Psalm 43:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Cross found on all donkeys' backs?

Some donkeys (often called Christian donkeys) have a narrow strip of dark hair that runs down their backs and each of their shoulders. These markings are in the shape of a cross. Like the color traits of other animals (such as zebras), we don’t know exactly why these donkeys have this cross. But, it does show the wonderful variety among God’s creatures.

There is legend that the crosses on these donkeys appeared after Jesus rode one into Jerusalem (read Matthew 21:1-11). There is no evidence that this is true. The dark stripe in the form of a cross was a trait in these donkeys long before Jesus lived. However, the fact that Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem is very important. It fulfilled a prophecy that was spoken 500 years before Jesus lived, and showed He was the Messiah (read Matthew 21:5 and Zechariah 9:9).

Dear Prayer Partners

Please remember the following needs and requests in prayer:



1} President Obama and his advisors

2} the men & women serving in our armed forces and their families

3} Bobby- a missionary in Haiti who was flown back to the states with a broken back

4} Holly- recently gave birth to a son

5} Hailey- has Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is unable to work due to it

6} Margo- recovering from a stroke

7} Dan- has Leukemia & an inoperable brain tumor, the tumors in his stomach and lung have been removed successfully

8} Christine- recently gave birth by an emergency C-section and her new son is in critical condition

9} Living Waters A/G looking for a youth pastor with a vision to reach the youth

10} Dennis- having problems breathing

11} The Holm Family- death of a loved one from cancer

12} The DeRien Family- death of a loved one

13} The Fraley family- death of a loved one

14} Eugene- is battling cancer

15} Schimmica- husband is having an affair

16} Kevin- has some serious dental problems and is recovering from emergency oral surgery

17} Faith- is hospitalized after a heart attack and partial amputation of right foot, has a serious infection in heart, lungs and kidneys and is back on dialysis

18} Chantella- is expecting her 1st baby in the spring

19} Julianne- having difficulty with her pregnancy

20} Marc- family problems

21} Tom- problems with weight control

22} Achan- has HIV, an infection in her lungs and gall bladder is shutting down

23} Rick- has bulging disc in his back

24} Noah- a toddler having complications from heart surgery, has a very high fever

25} Frank- fighting depression

26} Gloria- hospitalized after passing out at work

27} Chaplain Sam- recovering from eye surgery

28} Chaplain Jay- preparing for a missionary trip to Uganda next year

29} For all the unspoken and personal requests that people have

30} For us at Highway Mission Outreach that we will continue have the doors opened to share the gospel and the needed finances to carry out the ministry of the mission and as we plant The Cross-Roads Chapel

31} For Michael Frankland, Gill Ainsworth, Mark Ainsworth, Tracy Ainsworth, Tony Wood, Eileen Walsh, and Elaine - break down strongholds in their lives

"Hold Us Together" - Matt Maher

Opening Our Hearts to God


Psa. 19:14 - May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable before You, O Jehovah, my rock and my Redeemer.

