Courage and Place

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Friends, today I learned something new about myself and more importantly how others sometimes see me.  I’ll be honest, not my best day.  Nonetheless, a good day because I learned something new.  I have a friend, who is also a coworker who cared enough to have a difficult conversation to me.  He has often helped me to see and understand situations and/or events in ways I never imagined.  He easily could have just kept his thoughts to himself but he didn’t, he made a conscious choice to offer some words of encouragement, criticism and wisdom to me.  He presented a critique of how I interact with specific individuals verse others.   His words came from a place of being constructive and not destructive and I have a tremendous amount respect for my friend along with his tenacity and intellect, all of which he would deny.  I have so much to be thankful for, God has blessed me with friends who have strong Christian faith and convictions to their faith with in my personal life as well as my professional life.

I have always enjoyed learning and growing but today I recognized that to be successful in this endeavor one must be in perpetual motion to accomplish it.   After some time of serious thought and quiet time, I realized that I have allowed myself to become “proud” even edging towards “arrogance” in the manner in which I project myself with and towards others.  While there’s nothing wrong with self-confidence and accepting accolades from others, it all must be kept in perspective.  My perspective as of late has been less than a true reflection.  I am not perfect, I am not in control and I definitely do not hold a monopoly on all the right answers.  My way is not the only way, I am not so independent that I never need help.  Life is the ebb and flow, taking and receiving, stopping and starting, moving forward and stepping backwards, turning right and sometimes turning left.  I was also able to see the difference between passion and emotion today, I am passionate about a lot of things in life and I am an emotional person as well.  Somehow I have meshed these two qualities together and blurred the lines that distinguish the two.  For me, passion is more than emotion, its focus, it’s desiring something and having plans to attain, complete or accomplish.  With emotions, it’s raw, unfiltered, unruly at times, often irrational and disconnected. I want to be a passionate individual and not merely an emotional one.

My plan:

• Start anew each day, everyday as an opportunity to start over again.  God’s mercies are new every day!

“Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.” -Lamentations 3:22-23

• I will strive to listen more and pause before speaking with others.

“Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry.” -James 1:19

• I will think of the consequences of criticizing others.

“Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. You’ll receive the same judgment you give. Whatever you deal out will be dealt out to you. Why do you see the splinter that’s in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when there’s a log in your eye? You deceive yourself! First take the log out of your eye, and then you’ll see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye.” -Matthew 7:1-5

• I am going to give praise to those who deserve it.

“Each person should test their own work and be happy with doing a good job and not compare themselves with others.” -Galatians 6:4

• I will seek forgiveness and I will forgive.

“Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other.” -Colossians 3:13

• I will love as Christ loves me.

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.” -Matthew 22:37-39

Lastly, I am thankful for the courage of friends, blessings from God and for God’s guidance to find my place in this world.

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

https://henrinouwen.org/meditation/embracing-the-true-self/

Season of Epiphany – Epiphany of the Lord

 

I am sharing the sermon I heard on Sunday, January 6, 2019 with you today. I do apologize for the delay, I had started to actually blog about the sermon with some of my own thoughts included but during the process I somehow erased the whole thing. In my defeated moment I took it as a divine interaction and decided to not try and recreate the post. What I will share is this, I am truly excited and passionate at hearing the advent stories our church has just concluded and thrilled to be part of Epiphany and seeking new experiences through Lent 2019. In some cases it’s like hearing the stories for the first time though I’ve heard them many times since I was a child. The wonders of God never cease and if we are willing to seek and listen there’s more to learn about God and Jesus. The sermon I’m sharing today peaked my interest in re-reading historical facts about the place, time and rulers in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ birth. It’s a history lesson and a biblical lesson all tied together. I rediscovered facts I had learned long ago while studying history while in college. It was a lovely memory to rekindle, not just the history class and the Professor teaching, but the whole college experience came back to me. I could sense the smell of the brick building, feel the wood and metal of desk arm chairs, and sense the camaraderie of the people I shared a semester learning history and life in general. Little did I know that years later, I would be moved by that experience. That my friends is God! Not mere coincidences, luck or memory muscles…God had been working and preparing me for life way back then! I have a bible verse that is special to me, in fact I have it hanging on the dash of my car so I see it every day I’m driving. It is Esther 4:14, “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.” We have all been born/created for and with a purpose, you are a child of God! Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

 

I hope you find newness this sermon and in the scripture verses attached.

