Audacity of Love

1 Corinthians 13:1-7,13
New Living Translation

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

What is love? Love is sacrifice, compromise, compassion. Love does conquer all. Jesus' love for us conquered hell and death. Dr. King's message of love and nonviolence overcame segregation. Love rejoices with you in good times and is there to hold your hand in bad times. Love accepts you the way you are. Love doesn't give up on you. Love has the audacity to hope, has the audacity to have faith even when circumstances at the time don't reflect the outcome. Love is not afraid of anything. Love is forgiveness.

The audacity of love. Jesus had the audacity to give His life for you. That's love. Dr. King had the audacity to follow the teaching of Jesus and tell people to love people that spat on them, turned hoses and dogs on them, lynched them. When you look back over your life, there has been someone who had the audacity to love you when you were unlovable.

Simply put, God is love.

1 John 4:18 (New American Standard Bible)
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

Audacity of Faith

-belief and trust in and loyalty to God
-belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
-firm belief in something for which there is no proof
-complete trust
-something that is believed especially with strong conviction

Hebrews 11:1
Contemporary English Version)

Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.

There have been recorded in history people who had the audacity of faith. Abraham is the father of faith. God blessed him for his faith (Gen.12). The bible is full of examples of people who exercised great faith. The three Hebrew boys, Daniel, Job, the list goes on. The Bible teaches us that if we have faith the size of a grain of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. I remember instances in my own life when my faith caused mountains to move. My mother was challenged in her body in 2007. She was taking at least 10 different medications a day. But, our faith said that she would be healed. She has been. She is not 100% yet, but she's getting better. She only takes 2 medications a day. I believe that God will bring it down to zero.

2008 has been a financially challenging year to say the least. There were times when I had to trust God enough to tithe when I didn't know who God was going to provide, but He did. 2008 has been a year that my faith was developed greatly. There were many times when I had no other choice but to trust God. God promised me something 5 years ago. I still have faith that it will manifest. As a matter of fact, have the audacity to believe that it will come to pass in 2009. I have the audacity to believe that God will do miraculous things in 2009. I believe that businesses will thrive, marriages will be put back together, people will be healed,there will be an end to lack, captives(naturally & spiritually) will be set free, deliverance will come.

What do you have the audacity to believe God for? Do this: Dare to believe even when it doesn't look like it is going to happen.

Audacity of Hope

Job 6:10-11 (Amplified Bible)
10 Then would I still have consolation--yes, I would leap [for joy] amid unsparing pain [though I shrink from it]--that I have not concealed or denied the words of the Holy One!
11 What strength have I left, that I should wait and hope? And what is ahead of me, that I should be patient?

-boldness or daring, esp. with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.
-effrontery or insolence; shameless boldness

–the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best: to give up hope.
-to believe, desire, or trust
–to feel that something desired may happen

President-Elect Barack Obama wrote a book, The Audacity of Hope. He certainly embodies the audacity of hope. Do you? When you are being tested, do you have the audacity to hope against hope. Do you still believe God, do you trust Him? Are you shamelessly bold when standing on the promises of God. Are you confident that what God said, He will do?

When you are not sure about what to do, do this: Hope against hope, to continue to hope, although the outlook does not warrant it. God has it under control.

A Christmas Story

Herman and I locked our general store and dragged ourselves home. It was 11:00 p.m., Christmas Eve of 1949. We were dog tired. We had sold almost all of our toys; and all of the layaways, except one package, had been picked up. Usually we kept the store open until everything had been claimed. We wouldn't have been happy on Christmas knowing that some child's gift was still on the layaway shelf. But the person who had put a dollar down on the package never returned.

Early Christmas morning we and our twelve-year-old son, Tom, opened gifts. But I'll tell you, there was something humdrum about this Christmas. Tom was growing up; I missed his childish exuberance of past years. As soon as breakfast was over Tom left to visit his friend next door. Herman mumbled, "I'm going back to sleep. There's nothing left to stay up for." So there I was alone, feeling let down.

And then it began. A strange, persistent urge. It seemed to be telling me to go to the store. I looked at the sleet and icy sidewalk outside. That's crazy, I said to myself. I tried dismissing the urge, but it wouldn't leave me alone. In fact, it was getting stronger. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer, and I got dressed. Outside, the wind cut right through me and the sleet stung my cheeks. I groped my way to the store, slipping and sliding.

