Frankly Speaking ........Now!
Focus on the Right Stuff

 

“Christmas is the time of year when everyone wants their past forgotten and their present remembered.”

 

“Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace by giving our kids toy rockets, machine guns and tanks.”

 

For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given...These will be his royal titles: “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” “The Prince of Peace.”  Is 9:6.

 

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Dear Friends,

 

The last few years have been very “trying” for a lot of people.  Many have experienced situations and events never seen before in their lifetime. These “storms” have affected each of us in different ways, as well as our family, friends, co-workers and so many others we continue to hear about.  It has been very difficult to know how to navigate through these “waters!” 

Hopefully, “times like these” have revealed the need for a greater dependence upon the Lord and you have sought His presence, wisdom and guidance through prayer, reading His word and fellowship with other believers! Now that you have a more intimate relationship with Him, I know you are able to see His involvement in every detail of your life! 

Unfortunately, there are others that feel like God is so far away. He isn’t answering their prayers and there is no evidence of change coming anytime soon!   Even this Christmas season has become another reminder of how miserable their set of unique circumstances are...with no end in sight! 

There needs to be a restoration of hope and joy found only in Christ...plus, others need your encouragement, help and smiling face!  Please allow the Lord to lead you in revealing someone that needs exactly what you possess...then give it away!  Choose to be a blessing to someone today!

No matter where you find yourself at this moment, I pray that you will continue to read on and discover more about the God  that loves you through this Christmas perspective! As I was thinking about the events that surrounded the birth of Christ, I remembered that everything did not go smoothly, which would have given great displeasure to most of us, because it wasn’t as planned or as envisioned.  They later brought great reward!

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord...and my spirit exalts in God my Savior.  He has looked with mercy on my lowliness...and His name will be forever exalted!  My mighty God has done great things for me...Holy is His name!”  Luke 1:46-50.

 

—Mary’s praise of thanks unto God for His “gift” to her...a son, Jesus—

 

As we read about the virgin birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:18, we find that his mother, Mary, had been promised to Joseph in marriage. Before they were married, Mary realized that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit!  Yeah, right...we definitely would have had some thoughts after hearing that story! Joseph must have thought some of the same things because he decided to break the marriage agreement with her!

As he was thinking on all he needed to do in this situation, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She is pregnant by the Holy Spirit and will give birth to a son...and you will name him Jesus, because He will save people from their sins.”

No matter what the situation looked like, how he felt, or what others were saying, we know that Joseph believed God’s word about what he was facing and obeyed it.  What an example for all of us today! He chose to believe God’s word and truth about the situation instead of the voice of his feelings, emotions, thoughts and what others were thinking! We know this because he married her and the child’s name was Jesus!

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.

Okay, now you would think that the couple taking care of God’s son would have no problems or troubles.  Wouldn’t you think they would have immunity and even get some “extra” benefits along the way because of what they were doing and who they were? God’s ways are not our ways. He does things differently, because He is more concerned about the final outcome. Our couple is being prepared to  raise the “Hope” for all mankind!

We find in Luke, chapter 2, our couple actually had to go from Nazareth to Bethlehem (a distance of about 80 miles, or about 4 to 5 days) just because it was decreed that the “world” had to pay taxes in their birth city! You would think God would have just “mailed” theirs in, or let them pass on this task, seeing Mary was due at any time and didn’t need to go on such a long, tiring, hot, dusty trip on a smelly donkey!  Joseph got to walk.

To make matters worse, it was “time” and there was no room for them in the “Comfort” Inn...so Mary gave birth to her baby outside among the animals (in a stall) AND she wrapped the baby in swaddling clothes (strips of cloth like bandages, wrappings, rags) and laid him in a manger (a feeding place for cattle-the trough that became a crib). Imagine the King of kings and the Lord of lords being born in such a humble place! 

Now it is finally time to go home, but an angel of the Lord warns Joseph in a dream to take the young child and mother to Egypt until there is further word.  Herod wants the baby Jesus dead. He is threatened because he heard Jesus was “The KING of the JEWS.”  Herod didn’t want any “worship” competition, so he started killing every baby two years old and under just to make sure he had a better chance to get rid of Jesus...talk about being a fugitive. Does it seem fair they have to deal with all this?

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” I Peter 5:10.

It just seems like there was one thing after another...further proof that none of us is immune from troubles, trials or suffering...no matter who we are...not even if we are the spiritual “first family”...not even our Lord and Savior escaped!

This is good news! Our Lord understands and has lived through the very same things we experience. He has been tempted, mocked, beaten, ridiculed, doubted and falsely accused.  The Son of man had times where there was no place to lay his head and he learned obedience and was perfected from the things that He suffered, just as we are...just as Mary and Joseph were!

“We are hoping for something we do not have yet, and we are waiting for it patiently.”  Romans 8:25.

He is always our “gift”!  Because of Him, we are able to have hope, faith, peace and love no matter where we find ourselves!  You say that you have been praying...then wait! You have been waiting…wait some more. Our Lord is faithful. His answer will arrive as we continue to wait, watch and pursue in expectancy!

Have the expectancy of a little child waiting for Christmas Day.  It is going to come, but it is so hard to wait.  It was so exciting  imagining what was behind all of that wrapping paper and trying to guess what each present and gift could possibly be.

“God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or can even imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Eph 3:20.

When Christmas finally arrived,  I remember tearing into those gifts and seeing what had been hidden until that moment!  Many times it would be exactly what I had asked for.  Other times,  it was so much better than what was asked for, I forgot what I originally wanted.  Then there were the times that I was too young for the shotgun I kept asking for, so I got a BB gun instead!  Later on...as I matured, I got my brand new shotgun!  My parents didn’t forget what I asked...and God doesn't either!

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.”         Matt 7:7&11.

God has a gift “waiting under the tree” just for you.  Ask Him for it and then watch for it, expecting it to arrive at any moment.  Though it may seem to take forever, like Christmas Day, wait for it.  It will arrive soon...at exactly the right time!

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy...think about such things.” Philippians 4:8.

Each one of us has so many good things surrounding us.  Our lives are full of so many blessings.  I pray we continue choosing to focus upon those things, instead of that which continues to steal our joy.  We will find true happiness in our relationship with God, family and friends.  We will find it in our work and as we choose to look upon all the beauty that we take for granted.  Others will see blessings in being healthy, alive and free. Many will be blessed as they help others go forward.

May each of you be blessed abundantly and extravagantly in all the ways you have need.  May God open new doors of opportunity for those that need jobs and extra income.  Lastly, I pray each of you will receive, and experience, the “gift” of His salvation, the closeness of His friendship, the goodness of His mercy and grace, His faithfulness to help and all the fruits and benefits of His Spirit. Have a wonderful Celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday. Merry Christmas to all. Thanks for all you do!

Believing the best...with you and in you,

 

Frank Withers

 

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