Saturday, December 15, 2012

Merry Christmas!

We hope the spirit of Christmas will fill your heart with love, peace, and joy during this holiday season and throughout the New Year!

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11 NIV).

Love, Jerry and Dotse

Friday, December 14, 2012

God Cares For You

Chuckle:  A little boys prayer:  "Dear God, please take care of my daddy and mommy and my sister and my brother and my doggy and me.  Oh, please take care of yourself, God.  If anything happens to you, we're gonna be in a big mess!"
Good Quote:  "The love of God is like the Amazon River flowing down to water a single daisy."  --Unknown Author
"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you" (1 Peter 5:7 NLT). 
The Christmas season is a time of happiness, rejoicing, and excitement for many; but for others it is a time of loneliness, worry, anxiety, stress, and even fear.  You may have lost a loved one this year and this will be your first Christmas without him or her.  You may have lost your job and are suffering through difficult times financially.  You may be worried about not having money to buy gifts for those you love.  You may be suffering with health issues and are fearful of what the future holds.  Any of these unpleasant conditions can cause you to withdraw from those who love you and feel sorry for yourself.  You may be tempted to wallow in self-pity.
Before you let yourself slip into the pits emotionally, stop for a moment and reflect on the goodness of the God we serve.  "Give your worries to the Lord, and he will take care of you.  He will never let good people down"  (Psalm 55:22 NCV).  Claim God's promises and let go of those debilitating fears and anxieties.  If you insist in holding on to your worries, they will prevent you from enjoying the life and blessings God has given you.  Like the old hymn says: "Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there."  
Rejoice because God loves you and is genuinely concerned about what's going on in your life.  Others may fail you, but God will not.  Don't submit yourself to circumstances but to the Lord who controls circumstances.  He specializes in helping you deal with even the most severe difficulties and can give you His joy as He carries those burdens for you.  Claim and believe God's promise that He loves you and will take care of you.
Two young girls were talking, and one said she had ten pennies.  The other girl looked into her hand and only saw five.  She said, "you only have five pennies."  The first girl replied, "I have five and my father told me he would give me five more tonight.  So I have ten."  She understood that her father's promise was as good as done."  
Regardless of your circumstances this Christmas, just remember that God loves you greatly and wants to carry your burdens for you.  Your Father's promises are trustworthy and as good as kept. 
Love, Jerry & Dotse       

Friday, December 7, 2012

Forgiving Ourselves

Chuckle:  One worker to another: "How long have you been working here?"  Answer: "Since they threatened to fire me." 
Good Quote:  "Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a permanent attitude."  --Martin Luther King
"Everyone who believes in him (Jesus) will have their sins forgiven through his name"  (Acts 10:43).
I believe our ability to forgive ourselves of things in our past is dependent upon our understanding and acceptance of God's forgiveness.  The Bible tells us in many places that God will forgive us of our sins and cleanse us if we believe (trust, have faith) in Jesus Christ. It tells us that our sins will be removed as far as the east is from the west and that they will be remembered against us no more.  Of course we know that this forgiveness is dependent up our confessing our sins and in an attitude of remorse and repentance, asking God to forgive us.  "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse (purify) us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Some accept the truth that God forgives the sins of others, but have difficulty believing that God could ever forgive them.  They may say, "I've done some pretty terrible things in my life -- how can God ever forgive me?"  They may feel they don't deserve God's forgiveness.  If you think your sins are just too awful for God to forgive, you will never be able to forgive yourself.  If you cannot accept the fact that God will forgive you, that sense of guilt and shame for your past mistakes/sins will continue to haunt and control your life.  This guilt can take away your peace, joy, and assurance of God's love and the love of others.  You may feel you do not deserve to be loved either by God or by other people.  Such a mind-set can lead to depression, self-pity, and withdrawal from those who love you most. 
We must learn to believe God when He promises complete forgiveness regardless of the dimensions of our sin.  You may not feel forgiven, but you must take God at His Word that His forgiveness is complete.  Remember that Jesus paid the penalty for your sins by shedding His precious blood on Calvary's cross.  If you know Christ as Savior and Lord, your sins are covered by His atoning blood sacrifice.  To doubt God's ability, or willingness, to forgive your sins is to put limits on God's power and to belittle His promises.
If you know Christ as Savior, "You are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault" (Colossians 1:22).  God says, "No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it.  I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow" (Isaiah 1:18).  Take God at His word, trust Him, and accept His forgiveness.  Then ask Him to give you the strength to forgive yourself as He has forgiven you.  Accept God's forgiveness and let go of the past -- then your joy will return!
Love, Jerry & Dotse 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Delighting in God's Word

Chuckle:  "Billy Graham once said that heaven would be like a big family reunion that never ends. Makes you shudder to think what hell must be like!" 
Good Quote:  "There are two ways to study the Bible:  Studying it with your mind made up or studying it to let it make up your mind." --Author Unknown
"But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night"  (Psalm 1:2 NIV).
Here, the Psalmist is referring to godly people whose hearts and minds are focused on the things of God.  What in your life brings you the most joy -- the most delight?  We live in a world focused on material things and satisfying our physical appetites as the means to bring us complete happiness.  As believers, we can easily be drawn into seeking fulfillment and joy somewhere other than in our relationship with our Lord.
In our passage, we see that the source of delight to the godly is in the Word of the Lord.  How can this be?  Isn't it strange that, in our selfish world, a simple book of paper and ink could be the source of such pleasure and fulfillment?  The more we delight in studying and obeying God's Word, the more fruitful we will become.  On the other hand, the more we allow the values of a world that ridicules God to affect our thoughts and attitudes, the more we separate ourselves from our source of spiritual nourishment and inexplicable peace and joy.
We experience delightful lives when we become so closely related to God that we find pleasure in the habitual, daily study of God's revelation of Himself -- the Word.  Back to my question: "What in your life brings you the most joy?"  If God's Word is not a joy to you, perhaps your are a tourist rather than an explorer.
    "There is a basic difference between an explorer and a tourist.  The tourist travels quickly, stopping only to observe the highly noticeable or publicized points of interest.  The explorer, on the other hand, takes his time to search out all that he can find.  Too many of us read the Bible like a tourist and then complain that our devotional times are fruitless.  It is necessary that we take time to explore the Bible.  Then notable nooks and crannies will appear as we get beneath the surface."  --Unknown Author
We can literally hear the awesome voice of God in His Word through which he reveals truths about Himself including His character, love, and will to those who delight in Him.  Remember, "All (every part of) Scripture is God-breathed and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives" (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV).
Love, Jerry & Dotse