THE THOUGHTS OF HOPE

At Christmas there are so many who face unexpected and sorrowful blows to their hearts.   Even for those of us as children of God, we have a high static of emotion.  Not only do those who do not experience that static, they are in the darkness of no hope at all.

As I visited the hospital this week for my Pre-Op tests to prepare for my brain surgery next week, God had a plan.  He gave me a poem to write just for those who He knew I would meet.  I was to share this poem with those who needed hope along with my book, “Fluttering Poems of Hope”.  They were all awaiting surgery during this Holiday Season.

There they were.  Have you ever seen such fear and darkness that permeated the air?  It was there right in front of me and all around that waiting room.  One by one, Jesus showed me His light to shine above the darkness in them.  Each one I prayed for, and each one I gave the gifts sharing Him to them.  I want to share this poem for those who need it this Christmas Season.

A PRAYER FOR FACING SURGERY

By Joan Allen Pfeiffer

Dear Jesus,

They tell me I need surgery.

Sometimes there is that fear.

Your hand grips me tighter,

And reminds me you are here.

Walk with me down the corridor,

Let me see your light.

There are others all around me,

Who did not sleep last night.

Take my selfishness away,

Open my eyes through yours.

Guide the illumination I seek,

So only the Love of you pours.

The goal of my salvation,

Is forever in my heart.

So many of the others,

Need to know Your part.

As you hold my hand dear Lord,

The Love of you enfolds.

Let me share the same,

Of what Your Promise holds.

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from “Above” and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

THE SPIRITUAL BREATH OF GOD At Christmas

presentationofbabyjesusatthetemple

Luke 2:25-32 New International Version (NIV)
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[a] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

The Holy Spirit is with us throughout the Bible. He starts from the beginning in Genesis through all eternity. “Even though you have not seen Him, you love Him…..” This verse I have memorized as I Peter 1:8-9. We recognize the supernatural part of God in us.

Job 33:4 New International Version (NIV)
4 The Spirit of God has made me;
the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Prayer….oh, prayer…have you ever thought of prayer as a swirl of deep desires? These desires to spend a personal time with Jesus, are a clapboard that bridges our Love for each other.

In my prayers for a Christmas message, He brought a song to me. Then I prayed for how to accompany Holy Spirit with His Word. Now, here is a start of that result:

Luke 1:34-35 New International Version (NIV)

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God.

So here we are looking at the supernatural relevance of God releasing the Holy Spirit bringing Jesus our Savior to the world. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.   This is the Trinity all working together for Their Perfect Gift to the World. How can this be? God gave us an explanation simply said.

Isaiah 55:8 New International Version (NIV)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.

The next time you are in a “pickle” and you are frightened, remember the song that Mary sings about her own. She calls on Holy Spirit, the breath of life from Heaven to help her. Jesus left us messages :

John 15:26New International Version (NIV)

The Work of the Holy Spirit

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.

 

Can any better explanation be said than the Word of Jesus? No, there are no better words than His.

John 20:22 New International Version (NIV)

22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.

 

This Christmas ask Jesus Christ our Savior to breath Holy Spirit into your life. As Masterful as our God is for all He has created in this universe, He made it very easy for us to have eternal life with Him. He paid it all through the blood of Jesus, to cover our sin that separates us from Him. You have that free choice now to ask Him to take over your life.

Romans 10:9

New International Version (NIV)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

 

What happens next? Jesus Christ becomes your Savior forever, He will never leave you for all eternity. He has saved you from all your sins through His forgiveness by grace.

Then the angels will rejoice!

 

 

JESUS’ BOUNDLESSNESS

believe

JESUS’ BOUNDLESSNESS

By Pastor Dan

I contacted Pastor Dan, a wonderful man of God. Years ago I visited him in my hometown church. The message that Sunday clasped the tightness of grief away from my heart. I have shared it with others, and now have received permission from him to share it publicly. I will protect his full identity from others who do not share in these beliefs.

About a year after one of my loved ones dies, I usually have a dream. I call it the “resurrection dream.” In the dream, the real life happenings leading up to the person’s death get reviewed.

‘But, I thought you had a stroke and were in a nursing home.’

‘But, I thought you dropped dead of a heart attack.’

‘But, I thought you were run over by a drunk driver.’

