The GREATEST GIFT That Was Ever Given – His Name Is Jesus

December 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Holidays & Celebrations

The GREATEST GIFT That Was Ever Given
HIS Name is JESUS

Over 2,000 years ago God sent His Son into the world that we might be saved and not condemned. On the profession of our FAITH we are accepted into His Family and become children of God. The Child in the manger has been recognized as The Traditional Christmas scene down through the ages. It is much more than a tradition it is a True story! As you Celebrate Christmas with your family, friends and loved ones with your plethora of family Traditions; I would like to take a few minutes to share “The Chronicle of Our Lord and Savior!”

“FOR unto us a CHILD is born, unto us a SON is given: and the government shall be upon HIS shoulder: and HIS name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9

“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 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!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His Father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob FOREVER. And of His kingdom there will be no end…….

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David. Which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to registered with Mary his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there was in the same country shepherds out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, and angel of the Lord said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of GREAT JOY which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is CHRIST the LORD. And this will be the sign to you : You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths in a manger. And suddenly there was an angel a multitude of the heavenly host PRAISING GOD and saying; GLORY to God in the highest, And on earth PEACE , GOODWILL toward men!

So it was when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when then they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning the child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and PRAISING GOD for ALL the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told to them.

And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb…

This is the greatest event that ever happened in the history of the world! So much so that a choir of Angels sang and the sky was lit with a brilliant STAR! “JESUS is the Bright and Morning Star” He wants to Light your heart and give you purpose and meaning in your life! CHRISTMAS IS WHEN WE CELEBRATE “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” TO JESUS! Jesus lived an amazing sinless life to conquer sin in the flesh for us! So we would not be condemned but saved. He was crucified a shameful death on the CROSS, died for us and then after three days in the grave HE arose victoriously with ALL power! When you accept Him into your heart you become God’s child and His precious Holy Spirit comes to live within you and your body becomes a Temple. You are then given the gift of Eternal Life! Jesus then becomes your Messiah, Savior and Lord! Jesus is the GREATEST GIFT that was ever given! JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON! Have a wonderfully, MARVELOUSLY Blessed MERRY CHRISTMAS and a JOYFULLY Blessed NEW YEAR!!! “GLORY TO GOD in the HIGHEST and on earth PEACE to men on whom HIS FAVOR rests….” (St. Luke }

Listen to “I Give You Jesus”

Do You Have A Healthy Worship Environment?

December 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Holidays & Celebrations

Do You Have A Healthy Worship Environment?

When you leave church do you feel convicted, inspired and encouraged to grow spiritually? Do you feel that your intimate personal relationship with God is growing? Do you have a desire to create a home, living and work environment where God’s principles are practiced daily? Do you desire to know God through His word? Have you truly accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Is the Holy Spirit active in your everyday life? Do you really embrace repentance? Or do you subscribe to the “nobody’s perfect syndrome” and excuse any faulty behavior under the guise of unconditional love? After taking a sincere personal inventory of your own life can you say you are truly growing spiritually? Or have you really just conformed so you could be accepted? “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty”. Godly liberty does not sanction anything that goes against His principles. Neither does it make you conform to legalistic rules, concepts or beliefs. God always gives us the freedom to choose. Of course, you must be aware that there are consequences for whatever choices you make. God is a God of balance. A liberal healthy spiritual environment teaches you that God is sovereign and points you to His Word. It is in the Word of God you will find multiple examples and solutions for day to day living.

In contrast, in an unhealthy church environment the right of the individual to choose is greatly diminished. Instead you are encouraged to conform. Unity means to agree not to rock the boat. Asserting yourself and exercising what you believe is discouraged. Instead of strengthening family relationships an alliance to leadership is encouraged. Leadership then dictates and controls how you should think, live and give. Your pastor often becomes your voice of God and the only one to interpret the Word of God. The sermon is usually directed to someone who is not conforming. Once you have truly experienced someone who will prayerfully meditate on God’s Word and consecrates themselves for worship you will see a significant difference. Telling the truth of God’s Word rather than trying to manipulate people to do things their way is the desired goal. They really don’t have a hidden agenda. The message is for the giver as well as the receiver. This is why it is so important to know the Word of God. This is also how you can recognize if you have experienced an abusive worship environment? When you leave an unhealthy church environment you are usually trying to figure out what member was he talking about today?