January 6, 2019

A Deceitful Promise

Matthew 2:1-12

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.” When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote: You, Bethlehem, land of Judah, by no means are you least among the rulers of Judah, because from you will come one who governs, who will shepherd my people Israel. ” Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him.” When they heard the king, they went; and look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.”

~Peace~

Charlotte

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

https://triciarobinson.com/

2019 – My One Word “Peace”

Welcome 2019!

“Let the Lord give strength to his people! Let the Lord bless his people with peace!” -Psalm 29:11

Today starts a new day, a new chapter and a brand new year! It’s good to know that we get a new opportunity at life every single day thanks to the grace of God! God’s enormous love and generosity and Jesus’ selfless sacrifice on the cross. I am looking forward to the journey ahead in the coming year, the opportunities God will provide and for the ability to share God’s love and message of “PEACE” to the world.

I am embarking on a path of peace in the coming year. I truly believe that God and the Holy Spirit have laid the word, “Peace” on my heart for numerous reasons. I feel like I’m being called to seek peace in all that I do, in all that I say, in my professional life, my personal life, my life in its entirety. Peace is, in my opinion is about seeking to listen more, especially listening before responding. Listening before making decisions. Peace is responding with respect, most especially when I may not be in agreement with someone. Peace is not about cowering or giving in to something or someone you absolutely do not agree with, it can be about compromise and should be about the good of all concerned. Peace can be saying things that are uncomfortable and difficult to say and even more so to hear. Peace is truth! Peace is an action word with responsibilities.

I am entering into this knowing that peace will not be easy, if it were…well, we would have peace. I know this will be challenging for me and I know there will be days that I will fail. I’m just being real and practical, I do not want to set myself up for disappointment and self ridicule for messing up. I’m going to have bad days, life is hard and I am human after all. I’m not saying this to give myself a pass, I’m just saying this is my plan, my goal for 2019…to strive for peace and to promote peace whenever and wherever I can but this “peace” can only be attained when it starts with me. No finger-pointing and blaming others, nope, this absolutely must start with me.

I truly hope you will follow me on this journey and you give pause to “peace” may it find you and fill you as well in 2019. I’ve listed some definitions and references below that you might be interested in viewing. Until next time…peace!

“The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his face to you and grant you peace.” -Numbers 6:25-26

Merriam-Webster Definition of Peace:

• a state of tranquility or quiet

• freedom from civil disturbance

• a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom

• freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions

• harmony in personal relations

• a state or period of mutual concord between governments

• a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity

• used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell

• to be, become, or keep silent or quiet

The Hebrew Meaning of Peace:

Shalom (Hebrew: שָׁלוֹם‬ shalom; also spelled as sholom, sholem, sholoim, shulem) is a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility and can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye. … The word shalom is also found in many other expressions and names.

-Wikipedia

Peace (In The Bible)

The Hebrew word for peace, šālôm,translated in the Septuagint most often by the Greek word, eirēnē, has a wide semantic range including the notions of totality or completeness, success, fulfillment, wholeness, harmony, security and well-being.

Peace in the OT. The most comprehensive description of shalom is a cosmic order ordained by God through creation (Gn 1) and established with God’s people in the covenant (Ex 20–23). In this cosmic order each part finds its meaning and function as it conforms to God’s purpose. Shalom describes the “realm where chaos is not allowed to enter” (Hanson, 347), chaos being understood as sickness, war, social strife, or the violation of the covenant.

-New Catholic Encyclopedia

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.”

