Archives for December 2014

DEC. 28, 2014   JANE’S HEART TO HEART   … Pastor’s Help-Mate

DEC. 28, 2014 JANE’S HEART TO HEART … Pastor’s Help-Mate

 MY 2015 CHALLENGE

This is for me first and then I post it as my signature in emails and letters and share it with those with whom I correspond during the year of 2015.

“WHEN WE PUT OUR LIVES IN GOD’S HANDS

HE PUTS HIS PEACE IN OUR HEARTS”  (ODB) 

Isaiah 26:3-4 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.   Trust ye in the Lord forever: for the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”   and Romans 15: 13 “ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” NIV

Our choice this year should be to have a heart of gratitude and praise. “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”   Ps. 34:1 

This praise need not be just when things are going well, but in the times of trial too. Yes, giving thanks in all things is not easy and it may not change your circumstances, but it will put you in a frame of mind to experience God’s richest blessing that He desires for you through your trials.

If we continue without praise in our trails we give up peace and contentment, we give up JOY.  We make things even worse when we remove ourselves from His grace and fellowship during these hard times by whining and complaining.           

  “Let us counsel and train our hearts by being obedient and offer a sacrifice of “Thanks” and let God’s truth lift and sustain your spirit.”  (DeMoss)

Christian contentment is that sweet, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.”  (Jeremiah Burroughs)

Being joyful is not what makes you grateful

Being grateful is what makes you Joyful

Dec. 21, 2014    Jane’s Heart to Heart  …Pastor’s Help-Mate

Dec. 21, 2014 Jane’s Heart to Heart …Pastor’s Help-Mate

Saeed Abedini’s Christmas Letter.

Rajai Shahr Prison 2014

Merry Christmas!,   These days are very cold here. My small space beside the window is without glass making most nights unbearable to sleep. The treatment by fellow prisoners is also quite cold and at times hostile. Some of my fellow prisoners don’t like me because I am a convert and a pastor. They look at me with shame as someone who has betrayed his former religion. The guards can’t even stand the paper cross that I have made and hung next to me as a sign of my faith and in anticipation of celebrating my Savior’s birth. They have threatened me and forced me to remove it. This is the first Christmas that I am completely without my family; all of my family is presently outside of the country. These conditions have made this upcoming Christmas season very hard, cold and shattering for me. It appears that I am alone with no one left beside me.

These cold and brittle conditions have made me wonder why God chose the hardest time of the year to become flesh and why He came to the earth in the weakest human condition (as a baby). Why did God choose the hardest place to be born in the cold weather? Why did God choose to be born in a manger in a stable, which is very cold, filthy and unsanitary with an unpleasant smell? Why did the birth have to be in such a way that it was not only hard physically, but also socially? It must have brought such shame for Mary and her fiancé that she was pregnant before marriage in the religious society of that time.

Dear sisters and brothers, the fact of the Gospel is that it is not only the story of Jesus, but it is the key of how we are to live and serve like Jesus. Today we like Him should come out of our safe comfort zone in order to proclaim the Word of Life and Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and the penalty of sin that He paid on the cross and to proclaim His resurrection. We should be able to tolerate the cold, the difficulties and the shame in order to serve God. We should be able to enter into the pain of the cold dark world. Then we are able to give the fiery love of Christ to the cold wintery manger of those who are spiritually dead. It might be necessary to come out of the comfort of our lives and leave the loving embrace of our family to enter the manger of the lives of others, such as it has been for me for the third consecutive Christmas.

It may be that we will be called fools and traitors and face many difficulties, but we should crucify our will and wishes even more until the world hears and tastes the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas means that God came so that He would enter your hearts today and transform your lives and to replace your pain with indescribable joy.

Christmas is the manifestation of the radiant brightness of the Glory of God in the birth of a child named Emmanuel, which means God is with us.

Christmas is the day that the heat of the life-giving fire of God’s love shone in the dark cold wintry frozen hearts and burst forth in this deadly wicked world.

The same way that the heat from the earth’s core melts the hard stones in itself and produces lava, the fiery love of God, Jesus Christ, through the virgin Mary’s womb came to earth on Christmas to melt the hard heart of sin and wickedness of the world and removes them from our life. In the same process, the work of the Holy Spirit is a fiery rain of God’s Holiness and Mercy that flows into our body, soul and spirit and brings the light of Christ into us and through us making this dark, cold, wintry world into radiant burning brightness. He is turning our world into a world full of peace, joy, and love that is so different than the dark, cold, and wintry world that we used to live in. Hallelujah!

So this Christmas let the lava-like love of Christ enter into the depth of your heart and make you fiery, ready to pay any cost in order to bring the same lava love to the cold world around you, transforming them with the true message of Christmas.