In front stood two boys, one about nine, and the other six. What in the world? "See, I told you she would come!" the older boy said jubilantly. The younger one's face was wet with tears, but when he saw me, his sobbing stopped. "What are you two doing out here?" I scolded, hurrying them into the store. "You should be at home on a day like this!" They were poorly dressed. They had no hats or gloves, and their shoes barely held together. I rubbed their icy hands, and got them up close to the heater.

"We've been waiting for you," replied the older boy. "My little brother Jimmy didn't get any Christmas." He touched Jimmy's shoulder. "We want to buy some skates. That's what he wants. We have these three dollars," he said, pulling the bills from his pocket. I looked at the money. I looked at their expectant faces. And then I looked around the store. "I'm sorry," I said, "but we have no --" Then my eye caught sight of the lay-away shelf with its lone package. "Wait a minute," I told the boys. I walked over, picked up the package, unwrapped it and, miracle of miracles, there was a pair of skates! Jimmy reached for them. Lord, let them be his size. And miracle added upon miracle, they were his size.

The older boy presented the dollars to me. "No," I told him, "I want you to have these skates, and I want you to use your money to get some gloves." The boys just blinked at first. Then their eyes became like saucers, and their grins stretched wide when they understood I was giving them the skates. What I saw in Jimmy's eyes was a blessing. It was pure joy, and it was beautiful. My spirits rose.

We walked out together, and as I locked the door, I turned to the older brother and said, "How did you know I would come?" I wasn't prepared for his reply. His gaze was steady, and he answered me softly. "I asked Jesus to send you."

The tingles in my spine weren't from the cold. God had planned this. As we waved good-bye, I turned home for a brighter Christmas.

Author unknown

God’s Promises are Trustworthy

There are literally hundreds of promises in the Word of God, and each one of them is worthy of implicit trust. What does this mean? If we are to trust the promises of God implicitly, what does that trust entail?

Trust, as it is defined by Webster, is “...assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” To trust God’s promises, therefore, means that we rely with assurance on God’s character, ability, strength, and truth as it is revealed to us in His Word.

The first condition we must meet in order to trust the promises of God is to trust Christ for salvation. When this happens, we know it, because God’s Word clearly states, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the son of God” (1 John 5:13).

The promises of God open the doors to salvation for us. Many of us were saved in response to the faith that rose in our hearts when we heard God’s promises being declared. Some of the promises related to salvation are:

But as many as receive him, to them

gave he power to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe on his name.

(John 1:12)

For God so loved the world, that he

gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever

believeth in him should not perish, but have

everlasting life. (John 3:16)

For by grace are ye saved through

faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the

gift of God: Not of works, lest any man

should boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)

Each of the above Scriptures are salvation promises. When they are proclaimed to the heart of an unbeliever, faith is imparted that enables the unsaved to belive and receive God’s blessed promise of salvation. When this happens, a marvelous miracle of personal transformation takes place.

The same process occurs when we listen carefully to any promise of God. His promises are worthy of trust because He is our faithful Father. When we know God’s Word, we leaarn His promises, and faith to appropriate His promises is imparted to us in the manner Paul outlines: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17)

This phenomenon goes into operation whenever we hear any promise of God. The promise is proclaimed, and faith comes to back it up. Then we choose to believe and receive it. We claim the promise through prayer. Praying God’s promises, therefore, is claiming God’s promises. Believing God’s promises is receiving God’s promises.

The Word of God promises so many things to us. Some of those blessings/promises are as follows: abundance, victory, hope, faith, peace, joy, growth, righteousness, wisdom, power, protection, eternal life, revival, rest, faith, trust, stability, stregth, love, the Holy Spirit, patience, kindness, goodness, prosperity, health, peace, security, deliverance, dominion, authority, truth, forgiveness, and countless other gifts from the hands of God.


How well do you know the Christmas Story? Take the test. See how well you do. The answers are at the end. Then you can test your friends at work or church.

