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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

THE DAY DEATH DIED

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25 - 26

Jesus spoke these words to his friend Martha who was very upset that her brother, Lazarus, had just died. Martha and her sister Mary  took Jesus to the tomb where he was buried four days earlier. His flesh had begun to rot. Jesus asked that the stone be pushed aside, then looked up and prayed to His Father in heaven. Jesus said that what He was about to do, raise a dead man to life, was for the benefit of those watching so they'd know that He was sent by God. You can read this passage in John 11.
 
The difference between Jesus and Lazarus is this; even though they both died and were brought back to life, only the Lord remained alive, Lazarus's human body died again but attained eternal life after his second bodily death. Do you understand that you also can have eternal life and will never have to pay the penalty for all the sins you've committed here on earth? Jesus took our sins upon Himself and paid the penalty for us on the cross. It's hard to think of our self as a 'sinner'. Remember this; Jesus said that if we've been angry with your brother, in God's eyes, that is a sin. Matthew 5:21 -22. We're all guilty.

We all love the story of the birth of our Messiah. His time on earth was short, only thirty-three years. His ministry lasted for a short three years and here we are, two thousand years later sharing His story. Many Christians call Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday. Very fitting I think since we are celebrating the risen Lord on this day. It's a good reminder that we serve a living Christ who has conquered death on our behalf. Do you believe this?

The English word 'Easter' has German/Saxon roots. The German word - auferstehen means resurrection. Martin Luther referred to Christ as esterlambe, meaning, 'the resurrected lamb'. The death and resurrection of Jesus occurred after he went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. You can read the story of the Jewish Passover in Exodus 12. The homes that had the blood of a lamb on the door were 'passed over'. God promised no harm would come to them when He struck Egypt.
"For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed."
I Corinthians 5:7 
 
"They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings - " Revelation 17:14
 
My husband and I were in a study of the Book of Revelation shortly before God took him to his heavenly home. I remember so clearly my husband saying one day with great excitement and anticipation, "I'm going to see the Lamb!" All of us who know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior will be in heaven with him one day. In fact, we'll reign with Him eternally! Do you believe this?

The crucifixion and resurrection were prophesied in the Old Testament long before these events took place. Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 paint a very accurate picture of what eventually took place. 

I've just returned from a trip back east to visit with my family. They live 3,000 miles away, so I don't get to see them often enough. The southeast is lovely this time of year; dogwood trees in bloom and azaleas bursting with colors of reds and pink. I know the Lord has assigned a guardian angel to watch over His children, but I think He actually has a whole team of angels looking out for me. I love to sense His presence and see Him in action - guiding, protecting, fixing what I've messed up, and showing His love in a hundred ways. Every time I travel or get out of my 'comfort zone', I know my heavenly father is watching out for me.
The fact that Jesus died on the cross in my behalf wouldn't mean anything unless He was God. We can die for those we love, but that won't save them from the penalty of their sins; only God can do that. The resurrection is proof that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. Death died the day Christ was resurrected. His last words on the cross were, "It is finished." - John 19:30 We are no longer under the law or a moral code; we are under His grace and we walk by faith believing in the one who came to give us eternal life. I hope you believe this!
I wrote this poem a few years ago. . .

RESURRECTION SUNDAY
 
Spring, a time when
God revives His creation
resurrects new life and
nurtures what once
seemed dead.

The Lord announces His existence,
dresses the earth exquisitely
in all the colors of the rainbow.
He floods the air with
heavenly unwritten melodies
as the birds choose their mates
and build their nests to
house fragile fledglings.

The message of the Son is revealed
as we witness a flower
pushing through soil,
smell fragrant orange blossoms, or
gently reach out to touch those we love.
 
Jesus came to show
all will not die and wither away.
Life will be resurrected in
harmony with His eternal plan.
 
He has promised to
show the way.
He is the Way,
the Truth and the Life.
~ John 14:6

I thank you for Your life Lord - the one you gave up for me so I could be washed clean, white as snow, and live eternally with You.



Sunday, March 26, 2017

MIRACULOUS, AMAZING LOVE

"How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be:  How marvelous! How wonderful is my Savior's love for me!"

