“The Name of Jesus” Rev. Canon Josh Bales
It begins several days before Christmas Eve…
I begin my journey to the dollar store to buy gifts for a family game. I am excited knowing I am about to watch my children be silly, laughing and enjoying each other.
Christmas Eve comes and we’re all sitting around. My children are waiting for the words “ready, set, go.
“ Okay, “READY……. SET …….. GO.”
At that point, they begin to roll two dice and every time they roll a seven or 11 they run to the other room where the wrapped gifts are and bring one back. It is pure joy watching them excitingly run and even bumping into each other on the way back to roll their dice again. This continues till all the gifts have been taken. When all the gifts are gone they then wait for the words again “ready, set, go.“ They then begin rolling the dice again but this time when they roll a seven or 11 they get to take a gift from each other. All the while they are laughing and giggling, and it is a joy to see this.
After three minutes of doing this, they look to see who has less gifts than them and they then choose to give their gifts away till everybody ends up with the same number of gifts. They are receiving and giving with joy.
I believe our father, God, in Heaven gets joyful when He sees us. You and I are His children and God loved us so much that He sent his one and only Son to us as a gift. The gift of Jesus. Who is the greatest gift of all; born on Christmas Day. He came to forgive us our sins and give us eternal life. If you do not know this Jesus may I encourage you to receive Him in your heart and receive a new and everlasting life.
by Laura Filipkowski
Christmas was the most wonderful time of the year for me. But 6+ years ago it all changed. That’s when I began to dread the season. Dare I say, I hated it.
It was just a reminder of everything that I lost. At times hope seemed lost, even impossible. My body was sick and my heart was broken. There seemed to be no logical reason, no answer and no end to what I was suffering. There was nothing I could do about it, so I hung on to a promise from God, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you”. (Hebrews 13:5)
I clung to those words, moment after moment, day after day. I’ll be honest. It wasn’t easy and at times I felt like giving up.
Why bother? This is too hard! I’m all alone and it hurts to much. Nobody understands.
Yet, one person did and still does understand, Jesus and I never took my eyes off Him. Maybe I should say, He never took His eyes off me. I cried out to Him and told Him what was going on and asked for His help. Praying, “Lord I give you my plans, my hopes, my dreams, and my life. I surrender it all to You. Not my will Lord, but Your will be done in my life”. And He DID IT! He pickup me up out of my mess.
Now… For the first time in years I can say again, “This IS the most wonderful time of the year.” It didn’t happen overnight and I still have moments, but He is my hope. When I see what He’s carried me through I know He’ll continue to see me through. My hope, my joy, my plans and my dreams are in Christ alone.
If you find yourself in a place where your heart is broken, you’ve lost friends or loved ones, you’re out of work or physically sick, please remember…. God doesn’t just love me. He loves YOU too. What He did for me, He will also do for you.
Call out to Jesus, put your hope in Him and He will carry you through your terrible time. And if you don’t have the strength to hold on to Him, ask Him to hold on to you and He will carry you in the palm of His hand. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
I am praying that God gives strength, peace & joy to you and your family. Merry Christmas!
by Kirsten Aufhammer
Most Americans have at least a passing knowledge of the history of Thanksgiving. Every year in school auditoriums across the country, a version of the first Thanksgiving is acted out by students. We know that the Pilgrims had the first day of Thanks to celebrate their first crop of corn in November of 1621. This celebration was enjoyed by both the Pilgrims and many of their Native American allies. The celebration lasted for three days. It was a time of fellowship, dining, and days of thankful prayer to the Lord.
New York was the first state to adopt Thanksgiving as an official holiday in 1817. By the 1860’s almost every state had made Thanksgiving an official holiday. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November 1863. In President Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation, written by Secretary of State William Seward, he stated:
…It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
Thanksgiving was not declared as a federal holiday until October 6, 1941 by Congress. It was originally declared that it be celebrated the last Thursday of the month. However, in December of that year they amended the resolution that Thanksgiving would be the 4th Thursday of the month of November (which was most often the last Thursday of the month unless there were 5 weeks in the month for that year).
Thanksgiving has a rich history here in the United States. It was originally started to praise the Lord for His blessings and mercy to the Pilgrims in a new land. During the Civil War, President Lincoln asked the American people to give thanks to the Lord with “one heart and voice.” It is a day specifically named to remind us that the primary focus for the day is to give Thanks to the Lord.
I have to confess that I have not spent every Thanksgiving of my life focused on praising the Lord. For many years, it was simply a time of getting together with friends and family to eat and be merry. My focus for the day was not on thanking the Lord for His many blessings. In fact, some years it just felt like a “chore” that had to be done because it’s what you are supposed to do.
I really like what President Lincoln said about all of us joining together with “one heart and voice” to praise the Lord for His blessings and mercy. I think that sums up the true spirit of what Thanksgiving is all about. It is all of us as a nation being united in offering our thanks to the Lord.
This Thanksgiving, I will be joining my heart and voice with all the other people who are giving thanks and praise to our God.
May you have a blessed Thanksgiving filled with the love of the Lord and the
love and laughter of your family and friends.
featured image from: “Thanksgiving – Brownscomb bing.com
“It’s God’s Nature To Heal” Rev. Sarah Bronos
God is truly amazing. He is putting the pieces of my puzzle (life) back together.
I have been on a deep healing journey for about fifteen years. Through that, I have received a lot of healing from childhood wounds and adult wounds. Some of these wounds were mountains and boulders with cliffs in-between. The cliffs were so deep. I was terrified to see what was there because it involved pain and emotions I had shut off for years …. decades.
But, God began, fifteen years ago, sending Godly mature women to come along side of me. These women began to help me through my healing journey. They were each a piece of my puzzle. My healing was a piece of my puzzle. My learning through this journey was a piece of my puzzle. The puzzle that is now being put in place as I begin to walk more in my calling. It is amazing, exciting and unbelievable.
I am in awe of God and where He has brought me. I never thought this time would come, although I sensed it along the way though. Through this journey, a passion began growing inside of desiring to help others know the freedom I was beginning to have. A passion to give back what God was giving me and a passion to pour out in others just like those women had poured out in me. So much love, patience, kindness, joy, etc.
There were some other pieces to my puzzle. But, the most important piece was Jesus. This was asking Him into my heart, to forgive my sins, and be my Lord and Savior. That was the beginning for me. That was in 2003 and my life has never been the same since.
This healing journey was not easy and at times still not easy. But with healing occuring along the way, it began to be easier to withstand the hard times and/or the times when I struggled.
What I am hoping is that those that read this will be encouraged that no matter what you have been through or are going through now, God can free you. He can use what you have been through to help someone else and give you the desires of your heart.
I have a friend, actually, the first woman God put in my path to help me heal, and she would say, “I can’t help you, but God can. If you don’t quit, you win.” She would say that to me all the time – “If you don’t quit, you win.” It began to annoy me, but it became true in my life and I have seen it come true in so many others.
If you need healing, I encourage you to make an appointment at The Inheritance House for some in-depth prayer and see what the Lord will and can do. If He can do it for me, He can do it for you. This is just not words I am writing on this page, HE CAN HEAL YOU. It is truth. I am living proof of that.
featured image from: bing.com
by Lander Roark
“Healing” – Pastor Steve HorrellDownload