Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Greatest Gift

This post is part of Decembers Christian Writers Blog Chain. You can read more great post by clicking on the links to the right. The topic this month is gift. It's a fitting topic for me because today I turn 51. I didn't receive any gifts because I have already received the greatest gift. Today I want to share my gift with you.
THE GREATEST GIFT

...And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done , that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying , Behold , a virgin shall be with child , and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is , God with us...” Matthew 1:21-23 KJV


Christmas. When we think of Christmas the first thing that probably pops into our heads are presents. I know for my seven year old grandson presents are the first thing on his mind during the Christmas season. Unfortunately the true meaning of Christmas has become less focused on the Savior and more on commercialism.
For many Christians Christmas has become materialistic instead of spiritualistic. It is more about getting instead of giving. We tend to forget we've already received the greatest gift. On that first Christmas morning over two-thousand years ago we received a life-time gift from our Heavenly Father.
The Lord brought forth His greatest gift. Our gift was not wrapped in gold and silver, but in swaddling clothing. The tiny babe who lay in the manger was our gift of salvation. He didn't cost an exorbitant amount, but paid the ultimate price for being given to us.
Can you think of a better gift to receive on Christmas morning? I know I can't! That precious gift was delivered on Earth as a reminder. When God gave us Jesus He made a promise to always be with us.
The Lord gave us many gifts to show how much He loved us. He gave us the gift of life. He gave us the gift of peace. But the greatest gift He gave was his Son. When He placed his Son on Earth that long ago first Christmas He did knowing one day Jesus would pay for our sins. God loves us so much He gave his only begotten Son.
  When you opened your presents on Christmas morning, did you think about what you might receive, instead of what you have already received. Did you think about the commercialism, instead of the spiritualism. Christmas is only about one price. It's about the price Jesus paid so we could live. It's about the greatest gift we could ever get. Christmas is about Emmanuel.
This Christmas Season when you celebrated with your family and friends what was your greatest gift?
I know the greatest gift I received on Christmas and today on my birthday was my Savior(God's Son) Jesus Christ....


Monday, December 19, 2011

Are You Standing on a Solid Rock or Sinking in Quicksand?



Are you standing on a solid rock?

Are you sinking in quicksand?


This is the time of year many of us find ourselves sinking in quicksand instead of standing on a solid rock. Unfortunately it has become a constant struggle for myself as well. When I comitted to do as God commanded of me, I felt myself sinking into quicksand fast and felt there was no way out.

I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. Psalms 69:2 KJV

It'a easy to give up and let yourself sink deeper and deeper to the point you can't climb out. Even Christian's tend to let themselves sink into quicksand.

The Lord will take you out of the quicksand. He will not let you sink. He will recue you only if you let Him.

Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. Psalms 69:14 KJV

God does not want you to sink into quicksand. He wants you to stand on a solid rock of faith. How soon we forget the Lord is our rock.

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalms 18:2 KJV

He is my rock and my fortress when I start to sink into the quicksand of life's woes and worries.

There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. I Samuel 2:12 KJV

There is no other that will rescue from the quicksand but the Lord. He is the only one that can save you from a life of destruction. He is the only one that is willing to throw you a lifeline and pull you out of the pit that will swallow you alive.

Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: Isaiah 26:4 KJV

Friday, December 16, 2011

Trials Tribulation and Trust

One of the first things we do in the middle of trials or tribulation is shut down. We let Satan win when we fail to trust in the Lord with all our heart.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. John 14:1 KJV

For me this past few days I've made some personal choices in my walk with the Lord. If you have read my blog you know that Monday and Tuesday were bad days for me. I prayed faithfully Tuesday night for the situation to change. God answered my prayers and on Wednesday the situation looked hopeful, but it would only be the beginning of Satan's destructive path.

Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Jeremiah 7:8 KJV

You see, I trusted not in my Heavenly Father, because I got caught up in the web of Satan's lies. I believed things had really changed, but Satan was determined to trap me and let me die spiritually in his web of deceit.

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. Jeremiah 17:7 KJV

I chose to walk away rather that stay and fight a battle I would lose. I knew I should not let Satan win. I trust in my Heavenly Father to know that He will provide what I, what my family needs.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2 KJV

When I made a commitment to be re-baptised and tithe as I was commanded I also knew I would battle forces beyond my control. Satan doesn't want to lose another soul to good. He wants to keep a spiritual soul in a dark pit with no way out.

The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. Nahum 1:7 KJV

I put my trust in the Lord in my time of trials and tribulation because He is my Father, He is my Salvation, He is my Fortress, He is my Stronghold against all evil that will come against me to try and destroy my faith.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. II Samuel 22:31 KJV

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Worship Wenesday: Jesus Loves You













Jesus loves you! Those three simple words can change your life...