-John 14:27

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shalom

https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/peace-bible

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

https://www.peacestartswithme.com/

First Sunday after Christmas Day • White (Lectionary – disciples.org)

Thank December 30, 2018

Hello internet friends and blog followers! Thank you so much for visiting my site. So, here we are at the first Sunday after Christmas, the Sunday after celebrating the birth of Jesus. I hope you were all able to celebrate in the manner most precious to you. I had the privilege of having the day off work and was able to travel to visit with family. I had the opportunity to exchange gifts, eat some good food, give some gifts and take photos to help commemorate the day. So, where do we go from here (?) Most likely the decorations are coming down or will be soon, the leftover food has been consumed and gifts have found their way to a resting spot or useful area. Do we just return to life as it was before this season of Advent started(?). I truly hope that is not the case. In the church calendar of events, today is the First Sunday after Christmas and January is the next season and it is called “Epiphany.” I have been researching the lectionary of the church that I attend and that I am a member of, Disciples of Christ. I found several scripture passages for today, my assumption is that not all are meant to be looked at all together at the same time but rather a schedule of readings for a specific year but since I’m not exactly sure I have decided to include all four passages in today’s entry. This way you can see if a particular one speaks directly to you. The first one is from a familiar writer we have been reading during Advent, Luke. In Luke chapter two, we are told about Jesus attending the Passover in Jerusalem when he was 12 years old. Luke does not provide much history of Jesus’ life from birth to age 12. In fact, this is the only biblical reference to Jesus’ childhood. In Luke’s story, we read that Jesus was at the Temple sitting and listening to the teachers and posing questions. When the Passover was completed, Mary and Joseph along with several others began their journey home and after traveling a whole day thinking Jesus was with others in the group and then could not be found, they returned to Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple with the teachers and scholars. Mary was relieved that he was found and upset that he had not been with the group. Jesus, replied “why were you looking for me?” Now…I’m not a parent but I can imagine how worried and frantic Mary must have been and typical answer of a child, innocently saying, “why were you looking for me?” As if to say, I wasn’t lost, I knew exactly where I was and what I was doing! After a brief exchange and conversation the story tells us that Jesus returned obediently with Mary and Joseph and continue to grow up, maturing in wisdom, years and favor with God and people.

We should not let ourselves get lost in the world and just return to what life was like before Advent, we should continue the season of growing and expand our minds and our lives to be more Christlike. Which brings me to the second passage used today, Colossians chapter three, we are given instructions from God about our behaviors and attitudes. We are to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We are to forgive one another and teach one another. And, in all things give thanks to God. I know myself, and I still need to practice each one of these. As a point of clarification here, God wants us to be Christlike and to do these things and God is not asking for perfection. He knows we are sinful and we are not perfect but this should not hinder us from trying to be the best we can be.

The next scripture is from the Old Testament, Psalm 148 written by David and is listed as a solemn and earnest call to all creatures, according to their ability, to praise the Creator, and to show his everlasting power and his Godhead, the things unseen that can be viewed in things that are seen. It is a beautiful chapter enlisting the praises of all things to the Creator of all! Thanks be to God! Praise Be To God For All He Has Done!

The last passage referenced for today is also from the Old Testament, it’s from Samuel and tells the story of young Samuel being presented to Eli the priest. Eli and his sins were to be training Samuel but as the story progresses we find that Eli’s two sons found to be unfit to tutor Samuel. We also read that Hannah offered her son Samuel to God as a living sacrifice, much like Abraham had done with Isaac. Samuel found favor in the Lord and as Hannah lent her son to the Lord, she was recompensed with five more children. Trusting in God for God’s deliverance.

I am going to continue my search for wisdom and truth into the next season, I hope you will join me on this journey. God is still working in and through all of us, let’s do it together.

I will be sharing another post very soon explaining more about my 2019 agenda very soon. God has been speaking to me in many way and I have been tremendously blessed through many conversations during Advent. I have enjoyed sharing stories with you and look forward to whatever the next season brings. May the Lord Bless and Keep you all!

12-year-old Jesus in the Temple by Carl Bloch

Luke 2:41-52

“Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. When he was 12 years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to their custom. After the festival was over, they were returning home, but the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t know it. Supposing that he was among their band of travelers, they journeyed on for a full day while looking for him among their family and friends. When they didn’t find Jesus, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple. He was sitting among the teachers, listening to them and putting questions to them. Everyone who heard him was amazed by his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were shocked. His mother said, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Listen! Your father and I have been worried. We’ve been looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he said to them. Jesus went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. His mother cherished every word in her heart. Jesus matured in wisdom and years, and in favor with God and with people.”

godsfingerprints.co

Colossians 3:12-17

Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.”