If you are regularly worshipping in a healthy church you really know when you are truly growing spiritually. You are not just lead by your emotions and compulsively respond in the flesh when situations arise. When you embrace the Truth of God’s Word you are not derailed by the many obstacles life brings. You not only attend a healthy church but during the week you desire to continue to aggressively apply His Word to your life. In contrast in an unhealthy church there often are moral double standards. You are one way on Sunday and live differently Monday – Saturday. Praise & worship is just a channel you turn to on Sundays. The pastor usually is the only one with authority and does not welcome comments or an opinion that differs from his. Any outside speakers are prepped and are given a preliminary screening and encouraged to “back him up” with their comments. All too often leadership tolerates and sanctions immorality. They have an agreement with one another rather than honor Godly principles. Their weaknesses and flaws are again excused, kept under cover and fall under the guise of “nobody is perfect.” Those who oppose are put under a microscope and labeled unloving or negative. Sexual misconduct is merely given a slap on the wrist. If you look closely beyond the surface you will find that this type of environment encourages codependency and quite often members experience mental anguish as well as breakdowns and various continued addictions. Tithing, giving and regular attendance exempts you from undesirable consequences when you are a part of the group regardless of your behavior. It guarantees that you will be given unconditional support. Your dedication to the system demonstrates that you are supportive and have a teachable spirit but do you really? Disagreeing with the pastor means you are disagreeing with God? In an unhealthy worship environment the pastor is accountable to an inner board of hand selected “yes men and women.” Rather than serve God they serve their system. They often serve the pastor rather than carry out the true commission of the Church.

Today it is still very important to be prayerful and seek Godly direction. Just about anything goes today. God really does have a solution. God really does want you to live victoriously. Did you know that you can believe all the right things and be quite wrong? God really can deliver you from whatever? On the other hand He can and will keep you from falling! God truly is deserving of all the praise! When you read the Word of God you will find that Jesus spent a significant amount of time talking to the established church as well as reaching out to the lost. Jesus and His disciples were not readily embraced because they did not subscribe to or adhere to their legalistic approach. The seven churches mentioned in Revelations actually did exist. Notice they all lacked in some area. Did you know the rules and regulations of the law were fulfilled when Christ died on the cross? If you carefully, slowly and prayerfully read Hebrews it will give you a better understanding of God’s Grace and Favor. Grace and Favor are gifts from God. Did you know that when you accept Jesus Christ that your body becomes a Temple? His Holy Spirit resides within. you. God said, “I will put my laws in your mind and write then in your heart.” God wants you to have a personal intimate relationship with Him. He already knows you and everything about you. He knows everything! He wants and desires you to know Him and the “power of His Resurrection.” He also wants you to have a healthy worship environment. He does not want you to be a spiritual yoyo. God has all power! He can even turn an unhealthy worship environment into a place where His Spirit is truly welcomed. Repentance is key. This will allow you to start anew and become open and willing to be led by His precious Holy Spirit!

Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection really means something! He made atonement for all the sins of the world. That in itself is reason to praise Him! True worshippers worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The children of Israel wandered for forty years in the desert because they were disobedient. Their hearts were hardened by sin’s deceitfulness and they did not even realize it. We must combine the Gospel with faith. Nothing is hidden from God. When you truly know Him you can approach His throne of grace with confidence. Not in yourself but in Him. When you have a relationship with Him you can be patient. You know and realize that He will take care of you in any and every situation. Your desire is to please Him and have His will done in your life. Abraham received the promise by faith. God cannot lie. You can depend on His promises! Hope and trust in God will be an anchor for your soul. You know by faith He will impart His grace to you and help you in time of need. Jesus is the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.

