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Thursday, December 18, 2014

grace changes everything


The grace of God is one of those things that I cannot let go of.  Each time I let my mind run with thinking about His grace it goes in directions that get me more and more excited about what God has done and what He can do.  Grace changes me.  Grace changes others as it takes hold of me.

I have spent time this week writing about, studying, reading and thinking about grace.  Then I began to go through older notes I have written about the grace of God.  In the rest of this post I have compiled some things that stuck out to me.

And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.

Grace is best explained as something that God does.  We can act graciously or with grace, yet our action falls way short of the actions of God.  His grace is radical or maybe even crazy.

"Never forget that grace takes guts, risk and a dash of crazy." Mike Foster

Grace is the “inexhaustible capacity” of God.  As humans we cannot duplicate it or even understand it.  That is why grace is so amazing.  May we allow ourselves to get lost in the overflow of God’s grace and help others experience it like they never have before.  We serve an awesome God who offers us amazing grace!

“Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace.  And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace.”  Jerry Bridges

Where does that leave us in comparison to God’s grace?  The more I study grace, the less I see that I understand grace.  The more I think about God’s grace, the more I am overwhelmed by and compelled toward His grace.

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” Martin Luther

The best way to see how grace lives is to see how Jesus lives through our lives.  Have you ever known someone who changed?  They at one point were selfish, but one day you noticed they were a bit selfless.  Maybe you noticed a person that seemed to be cold but sometime later they were compassionate.  That is the results of grace.

Grace is God living through us.  Grace lives by us allowing God to do what He does best.  Grace is not only a spiritual concept that many people think is unreachable.  Grace is full of meaning.  Grace is Jesus’ life flowing through our lives as we empty ourselves and let Him live.  That is the least we can do after God has done so much for us.

All of this is for your benefit. And as God's grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

We have to live by God's grace.  Nothing more and nothing less.  We need to understand that God deals with us based on His grace, and we are now to deal with others based upon that same kind of grace.  What happens when we do?  People see Jesus.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

volunteer of the week ABBY MOSLEY

This week’s volunteer of the week at The Community Fellowship is Abby Mosley!!!

 

Abby Mosley is 9 years old.  She, her mother Tracy and sister Kaitlyn have been a very active part of The Community Fellowship family for over 6 years.  Abby went on her first Mission Trip with our church family to West Virginia when she was 4 years old.

 

On Sundays Abby helps in the Nursery and Preschool Classes.  She is also a tremendous classroom helper in Children’s Church.

 

During our 2nd Saturday Clothes Closet Ministry Abby has served at the Sign In Desk as well as worked in the back helping to call the numbers of the people that have come to shop.  She also has helped people carry their breakfast to their seats and then helped to clean the tables after the meal.  Recently when Abby learned of a child needing a coat she very eager to assist in helping to find the right coat and was instrumental in seeing to it that the coat was given to the child a few days later.

 

Abby’s servant heart is always apparent during our annual Back2School (B2S) event and all of the prep work that goes into it.  Abby has worked measuring feet during registration and is a valuable helper on Special Needs Day in the Foot Washing Area.

 

On Wednesday nights Abby is part of Master Club at Rich Acres Baptist Church.  She also plays Upward Basketball at Mt. Calvary and plays softball for Parks and Rec.

 

Abby is a very giving young lady and is always looking for ways to help others.  When she grows up, she wants to be a paramedic. 

 

Abby loves to sing and read books, especially her Bible and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  She also likes to help her Nana, Deb Mosley, cook.  She is always willing to do anything that is asked of her especially when it involves helping others.

 

Abby’s favorite Bible Verse is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

 

We are very excited to recognize Abby Mosley as our Community Fellowship Volunteer of the Week!  Thank you, Abby, for always striving to help others and showing that even the youngest of the Lord’s children have a place in ministry and demonstrating God’s love to our community and to others!    

 

 

*** for more information about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center call 276-647-8231 or email cmartin@thecommunityfellowship.org.  To give online click on this link   https://tcf.ccbchurch.com/trx_submit.php?type=public_gift ***

pray for Donna Pratt and her family

Dear Community family and friends,

 

Many of you remember Donna and Tom Pratt who were part of our church family till they moved to California.  Donna was my assistant, and Tom served with our Dream Center.

 

Donna's dad has been sick for some time, and he passed away last night.  Please be praying for this special family and let them know they are in our prayers.

