It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.

Author Unknown

Saturday, December 31, 2005

A NEW YEAR PRAYER



Holy Father,
God of our yesterdays, our today, and our tomorrows.
We praise You for Your unequaled greatness.
Thank You for the year behind us and for the year ahead.
Help us in Your new year, Father, to fret less and laugh more.
To teach our children to laugh by laughing with them.
To teach others to love by loving them.
Knowing, when Love came to the stable in Bethlehem, He came for us.
So that Love could be with us, and we could know You.
That we could share Love with others.
Help us, Father, to hear Your love song in every sunrise,
in the chriping of sparrows in our backyards,
in the stories of our old folks, and the fantasies of our children.
Help us to stop and listen to Your love songs,
so that we may know You better and better.
We rejoice in the world You loved into being.
Thank You for another new year and for new chances every day.
We pray for peace, for light, and for hope, that we might spread them to others.
Forgive us for falling short this past year.
We leave the irreparable past in your hands, and step out into the unknown new year knowing You will go with us.
We accept Your gift of a new year and we rejoice in what's ahead, depending on You to help us do exactly what You want..
I say it again, we rejoice!
In Jesus name,
Amen
.






A Blessed and very Happy New Year to you all!

'On Ya' - ma

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

REFLECTION FOR TODAY

I’m not doing a specific Bible Study right now,
so I thought I’d reflect on the readings we have for each day.

1 John 1:1-4

We can all become beloved disciples just like John!

What we read about John tells us how intently he listened to Jesus’ preaching and teaching, how closely he watched as Jesus healed and delivered people, and how open and teachable John was whenever Jesus spoke to him. No wonder we celebrate his feast day during the season of Christmas—a season so focused on Jesus’ own passionate love for us!

John’s passion for Jesus stretched back to his initial encounter with the Lord. On the banks of the Sea of Galilee, he left the security of father, home, and livelihood at Jesus’ invitation—and he never looked back.

John was called by Jesus during the first year of his ministry, and traveled everywhere with him, becoming so close as to be known as the beloved disciple. He was the only one of the Twelve not to forsake the Savior in the hour of his Passion, standing at the foot of the cross with Jesus' mother Mary and Mary Magdalene

St. John's love for Christ overtook fear (1 Jn 4:18) as he received the grace to stand at the foot of the cross and was able to share in the Good News of Jesus' resurrection

As we cooperate with the ever-present grace of God, we can come to know him more and more clearly. We can come in touch with his passion for us, and that passion will enkindle a fire in our own hearts.


May I be open to what God wants me to do with this new year. Another year to appreciate and share the love of our Lord just like the 'beloved disciple'.

Our Christmas celebration continues until January 8th and I’ll try to post as often as I can to reflect on the wonderfulness of God’s word.

‘On Ya’ - ma

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Twelve Days of Christmas




The 12 days of Christmas

December 25th until January 8th

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Three French Hens The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love
1 Corinthians 13:13

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Four Calling Birds

The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...


Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world


On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Six Geese A-laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).


On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. Matthew 5:3-10

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet.
Exodus 20:1-17

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles Creed
1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting

Epiphany is traditionally celebrated as the time the three Wise Men or Magi arrived to present gifts to the young Jesus (Matt. 2:1-12). In some cultures, especially Hispanic and Latin American culture, January 6th is observed as Three Kings Day, or simply the Day of the Kings

The Twelfth Night is January 7th, the last day of the Christmas Season before Epiphany (January 8th), and often included feasting along with the removal of Christmas decorations. French and English celebrations of Twelfth Night included a King's Cake, remembering the visit of the Three Magi, and ale or wine (a King's Cake is part of the observance of Mardi Gras in French Catholic culture of the Southern USA). In some cultures, the King's Cake was part of the celebration of the day of Epiphany.

As you can see Christmas isn’t over yet.
We’ve got a few more days to remember the reason for the season!

