Dear Family of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope
Please watch this video, A Marine’s Twas’ The Night Before Christmas: http://www.fggam.org/a-marines-twas-the-night-before-christmas/
Also go here for a Soldiers prayer: http://www.fggam.org/a-soldiers-prayer/
I though this was so beautifully written by Ruth Franks:
God is your hope, He is your peace, God is your source of strength, He is your Healer, God is you shelter, He is your confidence, God is your defender, He is your provision, He is your source of wisdom, God is your guide, He is your ever present help in time of trouble. God is all that you need. Today, you may be feeling unsure about what is going on around you – we all feel that way sometimes – but do not fear or panic. God is fully in control, and He knows just what you need today. However, you should never stop asking Him for help, and you should never relent from trusting in Him. God will show up on time and He does all things well.
I needed to remember this today.
I have received many calls and emails asking about the condition of my Dear Brother and Mentor, Pastor Ray Franks, he remains in the hospital and is very sick and please keep him and the family in your prayers. We pray the blood of Jesus over Brother Ray, your healing Oh Lord, to your faithful servant, Oh Lord! Thank you Lord for Ray and his testimony of your greatness to us all, in Jesus name, Amen!
By the way Ruth Franks is the daughter-in-law of Pastor Ray.
I love the Franks family so much, like my own. They have been so very kind to me and my family over the years.
Yesterday I was sharing on the phone with Pastor Leonard Navarre of Valley View Christian Church in Edgewood, NM about a miracle that had just taken place, more on that as when the Lord shows me too……
I have included a picture of the monthly Food Pantry at Valley View and of my mentor Pastor Leonard.
Valley Views is a Body of Christ that plants many seeds into their community and outside their community, they scatter them all over the world!
Have to share with you!
Remember the story of VVCC serving about 800 Thanksgiving meals with our community.
Well a non-church goer saw the article and began talking to his neighbor who told him a little about what VVCC does in the community. The neighbor gave this non-church goer my phone number. He called and we talked and I invited him into the office to visit.
Well, he came and we talked this morning about an hour. As he began to leave he said he and his wife have been really blessed financially and loves what VVCC was doing in the community and wanted to help out. Well, he had a envelope and evidently he and his wife had discussed making a contribution to our Outreach Ministries. So he left the envelope. I prayed with him and invited him to come back and we could visit and of course invited him to VVCC.
Only after he left did I open the envelope to see about the check. Hold on to your seat. Better sit down.
The church was in the amount of $5000.00! WOW! Praise to the King of Kings who specializes in impossible things. Sola Deo Gloria!
Had to share this with you on a day of miracles.
Thank you for sharing Pastor Leonard.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Keep your eyes on Jesus Christ, Do not turn to the left or the right, stay focused on HIM. Amen!
Are you planting seeds for the Lord?
Is what you are doing each day bearing fruit for the Kingdom of our Lord?
MATT’S CHRISTMAS STORY
Pa never had much compassion for the lazy, or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.
It was Christmas Eve – 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.
After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace, and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself, and … to be honest … I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn’t get the Bible. Instead, he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn’t worry about it long though. I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.
Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold, clear night out and there was ice in his beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good; it’s cold out tonight.”
I was really upset then. Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas – now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn’t know what.
Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job, I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn’t happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed.
“I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said. “Here – help me.” The high sideboards?! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on.
After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood — the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. “Pa,” I asked, “What are you doing?”
“You been by the widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked. The widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I’d been by, but so what?
Yeah,” I replied, “Why?
“I rode by just today,” Pa said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.”
That was all he said, and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned, he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. “What’s in the little sack?” I asked.
“Shoes – they’re out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a little candy.”
We rode the two miles to widow Jensen’s pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn’t have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really … why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.
We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible. Then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?”
“Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt. Could we come in for a bit?”
Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another blanket and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.
“We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Pa said … and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table.
Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out – one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children — sturdy shoes, the best — shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.
“We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” Pa said. He turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.”
I wasn’t the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind … I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak.
My heart swelled within me, and a joy that I’d never known before filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.
I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time.
She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.”
In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I’d never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after widow Jensen mentioned it, I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless, as I thought on it.
Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord, that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.
Tears were running down widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn’t want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.
At the door, Pa turned to widow Jensen and said, “The Misses wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We’ll be by to get you about eleven. It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.” I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.
Widow Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, brother Miles. I don’t have to say, ‘May the Lord bless you.’ I know for certain that He will.”
Out on the sled, I felt a warmth that came from deep within, and I didn’t even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”
I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on widow Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children.
For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens’, or split a block of wood, I remembered … and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night; he had given me the best Christmas of my life.
A long, long time ago, God looked down upon humanity from heaven upon high, and saw a heart-breaking need far greater than firewood for the cold and food for the hungry. He saw the grip of sin upon mankind, and He had a painful decision to make. Either let them die in their sins, or go down and rescue them. The Christmas Story is the outcome of His decision.
If you have a favorite Christmas story, will you send it to me? God Bless you! pastordewey
For God’s Glory Alone in the Love of our Lord Jesus Christ, Dewey, Sharon, Paul, Jo and families
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