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Success God’s Way

Success God’s Way

As a college graduate with a degree in Interior Design, I was eager to jump out into the world and pursue my career.   I envisioned having this amazing lifestyle as a designer.  My dream was to have a large home in a gated community,  a top-of-the-line luxury car, all of the designer clothes and handbags that a woman could ever dream of, and of course trips all around the world.   I associated success with financial gain, and with having an abundance of beautiful things.

I now know that God’s view of success is quite different from what I thought that success would look like in my early twenties.  It is also different from what the world wants us to believe that success looks like.  Our success is not based on the number of zeros in our bank accounts, or where we live.  True success is based on our obedience to God and the number of hearts that we have touched and blessed along the way for His glory.

Please know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having dreams and goals.   And there is nothing wrong with owning beautiful things or having lots of zeros in your bank account.  These are all blessings from God.  I am simply saying, don’t allow the enemy to trick you into living a lifetime of chasing beautiful things thinking that’s the mark of success, because it’s not.   God has a different standard for how success is measured for His children.

Today I want to share a few scriptures with you regarding success.

Psalm 1:1-3
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
1 Kings 2:3
and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go
Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,  and he will establish your plans.
Matthew 16:26-27
26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Deuteronomy 8:6-20
Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.
12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.
Jeremiah 17:7
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.

Baseball

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
Colossians 3:14
14 
and over, all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Romans 12:16
16 
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.
John 17:23
23 
I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
1 Corinthians 1:10
10 
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Ephesian 4:3
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

This week as the world watched, the Texas Rangers won their very first World Series.  I don’t know about you, but I grew up loving baseball.  As a child on those rare days that our farm chores were completed before nightfall, the kids from our community would converge in our front yard for a game of baseball.

Then as a teenager, I played on a community girl’s softball team.  It was the highlight of my week to go and play ball with my friends.  Basically, the entire community of this very small town that I grew up in, would show up to watch the girls as well as the boys play ball.

The girls would always play first.  Afterward, we enjoyed drinking ice-cold sodas and eating the best hot dogs ever, as we watched the boys play their game.

Then in 1974 I left home and moved to Arlington Texas to attend college.  That’s when I became acquainted with the Texas Rangers. They only arrived two years ahead of me, so I feel like we grew up together.  We were the new kids on the block.  So needless to say, even though I moved away from Texas years ago my heart is still there cheering the Rangers on.
As I tuned in to watch the celebration parade honoring the great victory, I saw thousands upon thousands of happy fans, some of whom had walked as far as two miles to get to the parade route.
There were people there from every walk of life.  Every demographic and ethnicity that you can imagine was represented, all smiling and joyful over the win.
  I saw unity.    How amazing that for a few short hours thousands of people were in agreement over something as simple as baseball.
I saw not only a celebration for baseball champions, but I saw the power of commonality.   For once everyone was on the same page and actually agreeing on something. Their common love and support for this outstanding team and the sport of baseball was what drew them together.
  I long for the day that those of us on God’s team will live in perfect unity.   I truly believe that it will ignite an even greater joy, than I witnessed while watching the celebration parade. .   As we walk in the victory that God has provided for us, we should remember that we too are blessed to be on a winning team, and oh what a victory celebration we will have one day too!

Have You Prepared A Place ?

9 She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”

11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. 13 Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?’”
She replied, “I have a home among my own people.”

14 “What can be done for her?” Elisha asked.

Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.”

15 Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.”

“No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”

17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.

I was intrigued a few days ago as I was reading my Bible, and came to a passage of scripture in 2nd Kings 4:8-17.   In this passage a wealthy woman from Shunem invited Elijah to come to her home for a meal.   After his first visit he continued to stop there whenever he came to town.

This woman even told her husband that she was sure that this man was a man of God.   She even suggested to her husband that they build a small room for him, and furnish it with a bed and a chair and lamp, so that he would have a place to stay whenever he came to town.

I saw God’s favor all over this.  Elisha, was blessed because he was a man that honored God. He was treated with kindness by this wealthy woman, and she was also hospitable to him. The relationship that was developing between Elisha, the woman and her husband, would end up being a blessing to all three of them.

Little did the wealthy woman know, that her kindness and generosity would play a huge part in her future.  Elisha sent his servant Gehazi to ask what he could do for her?   It turns out that this lady did not have a son.  Elisha promised her that at that same time the next year,  that she would be holding a baby son.

She honestly thought that he was deceiving her, but a year later true to his word she was holding her baby son.

A great lesson from this really beautiful story is that, we never know what our being kind to someone will lead to.  God has so many wonderful ways of blessing us, and when we bless others, He blesses us.