Pastor Saeed Abedini

Soaking in the lava love of Christ

http://aclj.org/persecuted-church/american-pastor-saeed-writes-heartwarming-christmas-letter-from-hard-cold-prison

Dec. 14, 2014  Jane’s Heart to Heart   … Pastor’s Help-Mate

Dec. 14, 2014 Jane’s Heart to Heart … Pastor’s Help-Mate

Dec. 14, 2014  Jane’s Heart to Heart ….Pastor’s Help-Mate

Todays article is from Paul Harvey’s site…….   http://www.rubysemporium.org/harvey_birds.html

The Man and the Birds      (Paul Harvey)

Each CHRISTmas day at 12:00 noon where ever Paul Harvey’s Program is played on the radio, Paul tells this story in such a dynamic way that it is sure to touch the heart of any person who listens to it.

Unable to trace its proper parentage, I have designated this as My Christmas Story, of “The Man and the Birds”.

You know, “The” Christmas story, “God born a man in a manger”, and all that, escapes some moderns. Mostly I think because they seek complex answers to their questions, and this one is so utterly simple. So for the cynics and the skeptics and the unconvinced, I submit a modern parable.
Now the man to whom I’m going to introduce you was not a scrooge, he was a kind, decent, mostly good man. Generous to his family, upright in his dealings with other men, but he just didn’t believe all that incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmas time. It just didn’t make sense, and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn’t swallow the Jesus story about God coming to earth as a man.

“I’m truly sorry to distress you”, he told his wife, “but I’m not going with you to church this Christmas eve”, he said he’d feel like a hypocrite, that he’d much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for them. So he stayed and they went to the midnight service.

Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later, he was startled by a thudding sound. Then another. And then another; sort of a thump or a thud. At first, he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. But when he went to the front door to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm and in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his large landscape window.

Well, he couldn’t let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter if he could direct the birds to it. Quickly, he put on a coat and goulashes, tramped through the deepening snow to the barn.

He opened the doors wide and turned on a light. But the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in. So he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow making a trail the yellow lighted, wide open door to the stable. But to his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them. He tried “shooing” them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms. Instead, they scattered in every direction except into the warm lighted barn.

Then he realized that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could let them know that they can trust me. That I’m not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how? Because any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow. They would not be led, or “shooed” because they feared him.

“If only I could be a bird”, he thought to himself “and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to the safe warm ———-

(Sudden recognition) —- to the safe warm barn, but I would have to be one of them so they could see and hear, and understand.”

At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind. He stood there listening to the bells, Adeste Fidelis. Listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas.

……. And he sank to his knees in the snow.

Dec. 7, 2014   Jane’s Heart to Heart   … Pastor’s Help-Mate

Dec. 7, 2014   Jane’s Heart to Heart   … Pastor’s Help-Mate

TREACHERY AT ITS WORST!

Seventy-three years ago this morning one of the worst acts of treachery ever foisted upon a body of people was carried out by the naval forces of the government of Japan: December 7, 1941.

At precisely eight o’clock on that Sunday morning hundreds of heavily armed Japanese aircraft swung in over our giant naval base in Honolulu in the Hawaiian Islands.

Though many warnings from various sources had been known to numerous American authorities in Washington as well as Hawaii, they were not taken seriously. It was thought nothing as audacious was within the capabilities of the Japanese. The entire Pacific Fleet of America was berthed there and American fire-power was assumed to be overwhelming.

In secret Japan had been working for years to develop military forces, far greater than any nation in Asia. Their aircraft were superior to those America possessed. Their pilots were among the best trained in the world.

The devastation left behind after hours of attack by the aircraft of the Rising Sun left the entire fleet of battleships of the American Navy either badly damaged or sinking. Nearly 3,000 Americans perished. Our government was left with years of rebuilding in the midst of a fight to the finish with Japan.

Forty-four months of war ensued with Germany and Italy joining on the Japanese side in the western world. World War II was a fact, the most costly in money and lives in the history of humanity. These treacherous allies of Japan were beaten first.

On September 2, 1945 representatives of the Japanese government filed aboard the American Battleship “Missouri” and before an old mess table on her main deck surrendered that government to ours “unconditionally.” The most treacherous act ever perpetrated against America was now but a matter for apology by the Japanese. Millions of innocent people had died.

As a result of this heinous sin against America, what did our country do to repay the Japanese for their unspeakable deed? Does anyone still remember? The answer is that our country rebuilt their nation and today it is a peaceful and secure democracy, the strongest in the eastern world. And why did we do that? Because of our Christian heritage, let the record show. 

II Chr. 7:14 “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”