From Gospel to Life – From Life to Gospel francisanseculars.com

Psalm 148

“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from heaven! Praise God on the heights! Praise God, all of you who are his messengers! Praise God, all of you who comprise his heavenly forces! Sun and moon, praise God! All of you bright stars, praise God! You highest heaven, praise God! Do the same, you waters that are above the sky! Let all of these praise the Lord’s name because God gave the command and they were created! God set them in place always and forever. God made a law that will not be broken. Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all you ocean depths! Do the same, fire and hail, snow and smoke, stormy wind that does what God says! Do the same, you mountains, every single hill, fruit trees, and every single cedar! Do the same, you animals—wild or tame— you creatures that creep along and you birds that fly! Do the same, you kings of the earth and every single person, you princes and every single ruler on earth! Do the same, you young men—young women too!— you who are old together with you who are young! Let all of these praise the Lord’s name because only God’s name is high over all. Only God’s majesty is over earth and heaven. God raised the strength of his people, the praise of all his faithful ones— that’s the Israelites, the people who are close to him. Praise the Lord!”

Hannah Presents Samuel to Eli

goodsalt.com

1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26

Now Samuel was serving the Lord. He was a young boy, clothed in a linen priestly vest. His mother would make a small robe for him and take it to him every year when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife: “May the Lord replace the child of this woman that you gave back to the Lord.” Then they would return home. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel kept growing up and was more and more liked by both the Lord and the people.”

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

https://www.google.com/search?q=jesus+at12+at+the+temple&client=safari&channel=ipad_bm&prmd=isvn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj72sal88bfAhVI_IMKHfBmBP4Q_AUoAXoECA0QAQ&biw=375&bih=549#imgrc=9fFq-cw-C9xZ6M

https://godsfingerprints.co/collections/painted-verses/products/clothed-in-love

https://www.goodsalt.com/details/prcas0757.html

http://franciscanseculars.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Spring-Grove-Cemetery-2.jpg

https://disciples.org/resources/lectionar

Fourth Tuesday of Advent – Gift

Christmas Day – December 25, 2018

Isaiah 9:6

Isaiah 9:6, “A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and authority will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

Gift:

• a notable capacity, talent, or endowment

• something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation

• the act, right, or power of giving

Below s a screenshot from my devotional for today from an app I use on my smartphone. I love how God works in our lives. I am enormously BLESSED!

Christmas Day has arrived, we are celebrating the birth of Jesus. The prophecy spoken by Isaiah had come to fruition. We celebrate with all in heaven and praise God for His gift of salvation. We are given grace and mercy, not because we are worthy or deserving – No, they are gifts of God! Jesus, Wonderful Counselor, He invites each of us into a personal and intimate friendship. He cares deeply and passionately for all creation. He knows your heart, your wishes and your dreams. He knows our faults, our sins and wants to forgive you. We must answer the call and surrender to Him. Let Him be your “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace!”

Jesus, by choosing to be born human, just like you and me, is relatable, is approachable and is fully human and fully divine.

“Thank God for his gift that words can’t describe!” -2 Corinthians 9:15

“The wages that sin pays are death, but God’s gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:23

“You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed.” -Ephesians 2:8

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I am in awe at your willingness to come down to earth from heaven to be my Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace. All praise to you! Amen.

I will like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you who have supported me throughout Advent, I am blessed to have contacts around the world! It is incredible that the love of Jesus and the story of His birth can be shared on multiple continents. I also would like to thank my church family for sharing this advent study and reading, what an honor to worship with you at ACC! To my closest friends, your words of encouragement feed my soul! This space has grown into more than I imaged and has become a ministry in a way, I am grateful for the journey and your companionship along the way. I look forward to sharing in many more things in the future.

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

The Holy Bible CEB

https://www.biblegateway.com

www.abingdonpress.com

https://www.merriam-webster.

Fourth Monday of Advent – Christmas Eve – Follow

December 24, 2018

Luke 2:10-14

Luke 2:10-11, “The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord.”

Follow:

• to go, proceed, or come after

• to engage in as a calling or way of life

• to walk or proceed along

• to be or act in accordance with

• to accept as authority

• to pursue in an effort to overtake

• to seek to attain

• to come into existence or take place as a result or consequence of

• to come or take place after in time, sequence, or order

• to copy after

• to watch steadily

• to keep the mind on

• to attend closely

• to keep abreast of

• to understand the sense or logic of (something, such as a line of thought)

• to subscribe to the feed of (someone or something) especially on social media

• to go or come after a person or thing in place, time, or sequence

• to result or occur as a consequence, effect, or inference

• as comes next

• to go in a straight or obvious course

• to follow an example set

Don’t be afraid! This phrase appears in the Bible approximately 365 times per my “Google” search!