Acts 13:22-23 - And when He had deposed him, He raised up David for them as king, to whom also He testified and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to My heart, who will do all My will. (23) From this man's seed, God, according to promise, brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus.


~~~~~ Words of Ministry ~~~~~


Both of the above passages are related to David. Psalm 19:14
is a prayer of David, while Acts 13:22-23 is a description of
David. In David's prayer, there are the “words of my mouth”
and the “meditation of my heart,” or the thoughts of the
heart. He prayed that he would not only be kept in his words
outwardly, but also be acceptable to God in his thoughts
inwardly. The words of the mouth are an expression of the
thoughts of the heart. The heart is the root problem.

Whether or not one outwardly says the right words is not the basic problem. Whether or not one has an outward attitude in his speaking that is right is also not the basic problem. The
thoughts of the heart are the basic problem. The thoughts of
the heart constitute the root problem and cannot be overlooked. David did not merely pray, “God, may the words of my mouth be acceptable before You.” He added to the prayer, “May the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You.”

David's prayer was for the thoughts of his heart to be
acceptable before God. This is why Paul could later testify
that David was a man according to the Lord's heart. A person
who is according to God's heart allows God to touch his heart. If you will not allow God to touch your heart, it will be hard for you to be one who is according to His heart.

Many Christians ask, “Why is it wrong for me to do this? Why
is it wrong for me to say this? Why is it wrong for me to
express myself this way?” Brothers and sisters, whether or
not you are doing the right thing, saying the right thing, or
expressing yourself the right way is not the real problem.

Rather, is your heart right when you are doing such a thing,
saying such a word, or expressing yourself in such a way?
What is the condition of your heart? What is the condition of
the root? Even if you are right in every outward thing, it is
still possible for your heart to be wrong. God is touching the condition of your heart and asking about it. He allows many winds and waves to beat upon His children for this very reason.

He uses these things to touch your heart and to expose the condition of your heart.

Why was God harsher in O.T.? - by John Piper

Thy Redeemer


By C.H. Spurgeon


"For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called" (Isaiah 54:5).

JESUS, the Redeemer, is altogether ours and ours for ever. All the offices of Christ are held on our behalf. He is king for us, priest for us, and prophet for us. Whenever we read a new title of the Redeemer, let us appropriate Him as ours under that name as much as under any other. The shepherd's staff, the father's rod, the captain's sword, the priest's mitre, the prince's sceptre, the prophet's mantle, all are ours.

Jesus hath no dignity which He will not employ for our exaltation, and no prerogative which He will not exercise for our defence. His fulness of Godhead is our unfailing, inexhaustible treasure-house. His manhood also, which he took upon him for us, is ours in all its perfection. To us our gracious Lord communicates the spotless virtue of a stainless character; to us he gives the meritorious efficacy of a devoted life; on us he bestows the reward procured by obedient submission and incessant service. He makes the unsullied garment of his life our covering beauty; the glittering virtues of his character our ornaments and jewels; and the superhuman meekness of his death our boast and glory. He bequeaths us his manger, from which to learn how God came down to man; and his Cross to teach us how man may go up to God. All His thoughts, emotions, actions, utterances, miracles, and intercessions, were for us.

He trod the road of sorrow on our behalf, and hath made over to us as his heavenly legacy the full results of all the labours of his life. He is now as much ours as heretofore; and he blushes not to acknowledge himself "our Lord Jesus Christ," though he is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Christ everywhere and every way is our Christ, for ever and ever most richly to enjoy. O my soul, by the power of the Holy Spirit, call him this morning, "thy Redeemer."


Send us your prayer requests:

Send us your prayer requests:
(by clicking on the link above)

FREE Book: “Desiring God” by John Piper

Prison Ministry:

On Monday evenings, I have the unique priveledge of visiting the Greenville Detention Center. Scripture, bible lessons, tracts, bibles, Daily Breads, bible studies, testimonies, and prayers are shared. Please keep these men in your continued prayers as we continue studying Paul's letter to the Romans: Jonathan, Lenita, David Anderson, Luke Elmore, Eric Hall, Leslie Mashburn, Keith Rollins, Billy, Jared Rhines, Quinton Brown, Jeremiah Hendrix, Chris Osbourne, Jermain Cheech, Quincy Massey, and Leo Clarence.

