Tag Archive: everlasting


shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331All seemed lost. All seemed hopeless. A people who once had carried great hope in their hearts, had long given up and no longer looked toward Heaven for mercy. They went about their lives doing what needed to be done to survive. An oppressive government caused people great hardship. A heavy tax and census was laid upon them, and their lives were disrupted to appease those who ruled over them. In their duty and compliance, life went on…

Yet, unknowingly, in the midst of it all, a divine interruption occurred. An angel brought word to a young, humble teenager. What was promised at the beginning of the age in the beautiful garden was being kept by the Perfect, Glorious Creator in Heaven. Though none were found deserving, though all had failed their God, in the quiet of an ordinary night, a baby who embodied all love, all grace, all mercy and compassion was brought forth from Heaven.

Far away from city life, angels filled the sky bringing the great news to lowly shepherds. Even farther away, wise men wondered about a brilliant star that danced in the sky and chose to follow and seek where it led.

Revealed to those whose hearts were open, the Savior of Mankind, the Light of the World, God’s Greatest gift, came to earth and the redemption of man was set in motion that starry night in Bethlehem. And as the story continues, this little Prince of Peace grew and gave Himself on a cross, bearing our sin and shame.  With that one particular act, man was reconciled with the Perfect, Glorious Creator in Heaven to have fellowship once again as in the days of old while in the beautiful garden.

Now 2,000 years later, the rest of the world goes on, distracted by doing what needs to be done to survive. With heavy taxes and census laid upon them, they grapple to appease those who rule over them. Yet, unknowingly, in the midst of it all, a divine interruption is about to occur.  Another age old promise is soon to be realized. Crowned now as the King of Kings, those whose hearts are open to Him await the return of Jesus Christ, the faithful keeper of promises who carries victory in His hand. He will conquer evil and make everything new. He will reign with truth and justice for ever and ever.

Is your heart open to Him? Are you longing for more than what this world has to offer? Say yes to His promises and receive the miracle of Christmas in your heart by praying this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent
Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior. Amen.

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and Blessed and Happy New Year!  God bless you!

 

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No Fear in The Follow

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“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”  ~Psalm 23:1-3

We live in a day and age where leadership and success are considered to be interchangeable. To be successful in the world’s eyes, one must lead. If you are an ambitious, confident, type A, “take life by the horns” extrovert, you might eagerly agree. Someone has to lead, so why not you? Or you may be a reserved, quiet, “don’t rock the boat” introvert that would rather not assert yourself. Does that automatically make you unsuccessful? Don’t get me wrong, the world needs great leaders to rise up for just causes and take a stand they feel strongly on. However, whether you feel you have what it takes or not, it’s not up to us to decide.  Daniel 2:21 tells us “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings.”  Proverbs 16:9 says A man’s heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps. These verses tell me that we naturally want to lead our own lives, but it’s God who calls and raises up the leaders among us according to His purpose.  Some have been born with the God-given ability to lead, and they realize it early in life. Others feel they’re not called because of a lack of ability, but God equips them with everything they need. There is a most important quality that all must have to lead, and that is a humble heart to serve others.  Matthew 23:11 says “The greatest among you will be your servant.”  Just like Jesus Christ came to serve us by taking our place on the cross and rising again, a true leader has a servant’s heart and seeks wisdom, when he follows after God.

A leader that follows after God takes up their cross daily and submits every area of their life to Christ. It doesn’t take long, before one realizes how much of a challenge that can be.   Some of the obvious things are easy to let go, but some areas stay hidden until a trial brings them to light.  Those are the real toughies.  Recently in my own life, I’ve become aware that a certain sure path that I expected to be on for a few more years, seems to be winding down to an end. I always considered myself to be a humble, quiet person that easily submits to God, until I was put to this test. It’s been amazing and humbling to see how much of my future was according to my plan and trusting in what I see and hear. Faced with an uncertain future, I have to take captive all the worst case scenarios that want to play out in my thoughts, and replace them with God’s promises in His Word that He will provide all my needs, that my life is in His hands and I have nothing to worry about.  Ever heard the phrase “That’s easier said than done.”?  Well, I’ve found that to be the case.  I want to use reason, logic and what I know about the world’s system to guide me as to what to do next, but what I really need is to quiet myself and trust my Great Shepherd to lead the way.  As I reflected on this over the past weekend, I suddenly felt inspired to write a poem about trusting God.  As I wrote it, I began to think of the 23rd Psalm and it became the subject of my poem (which I will post at the end).  The awesome thing has been the confirmation by the Holy Spirit  that has come this week.  At the Wednesday night service at my church, Pastor Lisa’s message was about Jesus being our good shepherd.  I highly doubt that she hacked the documents on my computer to plan her message.  Another confirmation just occurred as I began to write.  Rabbi Schneider’s program “Discovering the Jewish Jesus” was on the television and his message was also teaching on the 23rd Psalm. I don’t think he hacked my documents either, but he may have watched Pastor Lisa online.  I love when God does that!  He speaks a message to your heart and everywhere you turn, people are speaking about the very same thing! It’s one of those cool God things, for sure!

