Have you found the perfect gift yet?

I get amused with the Christmas shoppers in the Riverside Gift Shop I am managing at the retirement village.  They will come in and say they’re looking for the “perfect gift” for someone and they’ll “know it when they see it.”

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This month of Christmas music, programs, parties and shopping can become stressful to some people.  We have been made to feel guilty if we don’t give extra to the needs of those less fortunate.  There are the lonely people who actually hate this time of year.

But wait…..what is it really all about?  And I mean more than remembering a miraculous virgin birth of a baby 2000+ years ago.

The miracle of Jesus the Christ…..the Anointed One, is that He is fully God and fully human!!!    The doctrinal word for that is Incarnation……….and I don’t mean a flower!!!

This is one of the mysteries of Almighty God.   In His Son, Jesus, God became a human man to save us ultimately by shedding His blood on the cross, dying and arising from the dead, without ceasing to be God.

Philippians 2:5-11    Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

WOW!!!  That’s quite a bit to comprehend.  It’s so “far out there” our human minds cannot figure it out……not possible….don’t go there!!!

It is child-like FAITH which is a GIFT from God to receive THE TRUTH.

If you are struggling with the reality of who Jesus is, and that He is more than a baby in a manger, ask God to give you the faith to believe.  Be honest with God, He knows the thoughts and intents of your heart anyway.  Don’t try to figure it out…..just know that God loves you with unconditional love.  Once you realize that great love through Jesus Christ you will never be the same again!

The celebration of Jesus’ birth this week will give you JOY and an INNER PEACE that is unexplainable.

JESUS CHRIST IS INDEED THE MOST PERFECT GIFT TO YOU!!!

Romans 6:23  The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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When Heaven and Earth Collide

On Thursday I was worshipping during a corporate worship service and I felt as if heaven and earth were colliding. It was the feeling as if things of heaven were coming down to earth and all the saints were in one room together along with angels. The presence of God was so overwhelming in the room that I was flat on my face lying on my stomach on the floor.

While I was lying on the floor worshipping there was a presence of someone else worshipping with me. Yes, there were many other people physically in the room, but I felt as if someone was with me spiritually. It felt as though someone I dearly love who went home to Jesus about 6 years ago was with me. That presence was my dear Grandma! It was beautiful. I felt as though my grandma and I were worshipping our God together! I had tears of joy streaming down my face. She and I were laughing together and singing praises to our Savior. The moment was wonderful and I didn’t want it to end.

I know for a fact my grandma is in heaven and I believe God gives us gifts from heaven like visits from the ones we love who have gone before us.

This is not the first time my grandma has visited me. Almost exactly a year ago I had a dream that was so vivid I felt as though my grandma was in the room with me. She told me she was sent from God to bring me reassurance and hope.

Before my grandma’s visit last week, I was missing her and wishing she was with me. I want to talk with her so badly about all the things God is doing in my life. I want to sit down over a cup of coffee and have a conversation about Jesus. Even though I cannot physically see her or give her a hug, I was reminded on Thursday that she is with me. She is seeing all that God is doing in my life, and we shared a special moment together in the presence of God. What an incredible gift!

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Hillsong has a song called “Heaven and Earth.” The chorus is

Heaven and earth collide
The Savior for everyone has come
Bringing the dead to life
All for the glory of Your name

This is so true! The savior for everyone has come. He came to this earth and is alive in heaven. He brings the dead to life, which is true in many ways, but in this case, my grandma “died” on earth, but is alive in heaven with Jesus! And I was able to experience her being alive to bring glory to the name of Jesus. He is the only reason why I was able to worship with my grandma and see her in a dream.

I hope this is an encouragement to you! That you will experience heaven and earth colliding. Worship God, give thanks to him, praise his holy name, ask for an encounter with him, and you will experience the greatness and glory of the Lord on earth as it is in heaven.

 

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1: 18-19

 

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.” Matthew 6:9-10

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THE BEST GIFT OF ALL

Last night I sang in a vocal group that performed for the local Rotary Club’s Annual Christmas Dinner.  The members brought their families, including children from infants to 18 years of age.  A local Pastor dressed up like Santa and, after a delicious meal and entertainment, arrived with a loud “Ho Ho Ho!!!”  The youngest children were delighted, and each one was called up to receive a gift and get their picture taken with Santa.  This was a fun evening, and we brought in the message of the birth of Christ in our music.

But, with all our busyness at this time of year, it is so important to teach our children that the baby Jesus in the manger grew up to die on a cross and shed his blood for our salvation.

He really was BORN TO DIE.  Whoa…you say…that is a morbid thought.

You see, God had a plan from the beginning of time to reveal Himself in human form by sending His Son into the world as a baby, born of a virgin.  This is one of the mysteries of Sovereign God.  One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel which translated means “God is With Us.”

