Mommas Take Heart!

I don’t even have to explain how scary the world can be today. At times, we all just want to turn off the news, lock our doors and hold our families tight! And, we should! However, day breaks and morning comes and the demands of a busy family life begins again. Most parents have to go to work, children go to daycare and we have to trust God to bring us all to safety again.

As a mom, I know the worries that cross our minds. When my boys were little, the big dark cloud on the horizon was Y2k. Oh, we can all laugh about it now, but in 1998-1999 it was real.

You could not turn on the TV or read Y2K-resizethe paper without some sort of doomsday preparation gimmick or prognostication shouting FEAR! FEAR! And, I almost bought into it!

The church I attended at the time was talking about it a lot and we were being encouraged to gather supplies, drinking water and food. At that time, I was a stay at home mom and I remember being outside with my boys and being frustrated at the future they faced. It made me angry and sad at the same time. But, one day, I found a scripture that changed everything for me.

Proverbs 23:18: There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

I thought – wait a minute…… God is telling me that there is a future hope for me and my hope will NOT be cut off? Hmmmmmm so I began to ponder this night and day. And the more I did, the more faith arose and I knew my Father was speaking to me.

A few days later, I was reading a Christian magazine while my boys were at swim lessons. And I remember saying to the Lord – “Father, if You can’t find me in all this mess, and if You can’t protect my children in the years to come, then why am I serving You? Do I believe in You, do I trust You or not?” I said – “Lord, I don’t care if all my friends hide in a cave and hoard stuff, I choose to believe You and Your word!” And that settled it for me right then and there.

Now, did I throw everything out and ignore everything I heard? NO. However, I sought the Lord and I only kept and purchased items that I could use regardless. I did it in balance. I no longer did it out of fear – AND I sold the barrels that I had been advised to purchase to hold water to a man who wanted to make a river deck! And, of course we know that Y2k came and went without a hitch. Whew!

Is there trouble in the world? Sadly, yes. It is more dangerous now than ever. But, is our God still able? YES! Are there precautions we must take that we didn’t have to take 20 years or even 10 years ago? Yes! However, we are the children of God! We have promises! His word is full of them! Another scripture I love is 2 Chronicles 16:9a – For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

If you have little ones today, I want to encourage you! John 16:33 says – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” In Luke 19 Jesus says we are to “occupy til He comes.” We, as Christians, should be the most peaceful and the most confident people in the world. After all, what is going to distinguish us from the world, if we run around as scared and frantic as they do?

One more thing –  my mentor when my children were growing up, was a dear lady who loved to teach the Word. She made this statement then, and it is all the more true today. She said “Psalm 91 is not an option.” I encourage you, whether you have children or not – to memorize this verse. When trouble comes and bad news abounds – out of your mouth will come “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty….” not fear and fretting! Your “littles” are watching you and watching how you respond to life. When terror lurks do you cry and react? Or do you operate in the peace of God declaring the Word of God, invoking the name of Jesus which has the power unto salvation? How you respond is training them to respond.

Joshua 1:8 tells us to not let the Book of the Law depart from our mouths, but to meditate on it day and night. Pray scriptures over your kids. Let them hear you praying for them. Declare scriptures over your home. Let them declare with you. Kingdom living should be NORMAL in your home, not only on church days. “Train up a child in the way He should go and when he is old he will not depart.” Proverbs 22:6  Train your child to respond in FAITH and not fear. When they hear fearful things, instead of allowing that fear to take root, they will respond with Psalm 91, or Proverbs, or the scriptures God gives you for them. He is faithful! And, He has promised, our hope is NOT cut off and that we have a hope AND A FUTURE!
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Come on Mommas! – let’s change our thinking and stop reacting and start RESPONDING with words of faith that activate the promises of God and send angels to do His bidding.

Angels? yes! but that’s for another post. 🙂

“Look for the helpers.” – Fred Rogers

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There is not a day that goes by that the news does not bring a story of loss and devastation. From terrorist attacks to the Texas floods, now WV floods, there is trouble all around. If we constantly feed on the negative news it will bring us down. Should we turn a blind eye and a deaf ear? No. We must be aware of situations around us, however, there is a difference in being aware and being consumed.

In a recent terrorist attack, I read an article that was giving advice on how to help children cope with the evil that lurks in humanity. The advice came from a man I knew well in my childhood as Mr. Rogers. He was a kind, caring, compassionate man who taught children manners and courtesy and how to treat others. It turns out his momma quoted it to him and it went like this:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” © The Fred Rogers Company

Ever since I heard that quote and this week I see the devastation that has hit so many communities, I look for the helpers and I see the neighbors helping neighbors. I see first responders, and people from other parts of the state loading up supplies and equipment to help dig complete strangers out of a horrible nightmare. I see this and it gives me hope – Hope that there is still kindness in the world. A belief that faith exists and love exists, and it lives in our hearts!

Recently I was talking with my oldest son and we were discussing sad situations that happen in life. I recently lost a very dear lady in my life, my Aunt Ervie. She wasn’t old, she was just ill and she died far too early. As we were talking he said “It’s in these times we turn to our faith. We must look for God in these situations. If we truly look for God, we will find Him.” And, so, I have been looking for God. And do you know what? I found Him. He was in the way my aunt was able to tell each of us that she loved us and that she was at peace. He was there in way our family loved each other and sang the hymns that we all had sang with my aunt many times. He was there in every tear, every hug and every cry. He was there in my aunt’s voice when she was able to sing and mouthed the words I love you. He was there in so many ways. And today, He is here in every hug, every hand, in every shovel full of mud and every truck hauling away debris. He has not forgotten WV or Orlando or Turkey – He is here, there and everywhere. Look for the helpers!