1. Joseph was originally from... (Luke 2:3)
A. Bethlehem
B. Nazareth
C. Hebron
D. Jerusalem
E. None of the above

2. What does the Bible say that the Innkeeper said to Mary and Joseph? (Luke 2:7)
A. "There is no room in the inn."
B. "I have a stable you can use."
C. "Come back later and I should have some vacancies."
D. Both A and B
E. None of the above

3. A manger is a...
A. Stable for domestic animals
B. Wooden hay storage bin
C. Feeding trough
D. Barn

4. Which animals does the Bible say were present at Jesus' birth?
A. Cows, sheep, goats
B. Cows, Donkeys, goats
C. Sheep and goats only
D. Miscellaneous barnyard animals
E. None of the above

5. Who saw the star in the east?
A. Shepherds
B. Mary and Joseph
C. Three Kings
D. Both A and C
E. None of the above

6. According to the Bible, how did Mary and Joseph get to Bethlehem?
A. Camel
B. Donkey
C. Walked
D. Joseph walked, Mary rode a donkey
E. Horse-drawn chariot
F. Who knows?

7. How many angels spoke to the shepherds? (Luke 2:10)
A. One
B. Three
C. Multitude
D. None of the above

8. What did the angels say/sing? (Luke 2:14)
A. "Glory to God in the highest, etc."
B. "Alleluia"
C. "Unto us a child is born, Unto us a son is given"
D. "Joy the world, the Lord is come"
E. "Glory to the newborn King"

9. What is a heavenly host?
A. The angel at the gate of heaven
B. The angel who serves refreshments in heaven
C. An angel choir
D. An angel army
E. None of the above

10. There was snow that first Christmas...
A. Only in Bethlehem
B. All over Israel
C. Nowhere in Israel
D. Somewhere in Israel

11. What is Frankincense?
A. A precious metal
B. A precious fabric
C. A precious perfume
D. None of the above

12. In Matthew, what does "wise men" or "Magi" refer to?
A. Men of the educated class
B. Eastern Kings
C. Astronomers
D. Sages

13. What is Myrrh?
A. Middle Eastern Money
B. A drink
C. An easily shaped metal
D. A spice used for burying people
E. None of the above

14. How many wise men came to see Jesus? _____

15. Where did the wise men find Jesus? (Matthew 2:11)
A. In a manger
B. In a stable
C. In Nazareth
D. In Saudi Arabia
E. In a house
F. None of the above

16. When the wise men found Jesus he was... (Matthew 2:11)
A. A babe wrapped in swaddling clothes
B. A young child
C. A boy in the temple
D. A grown man

17. The "star in the east" that the wise men followed... (Matthew 2:9)
A. Stayed in the same place their entire journey
B. Disappeared and reappeared
C. Moved ahead of them and stopped over the place where Jesus was
D. Was just a mirage
E. None of the above

18. The wise men stopped in Jerusalem... (Matthew 2:2)
A. To inform Herod about Jesus
B. To find out where Jesus was
C. To ask about the star
D. To buy presents
E. None of the above

19. Where do we find the Christmas story?
A. Matthew
B. Mark
C. Luke
D. John
E. All of the above
F. Only A and B
G. Only A and C
H. Only A, B, and C

20. When Joseph found Mary was pregnant, what happened?
A. They got married
B. Joseph wanted to break the engagement
C. Mary left town for three months
D. A and B
E. B and C

21. Who told (made) Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem? (Luke 2:1-5)
A. The angel chorus
B. Mary's mother
C. Herod
D. The shepherds
E. Caesar Augustus


THE ANSWERS: (read the scriptures beside the questions)

1. A. He worked and lived in Nazareth, but he was returning to Bethlehem - "his own city" (See Luke 2:3).

2. E. The innkeeper didn't "say" anything (See Luke 2:7)

3. C. Feeding trough - Interestingly enough, most mangers in New Testament times were made of stone. If you visit Israel today, you can see stone mangers used by Solomon to feed his horses at Megiddo.

4. E. The Bible doesn't say, we just "assume" that since Jesus was born in a stable that there were various barnyard animals present.

5. E. This is a "trick" question. The "magi" saw the star. However, the Bible doesn't say how many there were and they were not kings, but astronomers (see answer 15).

6. F. Although the modern "pictures" in my Children's Bible show Mary on a donkey with Joseph beside her, the Bible doesn't say!

7. A. Luke 2:10

8. A. Luke 2:14

9. D. The word means "army" - literally thousands. Now, since there was a "multitude" of the heavenly army" (hosts), there could easily have been from 10,000 - 100,000 angels there that night! No wonder the shepherds were "sore afraid"!

10. D. Another trick question. There is always snow on Mt. Hermon

11. C.

12. C. The word "Magi" literally means "star-gazers". Although there is no Biblical record of exactly who they were or their point of origin, I personally believe that they were descendants of the "wise men" of Babylon. I believe that God, in His great providence, used Daniel (while he was in captivity in Babylon), to teach these men about future events - including the birth of the Savior of the world. Read Daniel 5:11 - Daniel was put in charge of these men!

