Friday, December 25, 2015

Unto us a Child is born...GRATEFUL !

"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6

My favorite time of the day is very early in the morning, I don't know, just seems like in the quietness in between night and day, I can sense God's presence more. Everyone is different, but for me that is my time to hear what He has to say to me and I can spill my "guts" out to Him.  :-)

It is even more special this morning because it is Christmas...a time when even the world celebrates. All may not acknowledge Him as the "Reason for the Season", but I believe that God in His Love for mankind, the One that can see beyond all the crazy, silly and what some may call "paganistic" ways that some people may celebrate...and He stills yearns for all to understand and receive the true Gift. God searches the heart and offers the Gift. John 3:16 says it perfect :

"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."

I was looking at a TV show about how celebrities spend so much money on gifts for Christmas, $50,000 for a handpainted Purse (and the painter wasn't even Michael Angelo !) now that is ridiculous! I'm so cheap I find it hard to buy a Coach bag, though I really want one.  Sometimes I have little patience for such nonsense and would throw my hands up and say "That's it! they don't know what Christmas is really all about, I give up on 'em!"  But thanks be to God that He NEVER gives up! They are trying so hard to fill that God shaped vacuum in their lives and it cannot be filled with cars, houses or stupid handpainted purses. Only Jesus can fill it up and make us whole. Thank God He never gives up. Thank God He never gave up on me! 

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

God sent His promise of salvation, His Gift to us through His Son Jesus. Jesus gave His life to fulfill that promise, so in order to receive the Gift of salvation, we have to receive the Gift of God's Son. God is not willing that anyone should perish and spend eternity away from Him and THAT is why we celebrate the Gift.  I celebrate because I am so very grateful that God looked at me, saw the mess that I was and as a line in composer Dottie Rambo's song

says "He looked beyond my faults and saw my need." His Grace is truly amazing!

I am so grateful that when that Angel came to Mary, that she was strong  enough to receive his message, she knew the ridicule and  shunning that would come, but she humbly obeyed. I am so grateful that Joseph stepped up to be a real man, finally shouldering

God's request and took charge. I am so grateful that the Wise Men allowed God to use their talents and "gifts" (in more ways than one) to pursue the desire to see the newborn King. I am so grateful for the shepherds that overcame their fears and believed the angels and were able to be among the firsts to behold the lamb of God!

I am so very grateful this morning that many years ago at the darkest point in my life, the Gift heard my cry. I was so tired of trying to figure life out, on the outside I had everything that a person could want. Christmas was huge at my house in Philly then, I used to have so many gifts under the tree that we had an overflow area in the dining room. So many gifts...

except the True Gift.

Then one night sitting on the steps of our row home at the time, I looked up at the night sky and said in tears "Lord, I have heard about you all my life, but I don't know you, if you are real please come into my heart, I am so tired of trying to live out this life, there has to be more than this."  That was it...I would love to tell you that things changed overnight and from then on it was all sunshine and roses.  Now I am going to be very honest with has been quite a journey, but you know what? I would not change a thing.  Why? Because God has been so very faithful to me...through thick and thin HE has been there. He has walked with me and proven over and over again that He is not "slack in His promise". He is helping me to become what He created me to be and if it was not for His Gift...I would be nothing!  NOTHING!  So yes I celebrate! I celebrate because I am so very GRATEFUL for God loving us so much that He chose to send a Promise Child to grow up and become the sacrifice for my sins...and yours.

So let us accept the Gift of Jesus this Christmas! He is so very WONDERFUL! He is the best COUNSELOR! He IS a MIGHTY GOD! He is a precious  EVERLASTING FATHER! and most certainly He IS the PRINCE OF PEACE!  

Allow Him to be all those things and more to you today, celebrate this Christmas by accepting the TRUE Gift...Jesus the Christ.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Solid Rock

Jesus said...“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Matthew 7:24-27

On a recent trip to Georgia , I had the opportunity to visit Stone Mountain. We had reservations to eat at the restaurant in the Stone Mountain Park that overlooked the mountain surrounded by a beautiful lake.  The scenery was awesome and something to behold. I kept thinking as we were driving up to our destination and looking around at the trees, rocks and lake, how beautifully God had made all of this for us to enjoy.

We had a delicious dinner and the service was very accommodating, but every chance that I got I would stare out the multi-windowed view at the mountain. Majestic, solid, ancient, stable are just a view words that came to mind as I looked in admiration of God's creation.  The Lord has afforded me many opportunities of seeing the "natural" wonders of this country, thanks to my adventurous son and his wife: the mountains of San Simeon, California (Hearst Castle), The beautiful ride up to Cambria, California on the Pacific highway to see the Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, then there was the Red Rocks of Colorado, The Garden of the gods, Colorado, and a visit to the mountains where the Ute Indians used to inhabit. All beautiful mountains created by the one true God.  All majestic,solid, ancient,and stable. 

This time though I looked at this mountain with a greater vision...perhaps because I am older (no wise cracks lol), maybe a little more wiser and more experienced with this blessing called life. The journey through life will do either of 2 things, make you or break you. Maybe it sounds better to say you can be molded to become what God intended for you to be or you can become your own creation.  The latter gives me the willies...when I think about living all this time and at the end only becoming what I think I should be...sheesh now that's scary! I think we all agree that God certainly has a better plan for us! Much better to at least try living by His Word, than to do our own thing and blow it! Trust me folks, our only true hope is in Him and His plan, His Word.

Looking at Stone Mountain through my eyes at this season of my journey, I saw and understood God's ongoing stability, His never changing dependability if you will. His promise to never leave me nor forsake me...that He would ALWAYS be there.  

After having major brain surgery years ago (no wise cracks please lol), that experience definitely took me to another level of trust. Then watching my husband pass into eternity with his last words being "Thank You Lord" and "Praise You Jesus" on his lips, that certainly gave me a view of God's constancy and reliability. But it has been my day to day walk that has shown me that He can be counted on, that He is stable, that I can rely on Him even when I do not understand it.  He is the Ancient of days, always was, always is and forever will be.  He is solid, unmovable, everlasting.

Listening to recent events in the news can be frightening, if you are not careful one can easily become a recluse, not trusting anyone or plagued with agoraphobia, a fear of going outside. Believe me the thoughts have crossed my mind...but we cannot truly live that way. Instead of allowing fear to grow and take root, we must allow God  to be who He says He is...The Rock. No not Dwayne Johnson, the former wrestler turned actor either...The One and only True Rock is none other than Jesus Christ!

The name that is above any other name, the name that some are ashamed or afraid to mention, the name that some think is politically incorrect to mention in public, the name that some use to profane and swear is STILL the name that is above all others, it is the name that gives me peace in the midst of the storm, it is the name that rocks me to sleep when I am anxious, it is the name that comforts my grieving soul, it is the name that calms me when I am afraid, it is the name that gives me hope when I am weary, it is the name that gives me joy when I am sad, it is the name that encourages me when I want to give up, it is the name that helps me to go on each day...THAT name can be counted is Majestic, it is Solid, it is Ancient, it is Stable and forever will be!

In Him we can have Hope, in Him we can depend upon, He is our Rock!