"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." ~ from ISAIAH 61 Bible verse for this Blog

Monday, November 30, 2009

MAGI

The Visit of the Magi

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." Matthew 2:1-2
"MAGI"
(ma-ji)
from the Greek magos
magician,sorcerer
"a member of the hereditary priestly class among the ancient Medes and Persians"
Majusians
from Old Persian language,
a Priest of Zoroaster (astrology)
Three Wise Men
Three Kings of the East (Orient)
[Persia which is actually Iran]

... We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar ...
If you would like the lyrics or background of this song, 
written in 1857 by Rev. John Henry Hopkins
please CLICK here


WHO WERE THESE TRAVELLERS THAT CAME SO FAR,
KNOWN TO MANY OF US AS THE

"MAGI"?

The Bible gives us the direction, East and the legend states that the wise men were from Persia (Iran) - Balthasar, Melchior, Caspar - thus being priests of Zarathustra religion, the mages. Obviously the pilgrimage had some religious significance for these men, otherwise they would not have taken the trouble and risk of travelling so far. But what was it? An astrological phenomenon, the Star?

It's something for us to think about, because the scriptures do not give us much information about them. But if you are curious for MORE information, you can read that at Answers.com. This was not the reason that I began a brief study on the MAGI or this post, yet I'm intrigued.

I explained when I started my blog, about "mazmagi" in one of my earliest posts here... and that is the URL of my blog http://mazmagi.blogspot.com ... I did not know enough or much about blogging and for some reason felt I needed to create something that identified this blog to me, without really identifying myself, and then they have you give a complete profile ... so that certainly was a good clue that it's not a secret alias identification, but you can be who you are.

[Briefly the "maz" was for where I was currently living in Mexico, abbreviated from Mazatlan, meaning "land of the deer" and also that "mas" (maz) means MORE added to the word "MAGI", which to me, meant gift bearer. 

When I first began "mission" service here in Mexico, I tended to be a "gift bearer" or at least, each trip, I would bring as much as I could to give away to the many in need. Nothing very grand just the very basics like shoes or gloves or even "coffee" (instant) since I was always being asked for "money for coffee", I was sure this was easier. Of course, I'd bring candy or toys for kids but I just never really brought or had enough but it was the thought that I think counted. I wanted to be MAGI, a gift bearer. I also thought my nickname in Spanish like Maggie, would be Magi...the trouble was that it is not spelled as I thought "Magi" but "Magui" (to get the sound right).] 

WOW...that was alot for briefly. :0( sorry! Anyways, that is also the reason that I've chosen the background I use from The Cutest Blog and the header,that I tried to make fit right, of the "Star of Bethlehem". I kept loosing my blog in the process and no matter how many tries, I could not get the image to stretch across. But I did learn that there is an Advent series called from "Nazareth to Bethlehem".

However, as I start my first week of Advent, without a "Advent devotional" that I like, I began reading the various accounts of the events leading up to Christ's birth. Though the story of the Magi, is certainly not the first, it is the first one that leaves me wanting to know more.

I think of these travelers wandering, following a STAR and I can't help but be filled with wonder of who they are and why they were drawn to follow this particular star or better yet, why they were chosen to have a part in this story.

Since the first candle lit for ADVENT is that of HOPE or anticipation, I thought who besides Mary, was filled with such HOPE. And I decided that it must have been these wise men.

I identify with them somewhat, not because of wisdom or sorcery (heaven forbid) but because they were headed off on a journey, not knowing where they were going or how they were to go but GO they must. Much like my blog title indicates, they seem to be traveling in a MAZE, like I have at times in my life, as I start out on my own "seeking" a way. Their MAZE involved traveling many miles, gazing into a sky filled with stars, yet focused on one STAR. This star was their guiding force and pointed them to the place of their destiny. I try to put myself in their place and travel along this journey.