The true tabernacle is not made by man. Christ is the mediator of a new covenant. We have been declared righteous. We have been made Holy because Jesus sacrificed His life for us. His body is now the curtain that covers us. His blood has cleansing power! We must learn to draw near to God through faith and a sincere heart. Always know God knows your heart. God wants you to set aside anything that hinders your spiritual growth. God will discipline you for your good so that you may share in His holiness. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” Check out Hebrews the 11th chapter to find out what faith in God did for them! God is good and is so deserving of our sincere praise. Give Him a continual sacrifice of true honorable praise! Not “tinkling cymbals sounding brass” there is a difference. God really does want you to experience a healthy worship environment! God can and will equip you with whatever you need to do His will. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” To God be the Glory!


Always Caring For MOM


Now that I am over fifty I can really look at things through my Mother’s eyes. My compassion has grown. It is such a gorgeous day. I know Mom would have loved the brilliant sunshine and stunning blue skies. Today we took her some beautiful flowers. My Mom always loved fresh flowers, she will always be alive in my heart. There are times that I miss her dearly; but I have peace knowing that she is resting and happily present with the Lord. She will always and forever be alive in my heart. There are times that I miss her dearly; but I have peace knowing that she is resting and happily present with the Lord. I can look back and be thankful of the times I spent with her.

In her later years my Mom gradually began to say what I now call a “slow goodbye”.

My Mother was a very strong willed woman. I was her only daughter among my many brothers. I will always remember how she reminded me that she prayed that the Lord would give her a daughter. It was actually just abreast a few months of her forth decade in life that I was born.

I believe that by this time she had a pretty good handle on being a parent since I was her ninth child and as I said before her first and only daughter.

My Father labored many hours away from home providing for our family. My Mother adorned me with all the girly trimmings for as long as I can remember. Frilly Priscilla curtains festooned my bedroom windows along with my white high standing white wrought iron bed. I think I wore pink nylon and organza dresses with embroidered flowers with matching bloomers and pink satin ribbons to adorn my hair seems like forever to Church. Let’s not forget to mention how I had to stay up while she pinned curled my hair with bobby pins on Saturdays for curls on Sunday. This was almost until I was thirteen years old. I eventually was able to turn in my white socks for cinnamon colored stockings.

My Mother was born in the early 1900’s and that was the thing to do way back then for a girl child. I was especially elated that she spent many hours laboring at her much ravished Singer Sewing machine fabricating me a plethora of uniquely designed everyday dresses. When school started there was one for each day of the week. She even made me a red plaid Dr. Kildare dress. I can remember her up and about sewing more nights than I remember her sleeping and resting. I now realize the many sacrifices she made for me. Coming from such humble beginnings makes you really appreciate the preciousness of time.

I have learned that time in fact, is really a precious priceless gift.

Years later on another occasion I can remember the day my husband asked her if he could marry me. Since we were so young I was a bit queasy as to how she would respond. He had graduated early from high school at sixteen. So I had chosen not to be present. My Mother was in her late 20’s when she married. Here I was a mere 17. I could only wonder what she would say. She had planned that I go on a college tour and………. But whatever my then, husband to be said to her, he won her over, from that moment on. It was at that time that they bonded. He became another son to her. We were engaged for one year. When our very own daughter was born she adorned her with the same delicately made pink embroidered dresses.

Each time one of my children were born (we had four more sons) she came to our home for an extended visit. We spent many nights just enjoying the company of one another. I always appreciated the way she respected and loved our children and my husband. I knew somewhat, but it was not really until her “Home going” celebration that I realized just how special her relationship was with my husband. My husband paid a tribute to her by playing one of her favorite hymns “His Eye Is On The Sparrow>” . It was at that moment he shared with the many guests that were present, that in over thirty years there had never been a cross word between them. I don’t know many son-in–laws that can say that! These are just a few of the many memories that I cherish to this day. There are so many many more.

Little did I know until much later on in life how those memories would get me through the changes, challenges and transitions that her life encountered. Age has a way of creeping up on you. It gradually robbed her of all her much adored independence, gifts, talents and strength that she profusely exuded. My Mom was always a strong figure in my life. I always felt as a child that she was so stern. This of course is understandable since I was her one and only daughter. She was a very intelligent an educated woman. She was well respected by her academic colleagues. It was when I was in Jr. High that she entered into teaching. She wore many hats as a wife, Mother, teacher and actively took on many roles and a list of responsibilities at her place of worship. She was an advisor and confidant to many pastors. Let’s not forget her excellence as a seamstress, gourmet cooking skills and passion for gardening!