The past couple of days I've been stressed out to the point I let my blood pressure go sky high and let my secular self almost over-ride my Christian self. Let's just say I was having 'one of those days', until the Lord opened my eyes and revealed a very important message to me that He wants me to share with you.


I've sit at the same cubicle at work for almost three months and never noticed anything out of the ordinary until yesterday when I needed the Lord in my life(at that particular moment)to intervene. Have you ever noticed it's sometimes unasked prayers that get answered first. It's the prayers that weigh heavy on our hearts God answers with words rather than actions.

I sat down at my desk and tried to get ready for my day. I thought it would probably be an impossible task, because I had already set myself up for "come what may."  I looked up and written in pen(never noticed before) were three words that turned probable disaster into possible dealings.
JESUS LOVE YOU...

I knew in my heart those words were not put there by a fellow co-worker, but by my Heavenly Father. He already knew what my day was going to be like, before I even got started. He knew I need those three simple words. He also knows that everyone of you needs this message.

When you despair, stress or forget you are most important don't ever forget JESUS LOVES YOU!
The bible is filled with many scriptures telling us of His great love for His children. When you forget or Satan takes hold of your mind, soul and heart pick up your bible. The message is as clear as the words that were written to me on an old painted white piece of wood.

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind Philippians 2:1-2 KJV

God loves us so very much He sent His only son to die for us. Jesus loves us also that He was willing to die for us... Don't ever forget how much you are loved.

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10 KJV

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:7-19 KJV


Another great reminder of His love for us is a song I learned as a child:

Jesus Loves Me


Jesus loves me! this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
they are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! loves me still,
'tho I'm very weak and ill,
that I might from sin be free,
bled and died upon the tree.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He who died
heaven's gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
let His little child come in.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
close beside me all the way.
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me when I'm good.
When I do the things I should.
Jesus loves me when I'm bad,
but it makes him oh so sad.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.





YES, JESUS LOVES YOU MY FRIEND!

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Chicago marketing" Straight North $50 gift card give-a-way...AND THE WINNER IS....

Congratulations to Myne. She won the $50 gift card from Straight North a Chicago marketing company. Thanks to Straight North a Chicago marketing company for providing the $50 gift card. The winner has been notified.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Carving Angels Blog Tour Meet Special Guest Author Diane Stringam Tolley



A Message from the author:

Carving Angels - Behind the Wood Shavings

I love a background story.
Just as I love the secondary characters in a movie.
Each adds . . . substance.
And, let's face it, the lead story and the lead characters have all been done to death. The world is looking for something fresh and new.
But who says that fresh and new can't be siphoned off of the old and overdone?
Carving Angels came from just such an idea.
I was looking at a picture of Santa Claus, riding in his famous sleigh.
Pulled by his equally famous reindeer.
And the thought struck me - 'Huh. I wonder where he got his sleigh?' It is such an integral part of the whole 'Santa' story, but no one has ever explained where it came from.
Did he mail order it?
The number of stamps alone would be mind-boggling.
Visit 'Sleighs R Us' on one of his weekend getaways to New York or places south?
Possible, but doubtful. For one thing, I've never seen a 'Sleighs R Us' store.
Even in Edmonton.
I sincerely doubt that one could find a Sears or Costco at the North Pole.
The only other solutions seemed to be either union-made (elves), or non-union 'constructed in someone's shop' (also elves).
Bingo.
I had my premise.
Santa's sleigh was constructed by elves.
Or more particularly, by an elf.
A very gifted elf.
But what kind of gifts?
A metal worker/welder?
I'm sure they have them in abundance at the North Pole. After all, who else could construct the plethora of things metal that appear under our tree on Christmas morning?
Okay, that's one possibility.
Computer whiz.
Handy, especially when it came to interior bells and whistles.
But, let's face it, a virtual sleigh, though it might look good on the silver screen, really couldn't pass muster when it came to actually carrying the big guy and serving as a repository for the all-important toys and gifts.
Computer whizzes - out.
Wait. What about a wood carver?
We're talking about a night spent in an open sleigh in sub-zero temperatures.
Okay, yes, I know that many of Santa's deliveries are to tropical and sub-tropical locales, but we should plan for the frozen-est, rather than the warm-est, right?
Moving on . . .
Hmm. Wood vs. metal.
Wood is so much warmer than metal.
Anyone who has done the all important/stupid frozen metal-tongue test (and I'm not saying I have) knows that wood, even when frozen solid, simply does not have the sticking power of super-cooled metal.
A definite plus for the wood argument.
Let's go with that.
So. A wood-carving elf.
Now, how can we make him (or her) special.
And at the same time make his (all right, I've decided he's a guy) accomplishment just a bit . . . tougher. Harder to imagine.
Or believe.
We'll give him a handicap.
Something to overcome.
Something that will make his achievement that much more astounding.
Age?
Good.
Infirmity?
Better.
Blind?
Perfect.
And we'll drag in his tiny little granddaughter because she is so sweet and cute and because she is equally handicapped by age.
And because we need someone to help on the rare occasions when our carver actually needs to 'see'.
So now, all we need is a bit of background: A former career as Santa's chief carver, followed by ten years of despair.
And the story is set.
Carving Angels is born.