This hymn, I Stand Amazed, was written many years ago and is based on a verse in Ephesians 2:4., "...because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ..."

These old hymns often come to my mind; their words have a way of bringing life to Scripture in a very simple, concise way. Most hymns are written from a specific Bible verse, or passage. Yes I know, today we have 'praise songs' rather than hymns. There may be a lot of exuberant yelling, even screaming, drums and electric guitars, but if you can get past that, you'll see that most of the time, the words come straight from Scripture. The angels sing in heaven, and believers will sing with them!

'Love' is hard to define. There are many kinds of love. I love pizza and chocolate cake, but that is different than the love I have for my family or my little dog. I love to read God's Word, babies, kittens and puppies, a warm sunny day, watching vigorous waves hit the sandy shore, a sunset, green hills and spring flowers everywhere. I bet you can make a long list of things you love.

For me, the most miraculous, amazing love is God's love for me. I've spent sixteen years volunteering in our local jail, sharing the Lord with inmates, and now helping inmate veterans learn how to express themselves and explore their feelings by writing their stories. I hope I'm able to teach them, but mostly I go there to love them. There are some, many actually, who don't have anyone who loves them. I cherish the look on their faces when I share the gospel and they begin to understand they have a Savior, can be forgiven and God's love will never forsake them.

The gospel is really quite simple. You'll find it in I Corinthians 15, verses 1-3, which says, "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and he appeared to Peter, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred..."

We know that Jesus was dead on the cross. Psalm 22 prophesied what would happen as many other Old Testament passages do. This is the meaning of the words, "according to the Scriptures";  prophesy, a foretelling of future events. We know that the Bible tells us that Jesus held out his hands so Peter could see the holes made by the nails that held Him to the cross. We know that over five hundred people saw the living Christ. We believe the gospel by faith, but we also have many hard facts to rely on.

This fact, that we have a living Savior waiting for us to join Him in heaven, is key to our faith. This is what  makes the Christian faith unique. Mohammed is not living, he died and was not resurrected. Buddha is not living, he died and was not resurrected. All the various Indian guru's died and were not resurrected. The Jewish faith, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is divine, God in the flesh. These faiths are counting on their own good works for eternal life. John 6:28 asks the one question we need to have the right answer for, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"

There is a reason why Jesus Christ did not die and stay dead, Jesus is God. God doesn't die, not ever. Jesus has always been, He was with God in the beginning - John 1. Jesus said, "I and the Father are one", John 10:30. The one 'work' we are to do in order to have eternal life is stated so clearly in John 6:29 "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." When you see words that say we are to do "God's will", know this, believing in Jesus is His will.

Truly it is a miracle of Godly love that Jesus "left the splendor of heaven knowing his destiny was the lonely hill of Golgotha, there  to lie down His life for me. If that isn't love the ocean is dry, there's no star in the sky and the sparrow can't fly! If that isn't love then heaven's a myth, there's no feeling like this, if that isn't love." These words are from a hymn by Dottie Rambo based on Hebrews 9:28.

We succumb to many things - we may eat too much, drink too much, have sex with people we're not married too, harbor bad feelings, spend too much money...I'm sure you can add to this list so common to our human existence. Life isn't always pretty. When you succumb to the love of Jesus, you'll look at life through the lens of faith and hope and you will feel so secure that whatever mess you need to deal with will drown in God's love for you.

Thank you for loving us Lord; a love so pure, true and faithful that we can barely grasp its meaning.

Monday, February 27, 2017

WHAT, OR WHO, ENERGIZES YOU?

I've often thought that what gives us the energy to keep up with our daily life, is the same that makes us a happy, content person. I would imagine if we sat down and made a list of the things that make us happy, it would be similar to the list we'd make for what keeps us energized.

Sometimes I go to church with thoughts of  'it would be so nice to sleep in this morning', but I leave there feeling full of the Holy Spirit, a love for God's Word, feeling loved, praising the holiness of God and the majesty of Jesus. This makes me happy, but more important I feel full of energy to tackle whatever comes my way during the following week.

I'm having a busy day with many things to do, but I change my clothes and go to the gym to work-out. Sometimes I drag my way through the door thinking, 'I'd rather take a nap then exercise', but on my way home I realize that my energy has been renewed. Exercise gets your blood flowing and helps sustain your muscle strength.

