His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I will close this post with a song for us in the new year. Let us rejoice and be glad in each new day that God blesses us with.
For this week before Christmas we have an uplifting message from Shari Hervold. May hearts be blessed and strengthened as we focus on Jesus.
FOCUS, Before Making Decisions in the New Year
I don't have to tell a widow reading this today that the loss of your spouse threw your whole life out of focus. Initially, you most likely walked around in a daze, in shock and grief. There was so much paper work to do, agencies to contact, decisions to be made, with no partner to aid in those decisions. Some of you had help and support from children or other close family members and many decisions were made prior to death. Still, you found yourself alone in your grief and maintaining a clear focus was most difficult for you. You may still find it difficult to do so today, many weeks, months, or even years later.
While focusing or giving full attention to the ordinary decisions in life is important, it is even more important that you learn to turn your focus toward God before stepping out into the newness of life that God has prepared for you. Recall with me the story of Esther from the Bible. The Jews were set to be annihilated and Esther, as queen, was in a position to intercede to the king on their behalf. However, before even going to the king, she asked others to pray for and with her. Her entire focus was on God and seeing his guidance and protection. She was wise enough to recognize that she must focus first on God before stepping out into what she had been called to do to save her people. Her beauty, her position as queen, all her charm and ability to use speech and actions to sway the king would have little effect in a crisis of this magnitude. Esther is one of the many in the Bible who, before stepping out into the "unknown" first turned their focus on God and his leading.
As a widow, your life has been totally altered; it will never be the same. You will be getting advice from many sources; most, if not all, well-intentioned. I encourage you to listen well, and weigh that advice...but don't make a move until you turn your focus away from it and to God. Why? It is only God who has the whole picture of your life. It is only he who can truly lead you into the path that is best for you. When you turn your focus toward God, make sure that your attitude is one of trust in him and a willingness to obey his leading. You can be totally secure that he has your best interest at heart. Keep in mind the words of Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
Do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
And he will show you which path to take.
As you pray, you might want to make a list as options come to your mind. Do so with God's pleasure in mind, not just what appeals to you. Look over your list to see if anything on it clearly violates any principles found in God's Word. Eliminate those; they will not be in his plan for you. You now have a realistic picture of your options to help you make a responsible, God-honoring decision. If the focus of your heart has been to please God, taking into account Biblical principles, along with any wise counsel you may have received, I suggest that you are ready to step out with the full confidence that God will work out his purposes through that decision.
This Christmas season is the perfect time to begin to focus on Jesus and his love for you. The new year looms on the horizon, but with your focus on God and his will, you can face it unafraid. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Good morning Ladies ~ Here we are the week before Christmas. I hope you are all being filled with the love, peace and joy of this holiday season. It is all because of Jesus that we celebrate this time of year. Let us give thanks to Him for all He has done and continues to do for each of us. May we learn and grow in His love with each new day.
Well, we down here in sunny s.e. FL had our Christmas meeting yesterday. We had a nice turn out of 26 ladies and a good time was had by all. We missed those who could not be with us and wish them well.
This is our lovely table setting.
Gifts in the center.
Here is dear Ramona, who checks in our ladies as they come in.
At every meeting we start off with singing and clapping hands to “This is the Day”.
I couldn’t find the rendition that we sing with but here’s one that is really good, happy and thankful.
Next, we have Dotti, our founder and leader with some of our group. We had 26 ladies, which was a good turn out for our steadily growing group. We’re not quite three years old yet.
We had to improvise a place this month for our display of Teddy Bears and Bibles and this worked out nicely. Our Teddy Bear ministry is doing really well and we are blessed by the stories shared by those who give the bears to someone.
The Bibles are given out to each lady after they have attended twice.
Kathy Caprio, pastor for our group, was our guest speaker. She spoke on having “True Peace in Your Life”. That true peace is Jesus.
As Jesus fills our lives with His peace, we in turn share that peace with others.
If any of you reading this have not yet believed in Jesus, right now is a wonderful time to ask Him to come into your life. We are all sinners and have come short of His glory. He came as a little babe in a manger, who grew into manhood and gave His life so that we’d be free from all sin. He rose on the third day so that we’d have life with Him forever.
As we draw closer to Christmas, let us remember to pray for those less fortunate than we are. Pray for those who are ill, who are having problems, whatever they may be. Pray that the Love and Light of God, which is Jesus will shine in hearts this Christmas season.
I will close this post with an instrumental version of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” by the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Richmond Brass, Charles Gerhardt
Good morning Ladies ~ Well, here it is Christmas holidays once again. Down here in s.e. FL it is a very chilly 51 and feels like it is 43. To us, that is COLD.
Here’s a Christmas tune to start off our holiday season.
‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas’ by Johnny Mathis.
Today’s post features pictures taken at the Christmas meeting for our New Jersey sisters.
Diana ~ Thank you for all of the photos you have taken in the past couple of years. You are doing a great job!
What a lovely table setting.
Eileen and Lois have been faithfully serving with this ministry for over 25 years.
Here we have Becky with the poinsettias that were given to each lady attending.
Mary Lou (l.) present director, and Eileen (r.) assistant director. Eileen has served with each of the directors since Dotti.
Meet Mildred and Livesta.
Here we have the birthday girls.
*Happy Birthday* to all of you.
Look at these dear ladies decked out in holiday finery. They look so Christmassy and cheerful. I hear they had really nasty weather that day, but had a great turn out of 98 ladies, including 8-9 visitors.