‘On Ya’ - ma

Friday, December 23, 2005

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU FROM ME

Children are gifts too - handle them with care !
Love so easily understands
What you can see is the smallest part;
You don't need Christmas in your hands
When you have Christmas in your heart
Helen Steiner Rice

I said a Christmas Prayer for you
Because the season's near.
I didn't ask for riches
But for gifts so much more dear.
I asked for joyful gatherings
With your family all round,
And for carols to inspire you
With their old familiar sound.
I asked for quiet moments
In your heart on Christmas morn,
For a special time to celebrate
The Savior who was born.
I asked for friends to send their best
That you might know they care;
I asked for peace and love and hope,
And I know God heard my prayer.
~ Author Unknown ~


I am a dreamer. I dream of a time when children all over the earth will know true peace. When innocence is not made fun of and laughter can burst forth from a trouble free heart

Merry Christmas from my heart to yours,
May the Love or our Lord
Wrap you with the many blessings peace and joy and serenity
this holy day and all the days to come.
'On Ya' - ma

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Little Something Extra to Add to Your Advent Devotions


On the evening of December 17 the final phase of preparation for Christmas begins with the first of the great "O Antiphons" of Advent.

The "O Antiphons" were first used by the Church in the 8th and 9th centuries. They are based on various titles for the Christ and are scripturally-based short prayers for the 17th to the 23rd of December.


In these "O Antiphons" the Church expresses her deep longing for the coming of the Messiah.

It is especially in the final week of Advent that our attention is fixed on the messianic promises proclaimed by the ancient prophets of Israel.

The seven titles attributed to Jesus in the antiphons are Wisdom (Sapientia in Latin), Ruler of the House of Israel (Adonai), Root of Jesse (Radix), Key of David (Clavis), Rising Dawn (Oriens), King of the Gentiles (Rex). and Emmanuel. In Latin the initials of the titles make an acrostic which, when read backwards. means: "Tomorrow I will be there" ("Ero cras"). To the medieval mind this was clearly a reference to the approaching Christmas vigil

They can be prayed at family dinner times or with the lighting of the Advent wreath

For December 17th

O WISDOM

O Sapentia O Wisdom, O Holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation." See Isaiah 11:2-3;28:29

Symbols: oil lamp, open book



For December 18th

O LORD AND RULER

O Adonai: "O Sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your might hand to set us free
Exodus 3:2, 20:1
.


Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets


For December 19th

O ROOT OF JESSE

O Radix Jesse: "O Flower of Jesse, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid." See Isaiah 11:10; Micah 5:1

Symbol: vine or plant with flower - especially a rose



For December 20th

O KEY OF DAVID

O Clavis David: "O Key of David, O Royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom." See Isaiah 9:6; 22:22

Symbols: key; broken chains.



For December 21st

O DAWN OF THE EAST


O Oriens: "O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death." See Isaiah 9:1-2

Symbol: rising sun



For December 22nd

O KING OF THE GENTILES

O Rex Genitium: "O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creatures you fashioned from the dust." See Isaiah 2:4


Symbols, Crown, scepter


For December 23rd

O EMMANUEL

O Emmanuel, God is With Us: "O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God." See Isaiah 7:14

Symbols: tablets of stone, Chalice and Host




O, Come Let us Adore Him, Christ the Lord

'On Ya '

(May the JOY of the Lord be on You !)

MA



Tuesday, December 13, 2005

ADVENT VIRUS - PLEASE READ

WARNING……WARNING: ADVENT VIRUS

Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:

A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

A loss of interest in judging other people.

A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.

A loss of interest in conflict.

A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)

Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.

Frequent attacks of smiling.

An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.

An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Please send this warning out to all your friends. This virus can and has affected many systems.
Some systems have been completely cleaned out because of it.

I found this little snippet at one of the sites with all kinds of Christmas things on it

'On Ya' - ma

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Third Sunday of Advent - A few thoughts from my daily devotions





The Third Sunday of Advent, marks the milestone of crossing the halfway point and entering the homestretch of our Christmas

Listen to these cheers for us from holy scripture at this midway point in our holiday dash! From the prophet Isaiah:

I rejoice heartily in the LORD, in my God is the joy of my soul

To rejoice fully in our day-by-day unwrapping of the simple but profound gift of life!

