Loving Him With Your Whole Heart

During this Daniel Fast, I have seen how I serve God with a divided heart. Now they aren’t BIG sins (funny how we measure sin. They are little things like for convenience using the restaurant’s dressing which you know will have sugar. Or the other night I was feeling all righteous ordering a salad at a pizza parlor. When it came with their dressing, it had mozzarella cheese on top. That’s dairy. Not allowed. But I ate it anyway, because it had been hours since we had a meal.

The point is I am still making exceptions for myself and, therefore,  not loving Him with my whole heart. I found a very encouraging word in the Bible this morning. Jeremiah 32:39-41. God recognized the sin of His people but this was His future promise.

39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:

40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

The Israelite had done everything from denying God as Lord to burning their  babies to Molech, but he promises a future. He sees the beginning to the end.

I was reminded of a prophecy I heard years ago in Dallas. It was a call to lay it all down and He will restore. I face today with a hope and future.

Charlotte Baker in 1981
Worship Symposium
Dallas, TX

…The Eye of the Needle … The Eye of Needle
The Gate of Worship

The Ultimate Choice
“I have brought this people together today to make unto you a choice. You can minister unto men…or you can minister unto the King of Glory!”

I stood among the sons of men, strong and tall. My heart was filled with enthusiasm. My life was given to the purposes of God. Upon that day, I said to the Lord, “I will do mighty exploits in the name of my God.” The Lord came unto me and He said, “What is it, son of man, that thou would have?” I said, “Lord, if I could only be among those who play sweetly upon an instrument and who sing well in the house of the Lord, then I would do great things for my God.”

The Lord came to me and He gave unto me the desire of my heart. He let me play and He let me sing. I saw the day when the hearts of men were moved by that thing the Lord had given unto me. After hearts of men were moved, I stood back and I said to myself, “Now I will be content for I have been able to move the hearts of men.”

But in my secret hour I bowed my head before my God and said, “Lord, You have given me what I asked for but my heart is heavy. I have a longing for something more.”

He came again unto me in the night season. He asked me again, “Son of man, ask Me again the thing that thou would have of Me.” I said, “Lord I see men bowed by burdens low. I see hearts that are broken. I see sadness and discouragement. Oh give me the power of the spoken word that I might speak the word and their hearts be delivered.” The Lord came unto me and said, “Son of man, I have given thee the things which thou hast desired.”

With great joy, I marched before the people of God. In my youth and in my enthusiasm, I spoke the Word and men were delivered. I spoke the Word and their hearts were made whole. I knew what it was to bind up the broken hearted and to pour in the oil of joy replacing their mourning.

While men were yet praising Him, glorifying His name, I went back to my secret chamber, I bowed my head in sorrow. I said, “Oh my God, my God, I am not satisfied.”

He came again unto me and He said, “Son of man, what is it that thou desireth of Me?” And I said, “Oh my God, give me power in my hands that as You did, I might lay my hands upon the sick and see the healing flow.” He said unto me, “It is done as thou has commanded.”

God healed the sick. I went to the nations of the earth and I saw the sick raised from their beds. I saw pain and suffering go away. I was rejoicing as I went to my secret place. I bowed my head before my God. I said, “Now my God, I will be satisfied for you have given me that which I have desired.” No sooner had the words come out of my mouth when the heart within me began to ache and cry. I said, “God, I don’t understand. Again my heart is sad. Lord, will You, just one more time, give me the thing I ask of Thee?” he said, “It is done.”

“God, I desire to go against principalities and powers, the powers of the wickedness of this world and spiritual darkness in high places. He said, “Surely I give it unto thee. Now go.” So I went and the Lord allowed me to go into dens of iniquity, the holes and dives where men hide from the light because of the sin and evil that is upon them. There was a day when I saw demons cry out at the very presence of the power of God that rested on me.

Then I went back to my secret place broken. I said, “God, I have asked You for all that I desired and still my heart is not yet satisfied. Nor do I feel that I have touched the thing that You have called me to. In my youth I have expended myself with all the things that my heart had desired.”

Then one more time a gracious and loving God visited me in the night season. He said, “Now – what is it that thou dost desire?” In brokenness of heart, I bowed before Him and I said, “God, only that thing which You desire to give unto me.”

