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This is, once again, the most joyous time of the year for some. It is when we celebrate with family and friends, coming together in the name of Jesus to celebrate His arrival in our world.

However, while we celebrate there are many who are hurting, alone, lonely, maybe missing loved ones who have passed or are far away. They could be among those celebrating, putting on happy faces to hide their pain or they could be one in the crowd of the homeless or the poor or one of the unchurched. Whatever the reason, they need to not only see our joy, they need to be made aware of the source of our joy.

As you celebrate open your hearts to the hurting, include the needy and the orphans, not just with your money and anonymous gifts, anyone can do that. Give of yourself, share your time and your heart. It can be awkward and uncomfortable at first, but push through those feelings of fear and inadequacy. Just ask anyone who is involved.

The joy of this season will be magnified tenfold, no a hundredfold for you. Any good work that you do will return as blessings.

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Over my lifetime, I have made many errors in judgement, many poor decisions and taken many paths that led me away from the Lord. Believe me when I say that the Lord can take anyone’s mistakes, anyone’s errors in judgement and mold them into good results. He will take your wayward path and turn it toward Jesus.

It does not matter how far you have strayed, or where your path has led you, Jesus is there. The mistakes you have made, the sins you have committed were all seen by the Lord and will be forgiven by a loving God. Impossible you say? Not so is the reply of Jesus for He forgave the beatings, the ridicule and the pain of death by crucifixion. Jesus not only forgave those who were there, He has forgiven all who believe on Him and confess their sins.

Come, ask Jesus to forgive you for the pain you have caused others, for the bad decisions in your life and for ignoring your Lord and His call to your heart. Let Jesus lead you from brokenness to the awesomeness of a relationship with Him. Stop trying to lead yourself and learn to follow Jesus to the path of eternal life.

When you are a witness you have seen an action by another and when you witness to others you are telling about that action. This so simple that it is breathtaking. You see and you tell. So why do so many of us get it wrong? Is it fear of rejection or ridicule that holds you back? Then ignore them. Christ endured far more for you. Jesus died so you could live in harmony and for eternity with the Lord and fellow believers.

When the Lord summons us and we respond the process of salvation and sanctification begins. Each one of us is unique, each carries the memory of our own salvation. We can only testify and witness to what we know to be true through personal experience. If you do not share that experience no one can benefit from your salvation, no one else will feel the wonder you felt and you will not receive the additional blessing of planting seeds for the harvest.

With your salvation comes freedom from guilt, freedom from pain, freedom from the burdens that this world heaps upon us and a responsibility to tell others why we are how we are.

When we are faced with great pain or possible life changing news it is easy to become bitter and find someone or something to blame for the problem. What is more difficult is to accept the situation, to find the good and the positive, to smile and be of good cheer. Not to hide the issue but to move forward with our lives.

How do we do this? How do we move forward with joy and peace and a smile and in good spirits? Certainly not on our own. When the limits of our ability to cope have been exceeded, and this will happen to everyone, we all need help. Be very careful of where you seek that help. Look to the world for that help and you will be disappointed. Look to your friends and family for that help and you will not be fully satisfied. No matter how hard they try, their love and kindness will not be enough.

There is only one who can fill you completely, bring joy and peace to every nook and cranny of your being. There is only one who will satisfy your soul’s need for peace, alleviate the pain and allow you to be free. Only Jesus, the true Son of God can send the Holy Spirit to calm you. Please learn of Him now before the storms that will surely come.

The valley before me is once again shrouded in mist and the features of the valley are hidden and the mountains are out of sight. Everything is equal in the mist. We see no valleys to walk into and there are no mountains to climb, only the peace of quietude and one little light from across the valley to let us know that we are not alone.

On this Sunday traffic light in the valley. Even so, there is the occasional vehicle passing through to interrupt the silence, letting us know that the world is out there waiting. Waiting for us to finish our coffee and devotions, waiting for us to prepare ourselves for this day. So we will go forth into the world, not to do the world’s work but to worship our Lord Jesus. For today is the one day of the week when we are intentional in our worship of the Lord with fellow believers.

As we walk through the valleys and scale the mountains of our lives, we need to be intentional in our worship of the Lord every day. Even when it is not Sunday and we are alone Jesus is with us. He knows when we turn to Him and He knows when we turn away and follow the world.

