Carriers of a Message!

jesus-mary-joseph-manger-sceneEvery morning, I wake up to another day of experiencing the love of my Savior. I am a fortunate woman because of the Lord. His word says that his mercies are new every morning, and I really take it to heart, especially when I hear sad news of people going through difficulty, loss or pain. In these moments, I realize that I’m a carrier of an important message, and feel compelled to share the Good News.
In our family, we’ve had two uncles, Charlie and Marvin Roat, who recently passed away. They both lived long lives, and we had the opportunity to see them during the fall, a few months before they passed. How blessed we felt to be able to spend time with them, knowing that the next time our paths would cross would be in heaven.
A few days ago, while we were Christmas caroling with friends in our neighborhood, we met a woman who was mourning the loss of her mother. How sad! A couple of weeks ago, the daughter of a good friend of mine was diagnosed with leukemia. This young girl is going through a very intense treatment. Another woman that I recently met told me she is getting divorced and doesn’t have hope that her marriage will make it. Every day, we hear about people who are going through some type of loss. Some have the hope of our Savior Jesus and some don’t.
How exciting it is to be able to share the Christmas story with people in all these circumstances. Emmanuel, God with us! This is the story of the Christ child who came into the world to save us from our sins, to heal our hearts, and give us hope. 1 John 4 tells us, “
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”
Those of us who are believers in Christ have the privilege to be the arms, hands, and the voice of our Savior, Jesus, to the people that need him most. We are the instruments of God’s goodness to a hurting world. Sometimes it’s difficult to make the time for those in need. Life can be so busy, especially during Christmas. But when we understand all that God has done on our behalf, our hearts open up and we make time for those in need.
My prayer is that we would be inspired to sing the song that God has put in our hearts. At times, it might sound as soft as a whisper and other times as loud as a choir. Every time we buy food for a homeless person, speak words of encouragement to a grieving widow, or help a relationship in crisis, we are singing the song that the Lord loves to hear.
May the love, peace, joy, and the presence of our Savior be with all of you this Christmas Season! May His kingdom come, may His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. May you be used to bring His hope and love to this world. 

Mary and Martha

mary-and-marthaI have a confession. I have a big Thanksgiving meal planned with all our relatives this year, but I won’t be doing any of the cooking. I’m going to buy all the fixings and warm them up. I’m sure that I’ll put some effort into meal preparations, but most of my energy will go into family time and conversations. I want to enjoy every minute of this long weekend with my family. I haven’t seen my son in months, and my oldest daughter is in college so and I don’t see her much either. I want to be like Mary and not Martha. Mary, as some of you know, was the one that sat at Jesus’s feet enjoying his presence, while Martha was so concerned about the meal and what to serve the guests. Martha had an important role, but if I had to choose whom to be, I’d be Mary! Sometimes we get so busy that we forget how to make the best of our relationships. This year, I’m going to sit, listen, and converse on all the things I have missed in my children’s lives.
“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’
‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:40-42)
Another tradition we have as part of our Thanksgiving meal is talking about the many things we are thankful for. We share and reminisce about the things that God has done for us this year. I look forward to hearing family members share how the Lord has blessed them throughout this year.
My Thanksgiving prayer this year is that the Lord of the Harvest who gives us what we need will also bring the unity that our nation experienced at the first Thanksgiving celebration.
When we have a thankful heart, and we direct our thankfulness to God and work together in unity and love, we can accomplish what the Pilgrims and Indians accomplished in the autumn of 1621– a feast after their first successful harvest.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with great memories and remember to thank the Lord for his blessings. Enjoy his presence, just like Mary did.

Keys to Success

key-to-success1What are the keys to success in marriage? When I first got married, I knew that part of my marriage commitment involved loving my husband with all my heart and to even set aside some of  my own desires. One of the sacrifices I made was to move to the USA. At first, Leon and I considered living in Ecuador. As a loving husband, Leon tried to find a job in Ecuador, but as we prayed and asked God, I knew in my heart that God wanted us in the USA. This was not easy for me. Leaving family, friends, my church, Ecuadorian food, language, and culture would be a sacrifice, but I did it for love.
Marriage is full of sacrifices like this. For love, we must think of our spouse first. Some sacrifices seem easy at the beginning of a relationship and others are harder, but the closer a couple becomes, the more sacrifices there are to make. The compromises might include spending less time with friends, taking on new responsibilities or chores, watching a romance instead of an action adventure, feeding the baby at 2 a.m., or moving to another country or state. Another sacrifice we make in marriage is choosing to actively listen instead of being the talker. Most people want to be heard and understood, but struggle to listen attentively. If we’re honest, many of us are thinking about what we want to say while our spouses are talking.
I think of the words from John 15:3, when I face a hard choice in marriage. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Although most of us won’t be called to literally give up our lives for our spouses, we are called to think of our spouse’s needs before our own. Making sacrifices is an important part of growing mature in a marriage relationship.
Besides making daily sacrifices, how do you build a great marriage? You could buy 100 different books on the topic and get 100 different answers. The truth is, growing a great marriage cannot be whittled down to a formula or doing life a certain way. For each couple, the keys to success are a bit different. Still, building a successful life together with your partner involves starting with the blueprint for successful living, the Bible.
In her
book on marriage, Shaunti Feldhahn states it this way,”Highly happy couples tend to put God at the center of their marriage and focus on Him, rather than on their marriage or spouse, for fulfillment and happiness. 53% of Very Happy Couples agree with the statement, “God is at the center of our marriage” (compared to 7% of Struggling Couples).” (pg. 178, Highly Happy Marriages)
In my relationship with Leon, putting God first and being willing to make sacrifices has had a huge impact and kept our marriage thriving for over 26 year!