Phillipians 3:14 "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Only 5 more days till the new year! 2014! It's really hard to believe that we have already gone through this year. If you were to analyze this last year, would you do anything different? Perhaps you could ask yourself, are you completely satisfied with it's outcome? Is this where you saw yourself at the beginning of 2013?
Maybe the question we should be asking ourself, is what am I willing to change in 2014 to make it a better year? Yes, that's what we call 'resolutions'. New Year's resolutions! Sometimes we keep them, sometimes we don't. Many of us get weary half way through and just give up. It could be because we don't keep the vision before us. Habakkuk 2:2 says, "And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that reads it." Which gives the implication that we should keep the target of God's direction before us daily. So that as we go about our everyday business, we won't loose sight of our purpose OR His plan! We must determine what kind of 'resolutions' will help guide us towards that 'mark for the prize'?
'Resolutions', I just imagine most of you don't even like the sound of that word. It means we must have an intention, a determination, a resolve or the commitment. Commitment today is a term that's taken lightly, in marriage, in the job force, or in our relationship with God. If we don't like how something is proceeding, we toss in the towel. We give up, making all kinds of excuses why 'it' didn't work! "My spouse didn't understand me.", "My boss didn't recognize my talents.", or "God just doesn't answer me." Setting new resolutions, means we must take responsibility for ourself! Something in us has to change. We are only responsible to change one person! Ourself! No matter how hard you try, you're not going to change your spouse, nor are you going to transform your boss, and your most definitely not changing God. He is the same today, yesterday and forever! His Word remains forever.
Being able to start a new year, is like getting a brand new clean sheet of paper to write on. It's like a blank canvas. No mistakes, no messes, just a clean sheet of paper. Ready to start fresh. It's like letting all the past be past, knowing that what we've learned we can apply to the new days ahead. And just perhaps, we won't make the same errors. If we take the plans for the future, look at ourself and say, "What can I do different today, to insure a different tomorrow?" Smiling a little more, Praying a lot more, be increasingly kinder, giving beyond normal expectations or just doing something a little bit better than yesterday. It won't be long and you'll be able to see a change in your life. You'll be happier, healthier, and perhaps slight more wealthier. (Wealth is not always measured by money)
Let the New Year begin.... "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:13-14
Goodness, here it is a week before Christmas. Where has this year gone? Really, where has this month gone? The time seemed to have passed quickly. We've endeavored to savor every moment and enjoy the season before it rapidly disappears. Yet, before we realized it, tomorrow has arrived and yesterday is a fleeting thought. After pondering about Christmas and it's meaning, We felt inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this poem to share. Please enjoy it and take to heart the emphasis of it's message.
THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS
by Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Tis the week before Christmas, and all through the town,
People are scurrying all around.
Decorations and ornaments were all hung,
With excitement encircling all of the young.
Presents were bought and wrapped real pretty,
Being delivered from city to city.
There’s festivities and feasting all around,
Caroling and joyful celebrations resound.
Yet amidst all this commotion,
There’s still a strong notion,
That Christmas is for Christ,
And not all the hype.
The birth of a baby, the Savior, A King,
Is the first and foremost reason we sing.
It’s time to celebrate and rejoice
Giving reason for Christmas a spiritual voice.
So when you’re gazing upon all the seasonal lights
with wonder, amazement and marvelous delight,
Remember to ponder, review and reflect,
On Jesus the Messiah, God’s present exact.
Is. 9:6 "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Think back to all the gifts you've ever received. This might be difficult for some. Like me, you've probably received many gifts over your lifetime. Can you remember the greatest gift you've ever received?
When I was a child, gifts were something only given on very special occasions, like Christmas or Birthdays. It was rare to get a gift for no apparent reason. My most memorable gift was a much wanted doll house. I lived with my grandparents when I was young, and they had a very meager life. They didn't put up a Christmas tree or buy Easter baskets or even bake birthday cakes. Yet on one Christmas I recall the metal doll house with furniture that they gave me. It wasn't sitting under a tree, but perched on a small table by the front door. I was a delighted at that gift.
Over the years, I've been given many wonderful gifts from friends and family. Many of which were very memorable and valuable. The value being, the heartfelt sentiment from the giver. If you were to consider the worth of a gift, how would you measure it? Some would probably say the significance would be in the cost. Others might say it would be calculated by the usefulness of that gift. For instance a person who was given a coat, who had no coat, would more likely value that gift better than one who had several coats. And of course, there are those who value a gift by the sincerity of the giver. Let me just say that, in whatever way you measure the value of a gift it's usually due to its importance at the time.
This Christmas season I would like to inspire you to consider in all the gifts you've ever been given, the Greatest Gift of all is Jesus Christ. Is. 9:6 (GNT) says, "A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."
There is much value in the gift of this Savior. And, just as with any gift, it's worth is in the eye or the heart of the receiver. You choose how valuable He is to you. To me He is my peace in the midst of all troubles and turmoil. And my healer, Who heals ALL my diseases, infirmities, and sicknesses. Jesus is my provider for all my needs. He is my gift of eternal life. I'm assured I have a place with Him in Heaven. What does this Wonderful Gift of our Savior mean to you? Do you daily place value on this gift by giving Him priority in and over your life? Let this be a reminder of how great a gift we have been given.
Perhaps the most important question for some, have you personally accepted this gift of Jesus Christ, as Savior? To receive the Greatest Gift, repeat this prayer: "Lord Jesus, I ask You to come into my life and forgive me of all my sins. I confess my sins before You this day. I denounce Satan and all his works. I confess Jesus as the Lord of my life. Thank You for saving me. I believe with my heart and I confess with my mouth that You rose from the dead. I am saved. Write my name in the Lamb's book of life. Today is my God-day with the Lord Jesus! I pray this prayer to the Father in the name of Jesus. Amen."
If you just prayed this prayer, please e-mail, mail, or call us to let us know. We'd like to send you a free booklet to to help you understand a little more about this new life in Christ.
Do you find yourself overwhelmed or stressed with all the things on your 'To Do' list? With all the decorating, shopping, planning, events and just regular everyday chores, it seems like the list just keeps growing. Not to mention all those that want to help add things to your list.
It's actually easy to get engulfed in feelings of pressure, thinking there's not enough time to get everything done. So, we want to help you enjoy the season and keep you from freaking out in the season. If you'll do the following we know that you'll have a lot more peace and a lot less anxiety!
1. First things first. Put the Lord first in your day. Mark 12:30 says, "And you shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and will all your strength. This is the first commandment." Love is recognizing and honoring. It's so easy to get distracted and forget God. But we must remember He IS the reason for the season. It's because of His love that we celebrate Christmas. Besides that, you'll find giving Him first place in your day, will produce peace, order and joy!
2. Take moments throughout your day to 'smell the roses'. In other words, slow down! Rushing only causes pressure and stress. Realize the task WILL get done, you WILL get to where you're going, and everything WILL come together. By slowing down you not only give yourself time to enjoy the moments, but generate peace for you and others. Life is short, appreciate it. Eccl. 3:13 "and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God."
3. Rejoice, sing and praise God. It is a proven fact that music can affect our behavior and our emotions. Ps. 63:3-5 "Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name, My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness (abundance), and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips." So listen to some beautiful Christmas music and sing along. This will help create an atmosphere of peace and joy!
Putting forth an effort to do these three things will promote joy and peace. The experience of Christmas, perhaps, will be better than ever before. And although there are challenges, remember Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."