We all leave things undone that we thought were important at the time, we forget to put stuff away, we neglect a daily routine or we skip a chore that should have been done. Then we worry and fret over our memory lapse thinking that there must be something wrong with us questioning our work ethic or our mind (Alzheimer’s perhaps?).

The simple truth is that we are human and try as we might we are not perfect. Sometimes our fellow humans forget this and try to regulate perfection in the workplace with rules or legislate laws that try to punish intentions instead of actions. Neither of these acts will have any effect on those who make honest mistakes, except to make them appear guilty of intentionally erring.

All human beings are fallible. They make mistakes, they fall away from God, they hurt us and each other, in short, they are a boiling cauldron of sin and error. Yet God loves them as He loves us, in fact, there is no them and us. All of humanity is drowning in sin. We all need saving, we all need Jesus in our lives and those who find Him, reach out to Him and embrace Him as friend are still in the world. Knowing Jesus is having a Friend who always forgives.

When we are wonderfully knit together in the womb we are created by God in His Image and given a strong impulse to find Him and to know Him. As we grow and mature that impulse becomes stronger. However, this need to seek after God can be used by the world to move us away from the one true God by creating false gods for us to seek. Thus we can be overtaken by the false gods of power or greed or carnal pleasures.

As the good news of salvation by a loving God is spoken to us, some believe right away. A new and joyous existence becomes their reality. I wish I could say that their worldly troubles and temptations go away to be there no more, but this is just not true. You see, salvation does not change the world, it changes you.

You will know the same temptations, you will see them every day. But, your focus will be on the Lord and the world will no longer have control of your thoughts and emotions. Your spirit will decrease as you allow the Holy Spirit to take control and you will be free from the slavery of satan and dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Is anyone worthy to be blessed with the saving grace of God? Of course not. To be human is to be born in sin, under the influence of the ruler of this world, satan. No matter how attractively it is packaged, no matter how many times we are told it is to be desired, sin, pain and death is all that this world has to offer us and no matter how many times the world denies it, there is an alternative.

Life is waiting to be discovered, wonderful, joyous eternal life is right in front of you asking to be noticed, asking to become your salvation from sin, pain and death. There is a better way, there is a peace and happiness that never leaves. To find this peace just believe. Believe in and follow Jesus. Yes, I know that it sounds too easy, but it isn’t trust me. God demands a perfect and sinless life and we can’t deliver this. God demands total obedience and we always fail. Hopeless? Hardly.

God received His demands for a perfect, sinless and obedient life from Jesus, His Son who died for you. Your sins have been covered, your disobedience has been cast away if you will believe in the Perfect One, Jesus. Acknowledge that He is the Son of God and that He died and rose again on the third day for you.

We are to always trust the Lord our God with our lives, our family, our future and our happiness. So why is it that every single new thing that I try brings uncertainty and yes even fear, fear of ridicule, fear of failure, fear of inadequacy, ETC?

There is a reason for this and we all know what it is. Simply put, it is a lack of faith. A lack of faith not in ourselves but in the Lord. If we have prayed for guidance, asked for guidance from others and sought the will of the Lord then we should be comfortable with the result. But we aren’t are we? There is still that little teeny doubt, that small voice of satan saying “I don’t care what God says, you can’t do this. Back off from the path that He is sending you on, I know a better way.”

The way of the world is never better than the way of the Lord. Rejoice in this and follow the Way of the Lord. Do you know the Way of the Lord? He is real, He is alive and He is waiting for you to call on His Name. Call out to Jesus and cast your fears into the fire. Call out to Him daily to calm your fears. I do and I can tell you that it works, daily.

Today I see a world in great turmoil, a world where God is not just forgotten but actually vilified. This is becoming a world where one can be punished for reading the Bible and ridiculed for one’s belief in Jesus. Being a Christian is becoming more and more dangerous, from beheadings and death in the middle east to ostracism and public humiliation right here in America.

What a glorious time to be alive and worshipping our Lord. We have the privilege of speaking out in defense of our God and defending our faith in a faithless world. We cannot be complacent and expect a reward. The testing have begun and we need to stand up and be counted as Christians. In words and deeds we are to show not contempt, not fear, not anger, but the Love of Christ to a troubled world

There is no need to cast aspersions on others, there is no need to fight for our God. He certainly does not need our help. Our sole job is to help and pray. Help the poor, the weak, the widows and orphans, the downtrodden. Pray for their salvation. Pray for help for all Christians so we can remain strong in our faith during this time of testing.

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