The couple shown in this picture are Bonnie and Jose. They brought the Jewish Hanukkah Menorah and told the history behind it. If you wish, you can read about the history here.
Below is a song sung for this celebration.
As we begin to celebrate our Christmas holidays let us remember that ‘Jesus is the Light’ who came into this world, to save us from sin and darkness, to give us joy unspeakable and full of glory.
God incarnate in a little human baby. The Word, Jesus, was made flesh and dwelt among us. He grew from a baby into a lad, on into manhood, where He ministered to many, and died on the cross and rose again so that we’d be free.
He is with us today by His Holy Spirit. We are not alone, God is with us and will never leave us.
I will close with this beautiful song.
‘Immanuel’ by Michael Card
Hello dear Ladies ~ Today we have a Christmas message from ~ Dr. J. Bruce Sofia
Senior Pastor of Gloucester County Community Church.
(This church has supported FNF since 1988)
I recall years ago when we were producing a TV show called "The Other Side", one of the questions posed to those on the street was: "What does Christmas mean to you?" The answers received were varied in nature from, "I'm Jewish but I have no problem with it," to "It's about family and friends," to "I'm an atheist - I think the world would be better without it," to "It's too commercial," to "It's about Jesus." So, here's a question to ponder: "What would the world be like without Christmas?"
Two words immediately came to my mind - light and life: Jesus the light of the world" Jesus the way, the truth and the life. What would the world be without Christmas? I really don't think we would want to know. I have been to four continents, and where Christianity is absent so is 'light' and 'life'.
Think about it for a moment? The air is filled with a positive and inspirational 'buzz', but those of us who know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior understand "the way." The airwaves are filled with His name...Christ-mas. He is everywhere? The colors. The trees. The decorations. The snow (at least in our part of the country. Sorry Dotti, couldn't resist. LOL!) The music. The carols. The shows. The concerts. The gifts. The parties. The days off. The spirit of generosity and giving. And I could go on. Although they are not the Christ, they speak of Him, and, it is "awesome."
Yes, as the gospel writer Luke put it: "For unto you is born this day a Saviour who is Christ the Lord." Anyone who has come to know Christ in a redeeming and personal way knows there is nothing that can compare. Let us rejoice and be glad!
In closing, permit me to take this moment and thank God for His gift to you who are widowed - Dotti, (Founder & Director of FNF in Lake Worth, Florida), Mary Lou (Director of FNF, Turnersville, N.J.) and ALL who assist them throughout the year. Ladies (and Paul, Mary Lou's hubby), you truly all bring light and life to many. Thank you!
Have a blessed Holiday Season and a Merry Christmas!
Below is a beautiful rendition of ~
Dear Ladies ~ Here we are just a little over three weeks away from Christmas. We have a wonderful message today to bless our hearts and start us out on this special holiday season.
May you feel the love, peace, joy and strength of God surrounding you and flowing through you as you read Pastor Stan’s message and listen to the song, “Wrap Me in Your Arms”.
Hello Ladies ~ What a special time of the year as the Advent season begins this first week of December as we both remember and celebrate the coming of Jesus that first Christmas. I want to share with you a scripture the Lord put on my heart FOR YOU and then pray a special Christmas prayer for all of YOU.
A Prayer about the "Advent Arms of God"
"You who bring Good News to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the town of Judah, "here is your God!" See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart." Isaiah 40:9-11 [NIV]
Gracious Father, Advent is right upon us, this month of December as we remember and celebrate the coming of your own beloved son, the promised Messiah and our gracious Savior, Jesus Christ. Grant to us that this season will be more than just Christmas carols, and Christmas candy and Christmas cookies and Christmas gifts, although it often includes that. Surprise us Lord, in some unexpected ways this entire month as we engage in the story of Jesus' birth all over again.
Rescue us from the mundane and the predictable ways we think of Christmas. Reshape how we feel about Christmas as we are reminded that through Jesus you brought Good News of Great Joy to the whole world, including us. And we desperately need some Good News right now. Help us not to be afraid but to be reminded and arrested by this picture Isaiah paints of your amazing "Advent Arms". This promise of the Messiah carries with it the loving embrace we all need, especially around these holidays.
In Jesus, You come near to us as the sovereign Lord, with your sleeves rolled up as the powerful Ruler of the Universe. To think that your arm rules over all history, all nations, all kings and all circumstances and that we are literally resting in your everlasting arms. It's sometimes too much to even think about.
In Jesus we want and need you to come near to us as the most compassionate Shepherd ever, gathering us and carrying us your lambs in your all-powerful arms. The image and hope of You, the Great Shepherd, are staggering. To be tended to as dumb sheep, to be held so close to your beating heart, to be gently led ~ What more could we possibly long for and need?
And these aren't just metaphors, Father. Metaphors have no power to save us. You really are this kind of God, loving, compassionate, meek and mild, yet you come with great power and glory. This season help us Lord to fall into your "Advent Arms" as we remember that you are a most wonderful, merciful, loving, saving shepherd of our souls, that you are Immanuel, the God who is both FOR us and WITH us this Advent season.
I pray this with Advent wonder and amazement, knowing I'm being held in your "Advent Arms" in the matchless name of Jesus, Amen.
South Palm Community Church
Lake Worth, FL
“Wrap Me In Your Arms” by Freddy Rodriguez