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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Time For My New

Isaiah 43:18-21 has been my scripture these last two days. It is rich with promise for our lives! Have you ever wished your mind would think only of good things, and believe unceasingly in what God promises? I have! You hope to believe. You cry out to believe. Even though we are meant to be new in Christ–even though we know that all things in our lives are meant to be new–even though we believe the old should be over, we sometimes struggle to move forward in faith. We cannot fully perceive the depth of the incredible spiritual transformation that new life in Christ really promises. He means for us to be completely free from the chains of old baggage, and to live in the freedom the Holy Spirit imparts (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past” (Isaiah 43:18). This Scripture tells us not to wrap our minds around what has happened, and not to continually think about the past that has defined us. It instructs us to make a decision to forget the former things. Forget is a strong word, and it means “being unable to call to mind, unable to summon up, or unable to picture.” Now that sounds amazing– not to remember or even have a picture in my mind of past fears or failures. Forget means that the past is gone. So we shouldn’t continually think about it or dwell on it. He will keep me, and He will keep you in perfect peace when our minds dwell on Him (Isaiah 26:3).

See,” the Lord declares, “I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it” (Isaiah 43:19)? When my mind does not dwell on what has been, hope is much easier. “See” is another strong word, and it means “to understand, realize, or perceive.” It doesn’t mean to just "look”. “Look” is concerned with appearance only. “See” takes “look” somewhere it has never gone before. “Look” glances, and then moves on and misses the depth of God's truth. “See” seeks, and expectantly trusts that God is doing a new thing. Faith is the new thing. Faith is not dormant. It is alive. It springs up. Can I not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland,” He promises. “The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise” (Isaiah 43:20-21). Even though I may walk through a wasteland of pain and suffering, it will not destroy me. It will not define me. He created me to love and praise Him, and I belong to Him. He gives me everything I need to survive and flourish. I choose to forget the old and to find this new and greater faith He has for me. It is time for my new. I choose to perceive it!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Life Happens


“'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).


Life happens. Whether good or bad, change can still be frightening. Change means that what you have believed in this life is no more. When circumstances change for the worse, you may grieve the loss of what you believed would last. When they change for the better, sometimes you have difficulty with the adjustment that the change requires. No matter what happens in life, God is your constant and sure foundation in this vacillating world. If your life is safely hidden in God–if He is your cornerstone of faith, you cannot fear change because He never changes. He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). 

His perfect plan for your life always gives hope for your future. Trust Him when the seasons of your life change. Learn His lesson in wherever circumstance life places you, and apply that lesson to your life. It makes the next change, whether good or bad, easier to handle, because you have learned spiritual balance in a world that offers no solid foundation. The power of the Holy Spirit to handle change is always available. Claim it, and use it constantly. His power, His strength, His faithfulness, His consistency, His balance is all yours to exercise everyday. You can never ask too much of God. His provision is unending. Living by faith in Him provides abundance in all that life brings. 

“See, I am doing a new thing!” the Lord proclaims. “Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise” (Isaiah 43:19-21). Whatever new thing lies ahead in your life–whatever change, He has made a way to provide exactly what is needed for your journey. He offers all the resources you need. You are His child, and He will not forsake you or leave you. Praise Him and accept His spiritual peace. It is His perfect gift for your life–to know that in whatever change occurs, He has a plan and purpose for your life.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

I Have Him


“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b, NIV).
No matter what I face, I am never alone.
No matter what my weakness, I have His strength.
No matter what I feel, I have a spirit that rests in His Truth.
No matter what my struggle, I have peace that He is in control.
No matter what my defeat, I have victory in His purpose.
No matter what my sadness, I have joy in His strength.
No matter what my lot, I have faith in Him.
No matter what, it doesn't matter.
I have Him.

Friday, December 26, 2014

His Word

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:10-11, NIV).


I remember the moment I found these verses in Isaiah. The words on the page suddenly became full of promise for me. They were like a hidden treasure for me to discover, and I was hungry for the adventure. I wanted them to accomplish His best in my life. As the pain, loss, and troubles of life have hit me fully in the face, God has always reassured me with the promises I have discovered in His Word. Through many years He has continually given me peace the power they impart.


