Are you ready for Christmas?

It seems every year I get asked this question earlier and earlier from many people and even basic strangers. Now, anyone who knows me knows I am a total enthusiast for the Christmas season. I tend to go all out with decorations, will plan an impromptu gathering at the drop of a hat, and love to honor my Hispanic heritage by continuing the season celebrations into January with “Dia de Reyes”. I love to hear the music of the season and must admit I love the corny “Lifetime” movies with the same theme over and over with just the basic names of the characters and towns being altered.

I especially love the fact that it is one time of year when even non-believers are “okay” with hearing some of the gospel message about the season. While they may not be ready to receive the greatest gift ever given to us; (“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given…” Isaiah 9:6) they will unknowingly be tangled up in the very joy of what all of this means. As a believer, I see this as a great opportunity to at least plant seeds with others. Share with them about this greatest gift ever given; how in comparison to that gift, our own gifts to others are truly small.

It provides an avenue to renew in those who have backslidden or suffered loss and disillusion through the year, the story of hope and expectation that Christ alone has given. It is a time where we can remind others what this gift represents and how our celebrations need to continue throughout the year. I love being able to take the theme and doing random acts of “Christmas in July” or any other month for that matter. Again, Christmas is the vehicle to draw our eyes to Him.

Sometimes we tend to get sadden by the holidays what with the economy, broken families, loss of loved ones and other heartaches. We mourn the happier times, we mourn the changes. As a believer, I can feel encouraged by these times because, again, it provides an opportunity to share God’s peace (Philippians 4:7) “which is far beyond human understanding.”

So when we get asked the question, “are you ready for Christmas?” don’t get bothered and upset thinking the sales person is just trying to sell more wares, take it as a moment to reflect, are you ready to share the greatest gift of all with those around you?

Merry Christmas

Alex B.

Walk as Children of Light

Have you ever tired to navigate through a dark room? I have, and I’ve tripped, stubbed my toes and waved my arms in front of me trying to feel for the walls. When I’m in a dark place the first thing I want to do is find the light. I do not turn on the light to look around and see where I need to go, then turn it off and try to walk in darkness. No, because the lights are useful and necessary. In the book of Ephesians Paul says that we were once darkness but now as believers we are light in the world. We are called to be light in a dark place and we are to shine in a way that brings glory to God (Matt 5:16).

Ephesians 5:8-11 NKJV “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

It will happen every once in a while that my husband will be talking to me and as I look at him I notice that his glasses are really dirty so I will offer to clean them.  Often he will refuse and say they are fine, but later when he goes to clean them he realizes how dirty his glasses really were and he’ll say “how could I see through these things?” His vision was skewed. The light to his eyes dimmed because his glasses were dirty. Sometimes as we live our lives we get stuff on us and our light shines a little dimmer than before, it can be worry, stress, choosing not to forgive or any other sin or thing that takes our focus off of the One we receive our light from, Our Heavenly Father.

Daily we need to take time to allow the Lord to examine us, through prayer and spending time in The Word. Also be that godly sister in the Lord that would come along side someone and gently say let me help clean off those glasses if its done in love they probably won’t refuse but will appreciate your love for them. In the same way if some says to you, “I think you got a smudge here,” receive it and pray asking the Lord to cleanse you that you might shine brightly for Him.

Kim S.

The Help

Do you ever feel like you need extra help? That you just can’t do it alone. Well, as a believers in Christ, you have a helper available to you. All you have to do is ask the Lord and He will provide the Help; the Holy Spirit.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—       John 14:16

The Holy Spirit is not just a power but a real person of the trinity. He is available to guide us and empower us to do the will of God. Sometimes, we may think that we are all alone, but we are not. We are never alone. God knows what we are going through, and He knows each and every circumstance that He allows in our life. As a believer in Christ, these things have an eternal purpose. The purpose of growing us and preparing us for His will.

So we have this great Help available, but are we taking advantage of what God has given? Are we asking Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit daily?

There are many reasons why His Holy Spirit is needed. One reason is, the Holy Spirit shows us how to pray. Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered..” There are many times I want to pray, but don’t really know what to say or how to say it. That’s when Gods Holy Spirit helps me to pray.

Another reason why we need the Holy Spirit is to guide us. John 16:13a “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;…” Sometimes we may not be sure of what steps to take or what direction to go in our everyday lives. But if we allow Him to guide us and direct our walk we can know with confidence we are walking in His truth. The key is to allow His Holy Spirit to guide us and not be given to our own desires and what we feel is right. Our own heart can often be deceptive.

Finally, we need the Holy Spirit to teach us and remind us. John 14:16 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Let us take advantage of this help, our gift of the Holy Spirit. May He show you how to pray, guide your steps each day, and teach you to walk in His way.

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. “

Jeanine B.

Edify One Another

I’ve had friends in my life who have been there for me through different seasons of life. These ladies built me up in the Word of God and truth. Sometimes we don’t want to hear things especially when it has to do with our character or the way we are acting, but when it is done with love by someone you trust it tends to make it much easier to accept. We need women in our lives who can tell us the truth, things that we don’t want to hear. When we only have people around us who tell us what we want to hear we don’t grow spiritually.

Romans 15:2 says “We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.” How are we building up the women God has put in our lives? Are the words that come out of our mouth harsh, condescending and negative or are we encouraging, building them up and speaking truth in love?

We all want to be loved and be accepted by others, but the words that come out of our mouth can be so powerful they can either tear a person down, and make them feel unloved, disapproved or discouraged or our words can bring encouragement, hope and healing to a person.

Ephesians 4:29 – Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

So let our words be encouraging and bringing comfort to those that hear them so that it may be helpful. 1 Thessalonians Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

In his commentary David Guzik  says “To edify means to build up. When we have our first interest in building up other Christians, then God will edify us. The idea is of a church full of active participants, not passive spectators.”

We can tend to get busy, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to bless someone, be available and see what the lord will do and how you will be blessed as well. Reach out to those sisters that God has put around you, coming along side them and lifting them up with kindness, gentleness and love. Be that person they can trust to go to for comfort and to be built up with the word of God and Prayer.

Cherie C.