Another great lesson is that Elisha desired to bless her in a way that was possible for him.  He didn’t assume that because she was wealthy that she didn’t have a need. Sometimes a person’s greatest need is the one that you cannot see, so be willing to ask.  Although someone else shared her need with him, he was still the one that inquired.

Here’s another lesson,  God has an abundance of blessings to fit any and every need imaginable. Just keep your eyes fixed on Him and treat others with kindness and He will bless you whether directly or indirectly through someone else.  Remember just as we love blessing our children, He loves blessing His children!

Divine Appointments

Divine Appointments

14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:16
16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
Esther 7:3
Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request.

Today I would like to visit with you about divine appointments.  So many times, we go through life on autopilot, not really paying attention to what’s going on around us.  I would like to encourage you to start paying attention to what God is doing.  I have heard people at times mistakenly refer to a divine appointment as a coincidence.   As Christians, we know that there are no coincidences.

You may be blessed with a divine appointment in a grocery store, at a ball game, on a plane, or even at some event. Wherever you are, know that if you are walking with God, He wants to use you to share Him with others. We are his ambassadors created for divine assignments.   Divine assignments are always orchestrated by God, not us. We are simply His hands and feet carrying out His plan in order to touch the lives of others who needed His help.

As I look back over the years, not only has God used others to orchestrate a divine appointment with me, but He has also used me to carry out divine appointments that He orchestrated for the benefit of others.

One of the examples that instantly comes to mind for me, is the day that I decided to go into a local restaurant here in town to get a bagel.

As I was paying for my food, I struck up a conversation with the cashier that was waiting on me.  She mentioned to me that she really wanted to go back to school, but she didn’t know how she would make it to work, and children.  If I remember correctly, she was a single mom.

I encouraged her, and I told her that she could do it.  I also told her that it would be so worth the sacrifice.

Fast forward about a year to a year and a half later, she showed up at a business event that I was hosting.  To be quite honest, I did not recognize her right at first.  It was not until she approached me and thanked me for encouraging her to go back to school that I realized who she was.  She told me how much my words meant to her that day and how they inspired her to go for her dream of completing her degree.

That my friends were a divine appointment.  God used me to help steer her in the direction that He wanted her to go in.  I became her nudge.  My divine purpose in this situation was to give her a nudge and to help her feel confident that with God’s help, she had everything it took to complete her schooling.

When we yield ourselves to God’s will and His timing and purpose, He can do amazing things through us.  Remember, there are no coincidences, only Divine Appointments.

 

 

Until I Became A Mother

Until I Became A Mother

Isaiah 49:15
15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
Proverbs 31:28
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
Exodus 20:12
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Until I became a mother I could not fully comprehend the sacrifices that my mother made for me, without reservation each and every day.
Until I became a mother I couldn’t fully appreciate the late nights that my mother sat up, waiting for me to get home from a ballgame or a date.
Until I became a mother I never realized how many prayers must have gone up on my behalf.
Until I became a mother I never realized how many days my mother must have stood in the kitchen exhausting what little energy she had left that day, to prepare a meal for our family.

Until I became a mother I never realized the depth of love that my mother had for each one of her children.
Until I became a mother I never realized that there were times when my mother might have wanted a new dress for herself, or a new pair of shoes, but she always made sure that I looked nice first.
Until I became a mother I never realized how many nights my mother must have stayed up with me, weary from exhaustion as I lay in bed sick.
Until I became a mother I never realized that my mother may have had dreams that she put on hold to make sure that my dreams were possible.

Until I became a mother I never realized, that being a mother is the hardest job on earth, but also the most rewarding job.  I am convinced that only God could create in mother’s the capacity to love so deeply and freely.

This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day, a time set aside to honor mothers.  If you are blessed to still have your mom, I encourage you to let her know how special she is to you.  Thank God for her daily, after all, no one other than God will ever love you like your mother.–

28 “For in Him we live and move and have our being..Acts 17:28

Dedicated to Leading Women to Live Victoriously by Empowering Them to Step into Greatness.

 

 

 

Clarity And Direction

Clarity And Direction

Are you sacrificing peace, clarity, and direction for comfort and ease?   Last week I came to the realization that I had been doing exactly that.

For over forty-seven years now, I have been writing my prayers and journaling.  At one time when I was really seeking to hear from God for direction and guidance, I was rising at 5:00 AM to pray, and to journal.  I was amazed at how I would receive downloads from God for my day.

This 5:00 AM appointment time with God all started during a really challenging qualification period that I was going through in my career.  God laid it on my heart during that time to rise at 5:00 AM to spend time with Him.

I continued this 5:00 AM meeting time for a while, and then I eased back into a time that was most convenient for me.  You see I am not what you would consider a morning person at all.  I usually wake up moving in slo-mo.

Although I continued reading my Bible and praying in the mornings, I just found that it more was more convenient for me, to write in the evenings right before bedtime.