 

Her dad's name is Donald Lee Shields. Funeral arrangements will be with Tutor Funeral Home (822 Simpson Hwy 149 Magee, MS 39111). Service will be on Saturday at Kennedy Springs Baptist Church (2021 Mississippi 540, Magee, MS 39111) with burial at their cemetery.  Times will be determined tomorrow.

 

Please send Donna and Tom a note or card as well to 2342 Lansdowne Place, Vallejo, California 94591.

 

We extend sympathy and ours to you, Donna, Tom, Delores (her mom) and all your family during this time.  Also, we are grateful for their friendship and servant’s heart.  You both are greatly missed and deeply loved by your Community family!

 

With GOD as my guide,

 

Pastor Michael Harrison

-- James 1:5

 

 

*** for more information about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center call 276-647-8231 or email cmartin@thecommunityfellowship.org.  To give online click on this link   https://tcf.ccbchurch.com/trx_submit.php?type=public_gift ***

experiencing God's grace at Christmas


Today I want to share part of the Advent devotional that our family is using this Christmas.  The book is called Surviving Christmas and was written by the incredible Anne Marie Miller. 

Her story inspires me, and I pray it will inspire you.  Maybe you will find yourself or a friend in the middle of what she shares.  What I find is the overwhelming and always sweet grace of God.

My pray for this Christmas season is that many people will see and be consumed by the grace of God.  Read on!

(from Tuesday, week 4 of Surviving Christmas by Anne Marie Miller)

2010 was a year filled with grief and loss, betrayal and rejection in its most intimate form. The well in which I fell was so cavernous I thought I would surely die. Would I be saved? The dust from dirt on the bottom of the well filled my lungs as I breathed in, maybe for the last time. I prepared for impact. Suddenly, a rescue. Friends pulled me up with superhuman strength fighting the forces of gravity and hopelessness.

I was pulled back into the sun; its brightness causing me to face the demons both within me and outside me. One by one, a brutal fight. Victory was promised to me and I claimed it, but the battle-inflicted wounds were tender and my strength was gone.

In 2011, there were days of glorious beauty – with friends, with food, with wine, with music. Sunsets that inexplicably consumed my senses. Quiet walks in Radnor Park where I begged God for nourishment. For plenty. For restoration of what was lost.

“Your daily bread is enough,” was the response.

As the grey clouds increased, I lost sight of the suns and the sunsets. The wind was colder and the moon hid behind veiled fog and my spirit drifted away, focusing on the wounds I could see instead of the mystery I could not. Instead of roaming on the paths under silver pine, my fingers roamed the damages in my heart. I followed them back to the well from the past year; the well from where I had been rescued. It was tempting to fall back in.

December 2011 was my second Christmas season alone. The choice before me wasn’t clear but I marched away from the well and determined to celebrate the season with joy, regardless of what my emotions spoke. I went to Target and bought a small Christmas tree and a five-dollar bag of ornaments and a box of big, globe bulb lights. It was only a tree, and a borderline tacky one at that with it’s glittery pink star, but it was symbolic of my choice to not swear at the Christmas music constantly barraging my eardrums and to embrace the season on anticipation that was before me.

I left Target. I was not praying. I was not pleading. I was not even thinking. The greats say mindfulness brings us closest to God and I couldn’t have been further from being mindful on this drive home. A collision. Not between steal and plastic and fiberglass but between grace and the well in my heart. Something so large, so redeeming and indescribable ran me over on northbound I-65 and my heart’s draw to the well was released. Freedom exploded in my chest as I wept from a fount of joy and living water I had never tasted before. I laughed and cried for a solid ten minutes wondering if this was a lavish gift from God, full of life and it was finally the day He chose to give it to me...or was I certifiably manic? I didn’t care. The truth would come with each sunrise.

It is now December 2, 2012, 365 sunrises later. A full year has passed since the glory of God literally filled me. And I can say without hesitation it was His gift in His time. Why did my heart suffer so long and so profoundly? Why did I crave my own death over my own life? Why did he not save me sooner?

These questions will likely never be answered and that mystery is part of the healing. Even when the anxieties and uncertainties threaten me today, I know my heart is protected by a God as Father, incarnate as Son, and comfort as Holy Spirit. And I know there was no formula to arrive at this understanding, if it can be called that. It simply happened with no warning.

Was my soul groaning? Was the spirit interceding because I was empty and without words? That is my only logical conclusion. But the divine is wrapped in swaddling clothes, not logic.

Reflect: Hope was born in the least likely place to the least likely people so we can conclude the hope that changes the world will be poured down on us in the least expected ways.