The God-Man Jesus, who was without sin, shed His blood on a Roman cross to cover all sin before and after his death and resurrection.

Wow….that’s so difficult for our human minds to comprehend!  That’s where faith comes in.  Child-like faith…which is a gift from God.

If you are struggling with the reality of who Jesus is, and that He is more than a baby in a manger, ask God to give you the faith to believe.  Don’t try to “figure it out”…just know that God loves you with unconditional love. Once you realize that great love through Jesus Christ you will never be the same again!  The celebration of Jesus’ birth will give you joy and an inner peace that is unexplainable!

JESUS THE CHRIST IS INDEED THE GREATEST, MOST LASTING GIFT OF ALL!!!

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“The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Romans 6:23

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‘Tis the Season to be…

Christmas is a season of many things.

Busyness, people are running in and out of stores trying to find gifts and going to holiday party after holiday party (those are fun don’t get me wrong).

Stress, they don’t have everything ready for Christmas. Presents aren’t wrapped and it is only a week and a half away. Or they have deadlines that need to be met before the year is over.

Excitement, they are traveling or seeing loved ones.

Holiday cheer, decorations are up and lights are on the tree.

One word I see often during this time of year is JOY. A 5 year old girl asked me what J-O-Y spelled because she was seeing it written everywhere. It made me stop and think about this word and the meaning of it.

Joy is the “feeling of great happiness and delight.” There are songs sung during this season with the lines “ ‘tis the season to be jolly…” and “Joy to the world the Lord has come!”

Where does this jolly and this joy come from?

It comes from giving to others out of selflessness. It comes from loving each other not because we have to but because we want to. First and foremost it comes from God.

God gave us his son as a baby on this earth. He brought JOY and HOPE into this lost, busy, chaotic, selfish world. Because God loves us so much he was separated from his son and gave him to us as a gift.

What are you going to do with that gift?

Are you going to keep it for yourself?

Sure you can have Jesus, but don’t keep him all to yourself. God intended for us to share the gift that we have been given.

Isn’t it more enjoyable to share a gift you have been given with a friend or two or more? Well that is exactly how it is with the love of Jesus. Share it! Give it to everyone!

In all the chaos, let’s not lose sight of the true gift of Christmas and the reason we celebrate. Don’t get lost in the presents and the wrapping paper. Enjoy the love and the joy and the hope that is all around you even if it’s hard to see at times. Stop and look for it, because it is there. Look for the signs that say JOY. They are good reminders how Christmas is supposed to be. God is all around you no matter where you go. And this is a gift that keeps on giving, not just during the holiday season!

 

You are loved.

Merry Christmas!

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.'”                                                                                  Luke 2:10-11

“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”        John 3:16-17

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In Over My Head

I am WAY in over my head. What am I doing?

There is so much to do for the kingdom. So many people to reach. So many hearts to be transformed. What am I doing?

I think of the ways God has used me, and the divine appointments he has set up, and think, “Wow, God used someone like me to touch the heart of his child. There is so much more to do!”

It becomes overwhelming when you think about the big picture. But God is telling me to focus on the person in front of me. Take one step at a time.

When I was in South Africa, I went to the gym with 2 other teammates, Zach and Kyle. We went every Monday- Friday morning at 5:30 to get a workout in and be done in time to shower and be ready for the rest of the day with our team. There was a personal trainer at this gym who took a liking to me and my friends. Every morning this man greeted me, and as the mornings progressed we shared more and more. I told him I was a missionary here in South Africa, and he told me of the many other jobs he had. Zach, Kyle, and I smiled at him, said hi to him, talked with him, and our last day at the gym we prayed with and for him.

Two months later I received a message from this personal trainer that he had accepted Jesus into his heart and it was because of us that he saw Jesus and wanted what we had!

Praise Jesus! God used me, Zach and Kyle to meet this man where he was, give him our time, which lead him to Jesus.

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I think about all the millions of people who don’t know Jesus yet and I ask myself, how am I going to reach all of them? I am in over my head. There is so much to do and only God can help us accomplish it. What does he ask from us? To be a vessel. To say “Yes God, use me!”

But it takes boldness. It takes stepping out of your comfort zone. It takes being uncomfortable.

Smile at the next person you pass. Take time out of the busyness to talk with someone you may not normally talk to. You never know how God can use you. He could use you to plant a seed of Jesus in someone.

I love Jesus so much and I want everyone to experience him and love him too! I want to tell the world who Jesus is and what he has done for me and for the world. I want to scream it from the rooftop, however that may not go over well so… every person I come into contact with I need to smile at them, ask them their name, take time out of my day to talk with them.

The truth is my days are not mine, they are the Lord’s.

What are you going to do with your gifted day?

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