I said all of this to give you a poignant illustration of what was. … I can remember her telling me how she was beginning to feel strange in this body of hers. That that person looking back at her in the mirror was beginning to be quite interesting. How her body just would not do the simple tasks as she wanted. After she retired and well into my adult years she continued to sew, cook and garden. But slowly and surely her strong physical stature begins to slightly so ever bow. I would drive up and spend the day with her often. I can remember her equilibrium suddenly changing and her many falls. Osteoporosis gradually began to take its toll on her ever shrinking frame. Her once tall and grand stance resembling a much shorter humbled bowing position. The many bruises on her arms and head. But thank God no fractures or broken bones! She would jokingly say her hard head now came in handy. But she remained determined. I can remember the garage door falling on her. I asked her “What were you thinking of? You don’t’ even drive!” Here our roles begin to reverse.

My Mom loved to write and faithfully would journal her daily thoughts and dissipating activities. Her memory filled cherished journals and her Elementary Primers are my most treasured remnants. It was in her journals I have her recorded memories of her much expressed LOVE for me, her long gone sister, brothers and parents. Who all went before her, of her many friends and acquaintances, my brothers and especially her loving relationship with me, my husband and our children.

My Mom as I said was articulate and had no problem expressing herself. in anyway. She could even discuss the sports statistics with my husband; as well as discuss God’s Word or any current or past News topic. Her home cluttered with memorabilia and a library of books along with an assortment of various nursery foliage inside and out. As time began to take its toll she asked me in a very cognizant moment to promise to allow her to stay in her own home until the Lord called her home. She did not want to loose that part of her independence. Her home was a place for any and all to come to and enjoy her wonderful cooking and company. I lived an hour away so she would come for weeks and stay and visit with my family. But no matter how much she enjoyed herself “there was no place like home“. My mother never learned to drive therefore she had to be chauffeured and transported. I spent many hours up and down the freeway taking her to the Dr, shopping and to run errands. I had a brother who lived right around the corner from her and one that actually lived with her. But since I was her only daughter that would not do. At times it was okay. I did not mind because that was time I looked forward to spending with her.

As time passed her health began to decline. Her physical condition began to deteriorate to the place that she sometimes lost control of her bodily liquids. Rendering the necessity of subscribing to adult disposable undergarments. This is what happens often when one reaches their later silver years, especially so after having bore eleven children. My adult son who lived fifteen minutes away would frequently drop off a supply for me from Costco and visit with her. He would also give me an update on her condition.

Gradually Mom had succumb to cocooning and not venturing outdoors much. Her many falls finally made her yield to a cane. I can remember taking her to the Dr. for therapy so they could assist and teach her how to use a much dreaded walker. They stressed how she should try to walk uprightly as much as posssible. I can still remember the day when I was taking her to the car and she suddenly began to fall. I immediately lowered myself under her to brace her impact with the driveway. It was then I knew that there would have to be more changes. Her eyesight began to dim and arthritis began to painfully embrace her hands. Then there was her eye surgery, and……. Sewing and needle work gradually had to be set aside. I can see in her journals the gradual shift in her once brilliant almost flawless penmanship. I can see etched on the pages fragments of broken words painfully scribed and thoughts left arrested in mid air.

After her series of mini strokes her posture changed again along with her hymn singing and speaking. Her voice used for the many altar prayers now quieted, and her singing voice now only emitting a brittle scratchy throaty noise. The walker now obsolete and the need for a much needed yet regretted wheelchair. Along with a shower and bath chair and all the other paraphernalia that are needed when one cannot easily attend to all of the personal hygiene necessities. I purchased a padded desk lap pad to try encouraging arts and simple crafts, along with a mini water fall to solicit a tranquil environment, with soft soothing music in the background. Her living room now begins to shift from her antique furniture to a padded sofa for her to look out the window at her once lovingly attended garden. Her bed room now housed a hospital bed that she just could not get used to, her physical position gradually shifting from flowered bed linen. Life and her many once enjoyed pastimes became a thing of the past. Her once strong frame. Only a mere silhouette and her limbs delicately extended on her now almost immobile body. Although often a somewhat slight questioning frown.