Thank you for your support and continued prayers for these new believers and this ministry!

In His vineyard,


We Shall Worship the Lord!


By John Piper


Do you delight more and more in the majesty and glory of God? Does your heart incline to worship God more consistently and intelligently and earnestly and intensely today than it did five years ago?

Is your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ abounding more and more so that you use your gifts more and more effectively to strengthen their faith and stir them up to love and good works?

And do you feel a greater burden for the lost? Are your prayers for unbelieving relatives and friends more consistent and earnest? Are your efforts to give a reason for the hope that is in you more bold, less ashamed? Are you becoming a world Christian with a zeal for the final mission thrust of the church to reach the hidden peoples?


If you can answer yes, we are making progress as a church. If not, we are failing in those areas. But at least we have goal and a definite Biblical theology behind it.

But it is not new. Listen to the way another pastor and teacher describes the meaning of membership in the church:

Membership, therefore, involves a personal obligation to promote the objects of the body as expressed in the covenant.

These objects are three:

1. The social, united worship of God...
2. The perpetuation and diffusion of the gospel...
3. The sanctification of its own members...

The church, thus comprehensive in its scope, looks upward to God, outward upon the needs of a lost world, and inward to the processes of sanctification in the souls of its own members; the neglect of any one of these grand objects of its organization imperils its whole design.

This is our philosophy of ministry. The quote is from Hezekiah Harvey, who was born in England in 1821 (The Church, 1879, reprint 1982, pp.35-36.). There is nothing modern or trendy about the priorities of our church. They have been around for two thousand years. They are tried and true, and it shouldn't bother us at all that they are not new.


Over 200 Free Resources for Church Leaders:

Friday, December 25, 2009

*~*Prayer Requests for 12/25/09:

Beginning January 15th, 2010, ownership of Lighthouse Prayer Line will be administered by Francois Putter (Bloemfontein for Jesus).

Bloemfontein for Jesus is an Interdenominational Christian Mission, started during October 2008 for the purpose to unite the Church of Christ through Cell Ministries, Bible Study Groups, Prayer Actions and Evangelical Out­reaches to all nations around the world.

The idea to begin a Ministry like Bloemfontein for Jesus started way back in 1995 when I decided to finally give myself in full-time service to the Lord Je­sus Christ.

The moment I was baptised, I started to pray to the Lord to give me a vision on what my personal purpose is on earth.

The Lord shown me that there are many people online who do not have any other way to learn about Him than to be actively involved in an Online Minis­try.

I have told the Lord: “Lord, there are so many online ministries already active on the Net. I know that you are no Copycat. I know that you created me to have my own unique way to work with other people. Please show me exactly how you want me to work in Your kingdom.”

The Lord shown me in many things He want me to do. This is how Bloemfon­tein for Jesus started.

This ministry first started as an online ministry to represent the Naval Hill Prayer Mountain Ministry.

The Prayer Mountain is active for the past 7 years, but when I started Bloem­fontein for Jesus, I decided to publish some photo’s of the Prayer Group at Naval Hill. You may visit http://bloemfontein4jesus.webs.com/ if you want to see more about us.

Bloemfontein for Jesus is not only an online Ministry. Although we concen­trate on online ministries, we also have some cell-groups, Bible Study Groups and Prayer Actions where we have personal contact with fellow Christians.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Anyone who has questions with regard to this ministry, or the future of the Prayer house Ministry after it has been handed over to us, is welcome to send an E-Mail to bfn4j@telkomsa.net and I will answer any questions you have.

Francois Putter

BLOEMFONTEIN FOR JESUS
9 SAREL CILLIERS STREET
HILTON
BLOEMFONTEIN
9301
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Thank you for your prayers!.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´•
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

If you are a regular reader/prayer partner, we would be honored for you to post your pic on our link for prayer partners at the top of the sidebar (right-hand side).

If you do not have a pic, any icon/clipart can serve as a symbol of your devotion to those requesting prayer.

In no way does your inclusion mean that you are endorsing this site or ALL of its content; it simply means you are approaching the throne of Jesus Christ with their pleas in mind. God bless you & thanks for your meaningful work!!

In His precious name,

~Mark Seay (LighthousePrayerLine.org)

