Tag Archive: joy


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I know that many of you are alone this Christmas, and that you are either reflecting on the special Christmas memories from the past that you still treasure within your heart, wanting things to be as they were, but in reality you know that’s impossible.

Then there are many of you who are alone and you don’t have any good memories to even reflect upon. All the memories that still linger in your minds are ones you wish you could completely forget. And yet the harsh words, the abuse, the betrayals, the broken promises, the death of a loved one…all those painful memories somehow have a way of flooding back into your minds at this time of the year because of shattered hopes and dreams, heartbreak, and a longing for a love that will never disappoint you.

Then there are those of you who have lost all hope and desire to continue living because of some horrible choices that you have made in life, and you don’t even want to think about facing another day, and yet another whole year is about to begin!

No matter how you are feeling, I am writing this post to offer all of you hope. Real hope that comes from Jesus Christ alone!

Some Christians choose not to celebrate this holiday because of the many pagan roots that are a part of the celebration of Christmas. No one knows the exact day when Jesus was actually born, but to disregard the fact of the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, who willingly entered our fallen world cloaked in human flesh to show the extent of God’s love for us who are all depraved sinners in the sight of a thrice Holy God, is something that should leave us in awe!

Many people are continuously trying so hard to be accepted by God through their religion and by their good deeds, and yet God reached out to us and showed His love for us by sending Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son into the world as the greatest gift that He could ever give to us. His intention was that Jesus, being God in the flesh, would live the sinless life that we could never live, to become the perfect sacrifice for all of our sins and guilt when He would give His live in our place on the cross.

The only provision that He made so that we can be made right before Him is by putting our full trust in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross as FULL payment for all of our sins and guilt –including the sins that you think God could NEVER forgive you for — and in His resurrection from the dead which proves that Jesus Christ is God, and that His once for all sacrifice was accepted by God the Father as being sufficient to satisfy the wrath that God has towards us because of our sins.

God’s gift of love through His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, is the greatest gift that you could ever hope to receive! If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ alone for your forgiveness for sins, receive Jesus Christ, God’s greatest gift, today!

“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. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:16-21)

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:7-14)

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9,10)

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:8-19)

Jesus is the only way to God, and the only name we can call upon in order to be saved:

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)

“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”           (Acts 4:10-12)

We cannot find Jesus or forgiveness through any religion or by our good works or through any thing we may do:

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:4-10)

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21)

“Then they asked Him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.” (John 6:28,29)

But keep in mind that even the demons believe; they know who Jesus is:

“What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24)

“Whenever the impure spirits saw Him, they fell down before Him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” (Mark 3:11)

“They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet Him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of Him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” (Mark 5:1:8)

“Then He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath He taught the people. They were amazed at His teaching, because His words had authority. In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do You want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power He gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” And the news about Him spread throughout the surrounding area.” (Luke 4:31-36)

“At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying His hands on each one, He healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Messiah.” (Luke 4:40,41)

The demons believe in God…and tremble!

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)

And yet they will be cast into the lake of fire along with everyone who has not placed their trust in Jesus Christ and therefore do not have their names written in the Book of life:

“Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41)

“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)

The Judgment of the Dead

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)

“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”                       (Revelation 21:22-27)

Only by believing in Him and receiving Jesus by placing your trust in Him alone for your forgiveness for sins is the only way a person can become a child of God: (Verse 12)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. 11 He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. 12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-14)

Jesus Christ is our only hope; our only Mediator:

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people.” (1 Timothy 2:1-6)

You can have assurance of eternal life:

“We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which He has given about His Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about His Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:9-13)

If you truly believe this good news of the gospel, then place your trust completely and only in Jesus Christ to save you and repent; turn from sin to God:

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)

 

If you have never received Jesus Christ as your Savior, God’s greatest gift in which you will receive His love and His promise that He will never leave or forsake you, His complete forgiveness –no matter what you may have done, and His true peace that surpasses all human understanding, I pray that you will do it today!

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)

Here are some songs that I pray will also bring you hope and joy in the midst of your sorrow:

HOPE WAS BORN THIS NIGHT – SIDEWALK PROPHETS

 

CHRISTMAS OFFERING – CASTING CROWNS

 

O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL – CASTING CROWNS

 

SILENT NIGHT – CASTING CROWNS

 

O HOLY NIGHT DAMARIS CARBAUGH

 

A CRADLE IN THE SHADOW OF A CROSS – DAMARIS CARBAUGH

 

MAY GOD GIVE YOU HIS GIFT – DAMARIS CARBAUGH

 

THIS IS CHRISTMAS – KUTLESS

 

WE ARE THE REASON – DAVID MEECE

 

 

For those of you who already know the joy of God’s love and forgiveness, Merry Christmas! Continue to faithfully share God’s love and truth with those whom God will allow to cross your path in this world that is growing spiritually darker by the day, whenever God gives you an opportunity!

