Wednesday, November 30, 2005
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
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
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
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
‘On Ya ‘ - ma
Thursday, November 24, 2005
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.
Rather, I have come to bring you peace,
I have come to bring you peace,
I have come to bring you peace,
Without peace, my coming is unfulfilled.
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
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
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
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,
28 WAYS TO BE A BLESSING
1. Call an old friend, just to say "hi."
May you all be a blessing and be blessed today !
‘On Ya’ - ma
Thursday, November 03, 2005
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
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
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
A REFLECTION ON THANKFULNESS FOUND ON THE NET THIS MORNING
One afternoon a shopper at the local mall felt the need for a coffee break. She bought herself a little bag of
cookies and put them in her shopping bag. She then got in
line for coffee, found a place to sit at one of the
crowded tables, and then taking the lid off her coffee and
taking out a magazine she began to sip her coffee and
read. Across the table from her a man sat reading a newspaper.
After a minute or two she reached out and took a cookie.
As she did, the man seated across the table reached out
and took one too. This put her off, but she did not say anything.
A few moments later she took another cookie. Once again
the man did so too. Now she was getting a bit upset, but
still she did not say anything.
After having a couple of sips of coffee she once again
took another cookie. So did the man. She was really
upset by this - especially since now only one cookie was
left. Apparently the man also realized that only one
cookie was left. Before she could say anything he took
it, broke it in half, offered half to her, and proceeded
to eat the other half himself. Then he smiled at her and,
putting the paper under his arm, rose and walked off.
Was she steamed. Her coffee break ruined, already
thinking ahead of how she would tell this offense to her
family, she folded her magazine, opened her shopping bag,
and there discovered her own unopened bag of cookies.
I like that story - it makes me think about how well God treats me even when I am not treating him well or thinking all that kindly about him. It also makes me think about how, sometimes, I do not really appreciate what I have or act like I know where it has come from. It serves as a kind of reminder to me - like that reminder in today's old testament reading. There, Moses, after telling the people of Israel how they will prosper in the promised land that they are about to enter, how,after so many years of slavery and then of wandering in thewilderness, they will eat their fill, and have fine houses and large herds, and that their silver and gold will multiply, says:
Do not say to yourself, "my power and the might of my own
hand have gotten me this wealth." But remember the Lord
you God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth,
so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your
ancestors, and as he swearing to you today.
Chapter eight of Deuteronomy is really one of my favourite chapters of the Old Testament. It speaks so well of what we all know somewhere in our hearts,but often seem to forget in our actions and our attitudes.It speaks of how everything we have is a gift from God,a git worked upon by our hands, most certainly;a gift perhaps even enhanced by our own strength,but a gift none-the -less, for God gives us the hands we need,and God gives us the strength we have.
This reflection was found while surfing the net this morning and I thought you might enjoy it as much as I.
'On Ya' - ma