A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.  The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.  His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;  but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.  The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.  They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:1-10, NRSV)

Can you image the day, when a wolf and a lamb will live together?

When there would be a lion eating straw?

When natural prey and predator would dwell in the same field and not fear or want to kill?

When the day comes and the kingdom is fulfilled, the knowledge of the Lord will fill all and all will live in peace.

We can help fulfill the kingdom, by following Jesus and doing His will. Love all and show them the mercy and grace of God.

We shall know peace, and can be at peace now, knowing His will will be done and His kingdom is coming to fulfillment.

Image  —  Posted: 2016/12/07 in Advent, Biblical, Devotional, Discipleship, Picture a Day
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161207For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name”; and again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”; and again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”; and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:4-13, NRSV)

All of us have hope in God. For He is the God of Hope and through the power of the Spirit we can abound in His hope.

You see there is none that is not created by God and therefore all of us have the ability to be welcomed into the family and take part in the hope that is offered. Gentiles and Jews. In the days the scriptures were written, those were the groups. Jews were and are God’s people of the Hebrew Scriptures, and the Gentiles were everyone else.

So the hope of God is available to all. Let us be a beacon of hope for all of the world. And show God’s love to all.

Image  —  Posted: 2016/12/06 in Advent, Biblical, Devotional, Discipleship, Picture a Day
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161206This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing. (John 1:19-28, NRSV)

Who are you?

I am a father, husband, pastor, musician, lover and follower of Jesus Christ. I do not always do everything right as I am a sinner, but try to live a life which shows the love Christ gave to me to all the world around me.

Who are you?

I am not Elijah. I am not John the Baptist. I am not Jesus Christ. I am merely a follower of Jesus and one who tries to show the love of God to the world.

This is John’s testimony and my testimony.

What is your testimony?

Who are you?

Image  —  Posted: 2016/12/05 in Advent, Biblical, Devotional, Discipleship, Picture a Day
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161205Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the LORD’S hand double for all her sins. A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep. (Isaiah 40:1-11, NRSV)

Where is the wilderness?

When I hear wilderness, I think of trees and lots of them. Darkness, overgrowth, and lots of undergrowth too. But is that the wilderness?

In Isaiah, the wilderness is the desert. The barren land no one would be in.

And does this passage mean low spots will be raised and mountains will be flattened? I would love to see that, it would be really interesting to see that happen.

I think what Isaiah is saying, while we may actually see valleys rise and mountains made low, is that we are supposed to help everyone see that when Jesus gets here when His kingdom comes to the fullness of its being, we will all be on the same level. All hierarchy will be done away with and we will all be equal in the eyes of God. When this happens, the kingdom will be fulfilled.

So do what you can to lift the lowly and humble the proud, doing it all in love, as we are all equal in the eyes of God.