The best part of my journey, which was a MAZE for much of my life, that is similar to this journey of the MAGI, would be my decision to finally answer the call on my life to serve as a missionary in afar off land. Which one and what part was God calling me to minister? How was I to decide with the many needs and opportunities available? Where and for what was I equipped best? How would I know when I was in the right place that God wanted me to serve? If I followed the MAZE of my life and the preparation I had done, clearly it must be a Spanish speaking country. (after all I speak Spanish fluently and majored in the language). Now that eliminates alot of countries, but the amount left is still more than 20. And on and on, went my discourse... to eliminate. But you see God had a plan, God had my destiny, God knew all along. Why didn't I just ask Him? Why didn't I just TRUST Him that He really would make a way?

Well, He did lead me to where I am and He did confirm this place because I came and went many times and to other parts. Since I began this blog, I have shared about my SUSANA story, which is my confirmation of my journey here. But every so often, I need to look to the STAR and ask once more,

"Am I where you want me?"
"Am I doing what you purposed for me when you called me in sixth grade?"
"Have I wandered off course again?"
"Am I following You and the STAR or am I following my own way again, doing as I want not Your will?"
"Am I in a MAZE or am I just aMazed of Your Incredible Plan for me & each of us?

Sometimes we walk in a MAZE not knowing which way to turn, or which direction will keep us moving forward to the goal or destiny. Yet it becomes very clear that God needs to direct our steps.

That we need to keep our FOCUS and steer clear of dead ends. I don't think the wise men went around in circles or kept crossing the same desert or wilderness. They had a destiny and they were focused on following that STAR. They were WISE! All the preparations and studies had brought them exactly the route that their journey was meant to follow to end up at the precise time to behold a babe, lying in a lowly manger, that is the KING they were seeking.

We are SEEKING this King as well. We need a VISION! We need a DREAM! We need to closely follow Our Savior, Our Guiding Light, Our STAR ... and as we do, we become more aMazed at His Grace, Mercy, Power and WHO HE IS! We are filled with HOPE for His return. We anticipate the moment and yet we wander and we wonder...

When will we meet Him face to face?


WHO IS THIS KING of GLORY?

Dear God, I may not have excellence or be as wise as some people, but this one thing I know, that Jesus Christ gave Himself as a sacrifice for my sin and has risen to sit at Your right hand, so that I may receive Your forgiveness, a new life, and eternal life with You. Though I may be weak and fearful at times, I can be strong through the power of Your Spirit. God, please speak through me and live through me that I might touch the lives and hearts of the people I come in contact with each day. May You be glorified.

Father, forgive me for the many times I have gone ahead of you or done things my own way instead of WAITING for You to direct my steps. Forgive me for the times, I wandered in a MAZE. Forgive me for any time I take my eyes off of the STAR. Forgive me Jesus when I am not focused on You, when I am not following You or listening to Your Word.

Teach me, O LORD to follow with HOPE as the Wise Men did that night long ago, searching for You. Fill me with HOPE. Keep Your vision alive in me. Keep me following after You in all I do. Keep me on a path of righteousness. Guide my steps with Your wisdom, Your will and Your Word. Encourage me when HOPE grows dim. Prepare me.

May Your light be my light as You shine through me. Empty me and fill me with more of You. Thank You for leading me out of each MAZE and placing my foot where You desire that I serve. May I serve You with the love I show to others and how I show others Your Love for them. Thank You for being our HOPE.

I praise You. I exalt You. I give all Glory, Honor and Power to You and I AWAIT Your coming with a grateful heart... in Jesus beloved Name, I pray.

Twila Paris wrote this song and I heard it back when I felt this strong TUG on my heart to wander, back in the mid 90s, the urge to GO was so URGENT! May HE GUIDE YOUR WANDERING as He has mine:
FOLLOW THAT STAR, FOLLOW YOUR HEART
~ with God's WISDOM, be WISE ~
FOLLOW HIM

More Resources about the Magi:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

CANDLE of HOPE

This is the First Sunday of ADVENT!
I have been searching for just the right devotional series to follow through Advent. I still have yet to find THE ONE... so I WAIT...
Rev. Debi Tyree writes "Advent is the season in the Christian year when we hear and participate in the time of waiting for the birth of the Messiah, and we look with hope for the second coming of Christ.