So many know that one of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:6-7) "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV). Whatever happens I can trust God to handle my pain. I can trust Him to carry all the worries and problems. But I must release all of it to Him, and allow His peace to work in my heart and mind. I have to learn to surrender everything to Him, and that process means letting go and allowing His strength to become mine. I must face my fears and problems head-on with His strength and believe He will carry me through each ordeal. I must exercise faith trusting that no matter what the outcome, He will provide for my every need.


He is my hope and promise! "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23, NIV). I choose to believe in His promise! “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame" (Isaiah 50:7, NIV). Unswervingly! With my face set like a flint! This is way I will believe. He will provide the strength to overcome my fears, and face my problems head-on. I decide to believe this, and allow Him to be my strength. It sounds good to read these Scriptures over and over, but I MUST internalize them until they become real in meuntil my every thought is taken captive by them. And only then I will realize His greatest healing peace.


"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised" (Hebrews 10:35-36, NIV). "The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it" (I Thessalonians 5:24, NIV). I must never give up! I must believe that He is faithful to take care of whatever I have released to Him. I must believe that when I surrender by body, soul, spirit, mind, and heart to Him, I will receive what He has promised me. He will give me victory over fear, problems, struggles, and I will know peace that the world will never give. It will be His peace that passes all my human understanding. And I will know Him through His Word alive in my heart, and His Spirit alive in me. He will truly be my strength, my victory, my Savior, my peace, my joy, and my love.



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

This Christmas


For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11, KJV).

For unto us a child is born, but not just any child. He is a child born to save the world. He is a child born to save you and me. He is a child born to change our hearts. This child speaks hope where the world speaks discouragement. This child gives joy where the world offers despair. He imparts what the world can never impart–His peace. For “all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. (Isaiah 61:3, NLT).

Jesus Christ came into the world to lay down his life for our sin. He was not forced to give up His life, but He gave it freely for you and me. Because of His willing sacrificial love for us, we can go into the presence of an almighty God and find help in our times of need (Hebrews 4:16). There is hope in the midst of discouragement and despair. There is the promise of eternal life, joy, and peace. His name is the name above all other names. He is the one who is your answer.

This Christmas ask Him into your heart, and experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything you can understand. His peace will guard your heart and mind as you live your life for Him (Philippians 4:7).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

To Everything


“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, KJV).

Whatever season of your life you are in, there is a purpose in it. Sometimes when you are going through a time that is hard, it becomes difficult to see yourself in a better season of life. Each of us need to seek His purpose in whatever time we experience rather than try to rush hurriedly through to the next one. When we push this way, we miss what the Lord wishes to accomplish in us. Each season the Lord imparts is given for His reason. The incredible value of the lessons learned from each time can give us greater faith to make it through all the difficult seasons of life. They can also give the greatest fulfillment in the seasons that bring joy.

I have been in a time of mourning over the loss of my mother for almost two years. It has been a long process. For some reason during the last two weeks, grief has hit very hard. I didn't understand why this intense grief had come over me so powerfully. I thought is was because it is Christmas, and that was one of Mama's favorite times of the year. This past Sunday when it was overwhelming my heart, I suddenly moved from a time of weeping and mourning to a time of laughter and joy. When I thought the pain was becoming too much to bear, God moved me to a new time of light-heartedness and happiness. He opened a door to the next season that only He could open. With His powerful Hand and in His perfect way He encouraged me that it was time to move on. I know without a doubt that my season of mourning has passed. Where I go next is His choice and for His purpose.

Whatever your season or time, learn from it. Rejoice in the lesson to be learned. Apply it to your life. Allow God to take you where He wishes, and allow Him to mold your heart. The pain you may feel now will definitely be part of your joy later. Also the joy you may feel now will carry you through any difficult season that lies ahead. Wherever you are, He is with you, guiding you from one season to the next. Give Him your hand, and trust the one who gave you this life to carry you safely and joyfully through it.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Confidently Ask

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15, NIV).
What is the desire of your heart this Christmas? If whatever you desire is in His will, He hears your request. He knows exactly what it is, and has your provision ready. You can rest assured that He has the best answer for whatever your need. Have confidence in approaching Him. Ask in faith believing that He will answer. Trust His love for you. Trust His faithfulness to you. Bring to Him your desire knowing that to lay it on the altar means immediate help in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16). His desire is to supply what you need, but you must ask, believing that He will supply what is best for you. Faith is the key that unlocks the door, but faith is only found in intimate contact with Him. To know Him intimately means you understand His will for your life, and that it is more important than anything else. A heart that is sold out to God has the faith to believe that He can move mountains. Let Him own your heart, and “do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6, NIV).

