Just as joyful as Christmas is in hope, encouragement and love, Easter is in victory, power and finality. Jesus’ journey is complete. He has risen and lives in eternal victory. The reward for His triumph is the free gift of eternal life for all people who will but choose Him. What a Savior and what a gift! Abundant, overcoming and victorious life on earth and an eternal home with Him in heaven forever.
What is even more amazing is that He continues to work everyday through the Holy Spirit seeking out His lost sheep. I love the way Jesus says it in John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” Wow, how glorious a Savior to pursue us moment by moment!
God is so faithful despite the fact that each of us has chosen to go our own way like it says in Isaiah 53:6 “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.” How great it is to serve our risen Savior, Jesus.
His Victory is complete, His work is ongoing and our home in Heaven is secure. Amen!
Well, both the Belize outreach trip and the West Palm Beach Expo are in the books for 2019 and we are pooped. It is always a fast paced, packed and rewarding first two months of each year but afterwards Leanne and I need some down time. And yes I mean “need”. :)
Rest is not just a want and desire we have from time to time but it is a vital need we have as humans. We are finite, mortal, weak and even frail and cannot maintain a high energy work pace indefinitely. Even Jesus took time to get away and rest. And as a genuine need, God always provides for us each a time and place to rest if we will take advantage of it.
God’s provision for rest is always safe, secure, holy and wholesome to restore, refresh and rejuvenate us as only He can on every level of our being. So today take time to rest. Enjoy God’s presence, the blessings He provides and maybe even take a nap. It is a great gift He offers us everyday.
Here are a couple of verses to encourage you as you take step back, shift into a lower gear and rest in the tender caring arms of Jesus. And as the old hymn “Leaning on Jesus” says you’ll be “safe and secure from all alarms”.
My presence will go with thee, and I will give thee rest. Exodus 23:14
I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
God definitely wants us to be a blessing to others and as we all look to the new year of 2019, many of us may be contemplating what good we can do this coming year to make the world a better place. There are so many opportunities from serving at a soup kitchen and mailing encouragement cards to friends to building houses in third world countries and visiting folks in nursing homes, prisons and hospitals.
Giving words of blessing is another powerful way to have a positive impact on people. Take for example the verses in Numbers 6:22-27 below where God tells Moses to bless His people in a special way.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: ‘May the LORD bless you and protect you. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.’ Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”
I love the variety of blessings God outlines for His people but I am also struck by the three little words towards the end of verse 27: “in my name”. You see that is how God wants us to bless others. This is not for God’s glory, for we know from 1 Corinthians 13 that “love is not self seeking”. Rather this is a simple way to edify those we serve and help them see the goodness of God.
So as we seek to do good to others in 2019, let’s not forget the powerful blessings that come when we speak, act and live in Jesus’ name. :)
Christmas is a time when we can all roll back the complexity and seriousness we make of life and become more childlike in our faith, outlook and attitude. It is a time when we can simplify our relationship with Jesus as we see Him as the Holy Baby in a manger, we can let our optimism for each days events rise as we see the good God has brought to our lives and we can enjoy the gifts of serving as we see the impact of simple actions on others.
It is Jesus’ desire for us all to be like children in our hearts each day as we let Him carry us on our way. Like a shepherd carries a lamb so Jesus is carrying us in His loving care. And when we see this truth through childlike eyes of faith, we are able to relax in His protection, provision and presence and enjoy Him the true gift of Christmas. The joy and peace this brings are hallmarks of Christmas and of children so I hope you enjoy this beautiful poem by hymn writer Isaac Watts that highlights both so well.
HUSH! my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed!
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.
How much better thou’rt attended
Than the Son of God could be,
When from heaven He descended
And became a child like thee!
Soft and easy is thy cradle:
Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay,
When His birthplace was a stable
And His softest bed was hay.
See the kinder shepherds round Him,
Telling wonders from the sky!
Where they sought Him, there they found Him,
With His Virgin Mother by.
See the lovely babe adressing;
Lovely infant, how He smiled!
When He wept, the Mother’s blessing
Soothed and hush’d the holy child.
Lo, He slumbers in His manger,
Where the horned oxen fed:
Peace, my darling; here’s no danger,
Here’s no ox anear thy bed.
The glorious day when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus is just over a week away and the excitement is in the air everywhere in anticipation of this annual event! In honor of this wonderful day and season of Advent, Leanne and I wanted to share our hopes and prayers for you this Christmas so checkout our second venture into the media world of video below. :)
Well, this year’s Thanksgiving is in the books [and our bellies LOL] and the Christmas season is in full swing. The awe inspiring time of joy to the world, peace on earth and goodwill towards men [and women, too]. It is the world wide celebration of the birth of our gracious and glorious savior, Jesus. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!
Something about this beautiful season brings hope, joy, peace and a sense of well being. People have a smile on their face, an excitement for life and an optimism in their attitude. So what is it that changes our countenance, the way we think and the feelings we feel? It is Jesus, plain and simple. He is the one who bring about all these good things and as this season unfolds we are drawn more and more into the reality of the unmatchable gift that He is.
This is actually something we can experience all year round if we’ll but fix our eyes on the wonder and beauty of Jesus every day. What’s more the sweet fragrance that is Christ will bless those around us bringing more joy and peace to our communities and neighborhoods. Jesus is that way. He, through the Holy Spirit will permeate the atmosphere around us and bring more of heaven to earth each day as we set our focus on Him moment by moment.
So enjoy Jesus and as you do the hope of faith will rise and fill you with His joy and peace blessing not only you but those around you. Here is some snowy seasonal art and great verse that exemplifies this reality in such a vivid way. I pray they both encourage you today as you enjoy Christmas to it’s fullest.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner and everyone gearing up for a blessed holiday giving thanks to God for all the good things He has done and enjoying lots of turkey, mash potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, butter, gravy and PIE, we wanted to share a few fun facts and ministry numbers in our first ever Thanksgiving video!