Christmas

A Thrill of Hope, a Weary World Rejoices

” For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ” Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

The birth of Jesus Christ was prophesied many years before He was born. You can even find a foreshadowing of Jesus in Genesis 3 with the fall of man in the Garden of Eden:

” And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3: 15 NKJV

In this section of the Bible, we see that sin has entered the world but we also see a foreshadowing of how Jesus would die on a cross for the sins of the world (you shall bruise His heel) and would come back to life again(He shall bruise your head). The people of Israel had faced hardship under Roman rule and the promise of a Messiah and King who would save them and bring peace gave them great hope. They waited many years for the Messiah. Then Jesus was born and the world would be changed forever!

This year has been difficult for many people. With the impact of the Coronavirus, economic hardship, and elections, just to name a few things this year has seen, I believe many people are longing for some hope. It is so sad to hear that depression and sucicide has skyrocketed. We look to so many places to try and find hope, such as a relationship, alcohol, drugs, a president, or the government. You and I will never find true hope and peace in any of these. There is only One who is always consistent, never leaves, offers true peace, offers true joy, and offers true love, and that is Jesus. Maybe you are one of those who are looking for hope amongst all the hardship and craziness of 2020, but there is great reason to rejoice because you can find the hope you are longing for in Jesus. The good news of Christmas is that a Savior and Messiah did come to this earth and lived a perfect life, free of sin, and then died on a cross so that we may have forgiveness for all of our sins, have a right relationship with God, and know that each and every one of us is loved by God. Furthermore, Jesus rose again and will one day come back for His people. That is better than any wrapped gift you could ever receive for Christmas!

I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Much love,

Melyssa

Coronavirus, Jesus

Where is your hope?

Hello Everyone!

I hope all of you are doing well and are staying healthy during these times. I wanted to start off by asking a question: Where is your hope? As I am sure y’all have probably heard by now, the world is facing the impact of the Coronavirus or Covid-19. There has been a huge physical, social and economic/ financial impact because of the Coronavirus. There seems to be so many good reasons to be afraid and to worry. I want you to know that God has not abandoned you. You are not alone. If you feel like your world is shaken, He is the firm foundation. God offers true hope, true peace, true love, true freedom and true fulfillment. Place your trust in the Lord and stand boldly on His holy Word.  I encourage you to use this time to grow closer to God. Furthermore, I  encourage you to be in prayer. I also encourage you to think about things you are grateful for. Look for the good things happening all around you. For example,  I was in Wal-Mart about three weeks ago and I overheard a woman on the same isle thank a worker stocking shelves. This encouraged and convicted me. I pray that we will all become a more humble and grateful people as a result of this virus. I have realized that there is so much I take for granted, such as getting to spend time with family and friends, having good health, and going to church and other places.

Much love,

Melyssa

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7: 14( NKJV)

” Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41: 10 (NKJV)

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16: 33

 

 

 

Jesus

An Uncomfortable Grace and Love

God’s love for each of us is not an ordinary love. His amazing grace is not ordinary. They are extraordinary! The Creator and King is so highly exalted, yet He chooses in every moment, the good and bad, to love us conditionally and extend undeserved grace, mercy, and forgiveness. He does not need us. He is God! However, He still desires to have a personal relationship with each of us, and He wants to use us to do wonderful things for His Kingdom. Thank You, Jesus!!! God’s love is everlasting, unconditional, sacrificial, patient, and greater than any sin! His love speaks every language and knows no border. Christ’s love changes the way we are and why we are here. We are saved by His grace through faith.

“For it is by grace You have been saved, through faith–and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God–” Ephesians 2;8 NIV

What would happen if we let God’s saving love and grace be the measure of our entire lives?

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who , being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death–even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11 NIV

It would lead us to compassion. It would lead us to obedience and putting our faith in action. You could not contain the joy we would have. We would be quicker to extend grace, patience, and kindness instead of anger or judgement. We would have courage and confidence. We would overflow with gratitude. Out of all the gratitude would flow a willingness to be generous and to serve others more. We would not be content with giving an extraordinary, gracious, holy, divine, omnipotent, omnipresent, all knowing, compassionate, loving, and amazing God leftovers of our time, treasures, or talents, which He gave us in the first place. We would not be  content with being  lukewarm. Our deepest desire would be to be a soul on fire for Christ, burning with passion! God has not called us to live a comfortable life. He has called us to a much grander purpose. As I wrote this in my journal on a beautiful summer night as the sun set and I heard crickets and tree frogs chirp, and saw lightning bugs twinkle. I am humbled and in awe of our victorious and glorious God! May I always marvel in wonder at our divine Creator. I am extremely grateful for numerous things. God is so good!!

Faith

Happy New Year!

Today is the first day of a brand new year! I am so thankful for all that God has done in 2016, and I am looking forward to what all He has in store for 2017!  

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. ”   {Isaiah 43:19 NIV }

I am looking forward to the adventures that the Lord has for me in 2017. He already knows everything that  will occur in 2017 and everyday of each of our lives. 

 ” “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. Then you will call on Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” ”  {Jeremiah 29:1113 NIV}

” Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”           {Psalm 139:16 NIV}

” Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans.  In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps”                              {Proverbs 16:3,9 NIV} 

We do not have to live life in fear, bondage, anxiety, stress, worry, depression, etc.  Because of Christ, we can live an abundant life. We can have true, genuine, and  abundant joy in Jesus, who is the  source of joy. We do not have to pretend to be someone we aren’t or to have it all together. He shows us unfailing love and grace for each day , every season, every hurt,and every sin. His mercies are new every morning. He is Immanuel, God with us! So, what is holding us back? 