He came unto me and said, “Come with Me and I will take you on a journey.” He took me past my friends. He took me past those with whom I had come into the house of the Lord. He took me into a desolate place. He caused me to go into a place alone in the wilderness. I said, “Oh my God, what are you doing to me? You have cut me off from those I love.” He said, “I take thee to the place where all men must come if their heart’s cry is to be fulfilled.” At a certain hour, I bowed before a gate that is called…

The Eye of the Needle, The gate of Worship!

There before the eye of the Needle I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Bow low.” So I bowed lower. He said “Yet lower. Thou does not go low enough.” So I went as low as I could possibly go.

But I had upon my back my books of learning. I had with me my instruments of music. I had with me my gifts and abilities. He said unto me, “Thou has too much, thou can not go through this gate.”

I said, “But God, You have given me these books. You have given me these abilities.” He said, “Drop them. or thou dost not go.”

So I dropped them. I went through a very small gate that is called “the eye of the needle.” As I went through this gate, I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Now rise to the other side.” As I rose, a very strange thing happened to me. You see, the gate which was so small on one side that I must lay aside everything, was now so wide I could not fill it. As I stood in the presence of the Lord I said, “God, what is this thing that You have done unto me, for my soul is now satisfied?”

He said, “Thou has come through the gate of worship. Now come up to the circle of the earth & I will show thee a great mystery. I will reveal unto thee the thing that I doing among the sons of men.”

The Spirit of the Lord caught me away. He took me to the circle of the earth, higher than where the eagle flies, beyond where the clouds can rumble, beyond where the sun shines or the moon finds her path. There at the throne of my God, He said, “Look down upon My people.”

I saw strange things. I saw my companions gathered around a very small gate that is, “the eye of the needle, the gate of worship.” I saw them wringing their hands and crying. They were saying one to another, “But God has given us these instruments of war. This sword is my sword and I will work with it against the enemy to bring him down. I cannot go through this gate, for, if I go through this gate, I must put down my sword. God has called me to be a warrior and therefore, I will not do it.”

And I heard another one say, “”Me? Lay down my instruments of music? Lay down all God has given me, just to go through that silly little gate, to be nothing but a bare man who comes out the other side stripped of everything? I cannot do this thing.”

I saw them as they stood aside in their pride, afraid to bow themselves before a very small gate.

Then I saw again, as the Lord brought me closer to the gate. I saw a man bow low, laying down everything that he had. As he came through the very wide gate on the other side, his instruments of music were there. His sword was there. His books were there. The power was there.

The Word of the Lord came to me, “Go now and tell this people before you, I have given unto this people extreme talents and much ability. But I say unto you today, if you do not come through the very small gate, which is the gate of worship, and bow low and lay before me thine instruments, thy talents, abilities, vision and power, thou shall always be among those who will only be able to minister to the hearts of men, and bless the hearts of men.

But there is a gate open to the Church in this hour, a very small gate. And through this gate, only men and women who are worshippers will go. These people will lay their talents before their God. These people will say, “God, we will be Your worshippers.” Through that wide gate they will come and they will arise on the other side, not to minister unto men, but to minister unto their God.

I have brought you together this day, to make unto you a choice. You can minister unto men and I will cause you to sway the hearts of men with your talent. Or, you can go through a very small gate, that is “the eye of the needle, the gate of worship,” and while making new worshippers, you will minister unto the King of Kings and Lord of lords!”

Taking Out the Trash

I had a visitor after Christmas. She is a very dear friend who seems to love me warts and all.

One of the things that we discussed was my time in a home for unwed mothers over fifty years ago. “Nice girls” don’t get pregnant. If they did, they were sent away to one of these homes.

She said that she had read a book called The Other Mother that described many of the things I went through. I had shoved so much of that down as it was a painful time to be pregnant, feel life growing within you and talking to your child knowing you would never hold her or even see her.

She sent me the book the next week. It took me a week to read it because it was so painful. One by one as it brought up stuffed hurts and pains. I took them to the Father. I understand better why I reacted the way I did on numerous occasions in the past half century.

I recalled all of the regimen of the home. Through the book I recognized how I been programmed to think. It was as if this baby I was carrying was a commodity to be carried and delivered. There was no help with the emotions nor the hole that would be ripped in my heart as I gave up custody.

That hole did not close as I exited the home and returned to “normal” life. My life was shrouded with guilt and shame which drove me into performance and drivenness to prove that I was okay.

When my child was taken from me, I made up my mind that I would never let anyone take any thing from me again. However, when I had other children, I can see now that I often held them at arm’s distance in fear that I would lose them as well. I can see how that fear spilled into other relationships as well.