She would light up whenever I saw her. No longer was she able to call or I call and talk to her on the telephone. This is when her slow good bye became a reality.

Must my Mother come live with me? The doctors are now giving up on her she is now in her upper eighties. I can remember how impressed they were with her intelligence she could sail through all of their mental tests. She would tell them her name the date and current news. How many children she had and where she was; then names all the presidents of the United States. But now gradually the signs of Alzheimer’s had begun to replace her many cherished memories. The Drs. now recommended that she be placed in a home. My live in brother now getting more and more frustrated. Which was really his warranted fears seeing our Mom gradually disappearing. The visits now fewer by her many friends. She can no longer attend her much loved worship services. She no longer enjoyed the walks around the block as I pushed her in her wheel chair. So she was kept inside gradually becoming a prisoner in her much loved abode. All besides her family who knew her were able to remember her as she was. Although there were a few who could see that this once articulate poised woman was beginning to wear like a fine fabric. Her appetite had begun to diminish significantly as well. I got her a nifty bed table to straddle her lap. We would prop her up with pillows on each side. There were times when she just wouldn’t eat without assistance. How ironic after all those years of serving others. So it became a challenge to see what would suit her palette. Well we will just have to feed her. Yes again the Dr.’s have now given up hope.

But yet Mom is still holding on. She has really begun to say her slow goodbye.

I, along with much anxiety and ambivalence begin to go and look for a care home for Mom at my many brothers insistence. One closer to me so I could see her daily. I now know that some care homes are just dreadful. Some are seemingly peaceful on the surface. But I knew within moving her would only hasten her good bye. Her once strong voice was echoing in the corridors of my mind “There is no place like home.” I reluctantly wrote the much dreaded family letter to inform all of my brothers that this is where we are. What do we do? They have wanted me to put her in a home for sometime. A few had ideas but none came to fruition of course. My live in brother now hesitantly took care of her household finances. Since he never married or had children he opted to vacate his varied career. Therefore Mom was his occupation. He could do as he pleased and Mom had a family member there in the evenings. Whatever else she needed I would try to accommodate. He would always call me and let me know her status when I was away. Sometime it worked and sometime it didn’t. So what do you do? I just wanted her to be as comfortable as possible.

Now again it is time to make more changes? My brother does not one someone in the house full time. What do I do? I am not able to care for her in our home. The Dr. says her care could run into the thousands and and …………… So what do I do? Mom must have known that that was one decision that I just could not make or did not want to make for her. That was one decision that I know she made with the Lord. So it was in her sleep, in her home late that night in January when my brother called and said; “Mom is gone.” I’m like, “gone where?” I suddenly remembered one day when she wanted to go back home.

She pointed out her window and told me she wanted to go home. “Mom you are home.” She wanted to see her “Papa.”

I took out a huge atlas I had purchased for her and showed her she was in California at home and Arkansas was very far away. She just looked away. Then it dawned on me. “Mom’s gone” my brother said again. I knew that Mom had starting leaving a little bit at a time. She was just trying to give everyone a chance to adjust. I knew now that she had made the transition. She had gone on to be with the Lord and all of her other relatives that she had been missing. She had slept away at home peacefully; just like she wanted. Now she was at rest with the Lord.

My Mom had finally said Good bye……..

There are many issues around taking care of an elderly parent or parents. Who does what and when? Just enjoy them as much as you can while they are here. Try and let them make their own decisions for as long as they can responsibly do so. Treat them with respect and dignity although they become childlike. In the last days of course you will have some regrets? If you patiently treat them the way you would want to be treated you will have peace knowing that you did all you could do to make them comfortable. Remember you never know how your latter days will be? But they will and can be overshadowed by the many many cherished memories! And yes of course you will always miss them. So shower them with LOVE while they are still on this side of HEAVEN!

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