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James 1:17 says – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. For see without God, there is no good! He is our Father! He loves us! He inspires the helpers. He is good. So, why the trouble on the earth if He is so good? Great question! In a nutshell:

When Adam and Eve disobeyed in the Garden of Eden, they gave their authority in the earth to the enemy of our souls. When Jesus died and rose again, He took back the authority and gave it to us once again. (Matthew 28) We now must choose to exercise our authority for the good! There are people all over the world who have chosen evil and choose to carry our terrorist and violent acts. We cannot control people. We cannot control their choices. However, we can control our response and how we choose to respond. We not only need to look for the helpers, we need to be the helpers. We need to be the hands and feet of Jesus and serve mankind and help our fellowman.

There will always be news teams reporting on the disasters, the evil, the sad, but as Eric said – let’s look for God in each situation. For when we look for God, we will find Him!

I hope this challenges you to re-think the way you see things and even the way you respond. And you might not be able to physically go and help people dig themselves out of mud, but perhaps you can send a donation, or perhaps you can go to someone in your neighborhood who needs help….. an elderly person who needs yard work, or a ride to the store, etc. Let’s just not look for the helpers, let’s BE the helpers. Let’s be a solution and a peacemaker and help others who are looking for God, whether they know it or not, find Him!

God’s Faithfulness > Job Loss

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Today’s post is going to be a little different – today, I want to share with you a personal story about the faithfulness of God.

In 1994, my husband lost his job of 16 years, suddenly, and without warning.  We had two small children and I was a stay at home mom.  YIKES!  He received no severance package and no access to any pension or retirement funds.  The only thing he was given was the opportunity to take classes for 6 months, which he did.  Gratefully, this program also gave us money towards childcare , as I was able to find a part time job a couple of months later.

This was a very difficult time for our family.  We had a mortgage, two vehicles, and bills like everyone else.  We lost our income and healthcare.  We were tithers and givers and boy am I thankful we were. See, it rains on the just and the unjust – bad things happen to good people – and when adversity strikes you find out where your faith lies.

However, we still had to do what we knew to do in the natural – we had to be practical.  Just because we were tithers didn’t mean we were to sit and wait on another job – no, we had to do whatever our “hands found to do.”  (Eccl 9:10)

So, I found a part-time job as a secretary and Randy began to look as well.  He was in school eight hours a day, five days a week, but he started doing odd jobs for people.  Once the six month classes were finished, he began to look for a job steady.  It was tough!  He started the other job right out of highschool and didn’t know any other work.  He mowed yards and pounded mortar out of bricks for $6.00 an hour.  He did anything he could find to make money.  And I want to tell you that we never went with out.

Often times we would go to church and someone would slip us money, or hand us an envelope, or we would get a surprise check in the mail.  One time a man came to our door and gave us $400.00.  Another time, a different man gave us part of the commission he had earned from selling a car.  We didn’t have health insurance, and our son needed shots.  The night before the $60 office visit, some friends came over.  That night, when we rolled down our bed, there were three $20 dollar bills in our covers!

While we were waiting for the job we desired – we continued to do all that we knew to do……the mowing, pounding, working, etc. I had yard sales.   He also applied at places that we knew were hiring, but were MUCH LESS THAN WHAT WE NEEDED TO LIVE ON.  He got a job with a local retailer making $2.35 an hour plus commission.  TWO DOLLARS AND THIRTY FIVE CENTS AN HOUR.  This will not feed a family of four.  On paper, it was NOT enough to meet our needs – but it was the only door open at the time.  He took the job.  He worked there for a little over a year, and you know what?  He was salesman of the month every single month!  You know what else?  We made it!  It was no ways near what we wanted or even needed, but he took the job and did his best.

He would arrive at work and pray over his area.  He would call forth customers who wanted to buy tools.  He was gracious to others and honest with his co-workers.  He HATED wearing a red vest to work everyday.  He would hear lies in his head that people he went to school with would think he was less than, but he forged on.  So much so that at the end of his first year, he was granted full time!  Was it easy?  NO.  But, little is much when God is in it.  God always made a way.  Whether his check was $70 or $300, we tithed and stayed faithful to give.

I heard a preacher say once, if you need a job and are having trouble finding one you want, take a job and be faithful.  You can work while you are at that job, but be faithful.  God will honor the work of your hands.  Like the loaves and fishes – there was no way that small amount could feed thousands – not without God multiplying it.  Jesus took the break and blessed it and handed it out.  When we work with the little we have, God will bless it and multiply it out if we will only trust Him.

While going through this process, my husband had applied at an area plant and even though he was one out of 11,000 – after two years of waiting and working and tithing and believing, his application was pulled out of the 11,000 and he has now been there almost 20 years!  (a whole other story!)

God hears our prayers.  But, we need to be willing to walk HIS path and not the one we perceive or want.  We usually want to go the straight line, when He wants to take us through places that will allow our character to be strengthened and our faith to grow.  After all, He already knows how we are going to end up – but we need to know.  If David had not faced and conquered the lion, and the bear, he never would have had the confidence and courage to face Goliath.  He had been through trials and knew the strength of his God when He did what he knew to do.  So, he picked up 5 small stones and a slingshot and took out the biggest enemy in the land.

