Be Thankful Every Day

Today America celebrates Thanksgiving. This is the start of the season where people put aside many of their grievances and are courteous to their fellow man. However, God wants us to be thankful every day. 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

There is something about rejoicing, praying, and being thankful even for the smallest thing that makes a person both spiritually and physically healthy.

God is concerned for our well-being on both the physical and spiritual plains. To be certain that we remain healthy, He placed His Word in our hearts and His name is written in our DNA so that we have a peace about us that is well beyond our comprehension. When you hear someone talk about being in good spirits, that is an indication that the Holy Spirit is alive and working in that person’s life.

Unfortunately this peace is disrupted by the intervention of the devil as he tries to leave his mark on us through torment and temptation. Satan wants to see us suffer and would rather have us turn off the connection to God. He gives us false reasons to be bitter, to be jealous, to be hateful of others because their lives are seemingly better. It is not the status in this life that makes us better people but how we treat others. That is our measure.

As God’s Children we should be thankful for the little things in life that put smiles on our faces. From waking up in the morning to settling down for rest we should be thankful that God has blessed us with the actions of the day, even if the day did not go as planned. Yes we may have troubles but God is stronger. He is bigger. He is the one in control and the only one that can make our spirits bright.

Let us be thankful every day for the Lord is Good and His Love Endures Forever.

Be blessed Brothers and Sisters and bless others with the light that shines upon us and from us as we speak His name through our actions and words.

In God’s Love, Grace, and Mercy,

Rob, Servant of God

Peace Is A Virtue

God’s Love tells us that He wants a relationship with us that knows no bounds. We find Joy in understanding that no matter what happens to us, we rejoice in the fact that we have that relationship that saves us. So what happens next? The Third Fruit of the Spirit is Peace.

Once we have the first two as prevalent parts of our lives there is a sense of peace that overcomes us in everything we do. Yes the stress of the world can get in the way but with God those times of stress are meaningless in the greater scheme of living.  

Peace begins in the heart. It is the inner sense that is produced by the Love and Joy that comes from God. It is the calmness needed in times of turmoil so that the devil cannot take control of the emotions and cause anger and pain. Peaceful hearts produce peaceful minds.

What does Scripture say about peace?

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy. Proverbs 12:20

When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7

 Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Job 22:21

Jesus reiterates His Father’s Words and speaks of peace.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

We find peace in the Word that flows through our hearts and minds. This peace is a virtue that all Christians should have. It conquers the evil one even when he thinks he has won. When we are persecuted, it is the inner peace that gives us strength even to the point of death. It is better to die knowing Christ than to live and not know Him.

How can we find this peace that helps us get over worries, anxiousness, and other thoughts and emotions that are dangerous to our spiritual and physical health? Look to the Lord in all your sorrows for He will release them from you. In Him you find Joy without seeking it, and Love without earning it. All you have to do is believe, have faith, trust in Him, follow His ways, and you will find peace.   

Brothers and Sisters I urge you to rid yourselves of the ways of the world that cause undue stress, anxiety and persecution. Peace is a characteristic of the Image of God that has always been within us. Once the peace of God is solidified in our hearts it becomes a natural behavior. Peace is the Fruit of the Spirit that helps many express their faith to others and expand the Kingdom.

Pray for the peace of God to enter all who know Christ as Lord and Savior so the world will know peace through us. With Love and Joy in our hearts share the Word and bring the Kingdom.

