Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jesus is the Reason for All Seasons!

January 2, 2010
No matter what season of life each one of us is in, JESUS should be the year-round reason we're livin', lovin', laughin, breathin', workin', and playin'! Anyone who KNOWS Jesus as their Lord and Savior knows that everything comes from HIS hand -- every moment not JUST every December!

The "Christmas Season" in the U.S. usually begins the day after Thanksgiving and lasts through the whole month of December ending January 1. During that time it's OK to sing and say the name of JESUS in stores, restaurants, shopping malls, grocery stores, and piped-in Christmas carols croon in elevators and doctors' offices, and so on. Often, corporate offices have "Christmas parties" where gallons of alcohol generously flow and the foyers of office buildings are embellished with "Christmas" decorations.

The U.S. "Christmas" season also includes lots of spending of "gifts" for "good little girls and boys" who are brain-washed by our culture that they MUST have the latest electronic gadget, newer car, better clothes....whatever the passion is according to worldly traditions. Don't forget the backwash of debt, debt, debt when this 'delightful" Season ends in January! :)

Do I sound cynical? Maybe just a little but my Bible tells me that JESUS desires to be first and foremost in my mind, heart, body and soul. If I let worldly wealth, obsessions with what other people think, and my own self get between me and God, well then I have problems --serious problems -- because it means I'm not being who and what God created me to be and I'll never have peace living like that.
I was leading a devotional study with the Creekview High School cheerleaders one Friday in December, just before the break for the 'holidays'. I named the devotion "Jesus IS the Reason for the Season" and I shared some of these same thoughts.

What happened to me in the days and weeks afterward shows me that when we hear God speaking to us through His Spirit -- by giving us thoughts and desires to do something for HIM -- and we take steps of faith in the direction He's leading us, amazing things happen. Here's my story and I'm stickin' to it! :) The devotional message I shared with the precious Creekview cheerleaders included two verses:

Matthew 1:21 -- "She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name JESUS, because He will save His people from their sins.

Matthew 1:23 -- "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him 'Immanuel' -- which means, 'God with us.' "
I stayed on those two points with them and said, "If you KNOW Jesus you are forgiven & free to live AND you will never be alone. He will always take care of you and be with you. The only reason we (I) can act silly and laugh often and love lots is because JESUS lives in us and we are confident that He loves us and will never leave us and He really is Immanuel to us. And that's why we celebrate Christmas....and all we really should be celebrating Christmas all year long!"

Well, that was my devotional message to the girls. Then God visited my heart and pierced it with the truths I shared with them. In a new way, I saw, "JESUS is the reason for the season."

I was looking forward with great anticipation for our daughter Grace to come home, too, for a couple weeks in December and she was going to even be here for my birthday (Jan. 1). It meant both of our precious daughters, Mary and Grace, would be here with us to celebrat

My message to the cheerleaders stirred me up to enjoy the 2009 SEASON more than ever and in a new way: to focus on what really matters.....and stuff doesn't matter!

I praise God our daughters are also daughters of the King so we could and did celebrate HIM together for a couple of weeks with: Christmas concerts, baking our traditional Christmas cookies for us and to share with our neighbors,

worship services at church, singing of Christmas hymns in the car and hearing them playing constantly at home, eating together, reuniting together with family friends, celebrating my birthday together, taking a trip to Alabama for a family reunion, reminiscing about when the girls were younger and laughing every day together about the hilarious personality of our littlest Balint: Lexie, a year-old rescue dog.
What have I learned through my own devotions? Relax and realize the most important thing is this life is RELATIONSHIPS. My relationship with Jesus Christ is first and then my relationship with my family and others are a very close second! :) Nothing is more fulfilling and joy-filled than to love and serve God alongside your brothers and sistas!
I have learned that what enriches our lives is when we learn from Christ what unconditional love is and what HIS grace means and then appreciating each of our differences and gifts and talents instead of criticizing the differences and gossiping about them.

I've heard someone recently say that we must stop envying each other and realize that our God designed that we each have different gifts that others do not have for a reason and we must develop our own God-given gifts and work with the body of Christ so HIS purposes can be fulfilled!
I pray this New Year will be one filled with an overflow of thankfulness in each of our hearts for the blessings that we do have and filled with hope for what HE will do in each of our lives for HIS glory in 2010!!!
With love & blessings,