I am currently in qualification for another big goal in my career, and God has laid it on my heart to start writing in the mornings again.  Thank goodness He has not urged or prompted me to do 5:00 AM again. I am twenty years older than I was when He instructed me to do that the first time.  And honestly, it would be quite the challenge at this stage in my life, considering other things that I am currently going through.  However what I do know for sure, is that if He calls me to it, He will give me the strength for it.

So this past week I got up early one morning, read my Bible and prayed as usual and added my writing back into my morning routine.  Boy did I see God show up!  It is absolutely amazing what blessings come from being obedient.  God started to give me downloads and ideas for my day.  I recognized some things that I had never caught before. Talk about clarity it was definitely happening.   Just because I did as God had asked me to do.

He revealed to me that I needed a new tracking board for my business and that I needed to create a whole new Goal poster.   I created the tracking board and the Goal poster and I was absolutely amazed, that even my penmanship appeared clearer.  This whole process was a really neat experience.  God revealed Himself to me through something this simple.  I have now been prompted to pray for strategy.  Wow! God will even help us to know what to pray for.

Needless to say, it made me wonder, how many God wink moments like this that I have missed because I wanted to be obedient, but obedient my way.   May I encourage you today to learn from my mistake?  Don’t sacrifice peace, clarity, and direction for comfort and ease.  It will make your journey a lot longer and not nearly as enjoyable. Do it God’s way to experience His perfect peace and blessings.

28 “for in Him we live and move and have our being..
“Acts 17:28
Dedicated to Leading Women to Live Victoriously by Empowering them to Step into Greatness.
Psalm 63[a]
 You, God, are my God,  earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
Psalm 143:8-10
7-10 Hurry with your answer, God!  I’m nearly at the end of my rope.
Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me!  That would be certain death.
If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice,
I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you.
Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you.
Save me from my enemies, God—   you’re my only hope!
Teach me how to live to please you,  because you’re my God.
Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland.
Psalm 37:23-24
23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,  for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

It’s Not Always About You

It’s Not Always About You

Last week I had an interesting conversation, with a lady that I had not visited in nearly three years.  We met through our businesses, and she would frequently call me for advice or coaching from time to time, regarding her business.  We had a great conversation just catching up with each other’s lives.   She told me that she had wondered how I was doing from time to time and that she was so glad to hear from me. 

When we got ready to end our conversation, she said. “There is something that I think that you should know, I sent you a text about an event and you never responded”.  She proceeded to tell me that she thought that I along with others was trying to block her from attending a special training event.  Go figure!

 I was absolutely stunned!  I honestly did not remember the text at all.  I apologized to her because it was very obvious that she was still hurt over this and still held resentment about it.  I was absolutely clueless! 

My next thought was why would she think that I would not want her to get the special training?  After that I thought, why would she hold something like this in her heart for three years, giving it an opportunity to fester unforgiveness and bitterness,  when she could just pick up the phone and ask me about it, instead of assuming?   Finally, it dawned on me that the enemy was at work here.

When I got off the phone, out of curiosity, I decided to scroll back through the text messages that I had received from her, and there it was.  Next, I looked at the date that the text came through, and it was August 19th of 2020.  My husband had open heart surgery during that time and a week before his surgery I was released from the hospital and rehab after being away from home for twenty-one days. No wonder I didn’t see her text!

You may be asking why I am sharing all of this drama.  There are several reasons.   Here are some lessons that I learned from this encounter.

1.  Unresolved issues are at the root of unforgiveness and bitterness.  Satan loves it when we are full of unforgiveness, bitterness, and even hatred toward our brothers and sisters.
2.  Ask don’t assume.  Many times things are nothing like we assume them to be.
3.  Don’t take things personally.  It’s not always about you.
4. Look for the good in people not the bad.
5. Even when you are not the one wrong, be respectful of the other person’s feelings.  It may not make sense to you, but it’s real to them.
6. Pray for those who thrive on drama and love them from a distance.
7. People will disappoint you, but God never will.

Ephesians 4:2
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
Proverbs 17:9
9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
Ephesians 4:32
32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Colossians 3:13
13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Hebrews 12:15
15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

 

Happy Valentines, “GODS LOVE US”

Who Is Love?

1st John 4:8
8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

John 4:16
16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

How Does God Love Us?

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Romans 8:35-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 15:13
13 Greater love has no one than this than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Ephesians 1:4-5
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.

John 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

How Are We Commanded To Love?

Matthew 22:37-40

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
John 13:34-35
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples if you have a love for one another.”

John 15:12-14
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this than to lay down one’s life for his friends.14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

How Should We Love One Another?

