Friday, December 30, 2011

The Gift

The Gift

Are you ready to receive the greatest gift of all?

If you:  believe in Jesus Christ, you believe he came from heaven to earth and took on human form to walk with us, and know everything we go through even death upon the cross.  You know you are a sinner and nothing can take away your sins except Jesus Christ.  You know you need to turn away from your sins and live your life on earth to glorify God.  Then you need to confess and pray to God.  It’s as simple as this prayer:
Dear God, I know I am a sinner.  I believe Jesus Christ died on the cross. He suffered and shed his blood to cleanse me from all my sins.  I believe he was raised to life on the third day and ascended into heaven and is at your right hand.  Please forgive me for my sins.  Come into my heart and live inside me, make me a new person, give me a clean heart, and transform my mind to do your will.  I want you to be the Lord of my life because I know my way isn’t working.  Thank you God that you love me so much you sent your one and only son to die for me so that I may live with your family in heaven for all eternity.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

It’s that simple.  Once you have prayed this prayer now you need to go tell someone.  Say I just asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life!  If you are not a part of a church find a bible believing, bible teaching church and get baptized.  Even if you were as a child, we follow Jesus’ example and believe first then get baptized. 
Maybe you were baptized first and then believed.  Pray about getting your baptism on the right side of the cross.  I don’t believe it affects your eternal outcome but if you know you should be baptized after believing you will be held accountable for this one day. 

I am proud of you for accepting Jesus into your life.  You will be forever changed.  Please remember to pray and read your bible every day.  Join a church and be in fellowship with other believers.  For some of you this may mean making some radical changes in your life.  You are either for God or against God.  There is no middle of the road or gray area.  I pray that you will so shine from the Glory of God that others around you will ask you what happened.
“For God so loved the world he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jesus

Take advantage of this teachable moment! Bake a cake and celebrate the birth of The King!

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift
Biblical Priority #6 Love One Another
by Suzie M.

Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast”. 

Do you go to church?  Are you a good person?  Do you give to charities?  Do you serve in your church? If you answered yes to any of these questions that is great!   However, many people think doing good things or being a good person will get them to Heaven.  Nowhere in the bible does it say you get to heaven by doing good things, quite the opposite, we are to believe and repent.  John 3:16 says, “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.”  (NIV, italics mine).

“..not by works, so no one can boast.”  My pastor best defines works by this, “anything that takes human effort”.   Works is not just making a meal for another, praying for each other, or even serving at church or a homeless shelter.  God does want you to do these “good works”, he is interested in everything you do but the works need to be a response to your faith.  You are separated from God if you are doing your own thing.  If we could be saved by works we would all be bragging about it.  There is only one that brings us together; we are united in Christ through Grace.

“By grace you have been saved, through faith”.  Grace.  A word that is often used.  A word that is in numerous songs.  We say it before meals, we talk about showing grace to others but do most of us even know what the word means.  Even some “Christians” don’t really know what it means.  How can we really grasp what grace truly means.  I believe our Heavenly Father loves us so much it is his heart’s desire for us to understand grace.  As I have been pondering Ephesians 2:8 and praying over what to write I also have been asking God to show me and help me understand what grace really looks like.

Luke 15:11-32 is the parable of the prodigal son.  It is a story about a son who asks his father for his inheritance early and goes off and squanders it away.  He finally realizes he should return home.  Does his father yell at him when he returns home or call him names or tell him his opinions of throwing away his life and money.  No, the bible says the father was looking for his son, and when he saw him coming he ran toward him and then threw him a huge party for returning home.  Now that is a great picture of grace.  That is us.  We are the prodigal son.  We have all squandered away opportunity our heavenly father has given or entrusted us with.  Imagine this beautiful scene of your father in heaven running towards you with open arms and asking no questions and as soon as you begin to return to him and he’s throwing you a huge party!!  Now this is something to celebrate.

C.S. Lewis and many others say grace is what distinguishes the Christian faith from any other religion in the world.

Most Christians say the meaning of Grace is “receiving something we don’t deserve” or “God’s unmerited favor”.   Not one of us “deserves” eternity in heaven because we are ALL sinners.  Even if you think you are a good person and don’t “do” anything bad, you are still a sinner.  The bible says in Romans 3:23 (NIV) “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  It is only Christ dying on the cross for your sins that allows you to enter God’s presence.  Christ suffered and died for YOU, for YOUR sins.