About the book:

C
arving Angels

Book Details:
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Published: September 2011
Genre: Children, ages 9-12
Format: hardcover
Price: $12.99
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes&Noble.com

Blurb:
Papa Adam, an elderly elf and former chief carver for Santa, has given up. Blind, frail and useless, he counts the minutes in every day as he waits to die.

But a challenge to carve, given by his youngest granddaughter, reawakens Papa Adam. Helps him to realize that he is not finished. And definitely not useless.

The two of them, the 'marginal' oldest and youngest members of North Pole society, begin a remarkable project that will change their community forever. Prove that the most paralyzing thing you can do is underestimate or undervalue anyone, especially yourself.

And that with the right love and encouragement, anything is possible.



About the Author Diane Stringam Tolley:


Diane Stringam Tolley was born and raised on a ranch in Southern Alberta, Canada. Educated in Journalism, she is the author of countless articles and short stories and 4 e-books including a novel for young adults, Essence. She and her husband, Grant are the parents of six children and live in Beaumont, Alberta, Canada.






Connect with Diane:
Blog
Author Web Site
Book Web Site
Facebook
Twitter





Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Fiction: A SEASONS FOR MIRACLES

This week I have the pleasure of hosting Friday Fiction.

This is part of a WIP


A SEASONS FOR MIRACLES




Maddie Pierce pulled her brown curls into a pony tail. She threw her hands up in the air. 
How could Pastor Fred just up and leave a week before Christmas?” She directed the rhetorical question toward her friend and colleague Rose.
I...” Rose didn't get her sentence out before Maddie interrupted.
Don't bother to answer the question Rose. We'll deal with what needs to be done.” Maddie was
exasperated. “How could Fred do this to the church, to me?”
Maddie flipped through the church directory. “There's got to be someone who can fill in
temporally,at least until the Baptist Association sends us a replacement.”
Maddie, aren't you the Sunday school teacher?”
Maddie didn't like her friends tone.
Yes, but Fred was suppose to help. I can't handle twenty preschoolers by myself!”
Yes you can Maddie. If Jesus could feed the multitudes, you can handle twenty, out of control four and five year old's.” Rose let out a hearty laughter.
Not funny Rose. Not funny.”
Hey, I gotta run. I'm going to be late for my fitting.”
Sure. See you later?”
Of course. At dinner.”
We'll talk then.”
She envied her friend. Rose was getting married in four weeks. Maddie knew she shouldn't, but she wished she was the one getting married.
****



She felt alone and in a lurch. With less than two weeks until Christmas, twenty screaming preschoolers and a church that was depending on her, Maddie needed a miracle.
She left her office and went into the decorated sanctuary. Huge live pine wreaths hung on the stained glass windows. Poinsettias lined the alter. Maddie stopped and took in all the beauty that surrounded her. The scent of Christmas floated in the air. She inhaled the sweet, strong smell of cinnamon.
Maddie made her way to the decorated alter. A feeling of sadness overwhelmed her. The tears
began fall. Maddie knelt on the alter steps. “Lord, I am at my wits end. I really need your help. I really need a miracle right now.”
She was deep in thought and didn't hear the door to the sanctuary open or the footsteps approaching the alter.

****
Joe pulled his car into the space reserved for the pastor. “Well Lord, I'm here. Now what?” He
turned off the ignition and exited the vehicle. The church was small, but not tiny. It looked old. Joe paused before entering the building.
He didn't see any other vehicles and was thankful. He wanted to get settled before meeting the
parishioners. Joe proceeded inside and stopped. His gaze locked onto a figure kneeling at the alter. He wasn't alone. Someone else was in the church.
****


Maddie blew out the candle and wiped her tears away. “Lord, I'm leaving it in your hands.”
A wonderful, peaceful feeling came over her. Maddie got up, turned around and almost ran into Joe.
Her face turned beet red. “Oh, I'm sorry,”she stammered. “I... thought I was alone.”

No need to apologize,” Joe extended his hand. “I'm the new pastor, Joe Walker.”

Pastor?”

Yes. I'm filling in for Pastor Fred until after Christmas.”

Maddie felt awkward standing in front of a stranger, even if he was pastor.