13. D. Herod was buried with over 150 lbs. of Myrrh wrapped in his burial clothes.

14. They were magi, not wise men - but the Bible doesn't give the number. Many people assume that there were three because of the three gifts. However, in ancient times these men usually traveled in caravans of ten to twelve, along with a full entourage for protection.

15. E. Read Matthew 2:11 (see next answer)

16. B. Read Matthew 2:11 When the Shepherds found Jesus (Luke 2), he was a "babe" in a manger. The Greek word used in Luke 2 is for a "newborn baby". However, by the time the Magi appeared, Jesus had been moved from the manger to a house (verse 11) and the Greek word used in Matthew is for "toddler or young child". He was probably somewhere between 12-24 months old.

17. C. Read Matthew 2:9 Most people miss this question. The star did not stay stationary over the manger or the house. This verse makes it clear that the star moved "in front" of the magi and guided them till it "stood over where the young child was".

18. B. Read Matthew 2:2

19. G. Isn't it amazing how God divinely inspired these two gospel writers to write His exact words, but, yet, He used their interests and professions to recall different aspects of Jesus' birth. Matthew, a tax collector, records the genealogy of Jesus (used for taxation) and the "magi" - men of means from a foreign country. Luke, a physician, records the pregnancy and birth.

20. E. Joseph wants to "put her away" secretly and Mary left town to see her sister Elizabeth. Matthew 1:19 and Luke 1:39, 56

21. E. "There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus... everyone into his own city... " (Luke 2:1-5)

Who Are You?

Malachi 3:2-4 (The Message)

But who will be able to stand up to that coming? Who can survive his appearance?

He'll be like white-hot fire from the smelter's furnace. He'll be like the strongest lye soap at the laundry. He'll take his place as a refiner of silver, as a cleanser of dirty clothes. He'll scrub the Levite priests clean, refine them like gold and silver, until they're fit for God, fit to present offerings of righteousness. Then, and only then, will Judah and Jerusalem be fit and pleasing to God, as they used to be in the years long ago.

Ever wonder who you are, really? Are you the same person at church as you are when someone cuts you off in traffic? When you are going through a rough time, do you get closer to God or pull away? The true character of a person comes out when they are going through. Trials and tribulation are for our growth and benefit. God uses them to clean us up. Anything in our character that God can't use comes out when He turns up the heat on us. The wonderful thing about God is that He knows how much heat we can stand. You can control the heat of the fire. If you learn quickly that God is trying to do something in you, you time of refinement will be shorter. If you are slow to get what God is teaching you, your time will be extended.

I have heard many people refer to 2008 as a tumultuous year. Some have even described it as the worst year of their lives. I believe it was a year of refinement. As I grow spiritually, I look back on trials as just that refinement. This ministry was birth through a series of trials. It took me about 6 months to realize that it wasn't the devil but a loving God removing things in my character that needed to go. I have seen people I love go through a rough time this year. One has moved closer to God,praying more, praising more, worshipping more, going to church whenever the door is open. The other has been up and down, going back to old destructive patterns. How has 2008 been for you? Did you move closer to God or pull away? However you reacted is indicative of your character. For some, the season of trial is coming to an end. For others, you have to stay in the fire until what is holding you back is destroyed.

God Bless

Is Anyone Missing Baby Jesus?

About a week before Christmas, the family bought a new nativity set. When they unpacked it, they found two figures of the Baby Jesus.

"Someone must have packed this wrong," the mother said, counting out the figures. "We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel and two babies. Oh, dear! I suppose some set down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus because we have two."

"You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes, saying that if a set is missing a Baby Jesus, call 7126. Put on your warm coats. It is freezing out there."

The manager of the store copied down mother's message and the next time they were in the store they saw the cardboard sign that read, "If you are missing Baby Jesus, call 7126." All week long they waited for someone to call. Surely, they thought someone was missing that important figurine. Each time the phone rang, mother would say, "I'll bet that's about Jesus.", but it never was.

Father tried to explain there are thousands of these scattered over the country, and the figurine could be missing from a set in Florida or Texas or California. Those packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested to just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it.

"Put Baby Jesus back in the box! What a terrible thing to do!" said the children. "Surely someone will call," mother said. "We'll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone calls."

