I Have Chosen You

You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away:  Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isa 41:9-10 NKJV

I was reminded of these verses at the Christmas brunch a couple of weeks ago. These two verses in Isaiah are such a source of comfort and peace to me. In some of my most difficult trials God has comforted me with these words. God is so good and so faithful to uplift our hearts when we are weak. We can seek comfort and redemption from many things; work, home, people, self help books. But there is only one that can complete us make us whole and give us true comfort and hope that’s Jesus. If we look to Him in our times of trouble He will help us and not just tell us what we want to hear but what we desperately need to hear.

Isaiah 41 tell us that God has chosen us, we are special to Him, we are God’s Choice! He has not cast us away. We are also told  not to fear because God is with us. God is on our side He is with us through good and bad He never leaves us. Not only is He with us but He says that He will strengthen us, help us and uphold us by His righteous right hand.

We serve a great big God! Whatever trouble, trial or temptation you are facing call upon His name and He will be there to strengthen, help and uphold you.

-Kim S.

May Your Christmas Be Blessed

When I think of Christmas, I picture how it may have been when Jesus was actually born. My first child was born a week before Christmas and I can relate to Mary in difficulty of childbirth because my delivery was also without any medications to help with the pain. The pain was horrific, but well worth it in the end. I’m sure both Mary and Joseph felt so blessed and excited when their baby boy finally arrived.

I also imagine the wise men, how they anticipated and searched for the newborn King of the Jews that they might worship him. The bible says in Matthew 2:10-11, When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

Can we say we are searching and seeking God the way the wise men were? Are we rejoicing with exceedingly great joy over what Jesus has done for us? If not, we are missing out.

I can imagine these grand men as they approach Jesus, falling humbly to their knees and worshiping Him. They knew something then that many today are still sadly missing. They recognized Jesus is worthy to be worshiped.

I also picture how absolutely amazing it would have been to see the angels rejoicing as they announced Christ birth to the shepherds.

Luke 2:10-14 says, Then the angel 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 clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Then the shepherds so eagerly and quickly went to find Jesus. Are we like the shepherds? Are we eager to spend time with the Lord and obedient to share of the great things He has done? I hope so.

Psalm 95:6 “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker;”

This Christmas season I ask you, “How are you approaching Jesus?” Are you humbled by His gift of salvation or missing the reason for the season altogether?

My prayer is that we would humbly come to Jesus, receive the fullness of what He did for us through His birth, death and resurrection, and gladly worship Him for who He is, Immanuel.

May your Christmas be blessed experiencing the joy only found in Jesus Christ.

-Jeanine B

Are you a Martha or Mary?

Whenever I heard the story about Martha and Mary I always thought I was a Mary, until I lost my job. The Lord has recently showed me that I am a Martha, always busy, I can always find something to do, which isn’t always good because it can take my eyes off of the important things like spending quality time with the Lord.

Luke 10:38-42 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Martha liked serving and working hard for Jesus, which was good. Her problem was that she became distracted with much serving. She was distracted from Jesus.

Pastor David Guzik writes this, “ There are many people who become crabby and irritable in their service for the Lord like Martha. It is easy to look at all we do and to criticize those who aren’t doing as much. But Martha’s real problem wasn’t Mary; it was Martha. She had become distracted and had taken her eyes off Jesus.”

Us Martha’s like to serve and keep ourselves busy, keep the house cleaned, we can’t leave dirty dishes in the sink at night they have to be done, but it’s not that we want a clean kitchen it is we are possessed with perfectionist. I know this is totally me I love going to bed with a clean kitchen so when I get up in the morning it’s all nice and clean. Which which isn’t in itself bad, but when we let it become a barrier between us and spending time with the Lord, that is when it becomes a problem.

Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus to hear his word, she had learned to wait, and she was able to bring her burdens to the Lord. The Lord said He would not take that from her.

The word of God became a retreat to Mary, it became a refreshing moment, and she took refuge in it. May we learn from Mary and come to Jesus and be refreshed and take refuge in his word that we may hear from Jesus and may it strengthen and comfort us.

So as Christmas is coming up let’s not get caught up into being too busy and put Jesus aside, let’s stop like Mary did and take the time to sit at his feet and hear what he wants to say to us Martha’s.

Cherie C.

Surely I am coming quickly

About 10 years ago Krystal and I had an opportunity to participate in a Seder dinner at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. During the Seder dinner, there were 5 cups to drink from during the ceremony. Each cup represented parts of redemption for the Jewish nation. The fifth cup is the fifth expression of redemption which is called the “Cup of Elijah.” During the 5th cup, a door is opened to signify that Elijah will come to announce the coming of the Messiah. This month we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah that came to save man. He died on the cross for our sins so we could have everlasting life and be reunited with the Father. When Jesus was dying on the cross for us He said “it is finished” the Messiah died for our redemption.

But now we wait and look at the signs when the Messiah will return for us and take us home; the year 2013 is coming to a close with news of the United States lifting economic sanctions against Iran, with this news many Christian Pastors and commentators have criticized the President’s actions. Yet my mind wonders is the Messiah coming back soon? Will 2014 be the year of the rapture? Revelation 22: 20 says “He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! So my heart says yes Lord come quickly, but then I hesitate and say “no wait” there so many who need to hear about your loving redemption. There is urgency in my heart to share my faith, not hide it but to be that light of the world. Matt. 5: 16 says Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. So sisters shine for the Lord, share your faith and eagerly look for His return.

Elsa D

Worshiping our King

“But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.” John4:23

When we worship on earth, we are in tune with what is happening in heaven. The Book of Revelation gives us this description of worship in heaven: “And they sang in a mighty chorus: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing’ Revelation 5:12.
When we worship, it helps us to get things into perspective.

I love that we can worship the Lord, anytime and everywhere. We are given examples by many different men and women in the bible of what worshipping our Lord looks like. We see that they worshipped Him, in the highs and lows of life. Just a few examples are of Miriam Exodus 15:20 &21. David II Samuel 6:14. Melchizedek- Gen 14:18-20, Moses- Exodus 15:1-2, Ezra- Nehemiah 8:6, Zechariah- Luke 1: 67-68, The Shepherds- Luke 2:20, Simeon- Luke 2:28, The disciples Luke 19:37.

Sometimes we don’t understand why things are the way they are. But when we come and worship, when we hear the Word of God, it helps us gain perspective. Worship has a way of refreshing us as His people. It gives us strength and courage to keep going in the midst of trials and it fills us with joy that surpasses anything that we may be experiencing. It gives us hope. To some people it may appear that our faith is strong. But actually it may be weak, but it’s the Lord who gives us strength. There are times when we need to just surrender in worship. We need His word. We need God’s people. We need fellowship. We simply need Jesus.

Another comforting thing is to be surrounded by God’s people. We know that we are being prayed for. It helps us to gain perspective and see God for who He is and see our problems for what they are. Sometimes we have big problems because we have a small God. But if we have a big God, then we will see, comparatively speaking, that we have small problems.
When we are praising the Lord on earth, we are joining the chorus of heaven. And God is looking for people to worship Him in spirit and in truth until we meet with Him again.

-Rose H.