I hear people say, that they need a job paying so much an hour, and they are offered a job 2-3 dollars less an hour and they turn it down.  Now, I understand that they NEED a certain amount but, when there is no other job in sight, and other sources have been exhausted, sometimes you have to  walk through the only door that is open and see where it leads!  Who knows?  You might get promoted quickly.  With God all things are possible!   OR, maybe the job that is perfect for you won’t be available for a little bit….this is where faith comes in and a relationship with your heavenly Father.  He will give you peace when it doesn’t make sense if you will put your trust in Him and follow His guide.

So, what I am saying is, before you turn the less than job down, ask the Lord.  Looking back, the retail job was no ways near enough to meet our needs, but it was the only door open at the time.  So, we took it, we blessed it, and we asked God to multiply it out for us.  He did exactly that.  And you know what?  The job we really wanted wasn’t going to be available for another year.  God knew that, and we knew God.  Therefore, we put His principles to work, and here we are today.  We can surely testify of His goodness and faithfulness!

God hears your prayers.  He knows what you need.  Do what you know to do, give it to the Lord and be faithful.  For He surely is!

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

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And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. Phil. 2:8-10

This Christmas, may the Name above all names, be the banner over your home and life.

Giving and Receiving…..

Gift-Wrap-Decorations-of-Merry-ChristmasWhen you think of giving and receiving, people tend to think of Christmastime. At least, I do. It’s the time of year when there is much giving and receiving going on. The Bible states in Acts 20:35 that Jesus, Himself, said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The word blessed in the Greek simply means “happy” and “blessed”.

Webster’s defines blessed as :
held in reverence : honored in worship : of or enjoying happiness; specifically : enjoying the bliss of heaven
having a sacred nature connected with God;
very welcome, pleasant, or appreciated

So, we see that it is more reverent and honored to give. It is a way to enjoy happiness, even the bliss of heaven – it is the nature of God, it is pleasant, welcome, and appreciated.

WOW! I love that! And I love to give! It always makes me so happy!

Gifts can be just about anything. It can be something you purchase, something you make, it can be a gift of time or just about anything that would make someone’s day better. Anything that brings joy or happiness is a gift.

Did you know that forgiveness is also a gift? Webster’s defines it as:
to give up resentment of or claim to requital for
to grant relief from payment of

I like how I heard one person say it – “For” – meaning ahead of time and “give.” As Christians, the ones who are to carry the nature of our Father God on the earth, we should always decide, every day, ahead of time, to forgive the offenses before they happen!

Think about it – Jesus “FOR-GAVE” us before we were born, in that He died for the remission of our sins, knowing that we would “offend” or transgress the law. He knew we would owe a debt we could not pay, and He went before us, and forgave that debt!

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” How marvelous! Jesus chose to FORgive our debts before we were even born!

Have you ever had a debt cancelled? I have – several times! It is a marvelous feeling! To be relieved of the burden of the debt is, at times, indescribable. I remember once, years ago, when my husband lost his job because the plant where he worked had shut down. We owed $2200 on a credit card and our lawn mower broke down and we were very frustrated to say the least. A friend came over and gave us a check for $2200 and paid our credit card in full! We were overjoyed! We had a debt we could not pay and they paid it for us! What a gift!

So, as I was thinking about giving and receiving, I thought of the phrase – “You owe them an apology.” Or, perhaps, we owe a debt of gratitude or of thanks. When you owe someone an apology, or a debt of gratitude, it takes no money to make that happen. It simply takes an act of your will and a humbling of your heart.

Do you realize if there is someone in your life that you need to forgive, you actually owe it to them to forgive them? Not by their standards but by the Lord’s! If we do not forgive, that debt is charged to our account. Oh my! I don’t know about you, but I am not about to let the precious gift that Jesus died to give me, get held up because I owe a debt of forgiveness to someone and refuse to do it!

The Bible says in Romans 13:8 – “Be indebted to no one, except to one another in love, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law.” (Berean Study Bible) The only debt we are to carry is to LOVE! To release someone of a sin against you, a wrong you suffered because of them – that is the greatest sacrifice! We can do this without dying physically for their sin toward us – the only thing we have to do is choose to forgive their sin! That is being Christ like! That is the nature of our Father. Think about it, Jesus died for all, so we can live. The only debt we are to carry against or for each other is the debt to love each other.

I like what I have heard Pastor Dave say – When someone transgresses against him, he says “Father, do not let the sin they sinned against me, be the sin that keeps them out of heaven! I forgive them! I hold the offense, the transgression against them no more!” In other words – I CANCEL THEIR DEBT AGAINST ME! THE OWE ME NOTHING! And, I in turn, GIVE them grace, Forgiveness, and Love.

I will owe no man, but to love him! And think about it – the meaning of blessed, as I shared above, was basically happiness, being connected to the nature of God, etc. I know when I give grace, when I extend FOR-GIVEness, or when I release the person of the debt of an apology they owe me, it brings happiness because it is the reward God put into place! It also cuts the chain of the offense to me! I free myself! Then, then what is left is between the person and God and that is right where it needs to be. I may never get the apologies due me in this life, but if I walk in love and forgiveness with all men, then I sever the hold of any wrong done to me and a free man is a happy man!

WOW!

So, during this wonderful Christmas season we are in, Let’s submit our hearts to the Lord and ask Holy Spirit to reveal to each of us if there is anyone we owe an apology to, or anyone we owe a debt of thanks, gratitude, or forgiveness to, and that He would bring them to our minds so that we can be obedient to do exactly what the scripture tells us to do.

