9. Start a prayer rhythm. Each day of Lent, pray for another person.
  10. Tray and electronic fast, give up tv, face book, tweeting, e-mail and all things electronic for one day each week.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

We Must Be Different

Matthew 15 These are the words of Jesus according to the Gospel of John, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belong to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.                    Matthew 15:18-19

If you live in a community that is saturated with the Christian faith it’s not easy to imagine a condition where there is a marked difference between the regular community and Christianity. But it does happen in many places.

The Christian community was a small minority where John recalled Jesus’ prophetic words in this Scripture verse. there was a marked difference between the small minority of Christians and the world that loathed them. 

William Temple wrote in Readings in John’s Gospel: Are we not of this world? It is not so that our origin or character is in agreement?” Yes, only too often. But this is not the distinguishing and functional factor that makes us different when we become Christ’s followers. “You are no longer part of the world, I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. The phrase “the world” is repeated, but with a difference. Linked to the verb “chose”, it no longer represents origin and growth, but a place of separation, and consequently segregation. This is in part where the hate of the world felt. The world dislikes Christians. It begrudges them their new character, it is tortured by the new character and furious about their joy in Christ. Can the world notice that the difference in your life because you are a Christian? not always. 

You never will be the person you can be if pressure, tension, and discipline are taken out of your life.               (James G. Bilkey)

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

You Are The Light

Matthew 5a.pngYou are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? it is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.                                                                                          Matthew 5:13-16

When we set an example by the good deeds we do, people notice. “Good” in the Christian sense of the word, mustn’t be good only, but also attractive. The tragedy of so many Christian examples is that they have an element of coldness and harshness, without a trace of love. There is goodness that attracts, and goodness that alienates. A Christian’s life should make Christianity something special and appealing.

Our exemplary lives and good deeds must not draw attention to ourselves, but to God. Otherwise we are guilty of the-atrial exploits. At a conferenced that Dwight L. Moody attended, there was a group of young people who held a prayer session that lasted all night. The next morning they came across Moody and told him, “Mr. Moody6, just look how our faces are glowing!” Moody answered quietly, “Moses didn’t know that his face glowed.” When a person consciously draw attention to themselves. they ate not setting a Christian example.

Christians never think about what they do, but about what God enabled them to do. They never focus people’s attention on themselves, but point them in God’s direction.

 

Remember as you go about your day that you may be the only Jesus some of your friends, neighbors and family will ever see. (By: Wanda E. Brunstetter)

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

You Are The Light

Matthew 5.pngYou are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone.                                 Matthew 5:14-15

Jesus expects His followers to be like him. The light that shines from a child of God is reflected light. Christ does not ask us to produce our own light. We must shine with the reflection of His light. It is light that is born from the presence of Christ in the believer’s heart. What does Jesus mean by this? Light can be seen. Before matches were made, lighting a lamp was a problem, so when people left their homes, they put it under a bowl so that it kept burning without being a danger. But the primary purpose of the light was to be seen. Likewise, Christianity is something that must be seen. Our Christianity must not only be visible in the church, but also in our daily life and activities. Light is a guide. Lights along the road warn us of cliffs and rock falls, along the seawall or breakwater lights warn us of the tide. Christians must show the right path to others by means of their examples and way of life. A light is often a warning to stop there is danger ahead. It is sometimes necessary for Christians to warn people of danger. Our warning should not be given in anger or irritation, or with criticism or judgement. With love, it will be effective. The light that can be seen, that serves as a guide; and that is a warning, this is the light Christ calls us to be.

The words of Martin Luther King Jr- Darkness, cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Third Sunday of Advent

Joy.pngWe have lit the candles of Hope and Peace, and relight them now to remind us that our hope is in Christ and that he will come again to bring peace to the world. Today begins the third week in our Advent journey, and so we light the third candle, the candle of Joy. In ancient times, the prophet Isaiah said, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; to those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.” Many suffer from despair, anxiety, or holiday blues. Others experience only the dark side of human nature. Christ’s light has power to overcome all dark places in our society and our souls. The Psalmist tells us “to make a joyful noise to the Lord, for the Lord is God who made us and whose we are, whose steadfast loves endures forever and faithfulness to all generations. Now we light the third candle, the candle of Joy, as we remember the angel’s words to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people.” We light it so that all who reap blue harvest from seeds of sadness may know the joy of Jesus Christ. We light it in honor of those who show us the joy of following Christ.

Let us pray: God of Good News, as we await your coming we give you thanks for the joy we have in Christ Jesus. May all who seek such joy find it. For all who have ceased to believe in its possibility, may you work through us to show your joy already present. Come, God of Joy, come.               Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends