Sunday, December 30, 2012

Time for Change

Getting ready for the New Year most people clean up things a bit.  I have a routine at the end of each year, which includes taking stock of personal papers, boxing up old billing documents, tax papers, and other essential items.  Then, I start things anew with a fresh filing system for the year ahead. 

My blog page will change a few times before I settle on a new template, design, and color.  Do not be surprised to see the blog changing over the next few days.  It takes me a while to decide what I really want.  I hope to be finished by Tuesday, January 1, 2013.  

Have you given much thought to the New Year?  Now is the time to contemplate.  Grab a cup or glass of your favorite beverage and curl up in a warm spot with a view or get outside weather permitting; and breathe deep, relax and let the creative juices flow.

I hope this will be a year for all those who want to move on from the last decade to get ready and push through into a new era.  Dump the garbage, sweep out the trash, and paint your walls a new color.  Buy new furniture or refurbish what you want to keep.  Do not throw out the good with the bad, but edit and evaluate what you keep.  

Moving forward does require an action plan.  Therefore, dream, write, and act.  Seek wisdom, discuss details, and take the necessary action to secure passage.  New vistas abound over the ridgeview.  Never settle for someone else's point of view, their perspective could be way off, especially if they have mi optic vision and need glasses to see clearly themselves.  
Have a vision, seek wisdom, plan, and act.
  Have a Happy New Year 2013!   

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Reflection: Celebrate!

Today, 
celebrate what Christ has done, 
knowing He will complete His promise and come again to gather His people;
 The Church,
to Himself.

In 
faith,
hope,
and
love,
we wait
with joy
His coming again.

Photo

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Reflection: LOVE

LOVE...
is patient, 
is kind,
does not envy,
 does not boast,
 is not proud,
 does not dishonor others,
 is not self-seeking,
 is not easily angered,
 keeps no record of wrongs,
 does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth,
 always protects, 
always trusts,
 always hopes,
 always perseveres. 
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

References or links to help in expressing love to others see the following:  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Reflection: HOPE

HOPE confident expectation of good.

What is it or whom do you hope for?  Next time you find yourself hoping for something or someone you may want to meditate on this verse from...
1 Thessalonians 2:18-20

18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hopeour joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy. 

Do you know who Christ had hope in?  Do you know the joy that was set before Him?

*********************************************

Confidence in the one who keeps His promises, a trust in that what one says He does.  

1 Peter 1:2-4
2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:  Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Praise to God for a Living Hope
 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you...

*********************************************************************

Do you have an expectation of good?  Do you hope for good things or good people 

1 Peter 1:20-22 (New International Version)
20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
 22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[aFootnotes:  a. 1 Peter 1:22 some early manuscripts from a pure heart.

*******************************************************************************************

Again, in what or whom do you HOPE?

Faith in Action

Hebrews 11:1-3
 1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.
 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Hope in Christ's Coming Again

Hebrews 10:22-25
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswerving to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 

HOPE 
confident expectation
 of good.

Christ is coming again!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dave Brubeck Dies, Another True Artist Gone


Dave Brubeck Dies at 91

He Helped Put Jazz Back in Vogue 



TAKE FIVE
The Classic Jazz Song Of All Time!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Reflection: FAITH

Beginning today, December, 2, 2012, is the start of the Advent season for the modern day Christian church. Therefore, I find it necessary to list a few definitions to start with before I offer up questions to ponder or reflect on. The questions are personal and will require more thought then you think at first. The answers are deeper then you realize and require something of yourself.

Advent:
1. a coming into place, view, or being; arrival: the advent of the holiday season.
2. ( usually initial capital letter  ) the coming of Christ into the world.
3. ( initial capital letter  ) the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas,
    observed in commemoration of the coming of Christ into the world.
4. ( usually initial capital letter  ) Second Coming.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Who is Jesus ChristWhat does the Bible say about Jesus’ deity as God's Son?

Does the Bible, which is the earliest and most historically reliable source, actually say Jesus is God? What does it tell us about Jesus and His identity?

Let’s take a brief look at a few of the many passages that clearly and consistently answer that question, straight from the pages of Scripture. We’ll begin by going back an additional 700 years before the life of Christ, to the Old Testament book of Isaiah, the old testament of the Hebrew People.