I'm Maddie Pierce, the Sunday school teacher.”
Nice to meet you Maddie.”

I didn't know Pastor Fred's replacement would be coming this soon?”

I didn't know myself,”Joe laughed to ease the tension.

Where are my manners? Let me show you to Pastor Fred's office. I mean your office.”

Maddie led Joe down the corridor to what would be his temporary home for the next five

weeks.

This is it. It's not much. If you need anything I'll be in the Sunday school room down the hall

to the left.”

Thank you Maddie. I think I can manage.”

Oh, OK.”

What was she thinking, of course he could manage. He was a pastor.

****
Joe was left to settle into his new office and his new position. The office was cramped, not much moving

around room. It was decorated with elements of Christmas and the Lord's Supper hung behind the mahogany

desk. The office wasn't what he was used to, but it was where the Lord had led him.

He lit a cinnamon scented candle and sat down in the leather chair. “Lord, thank for this wonderful opportunity and blessings. Amen.” Joe examined Pastor Fred's sermon notes. The writing was illegible.
Joe tried to focus on the words the former pastor had written down, but his thoughts drifted to the pretty Sunday school teacher down the hall. He tossed the papers on the desk and made his way down the hall to the preschool classroom. Joe prayed Mattie wouldn't mind the intrusion.

****
Maddie stood in the middle of twenty hyper preschoolers all vying for her undivided attention.
Lord give me patience.
Miss Mattie. Miss Mattie. Pick me. Pick me,” the young voices echoed.

Knock knock.”

Mattie tensed at the sound of Joe's deep voice. The children quietened down when Joe entered

the room.

Pastor Joe, what a pleasant surprise. Come in and meet the children.”

I hope you don't mind? I wanted to meet our little ones.”
Of course not. Children, let's show our new pastor what we've learned.”
The children settled down and formed a circle around Mattie.
Joe grabbed a nearby chair and waited for the children to begin.
Mattie was nervous. She twisted her ponytail. They had practiced at least a dozen times, but never performed in front of a stranger. She clapped her hands twice to get the children's attention.
Alright children, let's begin.”
Mattie pressed the play button on the CD player and music filled the small Sunday school room. The preschoolers lined up in front of her and started to sing. Mattie's nerves calmed once the children began. Their squeaky voices rose above the music. Blessed baby Jesus. Blessed baby Jesus. Oh how we adore you. Oh how we love you. They repeated the tune twice before Mattie switched off the music.
Her faced beamed with joy. She was so proud of her little group.

OK class, criss cross applesauce.” And with that direction the preschoolers sat cross-legged

on the stained-glass colored carpet.

Mattie walked over to where Joe was seated.

He embraced her.

Amazing!”

Thank you.”

How do you get them to cooperate?”

Mattie fumbled her words. “I... I guess they just like me.”

Well, of course they do and you're doing a wonderful job with them.”

Parents began to filter in and they didn't get a chance to finish their private conversation.

Come on. I'll introduce you to the parents of our littlest members.”

****

Mattie watched Joe embrace each parent as if he'd known them forever. He was a handsome

man. Not too tall, maybe five nine. His dark brown hair was cut short and neat and his eyes...

His eyes were an incomprehensible shade of blue.

The parent's seemed to like him and the children gravitated toward him. Mattie had found

her assistant, Pastor Joe Walker. She would enlist his help with the pageant. Mattie prayed Joe

would accept the challenge.

****

After the parent's left with Mattie's little charges she and Joe were the only ones left in the

church. She busied herself and began to straighten up things.

Here, let me help.”

Thanks Pastor Joe.”

Please call me Joe.”

OK.”

They continued putting things away.

Maddie if you don't mind me asking, how long have you been teaching the little ones?”

No, of course not. I got my position right after Thanksgiving.”

So, only a few weeks then?”

Yes. I got hired right after Miss Peggy became ill.”

Miss Peggy?”

Pastor Fred's sister.”

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.”

Huh?”

He laughed. “I meant I'm sorry to hear about Miss Peggy.”

She became ill about a week before Thanksgiving and Pastor Fred ask me to take over.”

I could see how much you enjoyed working with the preschoolers.”

Mattie's face lit up. “Oh yes! It's very fulfilling.”

Mattie, I have another question. Where will I stay?”

Stay?”

Yes. I didn't see a parsonage.”

There isn't one. Pastor Fred lived with his sister. There's never been a need.”

I guess I could stay at the motel.”

Mattie shook her head. “There's not one. Sorry.”

I guess I wasn't prepared.”
I'm getting ready to head home. Why don't you join me and my folks for dinner?”

Mattie, I couldn't impose.”

It's not an imposition. My folks would love to meet the new pastor and we could figure out

where you could stay.”

Are you sure?”




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