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. ” {1 Peter 5:7 NIV} 

” Therfore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here. All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.  ”                                     {2 Corinthians 5:17-18 NIV}

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   {Romans 8:37-39}

I hope everyone has a wonderful new year! Do not allow the enemy to steal your joy and keep you from living an abundant life! I am speaking to myself as well. It is a daily choice. The past does not define you. If we are a child of the King, we are no longer slaves to sin, fear, anxiety, worry, stress, depression, guilt, failure, addiction,etc.  We all can receive God’s free gift of grace, forgiveness,and love. Make the most of every single day! Choose joy! Choose love! Never give up!  Life with God is extraordinary! He wants a personal relationship with each of us.  Happy New Year!! 

“The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ”     {John 10:10 NIV}

” For we walk by faith, not by sight.”                {2 Corinthians 5:7}

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” { Psalm 90:12}

” Now to Him who is able to to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. “{Ephesians 3:20-21}

Faith

Learning to Trust and Fully Rely on God

Hello, everyone! I hope y’all are doing well! A few years ago I read a book called Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis. It gripped my heart so much. Katie is a missionary in Uganda, Africa. This book is about her story. One of the things that stood out to me the most from her book was that when she came back to America she discusses how she missed the relationship she had with God in Uganda. She talks about how there is not much we lack here in America, whereas, she had to constantly rely on God for provision in Africa. In America, it is easy for us to put our trust in ourselves as opposed to putting our trust in God. I need God every single moment of every single day. I do not want to let material possessions, comfort, or my own abilities to keep me from trusting and fully relying on God.  Apart from God, I can do nothing. I have nothing. The things of this earth will one day fade away. What will ultimately matter in the end, is our relationship with Jesus Christ. We do not have to be afraid of putting our hope and trust in a Sovereign God. He is the one who holds the world and time in His hands. When we surrender everything to Him, we find that we have everything we need Christ. Choose to walk by faith with your Creator wherever He leads.

““You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!”

‭‭Psalms 139:16-17 NLT

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

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. ”             Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Jesus, Thankfulness

Be grateful: Finding joy in every day

Hello, friends!  I hope all of y’all are doing well! This world can tend to break us down at times. It can be so easy to just want to give up. It is such a comfort to know that this world is not my  true home, but  my  citizenship  is Heaven. It can be so easy to lose our joy. Sometimes it is good to step back and ask ourselves…where is my joy found?  According to God’s flawless Word, true joy comes from God and only He can satisfy.

” The joy of the Lord is your strength.”          {Nehemiah 8:10} NIV

The Bible says that God is always with us. He loves each and every one of us no matter what.Jesus even proved His love by dying on a cross for us and three days later, rising again.  Jesus is also coming back again for His children. We were not meant to live a  depressed, defeated, fearful, or worried life. We were meant for so much more!

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may life, and have it to the full.”                     {John 10:10}NIV

Because of Jesus Christ, we can live everyday with joy because of the hope we have in Him. He is always faithful and good. We can trust in God no matter what.

“You make known to me the path of life; You fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” {Psalm 16:11} NIV

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”  {Lamentations 3:22-23} NIV

I encourage you to think about the ways God has been good to you  and how He has been faithful. Also, never forget to be thankful for the simple things and may we also encourage and build each other up.Below are some things I am thankful for:

1. My Lord and Savior! Without Him, I would nothing else to be thankful for.

2. My family

3. My friends

4. A home

5. A bed w/ covers and pillows

6. My church

7. Food/ things to drink

8. Access to clean water

9. Music

10. Good health

11. Coffee

12. An education

13. My pets

14. Smiles

15. Hugs

16. Laughter

17. All of God’s creation

18. Books

19. Freedom (it doesn’t come free)

20. Teachers, doctors, nurses, etc.

21. Sunshine

22. Blue skies

23. My Bible

24. School supplies

25. Clothes and shoes

26. Vehicles

27. Jobs

28.Sight, hearing,etc.

29. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc.

30. Toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”                  {1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18} NIV

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” {Romans 12:12} NIV

” Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” {Psalm 118:1}

I love y’all and pray that you know and experience the joy and peace of God. God bless!

testimony

My Story

This is part of a story of how God has been faithful in my life. He is a good, good Father. I once had a story with a terrible ending, but Jesus saved my life with His amazing grace and love by dying on a cross, being despised, rejected, spat upon, humiliated,suffering  physically and emotionally on the behalf of each and every one of us, and rewrote my story. Not longer after the day I was born, I went into congestive heart failure. It was a scary time. God  graciously allowed me to live, because I believe He had much grander plans. After that happened, doctors told my parents and me that I would most likely not be able to do much running, due to what happened with my heart. Flash forward many years down the road,and I am running on the cross country team at my high school! God is the master of possibility. He is a healer, both physically and emotionally. That is only one time in my life when the Lord has proven Himself faithful in my life; there are many more times. When I was six years old, my church was having a revival, and  the kids had a guest come and their was a service for all the kids. That night, on  February 15, I decided to give my life to Jesus Christ. I was overjoyed and a couple of weeks or so later , I was baptized. Since making Him Lord and Savior I have never been the same. You see, being a Christian is not about religion, it is about having a personal relationship with our Maker and Heavenly Father. When Jesus died on the cross, we could  officially come before a holy God, because the ultimate sacrifice had been made. Jesus is perfect, but we are not. We could not ever pay the debt we owe to God, but the amazing thing is that Jesus took up a cross and paid it all for us, because He loves us and wants to know us.  Jesus rose three days later, conquering the power of Hell forever, and allowing us to know Him on a personal level for all eternity . Wow!!! What an incredible God! He has never given up on me, and I can assure you, that He will not ever  give up on you, no matter how many times you or any of us mess up. 😊

” But God proved His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” {Romans 5:8}

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advanced for us to do.” {Ephesians 2:8-10}