Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Depression

Christmas Depression

Psalm 42:11
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

As we read Psalm 42, notice the psalmist is struggling with some depression and feeling isolated from God. His feelings of isolation may have come from an absence of fellowship with God or discouragement from others. Whatever the cause, the feelings are real and recorded for our benefit. This time of year can bring depressing thoughts of loneliness and despair. Not being able to spend time with loved ones, during the Christmas season, can become extremely overwhelming to those alone. 

I remember the first Christmas I spent without my husband, Glen. We were opening presents with the grandchildren on Christmas morning. I recall thinking, “I’m doing so well, I haven’t even cried this morning.” My children brought out a gift that my husband had purchased for me while he was still living. Then I cried! The realization of someone being in heaven and still giving gifts was overpowering and huge. The act of kindness shown by my children made me truly thankful for their love and concern for their mother. It was a Christmas I will never forget.

Have you wrestled with the emotions expressed in Psalm 42? Has your soul been “cast down,” within you? Are you facing challenges at this time and need to see the hand of God working in your life? Psalm 42 reveals the character of God and ways He will help you “walk by faith,” when you are downcast and depressed.

Riding upon the storms of life with Christ as your anchor will without a doubt give you strength to endure. Knowing you have complete access and pleasure in His presence is most definitely the cure for sorrow. When you rely upon yourself for help and strength, you may begin to sink in the midst of the storm. But, when you hold on to the promises of God, He keeps your head above the billowing waves and comforts your tempestuous heart. Don’t let Christmas bring anything but joy and gladness to your heart. Set your affections on the things above and allow your mind to ponder the glorious gospel of Christ.

Prayer: Lord, may I keep my heart and mind fixed upon You with a thrusting in my soul for the true and living God.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Who's Missing Christmas?

 Who’s Missing Christmas?

Luke 2:11
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”  

There will be many people this year that will miss Christmas for one reason or another. I know you’re probably thinking, “How can this be, with all the advertising and holiday spirit going on?” Even though they are “celebrating” Christmas, they don’t know what Christmas is truly about. For us who are Christians, we can get caught up in the magic of the moment and forget about the One who came so long ago.

Sometimes, with the hustle and bustle of Christmas we become preoccupied with  all the presents, the food and other fun activities. The innkeeper in Bethlehem, said, “There’s no room for you in the inn.” Was he being hostile to Mary and Joseph? No! It was just too hectic for the innkeeper to take notice of them. The little town of Bethlehem was full of people to be counted in a census because their ancestors were from there. The innkeeper was either uninformed or unfamiliar with Scripture to recognize what was happening that blessed night. Therefore, he missed Christmas because he was just too busy to take notice.

The angel of the Lord came to shepherds the night Jesus was born. They were a despised group of people because they couldn’t participate in the religious rituals of the day. But, out of all the many people in Bethlehem, they were chosen to hear the angel of the Lord proclaim the birth of Christ. There are times when people miss out on Christmas because of religion. Religion steals the truth of Christmas and replaces it with ritualistic protocol and ceremonial formalities. The shepherds didn’t miss Christmas that wondrous night, the religious Jews did.

There are many ways to miss Christmas, but behind all those reasons is unbelief. If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in His name, Christmas will become real to you. But, if you don’t know Christ and have never believed in who He is, I urge you today to put your faith and trust in the Christ of Christmas.

Prayer:  Lord, I am trusting in You today and believing You are everything that Scripture says You are. May my eyes be opened to Your so great salvation.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Living with the Addicted

Living with the Addicted

Growing up as a child, I didn’t realize I was living with an addict. My father, whom I loved very much, was an alcoholic. Some would characterize him as a “working alcoholic.” He was an extremely hard worker even in his addiction. I can only remember one vacation we ever took as a family and that was to Las Vegas, NV–––Not a fun trip for a kid. 

Alcohol was definitely used as an excuse to start a fight and leave home to get drunk. I have seen my dad so intoxicated that he passed out on the front lawn. It embarrassed me to see him this way and I know it was painful for my mother, as well. I remember going to work with my dad–––he was the manager of a liquor store. I would play in the store taking inventory of all the different kinds of alcoholic beverages he sold–––Not an appropriate play ground for a child.

I am thankful that God has allowed me to experience life with the addicted because this has given me the opportunity to reach addicts. Sharing the Gospel with women in substance abuse, gives them hope through Christ. Without the Lord Jesus Christ, they are beyond remedy in their sin.

Are you living with someone that is suffering with addiction and you’re wondering what you can do to help them? Loving those who are in substance abuse is essential. They need to be loved when it’s hard, when it hurts, and when they are unloveable. They need to see their problem in view of God’s Word and the solution that will make them free. God uses our struggles with sin to diagnose the true problem or condition of the heart, rebellion.

Rebellion against God is an issue we often avoid. To have true freedom there must be repentance. To repent means we are confessing our sin to God and forsaking that sin. Anything other than giving God the authority to remove this sin from our lives is self-centeredness. Submission leads to godly living and a renewed mind. Thus, this transformation changes one into the image of Christ, God’s dear Son (Romans 12:1,2).

Prayer:  Lord, I confess my sin of rebellion against You. I am acknowledging that I have sinned, and that this sin must be forsaken. Thank You for Your forgiveness.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Precious in His Sight

Precious in His Sight

Psalm 139:13-18
“... I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well...”

Every precious grandchild that God has gifted me with has been a magnificent and monumental moment I have been privileged to experience. To think the miracle of life has once again been given is awe-inspiring and breathtaking. I am overwhelmed when I call to mind what value God has placed on one small soul. The beginning of life was formed by the dust of the earth and the breath of God and though we are begotten and born of our earthly parents, God is the chief parent and the only fashioner of us all.  "Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves" (Psalms 100:3).

The examining eye of God views the new born baby and is acquainted with all their ways, every cry, every whimper, every breath. To think the God of this universe studies, considers and observes every minute feature of our being, gives great assurance that His knowledge of one so small is to wonderful to convey but deserves the highest praise.

The divine design and term of pregnancy, in which God watches over the growth of a child, is providentially ordained and divinely ordered. God’s plan in the forming of human life is unsearchable, for we are unable to clearly understand all aspects of life in our finite minds. God alone teaches man the knowledge of human life and true knowledge comes from the Word of God which gives us all truth. 

Thought: The song, “Jesus Loves the Little Children” says, “they are precious in His sight.”    It is most definitely the sweetest thing to hold a new born baby and feel the delight that flows from within. But, there is no greater joy than to know the Creator––Sustainer of life, and His wonderful gift of saving grace that gives to us the hope and joy of eternal life. New life in Christ and a new born baby are the most wonderful gifts that come from the heart of God.

I would like to introduce to you–––Mercy Noel––– my fourteenth grandchild. Born December 3, 2014, at 5:17 p.m. Weighing 6 lbs 11 ozs and is 20.75 inches long.