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
(¯`*•.(¯`*•.God is Good - ALL of the Time!!!.•*´¯).•*´¯)
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))

"And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2
Corinthians 12:9-10 - NKJV).

((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))

Hi friend,

Please keep the following individuals in your prayers:

1) "Yes please do I have been struggling since January 20,2009. First i was terminated for unknown reason, then that same week I was sent a notice to move from my condo,owner wants to see, put my belongins in storgage,lost everything and its been downhill since. My job was my second income and helped me to survive. I have prayed and prayed to GOD each and every day for a fiancial blessing. My needs to get out of the debt is 25,000 dollars and of course pay God first.Please pray for a financial blessing and to take away my lonliness. I feel like I have lost everything and everyone god bless" -Denyse;

2) Betty asks for your prayers: "MY DAUGHTER & I ARE LIKE SNOW BOUND IN VA..WE AIM TO TRY TO GO TO WV TOMORROW AFTERNOON...PRAY FOR TRAVELING MERCY FOR US...WE HAVE 24" IN WV & OVER 20" IN VA....WE NEED YOUR PRAYERS...THANK YOU & GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!";

3) "I would like you to pray for my friend Tina. She has Edema and shortness of breath and We hope it is not Heart trouble. And also for Carol which is having a biopsi done which could be Lung Cancer,. Thank you and God Bless!" -NN;

4) Barbara asks to be remembered in our prayers. She writes, "Please say a prayer that God will continue to strengthen my sister's marriage and my parents marriage. I hear of so many ppl divorcing or not being in love, but God is love....and He has ordained the institution of marriage.";

5) "Struggling with emotions over this holiday season. Trying not to dwell on hurt feelings & diappointments. Trying to hold on to the true meaning of this season...Christ!" -Terri;

6) Ana asks for our prayers: "Please pray for my son Jayden, male 8 month old, he needs healing energy and full liver functioning, that he may live a long healthy life and not have to face cancer or liver transplant.";

7) "Please pray for my 2 yr old grandaughter, Ava to be healed from AML (leukemia) without the need for a transplant. Please pray she stays in remission with no relapses or complications and that her bloodwork is normal this month and every month.She goes back 12/22 for follow up. Please let her be our Christmas miracle. Thank you and God Bless." -Paulette;

8) EK asks for our prayers: "My son Kevin desperately needs an immediate large financial blessing. He is very depressed over an overwhelming financial burden and impending divorce. Please pray for a financial angel to provide this relief.";

9) "That Shawn will have peace as she prepares for her surgery. That the surgery will be successful. Bless the surgeon and his team. let her heal quickly." -Nicholas;

10) Mary asks to be remembered in our prayers. She writes, "Yes, I am a therapist who treats hand and I had a simple eye procedure in November but am having complications. I am losing vision now and have to have another procedure tomorrow. God has allowed me to treat patients all these years but I am afraid that is in jeopardy. Please pray for my sight to return. Thanks!"


**God bless you for caring enough to pray!!!**

........................................

"For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

*~*Spotlight Site*~*

http://AnswersBC.org

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

*** WANNA SERVE?? ***

If you know of someone who would like to serve our Lord Jesus but is not sure where to start, please consider one of the following volunteering opportunities:

PRAY for the persecuted. Often we ask Christians who have been tortured, arrested or abused, what they need most. They answer emphatically, "Please pray for us." Be-A-Voice Network makes it effortless to pray for the suffering church. Join now and receive up-to-date prayer bulletins to share with friends and family to grow your prayer network.

WRITE to prisoners: "Please don't stop. The letters are a great encouragement ..." says Joseph, a Chinese Christian, on behalf of Li Ying, imprisoned in China for loving Jesus. We've seen how letters give strength to Christian prisoners and their families. In some cases letters have even led to a prisoner's early release. SHARE their voice: As a member of the Be-A-Voice Network you can send FREE copies of Tortured for Christ, written by VOM's founder Richard Wurmbrand, to Christian friends and family members.

Become a Be-A-Voice volunteer by committing to one or more of the above. Register today!

We hope you will prayerfully consider joining the Be-A-Voice Network today, thus fulfilling Scripture, "Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also." Hebrews 13:3 (NKJV)

It's easy to serve the persecuted church. PRAY. WRITE. SHARE. Join Now!

If you are interested, please email me at LighthousePrayerLine3@gmail.com with "Send Me the Volunteer Link" in the subject line along with your name.