Be Blessed,

 Rob, Servant of God      

Genuine Love

All throughout the Bible the writers speak of the many different descriptions of God’s  Love. His Love is described as loyal, undying, unconditional, reckless, amazing, everlasting, and much more. This morning I want to discuss another way His Love is described and taught that in a way that we can do the same. I am speaking of His Genuine Love. Paul wrote to the Roman believers:

Don’t let love be a mere outward show. Recoil from what is evil, and cling to what is good. Love each other devotedly and with brotherly love; and set examples for each other in showing respect. Don’t be lazy when hard work is needed, but serve the Lord with spiritual fervor. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in your troubles, and continue steadfastly in prayer. Share what you have with God’s people, and practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you — bless them, don’t curse them! Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be sensitive to each other’s needs — don’t think yourselves better than others, but make humble people your friends. Don’t be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but try to do what everyone regards as good. If possible, and to the extent that it depends on you, live in peace with all people. Never seek revenge, my friends; instead, leave that to God’s anger; for in the Tanakh it is written, “Adonai says, ‘Vengeance is my responsibility; I will repay.’” On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For by doing this, you will heap fiery coals [of shame] on his head.”  Romans 12:9-20

Early Rome Community of Believers

The Word and the Way found itself in Rome. At first they were a community ignored by the Emperor and the Senate but during the tyrannical rule of Nero, Christians were blamed for the fires. This caused a great many people to be persecuted and martyred.

Paul found himself in jail numerous times for stirring up trouble. While a loyal Roman citizen would see it that way, Paul and the believers knew different. With the persecutions happening almost daily, Paul wrote to encourage the people and keep their mind on the truth of Jesus.

Let Your Love Be Genuine

This portion of Romans is literally how we are to love our Father, Savior, and one another in a nutshell. Love is not just a face we put on like make up in the morning, it is the deep inward expression from our hearts that have been convicted to care for others before ourselves. This is one of those portions that really does not need deep explanation as it speaks plainly and clearly what and how we should be.

In this portion Paul tells them that they should remain faithful to the teachings through thoughts and actions of loving kindness. We are not to sit back and let others do the work when we are all commissioned to do the same. While Jesus taught us to love our enemies, Paul tells us to also bless them through our love. He teaches that we are all on the same level being that no human is more important than another but accept our lot in life treating everyone with the same humble heart. If someone wrongs you do not return with harmful words or behaviors but instead envelope the person with the Love of God through your actions and words.   

I Know it is Hard

Look, I know the difficulties in this age to be what God desires of us to be but if they could do it back then when their actions led to their deaths, we can do it today. What is the worst that can happen to us? Yes in some countries it does mean death but in other countries it means jail, lawsuits, loss of business, etc. If we lose everything then we have gained more than the person(s) that caused it will ever understand. Yes it will be hard but we are not being literally fed to lions or being run through by a sword. Have patience, continue to love no matter the cost, keep your eyes on the prize (as Paul puts it), stay in the Word and the Word will guide you. But mostly, Love one another just as He has loved us.

Be Blessed,

Rob, Servant of God  

Reconciliation

O the Blessedness of the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God  Matthew 5:9

What a great quality of the heart is seeking peace. In fact the primary importance of the spiritual heart is having a peaceful existence with others. A person with a peaceful heart is a healing heart always seeking to obtain completeness and wholeness of self and those around him/her.

A person who strives to have a peaceful heart does not seek war or any strife but is seeking a peaceful reconciliation with those who have wronged or have been wronged at one point in the person’s life. The greatest reconciliation is between God and Man.

So, since we have come to be considered righteous by God because of our trust, let us continue to have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus the Messiah. Romans 5:1

We are reconciled through the saving grace and mercy found in the sacrifice of Jesus. There is no other way that we as human can obtain this blessing but through Him. However, once accepted, we are now obligated to no longer seek causing strife with others but to do our best to have peaceful relationships with mankind. We are also charged with seeking peaceful resolutions between others through the sharing of our faith and life in Jesus Christ. That is the way we demonstrate who we belong to.

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10

If we stay in the world our lives will be full of strife far above necessary but if we take the strife and deal with it in a godly manner then we are showing that we are children of God. Yes we will have pain and suffering in our life but if we depend on the healer as Lord and Savior instead of trying to deal with all things on our own we claim our dependence and freedom all in the same moment.

