Sunday, December 20, 2015

What Is Christmas Really About?


 
What is Christmas?

 
                                        Christmas is where it all began,

  An infant child who became a man.

Eternity came down so we could understand,

  The child of Creator, the true Son of Man.

 

He was not unexpected; the prophets foretold

    The events that had happened would surely unfold.

Four hundred years later the miracle came,

  The star over Bethlehem shone where He lay.

 

They came to attend Him from near and from far,

  The shepherds and wise men who followed the star.

  All were rejoicing that first Christmas night

At the child of a virgin, a humbling sight.

 

So what is the meaning of that first Christmas night?

  Simply, He came to make everything right.

  For the Child had a purpose in coming to Earth.

He came as a light and to give us new birth.

 

He gave us forgiveness and paid with His life.

  What kind of love would pay such a price?

For death could not hold Him; He rose from that grave.

And freedom and life were the gifts that He gave.

 

No longer divided, no longer alone,

  Because of His love the wall had come down.

  Live free forever! O, what a gift!

Both now here on earth and forever with Him.

 

Wise men and angels followed Him then.

  Wise men still seek Him, again and again.

 

-- Jackie M. Johnson


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Before She Becomes a Mrs. - Advice from Nancy Leigh DeMoss



Nancy Leigh DeMoss gets married today.

For the first time. At age 57. And I couldn't be happier for her and her husband-to-be, Robert Wolgemuth.

She has long been a proponent of finding OK-ness in your singleness. And today, just before she ties the knot, she offers advice "for all the single sisters before she becomes a Mrs."

So on your wedding day: Congratulations!

And may all of us who are single learn to be content, yet hopeful for all God has for us--whether we are married or unmarried.

His best!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Encouragement for Today's Christian Single



 
Whether you’re single or married, we all need hope and encouragement. Today, here’s some hope for single readers of all ages.

In addition to this blog, A NEW DAY CAFE, I also write a blog called LIVING SINGLE on the Family Talk website of Dr. James Dobson. Here are links to some recent posts.

I hope you are encouraged and find joy--and renewed hope--after reading these posts.  



Faith, Finances and Finding Wild Hope

News about Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ recent engagement
 
Be well. Be blessed. Trust God. Find joy!

Jackie
 

 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

WAR ROOM Movie and Making Prayer a Priority



One of the most popular movies in America is taking Hollywood by surprise this week. It’s not about high-speed chases or aliens or politics.  

It’s about prayer.
 
The new film, “War Room,” by brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick (“Fireproof,” Courageous”) is about a well-off couple who find healing to their broken marriage through the power of prayer.

Oh, and Beth Moore makes an appearance in the film, too.

But the main idea is that prayer is a weapon we use to fight this war called life. In fact, God does the fighting for us.  

Prayer is powerful because God is powerful! He’s the one who makes real and lasting changes in people’s lives. He’s the one who helps us to forgive when we simply do not feel like it. He mends broken hearts and shattered lives.  

I’ve learned this in my own life too. When we choose to make prayer a priority we are really choosing to make God our first priority.  

Prayer doesn’t have to be complicated. It is simply a one-on-one conversation with your Creator.  

You can build your relationship with God as you would with a close friend. Talk, listen, and find out more about His character. You’ll gain insight, wisdom, and strength to face life’s challenges. Ask Him to help you with every area of your life. Thank God for all He has done for you.  

You may not always have a large block of time to pray. But make every effort to be alone with God in a quiet place, and then pray throughout the day as you are able, whether you’re folding laundry, talking a walk, or taking a coffee break at work.  

Sometimes you might just need to offer up a short, “Help me, Lord!” prayer before you walk into a meeting or a messy kid’s room.
 
In your “war room,” your prayer closet, (or wherever you pray) you will find the power you need to live this hard and messy life. And, you’ll become acquainted with the One who loves you most.

Choose to make prayer a priority every day. And watch what God does in your life, and in the lives of those you love.  

