Success 2019, January, Part 2

A Pearl to Seek

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Within every major goal there are minor ones to be met. For instance: If my goal is to run in the Boston Marathon, I might need to shed extra pounds gained over the holidays and start building my stamina by running 50 yards without dying!  After counting the cost, which didn’t take long, my choice is made. This is not a worthy goal for me.

Principle # 1: The Worthy Goal.

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“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33.

“…seek…first the kingdom of God…”

Seek, according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, relates to an earnest striving after. This is not a passive endeavor but one we covet and strive for, a worthy goal.

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Col. 3:1,2.

The kingdom of God:

In this world His kingdom finds its place in the heart of those where the King reigns supreme. He sits with the Father but lives in our hearts. Success in this goal manifests itself only in those where the King resides.

“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 18:2,3.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:3,5.

“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20,21.

Peter and John gave testimony to their King when commanded to no longer to speak or teach in Jesus’ name.

“But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19,20.

Peter and Paul later wrote how to succeed in seeking the kingdom of God.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” 1Peter 3:15-17.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live:

yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20.

If your first goal is to seek God’s kingdom, He guarantees success.

“But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” Deut. 4:29

“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” Prov. 8:17.

“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Luke 11:9.

Two Kingdoms:

“Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man:

The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom;

but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world:

and the reapers are the angels.

As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire;

so shall it be in the end of this world.

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13: 36-43.

Is seeking the Kingdom of God a worthy goal? Jesus gives us the answer.

“Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls;

Who when he had found one pearl of great price,

went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matt. 13:45,46.

The spiritual principles God’s word gives for success guide us to worthy goals in all of life but must begin with the spiritual to bring true success. The principles listed in this series are in no way comprehensive but a good place to start. Are you ready for true success?

Count the cost. Make the choice. Keep focused on the goal. If it is the kingdom of God, you have found the pearl of great price. God will bring you to success.

 Join us next week for Success, January, Part 3.








What Do You Do? Walking With Jesus, Esther, Part 1

IMG_0051The war began in the heart of the Creator’s anointed cherub before time existed.

His name,

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!

how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven,

I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:

I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;

I will be like the most High.” Isa. 14:12-14.

His Creator and ours answered the challenge.

“Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit…Isa. 14:15; T

In the Garden of Eden, the anointed cherub revealed himself a liar, a thief, and a murderer when he enticed Eve to deny the goodness of her Creator. The hearts and minds of mankind became his battlefield as he continued to seek the Lord God’s throne. If he could destroy God’s people, he may have believed the throne would be his, for there would be no Deliverer as promised in the Garden, to Abraham, the prophets, priests, and kings. But God would prevail.

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and, and thou shalt bruise his heel…Gen. 3:15;

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your  feet shortly…Rom. 16:20;

But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Gal. 4:4,5.

Although, the name of God nor Satan are mentioned in the book of Esther, both are depicted. One in the account of Haman’s attempt to destroy God’s chosen people and the other in Esther’s role in the salvation of the Lord’s people. God’s faithfulness to his word was and is greater than any scheme of the deceiver.

“Ye are of God little children, and overcome them:

because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1John 4:4

The Book of Esther depicts the Lord’s providential wisdom  in the affairs of man. Beginning with the banishment of Queen Vashti, Esther’s crowning, Mordecai’s saving of the king, Haman’s pride and hatred in the plotting of the Jews’ demise, Haman’s end, and in the end, the Jews’ salvation in which the Lord orchestrated a lost cause into a great victory, the Lord’s sovereignty unfolds.

Mordecai prophesied the Jews’ deliverance when he sought Esther’s help.

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

After Esther obeys Mordecai’s charge to approach the king, without being summoned, she asks Mordecai and all the Jews in Shushan to fast for her for three days and nights. Read the account to see God’s plan unfold, resulting in,

“…the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.” Esther 8:17.

For Us:

This would not be the last battle between the Lord and Satan, nor the last time God’s people would be threatened with extinction. Even now, the body of Christ, the church, comes under attack, some severely, others subtly but all by the same enemy.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Eph. 6:12.

What are we to do? Where does our help come from? The same place as Esther’s.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might…

take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand..

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,

and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Eph. 6:10,13,18.

Knowing this:

There will be one last battle.

“And when the thousand years are expired,

Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations…

And they went upon the breadth of the earth and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city:

and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone,

where the beast and the false prophet are and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Rev. 20:7-10.

The King of kings and the Lord of lords wins and all who are His will be with Him for ever and ever! I hope to see you there.

Stand brothers and sisters. Stand in His might.

When you find yourself in a battle, what is your recourse? How has the Lord showed himself strong on your behalf?


Success 2019! January, Part 1

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Are you a goal setter? Did you set or reach any of your goals for 2018? What stood in your way or helped you on your way?