I really believe God is telling the Church to keep our eyes on Jesus and follow Him wherever He leads, especially in the time we are in.  We need to be able to discern His voice and follow the peace through the Holy Spirit to guide us.  Knowing His voice and peace comes through having a relationship with Jesus Christ, by walking with Him daily, praying and meditating on His Word.  As so many of our beloved brothers and sisters in the Middle East have found, we as Christians will walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  Yet, we won’t fear evil because our faithful Shepherd is right there with us and He will lead us through to life everlasting.  I still get tears in my eyes when I think of our 21 brothers from Egypt who were marched out onto a beach to their death.  I read somewhere recently that every one of them with their very last breath gave praise to Jesus Christ. That is so courageous and so heart-grabbing!   What the world couldn’t see on the beach was Jesus right there in their midst and angels gathered around our brothers, ready to escort their spirits to Heaven, where they will one day soon have glorified bodies. Let us remember to lift each other up in prayer and intercession, especially those facing persecution.

Great Shepherd

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring,
But my heart will sing
Just the same.

I know that my steps are planned
That He holds my hand,
There’s no shame.

For He leads me to life everlasting.
Nothing can hold me down.
Whatever comes against me tomorrow
He can turn it around.

For He’s my great shepherd who leads me,
Besides refreshing waters so still.
To green pastures, a table before me
His every promise He’ll fulfill.

My Father’s goodness and mercy
He sends to follow after me.
In His house, I will dwell with Him,
Forever loved, complete, whole and free.

If you haven’t made Jesus the lord of your life and would like to invite Him into your heart, please pray the following:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent
Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior.  Amen.              

God bless you.

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”

While searching for a quote on peace, I came across this little gem by the famous Jimi Hendrix.  Although, I’m not familiar with his music and career, I do know he is highly respected and celebrated as one of the great musicians in the history of modern music.  Since there has been much talk about peace and the possibility of achieving it worldwide, I wanted to look at why we have so much conflict over it.   Islam, which has dominated news headlines in the last few years, says that it is a religion of peace.  Members of the Jewish faith lavishly bid one another peace in every greeting of “Shalom”.  In Christianity, peace and goodwill toward men is highlighted in the Christmas celebration and its many carols that are sung.  Even those that don’t believe in any religion, atheists, wear the “peace sign” on jewelry, clothing, and anything that can display a symbol…so then, if everyone is for peace…why is there so much strife, fighting and war going on?   I believe the reason is all based on how one translates the word “peace”.

As I thought about what my interpretation of peace was,  my first thought was it means “no fighting” and images of a tranquil, calm scene came into my mind.  I looked up the word on an online dictionary site Merriam-Webster.com and read that the full definition of peace is

  1. a state of tranquillity or quiet: as  a :  freedom from civil disturbance  b :  a state of security or order within a  community provided for by law or custom <a breach of the peace>                                                                    
  2.  freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions  
  3.  harmony in personal relations     
  4. a :  a state or period of mutual concord between governments  b :  a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity 
  5. used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell.  

So I was pretty much right in the traditional sense of the word, but my love for word origins took over and I began to read further…

Middle English pees, from Anglo-French pes, pees, from Latin pac-, pax; akin to Latin pacisci to agree.

Hmmm…that got me thinking about what the meaning of peace is according to the Bible in the original languages it was written.  I  looked up the verse in Isaiah 9:6 where it says the Coming Messiah would be called the “Prince of peace” in the Interlinear Bible.  It shows the Hebrew word  shalom  which in Strong’s Concordance is defined as “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace.”  I also looked up  the verse in Philippians 4:9 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.  In that verse, which was written in Greek, the word is eiréné  which in Strong’s Concordance is translated as “one, peace, quietness, rest”.   Right below it on the page was the HELPS Word-Study from HELPS Ministries, Inc.  which added:   (from eirō, “to join, tie together into a whole“) – properly, wholeness, i.e. when all essential parts are joined together; peace (God’s gift of wholeness).

So what does all of this mean?  It brought me to this conclusion:  the true meaning of peace is completeness, wholeness and oneness when joined or tied together with…God. But, how does someone become one or in unity with God, the Creator?  Easy…by believing on the Prince of Peace referred to in Isaiah 9:6 which is Jesus Christ and receiving Him into your heart as Lord and Savior.  But, how do you know that verse is talking about Jesus?  I know because 2 Corinthians 5:18 tells us that God reconciled us to Himself through Christ. The reconciliation between God and man opens up a person’s soul to experience peace.   Furthermore, it is illustrated in the most popular quote from the Bible, John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  There is no other faith that has a Savior that atones for the sin of man.  There is no other faith that brings a message of grace and mercy from a Heavenly Father.  There is no other faith that offers salvation or freely gives everlasting life.