Forgiveness truly is a choice…a choice to pay the debt that gets laid to our account each and every time a wrong is done to us. That’s right. A wrong done to us, automatically lays a charge to our account – a charge in the forgiveness column of our lives. And since God gave us the GIFT of forgiveness when He forgave us, BEFORE we were born, and of all the wrong we are guilty of in regards to His precious Son, how can we hold the little petty things against someone? Or how can we justify holding anything against anyone! Even the biggest sin against a man, does not compare to the sin mankind committed against our Saviour. What a perspective!

It truly is it more BLESSED, to GIVE than to receive!

Let’s pray – Father, please show us anyone one we need to forgive, or anyone we owe a debt to. Show us anyone we need to make amends with, anyone we need to make restitution to, anyone we need to apologize to. Show us Lord! Father, reveal to us anything the enemy does not want us to see! Show us, and we will do as You instruct us to do. Also, we choose to forgive, right now, anyone who has ever hurt us, betrayed us, wounded us or done us wrong. We extend grace and bestow on them the Gift of forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name.

Help us to walk this out, and thank You, Father for sending Jesus, to be born for our redemption. What a Savior.

Merry Christmas!

St. Nicholas and Christmas

The enemy of Jesus is always out and about to kill, steal and destroy.  One of his greatest deceptions is that he isn’t even here….however, today I want to address him as the thief and trying to steal Christmas from us by way of distraction and the belief of Santa Claus.

Many people do not even realize that Santa Claus – or St. Nicholas, was a real person, he was a great giver to the poor and preached the Gospel. Nicholas of Myra was a wonderful man who believed in God and had given his life to further the Gospel of Christ.
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Read the following excerpt from an article by Kenneth Copeland.

“For years, Christians have debated about the right way and time to celebrate religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Many are concerned because the dates and some of the traditions in current use may have been influenced by pagan religions.

As Christians, we need to be aware of these things. At the same time, we need to remember that God is the One Who instituted the concept of holidays. He instructed Israel to have feasts and special memorial celebrations in the Old Testament, knowing it is beneficial for men to continually remember and praise God for all the good things He has done for them.

Satan is the one who imitates and twists whatever God originally created or instituted. So if anyone is doing the imitating in regard to the celebrating of holidays like Christmas, it is the ungodly, not Christians. We should make no apologies for wanting to commemorate and thank God for the greatest gift He ever gave us-His precious Son, Jesus.

Instructions for celebrating the life of Jesus are not specified in the New Testament, except for the instructions given regarding Communion in 1 Corinthians 11:23-34. But there are certain principles we can follow. Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” And Colossians 2:16-17 makes it quite clear that we are not to let anyone else judge how we choose to celebrate a holy day or special religious festival: “Therefore let none sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath. Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality-the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it-belongs to Christ” (The Amplified Bible).

Regardless of the day designated as a holiday by the world or the Church, as believers we should give honor to Jesus every day, in everything we do. As long as we are celebrating the reality of the One Who is the real reason for the celebrations, we are not condemned whether we have a Christmas tree, or not, or whether others are celebrating at the same time for reasons other than to glorify God.

The following reprint of an article from the Believer’s Voice of Victory magazine is an example of how Christians should not be robbed of a wonderful testimony that the world has radically changed for its own purposes. It’s the story of the real St. Nicholas.” – KC

St. Nicholas: The Man Who Celebrated Jesus – (originally in BVOV Magazine)
St. Nicholas should be an inspiration to us all. He was a godly man whose reputation for giving to people caused him to be a revered example of what compassion and giving are all about. He was not a jolly fat man who climbed down chimneys, and he didn’t have flying reindeer.

Stories of his life-a life full of Christian beliefs and values-are the real background for today’s mythical Santa Claus. So much of what Nicholas was-and what Santa Claus has become-has been distorted by Satan. What has been done to weaken and contort the testimony of this godly man is really pathetic.

The real story of Christmas is the story of Jesus-God’s precious gift to us. Our Heavenly Father is the real Gift-Giver. Nicholas grew up knowing the real Gift-Giver.

Nicholas and his parents lived in Turkey in the third century and were Christians. Nicholas’ parents had prayed and asked God for a child, much as Abraham and Sarah had done. From the time Nicholas was born in about A.D. 280, they considered him a gift from God. Diligently, they taught their young son devotion to God and to be very generous to the poor. Although they both died when Nicholas was in his teens, their heritage of living for God and giving followed Nicholas.

Ordained as a young teenager, Nicholas entered the priesthood at age 19. His uncle, the bishop who ordained him, prophesied that Nicholas would offer guidance and consolation to many people, that he would eventually become a bishop, and that he would live a life of enlightenment. Eventually he did become the bishop of a small, coastal village, and his influence spread into many nations.

Many accounts have been written about the life of Nicholas. It was said that he would spend all night studying God’s Word to bring it to the people. He was known for helping the poor, for praying, fasting, and standing steadfast in faith and goodness. Many miracles were brought about through his prayers. Included among the accounts of his ministry is the report of twin brothers who were raised from the dead. It was written that one could hardly keep count of the virtue and goodness he spread around him.

One particular story of Nicholas’ goodness is the reason many pictures show him with three golden spheres. These represent three bags of gold that he gave to a poor man so his three daughters could be married. The man was so poor his daughters had no dowries, and he was so desperate he was planning to sell them into what we would call white slavery.

To keep that from happening, Nicholas threw a bag of gold pieces through the man’s window in the night so no one would know who had done it. He wanted God to get the credit for it. Because of this, the eldest daughter had a dowry. She was no longer an outcast and could be married.

Not long after that, Nicholas did the same thing for the second daughter, saving her from a familiar fate. When he did it for the third daughter, the father caught him. Nicholas made the father swear an oath that he would never reveal who was responsible for those gifts as long as Nicholas was alive.

