I could not be more ready!!

Christmas is almost here!!! I for one am more excited than I have been in many years. I find it almost laughable because I still find myself unemployed and continually asking God “when”? When will this nightmare end? However my story is not unlike those in Bethlehem, or Jerusalem, so many years ago. FINALLY, God delivered on his promise. I have no doubt many were frustrated with God, wanting him to fulfill his covenant centuries before Christ was actually born. Although my life has unprecedented freedom, I can still relate to all those who anxiously anticipated the fulfillment of God’s word.
The celebration I am looking forward to, is not one of triumph. I know on December 26, life goes on. But for a brief period, a single day, I am reminded every year that God keeps his word. It may take a while, but he will deliver on everything he has promised. I am so thankful, grateful, inspired and just plain overwhelmed by how great my God is.
Happy Birthday Jesus may I please come to know you better. That is my Christmas wish this year.

Are you related to Christ.

What if you were to find documentation from family or Ancestry.com that directly  linked your lineage to Christ? Would that change anything. Sometimes I wonder how knowledge of our ancestry shapes who we are today. I think about spending time on my Granddaddy’s farm as a boy. I recollect  the work he put into his land and how much he seemed to enjoy his life. I take pride in being related to that man, and to that part of Americana. He taught me the value of a front porch, a fly swatter and the art of conversation.
I also come from a long line of Navy Men. At least 4 generations have served this country, and I take pride in that as well. Honoring Veterans Day and Memorial Day for those brave men and women who gave so much. People, family, I never knew are still influencing my personality. Therefore their relation to me has a direct correspondence to my actions. I don’t  know if this is so with others. However, their must be value in our heritage as an “Ancestry.Com” ad seems to pop up once every hour. So I can’t help but wonder if I was a direct descendant of Christ’s lineage would that change anything.
Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He referred to God as “Father”. I believe that I as well have the Holy Spirit  residing in me and that God, creator of the  heavens and earth is also my creator. My Father. So does that make Christ my brother? Are we family? If so than everyone around me is a relative. Maybe a very distant relative, but family just the same.

Jesus Wept

Jesus wept’: Finding God’s comfort when times are tough

By Joe Iovino*
November 13, 2014

The average week’s worth of news can seem so bleak sometimes.  It can feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us……

We all know people who have received devastating diagnoses, and others who were called into the boss’ office and in an instant were unemployed.

When we hear distressing stories like these, we turn to our faith for answers, but often the answers don’t come easily. There are mostly questions. What are people of faith to do in the midst of overwhelming tragedy and strife?

Jesus wept
The shortest verse in the Bible, in the King James Version at least, is just two words, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Though only 10 characters, too short even to tweet, that verse has tremendous significance, especially when we are struggling to find hope.

Jesus weeps in the midst of comforting his friends Mary and Martha who are grieving the death of their brother Lazarus. Yes, that Lazarus. The one famous for being raised by Jesus.

Jesus is out of town when he hears of Lazarus’ illness. Rather than adjusting his plans to go visit this friend whom he loves (John 11:3), Jesus instead decides to stay where he is for a couple of days. He tells the disciples Lazarus’ illness will somehow serve the glory of God, and that God’s Son will be glorified through it (John 11: 4).

By the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus has been dead four days. Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, are understandably miffed at the lack of urgency Jesus showed. In their own way, each of them expresses their frustration with him. They are convinced their brother would not have died if Jesus had come when he was first summoned (John 11: 21, 32).

There, watching the grief of this family and community, Jesus begins to cry. There is debate as to why, John doesn’t tell us, but I am convinced it is out of empathy for the pain of those he loves. In that moment, Jesus was feeling Mary and Martha’s grief, their sense of hopelessness, their pain and loss. So he cries.

Comfort
There is comfort in knowing we don’t worship a stoic God. The God we know in Christ Jesus feels our pain and knows our loss. He weeps with us.

We also worship a God who can take our frustration. Mary and Martha vent, and so can we. As it is in any healthy relationship, we need to be open and honest with those we love, even when we are angry with them. If anyone can take it, certainly Jesus can.

It is also a comforting reminder that even while we are going through our pain, and Jesus feels far from us, it is not because he doesn’t love us. He loved Lazarus, the Bible tells us, even while not taking his illness from him.

New life
Lazarus’ story does not end with his death. At his tomb, Jesus calls Lazarus’ name and the crowds watch in disbelief as Lazarus emerges…alive. While Mary and Martha thought Jesus had come too late to help, we learn there is never a “too late” with God.

We may believe our situation is hopeless. We may not see a solution. We may not have a clue how to get out of the mess in which we find ourselves. In Jesus, though, there is always hope. There is always the possibility of new life, not just some day in the great by-and-by, but here in this life. This is the whole point of Jesus’ resurrection – new life today, and a new life to come.

Operator please connect

I don’t  know what it is, or how God works. Not too long ago I awoke and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. I hadn’t done anything, for whatever reason, that moment I felt connected to God.
But for some reason I can’t seem to hold the connection. It seems to come and go. Certainly at times during worship it seems to manifest itself, rather than other times when I feel so distant. If I had it my way I would prefer to walk evert step of my life filled with the Holy Spirit and beaming with the Grace of God. Only it doesn’t seem to work that way. I have to continually seek and pursue new methods of contact. Please don’t miss understand, I know God is with us, Loves Us and wants desperately to be #1 in our lives. If we desire the same it takes the desire of a continuous seeking spirit to make it happen. That can be exhausting. But, I keep thinking about what I am after; peace, joy, love, hope..a personal relationship with my Christ. I have to remind myself about what it is I am really after and is it worth all this time and effort.
To intimately know God and his Son with the help of the Holy Spirit is worth everything I have or possibly could give. Please Father, help us all find our way to you.
Amen.

Hush Up

Matthew 10 – Jesus is sending out the 12 Disciples to preach to the “lost sheep of Israel”.

27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.

I was reading this passage and I wanted to write this down for future discussion.

This passage takes place as Jesus is sending his disciples out to tell Israel “The Messiah” has indeed arrived. What stopped me as I read through these verses was the reference to Jesus whispering his directions to his disciples even though they were seperated. I believe Christ still communicates with us during our quiet times. God has a plan and a purpose for everyone who serves him. In order to understand it, I must be still enough,quiet enough, to hear his whisper. I want deny that I really wish his voice would be audible over all the chaos going on around me, instead of a faint voice, so easily missed. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how and what God wants us to do? Instead of wondering if the path taken is really the path God intended me to walk. As a Christian, this is by far one of the most frustrating aspects of living a life of service. Maybe God is talking to me and I just can’t hear him. Maybe if I made a more conscience effort I might hear his whisper. I wanted to keep this verse close to me as a reminder. Be still, be quiet, listen to what God is trying so desperately to tell you.