What is a sin?  A sin is disobeying God’s word.  Sin can be anything from disrespecting your husband to adultery.  Sin is not taking your thoughts captive by letting your mind covet the possessions of your friend, coveting another man or wishing ill will to someone else.  We may categorize sin as one is worse than another but God sees ALL sin as sin.   Not a one of us is perfect and God knows this, which is why He had a redemptive plan all along for His precious children.  Eph 2:18-22 paraphrased says we are all even in God’s eyes, we all come to God the same way.  It doesn’t matter where you come from whether it’s Thailand, Canada, Mexico, Iraq or the United States.  It doesn’t matter if you came from a strip club, infidelity, alcohol, drugs, full of anger or divorce.  God still loves YOU!  He extends His grace to you.  We are only saved by grace.  God’s grace.

What must we do to get this grace?  Romans 10:9 (NIV) says “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.”  We must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  We must confess and repent of our sins.  Jesus died on the cross and by His power rose again three days later.  Jesus nullified any other way of getting to God by our own human effort. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 (NIV)

Challenge:  What would you like for Christmas this year?  Would you like the greatest Christmas gift ever?  No, it’s not diamonds, or a new car.  Jesus is the gift, the gift of grace, the greatest gift ever given.  As with any gift it must be received. Would you please accept this gift this Christmas.   If you already have received the gift of grace I challenge you to share this gift with someone who has not accepted the gift.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Happy Birthday, Jesus
Biblical Priority #3 Children
by Carri P.

“I bring you Good News that will bring great joy to all people.  The Savior, yes the Messiah, The Lord has been born today in Bethlehem – The City of David.” Luke 2:10

Happy Birthday, Jesus!  Christmas Eve is the perfect teachable moment for our children.  As the excitement of presents fills the air, so should the presence of Jesus Christ, the honored birthday guest.  Each Christmas Eve, my children and I bake a birthday cake for Jesus.  We all share in this precious tradition and discuss what Christmas means to us personally.  On Christmas Eve, my entire family gathers at church for a wonderful celebration.  Afterwards, we caravan to our house for Christmas Eve dinner.  When we get home, the Christmas lights merrily greet us and we turn on the Christmas music.  The Bible is read and the Advent Candles are lit.  A prayer of thanks is spoken and dinner is served! Yummmm!
All of this tradition warms my heart, however, the most special time of the evening comes when we gather around the birthday cake and one of the children reads Luke 2:6-14. (see below) We all sing “Happy Birthday” to our Lord and Savior.  What a privilege and honor to have Jesus as our guest each Christmas Eve and every day of the year!
CHALLENGE:  Take advantage of this teachable moment! Bake a cake and celebrate the birth of The King!

Luke 2:6-14 The Message  "While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.  There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger." At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.”

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Menu Monday - Christmas Recipes

Christmas Recipes

Enjoy these wonderful Christmas reipes from our homes to yours.  We pray that you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Q & A

Q: If I was christened as a baby, why should I be baptized?

A: All of the baptisms in the New Testament are similar in one regard: all believed first and then immediately followed Christ’s example of baptism by immersion in water. Baptism is announcing that one has chosen for himself to put his faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord, as well as for his salvation.  Immersion is the act of being totally submerged in liquid.  Baptism by total immersion symbolizes, through a living picture, our death to sin, the burial of our old life, and the resurrection to walk in a new life with Jesus Christ as your Lord.

I was christened as a baby, but I did not get BAPTIZED until I has heard about the sacrifice that Christ has made for my sins.  I admitted that I could not get to Heaven by my own good deeds and that I had sin in my life. Romans 3:23 NTL “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard.”  I believed that if I asked Christ to save me that He would faithfully do that.  Romans 10:13 NLT "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved."  I confessed my sins to the Lord and repented (which means to go the other direction).   Romans 10:9-10  NLT “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” 

Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change; therefore after I admitted, believed, and confessed, then I was baptized. 

Acts 16:29-34 MSG  “Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved, to really live?" They said, "Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you'll live as you were meant to live… They went on to spell out in detail the story of the Master… he couldn't wait till morning!—was baptized, he and everyone in his family. There in his home, he had food set out for a festive meal. It was a night to remember: He and his entire family had put their trust in God; everyone in the house was in on the celebration.”