When Nicholas died on December 6, A.D. 343, he is said to have quoted Psalm 11 with his last breath: “In the Lord I put my trust.”

In the Greek language, the name Nicholas means “victorious” or “hero of the people”, and he did indeed become a very popular figure in the centuries that followed his death. Stories of Nicholas spread throughout Greece and into Russia. He became the popular patron saint of Russians, who called him “Nikolai, the wonderworker”.

In 1087, the remains of St Nicholas’ grave were transported from Turkey to Bari, Italy, where a basilica was built in his honor. Soon after, his popularity spread throughout Italy and across Western Europe. December 6, the day of his death, became St. Nicholas Day on the Roman Catholic calendar, and the custom of gift-giving on December 6 began in France and spread across all of Europe.

You can see similarities between the better characteristics of the Santa Claus character, who gives gifts at night-not to be seen by anyone, and St. Nicholas’ gold-piece throwing. But how did the story of such a man of God get turned into a story of an elf workshop at the North Pole?

With the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s, the worshiping of the saints was denounced, and St. Nicholas Day was no longer observed in England.

In Holland and Belgium, the traditional day of December 6 was still celebrated. There, Sinter Klaas rode through the streets on a white horse, rewarding good children with treats and toys and giving rods or switches to bad children. In Germany, the saint was referred to as “Nicholas dressed in fur” and also left sweets for good children and rods for the bad ones.

Christopher Columbus brought the first celebration of St. Nicholas Day to the New World when he landed in the West Indies on December 6, 1492, and named the harbor Port of St. Nicholas, in honor of the patron saint of sailors.

All of these traditions blended with immigration to the New World. As the English and Dutch came and intermarried, Father Christmas and Sinter Klaas blended into one figure. Dutch Americans eventually adopted December 25 as their day of celebration, and by the end of the Civil War, St. Nicholas the bishop was generally known in the United States as Santa Claus.

The poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” further shaped the American Santa. Another popular poem, originally titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” was penned by New York professor Clement Moore in the 1800s and created a word picture portraying a round-bellied Santa with a huge pack on his back. Picking up on this image, cartoonist Thomas Nast added a North Pole toy workshop in his cartoons for Harper’s Weekly magazine. In 1925, a large corporation ran an advertising campaign of Santa Claus further defining him as a large man with a red and white fur suit, black boots, and a long, flowing beard closest depiction of our present-day Santa.

The American Santa Claus, like America itself, came from a melting pot of Old World cultures and characters. He is the Dutch Sinter Klaas and the Lutheran Kris Kringle who bring gifts to children. His red garment is lined with fur like the German version of Nicholas, and he spreads merriment and cheer like Father Christmas. And a team of reindeer, borrowed from a Russian legend, accompanies Santa Claus on his journey through the night.

The tragic part in all this is how the devil has contorted the man and the ministry of St. Nicholas- the man who had such fullness of God that even the dead were raised! He was popular because of his reputation of honor, his godly ways, and his giving nature. But it’s just like the devil to twist the ministry of such a powerful man until it is hidden in the tales of a little fat-bellied, pipe-smoking pie eater.

The story of the true St. Nicholas is a beautiful picture of the giving that Christmas is really about- instead of the fretting and getting that the American Santa now represents. St. Nicholas represents the giving heart of our Heavenly Father, Who doesn’t give switches and rods but Who always gives only good gifts.

The greatest gift of all is the gift of Jesus Christ to us from God the Father. Jesus is our hope, redemption and victory. He is our advocate with the Father, our blood-covenant Friend Who will never leave nor forsake us. In Him, we have the joy of living a heavenly life on earth.

He is the meaning of Christmas. “Christ mass” means “anointing celebration.” It’s the celebration of “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power…” It’s the celebration of how the anointed Jesus “…went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil…” (Acts 10:38). It’s the story of our triumphant Savior-Jesus, the Christ-the King of kings and Lord of lords!     Now, that’s a Merry Christmas!

I realize the article was a little long, but it is so good, that I just couldn’t bear to leave anything out!

See, I learned of the REAL St. Nicholas when my boys were about 4 and 7 years old.  I was thrilled!  Thrilled that  I could incorporate the REAL meaning of Christmas, yet let them have fun with Santa!  Here is what I did:  We sat down and I told them I wanted to tell them about the REAL Santa Claus.  I told how he was born to missionary parents and that he loved Jesus with all his heart.  How he saved  a young woman from being sold into slavery for her father’s debts by “waiting until night and throwing a bag of gold into an open window” , which actually enabled the family to live for an entire year.  That to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, since we couldn’t give a gift to Jesus, we would give gifts to each other because Jesus loved us that much.  I said then he died.  (Brent, wide eyed said he did???)  I said yes.  And now when we see Santa Claus at the mall, it is a reminder of the man who loved Jesus and wants us to celebrate His birthday by giving gifts to each other – to remind us that the greatest gift was Jesus Himself.

I then said – as for Rudolph and the North Pole and elves, etc., that is all cartoon fun stuff and we can play and have fun with that!  They loved it!  This way, I kept the meaning of Christmas true in their hearts and didn’t have to fabricate a thing.

We still went to the mall and sat on Santa’s lap and watched Rudolph and all the fun stuff kids like to do – it was ok because we walked in truth.

Truth…..Truth brings peace.  Truth brings understanding.  I love Christmas and I love every reason we have Christmas – to celebrate the birth of our Savior.  At our home, Santa bows his knee to Jesus – it was the way he lived his life, and it is how he would want his memory to be honored.

