The turning point in history

What mere human can choose his own birthplace? Or what mortal man can—or would—cause the officials of a foreign government to order his death by a terribly agonizing execution? How could anyone manipulate their bitter enemies to pay a specific price for their betrayal, mock and revile them as they are dying, much less cause a band of soldiers to gamble for their clothing and pierce their side after they’ve died, and cause a rich man to bury their body in his own personal tomb? Yet Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled not only these, but over 300 more specific predictions regarding His birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. Truly He was—and is—“unique” in every sense of the word!

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So send I you

“As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” – John 20:21

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”– Mark 16:15

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” – Romans 10:14–15

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To go on mission to all of creation is to express something indispensable about God’s nature. In the Bible, the word sent occurs more than 650 times, and in a majority of its uses, God is doing the sending. In the Old Testament, He sends angels to minister, manna to feed, and prophets to warn. He sends disasters to stop tyrants or discipline His people. He sends leaders to deliver. God is attentive to needs, and so He sends.

In the New Testament,

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Love reaches out

Where there is great love, there are always great miracles!

One morning as I neared the hospital where I worked, I noticed a frail, stooped, elderly man hurrying in the same direction. I wondered where he was going in such a hurry and at such an hour. I also questioned whether it was safe for him to be out alone in his obviously poor state of health.

Later that day, I was surprised to see the same man walking down a corridor in the hospital. I found out he had always enjoyed helping other people, so one day he had come to the hospital and offered to work as a volunteer. He comes two mornings each week to work in whatever way he is needed. He enjoys the interaction with the staff, the patients, and their families. By helping others, he has been able to forget his own health problems. In giving of himself, he has found a new lease on life and a new reason to get up in the morning.

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What is loving kindness?

A class of eight-year-old boys was asked to explain the meaning of loving-kindness; one youngster replied, “If I was hungry and someone gave me a piece of bread and butter … that would be kindness, but if they put lots of jam on it … that would be loving-kindness.”

Friendliness, helpfulness, kindness, generosity, and unselfishness are all part of love.
“Little deeds of kindness, little words of love, help to make Earth happy, like the Heaven above.”

Unselfishness—the J-O-Y formula—Jesus, Others, You
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Power to forgive

by Stella Sabiti
I discovered the power of forgiveness on a July afternoon in 1976. It was during the Idi Amin regime, when Uganda had come to a standstil – careers, the economy, the infrastructure, education, everything. I was a student at Makerere University, and also newly married and expecting a baby.

Because the university didn’t have any supplies and the lecturers didn’t have any fuel to get them to and from the university, they didn’t come to teach us. So we students would go to the library every morning and either read there, or get books to study in our rooms. Idi Amin, not having gone to school himself, didn’t understand why we were doing that. He thought it was a demonstration against him, so he routinely sent soldiers to the campus to terrorize us students.

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Got potential?

“We want to go by God’s definition of ‘realistic,’ and often His definition of ‘realistic’ is ‘potential.’ With God anything is possible, and He knows that no matter what has happened in the past, or what our current weaknesses or lacks, we can change and He can use us. We must learn to see ourselves and others through the eyes of faith, through the perspective of what we and they can become, what Jesus’ power can transform us into, what God can be in us.”
This quote reminded me of some quotes from John L. Brandt, on the theme of “potential,” Here’s his encouragement that you can be whatever the Lord needs and wants you to be in any area of your life!

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Divine demonstrations

In the Bible Jesus said to His Father, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18)

And to His disciples He said: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21)

And John wrote, “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (1 John 2:6)

“Okay, that all sounds good. But if I really want to live like Jesus, what does that actually mean? How can I live like Him within the realities of my everyday life?”

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Enthusiasm makes the difference

Some one once said “You must have enthusiasm for life, or life is not going to have a lot of enthusiasm for you.” I pray that life is having enthusiasm for you as it makes life so much more fun and helps overcoming challenges and obstacles that obstruct your way. ‘Enthusiasm’ is derived from two Greek words: “en” meaning “in” & “theos” meaning “God.” Enthusiasm is literally “God in us.” The enthusiastic man is one who speaks as if he were possessed by God.

– Every man is enthusiastic at times. One man has enthusiasm for 30 minutes–another man has it for 30 days, but it is the man who has it for 30 years who makes a success of life.

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Will the Christ Child come?

By Gaye Willis, adapted

One Christmas we had an interesting experience. Halfway through December we were doing the regular evening things when there was a knock at the door. We opened it to find a small package with a beautiful ceramic lamb inside. We looked at the calendar and realized that the 12 days of Christmas were beginning! We waited with excitement for the next night’s surprise and only then, with the gift of a matching shepherd, did we realize that the lamb was part of a nativity set.

Each night we grew more excited to see what piece we would receive. Each was exquisitely beautiful. The kids kept trying to catch the givers as we slowly built the scene at the manger and began to focus on Christ’s birth.

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A finger to hold

By Carrie Wilkerson
Our team has been busy, busy as usual—but one of us has been especially busy. LauraLee, our 11-month old, has been really focusing on her walking! She will be 1 in a few weeks and she decided about 6 weeks ago that walking looked like something she wanted to figure out.

She’s wobbly. She falls a lot. She sometimes needs a hand to hold, sometimes just a pinkie or finger for confidence. She prefers to walk towards someone who is reaching out their arms for her. She’s bumped and scraped from obstacles. When she hits her head (or any other body part) it doesn’t seem to hurt as much as normal because she’s so focused on her destination. But, most importantly, she keeps getting up and trying again.

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