Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

"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."  St. Luke, Chapter 2, verses 10-11.

This is the message of hope that Christians gather around this time of year.  It is sometimes a difficult promise to remember in the face of all the evil in this world.  From our everyday struggles to wrongs committed in our communities and the greater world, and especially when we learn of horrific acts against children and those trying to protect them.  But that is exactly why we need this reminder every year!  "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."  St. John, Chapter 3, verse 16.  

And no matter what darkness tries to shake our faith in God, we must remember that God is ever faithful to us.  If he loves us so much that he was willing to send a sacrifice for us, we can only imagine how utterly sad he is when our lives are touched by grief.  But this we know, for St John tells us in Chapter 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not...He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  He came unto his own, and his own received him not. " 

However, it doesn't end there...
"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: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 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."

Will you receive him this Christmas, even when it seems the world is going crazy?
In Pastor Tom's sermon on Sunday, he said that when he and his wife were expecting their first child he was told, "You're life will never be the same!"  I remember being told that too, and being determined that I was not going to let a baby change my life.  Well, she did and so did the other two that eventually came along.  My life was radically and forever changed by these tiny beings!  But, they are each a blessing and have changed my life in such positive and loving ways - ways I could not even imagine before!

So it is with the Christ Child!  This little baby has come into the world to change it - radically & forever!  Will you graciously accept this baby into your life, and allow him to change it for you?  It won't be easy and it won't always be 'smooth sailing', but it will be worth it!

"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." St. Luke, Chapter 2, verses 13-14.  

I pray that you will be blessed this Christmas season and that you will be a blessings to others!

Merry Christmas,

Note: Re: Live is on a break and will resume Jan 11th, at 9:15 with a new book, It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen.  Please read and do the questions for Chapters 1 & 2 for the 11th. 
Even if you cannot attend our live meetings, I encourage you to read this book, it is AMAZING!  And I'll be blogging about it so, you won't miss a thing!

Friday, December 14, 2012


"But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law."
- Galatians 5: 22-23

Another wonderful discussion this morning!  In our reading David showed great restraint when faced with the temptation of taking vengeance on Saul, a man who tried to kill him many times.   The author of our study mentions food temptations which can cause us to lose self-control.   As we talked we shared other areas of temptation like shopping, Facebook & e-mail checking, having a knee-jerk reaction to a person or situation or any over indulgence  - all of these areas can cause us to examine our self-control.

Just as it was mentioned in weeks before, self-control is given to each of us, in different strengths, different situations, and we all have our own style of self-control.  Does God want us to be perfect in our self-control?  Can we have self-control in all aspects of our lives?  Personally, I have to believe the answer to that is "NO!"  God knows we are not perfect, which is why He is always with us.  Question #8 asks "If we know God is present to help us in our struggle, how can it be easier to exercise self-control?"  A well said answer: "It's always easier to do things with a partner."  Though sometimes God seems to be a silent partner (my paraphrase of the complete answer).  Our challenge then is to pause, giving us time to hear God's advice and remember His teachings.  Easier said than done, my friends!  I suppose that is why God encourages us to come together to study and worship - so we have each other to help us remember God's presence in our lives.

A few weeks ago my 4-year old had a lesson in Sunday School on Fruit of the Spirit and she brought home a poem that I'd like to include here.  Sometimes children's lessons are the best!

Fruit of the Spirit Poem

Today I learned
Jesus is the Vine
With Him I grow
fruit very fine

Love and Joy and Peace
are three
of the fruits
Jesus wants from me

Patience, Kindness
Goodness too
These are the things
Jesus wants me to do

Faithfulness, Gentleness
These are the fruits
Jesus wants me to grow

I think that sums it up nicely!

IMPORTANT NOTICE:    Our first meeting in 2013 will be on January 11th at 9:15 am.

We will be reading It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen. Copies can be purchased on-line at Proverbs 31 website, (please use the portal on the Redeemer website) and at nearby bookstores. 
Read chapters 1 & 2 for the 11th.
We'll be jumping right in to this fantastic study! I can't wait!!

Your Partner in Ministry,

As I type this I have seen the breaking news of the shooting in a CT elementary school and through my sobbing, my heart cries out to the Lord, "WHY"!!!???  I pray for the children, the parents, the community and everyone near and far who is touched by this horrific tragedy. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit - Week 9 - Self-Control

"Wise people think before they act; fools don't and even brag about it!"  ~Proverbs 13:16

With only 12 days before Christmas, I think there is a sense of humor in the fact that we are studying "Self-Control"!  During the season of too much shopping, dozens of cookies, plenty of parties and too many commitments, God has asked us to pause and consider the fruit of self-control.

In 1 Samuel 26, David exhibits amazing self-control!  While we may not be able to relate directly to David's situation, if we dial it back a few degrees, we might be able to think of a time when the fruit of self-control was evident in our lives. 

Our author points out a struggle with tempting food, to which I can definitely relate!  Especially with all the cookies I'm baking for Christmas!  But self-control can also be applied to how we react and relate to people and situations.  Do you lose your temper with your loved ones or that driver who's going just under the speed limit?  How about when Facebook seems more important than laundry?  Do you buy that new pair of shoes even when you don't really need them? 