Ask in faith confidently believing He will supply your heart's deepest need.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Making His Joy Complete

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind” (Philippians 2:1-2, NIV).

The phrase from Philippians, “make my joy complete”, is on my mind this morning, and I want to explore what it means for me. Being complete is being fulfilled. The Lord wants to experience His fulfillment in me. More than anything, He wishes me to discover fulfillment in my Christian life. My fulfillment brings Him joy. So how can I “make His joy complete”and bring fulfillment to Him? In these verses in Philippians, I find my answer. If I share the love He has given me with my brothers and sisters in Christ, then I bring Him joy by comforting and encouraging with His love, and by being unified in spirit and purpose.

Unity is absolutely necessary for good spiritual health in the body of Christ. However, it is so hard to find, and then it can be so hard to keep. We are all so different. We come from different backgrounds. We are different ages. We have different likes and interests, ideas, and preferences. But it absolutely possible to be united without everyone being unanimous in a vote or in a decision. Being like-minded doesn't mean having the same opinion, but it does mean having the same attitude and the same purpose. We need a team-attitude. A team works together to accomplish the same goal. We work together to accomplish the Great Commission. Having the same love and being one in spirit and purpose brings unity. Even if we aren't always one in our opinions, being one in Christ means means we seek His will instead of our own. It means that we lay down any agenda, and seek to come together in His purpose.

Kate, my artist friend in Greece, creates mosaics. She uses different materials to create a work of art―colored glass, stones, ceramics, and many other things. The materials she uses are of all different sizes, colors, shapes, and of different substances. From all these unique materials with different consistencies she creates a beautiful masterpiece. Just as she creates a beautiful unified work of art , Jesus Christ can take our unique differences and create something beautiful in the church. Our unity can only come from being unified with Jesus. He is the cornerstone and our anchor. As long as we regard Jesus Christ as our anchor and our reason for being―as long as we realize that our treatment of each other is the way that we treat Christ―as long as we put Him and His love first before any of our own ideas or opinions, we can discover this unity of spirit that binds us together in His love. “We will speak the truth in love,” Paul writes, “growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (Ephesians 4:15-16, NLT).

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hang On!

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:36, NIV).

The Lord promises He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. He loves us with an everlasting love. He supplies all our needs. His grace is sufficient for whatever we face. If we draw close to Him, He will draw close to us. There are hundreds of divine promises in His Word! These promise are not dependent upon who we are or what we are. They are true for all His children. Sometimes, however, when we realize the cost of His calling upon our lives, we pull away from His abiding presence. When we pull away we forsake Him, and forsake His promises. All He desires is for us to surrender, to accept His will, and to persevere in our efforts to follow Him. Though we may fail at times in striving to accomplish His will
if our heart’s desire is to serve HimHis promises will be fulfilled. He knows our strengths and weaknesses, and He knows the areas we need to mature spiritually. When we are stretched for His sake, we will receive what He has promised.

Do you think that when Jesus called Peter to follow Him that He did not know his strengths and his weaknesses? God knew Peter. He knew that despite human weakness, Peter would discover His strength. If you feel weak and lacking in power, remember the Lord chose Peter knowing His potential―knowing that one day He would be filled with the Spirit and with power. God's choice of Peter is encouraging. Choosing a weak Peter to serve Him encourages us that, we too, can be used for God's service. Take heart. No matter what your struggle or your area of weakness, God knows your potential, too. He extends love and forgiveness along your lifetime of service so that you may achieve it. Peter, as a result of God's grace, forgiveness, and power, discovered spiritual maturity.

His divine power.” Peter writes, “ has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4). He has called you to serve Himnot because of who you are, but because of who He is. His divine power is available so that through Him, and through His precious promises, you may become more like Him. You can reach a level of spiritual maturity where you are effective and productive in your Christian walk (2 Peter 1:9). But you must “let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4). Persevere! Hang on! Don't give up! Seek Him and abide in Him! When you have done His will, you will receive what He has promised (Hebrews 10:36).



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Rich in Grace and Purpose



For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means” (2 Corinthians 8:9-11).