It is a time of intentional prayer for the light of Christ to fill the darkest corners of our world. We hear the voice of God in scripture. We hear the voices of God's people around the earth as we pray together for the brilliant light of Christ's love to warm the hearts and lives of humankind. 
In worship we use the colors purple and blue as visual reminders of the season. One of the primary symbols of the season has become the Advent Wreath. The wreath itself is a symbol of life without end. The lighting of a candle each week marks our journey through the four weeks of Advent. 
In 2009, Advent begins on November 29 and culminates with the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day." ~ Rev. Debi Tyrie

• November 29, 2009 - First Sunday of Advent (purple candle, theme is Hope)
• December 6, 2009 - Second Sunday of Advent (purple candle, theme is Love)
• December 13, 2009 - Third Sunday of Advent (purple or pink candle, theme is Joy)
• December 20, 2009 - Fourth Sunday of Advent (purple candle, theme is Peace)


I guess because of my religious upbringing, I am geared towards PREPARING my heart during this time between Thanksgiving & Christmas. Living here in Mexico, which is still very Catholic, in their many traditions, I'm ready for a good time with our LORD, focusing on Love, Peace, Hope, Joy.

I recall as I started this year and looking for a Bible Reading Plan, I centered on HOPE to begin. It seems that the Advent readings I have found started with LOVE but I will follow this with HOPE. And I will WAIT and hope that I encounter a devotional series I like.

My ABS Bible Reading Plan theme for the month of December is: Called to be Free to Spread Joy Tidings. Starting off with :
(1) Luke 21:5–38 (2) Psalm 2 (3) Isaiah 11:1–16 (4) Isaiah 25:1–12 (5) Isaiah 60:1–22 ... (6) Malachi 3:1–4 (7) Malachi 4.1–6 then back to LUKE 3: 1-20 and Psalms 122, 123, 124, 125 bringing us to the 3rd Sunday in Lent JOY


Another resource shares these reading for this 1st week: Scriptures: Jeremiah 33:14–16; Psalm 25:1–10; 
I Thessalonians 3:9–13; Luke 21:25–36

So I guess there is a consensus of starting with LUKE 21 (just not what verses, so I'll read the entire chapter, can't go wrong with that).


This unique reading from Luke’s Gospel properly announces a significant claim of the Gospel, offering counsel regarding God’s fulfilling the promise for a just and peaceful world.

Come and Worship ~ Bebo Norman
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. 
Today we light the Candle of HOPE.


"Come Lord Jesus. Come to brighten every corner of the world."

Psalm 25:1-10
1 To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
2 in You I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one whose hope is in You
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.
4 Show me Your ways, O LORD,
teach me Your paths;
5 guide me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are God my Savior,
and my hope is in You all day long.
6 Remember, O LORD, Your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to Your love remember me,
for You are good, O LORD.
8 Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore He instructs sinners in His ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them His way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
for those who keep the demands of His covenant.
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As we prepare to celebrate His first coming, let us renew our anticipation of His coming again.

I love this prayer from Prime Time Ephesians 4 Ministry for today (it speaks my heart):

Dear God, I'm thirsty. I'm thirsty for Your anointing on my life and ministry. Please increase my hunger for Your Word and Your will; keep my heart humble; and strengthen my commitment to Your ways. I need my heart's desire to be for You. I want more of You, God. Please forgive my frailties and strengthen my spirit. Help me to feel Your presence and experience Your power as never before. Shine through me to touch the lost and dying world around me, for their good and Your glory. Light their lives with Your Hope! Please shower me with Your blessings that I may soak up those blessings, share them with others, and be a blessing to You. In Your name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