I'm energized by a good Bible study or reading a good book. When I have the time to write a blog, I'm totally energized! To have free time to write a short story, or a poem relaxes me. When I write, I'm happy stress-free and content, not worried about anything, or what anyone else is thinking or doing.

People in your life can give you energy, or they can rob you of joy and peace. Best to stay away from those who cause you pain. When your joy and peace slip away, stress comes and steals your energy and you are not happy. We need to remember that God has a plan for our life and what we endure is for a purpose. Unsettled, angry people are not happy people. They often are desperate to find the source of their unhappiness and look for someone to blame so they can make sense of their life and discover why they can't be happy. Satan does some of his best work in this scenario. As much as you may want to, you can't 'fix' them, but God can, so pray for them.

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

These words were given to Israel, but they apply to all of God's children. God can solve every mystery in our life; we just need to go to Him in faith, trusting that He'll be true to His Word.

Rumi was a 13th century Persian Poet who wrote a lot about love 
and finding peace in our lives. He wrote,

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
        there is a field.
I'll meet you there."

Rumi understands that there is a right and a wrong - I think he implies that there is a safe haven, a space maybe where pressures of life do not drag us into despair. For a writer, especially a poet, that place is playing with words. We can reveal truth in an unconventional way, indirectly. By-the-way, if you enjoy poetry, one third of the Old Testament in the Bible is written in poetry form; some of the best poetry the world has seen.

How often do we hear, "Nothing lasts!" How very true - we can't go to the gym once a year and expect any benefit to come from it; we need to go on a regular basis. We talk a lot today about renewable energy; we use it once, and then, use it again. We eat a meal, but after a few hours, we'll eat again.

I find it interesting in Exodus 16 how the Lord dealt with feeding the Jews when they were wandering around the desert. God sent bread from heaven which they called Manna. Each person took what they wanted and were told they couldn't keep any for the next day. Strange? Some didn't listen - we humans have a history of wanting to do it 'our way'. The next morning, the manna was crawling with maggots and had began to smell bad. Yuck! Manna came from the sky six days a week and on the sixth day, they were allowed to keep enough for the next day which was the Sabbath. The Israelites ate this stuff for forty years; I hope it was good.

Why did God do that? He wanted His people to learn to depend on Him alone, not themselves. He wanted them to come to Him and trust Him for their needs, actually their very lives, not just now and then when they were in real trouble, but every single day. We can go to the New Testament and read one of the most repeated prayers in the church from Matthew 6:9 - 

"Our Father in heaven
holy is your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
   on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. . .

Again Jesus who is God in a human body, taught his followers to pray for daily bread. Coming to Jesus as your Lord and Savior is a wonderful way to be energized. It's like taking a heavy painful burden and handing it to Him because you know He cares for you and never expected you to carry your burdens all by yourself.

There is a wonderful old hymn 'Great Is Thy Faithfulness' whose chorus is taken from Lamentations 3:22-33 -

"Great is thy faithfulness, great is they faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand has provided -
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!"

Just like the manna and daily bread, God's mercies are new every morning - day after day. Just come to Him; we can be so empty. Empty of everything and He's there to fill us up - a new tank of gas to start the day. We do a lot of things but it's God alone who can give us the energy we need to fight the battles of this world; and there are many.

Lord please give me a nudge every morning, because sometimes I forget to come to you and start trying to solve problems and fight battles alone and soon, my energy is depleted and I'm not very content. Thank you Lord for Your faithfulness.





Tuesday, February 14, 2017

SAINT VALENTINE'S CHRISTIAN FAITH



Have you ever been curious about the origin of this 'fun to celebrate' holiday? No, it didn't start with Hallmark cards. Many of us can remember Valentine's Day from the time we were in kindergarten. What fun it was to make those lacey red hearts and decorate them with flowers and always the word 'love'. Most people think of this as a secular holiday, but just like there was a real St. Nicholas, there was a real St. Valentine. In fact, there were three St. Valentines! One was a priest in Rome, another was a bishop in the town of 'Terni' in central Italy. Both were martyred in the 3rd century and buried outside of Rome. The third St. Valentine was martyred in Africa along with several others. We don't know very much about these men; but we do know they all died for the love of Christ.