‘But, I thought you were thrown from the vehicle.’

And the person who was dead tells me, “It was a mistake. I am alive, and I’m ok.” And in the dream they are concretely alive. I can see their person. I can hear his or her voice. I can touch them like I used to. I am always confused, relieved, mystified, apprehensive, joyful….all at once. But I awake in peace. The dream always unlocks something for me, sending me on my way toward life after death.

I always think there must be some archetypal truth to that dream. I always hope that there is some kind of universal truth of the human experience of resurrection in it. When I read the post-resurrection appearance stories like Jesus’ encounter with Thomas, I do so from a vantage point of one who has lived through the trauma of parting. I do so as one who has been confused, apprehensive, and relieved. I do so as one who has lived in the joyful mystery that somehow, someway, the power of life outlives the power of death.

In post-resurrection appearance stories, I always imagine that the disciples go through something like I do in my ‘resurrection dream’. It doesn’t take much to conjure up an understanding of their confusion, their apprehension, their polarities of sadness and joy as they mourn the end of the three years of ministry with Jesus, the three days of conflict and loss, and now deal with the ambiguity of a rising.

The fact is; they were touched by this Jesus….they bought into the things He said and the way He lived. They had experienced in Him the way the world ought to be. They walked with Him in His life, in His work, and in His suffering and death albeit in varying degrees of admirability. No matter how we scrutinize their behavior, they were there with Him through it in some degree of proximity.

So there they were in today’s story, alone but together, fearful, hiding in a locked up room on the night of the first Easter Sunday. They undoubtedly were trying to process the fast events of those days that were like a dream, nay, a nightmare, while they also lived in fear over what was next. “What was I thinking”? “If I’d have only done this instead of that!” “Where did the body go? Is He really risen from the dead?” “What’s going to happen to us?”

It was then that Jesus came to them, as they hid, locked in fear. The power of the resurrection began to shine forth for them when they saw their beloved Lord and they hear His voice saying, “Peace be with you.” He once again became a reality for them when he let them touch the wounds in His hands and side and breathed on them the Holy Spirit. Jesus unlocked for them the paschal mystery in which they had been participating. He was unlocking them in order to set them on course toward new life. And He did so by reminding them of their orientation to His way of life that they bought into: “As the father has sent me, so I send you. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any they are retained.”

I always think it must have been like a dream; like a quiet, amazing, beautiful, real, intimate dream Jesus quietly arose and began appearing to the people He had chosen to live His way of life, and carry out His mission. It must have been like a dream that, in a finite way, points to a reality that is so awesome, so moving, so profound, and so infinite.

The stark contrast between the finite and the infinite was exactly Thomas’ problem, and it’s a reasonable problem. Thomas, like any of us who were not there, as much as said, “I don’t get it. Y’all are nuts…going around talking about seeing Jesus alive. Unless I see I cannot believe.”

And in case we didn’t get the boundless character of Jesus in the first appearance to the disciples, we can’t help but to get it when Jesus appeared to Thomas. Not bound by death and the grave, not bound by fear and locked doors, not bound by even time and space, Jesus came back again for Thomas. “Peace be with you, “ Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt, but believe.”

At that moment, Jesus gave Thomas exactly what he needed for faith. The finite and the infinite converged. The bound became unbound. The locked became the unlocked. And Thomas uttered that moving faith declaration, “My Lord and My God!” And it echoes down through the centuries to us, who have not seen and yet believe.

As for the disciples on that first Easter night, form our perspective all these centuries later, the resurrection sometimes seems like half-dream and half-reality; half finite and half infinite. But the fact of the matter is that we live on this side of it and in its power. We are literally affected by Christ’s boundlessness to time and space. We live deeply, concretely in His real presence at our core and that does something good to our daily lives. It makes us rise.

So, do not doubt, but believe.

John 20:19-29New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 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.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

In my own understanding of Pastor Dan’s message, I am risen. Yes, I will admit that I too have had those “resurrection dreams.” I am not the only one who has besides him. Where is that cord that connects the finite to the infinite in Jesus? Faith to believe.

 

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Copyright for Pastor Dan must be honored.  Contact if there is a request to use by comment.