Many set short-term goals to encourage them in meeting long-term goals, realizing the process of success is found in counting the cost, taking one step at a time, and keeping focused.

COUNTING THE COST:  Determining the worth, time, and reward of success in meeting your goal.

Jesus taught this principle, in Luke 14:28-35, to the multitudes when he set the goal of discipleship before them.

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”

Jesus continues with the illustration of a king going to war and then the conclusion.

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”

ONE STEP AT A TIME: To reach the end you must begin at the beginning, choosing to pay the cost.

Ruth, the Psalmist, and Moses are three, of many, biblical examples who made the choice.


“And Ruth said,

Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee:

for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge;

thy people, shall be my people, and thy God my God:” Ruth 1:16.

She counted the cost, made the choice, and never looked back.

The Psalmist:

“I have chosen thy way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto thy testimonies; O LORD, put me not to shame. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.” Psalm 119:30-32.

In choosing, the Psalmist recognized success depended on God’s word and work in his heart.


“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;

choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt:

for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” Hebrews 11:24-26.

Moses made his choice and completed his goal keeping before him the worth of his goal.

KEEPING FOCUSED: The cost counted, the choice made, now comes persevering to the end.

Paul and Jesus show us how to attain success through keeping focused.


“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do,

forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13, 14.


“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,

let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:1-4.

One final thought: Are your goals worthy?

Jesus made plain the truly worthy goals.

“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the Father sealed.” John 6:27.

If you are given this year of 2019, how do plan to succeed in meeting your goals? Have you counted the cost and made your choice? How will you persevere to success? How do you define success?

By God’s grace and direction one goal I hope to achieve begins with this post. Each month I will introduce a principle of success as seen in God’s word. My plan is to post Success 2019 once a week. I also plan to keep working on the Walking with Jesus series posting once a week . The purpose of these goals is to encourage and strengthen us in the word of God as we travel through this new year. Join me next week for Success 2019, January, Part 2. And may all bring honor and glory to our King in 2019.




Have You Heard the Bells?

christmas-1759091__340One of my favorite Christmas hymns is *“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”.  As they ring, they toll out peace on earth, good will to men. Wars, rumors of war, where is peace to be found? This world holds peace talks that are broken cisterns. Peace trickles in through empty promises and flows out through the cracks. This world delivers only tribulation, unrest and disappointment. Only One brings peace. He is the son given to us, He is Jesus Christ…

“…and his name shall be called…The Prince of Peace.” Isa. 9:6

He is the author of peace. He not only wrote the book on peace…”All scripture is given by inspiration of God…holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” He is the book…”And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (2Tim. 3:16; 2Pet. 1:21; John 1:14). At His birth peace was born…”Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Lu.2:14.

“…The Prince of Peace…” “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins..” Acts 5:31.

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace…Having abolished in his flesh the enmity…

for to take in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby;

And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them there were nigh.

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Eph. 2:13-18.

Before peace can exist throughout the earth, it must first reside in the hearts of mankind with God. This peace comes only through receiving Jesus Christ, The Prince of Peace.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Rom. 5:1,2.

“And having made peace through the blood of his cross…you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight…”(Col. 1:20-22).

Jesus took our hostility toward God upon himself as He hung on the cross, making peace between mankind and God possible. His death and resurrection fulfilled the promise of peace announced at His birth, removing man’s hostility toward God and replacing it with the peace God provided between man and Himself in the garden of Eden thousands of years ago. Now, those who trust in Christ are…

“Justified by faith…have access by faith into this grace…rejoice in hope…have access by one Spirit unto the Father…made nigh by the blood of Christ…to be presented…holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.”

In a world wrought with chaos, God offers us peace with Him that brings peace in us through his indwelling Holy Spirit.

“…we have a great high priest…Jesus the Son of God…Let us therefor come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus…and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Heb. 4:14,16; Phil. 4:6,7,9).

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” 2Cor. 13:11.

Praying…”Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.” 2Thess. 3:16.


* “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”

poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
B”There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

One day it will not only be realized in the hearts of those who trust in Christ but also on the whole earth when He reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Editor’s Note: With Christmas coming most of my blogs will have been previous published so I can spend more time with my family and still offer you some words of encouragement. May you and yours have a Blessed Christmas and Coming New Year!


What’s Your DNA?

christmas-1913650__340“For unto us…a son is given…and his name shall be called…The everlasting Father…” Isa. 9:6.

Eternal wrestles with what our minds can comprehend. It speaks of the past, present and future as a state of being. “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM…” Ex. 3:14. He is the only eternal One in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Everlasting speaks to a beginning with no end.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth …And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”(Gen.1:1,26a, 27).

The Everlasting Father, Jesus Christ, the Son of God,

“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature…by him were all things created…all things were created by him, and for him:

And he is before all things, and by him all things consist: And he is the head of the body, the church:

who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have preeminence.