Welcome Christmas Eve, this is a time of waiting, preparing and hoping. It’s a time of uncertainty, a time of trusting. Just as the shepherds were told by the angels to not be afraid, Jesus is telling us not to be afraid. Jesus is calling us to follow Him, Jesus has overcome all obstacles this life has to offer and He was triumphant and victorious! The writer of the pamphlet reminds us that change is frightening. It’s also been said that change is hard and difficult, I find change to be very challenging, it’s making a deliberate action to do something we would normally not do. That indeed is scary! I struggle when life throws me a curveball, when my routine changes, I get comfortable and even develop some stubbornness. Now, with that being said, I have found surprising results when I have relented and moved with changes. Changes are happening all the time, we only really notice them when they have a direct impact or effect upon our lives. Change is good, I have found out. We get to see life through a different lens, experience life in a new way. It can be freeing to let go of things no longer needed or even of value. Following Jesus is a surrender of self to Jesus and to seek His will for our lives.

The birth of Jesus changed the world and it sent the world into a tilt-a-whirl! I know that Jesus was born over two thousand years ago, yet I am excited about His birth today, filled with anticipation just like the wise men and the shepherds. We still seek Jesus, the child at this season. We recognize the sacrifice of leaving heaven, being born into less than perfect conditions and lived a challenging life. He led by example and loves all creation.

Fear is a liar, it keeps you from being the person you were created to be. Let your light shine, follow Jesus to great expectations. Do Not Be Afraid!

Prayer: Lord, may I fear not and live in joy! Amen.

Thank you for you support, your prayers and for sharing this Advent journey with me, it has been a blessing.

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

The Holy Bible CEB

Additional Reading:

 

Fourth Sunday of Advent – Redemption

December 23, 2018

Luke 2:21-38

Luke 2:34b-35a, “This boy is assigned to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that generates opposition so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed…”

Redemption:

• the act, process, or an instance of redeeming

Redeeming:

• serving to offset or compensate for a defect

Biblical Definition of Redemption:

• the purchase back of something that had been lost, by the payment of a ransom *The Greek word so rendered is apolutrosis , a word occurring nine times in Scripture, and always with the idea of a ransom or price paid

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and we light a candle representing “love.” We have read, heard, seen and learned of love because God loved us. Today, we ask for God’s guidance to enact that love within us. We seek to live out that love, the world needs more love now than ever before. We need to remember God’s love for each of us and that we are called to share the love of Jesus with everyone.

Our pamphlet reading today tells us of the day Jesus was taken to the Temple to be presented, forty days after his birth. Mary and Joseph were following the Leviticus decrees and the Laws of Moses. The writer, Sue Mink has again opened my eyes to parts of Jesus’ birth story that I have missed in the telling of the story year after year. In Luke 2:25, we are introduced to a righteous man by the name of Simeon, in whom the Holy Spirit rested upon. Simeon had been told that he would see the Lord’s Messiah before his death. Simeon revealed things to Mary and Joseph and to those witnessing this event, things that would happen to Jesus and because of Jesus. Also, in Luke 2:36, we are introduced to yet another person witnessing all these things, Luke tells us her name is Anna and she was a prophet/prophetess. Anna praises God and spoke about Jesus and the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke does not provide any additional information about Anna but being curious I did find some additional information about her and will post it under reference for you to look at if you are interested.

The reason I mention Simeon and Anna is that they both held a purpose in Jesus story, our Christmas Story. In fact, I am going to go as far as saying anyone reading this, you are a part of the Jesus Christmas Story. The birth of Jesus is still relevant and meaningful today. We are in need of saving, we need a Savior. Yes, it’s true that Jesus died for the whole entire world and if you, YES YOU THE PERSON READING THIS RIGHT NOW WERE THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD…Jesus died just for you! That’s how much Jesus loves us. There’s no magic number or quota to be met. God created each of us individually and loves us individually. How awesome is that(?)!