God bless you! Hope to hear from you soon!!

Mark Seay
LighthousePrayerLine.org

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Hut-Hut
LighthousePrayerLine.org


One balmy day in the South Pacific, a navy ship espied smoke coming from one of three huts on an uncharted island. Upon arriving at the shore they were met by a shipwreck survivor. He said, "I'm so glad you're here! I've been alone on this island for more than five years!"

The captain replied, "If you're all alone on the island why do I see THREE huts."

The survivor said, "Oh. We'll, I live in one, and go to church in another."

"What about the THIRD hut?" asked the captain.

"That's where I USED to go to church."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

To Unravel a Culture
By Jill Carattini


Some years ago a group of Christian thinkers were asked to answer the question: How can followers of Christ be countercultural for the common good? Their answers ranged from becoming our own fiercest critics to experiencing life at the margins, from choosing our battles wisely to getting more sleep. A case could easily be made to add many other ideas to their thoughtful list, and its project leaders would agree. The possibilities for counterculturalism are perhaps as numerous as the cultures and sub-cultures of our globalized world. The idea was to get people thinking about what it means to be countercultural in the first place, a lifestyle Jesus heralded as a man with the government on his shoulders, one from whom others hid their faces, and for whom affliction was well known.

Of course, Jesus did not come to shape an insurgent army of cultural protestors. But he did turn both culture and cultural norms on their heads, and he continues to do so today. To crowds gathered in the first century, the wisdom of the rabbi from Nazareth was different than most. He taught with authority, but he also perplexed his would-be students with words about the first being last, and prostitutes and tax collectors making their way into the kingdom before religious experts. To crowds in the current century, this radical teacher continues to herald a radical message. Loving your neighbor is a command that runs counter to most cultural norms, loving your enemy all the more so. The entire Sermon on the Mount was, and remains, the most countercultural sermon ever given.

But still, the question persists: Did Jesus come to overturn cultural norms like he overturned the moneychangers' tables? And exactly how, then, are his followers to be countercultural themselves? Are Christians to be inherently cultural naysayers, gypsies who wander through this world unattached and (hopefully) unaffected? Did Christ come to free us from the very fabric of culture and history into which our lives are woven? Or was his life's ambition to unravel something much deeper?

To begin with, I think we misunderstand Jesus as a countercultural leader heralding a countercultural message if we separate his radical life and message from his radical work on the cross. Jesus did not come to destroy culture as we know it, but to save the world within it. "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets," he told a Jewish world built upon the Law and the Prophets. "I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17).

Perhaps the best image of counterculturalism is an image of something that is being woven rather than unwound. Nancy Jackson, an artist who creates tapestries, notes the "countercultural" philosophy of weaving. "Weaving tapestry in our modern world requires a different mindset that has taken many years to cultivate," she writes. "It requires faith that the world will still be here in two years.... Weaving a tapestry is good for the soul." In fact, the radical message of Christ is that God is not only near us, but that God's presence is woven into all of life; God has been before us and will remain after us. The saving grace of God's work among us can be seen throughout history, in the lives we live today, and in every stroke of time to come. Jesus did not come to unravel the fabric of the human story or the human himself. On the contrary, he came to unravel* sin*, and to make clear the perfect tapestry made by a creator who has in mind the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Perhaps we are most adequately countercultural, then, when we live as people aware of the entire picture, when we counter the pervasive individualism that bids us to look no further than our own homes or schedules or priorities. Perhaps we are effectively countercultural when we testify to the radical work of the cross in the world and in our hearts, a cross which exchanged our guilt for grace, our ashes for beauty, our collective sorrow for joy. Perhaps we are countercultural when we see the startling colors of Christ's life in our own stories and our neighbors' stories and know that these are only small glimpses of the magnificent work that God is weaving through all of time.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I Cannot Pray
By Unknown Author