Thank you very much to those of you who occasionally stop by my blog and take time out of your busy days to read some of my posts and poems. I appreciate every one of you!

God Bless You

Merry Christmas!

~Mary/Living4HisGlory

 

RELATED POSTS

BEYOND THE MANGER TO THE CROSS – DECEMBER 2009

FOR GOD SO LOVED HE GAVE – CHRISTMAS 2010

CHRISTMAS – HOLDING ON TO HOPE – DECEMBER 2011

LET’S NOT FORGET THAT JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON – DECEMBER 2012

A PERFECT PEACE – DECEMBER 2013

CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS TO ALL AND A FEW THOUGHTS – DECEMBER 25, 2014

CHRISTMAS REFLECTIONS – DECEMBER 31, 2014

 

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img002(One of my favorite Christmas pictures of my daughter and son when they were little).

INTRODUCTION

Making Christmas crafts with my children and decorating the tree together, staying up until 2 a.m. assembling and wrapping their presents after they were snuggled in their beds and fast asleep, remembering the joy on my precious children’s faces when they’d open their gifts on Christmas morning…these are just a few of the special memories of Christmas past.

Then there are the ones that still linger in my mind that bring feelings of heart-wrenching sadness, like the one Christmas when my son was older. It was around five or six years after his dad had left us. My daughter was playing either in her room or the family room to pass the time, while my son sat on the couch and waited patiently for his dad to come as he had told him and my daughter that he would. When minutes began to turn into hours, the sadness and disappointment that my son was feeling grew more evident on his face, and my heart broke for him. Then the phone rang, and his dad gave them both the frequently given reply on Christmas day:

“Dad can’t come today, but I’ll come and take you out during the week.”

Even though their dad did call them every day after he left, and came over twice a week to take them out, to tell your children that you are coming on Christmas day and to get their hopes up only to disappoint them, was cruel and totally uncalled for!

Christmas for me personally was very hard. Especially when I had to go to the mall and shop for gifts and watch many different men and women walking hand in hand and laughing together, and I was all alone, but still faithfully waiting and praying that my husband would return home and love me the way a husband is supposed to love his wife.

The Christmas before my ‘husband’ left, when things were tense and I was being completely rejected by him, temptation literally came knocking at our door:

It was about a week before Christmas, and it was after 10:00 p.m. Suddenly there was a knock at the door. As usual, my ‘husband’ was out with his friends, so I was not about to answer the door when I was home alone with two little kids. My daughter, who was nine years old at the time, but very wise for her age, kept telling me to open the door, and I kept telling her all the reasons why I shouldn’t. However, I gave in when she said, “Mommy, maybe God wants you to open the door.”  Hesitantly, I opened the door, keeping the screen door locked. There in front of me stood a tall, dark, and handsome man. He said,

“Hi. I know it’s late, but my car died out in front of your house, and I just wanted to let you know that I called the police to let them know, and I will be back tomorrow with a friend to help me get it started.”

I said, “Okay,” and closed the door. The verse “make the most of every opportunity” came to mind, and since it was almost Christmas and I had a box of New Testament Bibles and would give a New Testament to people who would come to my door whether they were Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, or selling magazines or windows, etc., I decided to give him one, as well. After all, it couldn’t be a coincidence that his car just happened to die out in front of my house when his car could have died out a few houses further down the street. I knew that God wanted me to share the gospel with this man, so I wrote a short message inside of the New Testament that I was going to give him. I said something like this:

“I don’t know what you have gone through in life, but I know that it wasn’t a coincidence that your car happened to die out in front of my house. I believe that God allowed your car to die out in front of my house because He knew that I would be faithful to share His love and truth with you. He wants to bring healing to your broken heart and hope for your future that can only come by receiving His love and forgiveness.”

In my message I clearly shared the gospel with him, and included a tract, as well. In front of the Bible was a list of questions that led a person to the knowledge of the fact that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, and the need to repent of sin, and listed many Scriptures where these truths could be found. When I finished writing the letter, I put it inside of the Bible and wrapped it in Christmas paper so I would be ready for when he would return  with his friend the next day hoping to get his car started.

The next day he did return with his friend, and after his car started he came and knocked on our door to let us know. I then held out the wrapped Bible, and said, “This is for you.” He said,  “What’s this?” I said, “Well, it’s almost Christmas, and I wanted to give you this.” He looked stunned and appreciative as he took the package and thanked me and went to his car. I closed the door but stood there and prayed strongly as I watched him walk to his car through the tiny window in the door. He sat there for a while, so I figured he was opening his gift, so I closed my eyes and strongly began to pray for him. I prayed that God would prepare his heart and mind to receive the message of the gospel and all that I had shared with him. Suddenly, I heard the door bell ring, and opened the door to see him standing there. With tears in his eyes, he said, “How did you know?” He proceeded to tell me that he had been in Viet Nam and how when he came back his wife had left him. Everything that happened I recorded in my diary, but basically I said the following to him:

“I didn’t know. I just knew that God allowed your car to die out in front of my house and knew that He wanted me to give you a Bible and to tell you that He loves you.” 