Following Jesus takes a commitment, but it is also filled with rewarding delight. I love the words of our writer as she states, “the dangerous grace” that Jesus offers. I would also add, “radical love!”

Thank you for your continued support of this blog space, more importantly I hope you know Jesus in a real and personal way.

Prayer: Lord, May I accept your dangerous salvation. Amen.

~Peace and Blessings~

References

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

The Holy Bible CEB

https://www.biblegateway.com

www.abingdonpress.com

https://www.merriam-webster.com

https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/redemption/

https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&hl=en-us&q=Anna+the+Prophetess&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAOOQUeLUz9U3MDayzDGJkk7My0tUyE3NK8nMz0tNUcjMUyjJSFVIykzKST3FiFAIZRsZZ5mVQNmmhUaW5lC2RUWVYTaUbVhkUFF1ipEDxM6KN0-HMjMqKsuhTJPKtAwY0zi3Aso0Kiis-MUoArZaoaAovyAjtaRYIS8xN7W4gYURANbY-j63AAAA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjum4jGqrXfAhUhh-AKHceuBvMQs9oBKAAwF3oECA4QBQ&biw=375&bih=626

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/mary-simeon-or-anna-who-first-recognized-jesus-as-messiah/

https://www.liturgylink.net/2014/11/11/advent-candles-hope-peace-joy-love

Third Saturday of Advent – Grace

December 22, 2018

Matthew 2:16-17

Matthew 2:16, “When Herod knew the magi had fooled him, he grew very angry. He sent soldiers to kill all the children in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding territory who were two years old and younger…”

Grace:

• unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification

• a virtue coming from God

• a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance

• a special favor

• disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency

• a temporary exemption

• a charming or attractive traitor characteristic

• a pleasing appearance or effect

• ease and suppleness of movement or bearing

• a short prayer at a meal asking a blessing or giving thanks

• the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful

When I hear the word “grace” it can produce more than one visual for me, the most obvious is God’s Grace! One of my favorite verses is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul is speaking to Jesus and he writes these words, “He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.” So I’ll gladly spend my time bragging about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power can rest on me.”

The word “grace” appears in the New Testament more than 100 times depending on the translation. This tells me it’s an important word and we should pay attention to it, know what is means and why it’s mentioned so often.

Grace cannot be bought or sold, it can’t really be earned. It is extended to people out of love and kindness. God extends grace to each of us and not one of us deserves it. We can extend grace to others, our family and our friends because we love them no matter what happens or doesn’t happen. As the dictionary definition puts it, Grace is a virtue coming from God!

In today’s, reading the writer of the pamphlet revealed something new to me that I had never before realized. She shows the similarities of Moses and Jesus’ stories. In both cases, child genocide occurs, in Moses story it was the Pharaoh who had all the male children born to Hebrew women killed, because the number of Israelites was outnumbering the Egyptians. The story is recorded in Exodus 1:15-22. In the story of Jesus, it’s Herod who orders the deaths of male children two years and young put to death in today’s scripture Matthew 2:16. In both of these stories, God’s plan prevailed. God used these horrific events to save His people. He provided salvation for His children. I had never thought of these two significant stories as similar but they are and they show the power of God and His keen sense of always providing for His children. God’s grace saved Moses, and Jesus when they were only infants. God is continuing His reconciliation with mankind still today, more than two thousand years after Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Salvation is still being extended and God’s Grace is sufficient for all. I am becoming more acutely aware that I need and desire to extend more grace to people in my life. In some cases the motivation isn’t that they deserve it but that I don’t deserve it either and we are all doing the best we can, my goal for 2019 is to be more loving, more kind, more forgiving and to share more grace. None of us are perfect and we all need grace.

Thank you for sharing this Advent journey with me, may the Lord bless you and keep you now and forevermore.

Prayer: Oh Savior, May your plan of salvation deliver me from evil. Amen.