For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell…”.(Col. 1:15-19).

“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature…”  Jesus had a beginning only in that He was born in the flesh. God the Son had no point of origin but was the  originator of every created thing.

Father in the Hebrew (Ab) carries the meaning of father as in creator, originator, head, ruler. Jesus the Son of God is our Everlasting Father, our Creator.

“…And he is the head of the body, the church…” Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is our Everlasting Father as the head of the church. His birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and gift of the Holy Spirit gave birth to the church which is His body.

“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” Eph. 1:22-23. 

“…Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body…the church is subject unto Christ…

as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones…This is a great mystery…” (Taken from Eph. 5:23-32).

Being the Everlasting Father of His church, He is holy, without spot or blemish, He sanctifies and cleanses the body,

“That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that is should be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:27.

Jesus, God the Son, is our Everlasting Father in that He is the first fruit of the dead, the first to be resurrected to life to die no more.

“…the firstborn from the dead…

“…I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures…After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once..” 1Cor.15:3,4,6.

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death; by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” 1Cor. 15:20,21.

As our Everlasting Father, Jesus’ being the firstfruit of the dead, insures believers of everlasting life.

Jesus spoke to the crowd saying,

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself…they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:25,26,29.

“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power…And I saw the dead, small and great stand before God…And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Rev. 20: 6,12a,15.

Because the Everlasting Father is life we have, as His offspring, the breath of life. Because He is holy, those born of the Spirit are reckoned holy. Because He won the victory over death, those born of the Spirit,  have victory over death. Our DNA is a match.

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead…Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood…to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Rev. 1:5,6.



Are You Favored?

In pranced my grown daughter striking a model’s pose. Her arms swept over her torso with a grace I didn’t know she possessed. She tilted her head back smiling as if revealing knowledge withheld from others. She glanced from one older brother to the next as she displayed her newest t-shirt proclaiming, “I am my dad’s favorite.” I will let you imagine the dialogue that followed. It wasn’t pretty but it was funny.

The impact of the t-shirt would have  been greater if her dad had bought it for her instead of her buying it for herself.

Unlike my daughter, Mary didn’t need to announce the Lord God’s favor in her life. He sent an angel to declare it. Now, that carried impact.

“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured,

the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying…” Luke 1:28-29.

The Greek,CHARITOO, translates into favoured and is  derived from the word CHARIS meaning grace. Further explanation from Vine’s Expository Dictionary reveals not Mary’s grace but God’s grace given to Mary.

As a follower of Christ, you are favored in much the same way as Mary? No, the Lord’s favor doesn’t manifest itself the same way in you. But you are the recipient of His

How do you know Mary and  Christ’s followers are highly favored?

  • The word states it.

For Mary;

“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou has found favour with God.”

For Christ’s followers;

 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Eph. 2:8.

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2Tim. 1:9.

  • There is evidence of God’s grace in Mary…

God is with her.

“…Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee…”

”…And they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matt. 1:23.

  • And in the Lord’s followers:

God is with us.

“And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee, he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.” Deut. 31:8.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as he have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”Heb. 13:5

  • God entrusted Mary with the gospel, the living Word.

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35..

  • God entrusts His follower with the gospel.

“But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” 1Thess. 2:4.

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” 1Tim. 1:12-14.

  • Mary was made worthy to suffer for the gospel.

“And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:34,35.

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother…When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother…” John 19:25-27.

  • The follower’s call to suffer:

“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake:” Phil. 1:29

“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling…For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2Tim. 1:8,9a,12.

  • Mary’s response to God’s favor:

“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:38.

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.” Luke 1:46,47

  • Our response to God’s favor:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:2.

  • Mary responded to God’s grace with obedience and praise.
  • What is your response to the grace God offers you? 

The year I overdosed on Christmas

Celebrating Christ is a daily privilege and joy. It happens throughout the year not just Christmas. John Eli’s post is a good reminder to keep Christ center of life and choosing the best. If you would like to read his other posts you can find him at

John Eli Garay

I sat there on the couch, surrounded by people that I loved and cared about, but at that moment I would have given anything for an excuse to get up and leave.

It was the 4th church-sponsored Christmas gathering that I had been to that year, and it was only the second week of December.

I took a look around the room and everyone seemed to be so happy. They seemed delighted to share in favorite family recipes, warm drinks, and Christmas carols. I, on the other hand, clothed myself in a fake smile and thought to myself, “If someone sings O Little Town of Bethlehem, one more time, I’m going to smash the nearest Nativity” (Ok, that’s a little dramatic… but I seriously wanted the carols to stop).

As I sat there, and despite being surrounded by friends,  I couldn’t help but think about everything else on…

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