Do you have a vision from God that you believe with all your heart? Is it something into which you have poured your heart and soul? Perhaps you not seen the work of your hands bring you closer to that vision. Perhaps you have become weary because of constant struggle to attain that vision. You were the one to whom God imparted the vision. You were the first to get it started. “Now finish the work” Paul writes, “according to your means.” You can only finish to the best of your ability according to what you have been given. God's perfect will is for the vision to be completed, but you can't make a vision happeneven from all you have done to inspire others to catch your vision. If you give the work your very best, God will do one of two things. He will bring it to completion with the support you have around you, or He will give you another means to achieve it. 
 

Don't ever forget that the vision does not belong to you. It belongs to Him. You are just a yielded vessel for Him to use for His purpose. His vision is fluid. It is not etched in concrete. You can have a mental picture of how a vision should pan out, but that is just your human conception. His thoughts are greater than yours, and His ways go beyond your human understanding. The vision He has imparted to you is only a part of His greater purpose. It is greater that you can ever imagine. He gives you a certain vision to be your focus and your goalto anchor you. Whatever He has imparted to you, realize He owns it. You are His steward who does what He directs, and you are His steward who never forgets that it all belongs to Him. You are not the only one with a vision from God. The visions that He imparts to His children are ultimately meant to bring us together in His ultimate purposeto prepare hearts for His return. You are part of God's greater plan. Do whatever you can to work toward your vision with whatever resources you have, and work with just as much enthusiastic purpose that you had when you first were inspired.


The sacrifice of Jesus Christ has made you rich in purpose. Although He could have had anythingalthough He had every powerful resource at His bidding―although He was perfectly God and without sin, He became poor for your sake. He humbled Himself, and gave His life as an offering for your sin so that you might be free and rich in grace. You know the sustaining power of His grace. Now believe in what He has given you. The vision He has imparted to you is just as rich as when it was first realized. Your life now is sacrificed to His purpose. When He is ready, you will know with certainty that you have completed what He inspired within your heart.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Heart to Obey

You have been called to a great work. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was called to a great work. The angel, Gabriel, came to her and said, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Mary trembled at the news, but she replied, “I am the Lord's servant.”
Mary had a heart to obey. She never walked away from God's calling. Don't walk away from what God has called you to do for the sake of time or personal need or even fear. He desires for you to know Him completelyto know fulfillment in your callingto have a pliable heartto experience the power of His presenceto receive what He has promised. The promise is realized when you allow Him to work in your life, and you give Him the gift of an obedient heart. What God has promised you is true, and He will bring it to pass in His time. Jesus is the reason for this Christmas season. Christ was born for you and me, and He died for us. It came at the greatest cost─His life for yours and mine─His pure life for our sinful one─His perfect love for our rejection─His pain for our stubbornness. And what will it cost us? A repentant, and obedient heartHis will instead of our own. 
 
Perhaps you were once wandering, longing to be used by the Lord, longing to be fulfilled in His purpose. The Holy Spirit opened a door, and you walked joyfully through it, and you now know the joy of His purpose and His promise. His will is your anchor which sustains through all the trials and hardships. Never let go of it. Perhaps you have made a decision about your life which has placed His will on the shelf. There is no joy in placing your desire before His calling. You will eventually experience loneliness and pain. At the time your decision might seem so right because your need seems so great, but you will learn later that you have lost what He has promised. Your greatest loss will be found in failing Him. Living your life for yourself instead of living it for Him, you will lose everything He wishes to teach you. He just longs to be in control of your life. He just wants your obedient heart. He longs for you to trust Him to bring about what He has promised. When you choose to be in control instead of allowing Him to lead and guide, you lose His presence in your life.
 
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Mary realized the omnipotence of a great God, and the importance of what He asked. She realized that He was higher in every way than she could ever be─that His purpose and vision in every way surpassed her own. If He has promised you something, allow Him to bring it to pass in His time. Give Him the gift of an obedient heart this Christmas. Give Him all of you. That special promise He has imparted to your heart will be fulfilled in His time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Never Alone


He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6b, NIV).


Christmas can be a lonely time for those who have lost a loved one. It can be a sad time for those who do not have a loving family. It can be a lonesome time for those who have no one in their lives to encourage them and offer hope. Even if you are in a loving church that brings joy to your life, Christmas can still be a sad time when those church friends gather with their own families. The season brings joy to so many, but it is also the time of year when so many feel deserted and alone. 
 