Independence in the world means death. Dependence on God means life. Independence in the world continues our slavery to sin. Dependence on God equals freedom from the bonds of sin. Dependence on God gives us our place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Dependence on the self keeps us apart from God.

Would you like to be reconciled with God and reignite the relationship that was lost due to sin? Would you like to be known as a child of God? It is a difficult direction to go because of our current life but the rewards are so much greater. Believe on Jesus and be dependent in Him. He will show you what it truly means to be free. Following His example and live the life as He desires for us and you will have peace. 

Resurrection Day NOT Happy Bunny Day

Easter

I was thumbing through Facebook after checking the Ministry Page and saw that someone was wishing Happy Bunny Day. Being the kind of person I am I was slightly distraught at seeing this but instead of correcting the person individually and causing a stir I decided to write this here. 

Are we to Celebrate the Welcoming of Spring or the Resurrection of the One who Saves us

Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice so that the Jews (and those turned back to God in general) no longer had to kill a spotless firstborn lamb every year at Yom Kippur. He Is the Ultimate Sacrifice. Firstborn of God, firstborn of human Mary was broken for our iniquities, the Earth was the altar on which His Blood was spilled. The Water from His side flowed life back into the Earth. He was at with God at the beginning, He is the Word with which God spoke the Universe into existence, we are the cause for His death and we symbolize it with a bunny, jellybeans, marshmallow chicks, chocolates, and colored eggs?

Ok, I know that they are just symbols to encourage children to understand a certain meaning but the truth must be in the forefront. We are not welcoming Spring, we are inviting God to return to Hearts.

Jesus died for our sins

He willingly went to the altar, and hung above it bleeding slowly on the dogwood. In fact, every fluid within was now on that tree. He did not scream in pain but called for our forgiveness. It was foretold by God to Moses as He wrote the Pentateuch that He is the only one who could save us from our sins and He did it in the only way possible. He was sent to set things right and bring people back to God. He knew the mission would end in the Sacrifice but there was so much work left to be done. He had a small following of the influential ones from the Tribe of Leviticus but just not enough to change the hearts of all the remaining Israelites. There was no other way, Jesus Had to Die.

Resurrection Day

The good news is that the process of dying did not last long, after an agonizing partial day, Jesus gave up the Spirit and breathed His last. Was laid in the tomb bought by Joseph of Arimathea (a member of the Sanhedrin and a believer), the flesh and bone were reformed by God. The tomb, guarded by Roman soldiers, was quiet and the stone rolled away releasing the Resurrected Jesus. He arose and was glorified after defeating death. That morning after Sabbath the women went to finish the body and it was not there. The shroud was there, the face covering was there but the body was gone. This was no parlor trick, He had completed His task and was made new.

The women searched around the tomb and this search is now symbolized by an egg hunt that an egg laying bunny had hidden treasures in. What??? Thank goodness when churches do this, some actually put items in the plastic eggs that have religious connotations and not just candy.  

Jesus fought the devil and won the victory over our penalty. We are no longer bound by sin. Jesus opened the door of our hearts so that God, His Word, and the Holy Spirit can abide in us. We have a relationship with the Father that is freely given through the Grace of God and the Mercy of Christ. You only have to believe and follow His Truth which is the Holy Word of God. Keeping it on Your Heart daily . This is RESURRECTION DAY not the Spring Celebration of Easter.  

Father God,

I need thee every hour. We are not worthy of your Grace and Mercy but you have given it freely through the ultimate Sacrifice through giving your Son, Jesus, Yeshua, The Word Incarnate, Immanuel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Merciful Savior, Prince of Peace. Thank You for giving us Your Son so that we can live with You in Eternal Rest, Worshiping and Praising You. Father, Thank You for sending the Helper, the Holy Spirit who guides us through Your Commands in Your Word so that we can live a right life by doing as You ask us to do. Please continue to work in us so that we can be the light to the nations and return to You in One accord. Thank You Father for raising Jesus from the dead, defeating death and the bondage of sin. You have ended that slavery and we promise to be better stewards of Your creation until the time of Your return. All Praise and Worship are Yours.

