Christmas brings back so many great memories for many people every year. It is a time to remember our childhood and our special family times. We are blessed to have wonderful Christmas time memories and new ones we are making with our family and especially our grandchildren. Everyone has someone they have lost and Christmas seems like the pain of loss can be worse. As Christians we do have the hope of seeing them again and that is very comforting. Christmas can also be a stressful time with many demands on our time.
How can we move through this busy Christmas season and not get caught up in the rush?
Keep Christ at the forefront of all your Christmas celebrations. As the saying goes “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Too often we forget the true reason for the season and leave Jesus out of his own birthday celebration! Remember him in all you do at Christmas and all year long.
Focus on the good memories. We all have loved ones who have passed away and miss their presence. Remember the good times you shared with them. Maybe keep a tradition that they loved and make it a part of your celebration to honor them. Don’t forget to love those who are present. Love those around you, spend time with them and make new memories.
Hope for the future. Take time to reflect on the past but also look with hope to the future. Christmas is a time to celebrate the fact that Jesus came to earth. He was the hope that many were waiting for- our Savior. He is our hope of a new life here on earth and life everlasting.
May this Christmas bring with it a hope of peace, joy and a bright New Year to you and your loved ones.
Merry Christmas to all our friends and family. A special Merry Christmas to our Finding His Purpose family and May God Bless you in 2019.
John and Cynthia Miller
God is so faithful. He is always working for our good even when we cannot see it at the time. As I look back I now see where God placed me in the right place I needed to be. I remember times he provided when it seemed hopeless. I have seen him work miracles over and over again and I stand in awe. I do not ever want to take them for granted. I thank God for all the things he has done in my life and in the lives of those I love. He has given me many desires of my heart, my precious children, grandchildren and a husband who loves the Lord and is committed to serving him. I have seen the Lord bring us through trials of illness, and the stress that disability can cause if we don’t keep our eyes on him.
Take time to look back in your life and I am sure you will find trials that you did not understand. It is hard to see the hand of God working behind the scenes, but he is! I bet as you think about the situation,you now understand more and can see where God was with you.
Look for God moments where he shows you something or brings everything together in a sequence that could only be God. These are the times that we are amazed. We are comforted when he reminds us that he hears, he sees, and he is there in our struggles. Did you learn something? Did he provide when you needed it most? Was he there to comfort you at a low point?
Great is your faithfulness, oh God and let us always remember that. “Strength for today and a bright hope for tomorrow ” He has you today and you can trust He has your future.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Do you ever wonder how God sees us? In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says “The Lord does not look at things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” He is God and He looks at us as his children. We are told in the Bible that He loves us with an everlasting love. He has demonstrated that with his sacrifice of His only son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins and for us to accept His gift of eternal life. This is how God really sees us, as His precious child and looks right into the heart.
How do we see others? How do they see us? Can we say we look past the appearance and go right to the truly important part of a person- their heart? When we meet someone for the first time we will see the outward person first because it takes time to get to know someone. What are they all about? What are their passions and desires for life? Soon as we experience more time with someone the special qualities start to show and appearance, disability or illness are so less noticeable. They only make that person more interesting.
Those who struggle with disabilities, chronic pain and illness find it hard to make deep connections with others due to the demands of time the issue creates for them. Life changes and priorities need to be reassessed to fit the challenges. Cheer up! This is where God wants us to be joyful even in our circumstances. He will be the one we need to depend on and look to for strength. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. ” Philippians 4:13
My husband, John reminded me of this as we talked about my car that was recently hit by multiple vehicles and left badly damaged. No it wasn’t fair and the person responsible ran off and nothing has been repaired. You know what even after all that damage, the car still runs, the air conditioner, radio, and lights all work just fine. When you are driving along listening to worship music inside you wouldn’t know anything was wrong! I am sure as others see the outside of my car they probably wonder about it but I know inside it doesn’t bother me. I know the maker of all things personally and He will lead me on. He is the one I need to go to when the damage seems more than we can accept. When the pain of loss or illness pushes us to the brink. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
There is a story that goes with this damaged car and there is a story we all have to tell. Maybe my car will have a new outside one of these days. I do know that all of us who trust in the Lord, accept and follow Him, will have a new heavenly body free from pain and suffering one day.
Make sure you look to the inside and the heart of those you meet. Don’t be distracted by outward appearances. Give God your cares and concerns. Let Him take the damage of hurts and pains, and make something wonderful of it all. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Have you ever felt like you can’t be who God has called you to be? Did you wonder if you heard his call on your life and surely heard it wrong? Don’t underestimate yourself. God made you, he knows you and he sees all you can be and more. He knows what you long for and what you feel is just out of your reach.
He sees that spark that you keep hidden deep inside that you continue to extinguish. Thinking that you can’t do the impossible, you choose to do the ordinary. Remember that “all things are possible with God.”(Mark 10:27) So believe it and live like it!
Take what you have inside and let it shine in the world. As you bless others you in turn will find blessings. Don’t let disabilities, illness, age, time, money or anything keep you from doing the Lord’s work. Just a smile or an encouraging word can make all the difference in a hurting person’s life.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Go let your light shine for Him.