I cannot say OUR if my religion has no room for
others and their needs.

I cannot say FATHER if I do not demonstrate this
relationship in my daily life.

I cannot say WHO ART IN HEAVEN if all my
interests and pursuits are in earthly things.

I cannot say HALLOWED BE THY NAME if I,
who am called by his name am not holy.

I cannot say THY KINGDOM COME if I am
unwilling to give up my own sovereignty and
accept the righteous reign of God.

I cannot say THY WILL BE DONE if I am
unwilling or resentful of having it in my life.

I cannot say ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
unless I am truly ready to give myself to his service
here and now.

I cannot say GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY
BREAD without expending honest effort for it or
by ignoring the genuine needs of my fellow men.

I cannot say FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS
WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST
US if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone.

I cannot say LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION if I
deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I
am likely to be tempted.

I cannot say DELIVER US FROM EVIL if I am not
prepared to fight in the spiritual realm with the weapon
of prayer.

I cannot say THINE IS THE KINGDOM if I do not
give the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal
subject.

I cannot say THINE IS THE POWER if I fear what
my neighbors do or say to me.

I cannot say THINE IS THE GLORY if I am seeking
my own glory first.

I cannot say FOREVER if I am anxious about each
day's events.

I cannot say AMEN unless I honestly say "Cost what
it may, this is my prayer."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

There are many opportunities for you to be involved here at Joshua’s Way. We have listed them in three main areas below. Come join us as we learn more about God and in response offer ourselves in service to others.

Visit: http://joshuasway.org

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Where God Is
By Stuart McAllister

In a certain town there lived a cobbler, Martin Avdeitch by name. He lived in a small basement room whose one window looked out onto the street, and all he could see were the feet of people passing by. But since there was hardly a pair of boots that had not been in his hands at one time for repair, Martin recognized each person by his shoes. Day after day, he would work in his shop watching boots pass by. One day he found himself consumed with the hope of a dream that he would find the Lord's feet outside his window. Instead, he found a lingering pair of worn boots belonging to an old soldier. Though at first disappointed, Martin realized the old man might be hungry and invited him inside to a warm fire and some tea. He had other visitors that evening, and though sadly none were Christ, he let them in also. Sitting down at the end of day, Martin heard a voice whisper his name as he read the words: "I was hungry and you gave me meat; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in. Inasmuch as you did for the least of these, you did unto me."(1)

Every Christmas, our family reads the story of Martin the Cobbler as an aid to our celebration. Tolstoy's words offer something of a creative attempt to capture the wonder of a God who comes near and helps us picture the gift of Christ among us in accessible terms. Notably, the story was originally titled, *Where God Is, Love Is*.

The Christian story that informs the Christian calendar gives its followers time and opportunity to remember the coming of Christ in a specific context—in Bethlehem, in the Nativity, in the first Christmas. But it also presents us with repeated opportunities and reminders to prepare for the coming of Christ *again*. Like Martin eagerly waiting at the window, the Christian worldview is one that asks of every day of every year: How will Christ come near today? Will I wait for him? Am I ready for him? Am I even expecting to find him? We are reminded to keep watch, to be prepared, and to continually ready our hearts and minds for the one who is already near. At the same time, the Christian story would also have us to remember how *unexpectedly *Christ at times appears—as a baby in Bethlehem, a man on a cross, as a woman in need.

In the book of Titus, we read that "the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." How and where will it show up this week? In order to stay alert to the rich possibilities, perhaps we need to keep before us the radical thought of all that God has offered us: a Christ child who comes down to us, a redeemer willing to die for us, a God willing to redefine what is near—all so that we might be where God is. Christianity is not an escape system for us to avoid reality, live above it, or be able to redefine it. Christianity is a way that leads us to grasp what reality is and, by God's grace and help, to navigate through it to our eternal home in God's presence.