So there you have it!  I don’t know where Mr. Hendrix stood in regards to his faith, but his quote was quite profound and true.  The power of love comes only from God, because “God is love” (1 John 4:16).  By believing in Jesus Christ, that He died for the atonement of our sins, and rose again three days later, we are now one with God through Christ.  Peace is the result of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Experiencing God’s presence here on Earth is equal to nothing else.

So then, in answering the question “Will the world ever find peace?”  It’s all in how the world looks at it:  if it’s looking for an absence of conflict, no.  If it’s looking for true, everlasting peace,  it’s already here and available to those who call on the name Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace.

Have you receoved Jesus Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior?  If not, and you would like to, please pray this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

May you be blessed and enjoy His peace and presence!
 

You know, it’s interesting that the older I get, the more I appreciate the holiday of Thanksgiving. As a child it used to be my least favorite holiday. I mean, c’mon! We had to eat turkey and traditional side dishes, when I’d much rather fill my tummy with pizza, hamburgers and fries. There weren’t any fun, lively songs, no cute characters bringing me gifts or candy. Except for the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Program, there weren’t even holiday cartoons to look forward to. I’m glad to say I’ve grown up a lot since then and now see the things I took for granted as a kid such as gathering with loved ons and reflecting on the simple gifts and freedom I have as priceless treasures to be cherished, indeed.

As a Christian, I’m thankful to God to earn a living in a job that invests in the lives of children. I’m thankful that my school had a Thanksgiving Program that allowed us to sing about being grateful. I’m thankful to have a Christian principal and that we begin each day with the Pledge of Allegiance, the Texas Pledge and a moment of silence. I’m thankful to have my own home, transportation, the freedom to pursue my own interests. I’m thankful for family and friends who open up there homes to me, put up with my suddenly bursting out into to song at random moments and laugh at my unique, off-the-wall sense of humor. (Well, at least fifty percent of the time anyway…). And of course, I’m most grateful for my relationship with God, experiencing His presence and peace, and a future with great promises.

Anyway, that’s enough about me. If you are a U.S. citizen of the still greatest nation in the world, you still have blessings to count whether or not you acknowledge the existence of the One who has bestowed them upon you.  There are a few obvious ones during this time that very often get overlooked.   Most Americans can be thankful to live in a country that still takes a day to close schools and most businesses to gather with loved ones for the sole purpose of showing gratitude to our great Provider (I’m talking about God, not any elected officials!). You can be thankful to prepare and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal, be it turkey and dressing, tamales and jalapenos or brisket, dirty rice and collared greens (whatever your meal preferences). We don’t have to take rations of food determined by the government or go without any food at all. Even people that are homeless and jobless can be grateful to have the choice to stay in a shelter funded by charities and faith based organizations. They are given food and clothing until they are able to get through the hard times and get back on their feet.  There are those that opt out and choose the streets instead, but they still can be thankful to have that choice available to them.

Even if you are one who rolls with the latest trends in society, fashions and commericialized versions of “Turkey Day”, you can be thankful as you eat your fill, watch football (Go Texans!), take a big nap to later stand in line for Black Friday deals. It means you have food to eat, a couch or bed to crash on, and time to do as you wish, money to spend on your choice in electronics, appliances, games, toys and any other thing your heart desires being sold in stores.

There are some who may not feel they have much to be thankful for as they may find themselves alone. I’ve spent a few Thanksgivings holidays by myself so I can relate. You can still be thankful to relax at home, accomplish some things you haven’t had the time to do lately, look into volunteering at community Thanksgiving dinners, and think about things you can change so that you in the future you won’t find yourself alone if you don’t want to be. One year, I decided to go to a cafeteria style restaurant, Lubys, located here in Houston, for a traditional turkey dinner. While standing in line watching families interact, a lady in front of me turned around and began talking to me. It turned out her family was working so she invited me to eat with her, and another lady she met in front of her who was also alone that day. We had a nice meal and conversation and I was touched to not have to sit and eat alone.

There is another group of people who’s gratefulness may be overshadowed by the loss of a loved one. Nothing will make you miss them more than going through holidays without them. You will cry and feel  great sorrow, but if you allow God into your grief, He will carry you through and give you peace, strength and comfort. When you’re able to look past the ache of their absence, you can be thankful you had those people in your life and the lessons you learned as a result of your relationship with them. You can cherish their memories and let it bring a smile to your heart. Three years ago on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I got a call from my mom that my dad took a turn for the worse and was asking for me. I flew in that night and got to spend his last days on earth with him. I was also given one of my greatest gifts that weekend and that was the opportunity to lead my dad into receiving Christ into his heart the night before he died. I know that I know that I know that I will see him again in Heaven.

I’m so thankful to have God’s promise of Heaven. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” I’m grateful that every hardship and trial I’ve ever endured will some day pay off in the everlasting joy and peace that is promised by God, who is faithful and true.  There is a glorious age to come to those who choose to believe and receive.   If you haven’t made this choice, I hope you will today!  It’s the best!

Be blessed! Happy Thanksgiving!