To rejoice fully in the splendor of the Light of Christ which dispels the darkness of sin and shatters the shadow of error!

To rejoice fully in the serenity that, no matter how many Christmas presents are yet unready on our list, the Christmas presence of Jesus is already in our midst

TAKEN FROM REFLECTIONS FOR TODAY - Fr. Rory Pitstick, SSL
http://www.ihrc.net



That which grows fast withers rapidly,
that which grows slowly endures.'

Josiah Holland

During Winter we can walk through any grocery store and see a wide selection of fresh vegetables and fruit. Chemicals and greenhouses allow producers to grow year round ripe tomatoes even with biting frosts outside. Yet a tomato that took only a few weeks to grow will never compare to the one that grew in natural conditions. Similarly with life, all good things do take time. That is why the season of Advent gives us a few weeks to focus in on the real message of Christmas instead of trying to do it in one day, which is nearly impossible

A message from
http://www.todayismygifttoyou.ie/


To catch the real meaning of the "Spirit of Christmas," we need only to drop the last syllable of the word, and it becomes the "Spirit of Christ." It beckons us to follow him,and become worthy of the blessedness which he promised to the most unlikely people—the poor in spirit, the sorrowful, the meek, the seekers after righteousness, the merciful,the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and even the persecuted and the oppressed
Hugh B.Brown

Is 61:10b

My soul rejoices in my God.My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;my spirit rejoices in God my Savior

1 THESSELONIANS 5:16

Brothers and sisters:Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.In all circumstances give thanks,for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.Do not quench the Spirit.Do not despise prophetic utterances.Test everything; retain what is good.Refrain from every kind of evil.


Rejoice – give thanks for all we have today !

I have encluded the links to a few of my daily devotionals above, take a moment to check them out...Lots of good words there.

‘On Ya’ - ma

Sunday, December 04, 2005

2nd Sunday of Advent (Please note that to see my messages on the side bar you have to scroll down to the bottom of this blog)

From my daily devotionals for the 2nd Sunday of Advent
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way
John realized that his role was that of a lowly herald of the glad tidings; he himself was not the message. John was a humble servant unworthy to untie the sandals of his master. His baptism of water was for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus was "one more powerful" who would baptize with the purifying grace of the Holy Spirit.
Last Sunday we lit the first candle in our Advent . Wreath, the candle of hope. We light it again as we remember that Christ, who was born in Bethlehem, will come again to fulfill all of God's promises to us.
The second candle of Advent is the Candle of Peace.
Peace is a word that we hear a lot. It is one of the
things that we hope for. Christ brought peace when he
first came to us and he will bring everlasting peace when
he comes again.Peace is like a light shining in a dark place. As we
look at this candle we celebrate the peace we find in
Jesus Christ.today, and everyday worship
God, hear His word, and to do His will by sharing
your peace with each other

Prayer for the Advent Wreath

Lord, our God,
we praise You for Your Son, Jesus Christ,
for He is Emmanuel, the Hope of all people.
He is the Wisdom that teaches and guides us.
He is the Savior of us all.
O Lord,let your blessing come upon us
as we light the first and second (purple) candles of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ’s promise of salvation.
May He come quickly and not delay.We ask this in His holy name.
Amen

Peace to all of you!
‘ON YA’ - ma

Friday, December 02, 2005

FRIDAY EVENING THOUGHTS



JUST A FEW THOUGHTS ON
A VERSE THAT TOUCHED MY
HEART TODAY





(It is the Season of Christmas from the beginning of Advent until the Feast of Epiphany)


God's Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.

Luke 1:78-79 The Message


With the loving mercy of our God,
A new day from heaven will dawn upon us.
It will shine on those who live in darkness
In the shadow of death,
It will guide us into the path of peace.

The same verse from my Inspirational Bible

The verse from THE MESSAGE caught my eye in one of the e-mails I received today. I always pick up on anything about Sunshine! So I decided to see what was said in one of my other Bibles and compare the two. I love to do this. Sometimes I have 5 different Bibles open at the same time.