So, Merry Christmas!  Enjoy your children!  Take them to see Santa Claus and tell them what Santa represents to us – a reminder that it is Jesus’ Birthday and we give gifts to each other in HIS honor.  What a mighty God we serve! For unto us a son is given!  Unto us a Child is born! Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and good will toward men!

Who I am – Identity (part 1)

Kelita Deems. That is my name. It is who I am. That name is on my birth certificate, will be on my death certificate and every piece of identification in between. Kelita Deems. I am a mom, a wife, friend, sister, etc.

If someone comes forth and says – “You are not Kelita Deems” – this does not change who I am. If someone says – “ You are not a mother” – it does not change that I am and that I have two children. If they say “You are not a wife” – well, then what do I do with my husband? Get my point?

If this would happen, I would just laugh because what people say could not affect or change who I am. I am secure in my identity because it is who I am. No one can take that from me. It is forever settled. PERIOD. Matter of fact and history!

So, let me ask you a question……What is your identity in the Kingdom?

Let me use myself as an example, because I because God has changed my (knowledge of) my identity in the Kingdom, which has affected my daily life in the natural…..

I have sang in church since I was 2 years old. Therefore, I still sing to this day. I sing on the worship team. I am a singer in the House of God. So, if someone else sings in my place, does that nullify who I am? I also love to teach the Word of God. It is one of my giftings. I have been teaching the Word for years, and I have a grace for revelation of the word, especially in the Old Testament. But, what if someone else teaches better than me or in place of me, or teaches a class that I want to teach…..does that change me? I am a leader. I have been in leadership since I was a teenager. I was born into a pastoral family. I have always been in leadership in every church I have ever attended. However, I currently do not have an official leadership title. Does that mean I am not a leader?

Identity—- Identity is probably the most important revelation in the Body of Christ today, and probably the most misunderstood.

See, for years, I served out of my identity as a leader, singer, and teacher. Therefore, if there was a leadership position open, I automatically thought I should be considered for it In the church, If there was a solo to be sang, I felt I was the obvious choice, because I had been singing in church for over 40 years! Not to mention, that I had led worship at two other churches for over nine years. And did you need someone to teach the Word? Well, I could do that too, and if you didn’t want me or even consider me, why not? I can do it! I can do all of these! And if you don’t want me, what do I need to do to change? To Improve? What am I doing wrong? They are my giftings!

AHHHHH – so my understanding was that my giftings and my identity were on in the same. Think about that for a minute. Why would I think that? In life, my occupation is an office administrator. But, I don’t introduce myself – “Hello – I am an office administrator”. No, I am Kelita Deems. I am a wife, mother, friend, sister, etc., who also happens to be an office administrator. If I lose my job as office administrator, I do not cease to exist or to be Kelita Deems. But, in the church world, for years, my identity was wrapped up in what I did in the House of God instead of who I actually was. So I began to wonder, WHO AM I? Do you know that I just found out my true identity in the last couple of years? I have been serving God for as long as I can remember and I have always identified myself by what I did – “The Little Wilson Girl who Sang, The Church Secretary, The Women’s Leader, Care Group Leader, Worship Leader, Altar Minister. Etc.” Do you know what is missing from those names? CHILD OF THE MOST HIGH GOD. All of the above is what I DID, not who I was, however, I identified myself by what I did to serve God……

As a child, singing in revivals, I was innocently taught to “perform songs” for people. This was further enforced when as a young girl I took vocal lessons and was taught to perform perfectly for audiences and was graded on the performance. As Women’s leader or Care Group leader, I often graded myself (or was graded by my former pastors) by the number of people who attended my classes/teachings. As a former Worship Leader, I was told I was responsible for the anointing in the House of God – that it rested on me and if I didn’t fast enough, pray enough and spend enough time with God, the anointing wouldn’t be strong enough. (PERFORMANCE! )

Guess what? Because I am human, I was NEVER enough. I could never work hard enough to cause the anointing to manifest because that is not how it is designed! I could not teach clear enough for the masses to come, because it is about the heart change of even just one person I, Kelita Deems, could never do enough, be enough, love enough, live enough, work enough, sing good enough, never manipulate enough… – NOTHING I could do would ever be enough. This caused me to live on a hamster wheel of a performance mode, to strive for the unattainable and never be fulfilled. It also caused me to feel unworthy and unloved and like I constantly let people down. How then could I ever live, perform, or be perfect enough for a perfect Father to love and accept me?

Do you see how identifying myself by what I did just set me up for failure after failure? Rejection after rejection?

(SIDE NOTE: This is why it is so important for parents to teach their children about being a child of God first and foremost beyond any gifting or calling!)

So, in this process, two years ago, a man in my church, who knew NOTHING of my internal struggle, was praying for me and the Lord told him to tell me this:

“I see you as a little girl, and you wanted things to be ‘right’ – but you weren’t always instructed properly, so whenever you saw something demonstrated that you saw as ‘right’, you put it on. And the Lord isn’t mad at you, He smiles because you have fared better messed up than most AND your heart is right. Your heart has always been to please Him. However, He is getting ready to bless you and He cannot bless dysfunction so He needs you to make some changes and submit to some dismantling and trust Him.”

When I was 48 years old the Lord began to strip away all the false assumptions, and wrong demands placed upon me, by people who loved me, yet they were either ignorant of the harm they were causing, or just plain caught up in issues of their own. He began to peel back all the false identities that I had created or that had been created for me, that caused me to function in performance mode…. And guess what? When Jesus got to the core of me, there I was – Kelita Deems – Daughter of the Most High……..