Even when the daughter I gave up for adoption found me and we were reunited 20 years ago, I was so afraid that I would lose her again. It has made for a very tenuous relationship which is not my heart.

Fear is such a bully.

He needed to be taken out with the trash.

Perfect love casts out fear. I knew I had to receive more of the Father’s love. I saw how I held Him at arm’s distance as well. I used false comforters instead of Him.

We are body, soul and spirit. The book, The Other Mother,  dealt with the soulish realm. It offered some suggestions that I would never endorse, but it, also, exposed those secret places where the enemy had taken up residence. I know how to serve fear an eviction notice. So I did one by one as each fear was exposed.

It was now my responsibility to deal with the other two realms- spirit and physical.

The physical side is being addressed with physical therapy and walking.

For the spiritual side I chose the Daniel Fast, a partial fast. I had destroyed my body by running to the false comforter found in sugar and carbs.

I chose the course taught by Susan Gregory. I have done the Daniel Fast before with little results for two reasons. On the Daniel Fast, the only drink you can have is water. You can splurge and add lemon, but that’s it. However, I would reason that since I drank my coffee and tea without sugar or anything, I could make an exception. The Lord showed me that those exceptions that I  always made were nothing but rebellion. I had choose to fully submit. No exceptions.

I still make mistakes but I am choosing to pick myself up, brush myself off and begin again.

The second reason was I had almost limitless choices of vegetables and fruit, but I did not eat moderately.

I love that Susan asks you to take a week to prepare. You begin to wean yourself off of sugar, caffeine and meat. Because of this, I didn’t experience any of the headaches I generally experience those first three days.

There is a companion workbook. I committed to getting up an hour earlier than Ray to spend time in the Word.  To give myself adequate time with the Word, study, prayer and praise, I gave up television for this 21 day Daniel Fast.

My spirit man is being changed through His love and the power of His Word. I have worked at a ministry for over a decade and have never felt so empowered by His love than I am now. Questions in my spirit are being answered. I have  a ways to go, but I am hearing His direction.

Last Thursday I ran across a study on the Whole Heart https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/murray_andrew/two/two_note_f.cfm   for God had revealed that I was not loving Him with my WHOLE heart. I had a divided heart.

This is a continuing journey. I have made numerous trips to take out the trash in my heart  as this fast continues. I walk it out. I am sure there will be more trips. I do it without guilt or shame because that went to the trash as well.

I just want to encourage you to search heart and if you have any trash to take out, do it speedily. You can never be blackmailed for what you share in the light. You would be amazed at how many people have walked your path. Don’t let fear bully you. God’s love is so much bigger than any of your fears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your Past Determining Your Future?

It was the early 80s. I had been the director of a downtown business association and let go. It was a $20,000 year job which is equivalent to about $60,000 in today’s economy. I should not have been surprised. I was their fourth director in just a few years. The job loss took a toll on me emotionally and physically. I was newly remarried and had two additional young children.
I began to get sick. Most of it was a consequence of having a gastric bypass surgery several years previously and then more recently going on the Cambridge Diet. It was a near lethal combination.