Each translation basically says the same thing in a little different way and always brings a new meaning to light.

The other night at our prayer group we talked about praying with the scriptures. Spending more than just 5 minutes with our reading. Reading , reflecting, meditating, comtemplating what we’ve read. Too many times, I don’t take the time to do that.

The more I read the verse above, the more refreshed I felt. After a long work week, this message was badly needed. I may go to bed tonight tired out, but God’s sunrise will bring a new day and He’ll guide me on the path each step of the way.

Sometimes the more alone I am, the more I feel the companionship of our dear Lord.

I encourage you to spend some time with the Word and be refreshed.

‘On Ya’ - ma

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Solid Ground

From Isaiah 26

… Trust in the LORD forever! For the LORD is an eternal Rock. He humbles those in high places,and the lofty city he brings down; He tumbles it to the ground,levels it with the dust. It is trampled underfoot by the needy,by the footsteps of the poor

And from Matthew 7

… Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on themwill be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came,and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came,and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined

How we can build our spiritual homes on solid ground.
The foundation for building is Jesus himself
The second level has to do with our personal development
The final “rock,” is how we are building our relationships in the broader world

We should remember that building a house is not an overnight project, but by using these steps we’ll be strengthening ourselves against any storms that may come our way.

Use this Advent to build a solid house based on faith and trust in God.

'On Ya' - ma


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

St. Andrew















Matthew 4:18-22

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.He said to them,(Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.(At once they left their nets and followed him.He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.

The X-shaped cross, sometimes seen in stained glass windows or on a coat of arms, represents the tradition of how St. Andrew was martyred. Tradition has it that while bound to this cross, Andrew continued to preach to his persecutors until he died

His belief in Christ propelled him into the world to preach the message that had so changed him. Knowing that the good news is for everyone moved him to share that news by bringing people to Jesus

Our call to share the good news is no less important than Andrew’s. the belief that impelled St. Andrew all his Christian life is the same belief that we confess every Sunday at Mass—and the same belief that God wants us to share with those around us.

Jesus’ invitation to Peter and Andrew, to James and John, is one he continually issues to all: Will you follow me? Will you join me in my mission? If we say yes we can count on having our lives turned upside down—and enriched beyond measure


Today simply ask Jesus for a deeper, greater revelation of his truth in our lives. God can take this one small step and fill it with so much grace that even we will be amazed!

This lesson was taken from my daily devotionals for November 30, 2005

'On Ya' - ma

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Count Your Blessings



Isaiah 11:1-10; Luke 10:21-24
A new branch will grow from a stump of a tree; so a new king will come from the family of Jesse....
...Then Jesus turned to his followerers and said, You are blessed to see what you now see. I tell you , many prophets and kings wanted to see what you now see, but they did not...


Jesus tells us today to count our blessings: We have seen and heard what kings longed for. The peace of God has come to live among us! We have only to open our hearts to the work of grace in our lives. We have only to turn to our Lord for help.

Let family members know—in person, by phone, by note—how much you care about them.

'On Ya ' -ma

Saturday, November 26, 2005

DEVOTION FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT


FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

1ST READING

You, LORD, are our father,our redeemer you are named forever.
Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways,
and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?
Return for the sake of your servants,the tribes of your heritage.
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
with the mountains quaking before you,while you wrought awesome deeds
we could not hope for,such as they had not heard of from of old.
No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you
doing such deeds for those who wait for him.
Would that you might meet us doing right,
that we were mindful of you in our ways!
Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful;
all of us have become like unclean people,
all our good deeds are like polluted rags;
we have all withered like leaves,
and our guilt carries us away like the wind.
There is none who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to cling to you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and have delivered us up to our guilt.
Yet, O LORD, you are our father;
we are the clay and you the potter:
we are all the work of your hands.

ISAIAH 63:16-17, 19 AND 64:2-7

Let us pray in Advent time with longing and waiting for the coming of the Lord.