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Weekend Encouragement

A Baby Changes Everything

Teenage girl, much too young
Unprepared for what's to come
A baby changes everything

Not a ring on her hand
All her dreams and all her plans
A baby changes everything
A baby changes everything

The man she loves she's never touched
How will she keep his trust?
A baby changes everything
A baby changes everything

And she cries!
Ooh, she cries
Ooh, oh

She has to leave, go far away
Heaven knows she can't stay
A baby changes everything

She can feel it's coming soon
There's no place, there's no room
A baby changes everything
A baby changes everything

And she cries!
And she cries!
Oh, she cries

Shepherds all gather 'round
Up above the star shines down
A baby changes everything

Choir of angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
A baby changes everything
A baby changes everything
Everything, everything, everything


My whole life has turned around
I was lost but now I'm found
A baby changes everything, yeah
A baby changes everything

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Breath of God

The Breath of God
Biblical Priority #5 Service
by Amy G.

Because the Holy Spirit lives within all believers, God is with us today. Speaking to us through His word.

2 Timothy3:16-17 NIV “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

All Scripture is God-breathed (which means from God’s Spirit) and is useful for:

2 Timothy 3:14 NIV “But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.” I have my Bible ready, my pen, my highlighter and my journal; I am ready to learn from God’s Word, but unless I take the contents of the notes that I jot down and put them into practice, by remaining faithful to do what I what taught, then did I really learn anything?

Psalm 94:12 NLT “Joyful are those you discipline, Lord, those you teach with your instructions.” Every time I approach the Bible to spend time in the presence of God, I should begin with a prayer and an attitude of longing for Him to rebuke me; in any area of my life, where I am not walking in His will or bringing glory to Him.

Psalm 119:105 MSG “By your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.” When I cry out to Him, He shares His wisdom with me. He is a relational God! Relationships require a two way communication. In Jeremiah 33:3 NLT, I am boldly told, “Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.” He wants me to seek His guidance, He is just waiting for me to ask.

Training in righteousness
1 Timothy 4:8 NLT “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”  I am in training. Training in becoming like Christ. Through His word, the Holy Spirit illuminates scriptures that are specifically for me at that given moment in time, so that He can instruct me on the next exercise in my marathon to Christ likeness.

Psalm 119:1-8 MSG
“You're blessed when you stay on course,
walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You're blessed when you follow his directions,
doing your best to find him.
That's right—you don't go off on your own;
you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
keeping to the course you set;
Then I'd never have any regrets
in comparing my life with your counsel.
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;
I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
I'm going to do what you tell me to do;
don't ever walk off and leave me.”
Now that God has taught me, rebuked me, corrected me and trained me in righteousness, what do I do with this wisdom?

CHALLENGE: Sit alone with your Bible, a prayer request and God. Ask God to speak to you through His word. When a passage stands out to you, stop and meditate on that passage, ponder how that passage relates to your prayer request. Then pray, thanking God for what He illuminated to you. Teach this to those in your circle of influence; hold them accountable and ask them to hold you accountable too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Joy in Brokenness - Guest Blogger

We are excited to introduce our guest blogger this month...
I am a set-apart, daughter of the King in a constant state of being made and molded into His likeness. I desire to live a radical and reckless life making His name famous. I am blessed to be marrying my high school sweetheart in June 2012. He is my best friend and partner in ministry.

Lindsey J. 19 years old,
Full time college student

Joy in Brokenness
The joy of the Lord is your strength –Nehemiah 8:10

This verse has often encouraged me.  Yes, I need the Lord’s strength.  Yes, if I could just have a little bit of his power, maybe it could get me through this crazy day of running errands, sitting in carpool, and caring for needy whining children – all following another sleepless night.

These are the types of days that I find myself praying for some God-like strength to fall down upon me and make life easier.  However, it is in those moments that God typically reminds me that I am beyond blessed.  Life is beautiful; it is a gift.  Those crazy, busy days are the ones I should be thankful for.

I’ve sat in traffic, spent thirty minutes trying to find a parking spot, and hiked across campus to sit in an often boring class - but I am thankful to be receiving a college education.  The days are long and can be stressful - but I am thankful that I am one day closer to getting married to my best friend and an incredible man of God.  I don’t like some of the conversations I’ve had to have with my mom, hashing out wedding details – but her hugs, oh, her hugs are the best!  I am thankful for her and her love for me.