His eyes filled with tears as he thanked me again, and he went back to his car and drove away.

Little did I know that he would return less than a year later, just a couple of months after my ‘husband’ left us. To make a loooong story short, he came to our door and said the following words to me:

“I thought about you a lot over the past year. I didn’t come back to start trouble; I just needed to come back to see if it was you, or Jesus in you that I was attracted to.”

I stood strong, and in my mind I kept saying, “Jesus in me! Jesus in me!” I loved and feared God too much to give in to temptation, and I loved my ‘husband’ in spite of how he treated me throughout our marriage to ever consider getting involved with another man when I was still married to him.

In an attempt to stop him from continuing to talk about me, I turned the focus of the conversation on to Jesus, and shared the gospel with him again, making it clear to him that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, so that he would see his need to turn from sin by having a true godly sorrow in his heart for the things he had done. I asked him if he would like to receive God’s love and forgiveness, by placing his complete trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of his sins, and he said he did. I led him in a prayer, and he repeated it after me, and when we were done he looked as if the weight of the world had lifted off of his shoulders.

After encouraging him to continue reading the Bible, I tried to end our conversation so he would leave, because he was saying all kinds of things that every woman would like to hear. Especially a woman like me who rarely ever heard those kind of things from her husband; a ‘husband’ who had now left me. There was no sexual overtones to anything he said; he just made comments about the thoughts he had concerning me over the past year. Things like how he thought I was pretty, and how he thought about my “big brown eyes.” As I firmly tried to end our conversation, he handed me a ripped piece of paper with his phone number on it and told me that I could call him if I wanted to, and then he finally left.

I could have tried to justify calling him in my mind by telling myself that ‘he needs my guidance,’ but the  thought to do that never crossed my mind; I knew this would not be God’s will, and I would be setting myself up for temptations if I ever did. He was completely in God’s hands now. I never called him, and he never came to my home again. It was one of those opportunities that I made the most of, at a time when I could have been sad and depressed, but I chose instead to share the love of God and the gospel of grace, hope, and forgiveness with this heart-broken man. We as Christians need to see the opportunities that God sets before us, but we need to proceed with caution! We must use the opportunities that come our way with the desire to bring glory to God by constantly being led by His Spirit and not our flesh, because  Satan will try to use some of these opportunities that come our way in an attempt to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8) if we are not constantly in God’s Word and ignore the warnings clearly set forth in Scripture!

I praised God for the opportunity that He gave me that night, and still praise Him and stand in awe at how He arranged for this man’s car to die out in front of our house that night right before Christmas so many years ago!

 

RELATED SCRIPTURES

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” (Isaiah 43:18)

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13b,14)

“Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15,16)

“Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5,6)”Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him standing firm in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:8,9a)

“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9,10)

“We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” (1 John 4:13-16)

Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible New International Version® 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society.  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved.

CHRISTMAS REFLECTIONS

The Christmas season has a way of bringing many memories to my mind

Some are precious moments tucked away, unchanged by time

Some are best forgotten, but they linger still the same

Some bring tears of joy, some still a hint of pain

Unmet expectations, hopes and dreams yet to be fulfilled

Sorrow grows within my heart, and yet, in a moment’s time, because of Christ, my

heart is stilled

I choose instead to reflect upon that holy night, so long ago

When God sent His only Son to redeem mankind, because He loved us so

I take time to reflect upon the moment, that He gave me eyes to see

His redemptive plan revealed in Scripture, His truth that set me free

It’s then my perspective changes, before my emotions send me spiraling out

of control

I choose instead to be led by His Spirit, to find someone who is broken of heart

and soul

Someone who needs to hear the gospel message, that brings hope, forgiveness,

and grace

A message that can set a captive free, and bring a heart-felt smile to light one’s face

Though there are many longings in my heart that still remain

From dwelling on thoughts that can lead to despair and hopelessness, I must choose

to refrain

As this year draws to an end, I reflect upon one thing I know to be true

That God’s love transcends any love I’ve ever known, for He came down to give

His life for me —and you

Copyright©2014 Mary K. Dalke/Living4HisGlory/Living For His Glory All rights reserved.

Updated January 5th, 2015 (Added more thoughts to my Introduction and another Scripture).

Thank you for stopping by! And thank you very much for taking the time to read some of my posts and poems.

A BLESSED HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!

God Bless You

~Mary/Living4HisGlory

 

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