Helpful Resources:  


Power Prayers for Women by Jackie M. Johnson 

War Room movie

 

 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

"Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion and Joy" by Susie Larson


Susie Larson is a national speaker, author and radio show host with another fantastic book out--this one called "Your Sacred Yes."

The premise? "Anytime we say yes, we say no."

"If we say yes to working too many hours (beyond what God has asked of us), we say no to family and friends and the sacred life rhythm God offers us," says Larson.

"When we say yes to purchasing more items than we can afford, we say no to financial freedom...When we say yes to overindulgence--on any level--we say no to soul freedom, and we give the enemy the opportunity to destroy our lives and our influence," she continues.

It makes me think: What am I saying yes to in my life, or no, that needs to change?

Her new book explores that and offers a pretty good trade--life draining obligation for freedom, passion and joy. To get there, we need to rely on the power of God, the peace of God and the grace He offers to all of us.

Check out some of these chapter titles:

Busyness vs. Abundance
There's Rest in God's Yes
There's Freedom in God's Yes
When God Redirects
Stand in Power

We are a busy people, so it seems wise to discern where and how we will spend our days.

Susie Larson's new book is insightful and helpful. Packed with godly advice and stories from her own life, it's a must-read for those who need a renewed sense of joy and purpose.



Sunday, May 31, 2015

Feeling Insecure? Find Confidence Here


 

We all experience times of anxiety. We lack confidence and wonder if we will ever be enough. What if I’m not pretty enough…smart enough…strong enough? What if he doesn’t like me? What if I don’t measure up?  

What if…what if…what if? 

That’s a whole lot of fear and worry we were never meant to bear. It can be exhausting to live that way.  

Thankfully, we have choices.  

We can choose to stay in an anxious place, dwelling on ourselves and what we think we can or cannot do. Or, we can choose to believe and live the truth about what God says about who we really are.  

What is the truth? What does God say about your true identity? Here are just a few things: 
 

You are… 

accepted by God – Romans 15:7
   loved dearly – Colossians 3:12
   chosen - Ephesians 1:11

blessed – Matthew 5:2-12
   a friend - John 15:15
   the Bride of Christ – Revelation 19:7

   a Child of God - John 1:12
   His workmanship - Ephesians 2:10
   a Citizen of heaven - Philippians 3:20

the Light of the world - Matthew 5:14
   His co-worker - 2 Corinthians 6:1
victorious - 1 Corinthians 15:57

Now that’s something to ponder.  

Instead of relying on what others say or finding confidence in yourself, you can build “God-confidence” by remembering that He can do what you cannot.  

God is at work in you and through you; you don’t have to do this hard and messy life on your own. 

That’s a relief.  

One of the most memorable characters in the Bible lacked confidence. Remember the scene at the burning bush? God called to Moses and asked him to go to Pharaoh, the head of Egypt, to get the people of Israel of out that country.  

Instead of thinking “God can” he fretted “Can I?” and basically said, “Please send someone else.” (Ex. 4:13).
 
He felt totally unqualified; he wasn’t eloquent enough and was slow of speech (4:10).  

Moses wasn’t looking at what God could do, he was fearful of what he was not.  

Generations later we read that story and wonder why Moses was so uncertain. I mean, in that dialog alone God showed him three miracles: a bush that burns but does not burn up, a staff that turns into a snake and back again, and Moses’ own hand that God turned leprous and then back again.  

God even said, “I will be with you…” (3:12).  

After all that, you’d think Moses would believe God and not be afraid. But he doubted again and again. Despite all that happened, God used him mightily.  

When we feel ill-equipped or inadequate, that’s the time to totally rely on God and what He does through us. 

Things change for the better when we know—and believe—the One who loves us most and trust Him.  

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure” (2 Samuel 22:33).  

Immerse yourself in God’s truth and love, and you will find insecurity fading and confidence building. 
 
