- SHEILA RHODES
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Tag Archives: Christmas
Jesus’ birth was and will forever be the most important event in world history. In Luke 1:26-28, it says, Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women! The first thing the angel told Mary was to rejoice, because she was highly favored in being chosen to conceive, carry, birth and rear the Son of God. God wanted His Son to be raised in an atmosphere of joy, and Mary was given this instruction to ensure He would grow in that environment. Jesus as the Son of God was instinctively joyful but God the Father trusted an earthly parent to rear Him in the earthly environment of joy. What we can learn from this is that when God births anything in your life, the environment of joy will bring it to fruition. Everything flourishes in an atmosphere of joy.
This announcement of Christ’s birth came at night and brought JOY to the shepherds. In your dark hours, God can bring you joy even though it may be struggling with some dark times right now in your own life.
Christmas is a time of rejoicing for us for the same reason given to Mary. It reminds us of God’s grace and favor in saving us, and the privilege we have of carrying Jesus in our earthly temples of flesh through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Christmas reminds us as that we have been impregnated with the presence of God, and have much to be joyful about. In 2 Corinthians 4:7 says, But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the Excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We carry the message of joy at Christmas to the world, that they too might have the opportunity to receive and in a sense carry God’s presence everywhere they go.
As this year comes to a close, be reminded that you carry the Living God into 2014, knowing that with His abiding presence, all things are possible. If you know Who you carry, you can look forward to a new year. You might not always know where you are going or the outcome, but if you know Who is with you, it does not matter. You will get there and it will be good.
Despite God’s promises, despite Christ’s love, and despite our countless blessings, we frail human beings can still lose hope from time to time. When we do, we need the encouragement of Christian friends, the life-changing power of prayer, and the healing truth of God’s Holy Word.
If you find yourself falling into the spiritual traps of worry and discouragement, seek the healing touch of Jesus and the encouraging words of fellow Christians. And remember the words of our Savior: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 KJV). This world can be a place of trials and tribulations, but as believers, we are secure. God has promised us peace joy, and eternal life. And, of course, God keeps His promises today, tomorrow, and forever.
Always remember that no other religion, no other philosophy promises new bodies, hearts, and minds. Only in the Gospel of Christ do hurting people find such incredible hope. In those desperate times when we feel like we don’t have an ounce of strength, He will gently pick up our heads so that our eyes can behold something ~ something that will keep His hope alive in us. Lisa Beamer’s husband, Todd, was killed on flight 93 back on September 11, 2001. Lisa said, “The choice for me and for you is to either look at all things I have lost or the things I have. To live in fear or to live in hope…Hope comes from knowing I have a sovereign, loving God who is in every event in my life.” Always remember that LOVE is the seed of hope.
Let me leave you with some encouraging scriptures from God’s Word. These scriptures will give you hope this Christmas season and allow you to experience His healing truth.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick. (Proverbs 13:12)
Sustain me as you promised, and I will live; do not let me be ashamed of my hope. (Psalm 119: 116)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29: 11-12)
Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:24)
My Prayer For You and for me ~ Dear Lord, make me a woman/man of Hope. If I become discouraged let me turn to You. If I grow weary, let me seek strength in You. When I face disappointments, let me seek Your will and trust Your Word. In every aspect of my life, I will trust you, Father, so that my heart will be filled with faith, hope, and praise, this day and forever. Amen!
THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON AND IN THE NEW YEAR, MAY YOU REST IN THE DEEP ASSURANCE THAT IN KNOWING HIM YOU HAVE EVERYTHING!
*MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MY HOME TO YOURS!!!!!!!!
EVERY CHRISTMAS I make gifts for family and friends. One year I found an especially beautiful pattern for poinsettia napkin rings. I cut the red and green felt and fashioned it into flowers. Then I grouped them into sets of four and began wrapping. They are the best gifts I’ve ever made, I decided. I checked my list one last time and found I had made one gift too many. I’ll keep the last set for myself.
On Christmas Eve I set the dinner table and admired how the napkin rings made everything look perfect. Suddenly my friend Alice came to mind. How could I have forgotten Alice? WE always exchanged gifts, and she too made her gifts by hand.
I knew what I had to do: give Alice my last set of napkin rings. I took the napkins out of the rings and, crestfallen, wrapped them. My table no longer looked so festive.
I called Alice to tell her I was coming over. “I have to run out,” she said. “I’ll leave your gift in the mailbox.”
When my girls and I arrived at Alice’s house, I opened up the mailbox. Sure enough, a beautifully wrapped package was waiting inside. I took it out and put her present in its place. “Open it! Open it!” my daughters squealed, unable to contain their excitement. Finally I told the girls they could open the present. They tore off the wrapping and opened the lid. Inside were napkin rings.
“Well?” I asked.
“Mom,” Terri gasped. “Look!” Poinsettias. Exactly like the ones I had made.
I could have laughed out loud. What an amazing coincidence! I thought. But then I remembered the line from the Book of Luke: “Give, and it will be given to you.”
Be open to the unexpected. Sometimes the best things in life just happen. Share the love of Christmas at work, with friends family and neighbors ~ in quiet ways.