The customs connected with St. Valentine's Day probably originated in medieval Europe. There was a common belief in England and France that February 14th was the time birds began to pair, or 'court' their mate. The English poet, Chaucer wrote .....

"For this was on Seynt Valentynes' day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate." (Chaucer's original spelling)

How precious to stumble across things like this. The 'love-birds' no doubt were the genesis of the St. Valentine's feast; a special time for lovers. I wonder how many know that this special day devoted to love was named after martyrs for the Christian faith and their love of Jesus Christ?

It was probably the association of romantic love that led to the 'paganizing' of this martyr's feast. The Roman god Cupid (the counterpart of Eros in Greek mythology) became the focus of the celebration rather than the martyred saints. Interesting to note that a medieval book of stories about saints, The Golden Legend, tells of a priest named 'Valentine' who was imprisoned by emperor Claudius II for leading people to Christ. He had been heard preaching that Christ was the 'one and only Light'. The Roman officer who was questioning him happened to have a blind daughter...one of God's little coincidences...and he challenged Valentine to pray for her healing. The girl was cured, and the whole family converted to Christianity. This saint actually sent the first Valentine. He wrote a note to the blind girl and signed it...'From your Valentine'. It is a bit ironic that a Roman Christian who died defending the faith is now associated with Cupid; a pagan god. Our Lord has a sense of humor, He knows the real story will be revealed!

The hearts of these three St. Valentines were 'pierced' by the love of our Lord whose own heart was pierced and His blood shed for those who would come to Him. So, how appropriate that a red heart has become the symbol for this day of love.

*There is a principle here. God has a plan, He will gather together His sheep. He knows just how to bring each one into the fold.

Ezekiel 34: 12 - 'I look after my sheep'

John 10: 3-4 - 'He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out'

Isaiah 46: 11 - 'what I have planned, that I will do'

Psalm 33:11 - 'But the plans of the Lord stand firm FOREVER'

I personally find much peace in the fact that we have a sovereign Lord with a perfect plan. My plans don't always work out so well, but I know whatever is happening in my life is from His hand and for a higher good. Amen?

In Colossians 1:15 we find these words, speaking of Jesus - "He is the image of the invisible God". When we look in a mirror, we see our image. The image is us! Jesus is the image of God, Jesus is God and this is why we can depend on Him for eternal life. . .John 3:16.

I'd like to give credit for the St. Valentine's story to a website...'Women for Faith & Family', and also to the Book of Knowledge Encyclopedia.

And, I'd like to give thanks to a loving, faithful God who works 'all things together for good' for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose'. Romans 8:28

Thank you Lord that your love for your children permeates everything we do, and every holiday we celebrate. The world doesn't revolve around anyone but YOU.












Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - COULD IT HAVE BEEN BETTER?

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"  Mary Oliver from her poem 'The Summer Day'

Life, wild and precious - I love that! We are told that life isn't a dress rehearsal and there are no 'do-overs'. Who has led a perfect life?  Only Jesus, and the reason He was able to do that is that He is God. We are not, so we struggle. We need the basics of life - food, shelter, and terribly important, love and acceptance. In our own personal 'humanness' we also need purpose and meaning in our life. We need someone or something greater than ourself to feel complete.

The Christian understands the futility of self-effort and the inability to 'make-over' who we are. We come to realize that only God can change our circumstances and change us - from the inside out. We also need to know the events of our life, those we judge as 'good' or 'bad', have happened for a reason. The Lord has put the painful as well as the joyous in our life to mold us into the person He has planned for us to be.

Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch woman whose family risked their lives to protect their Jewish friends from the Nazis during World War II times. She survived the concentration camp, lived into her 90's, wrote a book, The Hiding Place, traveled the world to share the gospel and spoke faithfully about God's forgiveness. My husband and I visited her home in Haarlem, Netherlands, while on a mission trip near Brussels in 2002. The home, upstairs from her father's jewelry shop, is now a museum. I had often read the poem 'My Life Is But a Weaving' when I taught Bible study in jail, but didn't know who had written it. I was thrilled to see this poem framed and hanging on the wall of the dining room in the ten Boom home. Now I knew its origin.