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

The Holy Bible CEB

https://www.biblegateway.com

www.abingdonpress.com

https://www.merriam-webster.com

https://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_WordCount.htm

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Exodus%201:15-22&version=C

Third Friday of Advent – Joy

December 21, 2018

Matthew 2:13-15Matthew 2:13, “When the magi had departed, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod will soon search for the child in order to kill him.”

image-41

Joy:

• the emotion evoked by well-being

• success

• good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires

• the expression or exhibition of such emotion

• a state of happiness or felicity

• a source or cause of delight

• to experience great pleasure or delight

What if I told you that true joy can only come from God. It is true, we can experience limited expressions of joy through our actions and accolades but lasting joy is found in knowing God as Lord and Savior. True joy is a state of security like no other, it’s knowing that God holds you within the palm of His hand. True joy is not the absence of bad things, it’s the strong foundation to withstand bad things. Joy is rising to meet each new day even while surrounded by uncertainty, joy is giving to someone in need, knowing that you have needs as well; trusting in God for deliverance. Joy is a righteous response to an uncertain world and mysterious future. We all have the opportunity to choose joy each new day. My hope and my prayer is that you experience “JOY” during this Christmas season and more importantly that you know Jesus as your personal Savior. He loves you, He created you and you most definitely have a plan and purpose! Let “joy” start with you! I’m letting “joy” start within me. ~Blessings to you~

Bible verses that speak of Joy:

“I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete.” -John 15:11

“Now I’m coming to you and I say these things while I’m in the world so that they can share completely in my joy.” -John 17:13

“and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.” -Hebrews 12:2

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13

The Joy of Jesus’ Birth:

“The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people.” -Luke 2:10

May the joy of CHRISTmas,

ring in your ears

may the hope it brings

rid you of your fears.

For unto this day,

a Child was born

a Savior to the world

one glorious morn.

May the joy of CHRISTmas,

fill you with cheer

may the peace it brings

last all throughout the year.

For unto us this day,

God sent us His Son

loved and begotten

to bring joy to everyone.

May the joy of CHRISTmas,

ring loud and clear

may the love that it brings

draw Jesus to you near!

~~~~~~

Luke 2:10

“And the angel said unto them,

Fear not: for, behold,

I bring you good tidings

of great joy,

which shall be to all people.”

King James Version

Public Domain

Copyright 2017

Deborah Ann Belka

Prayer: Lord Jesus, my heavenly King! May I be your faithful and loving servant! Amen.

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

https://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.abingdonpress.com

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%2015:11&version=CEB

https://poetrybydeborahan

Third Thursday of Advent – Star

December 20, 2018

Matthew 2:1-11

Matthew 2:11a, “They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him.”

Star:

• a natural luminous body visible in the sky especially at night

• a self-luminous gaseous spheroid celestial body of great mass which produces energy by means of nuclear fusion reactions

• a planet or a configuration of the planets thatis held in astrology to influence one’s destiny or fortune

• a waxing or waning fortune or fame

• a conventional figure with five or more points

Why do you suppose that the telling of Jesus’ birth is told so differently by the four gospels.

Matthew begins with explaining the lineage of Jesus, mentions King Herod of Jerusalem and the magic seeking the birth of the King of the Jews. And, then to the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the wise men/magi.

Mark’s Gospel starts out talking about “Good News” of Jesus Christ the Son of God referencing the prophet Isaiah telling of John the Baptist. John would prepare the way for Jesus. Mark skips the birth completely and goes right into Jesus being baptized and starting this ministry.

Luke thought it important to share the relationship of Zechariah, Elizabeth and their son John with that of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Luke also explains how and why Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem.

John, he takes a totally different approach towards Jesus’ existence. John places Jesus at/before the dawn of creation. Jesus has always been and will always be, He one with a God as the Holy Spirit is one with God, all 3 separate yet equal. John refers to Jesus as “the Word.” John then explains John the Baptist and his role in preparing the way for Jesus and the baptism of Jesus and His ministry.

Just as all Christians come to Christ for different reasons and cling to specific parts of His ministry, so did the writers of the four gospels. They each had a particular viewpoint of Jesus and because of these we are able to experience each of them. It is so wonderful to experience the birth of Jesus, the story is new each time we hear it and we are refreshed as we are able to continue to learn and recognize things that sometimes gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the season.

As we search our hearts and minds during this season of Advent, let us also be mindful of the “Star” God is still reaching out to all individuals, the lost, the down hearted, the least of us…

May you find rest and peace in Jesus this Advent Season. Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Prayer: Lord, may all the world worship the King of Heaven! Amen.

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

https://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.abingdonpress.com

https://www.merriam-webster.co