The story God has given us indeed feeds the hungry, takes in the stranger, and orients the resident alien who is ever-looking homeward. The focus of Christ's coming is the message of Immanuel—*God is with us*. The focus of Christ's earthly ministry is the declaration of the cross—*God is for us*. And the focus of Christ's resurrection is the promise of a future and his imminent return—*God will bring us safely home*. Until then, God knows all, God is above all, and God is among us, even when it seems most unlikely.


(1) Story told in Leo Tolstoy's, *Walk in the Light While There Is Light and Twenty-three Tales* (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2003).

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Sounds of the Night"

A man is driving down the road and breaks down near a monastery. He goes to the monastery, knocks on the door, and says, "My car broke down. Do you think I could stay the night?"

The monks graciously accept him, feed him dinner, and even fixed his car. As the man tries to fall asleep, he hears a strange sound. The next morning, he asks the monks what the sound was, but they say, "We can't tell you. You're not a monk."

The man is disappointed but thanks them anyway and goes about his merry way.

Some years later, the same man breaks down in front of the same monastery. The monks accept him, feed him, and fixed his car. That night, he hears the same strange noise that he had heard years earlier. The next morning, he asks what it is, but the monks reply, "We can't tell you. You're not a monk."

The man says, "All right, all right. I'm dying to know. If the only way I can find out what that sound was is to become a monk, how do I become a monk?"

The monks reply, "You must travel the earth and tell us how many blades of grass there are and the exact number of sand pebbles. When you find these numbers, you will become a monk."

The man sets about his task. Forty-five years later, he returns and knocks on the door of the monastery. He says, "I have traveled the earth and have found what you have asked for. There are 145,236,284,232 blades of grass and 231,281,219,999,129,382 sand pebbles on the earth."

The monks reply, "Congratulations. You are now a monk. We shall now show you the way to the sound."

The monks lead the man to a wooden door, where the head monk says, "The sound is right behind that door."

The man reaches for the knob, but the door is locked. He says, "Real funny, may I have the key?"

The monks give him the key, and he opens the door. Behind the wooden door is another door made of stone. The man demands the key to the stone door. The monks give him the key, and he opens it, only to find a door made of ruby.

He demands another key from the monks, who provide it. Behind that door is another door, this one made of sapphire. So it went until the man had gone through doors of emerald, silver, topaz, amethyst...

Finally, the monks say, "This is the last key to the last door."

The man is relieved to no end. He unlocks the door, turns the knob, and behind that door he is amazed to find the source of that strange sound.
.
.
.
.
But I can't tell you what it is because you're not a monk.

~Haha

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Look to the Stars

One night Abraham Lincoln suggested to a young man that they take a walk along a country road. Lincoln lifted his eyes to the heavens full of stars and said, "I never behold them that I don't feel I am looking into the face of God. A man might look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look into the heavens and say there is no God."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:8-9 - NKJ).

Be sure to send in your prayer request for the next mailing.

You are in my thoughts and prayers! May the Lord continue to bless you with knowledge of Himself.

Merry Christmas!

Mark Seay
Lighthouse Prayer Line
105 Quincy Drive
Greer, SC 29650
LighthousePrayerLine.org

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body" (Corinthians 6:19-20).

((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))

Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church. How could anyone know where Christ is and what faith is in him unless he knew where his believers are? ~Martin Luther

((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))((¯`»¦«´¯))
We hope you have found today's newsletter encouraging to your walk with Jesus Christ. Please send all prayer requests and praise reports to us by using the "comments" hyperlink, which can be found at the end of each blog/article. God is Good!!!

A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting Another Candle. Please Keep This Candle Going!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
(¯`*•.(¯`*•.God is Good - ALL of the Time!!!.•*´¯).•*´¯)
~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Visit Us Soon!.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´•
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

REMEMBER: We are Transformed by Beholding JESUS!!!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

"If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O LORD, who could stand?" (Psalm 130:3).

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~