Jesus is God – Prophecies

  • Divine Messiah predicted in the Old Testament
    Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel.”1

    “ Emmanuel” literally means: “God with us.” See also Matthew 1:23; Jesus was “God with us.”
  • This Messiah would be born a human son, but have a higher nature
    Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

    This was a radical statement coming from a monotheistic Jewish prophet -- especially calling a human being “Mighty God”; but one that God fulfilled centuries later in Christ.
  • A couple hundred years later, but still more than half a millennium before Jesus walked the earth, more was predicted about the Messiah’s divine nature
    Daniel 7:13-14: “There before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven . . . He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

    “Son of Man” was the primary title Jesus used for Himself -- and this passage shows that this was a clear and strong claim of deity. And in Mark, the earliest of the four Gospels, He also included the unmistakable phrase, “coming on the clouds of heaven” and applied it to Himself (Mark 14:62). His listeners got the point, refused to believe it, and added it to their reasons to try to kill Him.
Jesus is God – His Earthly Ministry
  • The baby Jesus worshiped by the Magi
    Matthew 2:11: “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.”

    Along with being led to the site where Jesus was born, these Magi were apparently informed by God about Jesus’ divine identity, and so they responded appropriately by worshiping Him.
  • Jesus accepted worship from His disciples
    Matthew 14:32-33: “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”

    In a Jewish culture, only the one true God can be worshiped; their actions show that they acknowledged Jesus as being divine. And Jesus didn't correct them or say, “Don’t you realize that I’m just a mortal prophet? Stop worshiping me!” Rather, He accepted their worship, knowing He really was God in human flesh.
  • Jesus’ claim about Himself
    John 8:58-59: "‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.”

    This is a powerful double claim from Jesus: first, that He pre-existed His human birth and was actually alive and present (as God) before Abraham; second, that His title was “I am” -- which was the same title used for Jehovah God in Exodus 3:14. His listeners again got the point, and picked up stones to execute Him!
  • Another of Jesus’ claims of deity
    John 10:30-33: “‘I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’”

    It couldn't be clearer than it is here: Jesus’ highly educated listeners understood His claim of deity. They only had two possible responses: to humble themselves and bow before Him as the Magi and the disciples had done earlier, or reject His claim and judge Him as a blasphemer. Unfortunately they chose the latter option. But notice that Jesus doesn’t argue with their accusation, because it was accurate. He really was claiming to be God!
  • Thomas’ response to the resurrected Jesus
    John 20:27-29: “Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’"

    This disciple realized, because of Jesus’ resurrection, who Jesus really was -- and humbly worshiped Him and declared His true identity: “My Lord and my God!” Jesus not only accepts this declaration, but blesses all of the disciples -- and all of us today -- who come to the same realization and place of humble worship.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Faith
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.  
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be
    substantiated by fact.  
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the
    Pilgrims.  
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same
    faith with someone concerning honesty.  
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.  
6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: 
    Failure to appear would be breaking faith.  
7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, 
    etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.  
8. Christian Theology . the trust in God and in His promises as made through
    Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hopefully, you now have some basic understanding of Advent as the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas; observed in commemoration of the coming of Christ into the world a second time.  And who Jesus Christ is, God's son who died that you may live an abundant life, reconciled to God.   Faith a confidence or trust in a person or thing, a trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved, an obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, or engagement.

What does all this mean?

Do you believe in or have faith in Jesus Christ personally?  Do you have a “good” understanding of who He is and the “good news” he taught and preached and lived?  Have you truly heard the gospel of grace?

Make it personal and ask what can I do during the next four weeks of Advent to grow in faith?  Read the daily readings and think about what they are saying. (I will have links at the end of this reflection that will aid one in ones studies.)  Listen to sermons about Jesus.  Serve others with abandon to ones-self. 

When you have an in-depth knowledge of who Jesus Christ is and faith in who He is Advent takes on more meaning, a new beginning like you have never known.  I hope that this Advent will be a season of growing in ones personal faith, a knowing of the depth of God’s love for you personally.

Advent Prayer:
May you be enveloped in the love of God this Advent understanding the depth of Christ’s personal commitment to you.   May you in return have faith in what He has promised, the covenant of redemption, of reconciliation with God.  May you live the abundant life Christ promised. 

Romans 5:17 (NIV) 
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:17 (Message)
Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man's sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God's gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There's no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man's wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?