Philippians 2:1-11
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.
1 Corinthians 13
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicings in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
1 John 3:14-24
14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother[a] abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word or in the tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know[b] that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us[c] commandment.
1 John 5:1-3
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

How Should Husbands and Wives Love One Another

Ephesians 5:21-33

21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.[a]
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[b] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Love Your Enemies

 Matthew 5:38-48
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[b] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[c] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[d] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[e] do so?48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Romans 12:14
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Romans 12:17-21
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Jesus A Gift To The World

Jesus A Gift To The World

Isaiah 7:14
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin[b] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.[d]
Matthew 1:23
23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[a] (which means “God with us”).
Luke 2:7
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
John 1:14
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Luke 1: 30-35
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most  High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”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 Highest will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God.
Luke 2:13-14
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

This morning as I look out of my bedroom window, I can see snowflakes gently falling to the ground.   There are only three days left until Christmas, and basically, the entire town has come to a silent halt.   For days now, the weather stations have been predicting, that the temperatures would plunge to very low and dangerous levels and that we would see snow.  It was also predicted that this would be one of the coldest Christmases on record, across forty-five states.

That being said, isn’t amazing how God chooses to slow things down.  I consider this a huge blessing, especially this close to Christmas.  What a great opportunity to enjoy spending time with God, focusing on His birth and His sacrificial stay here on earth.  This is a wonderful time to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate or hot tea and spend hours reading, journaling, and studying His word. It is also a great time to refamiliarize yourself with the story of the birth of Christ. 

Also, take a moment and think about all that Mary and Joseph went through in preparation for Jesus’s entry into this cruel world in the form of flesh.  I encourage you to put yourself in Mary’s shoes for a minute.   How would you have responded to the Angel that brought Mary the excellent news, that she had been chosen to be the mother of Jesus?   How would you feel knowing that you were indeed carrying the Savior of the world?   How would feel knowing that you were bringing a child into this world, knowing that He would be crucified? You see even though she understood the purpose for His coming, He was still her son. 

It may be a little difficult for you to focus on all that I am asking you to do If you have not finished your Christmas shopping.  You are probably going into panic mode right about now, wondering when the streets will be cleared enough for you to finish your Christmas shopping.  I want to encourage you to take some time to release yourself from the commercial side of Christmas, relax, and just for a few minutes simply bask in the spiritual side of Christmas.  After all, it is what truly matters.  Everything else will work out one way or the other.  I know that when you do, you will feel a sense of peace and you will be blessed for being in God’s presence.  You will also be focusing on what Christmas is really about and that is Jesus!    May you and your family be blessed with a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

He Is The Real Gift!

Originally Posted December 4, 2016

Matthew 1:18-25
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

Just a few days ago I was visiting with a lady who was very close to full blown panic mode, because she had not yet decorated her home for Christmas.

I was happy and skipping through life, virtually carefree until I spoke with her. All of a sudden, I started to feel a little stress creeping in, because I began to think at least your tree is out of the box.  My tree was still in the box and very much unassembled.

Of course I didn’t share that with her. Things started to rush through my head, such as, where are the Christmas lights, and what box are the decorations in?  You see we moved in the past year, and there are still boxes stored away. Let’s just say, I’m glad I am not the one who will have to look for the lights.  I am sharing this story with you today because it became quite clear to me, that I was starting to assume her stress and anxiety.

 Ladies during this season we can get so caught up in the presentation of everything that we miss the things that are really important. So let’s just breathe slowly, breathe in and breathe out.  Just take a moment to slow down inside, and just breathe.

Now that I have your attention and you have calmed down let’s talk about what’s really important. Let’s talk about the precious souls that we will scurry past, if we are not carefully watching for those who are truly in pain, and hurting during this season.

Who will you bless?  There are those who will have no one to share Christmas with.  So why not set an extra place at the table and invite someone over to partake in a wonderful meal, and just to feel as a part of your family. Pick up an extra pair of gloves or a devotional, or something that you can wrap and share with them. So that as your family gathers around the tree they will feel like they belong as well.  Why not send a special card of encouragement, or call someone who may be struggling  with their first Christmas after losing a family member. Become a Christmas Angel  to a family that can’t afford to purchase toys for their little children. Volunteer at a shelter.  Reach out to someone this season and give a gift of love, not to someone who will then rush out and buy you a gift also, but to someone who is deeply in need of help.

Look for the opportunities to share Jesus with those that you come in contact with. You are their link to hope, as you share the true story of Christmas, and remind them why Jesus came  you are giving them hope. Hope gives them a reason to keep living and to keep trying here on earth.  Most importantly you are sharing the eternal hope they have in Christ for a life with Him eternally.

It doesn’t matter how much is under the tree.  What matters is that we see a glimpse of Jesus this season and that others see a glimpse of Him too, because He is the real Gift and the Reason for the Season!

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.