There is hope for all of us. It may be far, far away from you right now. Please take comfort in knowing it is there. And when the time is right and it drowns you in every rich drop, your life will completely change. From someone who has been to the valley of death and has returned with an abundance of undeserved life, there is hope.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

MAN (part 4): Christmas and the son of man


Today’s devotion is part of a series I’ve called MAN.  We have talked about what it means for us to be righteous, what it means to be dead to sin and alive to God and what role that wisdom has in our lives.  Let’s make a connection today between humanity and the divine.

John 1:14  NLT
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

This was God’s plan.  He sent a man, God man, to be our Savior, our guide and friend.  When I think about the reason Jesus came to earth, I am taken to the celebration that is upon us now, Christmas.  He is the gift of God.  He is God’s gift to you and me.

Jesus is God in the flesh, God come to earth, but He is also all man.  We learn through various verses in the Bible that Jesus experienced all of the things that we go through, yet Jesus stayed on the straight and narrow.  That is one difference between Him being God in the flesh.

John 3:13  NLT
No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven.

The term “son of man” points back to Jesus for several different reasons.  One of those is the connection between God and man.  God chose in the beginning, way back in the Garden of Eden, to connect with and to love people.  Yet it has always been sin that put up a roadblock to our connection to God.  Jesus removes those roadblocks.

All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

Jesus is the promised man.  He was and is God in the flesh to take away our sin.  For God to come earth was His plan to be with us.

An old preacher told a story about how to help ants move out of his yard.  The best way, he said, was for him to become an ant and warn the ant world that they will be killed or removed by force if something doesn’t change.

That is what Jesus did and continues to do for you and me.

John 3:16  NLT
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

For most of us that is the first verse we heard and memorized.  God sent Jesus.  That is why we celebrate Christmas.  Christmas wasn’t the beginning of our Salvation, but it is part of the master plan.

Without God come in the flesh, without the son of man coming to earth, there would be no salvation, no life change and no inspiration for greatness.  As I have learned the way we find meaning is in serving others.  That is what we learn from Jesus Himself.  He came to serve.

I praise God for all He has done for us as our Father.  The blessing and gift of Christmas is His son, our savior, the Christ of Christmas.

And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas PEACE


We celebrate Christmas.  It is the time when people are open to hear the story and to listen to needs and their need (that is why we ought to invite people to go to church with us).  Jesus was the gift of God sent for our good and the good news of the world.

John 14:27  NLT
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

That was almost at the end of Jesus’s life, but it was as true at the end as it was at the beginning of his life.  That is what so many of us need on a daily basis.  We do have trouble and struggles.  We do deal with difficult people and situations.  But we have HIS peace.  We can and must have peace through all life’s situations.

James 3:18  NLT
And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

I want to be known as a peacemaker.  Whoops.  Backup.  I am not talking about sweeping things under the rug for the sake of peace.  I am talking about doing things and holding on so that peace is a long-term reality, not a short breath.

In the midst of war peace is talked about.  It seems to be the absence of battle or fighting.  That is not the essence of God’s peace.  The reason is because you can have real peace when the battles of life are big around you.  Real peace comes from really knowing the Savior.  Real peace is taking what God says, holding on to who His son is and giving it away to others around.

The outcome of having His peace is that we will have divine and live a blessed life.

The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.

Peace will keep us prepared for greater days and for trusting God.  And trusting God brings even more peace in to our lives.  Chose your thoughts focused on Him.  That brings peace we cannot get on our own.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

If we deal with our sin, peace will be a natural outcome.  If we don't deal with our sin, peace won’t be anywhere around us.

Romans 8:6  NLT
So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

His peace brings the ability to do more.  Do you struggle with temptation, not having wisdom or falling in situations that hold us back?

Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.

It is time to experience the reality of peace.  This will not come with our own knowledge or creation.  It only comes by trusting God.  The process that real peace brings in to our lives will change us for a long time.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

With peace there is… ongoing goodness, life giving to those we come in contact with and living with purpose each day.

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Friday, December 12, 2014

celebrate Christmas @ The Community

It is one of our favorite times of the year as we celebrate Christmas.  But we also know that Christmas is really all about Christ, the Savior, His birth and the hope of the world.  How will you celebrate Jesus this Christmas?

WORSHIP

Each Sunday of December we are celebrating the Advent (which means beginning) where God gave us promises of love, joy, peace and so much more.  Sunday at 10:10am this week we will encounter PEACE that can only come through knowing Christ.  

Our KIDS will have a party during worship on the 21st at 10:10.  Listen for more details this Sunday.