Late one night Ray drove over an hour to take me to the hospital that had done the original surgery. I was immediately admitted and sent to Critical Care.
My electrolytes were so low that my muscles in my hands and feet were drawn in caricature-like shape. To get nutrients into me quickly they put an IV into my vena cava, a large vein carrying deoxygenated blood into the heart.
With dawn came the hospital’s realization that I no longer had the excellent insurance I had with the original surgery. Ray was given three days to raise $5,000 or they were going to discharge me.
All I heard in my head was $5,000. My life is only worth $5,000. Would anyone care?
Ray called on a benefactor who was a friend of a friend. He agreed to help if the surgery was necessary. However, when his secretary called the doctor’s office, she was told it wasn’t necessary. The gastric bypass was optional. That is true, but my life depended on this reversal. We were denied help.
That afternoon a young intern came into my room. Very curtly she announced that because my husband had not been able to raise the money, they were releasing me. She took a surgical instrument and removed the IV from the vena cava and stitched me up.
Then she said I would not be receiving meals in my room any longer. She gave me a meal pass and told me to go to the hospital cafeteria. This was a large teaching hospital and the cafeteria was quite a distance. I did not know that they had to prove I was ambulatory before they could release me.
Ray was about 90 miles away with five children. I was very frightened. He came the following day to take me home. Arrangements were made for me to be seen at another hospital but they had a backlog and it would be a month before I could be seen.
Before the month was up, I was admitted through the ER and surgery was done. Because of my weakened state, I did not quickly recover. It seemed there was an infection and fever but they couldn’t get to the root of it. After about a week, I was just too weak to keep trying.
God met me in a powerful way. (That’s another story for another day.) I did not die through His intervention.
The post-hospital time was shaky at best. I tried to operate a craft consignment shop, but I simply did not have the capital to get it up and going. In less than two years, we lost everything.
We went from a 4,000 square foot turn of the century Victorian home to a 900 square foot home in the middle of a cow pasture.
I had a lot of self-bitterness. I knew if I had not had that original surgery, this domino fall I called my life would not have happened.
Now I was stranded with no phone or car. Ray worked on the dairy farm for $200 a week less than five years after he had had a good trucking job with a stable income.
I was embarrassed by my lot in life. I wanted those nice things I used to have the nice car, nice house, all the symbols of the descent up the ladder to success.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He restoreth my soul.
God showed me that was what He was trying to do, but I would not. I wanted the things I lost.
I could not see the miracles of how he provided for us. I could tell you incredible stories of provision.
But I wanted what others had.
After a couple of years we did move to a larger farm house. Nevertheless, it was patched with license plates. We even took in two teenagers whose parents could not care for them. The mom was just not emotionally stable and the dad was newly married and the new wife had no interest in having the children in their lives.
All this time I am striving. God is providing, but I had no peace.
Finally Ray decided he need to go back on the road to get me those shiny things. Things were never going to change on $200 a week.
He called the dad and told him that it was time to man up. He was going back on the road and when school ended, he needed to come get his children, ages 13 and 14.
Less 72 hours before he was to arrive, the father drove to the beach and committed suicide.
While I am not responsible for his death, when I look back decades later, I can see now God often supernaturally provided for us, but it wasn’t good enough. I always needed more.
I took my plan and moved to another town where I had it all. However within one year, Ray had blown the transmission and the engine in his big rig and once again we lost everything.
Self-bitterness, bitterness towards God, towards our circumstances, towards the doctors and so many others had brought irrefutable curses in my life.

I began to seek the Lord for Him, not for the things I thought I needed. I began increasing my time in the Word and my prayer life grew in leaps and bounds, but I was still driven by emotions and torn what I thought others were saying or thinking.

Progress was not made until I began to fully believe I was created in His image and the Holy Spirit will enable me to fully take on His characteristics.  It is now my daily walk.

Before that walk could begin, I had to totally forgive myself and others. There is so much freedom in forgiveness. I have been forgiven of so much. How dare I not do the same?

We can stay in our self-righteousness or we can forgive, let go and walk after Him. Unforgiveness is a prison. Following after Him, forgiving and loving unconditionally is freedom.

Live 2018 to the Fullest

One of the wive’s tales I grew up with was  that how you start a year is very important to you and that it determines how you might spend the remainder of the year. While I don’t take stock in it, I do purpose to do some of the things I love and avoid all conflict. Last year I was in the midst of a sickness that lasted until April. At least, I didn’t have it all year and I am in even better health today.

I went to Trip Savvy to learn of the other superstitions that I was raised with growing up. On January 1st, you had to have black-eyed peas, rice and hog jowl. Yep! You read that right. If you didn’t, you would not be healthy and prosperous.

Trip Savvy relates:

Most Southerners will tell you that it dates back to the Civil War. Black-eyed peas were considered animal food (like purple hull peas).

The peas were not worthy of General Sherman’s Union troops. When Union soldiers raided the Confederates food supplies, legend says they took everything except the peas and salted pork. The Confederates considered themselves lucky to be left with those meager supplies, and survived the winter. Peas became symbolic of luck.

Black-eyed peas were also given to slaves, as were most other traditional New Year’s foods. Let’s face it: a lot of the stuff we eat on New Year’s is soul food. One explanation of the superstition says that black-eyed peas were all the southern slaves had to celebrate with on the first day of January, 1863. What were they celebrating? That was the day when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. From then on, peas were always eaten on the first day of January.

Others say that since the south has generally always been the place for farming, black-eyed peas are just a good thing to celebrate with in the winter.

I probably need to explain what a hog jowl is—many people have never heard of this cut of pork. It’s the “cheek” of the hog. It tastes and cooks similar to thick cut bacon. It’s a tough cut that is typically smoked and cured. Hog jowl is used to season beans and peas, or fried and eaten like bacon.”