If you are someone who feels alone, you can experience an acceptance and love that brings joy to your life. You have the promise of the very best family. You can have one who is closer than a brother or a sister He is Jesus, the Savior. It you have asked Him into your heart, He is your family. The Lord will never leave you. He will never forsake you or abandon you. When it seems the rest of the world is too busy for you, He is not. When your own family does not love or accept you, He does. Your own father might have abandoned you, but Jesus never does. Your own father didn't choose you. You were born to be his child. God chooses you to be His child. He wants to adopt you into His family, and give you all the benefits of His love. You are worthy of His love that died just for you. Perhaps you haven't really experienced this kind of love that loves you unconditionallythat looks beyond your hurt and pain and sees forgiveness changing your heart. The promise of this love is so real and for the asking. Ask and reach out to Him. When you feel abandoned and rejected, you are not. He accepts you. When you feel accused, you are not. He declares you free of all charges. When you are depressed, He brings hope to your troubled mind. When you feel forsaken, you are never alone. He is your constant and abiding Savior. Give Him your broken heart, your troubled mind, and your lost life. When you cry out “heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jeremiah 17:14, NIV), He pours healing and peace into your life. You will know you are not alone.


If you are someone who has a loving family and friends, then share your Christmas with others who don't. Open your hearts and share the love of Christ with others who have no one this season. Love with the love He has given you. There is someone in your life that feels alone. There is someone who needs a touch from a loving hand. There is someone who needs to experience the words “He will never leave you or forsake you.” He extended mercy and grace to you. Extend His mercy and grace to those He brings into your life. Experience for yourself the joy of giving your life away for someone elseso that they might experience His love that sets them free.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Mama's Christmas Wish

It is the first day of December, and Christmas will be here before we realize it. This will be our second Christmas without Mama. Life to Mama was all about loving and sharing, and Christmas was the time to “get that done”. Her family was her mission field, and so many others through life became her mission field, too. When I was a child, Christmas was an exciting time. My grandparents, Big Tom and Gigi, always came Christmas morning to share in the joy of the day. When I had children, we often went to Mama and Daddy's house in Georgia for a time with all of our family—my brother and his wife and two children and my sister would be there. Sometimes other people would come just to be a part of our family—friends that were lonely and needed love. God always brought those who had needs into Mama's life. As the years passed, Christmas remained the greatest time to love family and friends.

Christmas was a time to share the Christmas story, and learn about the miracle of the Christ child who was born to save us. Christmas was a time of games and music. We learned not to play Trivial Pursuits with Pat. He knew all the answers. We played fictionary and other games that took a lot of imagination. Often two folding tables would be set up in the family room, and different games would be going on at the same time. Laughter filled the room. My brother played the guitar, and we sang. The Hamptons always sang. When the house was full, some of the younger ones slept on a bed in the garage. There was always a place to sleep, and a place to share, and be loved. There was always a place of acceptance, and a place where you were inspired to be more than you thought you could be. There was always room.

Through the years Mama saw our potential, and inspired (PUSHED) us to achieve it. She believed in who we could be when we had little belief in ourselves. Even up to the time of her death, she always inspired and reminded us of our potential. Daddy had always taken her to church every Sunday, but in early December of 2012, she was unable to go anymore. Two weeks later I knew she needed to come home from Autumn Cove for a special Christmas Eve. It was a wonderful time. Mama prayed in her quivering voice. It was the last time she would come home. She would never leave Autumn Cove again.

This second Christmas for some reason seems to be a little harder than the last one. I still love her and miss her. I miss her laugh. I miss her look that said “you need to think that one through.” I miss the look that could see right through me. I miss watching Bonanza, Andy Griffith, and Matlock with her. I miss holding her hand, straightening her room, and hearing her say, “aren't you about ready to quit fussing so much?” I miss her loving concern for everyone in her life. A week before her death she was still asking staff at Autumn Cove about their families, and sharing her love with them.

Mama's greatest wishher last wish that Christmas she came homewas for us to love each other unconditionally, and for us to know her Savior. It was on her mind a lot before she passed. The greatest promise I have is that I will see her again. She probably has her family already organized in heavenwaiting for the rest of us to come.

I pray each one who has lost a loved one will remember the good times and the good memories. Bring the memory of who they were into your home this Christmas. Love your family completely and unconditionally. Mama prayed that her family would all know God's unfailing love through the love of Christ. Mama may be gone, but her legacy of love lives on in this last Christmas wish.

The Faith of Christ

       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 liv...