The book of Proverbs gives great advice on the benefits of self-control, including "A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.", Proverbs 25:28.

Take some time today to consider an area of your life where you'd like more self-control.  Feel free to share in the comment section (on the website)!  And most importantly, pray about it. 

I'd like to thank you all for sharing this Bible study with me.  It has been an enlightening journey, delving into the Fruit of the Spirit and discovering what God has given us in this fruit.  It has also inspired me to cultivate the fruit within me and share it with my family, friends, neighbors, and my community.  I hope it has inspired you, too.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  December 14th will be our last meeting until the new year.  Our first meeting in 2013 will be on January 11th at 9:15 am.  

We will be reading It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen.  Copies can be purchased on-line at Proverbs 31 website, and at nearby bookstores.  Read chapters 1 & 2 for the 11th.  We'll be jumping right in to this fantastic study!  I can't wait!!

Have a wonderous Advent Season, a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! 

Your Partner in Ministry,

"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health."  ~Proverbs 15:30

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

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Sunday, December 9, 2012


"Gentle words bring life and health..."  ~Proverbs 15:4a

Thank you for a wonderful discussion on Gentleness, ladies.  I was excited before I got there and filled to overflowing when I left.

We found 'gentleness' in several passages of the Bible, including the Proverbs verse at the top.  Along with 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12, we read Proverbs 15:1 and 15:4;  Philippians 4:4-9; and 1 Peter 3:13-16.  In each passage we see another way God is gentle with us and how we can be gentle with our friends, family, our Christian family and non-Christians. 

1 Thessalonians spoke to how we can and should be gentle in our evangelism.  No one likes religion shoved in their face!  But when we live and love our faith, encourage and guide others with gentleness, the Word of the Lord will be spread.  We agreed that gentleness rubs-off on one another.  When we are gentle, even with a seemingly gruff person, their attitude softens, their deep hidden kindness surfaces and it is a delight to witness.  Imagine a Gentle Revolution!

1 Peter pointed to the idea that we all have our own unique way of being gentle.  When I think of the word gentle the image of a fuzzy bunny comes to mind.  It's kind of funny, but a bunny is soft to the touch, quiet and leaves little trace of itself in the grass after it hops away.  We shared with the group, people in our lives whom we think of as gentle: a soft spoken mom & wife, an honest leader in the church.  In 1 Peter and our discussion we discovered that "gentle" does not always equal "fuzzy bunny".  It also means being honest, encouraging, not demanding of others time, resources & admiration, guiding.  Each of us has our own unique style of being gentle! 

Like all the Fruit of the Spirit, gentleness is given to each of us.  We all have it, though maybe in different strengths and at different times or in certain areas of our lives.  We may not see gentleness in ourselves, but others do!  It is there, as promised by God. 

Receive the gentleness that God offers, be gentle to those around you, and remember to be gentle with yourself.

Your Partner in Ministry,

"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God."  ~Philippians 1:3

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit - Week 8 - GENTLENESS

"But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law."
- Galatians 5: 22-23
"A gentle answer turns away wrath; but harsh words stir up anger."  ~ Proverbs 15:1

I am so excited to be thinking and talking about Gentleness, especially at this time of year!

Please, please, please, if you don't have time to read and do the study questions, at least read the passages in the Bible for the lesson.  1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 and 1 Peter 3:13-16 (I know, it says 15-16 in the book, but 2 more verses won't cost you more than a second and it seems better to start at 13).

The dictionary says gentleness is: considerate, a kindly disposition, amiable, not harsh or severe, docile, of good family, noble.  The passage in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 agrees with that, but takes it a little further, I think.  Jot down some ways gentleness is described in the reading.

My habit is to sit down and do the readings & questions all at once. That's how it works for me; but the thing I really like is that the scripture rolls around in my head all week.  As I go through my daily chores and running around, God's word is working in my heart and head.  Sometimes, study questions that stumped me come to light - sometimes not :)  But I go through my week with His teachings close to the surface.

I encourage you to read the passages as soon as possible, so they are with you.  When you have your quiet time with God, reflect on them, even do the study questions.  And when you do, pay particular attention to #5, how can we share "not only the gospel of God but our lives as well" with those around us and what might this mean in terms of time, energy, and vulnerability? and #8, how are the themes of evangelism and gentleness related?  Then consider some practical ways to do #8 (question #9).

Questions #8 & #9 are what got me so excited!!!  When is there a better time to be gentle in our evangelism than when we are talking about a baby?!  The birth of a baby, the meager setting, the gathering of animals & shepherd boys, the total lack of fanfare among society just oozes gentleness.  And then, the giving of gifts to a child from foreign kings and the fact that their giving has remained an important role in our celebration.  The whole idea of giving to others and giving glory to God for His gift to us, is one way to be a gentle evangelist!  

Even as we are hounded with "Buy-Buy-Buy", the true Spirit of Christmas remains.  Look for it and encourage it.   How do you or will you spread the Word this Advent season? 

I encourage you to share how you do 'gentle evangelism' in the Comment section.  You just might inspire someone with your words :)  Remember, if you are reading this in e-mail, you have to go to the website (click the title to go there or type into your browser).  I look forward to reading them!

Your Partner in Ministry,

"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body"  ~Proverbs 16:24