"My life is but a weaving between my God and me,
I do not choose the colors, He works so steadily.
Oft' times He weaves in sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.
Not until the loom is silent, and the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas, and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful in the Weavers skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned."

I couldn't have spent so many years - and still am - and hundreds of hours in jail sharing the Bible with inmates if I wasn't convinced that knowing Jesus as Lord can change a life and that He has a perfect plan for each of His children who come to Him. With God all things are possible - Mark 10:27.

As we reflect on this past year, think about what you've learned about yourself. 2016 was my first year as a widow; life changed. I knew I wasn't alone, the Lord was keeping a watchful eye on me. My first instinct was to panic when faced with a problem I had no idea how to solve. I came to know the Lord would lead me to a solution if I was patient and trusted Him.

Remember, the saints of old were not perfect people - Abraham lost faith in God's promise and took matters into his own hands, hence we had the birth of Ishmael. Abe also had some trouble telling the truth. Moses murdered and had to leave Egypt, and most famously, King David, the one who wrote so many beautiful  treasured psalms, committed adultery. Why did God raise up those who weren't able to live life perfectly? Maybe He wanted us to see our need, everyone's need, for a Savior.

It's good to be positive and have an attitude of "I can do this!" But, if you are counting on yourself alone, you'll probably be disappointed in your power to resist temptation and overcome evil with good. There will come a day of 'perfection' and we will live eternally in a perfect place - it's called heaven. God has placed His Spirit - the Holy Spirit in each believer. Let Him be your guide so you can "...live a life worthy of the calling you have received." Read Ephesians 4: 1-7, you will be blessed and encouraged. I believe this is how we can have a truly HAPPY New Year.

Could 2016 have been a better year for some of us? No doubt it could have, but celebrate the coming year in full confidence knowing God's plan will unfold just as He designed it and He has a wonderful plan for your one 'wild and precious life.' Trust Him.

"...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6

Thank you Lord for who you are and all that you do for those who love you, and come to 'Abba Father' - you never let us down.














Sunday, December 25, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS


Who is this child born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago? It's the most important question you'll ever answer. Nothing else in your life will matter; not your relationships, not your children, not how you were treated as a child, not your job or home, not how much money you have, the state of your health, the politics of your country or what church, if any, you attend. It won't matter if you spent time in jail or lived in a mansion with many servants taking care of your every need. It won't matter if you drove a Mercedes or sat in a golden chariot, traveled around by foot, bicycle, subway or bus.

        So, what does matter? To know who Jesus Christ is, and what He has done for those who believe in Him.

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
Acts 4:12

        A group of religious Jews asked Jesus - "What must we do to do the works God requires?" A simple, straight forward question; Jesus gave a simple straight forward answer. "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." John 6: 28-29

        This world we live in with all its joys and heartaches is so important to us that we often forget that life continues after our earthly body dies. Our soul and spirit, that which is us, will live eternally and God will provide a new body after the one we live in now is gone. You can trust Him to keep His promises!

        The Lord took my husband home just a little over a year ago, 12/20/15. I miss him everyday, but I don't mourn because I know He is in the presence of God and couldn't be happier and I will join Him someday. In the meantime, I will enjoy this world - I'll decorate my house, send Christmas cards, make special cookies, buy gifts, sing those wonderful Christmas carols, gather with friends and family and keep alive the family tradition of Swedish dishes my mother and grandmothers used to make.

        I've been asked many times where in the Bible Jesus is described. He is described perfectly in these verses.

John 1: 1-14  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. vs. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." This is what happened in Bethlehem - Mary gave birth to a baby; God became human. Shepherds in the fields saw the star and followed it to where He lay and they worshipped Him.

Philippians 2: 6-11 "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!"  God came to us in three different forms, we call this the 'trinity'; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirt. The baby born in Bethlehem is the same as the man who died on a cross to pay for the sin of all who believe in Him.

Colossians 1: 15 - 20  "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created. . ."
This passage is generally thought to describe the supremacy of  Christ. Again, it describes who Jesus is, that He was with God in the beginning during the creation of the world and what His life, death and resurrection mean for believers.