IN JESUS NAME, AMEN

The Day Christ Was Revealed to The Gentiles

Three Kings Day

The Christian celebration of Three Kings Day has taken a back seat in some modern societies as just another day but is it? No it isn’t. Yes in real time it did not happen this close to the birth, but since we only have a year to celebrate 33 years in the human life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, everything is condensed to fit.

So why is this day so important to the Christian year? The day that the Magi saw Christ is the because it signifies the revelation (revealing) of God to mankind in human form. It is the first time the “Gentiles” celebrated Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Magi had an Epiphany, “a sudden realization about the nature or meaning of something” recognizing that this is no ordinary child as they experienced a joy and hope that was truly beyond their understanding. Remember, they went to a palace first, thinking that the star was leading them to a prince born in a palace but the star kept moving for them and they began to wonder if the child was of more significance than just another prince.

Now Epiphany means “manifestation”, often of divine power but this time is actually given a more distinct term because Jesus is the manifestation of God, the term is “Theophany”. Now I know a lot of people do not want to get all philosophical and theological it terms and meanings and I kind of get scared of those myself sometimes (especially when I have an epiphany on what those words are defined as), so let’s talk in ways that all understand.

The Magi saw the child. The Holy Spirit awoke in them revealed who He was and who He would become. This was first of many true revealing of God in the flesh to a non-Hebrew. I would have loved to have been there to see the look on their faces when they came to understand that this humble child sleeping in a hay filled food trough would be the one who would rule over all the earth. Think about it. Can you even fathom the thinking of these men and their entourage when the Holy Spirit was awoken inside them and they worshiped Him.

Christ revealed, that is what this day is all about. Everybody in Jesus presence except the Pharisees, the Sadducees, those in power, and the people that were blinded by the Adversary would have a type of revealing about whom He is. Christ is revealed to us through those who speak of Him and when the Holy Spirit awakens in side of us. Do you remember when you woke up to His presence? Do you remember feeling the comfort and joy in understanding the truth about who He is? When is the last time you shared it to awaken the Spirit within someone else? Don’t you think it’s time to do that?

Today we celebrate the enunciation to the world of Christ’s birth through the revealing to the Three Wise Men, Three Kings, Magi, whatever you call them. In Germany, watch out for children who go door to door looking for Him (it is a tradition over there). The community gets together and feasts on this day as He is found and revealed as Emmanuel, “God With Us”.

Is He with you? Would you like to have Him walk with you, talk with you? All you have to do is believe, have faith, and trust that He is the way to eternal life. Repent of your sins and recognize you cannot save yourself. Let Him into your heart and awaken the Spirit to guide you and help you through life.

God Loves you, we love you, there is a big family, the church, the Body of Christ that welcomes you.

God Bless

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

It was December 7th, 1914. Pope Benedict XV wanted the war to temporarily stop for the soldiers to celebrate Christmas. Though the leaders said no, the word got to the soldiers from two nations so they declared their own unofficial Christmas Truce. German and British Soldiers greeted one another and actually got out of the trenches shook hands sang together and exchanged gifts of what they had with them.

Despite dangers, unit morale high in KandaharThere are no known photos but this is how it could have looked.

Why did this happen? Was it the fact that Jesus was in the hearts of all the warriors? My guess is yes. Was it because the soldiers desired a celebration, though short lived, and wanted to share it even with the enemy because Jesus said to love thine enemy? Yes. Did they understand the true meaning for the season? My guess once again is yes. For a brief moment, hardened hearts became soft, God’s love and compassion filled the air.