When no call had come by 5:00 PM on Christmas Eve, mother insisted that father just run down to the store to see if there were any sets left. "You can see them right through the window, over on the counter," she said. "If they are all gone, I'll know someone is bound to call tonight."

"Run down to the store?" father thundered. "It's 15 below zero out there!" "Oh, Daddy, we'll go with you," Tommy and Mary began to put on their coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. "I can't believe I'm doing this," he muttered.

Tommy and Mary ran ahead as father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Mary got to the store first and pressed her nose up to the store window. "They're all gone, Daddy," she shouted. "Every set must be sold."

"Hooray" Tommy said. "The mystery will now be solved tonight!"

Father heard the news still a half block away and immediately turned on his heel and headed back home. When they got back into the house, they noticed that mother was gone and so was the extra Baby Jesus figurine. "Someone must have called and she went out to deliver the figurine," my father reasoned, pulling off his boots. "You kids get ready for bed while I wrap mother's present."

Then the phone rang. Father yelled "answer the phone and tell 'em we found a home for Jesus." But it was mother calling with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk..

"Now what has she gotten us into?" my father groaned as we bundled up again. "205 Chestnut. Why that's across town. Wrap that milk up good in the blankets or it will turn to ice before we get there. Why can't we all just get on with Christmas? It's probably 20 below out there now. And the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this!"

When they got to the house at 205 Chestnut Street, it was the darkest one on the block. Only one tiny light burned in the living room and, the moment we set foot on the porch steps, my mother opened the door and shouted, "They're here, Oh thank God, you got here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I'll take the milk and cookies."

"Would you mind telling me what is going on, Ethel?" my father asked. "We have just walked through below zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way."

"Never mind all that now," my mother interrupted. "There is no heat in this house and this young mother is so upset she doesn't know what to do. Her husband walked out on her and those poor little children will have a very bleak Christmas, so don't you complain. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy."

My mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk while my brother and I wrapped up the five little children who were huddled together on the couch. The children's mother explained to my father that her husband had run off, taking bedding, clothing, and almost every piece of furniture, but she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down.

"I been din washin' and ironin' for people and cleanin' the five and dime," she said. "I saw your number every day there, on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept going' through my mind... 7162... 7162."

"Said on the box that if a person was missin' Jesus, they should call you. That's how I knew you were good Christian people, willin' to help folks. I figured that maybe you would help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight and I called your missus. I'm not missin' Jesus, mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missin' heat. I have no money to fix that furnace."

"Okay, Okay" said father. "You've come to the right place. Now lets see. You've got a little oil burner over there in the dining room. Shouldn't be too hard to fix. Probably just a clogged flue. I'll look it over, see what it needs."

Mother came into the living room carrying a plate of cookies and warm milk. As she set the cups down on the coffee table, I noticed the figure of Baby Jesus lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of Christmas in the house. The children stared with wide eyed with wonder at the plate of cookies my mother sat before them.

Father finally got the oil burner working but said, "you need more oil." "I'll make a few calls tonight and get some oil."

"Yes sir, you came to the right place," said the woman...

On the way home, father did not complain about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the door when he was on the phone. "Ed, hey, how are ya, Ed? Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too. Say, Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here. I know you've got that pick-up truck. Do you still have some oil in that barrel on your truck?"

"You do?"

By this time the rest of the family were pulling clothes out of their closets and toys off of their shelves. It was long after their bedtime when they were wrapping gifts. The pickup came. On it were chairs, three lamps, blankets and gifts. Even though it was 30 below, Father let them ride along in the back of the truck.

No one ever did call about the missing figure in the nativity set, but as I grow older I realize that it wasn't a packing mistake at all. Jesus saves, that's what He does.

By Jean Gietzen from the book "If You're Missing Baby Jesus"

The Best Christmas

The Christmas party was over. Several of the men were sitting at a table reminiscing about the Christmas days of their childhood. The conversation turned to the best Christmas of their lives. As they went around the table, they noticed one man hadn't said anything. They asked, "Come on.. Frank, What was your best Christmas?"

Frank said, "The best Christmas I ever had was when I didn't even get a present." The others were surprised. They had to hear the story. Frank began to talk.. "I grew up in New York. It was the great depression and we were poor. My Mother had died when I was just eight years old. My Dad had a job but he only worked two or three days a week and that was considered good. We lived in a walk up and we just barely had enough food and clothes. I was a kid and didn't really notice."