SHIPWRECK


SHIPWRECK
I built a fortress
With a hundred thousand faces
I'll keep it safe
With a hundred thousand more
But these masks are wearing thin
As You draw me in
I spent my time
On the empty and the fleeting
I spent my life
On much less than I'd dreamed
But I'm reaching out to you
To make me new
'Cause I am just a beggar here at Your door
I am just a shipwreck here on Your shore
I come empty handed
Ready to see
Your life in me changing who I've been
To who I need to be
You tell me my story
As You sift between the pages
I feel redemption
In the space between each turn
Could You take me in Your arms
And tell it just once more
Could You take me in Your arms
And tell it just once more

Starfield is NEW for me but I've been exploring many of their songs and enjoy so many of them. As I look at the words of "SHIPWRECK", I thought about being shipwrecked. Of course, growing up with this TV series, this is the first image with their stories on the island that come to my mind...

Here on "Gilligan's Island"

Followed later in my life by the "TITANTIC". 

Have you had any time in your life, where you experienced being "shipwrecked?" Think about it. Most of us will not be shipwrecked at sea. Yet daily we face the possibility of suffering a shipwreck in our spiritual life. We need to have a plan and a course to follow to AVOID shipwrecks in our lives! You do not have to be shipwrecked in your walk with God.[If you plan on making any sea voyage, you may want to check this out: How to survive a Shipwreck.] Have you ever had times when you felt "shipwrecked"?


[Paul lays out 5 steps in 1 Timothy 1:18-19 that will help you and me recover or avoid a spiritual shipwreck.] The remedy lies in: following, fulfilling, fighting, faith and faithfulness.

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. ... 14The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 1:12,14)

If you are headed for a shipwreck and it is clear to you, you can come. If you want to prevent that from happening in your life, then you can come. If you are lost and need to be saved, you must come. Come to Jesus, He is waiting for you! There is help for you in the presence of the Lord!

My intention was not to give a sermon but the song "Shipwreck" has a real message for our lives and we each need to COME to Our Lord empty handed and allow Him to CHANGE us. Maybe I need to think about writing more on this from my personal ship...and course for the future. Sunday starts ADVENT, a time of WAITING, PREPARING our hearts & COMING to JESUS! Are you ready?

REDEMPTION is a beautiful place to be in the arms of the One and Only, who saves us and keeps us from the SHIPWRECKs of our "ship"... we need a good Christian fellowship to stay the course & follow His way, not our own ... reading His WORD keeps us on course, accept His truth & trust Him & His promises not push it away. Sometimes tragedies come when we drift, or are overloaded, loose our momentum, flounder, break our rudders or tear our sails. Let's keep our ships afloat, running well, filled up and on course so we don't veer and hit jagged reefs, rocks of sins, unexpected icebergs because of miscalculations.

Be sure to STAY the course and
"Come Lord Jesus. Come to brighten every corner of the world."

I am ready to follow You & stay on course!
No more SHIPWRECKS in my life.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

THANK YOU LORD...


...FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS!!!

Thanksgiving countdown banner

Yet EVERY day, we can say, THANK YOU LORD!

...MY unending PRAYER...

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SEE MY ENTIRE LIST OF THANKFULNESS
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Thanksgiving Day Prayer
Heavenly Father, on Thanksgiving Day
We bow our hearts to You and pray.
We give You thanks for all You've done
Especially for the gift of Jesus, Your Son.
For beauty in nature, Your glory we see
For joy and health, friends and family,
For daily provision, Your mercy and care
These are the blessings You graciously share.
So today we offer this response of praise
With a promise to follow You all of our days.

by Mary Fairchild

FOR MORE PRAYERS or Poems
[just click on PRAYERS]

NOVEMBER GIVING THANKS CHALLENGE for ALL of THIS & MORE

There are so many WONDERFUL opportunities around BLOG land to share our GRATITUDE! I shared some HERE in my original GIVING THANKS POST for 2009 but there are many more I encounter each day.