I will never forget the night that I was praying before worship, and I had a lead song. I started to say, Father, help me to perform this song to Your glory and I stopped. And I said, no, a daughter does not perform for her father, but rather she simply is who she is and loves him and I knew I just needed to sing to my Father’s heart and that I would get His approval, because I ALREADY HAD IT! HA HA! I ALREADY HAD IT! I had had it for years, but I couldn’t see it under all those layers upon layers of unmet expectations and failures (in my eyes and in the eyes of man). All those times I was told I didn’t do things right, I took that as it was the Lord speaking to me and it wasn’t Him at all – it was the voice of failure to meet the demands of man – and that voice comes from the evil one cloaked in religious efforts.

That night, I sang. And as I sang, I was free and it was wonderful. I even remember singing at the end of my song “Nothing sings like a heart set free” and I truly meant it. This opened up a whole new world for me. A world of acceptance! A world of I am my Father’s daughter and He loves me. Because of that nothing else mattered. I didn’t need a title, I didn’t need a new lead song, I didn’t need to teach a class in order to be important, to be valuable. I was valuable just for being me – Kelita Deems, daughter of the Most High, accepted and loved by her Father.

It was then that I began to pray differently. When I came across situations that before would have made me nervous and feel like someone was trying to replace me, or sing better than me, or teach better than me, or a situation that I couldn’t control, yet felt obligated to for one reason or another, etc., I would simply say –

“Jesus, if You are ok with this, then I am ok.
If You are not ok, then You will have to deal with it.”

Because you know what? When it all comes down at the end of the day, no one, nobody, no circumstance, no power on earth, no power of hell can remove me as a daughter of the Most High. Neither height nor depth, nor principality can separate me from the Love of Christ. (Romans 8:39) And not everything in my world, my family, my life falls on my shoulders to correct and/or fix. Sometimes all I need to do is pray and be an example to them. Prayer is our greatest weapon. We can do more in prayer than we can with our own reasonings. Besides, our own thoughts will mess things up and then the situation will need even more prayer!

Do I throw away my experiences that made me who I am today? Nope. Do I throw my training and schooling out the window? Of course not. However, all of those things are secondary to knowing I am fully accepted by a loving Father who loves me, flaws and all. Whether the anointing shows up when I sing, whether or not I have a title in the House of God, or whether I teach the Word or not – Jesus died for me, the Holy Ghost leads me and Father God says I am the apple of His eye. I can rest assured knowing my Father cares for me, approves of me and loves me. What freedom there is when you find your identity in your relationship with the only God who gave His only Son to die in your place, so that you can serve Him out of sonship and daughtership and not remain the servant that religion demands.

If you are serving God out of anything other than the fact that you are His child, your identity is wrong. Today, I am a daughter of the Most High who sings in the House of the Lord. I also teach the Word and share with others as He leads me to do. I can celebrate the progress and even promotion of others because them being promoted in their gift does not mean I will be demoted in mine! It is not a contest or a race! This is life! We are all family! And I am proud to encourage my brothers and my sisters in the Lord to be the best they can be! I am free to laugh and enjoy life because I no longer carry burden of performing! What freedom in that revelation.

It’s never too late to find our who you really are! It’s never too late to live in peace and freedom. It is never too late to undo burdens from the past! God is not bound by time, He can go back and heal wounds and change hearts! He is the God of yesterday, today, and forever and He is my Father! I can truly say the best is yet to come!

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Fall and Celebrating the Goodness of God!

kids-walking-through-pumpkin-patch-300x200

Fall is here! I love fall colors, the leaves, and hot chocolate. And while, Spring and Summer are by far my favorite seasons, I am letting summer go and embracing Autumn! If only it wasn’t marred by the dreadful holiday of Halloween. For all you mommas out there that still take your kids to halloween parties and dress them up in outfits from the dark side, AND without over spiritualizing things – let me suggest another route – CELEBRATE HARVEST! We have so much to be thankful for! Philippians 4:8 says – Whatsoever things are true, noble, praise worthy, of a good report – think on these things! YES! Most churches I know offer a great harvest celebration so your kiddos will not miss out on candy and fun! Take the time to research the origin of the holiday and what it has become. I have attached some information that will help you make informed decisions. We serve a good, good Father – and I find that, alone, is reason enough to celebrate His goodness and mercy. Pumpkin cookies, lattes, leaves, and even the dreaded candy corn! All good! No reason to give glory or attention to the dark side. 🙂

Halloween, is it Just Harmless fun?

The Seed of the Righteous Shall be Delivered!

oak-acorns Proverbs 11:21 Though they join hand in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished; but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.

This is one of my favorite scriptures!  The seed of the righteous shall be delivered!  Hallelujah!  And all the mom’s say – AMEN!  For those of you who are not parents – this is a good one to commit to memory for future use OR if you are not having children –the word SEED there in the Strong’s concordance means – your offspring and it also means “time of sowing” – So – whatever you are sowing in the Lord – that will be delivered too!  God has not lost one seed and He keeps very good records.  However, for today’s devotion, I am focusing on our offspring.

You know, I was raised in church all of my life, and therefore, I have done the same for my boys.  I have always stood on Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.  What a promise!   But kids will be kids and we all make choices that do not line up with the Word of God at some point in our lives.  We know that raising our children in church – in the fear and admonition of the Lord, will give us a promise that even if they stray, they will return! What a comfort!