Now we do not use hog jowl. We generally have a ham for Christmas. So I use the ham bone with all its leftover meat and cook it with my black-eyed peas. It is said that if you eat hog jowl on New Year’s Day ,it will ensure health, prosperity and progress.

I love this factoid from Trip Savvy though: Pigs have also long symbolized progress. A pig can’t turn his head to look back without turning completely around, so it’s believed that pigs are always looking to the future.

They continue on with these southern superstitions by asking: Want to get rich? Here in the South, collard greens and corn bread bring the money on on New Year’s Day.

Collard greens (or any greens) sub for cabbage in the south because that’s what we grow here in the late fall. The southern tradition: each bite of greens you eat is worth $1,000 in the upcoming year.

Corn bread represents pocket money or spending money. It’s another soul food we eat on New Year’s. The tradition stems from the color of the bread. It’s color represented “gold” or “coin” money. Plus, it goes well with collard greens, peas and pork.

Well, that is how I was raised. Do I put my faith in these bits of folk lore? Absolutely not, but I think it is important to remember where you came from. I have never been alone in my journey even when there were times that I was sure that I was. Growing up, there were parents, grandparents, friends, family members, coworkers, teachers–who helped me journey through life. This past 17 years at Be in Health helped me build a solid foundation and added stepping stones. Some I chose to take and some I am just now taking.

Recently I realized another level of rebellion that has help my blessings at bay. I am cheerfully dealing with them. A recent visit with a friend helped me deal with things I had stuffed and not dealt with. I have a personal saying, maybe I picked up in my journey. I don’t remember. But it is that people with extra pounds are stuffing things that are too painful to deal with.

I am ready to walk through the fiery trials in 2018 believing I will come through not smelling of smoke. I am leaving this excess baggage behind spirit, soul and body and embracing life as never before. Hope you will join me.

Humble and Kind

This Is Now

I was in Cracker Barrel in South Carolina a couple of weeks ago and saw a small sign that read, “Perhaps this the moment for which you have been created. Esther 4:14”

I bought the wee sign because it reminded that every moment is the moment we were created for. The older I get, the less moments I have. I cannot afford to waste them.

If we wrote a diary of our moments today, would there be any waste? I am not talking about relaxing or even playing. Some of that is good for our health. Nevertheless, did we squander precious moments meant for communication, fellowship and love? Did we zone out on social media, television or other mindless activity?

As we come to the close of 2017, let us boldly storm 2018 purposing in our hearts to maximize the moments for which  we have been created.

This Is Now

Celebrating Life

We sometimes have a conjured image of what Christmas should look like. It is often based on a precious memory.

We do not know the true value of our moments until they have undergone the test of memory.

Georges Duhamel
We have the innate ability to edit our memories. That is why two people at the same dinner table can give different accounts of what happened.
Today delight in today. You woke up and have another day. Count your blessings and just this once don’t stew in the wouldas, couldas and shouldas, but celebrate all the good that you have experienced. Then purpose today to spread joy wherever you go.
Create new memories, share laughter with others and love deeply. See it through the Father’s eyes for He created you for such a time as this.

Light Your World

The week before Christmas anticipation mounts. Yes, there are always last minute things to do, but it is the hope of Christmas that carries us through.
Don’t get so busy that you forget to spend time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer or you will soon find yourself running on empty.
Many will travel and some will enter a time warp of how things used to be. The problem is you are no longer the same person.

Sometimes family gatherings become a vortex of emotions that can suck you down until you feel disabled. One of the ways to avoid that helpless feeling is to not have false expectations. If Aunt Betty has always been argumentative and controlling, don’t expect her to be suddenly polite this Christmas. Instead of taking her to task for being so judgmental, simply listen, really listen,  and when she takes a breath, say, “That’s interesting.”
She has a deep need to be heard. Give her the gift of listening. You don’t have to agree with her or take in her barbs, just nod and smile.
If we go without expectations and with the anticipation of finding ways to show love, we will have a much better time.  Let it be a time of socialization, not social media. Look at the person when you are talking and truly listen.
Once I got out of my needs and began to approach life with a “how can I serve you” view, life became incredibly simpler. The bonus was instead of trying to get my needs met, while loving others, all those needs were either erased, changed or met.
I tell myself now and then, “Get out of your navel and into the Father’s heart.”
I pray, “Lord, help me to see today what you see and feel what you feel and love as you love.”
On my own, I can’t love the Aunt Bettys even though I know deep inside I was once one, too. But with the love of the Father, I can provide a safe place for the wounded and needy to heal. Isn’t that why Jesus came?
He said, “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,...” Luke 4:18
If He was about His Father’s business, should I not do the same?
Don’t be misled. I am not there yet, but I want to be.
Thankfully my Father judges the intents of my heart, not my imperfect attempts to show His love and His mercy.
It’s a journey – just one step at the time. The important thing is to keep going forward.