Sunday, December 21st, we will have some surprises and a little different worship time as well as we take communion remembering all God has done for us.  Invite your family and friends to worship with us!

LET'S EAT

This Sunday evening at 5pm will be our "all church Christmas dinner" and everyone is invited to join in.  Turkey, ham, green beans and corn will be provided.  Please bring sides, desserts and other items that will go with the meal.  It's great for family to get together, and we are family!!!

There will be a FREE MEAL on Christmas day at First Baptist Martinsville.  If you would like to serve, contact Scott Norman at Nelson Ford.

GIVE

There are lots of people around us who are in need.  We can choose to do ARK's (acts of random kindness) when we see needs.  In fact, we can do more together.

For those of you who are blessing and serving our foster kids this Christmas your gifts are due this Sunday.  We praise God that all the gifts have been committed.  

We continue to take our annual mission offering.  You can go online at THIS LINK and give at anytime by clicking on "mission offering, or you can give on Sunday at church using an envelope and write "missions" on it.  You can also mail your gift to The Community at PO Box 388, Collinsville, Virginia 24078.  

The past few months have been tough financially, and your church leaders as that you step up to give your tithes and offerings. If you need information for your taxes, please make sure you give no later than December 31st.  Thank you for giving and blessing the church because God has blessed you.

SERVE

Saturday is our 2nd Saturday FREE Community Meal and Clothes Closet from 9am until noon.  Please pass the word to those who are in need.  Volunteers arrive at 8:30.  We do want to thank TEAM 2 from our REACH ministry that serves meals uptown as they will be giving Christmas stockings to those they serve this Saturday night (thank you team and great job blessing others).

We have partnered with local churches and organizations to open a WINTER / WARMING SHELTER at the Salvation Army on nights that the temperature is below 32 degrees.  Volunteers are needed.  See Pastor Michael to help.

FAMILY CHRISTMAS

Spend some time during the Christmas holiday.  Read the Christmas story.  Go somewhere to serve.  Let your friends, co-workers, church family, neighbors, family and so many others know that you belong to Christ.  Christmas is a time when people are willing to listen.

Worship Christ this season.  Join us at The Community Fellowship as we demonstrate the love of God to our community and do all we can help others meet Jesus.

See you this weekend.


*** for more information about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center call 276-647-8231 or email cmartin@thecommunityfellowship.org.  To give online click on this link   https://tcf.ccbchurch.com/trx_submit.php?type=public_gift ***

in awe of the savior


Earlier this week I shared the following verses with our church staff, and I am still in awe of all God did by bringing Jesus to earth as well as using Mary and Joseph.  Read through the verses.  I will share some thoughts afterwards.

LUKE 1  NLT
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.” 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

LUKE 2  NLT
17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. 30 I have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared for all people. 32  He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

Each passage has incredible truth that teaches us about our Savior and gives us insight in to how we should respond to our God.

“May everything you have said about me come true.”

Mary was not only willing to do what God destined her for, but she believed by faith that God could do miracles.

“the baby in my womb jumped for joy.”

John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, knew before he and Jesus were born that there was something extra special happening.  His response had more to it than being in the presence of God.  The future was bright!

“Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.”

Can you imagine hearing all that Mary heard?  She heard this part from some of the most unlikely people, the shepherds.  God is always speaking, but we are not always listening.  It is important to keep the words of God rolling around in our lives.  What we think about a lot we begin to believe and act upon.

“Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him.

This last passage was the response after hearing from an old man about their son when Jesus was 8 days old.  They knew they were part of a miracle and God’s gift to the world.  Yet there was more ahead for them.

There is more ahead for us too.  It is time to celebrate Christmas and believe that God has more in store for us, for His church and for the world around us.  Miracles still happen, and God still uses people like you and me to get the ball rolling.

Mary and Joseph weren’t rich and didn't live in the biggest house in town.  God favored them.  They allowed themselves to be used for God’s plan.  We can do the same!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

volunteer of the week SEAN HUBBARD

This week’s volunteer of the week at The Community Fellowship is Sean Hubbard!!!

 

Sean Hubbard and his wife, Adrienne, have been a part of The Community Fellowship family since its beginning.   He works at Martinsville Electronics as an IT Professional and is our “go to” person when we need help with electronics at the church.

 

Every Sunday Sean is part of our Worship Team playing guitar and assisting in leading the church in worship.   He is also the leader of the Production Team.