Now, let me take a side journey… – I was talking to someone once, who was raised to know Jesus, but was currently out of fellowship with Him, trying to interpret the scriptures according to the way “they” wanted to live, etc. Then they quoted Proverbs 22:6 to me – saying their mom had raised them right, and she had a promise, so no matter what, they were “safe.” HMMMMM – let me say this – I stand with their mom and believe for the return of this child – but if YOU are that child – Galatians 6:7 says “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows, that will he also reap.” So, while I stand with your mother, that before you die, you will return to the Lord, IF she continues to declare and fight for you according to the Word. However, knowingly committing sin in this arrogant, deceptive manner will cause you to reap the fruit of that labor….so I implore you to come to your senses, repent, and return to the Lord. There are people assigned to you, and rewards the Father has for you, that you will not get, unless you are living for Him!

However, I used to feel sorry for the people I met who couldn’t use that scripture, people who they themselves, did not get saved until they were adults, therefore, they didn’t raise their children to have a personal relationship with Jesus.  But, not anymore…  This scripture covers everyone and is solid to stand upon! How faithful is our God!

THE SEED OF THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL BE DELIVERED!  SO! If you did not get saved until you were an adult, and have children who  do not know God – I’d declare this, pray this, sing this, memorize this, 24/7.  God has not left anyone out!  Not to mention throw in Acts 16:31 – and all thy household shall be saved! – Household means your family!!!!!  Yea Jesus!  Do you not see?

THEY HAVE NO CHOICE!  IT’S THEIR TOUGH LUCK YOU ARE THEIR MOTHER/GRANDMOTHER!!!!!  IF YOU EMPLOY THESE SCRIPTURES SOONER OR LATER THEY MUST COME IN! Work the Word and the Word will work!Jeremiah 23:29

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
Blacksmith hammering red hot steel on a wooden surface that is catching on fire. Focus is on the hammer and glove.

You begin to quote the Word of God over your kids and watch it break the rock of stubborn will and rebellion into smithereens!  Let’s go one step further…..Let’s say your kids are saved, but bound by fear, bitterness, anger, hurt, pride, rejection, etc.

THE SEED OF THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL BE DELIVERED!!!!!!!

The word delivered in the Strong’s means to escape  – be delivered.  It is used many times as the word escape when it says things like David escaped from Saul or when the Israelites were delivered from the hand of the Philistines.  Delivered/Escaped is the same word in Hebrew!  Your daughter battling unforgiveness?  She shall escape!  She shall be delivered!  Your son battling addiction?  He shall be delivered!!!  Oh and before condemnation comes and tells you that you are not righteous – let me give you that definition to – it means “as justified and vindicated by God”.  If you are born again, YOU ARE RIGHTEOUS BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS!  GOD SAYS SO!

Perhaps you have a righteous mother or grandmother, and your siblings are out in sin, so therefore, their children are “uncovered” and have no one praying for them – Hey – the righteousness of your mother/father can cover their grandchildren! God is a generational God. Get your parents declaring this! Declare it over your nieces and nephews! And again, do not forget Acts 16:31!

Do you understand the power of what I have just told you?

Your child shall be delivered, shall escape from whatever has them bound IF you will stand on this word and confess it over them, pray over them and be determined not to give up no matter what you see, hear or feel. 

Here is some ammunition to use against our foe:

Jeremiah 31:16 – This is what the LORD says: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD. “They will return from the land of the enemy.

Isaiah 59:21
21 “This is my promise[a] to them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I put in your mouth will not leave you. They will be with your children and your grandchildren permanently,” says the LORD.

Isaiah 44:3
3 For I will give you abundant water for your thirst and for your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit and my blessings on your children.

Isaiah 49:25
25 But the Lord says, “Even the captives of the most mighty and most terrible shall all be freed; for I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children.

Isaiah 49:25
25 Surely, thus says the LORD, “Even the captives of the mighty man will be taken away,
And the prey of the tyrant will be rescued;
For I will contend with the one who contends with you,
And I will save your sons.

Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to everyone; he is merciful to all he has made.

Isaiah 28:17-18
And hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And [insert your child’s name] covenant with death shall be disannulled, and [their] agreement with hell shall not stand.

Mommas – we have authority in the spirit! Even if your child is grown and of age – it matters not! God has stacked the deck in our favor! In their favor! They know not what they do! He loves our kids even more than we do! Always declare the word and pray for them according to the will of the Father – never our own will – and it will always work out. (I caution this because it is easy to think we know what they need – we know that they need to return and serve this way or that way and be a worship leader or minister, etc. No – we must pray His will and I also encourage you to pray in the Spirit as it is the perfect will!

One last thing – a great resource for parents is the book Joyful Parent = Happy Home by Mary Hudson. This book changed my life and released me from a huge false burden I was carrying! I highly recommend it! You can get it here – http://www.keithhudson.org/shop/joyful-family-happy-home

So, join me in prayer…family-tree

Father, we thank You right now that You are delivering our children and our times of sowing.  I know that You have not lost one seed and our harvest will come!  I thank You right now, that You are bringing people across our kids’ paths to deliver them and set them free!  We release angels to minister to them and declare that no devil in hell will be able to keep them bound with chains of anything contrary to Your word. We ask You to surround them with Your goodness for it is the goodness of God that brings repentance! We confess this Word over them and as we do, we thank You that it is shattering the obstacles in their lives into pieces! We give You praise that You are delivering them from deception and delivering them to TRUTH! From sin and to life everlasting!  We will be joyful! They will sense the peace on our lives and it will bring restoration! We have peace because we have this promise that will not be shaken. Hallelujah!  We believe that we receive and therefore, we shall HAVE what we have prayed according to Mark 11:24.  We give You praise and Glory in Jesus’ Name!  Amen!