Where do you go when life gets hard? Do you have a group of friends to help you in your time of need? We all need someone to come along side us to help us over a rough patch sometimes.
Here are some suggestions to help you get a new focus:
1. Read your Bible and especially go to uplifting scripture verses that will give you hope. The Psalms is a good book to find help in times of trouble. David is found crying out to the Lord many times and praising Him even during times of fear and pain. “Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord I lift up my soul.” Psalm 86:4
2. Pray. Go to the Lord with your concerns and requests. Listen for Him to speak to your soul and set you on the right path. He knows all your secrets so be open in your prayer life so He can help you move forward into the amazing life waiting for you. “Hear my prayer, O Lord: listen to my cry for mercy, In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.” Psalm 86:6-7
3. Worship. Listen to worship and inspirational music. Spend time praising God in song. Let music lift your spirit and open you up to a greater communion with our awesome God. “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” Psalm 100:2
4. Fellowship. Find others who you trust to talk with and pray with. Make going to church services a priority in your life. Join a small group or Bible study. We all need guidance and we all need others to come along side us to keep us focused on the journey God has called us to. “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways.” Psalm 128:1
Life support can be found in many areas of life. Friends, family and co-workers can help at times, but let’s go to the maker of all life for the answers we seek most. God can be trusted with it ALL!
We are all so blessed by God. Each day that starts we can find blessings if we just look. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the good things He gives us. These are the days we are truly feeling God has heard our prayers and is in turn blessing us once again.
He always amazes me how He totally comes through to correct a situation or give us a blessing we did not expect. He wants to remind us He is there and hears our cry when we are hurt, fearful or discouraged. The blessings that follow will seal our intimate relationship with Him. He wants to bless us. We are his children and He loves us so much.
When you are not feeling blessed continue to trust Him. When trials weigh you down remember He is there- just a prayer away. Continue to seek Him and give your burdens to Him. He is the only one who can take hold of an impossible situation and make it right. You must always trust him even when our human eyes can not see the finished blessing.
“Lord Almighty blessed is the one who trusts in you.” Psalm 84:12
On my way to work in the early morning hours I heard a song that caught my attention. The words I heard were” loving my Jesus.” At first it seemed surprising to call him mine but as I thought about it more, I realized it was one of the most intimate way to explain a personal relationship with Jesus. “My” means belongs to me, yes me!
Jesus wants to be our personal savior, friend, protector, and provider, everything we need. He is interested in our deepest concerns and desires. He wants us to think of him the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night before we sleep. Jesus is our comforter and always there to help us on this journey of life.
As we celebrate Easter, let us remember that Jesus came and died for us all. He took our place on the cross for our sins and offered us a way to salvation. He wants to have a personal relationship with you and wants to be your Jesus. Loving my Jesus is something I will always do and as the song says my heart’s desire is to see all those who I love- loving my Jesus too.
Have a Blessed Easter
Everyone is searching for “true” love. We all experience many kinds of love. Love of our spouse, love of children and grandchildren. Love of our family, friends and pets. True love is what we all want, the kind that makes us feel special and secure. Love can be found even when we don’t expect it and it can be thrilling and scary all at the same time. Love can be fragile, so handle with care. Don’t miss out on love because you are afraid to take a chance. Life is too short.
The real “true” love can only be found in God, who loved us from the very beginning before we even knew what love was. “We love because he first loved us. ” 1 John 4:19. He sent Jesus to earth to be the one to save us all from our sins because he loved us so much! His love will never leave us or disappoint us. “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.” John 3:16
Come and experience God and His love for you. It is the “true” love you are seeking.
Change can be very hard to do. Change can be a good thing and can make us re-evaluate our life and priorities. In the new year we think of a lot of things we might want to change. Our health, finances, and relationships might be a few things that come to mind. In our spiritual life, do we want to read the Bible more and spend more time in prayer?
Our Pastor, Mark Balmer at Calvary Chapel Melbourne, always says “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” He also points out that “If something changes, something changes.” Real lasting change can be tough. If we do want something to change, we must make the commitment to see it through.
What are you thinking about changing in your life? Don’t be afraid to take a risk and get out of your comfort zone. Life can be very exciting when you follow God’s lead and listen for his voice as he guides you into new territory.
One thing to remember is that even if we are always a work in progress to become more like Jesus, HE never changes. “Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 ) That can be a comfort when we don’t quite make the change we had hoped for. He is always there to love us, guide us and give us hope.
Since 2017 is almost over we all think back to what took place this year. All the ups and downs that happened. Maybe we didn’t do everything we set out to do or maybe 2017 was quite a challenge due to an illness or disability.
The good news is that the new year brings with it the hope of new starts and new opportunities. I love the start of the new year and always look forward to what God has planned for me. I like to have a new calendar with all the months waiting to happen. As we grow older we realize how quickly time flies and know the importance of living every minute.
What is your desire for the New Year of 2018? Do you want to make a major change? Take a chance on a dream you have held inside?
God will help you take that first step, will be there to catch you if you fall and set you back on the right path. Keep God first in your life and you will see amazing things happen.
Happy New Year to you.