When we see with the eyes of Christ, we see who we really are.
 
 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Forgiveness Revisited: What It Is—and Isn’t


When you feel wronged, you think the other person owes you something.  

They owe you an apology, an explanation, a childhood, a relationship or a marriage. Whatever it is, you are holding the other person prisoner, but you are the one with the pain.

Andy Stanley says, “Forgiveness means we release that person and say, ‘You don’t owe me.’” 

You don’t owe me.

Hmm.

How do you go from a place where you feel someone is emotionally indebted to you to a place you can release and forgive?

Often people find it difficult to forgive because they are not clear on what forgiveness really is.

Let’s take a new look at what forgiveness is…and what it isn’t. 

Forgiveness is not forgetting about what happened or acting like everything is okay. It does not mean that you condone what happened, agree with it or like it.

You are not overlooking the offense or excusing it, and you are definitely not letting the offender off the hook for their words or actions. Instead, you’re putting them on God’s hook, and trusting God to deal with it fairly because He said He would.

As you release the person who’s wronged you to God, He ensures justice is served; not you. “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Indeed, the God of unconditional love is also our advocate for justice.

Forgiveness is not judging another. Matthew 7:1-3 reads,

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” 

The simple fact is none of us knows that true motives in another’s heart. We don’t excuse or condone bad behavior, but it’s not for us to judge. That’s God’s job.

Forgiveness is not dependent upon the other person. In an ideal world, the person who has wronged you would come forward and say he was sorry. He’d acknowledge his wrong-doing and ask for forgiveness. In an ideal world a lot of things would be different. In your situation, the other person may or may not show signs of repentance, remorse or being sorry. Forgive anyway.

Forgiveness is not a one time thing. When Peter came to Jesus and asked how many times he should forgive his brother sins when he’s sinned against him, Peter thought he was being generous when he offered to forgive up to seven times. Jesus’ reply must have startled Peter when Jesus said seventy times seven. We forgive again and again, but we are also wise as to how we let the other person treat us.

Forgiveness comes in time, not always right away. Sometimes we have to grieve it first, and pray that we can feel it. Worship leader Ross Parsley once said, “Forgiveness is a decision, but healing is a process.”

Forgiving others is possible, and you can come into a gradually brighter light of understanding how to do so as you:
 

* Acknowledge you have been hurt. “I have been wronged.”

* Receive God’s forgiveness. “I have been wrong, too. I need forgiveness.”

* Choose to forgive. “I’m wrestling with why I should I forgive him?”

* Release to God in prayer—and forgive. “Because God has forgiven me, I will forgive him.”

 
Forgiveness is an act of your will; it is a choice. Choosing to forgive someone is a heart decision. You may still feel hurt or angry but you don’t have to carry it around in your purse or back pocket. Whether they ask for it or not, whether they change or not, choose to forgive.  

Forgiveness releases you. When you do not forgive you are the one that hurts, not the other person. Don’t let an unforgiving heart eat you up on the inside and destroy you. Whether it was ten years ago or ten days ago, when you forgive you are unbound and free to move into the next season of your life.

Forgiveness is the balm that heals the heart. When the pain has been dealt with you can leave the past in the past.

Forgiveness is possible only by the grace of God. Robert Jeffress has a simple, yet effective definition of grace. He says, “Grace is a deliberate decision to give something good to someone who doesn’t deserve it.” God gives us the strength to release others to His justice, not ours.

Forgiveness does not always lead to reconciliation. It can, but it may not always be wise or safe. Forgiveness does not mean we have to have a relationship with the other person or allow them to treat us badly. In addition, the other person may no longer be alive, or may not be able to receive what you have to say. Use discernment to guard your heart and stay away from a person who’s harmed you.

Forgiveness does not always come easy. That’s for sure.
 
But a person who has been forgiven much and who chooses to forgive others has a freed heart.  

“I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” (Psalm 119:32) 

Why not forgive someone today? And be set free!