Why not join one and learn what an attitude of gratitude daily will do for you?

I am so THANKFUL once more
for this opportunity & privilege
to join
for the
3rd Annual
This will be the post where I will add to my list
each week as
I GIVE THANKS to God
http://southbreezefarm.blogspot.com/2009/10/2009-giving-thanks-challenge.html
I AM SO THANKFUL FOR:

#1
(after all that's the first part of my blog title)
...without His GRACE where would I be
but still in
those MAZES and MESSES of my life,
lost and without direction
not enjoying the MIRACLES of Jesus' new life,
not seeing the MIRACLES all around me,
not rejoicing in the MIRACLES yet to be,
not able to believe in the MIRACLES in LIFE!

#2 God's DAILY PROVISION

#3 God's FORGIVENESS and others

#4 God's BLESSING of CHRISTIAN BLOGGER FRIENDS to share our walk together:

YOU...each one of you!!!

#5 God's CONSTANT PROTECTION

#6 God's LIVING WATER ... His WORD

#7 God's MUSIC ... and all the Christian artists

#8 WORSHIP: dance, songs, prayers, praise ... all ways of adoration: to Him all the Glory!

#9 God's CRITTERS...especially my family of 6 dogs: Bravo, Chimi, Toby, Chiquitita, Lucky & Chispita (see my blog post "I LOVE GOD & my DOG!)

#10 God's COMPASSION and Compassion International in Central America:El Salvador (see My POST for them)!!!

#11 God's FREEDOM given to us through Christ & the freedoms we are so privileged to have in the USA that we take for granted

#12 God's ARTISTRY in nature like the way He paints the sky...

#13 God's MERCY (after reading Cathy's post of C. Spurgeon's devotional on Mercy then her WFW & song)

#14 GOD'S AWESOME MINISTRIES to WOMEN & CHILDREN like Compassion International's CHILD SURVIVAL PROGRAM (CSP) Rescue Babies NOW 

#15 PRAYER: daily communication with my LORD; Father, Jesus Christ & Holy Spirit!!! 

Praying for Others & Others Praying for me like we do at Lighthouse of Prayer or Fearless Friday or PRAYERS GO UP, BLESSINGS COME DOWN. Thanks Angela, Denise & all Prayer Warriors and Intercessors!

#16 JESUS, Jesus' LIFE & DEATH & SALVATION I RECEIVED

I will be adding something each day after the Beloved Name of JESUS...

#17 JESUS' MIRACLES (Wikipedia's article & chart) Click on either to READ about them

#18 JESUS' JOY and all the big & little joys that He has given me

#19 JESUS' LOVE for CHILDREN including YOU & me; my adopted ones: Tracy & Vinny and their children; Blake, Audrey Kaye, Cassandra, Penelope ...



#20 JESUS' TEACHINGS in parables and daily in our lives from the simple to the complex

#21 JESUS' HANDS & FEET but moreso HIS EYES

#22 JESUS' RELATIONSHIP with me

#23 HOLY SPIRIT's GIFTS in me and in others

#24 HOLY SPIRIT FILLING me up, prompting me, changing me

#25 HOLY SPIRIT's FRUIT: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience ...see my WFW here

#26 HOLY SPIRIT's COUNSEL (since He is our Counselor)

#27 HOLY SPIRIT's COMFORT (since He is our Comforter)

#28 HOLY SPIRIT's JOY which gives me the strength of the LORD

#29 HOLY SPIRIT's POWER and using this for His Glory

#30 FAMILY & FRIENDS!!! Though I am not with them, my thoughts are at all times!

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This blog is ALL about HIM, for HIM, not about me!
I hope that is what you see
this is why I am



To my faithful visitors;
all of you who spend your valuable time here with me
I do appreciate you so much!

Thank you for taking your time to visit!

Love, Sweet blessings & Hugs!

DIOS TE BENDIGA
GOD BLESS YOU

always

Peggy