Father in heaven, our hearts desire the warmth of your love and
our minds are searching for the light of your Word.
Increase our longing for Christ our Savior and give us the strength to grow in love, that the dawn of his coming may find us rejoicing in his presence and welcoming the light of his truth.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord



During Advent,
take time to see our children playing
take time to see the Christmas lights
take time to hear the carols message
take time to hear the crunch of snow
take time to tell the Jesus story
take time to speak to those alone
take time to feel, smell, and taste
life's too short to grumble
life's too short to worry
life is a gift . . . unwrap it!

‘On Ya ‘ - ma

Thursday, November 24, 2005

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, NOVEMBER 27, 2005


Mark
Chapter 13

1 As he was making his way out of the temple area one of his disciples said to him, "Look, teacher, what stones and what buildings!"
Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be one stone left upon another that will not be thrown down."

2 As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple area, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately,
"Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be when all these things are about to come to an end?"
Jesus began to say to them, "See that no one deceives you.
Many will come in my name saying, 'I am he,' and they will deceive many.
When you hear of wars and reports of wars do not be alarmed; such things must happen, but it will not yet be the end.
Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes from place to place and there will be famines. These are the beginnings of the labor pains.
"Watch out for yourselves. They will hand you over to the courts. You will be beaten in synagogues. You will be arraigned before governors and kings because of me, as a witness before them.

But the gospel must first be preached to all nations.
3

When they lead you away and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say. But say whatever will be given to you at that hour. For it will not be you who are speaking but the holy Spirit.
Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.
"When you see the desolating abomination standing
4 where he should not (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains,

(and) a person on a housetop must not go down or enter to get anything out of his house,

and a person in a field must not return to get his cloak.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days.
Pray that this does not happen in winter.
For those times will have tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of God's creation until now, nor ever will be.
If the Lord had not shortened those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect whom he chose, he did shorten the days.

If anyone says to you then, 'Look, here is the Messiah! Look, there he is!' do not believe it.
False messiahs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders in order to mislead, if that were possible, the elect.

But in those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,

and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

5 And then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory,

and then he will send out the angels and gather (his) elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.
"Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near.

In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
"But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.

It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.

Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning.

May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"

Here are excerpts from my search today on the 1st Sunday of Advent.

The Christian church year begins with Advent (from the Latin adventus meaning coming or arrival) which is also a time when Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. Advent begins on the Sunday nearest November 30 (St. Andrew's Day) and lasts until Christmas Eve. (November 27, 2005)

Our church includes an advent wreath in their Advent services. The wreath consists of four candles (three purple and one rose) arranged in a circle of evergreen which symbolizes eternal life. The candles are lit progressively as follows:


First Sunday: one purple candle
Second Sunday: two purple candles
Third Sunday: two purple candles and the rose candle
Fourth Sunday: all four candles


The rose candle is also called the "Joy" candle and it comes out of the history of Advent. The Advent fast was broken on the third Sunday in anticipation of the great event to come. Often a fifth white candle will be placed in the center of the circle. This is the Christ Candle, symbolizing Christ's birth, and it is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

The circle of the wreath reminds us of God Himself, His eternity and endless mercy, which has no beginning or end. The green of the wreath speaks of the hope that we have in God, the hope of newness, of renewal, of eternal life. Candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His son. The four outer candles represent the period of waiting during the four Sundays of Advent, which themselves symbolize the four centuries of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ

Advent is one of the few Christian festivals that can be observed in the home as well as at church. With its association with Christmas, Advent is a natural time to involve children in activities at home that directly connect with worship at church. In the home an Advent wreath is often placed on the dining table and lighted at meals, with Scripture readings preceding the lighting of the candles, especially on Sunday. A new candle is lighted each Sunday during the four weeks, and then the same candles are lighted each meal during the week. In this context, it provides the opportunity for family devotion and prayer together, and helps teach the Faith to children, especially if they are involved in reading the daily Scriptures.

The First Sunday of Advent is the Church's "New Year's Day". In the Judeo-Christian tradition, Sunday begin at sundown of the day before when the faithful celebrate First Vespers. Advent begins the Christmas cycle

I have come to bring you peace.
Not the peace of the season, for it is too fleeting,
Not the peace of the carol, for it is nostalgic,
Not the peace of the greeting card, for it is too slick,
Not the peace of the crib, for it is too wistful.