"My Dad was a proud man. He had one suit. He would wear that suit to work. When he came home, he would take off the jacket and sit in his chair still wearing his shirt, tie and his vest. He had this big old pocket watch that had been given to him by my mother. He would sit in his chair, the chain from watch hanging out, connected to the fob in his vest buttonhole. That watch was his proudest possession. Sometimes, I would see him, just sitting there, looking at his precious watch. I bet he was thinking of my mother."

"One year, I was about twelve, chemistry sets were the big thing. They cost two dollars. That was big money but every kid wanted a chemistry set including me. I began to pester my Dad about it a month or so before Christmas. You know, I made all the same kid promises. I would be good. I would do my chores. I wouldn't ask for anything else again. My dad would just say, 'We'll see.."

"Three days before Christmas he took me to the carts. There was this area where all the small merchants keep their street carts. They would undersell the stores and you could get a good buy. He would take me to a cart and pick out some little toy. "Son, would like something like this?" I, of course, would tell him, 'No, I want a chemistry set.' We tramped to nearly every cart and him showing me some toy car or toy gun, and me refusing it. I never thought that he didn't have the money to buy a chemistry set. Finally, he said, we better go home and come back the next day."

"All the way home, I pouted and whined about the chemistry set. I repeated the promises. I said I didn't care if I never got another present. I had to have that chemistry set. I know now that my Dad felt guilty about being able to give me more. He probably thought he was a failure as a Father and I think he blamed himself for my mother's death. As we were walking up the stairs, he told me, that he would see what he could do about getting me the chemistry set. That night I couldn't even sleep. I could see myself inventing some new material. I could see the New York Times.. 'Boy wins Nobel Prize!"

"The next day after work, my Dad took me back to the carts. On the way, I remember, he bought a loaf of bread, he was carrying it under his arm. We came to first cart and he told me to pick out the set I wanted They were all alike, but went through them, like I was choosing a diamond. I found the right one and I almost yelled. 'This one.. Dad!'"

"I can still see him, reaching into his pant's pocket, to get the money. As he pulled the two dollars out, one fluttered to the ground, he bent over to pick it up and as he did, the chain fell out of his vest. The chain swung back and forth. 'No watch.' In a flash, I realized that my Dad had sold his watch. He sold his most precious possession to buy me a chemistry set. He sold his watch, the last thing my mother had given him, to buy me a chemistry set."

"I grabbed his arms and I yelled, 'No.' I had never grabbed my Dad before and I certainly had never yelled at him. I can see him, looking at me, a strange look on his face. 'No, Dad, you don't have to buy me anything.' The tears were burning in my eyes. 'Dad, I know you love me.' We walked away from the cart and I remember my Dad holding my hand all the way home."

Frank looked at the men. "You know, there isn't enough money in the world to buy that moment. You see, at that moment, I knew that my Dad loved me more than anything in the world."

That is the way that God loves us. He didn't just say it. He showed it. He gave the most precious thing anyone could give. He gave His Son. John 3:16, says, "For God so loved the world (you and me) that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life." He gave His Son, Jesus, That you and I might have everlasting life. If you haven't accepted that great gift.. Accept it now.. Just ask him to forgive you and to come into your heart.. And be your Lord and Savior. It is that easy.

Author Unknown

My Vision is Chasing Me

Habakkuk 2:3 (King James Version)

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Awhile ago, God gave me a vision for a business. I ran with it at the time. It was going well at first, other people were excited and were helpful at first. Then they began to drop off. Others remained supportive and consistent. It became overwhelming. So I put the vision on the back burner. I realized that the vision was not necessarily for that time. I am beginning to see that the appointed time has come. My vision is chasing me. God is sending people to help with the vision without me asking.

What is the vision God gave you? His timing is not ours. He gives us visions to act on immediately and others are for an appointed time. Have you noticed that God is opening unexpected doors? Your vision could be chasing you!

For My Good

Romans 8:28 (Amplified Bible)

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

Recently, I have been praying to God for clarity about a situation. To my amazement, He answered my request quickly. I was also surprised to find out that I didn't get the answer the way I wanted. On the surface, the answer wasn't the one I wanted. I thought that God's answer was no. Needless to say, I was hurt and confused. I was sure that it would be yes and that it was a promise from God. My heart was broken. I cried and prayed. It wasn't the no that brought me to tears. It was the feeling of disconnection between God and I. I thought I had not heard Him and that I was trying to impose my will on Him. He reassured me as only God can. I was able to see the heart of the matter and that what happened was supposed to happen and was for my good. God told me to hold on to my faith. It was just the enemy trying to get in the midst. He said that it was necessary and for my good. He reminded me that His promises are sure. Whatever is going on in your life right now is for your good.