As I count my blessings, I find plenty to be joyful about.  There are many things for which I am beyond grateful.  It is in these crazy, busy, and blessed days that we glean our strength from the Lord.  These are the days that joy comes pretty easily.

What does it look like, though, to experience joy and the strength of the Lord during hard times of brokenness, loneliness, and heartache?  Sometimes I associate happiness with joy, but really they couldn’t be more different.  Happiness is temporary and depends upon circumstance. While it is hard to be happy in difficult situations, joy can be found in any circumstance.  Joy is the hope that comes from a relationship with Jesus.  It is the confidence that God is working behind the scenes for your best and for His glory.  Joy doesn’t always make sense, but it is there, nonetheless.  Joy is finding a power beyond yourself and discovering a strength that you don’t have.  It is God’s activity of turning times of mourning into gladness.  Transforming ashes to beauty.

I think of a baby boy that I care for.  He can be lying in the middle of the living room with absolute chaos going on around him and yet he is still lying there giggling to himself.  It is the picture of pure joy and innocence.  He has three older siblings and they may be fighting, crying and making loud noises, but there he is, just smiling to himself.  This baby boy reminds me of what it looks like to experience joy even in hard times.  I know his momma feels the same way.  Even though this is a difficult season of life with her four children, five years old and under, she finds joy in their giggles and smiles.  Several of them face a number of special needs, yet she finds the joy of the Lord in the brokenness.

Joy in the midst of heartache happens when we let go, surrendering all our desires for God’s very best.  Joy can fully be experienced when He becomes the lover of your soul.  Is it possible to have joy even in heartache, when you are burdened, or when you just feel like falling apart? Yes.  Only the joy that comes from the Lord can do that.  If you ask Him and seek Him, you better believe that He will do it!

I find myself wondering why I feel overflowing joy when I should be tired and worn out. I know that it is God answering my prayer to experience His joy. He is strengthening me. The moments when I am fully experiencing the joy of the Lord occur when I am fully surrendering to Him. It’s not when I am depending on myself or others, but when I am relying on His strength.

I am so fragile.  If “the joy of the Lord is my strength,” then I have to let God strengthen me through joy.  We can only handle today and look forward to eternity.  Those are the only two days that we should be concerned with - today and that glorious day.  On the days I feel most broken, I consider a future with Jesus forever in Heaven.  That alone is joy!
A moment of pure joy for my mom and I in celebrating my engagement.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2 Cute Tuesday

Display Frame
Paint an inexpensive frame and clip color of choice. Choose cute scrapbook paper (can be changed out seasonally.) Hot glue clip to the glass. You can write on the glass with dry erase marker.
made by Charlene S.

Monday, December 12, 2011

From Fruitcake to Fruitful

From Fruitcake to Fruitful
Biblical Priority #1 God
by Kim H.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: REJOICE!" Philippians 4:4

When we come to the full knowledge of God there are certain things we cannot deny: God is all-knowing, God is sovereign, God is smart. He is!!!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5

I almost lost a close family relationship because, even though I had the best of intentions in mind, I was functioning totally in my own strength. I would constantly tell my loved one how to do this or that, how to change this or try that. One day this person stopped answering my calls and wouldn’t come to my house for holidays. I suddenly realized I had driven this person away by my “good intentions” to “help." If I trust God completely and His spirit is leading me, I should not fret. I should not take matters into my own hands and try to “fix” them. The ideas I had in my head and felt the need to share returned void because they were not led by the Holy Spirit. Relying on one's self is stressful and exhausting. "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…..for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

God’s way is the fruitful way because he is all-knowing, sovereign and smart. He sees the big picture. "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

CHALLENGE: Trade your fruitcake for HIS fruit!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Giveaway - One Year Bible

Giveaway - One Year Bible

The One Year Bible, which helps people read the entire Bible in as little as 15 minutes a day, guides readers through God's Word with daily readings from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.

You can enter up to 3 times. Here are the 3 ways to enter:
  • “Follow” for one entry and then leave a comment below.
  • “Like” us on Facebook for a second entry and then leave a comment below.
  • "Share" this giveaway for a third entry and then leave a comment below.
Leave your name and email address in the comments of this giveaway post for each entry.

The giveaway will close 12/25 and announce the winner 12/27.