Rather, I have come to bring you peace,
Peace of the ordinary, the daily, the homely,
Peace for the worker, the driver, the student,
Peace in the office, the kitchen, the farm.

I have come to bring you peace,
The peace of accepting yourself as I fashioned you.
The peace of knowing yourself as I know you,
The peace of loving yourself as I love you,
The peace of being yourself as I am who I am.

I have come to bring you peace,
The peace that warms you at the completion of a task,
The peace that invades you at the close of the day,
The peace that sustains you at the beginning of the day,
The peace that reinforces you when you are reconciled with one another.
The peace that touches you when your family is in order.

Without peace, my coming is unfulfilled.
Without peace, my birth is forgettable.
Without peace, Christmas is a contradiction.
I have come to bring you peace.

Liguori Publications Excerpt from Advent - A Quality Storecupboard

It is that hope, however faint at times, and that God, however distant He sometimes seems, which brings to the world the anticipation of a King who will rule with truth and justice and righteousness over His people and in His creation. It is that hope that once anticipated, and now anticipates anew, the reign of an Anointed One, a Messiah, who will bring peace and justice and righteousness to the world

I hope to bring you Advent reflections daily - time permitting. If not daily it will be often. It's important to prepare our hearts at this special time of year...Advent is a SEASON OF HOPE.

'ON YA' - ma

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Proverbs 31 - The Ideal Woman


Proverbs 31:10-13,

19-20,30-31



When one finds a worthy wife,her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her,has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil,all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flaxand works with loving hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff,and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,and extends her arms to the needy.
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors,and let her works praise her at the city gates

From Today’s reading comes some very wise advice for women. Women of all ages, single or married, working outside the house or not, to those with or with out children. The following is excerpts from my morning devotional.
For centuries, Christians have looked to Mary as the perfect role model. And yet, as a woman raised in the Jewish tradition, Mary herself was taught what it means to be a virtuous woman. And most likely, that teaching came from this passage in the Book of Proverbs. This Jewish ideal was recited every week on the eve of the Sabbath as a way of honoring the woman of the house and teaching her daughters how to live.
This short poem presents a beautiful ideal. It paints a picture of strength and dignity, of caring and compassion, of responsibility and trust, of love and unity. And most important of all, this ideal woman places God first, both in her daily activities and in her heart.

Seeking God first, developing one’s talents, industriousness, and a servant’s heart—that’s the foundation for the ideal woman. If you are a woman, read Proverbs 31. Commit it to memory. Let it become the goal for your way of living. Both Scripture and church history show us that every woman who follows this model is filled to overflowing with God’s blessings.

May we all come to know His love more deeply and strive to put Him first in our lives

‘On Ya’ -ma

Sunday, November 06, 2005

TO BE A BLESSING

Here are a few more finds on being a blessing....

As we thank God, lets also recommit ourselves to being a channel of good things to the people that God has put around us. Because even as we share this life with others, we receive it more abundantly in our own lives

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be know on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all then ends of the earth will fear him

Psalm 67

We are one of the most blessed people on earth, in all of history, when it comes to material things. So we thank God for that. We thank God in many cases for health. That's something that goes up and down and some people are struggling with that right now, but for many of us the whole fact that we are healthy is something that we rejoice about and give thanks to God about. And perhaps the most important part is that we thank God for family and friends

God our God has blessed us. So that these words of Thanksgiving, may God be gracious to us and bless us come at a time of Thanksgiving when we have received a whole lot and because of this abundance, we are focusing in on this opportunity to thank God. It's a natural thing to have a harvest festival.

Here in Psalm 67 we have somebody, who's at this time of abundance, at this time of blessing and his viewpoint is world wide, even while he thanks God, his focus is on God's purpose in the world.