Romans 5:5 encourages us:

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

This Christmas SHINE with your love for others.

Go Light Your World

Wherever You Are…

For many Christmases, Christmas was the same traditions, but as we get older, big changes take place. My mom who was the Christmas matriarch, moved in with my brother and sister-in-law who had their own traditions. The change rippled down. At first, it was unsettling. Finally I accepted it.

W e can remember the memories, cherish them, but we do not have to grieve the loss. Each year we get to choose to be grateful for what we do celebrate and remember that each day is a gift.

Last month, a dear friend, Jackie Brown, brought me one of her paintings. She did not know that I had a thing for sparrows. We used to have a shop called The Little Sparrow. But the significance of this painting is that it went perfectly with two birds that my daughter, Margie, bought me last Christmas. The timing was perfect as it tied last Christmas with this Christmas and was a reminder that “His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”

Matthew 6:25-26 is a good reminder when things don’t go as planned.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  Behold the fowls of the air: (the little sparrow) for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
You have probably caught on now that all birds are sparrows to me. The song by Ethel Waters carried me through a very dark season over 30 years ago. I have never forgotten how He provided for us when there seemed no way, how He healed me when it seemed impossible. He provided our every need and then abundantly provided in ways we had not dreamed.
So even today when I face a challenge, I remember His eye is on this sparrow (and you) and He watches me (and thee.) Take a couple minutes and listen to this song. It has often been my prayer of faith and hope.

Merry Christmas

I shared this a couple of years ago and wanted to share it again.

For as long as I am allowed to say, Merry Christmas, I will. For Happy Holidays doesn’t capture the love our Father had for us when He sent His only Son.
Merry Christmas!
Got this email. I don’t know the author but I support most of it so I thought I would share it with you:
Letter from Jesus about Christmas —

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don’t care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn’t allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that. there wouldn’t be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 – 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don’t have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don’t you write and tell him that you’ll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up… It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can’t afford and they don’t need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don’t know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren’t allowed to wish you a “Merry Christmas” that doesn’t keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn’t make so much money on that day they’d close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families.

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary–especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here’s a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no “Christmas” tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don’t know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you..

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don’t do things in secret that you wouldn’t do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don’t forget I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I’ll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I’ll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember :

I LOVE YOU,

JESUS

Is There a Shortage of Fruit and Nuts?

I am having a fruitcake crisis. Both Ingle’s and Wal-Mart are sold out of Claxton Fruitcake. How can this be? It is way too early.

People have said that the only good use for a fruitcake was a doorstop. but I LOVE fruitcake.
Perhaps it is because it conjures up memories of Christmas past. Both my grandmother and mother made fruitcakes. They lined the many loaf pans with heavy brown paper- often grocery bags. It took several days to prep and bake and wrap.
They were a treasured gift among extended family memories. I even remember my mom hiding it. It was no ordinary fruitcake. There was none of the bitter citron. Instead there were cherries, pineapple and lots of pecans. In fact, it was so chocked full of goodies there was little actual cake- just enough to hold it all together.
My granny never baked one, but she would take a store bought one and soak it in brandy for a week. Something my teetotaller mom would never do.
Mom doesn’t make fruitcake any more.
Enter Claxton fruitcake. Well, until this year…
http://www.claxtonfruitcake.com
Thank goodness for the website because unless you live in their region, you are probably not going to find it on your shelves. It is moist and rich. You can only eat a little at the time. I love it ice cold from the fridge so it slices thin.

Three years ago a friend of mine at church whose wife was born in Claxton, GA, had the audacity to tell me there was a better fruitcake.
Blasphemy!
But he won me over that year when he sent me a special pack of four different fruitcakes from Collin Street Bakery. Alas, even at Collin Street the fruit is diminishing and pecans are the star. Their pecan cakes are outrageous.  Texas does have great pecans.
If you get fruitcake for Christmas and you hate it, send it my way. If it isn’t the right one, I will doctor it up like Granny did.
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