Birthdays

I recently celebrated my birthday (the entire month), during which I considered the blessings of an amazing husband, phenomenal children and grandchildren, terrific sisters and brothers, wonderful nieces and nephews, adorable aunts, and uncles, and the legacy of parents and grandparents.  I also pondered the blessing of having an enormous extended family and friends from across the country and around the world.  Their lives created splendid gateways, and bridges of faith and love which strengthened, and sustained me, even through some of the hardest and darkest times of my life.  So, instead of looking for gifts, I took the opportunity extend blessings to this community of love.   Overwhelmed with gratitude for each of them I shared “blessings.”  I wanted them to know how deeply honored and privilege I am/was for them being part of my life.  It is already February, and I am continuing the process, which I suspect will continue for some time.  But as a dear friend told me, every day you wake up on this side of glory is your birthday.

Birthdays are fun and special.  We look forward to those milestone birthdays, like becoming a teenager, or that special present.  Like Christmas morning, we wake up and can’t wait for the party, presents, and all the attention lavish on us on our special day of the year.

Birthdays are fun, special and a blessing.    And blessings are gifts as well as promises from God which enable, enhance and enrich life.  In the OT, a blessing was the “essential component to the covenant relationship God has with man and with nature.” He blessed nature (Gen. 1:22), and humans (Gen. 1:28), and mankind serves as vessel of divine blessing to others.  In the NT, blessings became more than material items; they transcend to the spiritual, the eternal and from one person to the body of Christ.  Christ gave us the mandate to share the Good News and equip the body of Christ.  In other words, show others the way to Christ and thereby be a blessing.  Through our gift giving of Christ,  those who are living in darkness can receive and experience a “new Birthday.”  The day in which they become a “new creature”; a “new creation” in the family of God.

Yes, birthdays are truly wonderful to experience and share.  Maybe today is your birthday or the birthday of someone you know.  That person may be just a phone call away, or perhaps gone on to be with the Lord.  However, somewhere on this planet, or within your community is a person who needs you to let them know this is their “special” day – their birthday.  Share the love of Christ by telling them how much they mean to Christ and to you.  Enable, enhance or enrich their day.   Your message may be that “once in a lifetime gift” that will restore hope to their weary soul, and enable them to receive the blessing of Christ.

If it is your birthday, may Almighty God bless you and yours abundantly in health, in knowledge of Him, and in the labors of your hands and heart. May His glory shine upon you, and make your home a safe haven. May His joy be your strength, and protect you from all hurt, harm and danger as you follow the Him all the days of your life.  Happy Birthday.

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Doers of the Word-A Gentle thought

In the book of James, chapter 1, verse 25, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

This day be a doer of the Divine Word of God.  Let the light of Christ fill each movement, thought, and action.  Breathe in our Lord this day.  Let your heart be willing and stirred to do the work set before you with dignity, and a grateful heart.  Do all to the glory of God.  Let your works be a testimony to His love.

Dear friends, look into the glorious light of love that is Christ, and experience His blessings and grace which are new every morning.  Shalom

Diligence

“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge…2 Peter 1: 5,6

I awoke this morning rather tired after a full week of ministering and hosting saints at our annual convention.  I truly had to press through on all levels, as I and the amazing team of volunteers attempted to demonstrate (exhibit) and embody the theme of the convention; “A Spirit of Excellence.”   Diligence is the persevering application, according to Merriman-Webster Collegiate Dictionary to an assignment.   It is the hard work, and the belief that work is good in itself.  This was a good work; the intersection of gratefulness and desire to please God.  The unity and love which guided our determined conviction opened the door for exuberant praises, and manifestations of healings, and revived spirits.  I am thankful that God in His infinite grace kept us on course through every minute details, every tasks, every crisis and every celebration.  As He does in so often throughout our lives, God demonstrates his diligence in taking care of his children.

Graduation

Graduations are times of immense joy for both the graduate and their families, friends, and loved ones.  When the graduate receives his or her diploma, the long days of study, hard work and sacrifice seem worth it for this one moment.

Our family is gathering to celebrate a graduation.  It is particularly meaningful, because of the events of the past two weeks.  The enemy tried his best to take the life of this young person.  However, those attempts were no match for the powerful intercessory prayers of his parents, family and friends, and the grace of God.    When it was all over, we praised God for His grace, and for allowing us to complete this test.

I looked up the definition of graduate, and it means someone who holds a degree.  Graduation signifies the completion of all the requirements necessary to become a degree holder.      We are all enrolled in God’s University.  This heavenly tabernacle of instruction is life changing and eternal for both disciple, and teacher.  There are many courses to take, and completion of each is necessary to successfully pass, and withstand the fiery tests of our adversary.   Spiritual courses such as prayer, fasting, solitude, silence, meditation, study are all critical requirements. Our book encourages us to “study thyself to show thyself approved, a workman who needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  Belief in The Son of God is prerequisite for entry into the university.   One of our professor emeritus, Peter outlined in one of his syllabi [2 Peter 3:18], that we are to grow grace and in the knowledge of Jesus, our Master Teacher.  Jesus told us to remain connected Him-the True vine [John 15:4] for knowledge of Him changes and sustain us through each tests, as we strive to finish the course.  Although, some tests, and trials may be difficult and long, in the end He promises that we will graduate, and become a degree holder.

For those who prayed for the life of this young person, we are pausing to celebration, and recognize this test was successfully completed, and the grade turned in.    Maybe, you are pausing to celebrate a crucial victory in a young person’s life that has, or is about to graduate.  Remember, you’re still in school, and another course is just around the corner.  No need to worry though, we already have the best Teacher and the best Book.

A.C.T.S. of Gratitude

Gratitude and appreciation are elusive things.  The busyness of our lives creates barriers to them.  We rush from one activity to the next, from one person to the next, from one situation to the next. Even technology robs us from hitting the pause button with its endless tweets, dings, bells, whistles, ringtones.  Before we can complete a sentence, or a thought some new piece of information, or news flash breaks in our consciousness and leads us off down the road.   Or even worst, a memory of some mistake, sin, forgotten assignment, misplaced word or a gregarious act steals our peace, and before you know it you’re drifting away.   However, when we do pause from the tyranny of things, or the focus of what should not have happened, and turn our attention to those layers upon layers of blessings, gratitude comes in.  Our heartspace opens,  and joy drives up with peace, love, and the entire fruit of the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22-23].  It is a beautiful thing.

Clipper Creative Art Service

Gratitude makes us truly appreciate the:A=actions made by Our Lord, and others on behalf of us,

C=challenges of life with faith and blessed assurance that all things work together for those who are the called, according to His purposes,

T=triumphs of the journey because of Christ’s gift of salvation,

S=sacrifices Christ made on Calvary because of His great love for us.

Our A.C.T.S. of gratitude causes us to respond in a grateful manner which demonstrates our deep appreciation for this life, and for the life to come.