JESUS SHEARING HIS SHEEP

 

MORE SHEEP ON A MEADOW

When I listen for God’s whispers, I am always amazed and intrigued by the way He speaks. Some would think it is before, during, or after your prayer. Yet, I have experienced His voice, more by the creation location, instead of my doing anything. And so, that is how this came to me, so differently it was somewhat shocking and yet amusing.

I was watching one of my favorite Christmas movies, “White Christmas” in the mountains. When Bing Crosby started singing a special song. The words mention about being weary to fall asleep. You have heard that people count sheep sometimes to finally nod off. Yet, in this song, it goes on to say, count your blessings instead of sheep. This started the whole idea of our Lord as our Shepherd and how the sheep were shorn in His time on earth. The shearing seemed important because He has to shear us of our old life when we become new in Him. His rod and His staff are constantly taking care of us.

Investigating the shearing process by Jewish Law is very specific and laborious. I will not be overly explicit because you have the capability of looking up, The Laws of the Shabbat, which covers every part of this importance. The part I did find so in tune to our being His sheep, is the conciseness of His care, time, and love required to take this grueling procedure to the finish.

The many activities required for shearing include some of the following. Cleaning and purifying the wool before it ever is clipped off. My spirit says this is first when Jesus’ blood is used to purify us from sin, we know upon our salvation, His forgiveness is only required once for all of our sins, but He wants us to always acknowledge our sins with Him. This is a reminder to remember how Jesus laid down His life for us and why. Before other times of next season’s shearing, we do get dirty, so enters the Shabbot. Shabbot is the Sabbath, which is the only Jewish holiday that occurs every week. It seems that this would be time for us to be cleansed again, in the mercy of His blessings giving thanks. On the Sabbath in Hebrew prayers, they are called blessings.

The next is caring of the developing fruit from the fleece. The constant cleaning again for preparation of the actual weaving process, spinning, meshing, netting, and knotting until the wool is made into something usable. This reminds me of 2 Timothy 3:16-17; “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” God is preparing us to be His useful servants.

Here is the last sequence presented by Hebrew Law. This last of the procedure is the type of labor and finishing for the fabrics created. Which area will it be used in? What type of use is needed in the use of this beautiful fabric?  In other words, what will its purpose be?

If we recall Jesus telling us that He is the vine and we are His branches. (John 15:1-8) it is synonymous to the fact there is pruning and constant spiritual remedies to keep His sheep or branches available to His Purpose. The purpose of the fleece is for weaving a fabric, the purpose of the branches is to bear the grapes, all of these fruits are used to feed others. Both of these equate to His Blessings for all mankind towards eternal life with Jesus.

We need to count our blessings and give thanks while He counts His sheep. We are not meant to count the numbers, we are shorn clean for His Plan in us. In our oneness together with Him, His voice will be heard.

John 10:16
16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 1

John 10:1-18 gives the entirety of the thoughts in this lesson. The last four verses however, are listing the command that Jesus received from His Father, our Father in Heaven.

John 110:14-18

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice16 I have other sheep that are not of this, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

CHRISTMAS DAYSPRING

Dayspring

Luke 1:47 Mary says here, “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior”.
And my heart took me to Luke 2:78 “Through the tender mercy of our God whereby the “dayspring” from on high hath visited us.” Her “dayspring”, the light of day! Because then comes this:

Luke 2:79 “To give LIGHT to them that sit in darkness and in the “shadow of death” to guide our feet into the “WAY OF PEACE”.

It is said that Mary, the mother of Jesus sang a song in Glory to God for His Love to bring our Messiah to us, our blessed Redeemer, the Holy Son of God. “The Magnificat” is how it is listed and was original in Greek, but became much better used in Latin music amongst those ‘gifted to harmony’.

Mary sang! She sang although her life was now so changed, her journey had a new beginning. She sang from her heart of spirit again and again, and called herself His lowly servant. She knew one day, all generations would call her blessed. She was! She knew His Blessing to the World before everyone else on Earth! Can you imagine how beautiful her song was to Him? I cannot fathom the Magnificent Holy Love of her song to Him:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and Holy is His Name.
He has mercy on those who fear Him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of His arm,
He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,

and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for He has remembered His promise of mercy,
the promise He made to our fathers,

to Abraham and His children for ever.”

YES, MARY KNEW!

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