God Bless

Nobody Remembered

Author Unknown

"There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it. Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man." Ecclesiastes 9:14-15

Disaster was averted and lives were spared.
..."But nobody remembered that poor man."

Wise words of counsel were given and heeded and lives were blessed innumerably.
..."But nobody remembered that poor man."

Could sadder words be spoken? I think not.
..."But nobody remembered that poor man."

This time of year, we naturally think of giving more so than we do in any other season. But the best thing you can give this season - or any season - isn't for sale. It comes freely, but it only comes deliberately - and because you can't touch it, it can never wear out. It's called "appreciation."

This season, as you give, give your heart. As you share presents of possessions, also share presents of your heart to encourage the spirit of others - tell them of your appreciation for them.

Remember that poor man - and all the people like him. All the people God has sent your way and steered you away from destruction, time and again, all your life. Bless them today by remembering them. Those you know well and those whose names you know not. Give those you know what they need - your appreciation. Give those who have blessed you and you never knew it, what they need - your kindness, and so, your appreciation.

Your appreciation of the lives of others may very well be the very best gift you can ever give. So give it often. For it costs you little and those who receive it will be wealthy indeed.

"How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?" 1 Thes. 3:9

Manifested Promises

You have entered a season of manifested promises. You are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. God has been moving mightily on your behalf. You are entering a season of breakthrough. Look around, you are at another level without even realizing it. You have sowed in tithes, prayer, praise, and sometimes tears. God is pleased with your obedience and faith during your dry and barren season. God is about to blow your mind. There will be unexpected blessings within the blessing that you prayed for.

God Bless

Deuteronomy 28:11-13 (New American Standard Bible)

11"The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you.

12"The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.

13"The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully,

One Praise Away!

You are just one praise away from your victory. Hold on, don't give up. You are on the verge of your miracle. You need to start praising God right now. Your praise calls God to action.

Bottom Line: satan wants you to quit! Don't Do It!

Fellow saint, do not leave the vineyard God has assigned to you (John 21:15-17). The very thing you are facing is preparing you for greater fruitfulness. Nothing of lasting value comes without a struggle. Tend the flock and concentrate on your noble calling. Fainting? Read Luke 18:1-8.

Do not remove your hands from that plow. Stop looking back. There is nothing back there but a slippery slope. You know that. Look up. People are depending on you. Weaker saints are looking to you. You are valuable to God. You are loved greatly (1 John 3:1).

Do not listen to your emotions. They are a fertile field for the enemy's attack. Your feelings will tell you to abandon the ship. Satan will tell you it isn't worth it any longer. He lies. He always lies. Resist him (James 4:7). Tell him to go to his future home (Revelation 20:10).

Do not listen to the negative talk from worldly, skeptical people (James 4:11-12) even if they are friends and family. Listen to your Father in Heaven. Some have never faced a battle like this. Perhaps you think at times that you are not going to make it. Some are not only fed up and ready to throw in the towel, but the whole kit and caboodle. Don't do it.

God is fashioning you for better things. Do not live by your carnal desires and human understanding. More important than avoiding the negativity of others is to stop being negative yourself! Bring those thoughts unto the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Remember, Jesus is your burden-bearer. This trial will end. God is a master artist. You are being made into something beautiful (1 John 3:2) because God is beautiful (Psalm 90:17). As for now, you only see a small part of the picture. Let His master strokes have their way and you get out of the way. Your untrained brush will simply ruin a masterpiece in the making.

The flood, the fire, the wind and the waves will not overtake you! "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (Isaiah 43:2).

Even in your weakness, God "will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail" (Isaiah 58:11).

Listen, you're going to make it. Yes, you've made mistakes, but He is protecting you and gently guiding your life into the place of victory. Some of you have been in the desert for years. Before he began his ministry, Paul served time in the desert (Galatians 1:17) and now you are about to come out of yours. Don't fear, you'll come through this and then you will start shouting like never before!

So get up, dust yourself off and take a stand! The devil is afraid, not you.

God Bless, the portion in italics was taken from Al Thomas on Elijah's List