I will bless you, and make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing

Genesis 12:2

28 WAYS TO BE A BLESSING

1. Call an old friend, just to say "hi."
2. Hold a door open for a stranger.
3. Invite someone to lunch.
4. Compliment someone on his or her appearance.
5. Ask a coworker for their opinion on a project.
6. Bring healthy cookies to work to share.
7. Let someone cut in during rush hour traffic.
8. Leave a waitress or waiter a big tip.
9. Tell a cashier to "have a nice day."
10. Call your parents.
11. Let someone know you miss them.
12. Ask somebody over to see a good video.
13. Let a person know you really appreciate them.
14. Visit a retirement center.
15. Take a child to the zoo.
16. Fill up your spouse's car with gas.
17. Surprise someone with a small gift.
18. Leave a "thank-you" note for the cleaning staff at work.
19. Write a letter to a distant relative.
20. Let someone know you thought about them the other day.
21. Put a dime in a stranger's parking meter before the time expires.
22. Share a funny cartoon with somebody.
23. Send someone flowers to where they work.
24. Invite a friend to tea.
25. Recommend a good book to someone
.26. Bag your own groceries at the checkout counter
.27. Give blood.
28. Offer free baby-sitting to a friend who's really busy or just needs a break.

May you all be a blessing and be blessed today !

‘On Ya’ - ma

Thursday, November 03, 2005

WE ARE THANKFUL FOR OUR BLESSING - WE CAN BE A BLESSING


I was thinking about all my blessings and as this is the Month of Thankfulness I decided to do a search on 'Being a Blessing'. The following is bits and pieces of what I found this evening - surfing the net.

We long for the family blessing. We long for any blessing. We want our parents, our spouses, our children, our friends, our co-workers to bless us…to tell us that we mean a lot to them.

In the Old Testament, Esau, Isaac’s oldest son, couldn’t wait to receive the family blessing from his father. But right before he was to receive it, his scheming brother Jacob stole the blessing. Do you remember the story? Isaac told his son Esau that before he would receive the blessing, he needed to go and bring a savory meal to him. However, while Esau was out hunting, his conniving brother Jacob stole the blessing by coming to his nearly blind father and pretending to be Esau.

In (Gen. 27:31-34) we read about what happened when Esau returned from the hunt:
My father, sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing. His father Isaac asked him, ‘Who are you?’ ‘I am your son,’ he answered, ‘your firstborn, Esau.’ Isaac trembled violently and said, ‘Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him and indeed he will be blessed!’ When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, ‘Bless me too, my father!’”


For a father in biblical times, once a blessing was spoken, it was irretrievable. In response to his pitiful cries, Esau did receive a blessing of sorts from his father, but it was not the blessing of the first-born he had longed to hear.

The cry that Esau delivered is the same cry that can be heard, though often silently, from thousands upon thousands of people today who have never received the blessing from their parents, or from anyone else. But even if you have not received the blessing or even if you have not been giving it to others, it is not too late to start.

FIRST, TO BLESS OTHERS, PROVIDE A MEANINGFUL TOUCH

This was an essential element in bestowing the blessing. When Isaac blessed his son, he said, “Come near now and kiss me, my son.” Every time a blessing was given in Scripture there was hugging, or kissing, or the laying on of hands.

When we provide appropriate meaningful touch, we are communicating warmth, personal acceptance, and affirmation.

Have you ever noticed how often Jesus touched people… from little children to grown men. In (Mark 10:13-16), Jesus called the little children to his side…and the Bible says… “He took the children in His arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”

Our tongues are created to bless not curse. They are created to uplift not tear down. When we praise…when we encourage…when we uplift people with positive affirmation…we are blessing them. So not only are we to provide a meaningful touch, but we are to shower people with encouraging words!