 

Sean is on the Leadership Team as well as being a former assistant leader in our Youth Ministry.   He also is a volunteer in our children’s ministries and during our B2S (back2school) outreach where he is available to help in any area that he is needed.

 

On Saturdays Sean is a volunteer in REACH Ministry where each week teams go to The Martinsville Hotel and feed the homeless and hungry.

 

In his spare time Sean enjoys spending time with his friends and family, especially his sons Eyan who is 4 and Seth who is 3.

 

In the future, Sean is very excited about what our new campus will have to offer to the public and the many people that will be blessed though the ministries there.

 

Sean’s favorite Bible Scripture is Matthew 6:25,27 “That is why I tell you to not worry about everyday life - whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear.  Isn’t life more than food and your body more than clothing?   Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

 

We are especially proud to recognize Sean Hubbard as The Community Fellowship Volunteer of the Week!   Thank you, Sean, for sharing your time and talents with those that you serve as well as those you serve alongside!

 

 

*** for more information about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center call 276-647-8231 or email cmartin@thecommunityfellowship.org.  To give online click on this link   https://tcf.ccbchurch.com/trx_submit.php?type=public_gift ***

helping the homeless


I am passionate about dealing with homelessness.  This week has helped us step forward in the cause of opening a homeless shelter in our community in several ways.  That is a daily prayer for me and many people in our community.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

On Tuesday I was with people who work with men and women who are coming out of jail and prison and resettling in to their community.  It was big time encouraging to hear from people from government agencies, community services programs, churches and more who see the need for housing.  I believing that giving someone an opportunity to catch their breath and make better decisions is a big help to success.  It also allows a person to make a decision to listen to God.

It is the church’s place and every Christian’s place to help those in need as the verse above states.  That is our call.  That is our demonstration of God’s love.

Last night was the opening night for our community’s winter warming shelter, and one man came to stay with us.  This is another huge win for us in stepping forward to having a year round shelter.  My prayer is that we will get to serve a large number of people through the winter warming shelter.  Pray for volunteers as well as for those who have this need.

In the coming days God will give you and I opportunities to see needs and to meet them.  We might just be helping someone come to know God by giving them a meal, some clothes to wear or a place to stay.  It might even be giving a hug or a listening ear.

The Christmas season offers opportunities.  Watch for them.  Ask for them.  Do something about it.

May God use our hands and our voices to serve others so they see and meet Him.

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

what's in a name?


Names are important.  In our day we often notice that people look like their name.  In years gone by, like a long time ago, names meant more than they do today.  Families thought long and hard before naming their children because they wanted the name they chose to begin great things and great character in their children.

When you hear name, you may get a perception of what a person is like.  I do that.  It’s almost like a judgment call that is not always right.  At Christmas time we have several names that tell us about Jesus.  

Our God is good all the time.  He describes His own character in the use of the names we find in the Scripture, both Old and New Testaments.  These are incredible names:

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

"Look! The virgin will conceive a child!  She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God is with us.'"

He is my Jesus.  Is He yours?  Plain and simple truth.  Jesus became my Savior in May of 1986.  He continues to be my friend.  He is my guide and my comfort.  He blesses you and I with peace and direction as we seek Him.  He is my God.

Who is Jesus to you?  Think about it.  Here are the names that stick out to me in the verses above:

Wonderful counselor … this means that I can go to Him, hear from Him and trust Him, Jesus, at all times.  Best counselor I've EVER had!

Mighty God …He is unending, always faithful, resources upon resources, and He loves me because He is able to love me through all my crud.  That takes us much further because of God's ability to give a child and for Him to be born of a virgin.  What an incredible miracle from our awesome God.

Everlasting Father … as Ephesians 1 reminds all of us, we have an adoptive father who also created me as well.  Nothing can or will change that.  See Romans 8:38-39.  Nothing can separate us from Jesus!

Prince of Peace … I need peace, and I need a lot of it.  Do you?  He gives peace when no one else can.  It is so awesome to be able to trust that His peace.  That peace will keep us from wrong and will keep us strong too.

Save His people from their sins ... JESUS … Enough said.  Jesus is the only savior.  See John 14:6 which states He is the way, trust and life.  I love this fact.  The child of Christmas is the Savior that hung on a cross and resurrected from a tomb alive and well in heaven today.  He is able to save!!!

God with us .... IMMANUEL … Always with me, never leaves me, walking with me, guiding me, loving me.  No matter what.

He will do the same for you.  How awesome our God is!!!  May your Christmas be blessed, and may we keep Him as the center and most important part of our celebration!

NOTE: much of this devotion appeared in December 2010.