Hebrews 1: 1-14  "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." vs. 3   This passage may very well take your breath away! Awesome words that you must know so you can share them with others.

I've just given you a lot of homework; enjoy the study. Relax and enjoy the Christmas season with friends and family and keep in mind, it is only by faith that we can understand who Jesus is. We all have people in our lives who just 'don't get it'! Share the Lord when you see an opportunity and most of all - show the love of Jesus no matter what others believe or don't believe. We are saved by grace through faith which is a gift of God - Ephesians 2:8-9. Be humbled and grateful that God has given you the gift of faith and trust Him for those who don't have it. This world seems like a scary mess, but keep in mind that a day will come "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. . .and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." Philippians 2: 10-11.

I must say something about Santa Claus. My husband had a beautiful Santa suit and he loved to play Santa. He said the look on the children's faces was worth all the trouble it took to get in costume. Some Christian parents wonder how much of a roll Santa should play. You might want to scroll down the blog posts and read one I wrote about the origin of St. Nicholas and his Christian roots on 12/2 14. You'll feel good about Santa and I think it's important to tell your children that the first Santa loved Jesus as His Lord and Savior.

So, can you answer this question - Who is this child born in Bethlehem?

Thank you Lord for coming to earth to walk among us. May your story penetrate the hearts and lives of all who read it in Your Word.









Sunday, November 27, 2016

A SECURE FAMILY

The election is over and no doubt many changes will occur in America. We Christians trust that the Lord of all nations has put a man in charge for the common good of all. We pray that this man will honor God and do his best for our country as well as the whole world. We will hold up President-elect Donald Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence in prayer asking that God's hand on them will be evident.

        We have just finished celebrating Thanksgiving Day. George Washington, our first president, instituted this day by proclamation for the purpose of showing gratitude to God for establishing this new country - the United States of America. We weren't very united at first and there were many problems to work through but by the Lord's grace we came together as "one nation under God". Many have tried to tear down our Christian principles, and chip away at our personal freedoms. Some have tried to tell us that what is evil is good, and what is good is evil.There is a reason people come here seeking a better life - they want power to rest with the people, not the government. Our constitution was written to limit, not increase this power. I believe among nations we are unique in this way.

        Families gathered on this special day to celebrate and be grateful for our blessings. I'm always aware that there are many who don't have a family or are not living close enough to be with them. As I was sitting in church this morning I looked around me and praised God that I would never be without a family.

        The 'church' as described in the Bible is the body of Christ. It's not a building or any particular denomination.

". . .so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."  Romans 12:4

"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body." 
I Corinthians 12:12

        This is why we believers have such a special bond with one another; WE ARE ONE BODY! We will spend eternity together and while here on earth, we can experience being a family and belonging to each other. Belonging is important!  Many experience feeling more connected to other believers than to our own flesh and blood family who are not believers. We bond with our earthly family and feel a part of each other in some ways and somewhat estranged in other ways.

        It is Jesus Christ who is the head of the church, which is Christ's body - see Colossians 1:24. We who believe are the body of Christ! We are one with Him, we belong to Him. We are one member of the body who will serve Him with the other members. As part of this body, we are a family, safe and secure. Our human families may disappoint us, but God's family will be there for us.

        Loneliness - alone-ness can be painful at any time, but especially during the holiday season. My precious husband of so many years passed into the presence of the Lord eleven months ago. For the first time in my life I am alone, but I never feel alone because I'm in the body of Christ. I think for many, the natural inclination is to go looking for a special someone. And, if you find someone to connect with, you will no doubt be happier. The problem is. . .this often is a temporary solution.

        If you're looking for a forever friend and a secure, stable relationship; try Jesus! He came to earth to mingle among us and show us He is a real flesh and blood Savior. In John 3:3 Jesus tells us how to become a member of His body. . .

"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

Really, it's that simple - just ask Jesus to forgive your sins and make you alive spiritually - first birth is physical, second birth is spiritual. You will love being a part of His family!

Thank you Jesus for who you are and what you have done for us. Thank you for gathering all your sheep together as one family, always safe and secure in Your love. To be alone, and not feel alone is a wonderful gift.