Weekend Encouragement

That's My King!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Calico Tea

Calico Tea
2 cups Tang
1 cup instant tea mix
1 tsp lemonade flavor mix
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp ground clove
Mix 2-3 tsp of mix to 1 cup hot/boiling water.

Makes great gifts!

One recipe makes enough for 4 small jars.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

For Richer or For Poorer

For Richer or For Poorer
Biblical Priority # 2 Marriage
by Jenn V.

Paul and I are about to have our 14th Christmas as a family.  We have had abundant ones and well, not so abundant ones.  I am a mom who would like to get EVERYTHING on the Christmas lists the kids bring to me!  Paul, on the other hand, is more conservative and doesn’t understand this about me.  He looks at Christmas the way it should be, more about Jesus.  One of my love languages happens to be - you guessed it - gifts!  I like giving and receiving gifts and I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!  Paul and I had outrageous Christmases as children.  Our parents went nuts in this area and so we both agreed together when we got married, to scale down on the gifts in our own family and concentrate on the gift of Jesus.  We still did Santa sightings and footprints with baking soda on the floor. We ate the cookies and drank the milk left for Santa, but we wanted to make sure that our children knew first and foremost, that Christmas came from Christ.

When we were just starting our lives together, I was a stay-at-home mom and we did not have much money to spend on Christmas gifts. However, those Christmases are special to us! Watching the boys open their gifts and be so thankful for every little thing they got blessed us beyond measure! That experience showed us that we don’t need to worry about how much is under the tree. It is the time the family spends sitting around it that matters the most!  Luke 1:14 "And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.”  NKJV

CHALLENGE:  Talk to your husband and agree on a predetermined amount of money to spend on Christmas, to help open up the communication on your holiday budget and how you want to make a purposeful effort to keep Jesus as the forefront of Christmas.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Story - Review

Impressions from “The Story” Music Tour on December 2, 2011
By Amy G.

At the last minute, I was invited to attend the musical tour of “The Story” this past Friday night.  I went expecting a holiday performance, but was surprised by what I ended up experiencing.  The production consisting of 18 contemporary Christian songs written by Dove Awards winners chronicling Genesis to Revelation,  songs that were inspired by the Old Testament, songs that were written and sung from the perspective of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Ruth and Naomi, David, Daniel, Esther, and Job.  And that was just before the intermission.  The last half of the program was moving with songs from the perspective of Mary, Jesus’ ministry, the thief on the cross, Mary Magdalene, the disciples, Paul, and then the Rapture. These songs were sung with an amazing theatrical video backdrop and  performed by STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN, NEWSBOYS, FRANCESCA BATTISTELLI, NATALIE GRANT, SELAH, and ANTHEM LIGHTS.

This was a journey through the bible like no other and one that will leave me changed forever. 

Menu Monday - Week 7 & 8

Week 7 & 8 (click to print pdf)
Monday - Brisket Tacos
Tuesday - Beef Stir Fry
Wednesday - Chimichangas
Thursday - Calzones
Friday - Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Monday - Roast
Tuesday - Taco Salad
Wednesday - Chili
Thursday - Chicken Pot Pie
Friday - Turkey Meat Loaf
Weekend - Chicken Tortilla Soup

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Just Say No

Just Say No
Biblical Priority #4 – Home
by Stephanie H.
The Holy Spirit has been showing me that I need to simplify my life.  Recently my brain, a.k.a. my iPhone, crashed and luckily we had the warranty.  But, that warranty did not save my calendar or the contacts I had added in the last 6 months.  Two days later my husband asked, “What is going on this weekend?”  I went to look at my calendar and anxiety set in.  I took a deep breath and said, “Well I guess whatever we want!”  I felt convicted about my response to losing my calendar and how I had made it an idol.  I spent time praying about what should go back on my calendar and what I would have to say no to.  Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.  Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”  Psalm 25:4-5 NIV  The more cluttered I allow my life to be, the less I sense the presence of Jesus; He seems to get lost in the shuffle.  The clutter is not just with physical stuff, but also with things I do with my time and things I invite into my life that create a more frenzied schedule and pace. I am thankful I learned the lesson before Christmas so I can spend time praying about what will go on my Calendar for the Holidays and where I will make more room for Jesus.  I hope you will too!