A meaningful touch and words of encouragement are important in the blessing. But the mortar that holds them together is an active commitment. Words are useless if not accompanied by action. A blessing is not complete if it is not accompanied with a commitment to see it through

The final chapter of Proverbs describes a woman who blesses her family in many ways. She is industrious and loving, has a positive outlook on the future, and is committed to her husband and children

It takes hard work to provide the blessing to another person. It takes time to meaningfully touch and hug our children when they come home from school or before they go to bed. It takes courage to offer people positive words of encouragement. It takes time and effort to help people achieve their blessing

To bless others, provide a meaningful touch, positive words of encouragement, and make a commitment to see the blessing come to pass

The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”


Genesis chapter 12, verses 1 through 3

These verses are part of what’s known as “The Call of Abraham.” God chose Abraham and blessed him to be a blessing. His mission was to be the father of a great multitude, the one through whom all the people of the world would be blessed.

Non-believers talk about “blessings,” too, just as much as we believers do. But they mean something a little bit different. As best I can tell, in the generic, non-religious sense, a “blessing” is anything desirable that we have but for which we can’t take personal credit. That is to say, if I receive a surprisingly large bonus at the end of the year, it’s a blessing.


For us, blessings are those experiences and events in our lives that move us closer to God. Blessings come from God, we say, so that we’re drawn to God. In that sense, material prosperity can be a blessing if it moves us to give thanks to God.

Blessed are the poor in spirit... Blessed are those who mourn... Blessed are the meek... Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness... Blessed are the merciful... the pure in heart... the peacemakers... and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”

We don’t usually think of people who are poor, or who are mourning, or who are meek as being “lucky,” do we? Certainly we don’t think of people who are persecuted as “lucky.” Quite the opposite. We usually feel sorry for them. But in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus makes the startling announcement that he sees a sense in which these people are blessed; these people are happy.


These “blessed” ones, these “happy” ones, are people who have – like Abraham – been drawn by the events of their lives into such a relationship with God that they, in turn, become blessings to others. Their lives draw other people to God

How can we become a blessing?

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God


Philippians 1:7-11

Paul considered these people to be a blessing to him. Every time he thought of them, he thanked God. They had made a difference in his life. Now he is going to share what that means to him. As the does, he will give us a couple of actions we can take to be a blessing ourselves. Look at what he says in verses 7 and 8:


7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus

We see in what he is doing an example that we can follow as well.


This is the first action step for us today. If we want to be a blessing, the first thing we must do it is…

Show Love For Others

There are two ways suggested in our text. The first way you can show love for others is by what you say–– in words. This is, in fact, what we see Paul doing in this passage.

He declares how he feels about them and he calls God as his witness. He says, "God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus." He was letting these Christians know just how he felt concerning them. And this is a good thing

We all need to hear affirming words.

You can show love for others by what you do–– in deeds. Listen to this from 1 John 3:18 (NCV): My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring.

Words are wonderful but words alone are not enough. You certainly need to say that you love someone, but if all you do is say it pretty soon the one you are saying it to is going to get suspicious. They are going to doubt that you really mean it. And why is that? It is because you are not doing anything to prove it

What we need to do is to consider the little things that will be a blessing and do them.
So if we want to be a blessing, we need to show our love for others by what we say and by what we do.


But there is another action step we need to take if we want to be a blessing. We must not only show love for others, we must…

Pray For Others

The great apostle not only expressed his love to those for whom he cared, he prayed for them. If we want to be a blessing to other people, if we want to make a difference in their lives, we must pray for them. Prayer makes a difference.

Prayer for others is the obligation and privilege of every Christian

Pray for others that they would grow in love. Pray that God would replace any feelings of resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, and hostility with his unconditional love. Those negative feelings only ultimately hurt the one who has them anyway.

And we need to pray for those we love that they would choose the best as well.
And finally, like Paul, we should pray for others that they may do what is right.


Our love needs to grow, our priorities need to be in order, our hearts need to be right toward God, and our behavior needs to reflect all that.

Christians should view each year God gives us as an opportunity to be an even greater blessing to those around us. The older we grow, the more blessed our presence should be. We must be careful that the years don’t simply increase our litany of complaints or add to our list of ailments.

Let’s seal our lips against giving unwanted advice; let’s be available but not meddlesome. Instead of seeking how we can be blessed, let’s seek to be a blessing instead

Very wise words - all of them. I'm trying to be a blessing...

'On Ya' - ma