We are reminded of the Word according to Luke 2:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Christmas 2001, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Camp Butmir, a multinational force met for a Christmas celebration. We did not segregate ourselves by country, ethnicity, creed, or gender. We sang Christmas Carols in 6 different languages then the American Army Chaplain gave the message and the Christmas Story seen above. We then shared in Communion with one another in a circle drinking from the same cup and breaking bread together. This was a Christmas to remember. I will never forget that day because I was there. Though we have all lost contact, we remember that one moment where Christ brought us together in complete peace and harmony.

Today we celebrate the earthly birth of our eternal Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We celebrate on this day because of it being the day that Emperor Constantine decided to be the right time of the calendar year to commemorate His birth.. This day is the central point of the season which officially ends on Epiphany. But, the Spirit of sharing, giving, and loving one another, is an everyday lifelong thing not just around the Christmas season.

What to say on Christmas but to be joyful, caring, and concerned about your fellow man.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

2nd Sunday in Advent: Prepare For The Prince Of Peace

Advent Peace

THE BETHLEHEM CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF PREPARATION

John 14:27

What I am leaving with you is shalom — I am giving you my shalom. I don’t give the way the world gives. Don’t let yourselves be upset or frightened. (CJB)

This week we prepare the way to Bethlehem. It was a time of peace but there was not a peaceful attitude between the Jews and the Romans who occupied the Holy Land. The Emperor demanded a census be taken of his whole empire. Now we al know what happens when a census is demanded, Just ask King David when he did that against God’s will. This one however, would be used to fulfill prophesy and God’s Will.

Micah 5:2

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
(ESV)

Our Ancestors prepared for the birth with anticipation but yet misunderstood what the purpose of the Messiah would truly be. They were looking for an earthly king who would save them from Roman occupation even though God gave Isaiah to prophesy of the Suffering Servant who saves souls. He also gave the prophesy of preparation that would begin with John the Baptist.  

Isaiah 40:3-5

A voice cries out: “Clear a road through the desert for Adonai! Level a highway in the ‘Aravah (willow branch/wilderness) for our God! Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill lowered, the bumpy places made level and the crags become a plain. Then the glory of Adonai will be revealed; all humankind together will see it, for the mouth of Adonai has spoken.” (CJB)

They saw but did not understand still. So John would continue crying in the desert wilderness of the Jordan and gave them fulfilled Isaiah again which says:

Isaiah 40:9-11

You who bring good news to Tziyon, get yourself up on a high mountain; you who bring good news to Yerushalayim, cry out at the top of your voice!
Don’t be afraid to shout out loud! Say to the cities of Y’hudah, “Here is your God!
10 Here comes Adonai Elohim with power, and his arm will rule for him.
Look! His reward is with him, and his recompense is before him.
11 He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering his lambs with his arm, carrying them against his chest, gently leading the mother sheep.”
(CJB)

John was constantly preparing the way for Jesus knowing that his flesh and blood cousin was more than that, He is the Son of God.

Jesus came to John so that His mission could begin. The Suffering Servant has arrived. Jesus was anointed with the water but then the miracle of God came with a thunderous voice and a gentle dove. “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. With that, the flesh became anointed and His ministry began.

Jesus prepared and became the way for our salvation. He fulfills the prophesy of Isaiah and the Will of God. His Mission, spread the Word of God, save mankind from eternal damnation, prepare a place for us in heaven, return and rule God’s Kingdom in the new creation.

So this Advent Sunday let us reflect on the peace that surpasses human understanding. This peace which is inherently within us but clouded by sin will be released once again when Jesus returns. There is an indescribable peace that comes over us when we accept Jesus as Savior but that is only a taste of what the peace of God will provide in us. We pray, “Come Lord Jesus” almost daily but He is already here. He is within each of us through the power of the Holy Spirit and is preparing our hearts for the Glorious Appearing where He will reveal His Kingdom to us.

Prepare for the Prince of Peace, born of God in a lowly manger, murdered by man, raised by God, who dwells within us, and rules us eternal.