For you it may not be that you lost your calendar. Perhaps you are trying to potty train a toddler, so traveling a long distance sounds like a fiasco.  Maybe your husband has had a heavy workload lately and trying to attend too many holiday events is going to add stress to your marriage.  Maybe you had your mind set on taking your daughter to see The Nutcracker for the first time, but the finances aren’t there.  Or perhaps you love getting sucked into the gift-buying-house-decorating-party-hopping-cookie-baking-calendar-filling-most-wonderful-time-of-the-yea!  These things are not bad things, but they may not be God’s best for you!  “Fix your thought on Jesus” Hebrews 3:1 NIV  His plans for your life are far more wonderful than anything you could ever plan or imagine!

It’s okay to say no!  Even at Christmas!
·    Try to evaluate what your immediate family needs and wants are first.  We try to please so many people during the Holidays, that sometimes our own family suffers or we add stress to the situation.
·    Make a decision about how many events or activities your family can handle doing and discuss as a family the events chosen.
·    Make a bigger deal out of the smaller things.  Make hot chocolate and sit around the Christmas tree and read Christmas books.  Play Christmas music and have everyone decorate the Christmas tree, help wrap presents or make cookies.
·    Simplify the gift giving.  A gift that is inexpensive and absolutely priceless is your time!
Make More Room for Jesus
Challenge:  Pray before adding anything to your calendar this month.  Watch how God will bless your time!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

24 Days of Service

In 2008 I was inspired, (you can read about why here) by a blog that I read, to do an acts of service advent calendar. We will take our Acts of Service list seperate them onto strips of paper and put them in a jar. Everyday we will draw one and try our best to accomplish it that day.

Acts of Service (click to print pdf)
make a donation to your local food bank
pray for somebody who needs to know Jesus
read a Christmas book to your children/grandchildren/neighbor
make cards for Holiday Mail for Heroes
do something kind for a stranger
bake a treat for the fire/police station
pray for the homeless
deliver treats to neighbors
do some work at an elderly neighbors house
do something kind for a sibling
tape candy canes with poem to local ATM machines
babysit for a family for free
leave a treat for the mail carrier in your mail box
pray for someone who will be alone on Christmas
pray for someone in the hospital this season
find a way to serve someone in your family
make someone breakfast
bake cookies and deliver them to the a local ministry
be a secret Santa for a friend
take cocoa to the garbage men when they pick up the garbage
greet soldiers at the airport
pick up garbage all day, everywhere you go
take a prayer walk around the neighborhood
take handmade cards to an assisted living facility and deliver them to residents
write thank you notes to your church staff

1 John 3:18-19  Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Open Up

Open Up
by Amy G.

I can remember the doctor standing over me with a long set of forceps in his hand and they had a huge wad of gauze at the end.  He began trying to pry apart my jaws so that he could shove this set of forceps down my throat to apply pressure to the rip in the back of my esophagus to control the bleeding long enough to get me into the operating room.  I would not budge.  I could not be persuaded.  I would not open my mouth.  As a matter of fact, I was quite irritated at the thought that the doctor might break my braces by the way we was pulling and tugging trying to get my mouth open.  The nurse called my parents into the room to help hold me down.  My dad held down my legs and my mom held my arms.  It was then that my mom looked deep into my eyes and said, “Open your mouth or you are going to die.”

In the operating room, I crashed.  I guess I died.  I remember two things: brightness and warmth.  Some think that this is the bodies natural reaction to extreme blood loss, but I KNOW that I was approaching Heaven.  Heaven is where I ultimately want to be one day, but that was not God’s plan for me on that day.  As I got older, I wondered how was it that I could get to Heaven one day, then the words of my mom came back to me.  “Open your mouth or you are going to die.”  I knew I had to open my mouth and pray.

Ÿ       First, you must pray and admit to God that you have sinned, that you have done things that you are ashamed of or things that you know were wrong.
Ÿ       You have to believe that Jesus was God’s Son and that he was crucified.  And during the crucifixion he took on all of the worlds sins past, present and future to make you clean of all unrighteousness.  Ask Jesus to be the Lord and Ruler of your life.
Ÿ       Finally, pray and confess, tell God about how you have sinned against Him and that you do not want to do those things anymore. 

After you have opened your mouth and prayed, then you need to tell someone about your prayer, a friend or a local Pastor of a church.  Get connected into a local church and seek God through reading the Bible.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NLT
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.  He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.