Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Greatest Gift of All—Baby Jesus (Easter Series-Part I)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome to my Monday Blog, Everyone!

Today is very special for me because I’m beginning my four-part Easter Blog series. Each Monday before Easter, I’ll be sharing the Life of Jesus, beginning today, with His incredible birth and ending on the Monday before Easter Sunday.

You know, some days I’ll be thinking of Jesus and what He means to me. I love Him so much and I become consumed with questions like, how can anyone not want to know Jesus if they have the opportunity? This may sound naïve, however, if you’re a Christian, you know what I mean—if you are not a Christian, I invite you to learn more about Him—He truly is some kind of wonderful!!

Recently I saw the movie The Shack. It was both so incredibly heart-wrenching and heart-breaking, that I cried throughout most of it. I had read the book a few years ago and I thought if the movie is half as good as the book…well, I must see it! I bring this movie up simply because Easter is a perfect time to learn about Jesus and why He had to die on the cross—forgiveness, for us! What was also obvious though, is that when we finally rose from our seats to leave the theater, we realized the rest of the folks in this packed house were still in their seats as well…in total silence. We were all instant-replaying the depth and meaning of the story we had just witnessed on the big screen. This movie is all about the forgiveness I spoke of earlier.

Now, if you know anything at all about me or life’s messages in my book, “That Melvin Bray”,  you know that I believe the greatest gift God can give is Life itself. Let us not forget though, the price Jesus had to pay in order for our lives to be saved —He gave His life for us and we must never forget the unthinkable sacrifice He made for us.

I believe the second greatest gift is the ability to forgive—just as Jesus forgave us on the cross. With His own perfect Life, He had no sins but He gave His Life in death, for us, so that our sins would be forgiven, and that we may spend eternity with our heavenly Father. But, remember, our Life after death would not be possible had Jesus not forgiven us by dying for us.

The greatest gift of all—Jesus.

The second greatest gift—Forgiveness.

I confess that as I live and love my precious gift of Life my beloved Jesus gave me, along the way, I’ve had difficulty with a handful of individuals who simply had to be forgiven—by me. I’m not saying this is the easiest thing I’ve ever done, on the contrary; however, when I draw the parallel and envision Jesus dying on the cross —for my sins, I feel so unworthy of His undying love and I’m so ashamed. If you have someone you need to forgive…don’t waste anymore time on why you shouldn’t…this is actually a selfish act on our part, isn’t it? We only hurt ourselves…forgive them and move on. Let it go for your own good sake, Jesus will deal with the offenders…it is our job to  forgive and make Jesus smile. Please.

Still the message of Christmas is not the gifts that we give to each other. Rather, it is a reminder of the gift that God has given to each of us. So I want to point out four things about it:

God’s gift to us, however, was a complete surprise. It was not expected and as you examine it more carefully, you realize how truly great a gift it was.

Second, God’s gift came to us in the humblest of wrappings:  What would you think if you saw a gift under your Christmas tree that was wrapped in newspaper and tied up with a string? At first, you would probably assume that a guy wrapped it. But think about God’s gift to us. Jesus was not born in a palace of gold; He was born in a stable. He was clothed with rags. He was laid in a feeding trough. Yet these things do not, in any way, diminish the story of Christ’s birth. If anything, they help us realize the great sacrifice God made for us. God’s gift to humanity, the ultimate gift of eternal life through His son, Jesus Christ, came to us in the simplest and humblest of wrappings.

Third, we don’t deserve this gift. At Christmas, we give gifts to those whom we care about , who have been kind to us over the past year, or who have given us a gift first. We don’t give gifts to the person who has been slandering our name or to an angry neighbor who never has a kind word to say. Yet God gave us His gift when we were His enemies. He didn’t give this gift to us because we deserved it. In fact, it was just the opposite. The Bible tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NKJV).

Fourth, the gift tells us something about the giver. When you want to give someone a gift, you start thinking about it ahead of time. Hopefully, you try to find what that person wants or needs. When God decided to give us the gift of eternal life, it wasn’t something that He just thought of on the fly. Long before there was a town called Bethlehem, a garden called Eden, and a planet called Earth, a decision was made in eternity that God would send forth His son, born to a woman, made under the law, to redeem those that are under the law. The Bible says that He was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).  Make no mistake about it: this gift that God has given to us was the most sacrificial thing He possibly could have offered.

So Christmas isn’t about all the gifts placed under the tree. All of those things will be gone one day. All that will be left after this life, is the human soul, and that will live forever. While here on Earth, we will put so much stock in all the stuff we have, but this is all going to pass away. Life is about what happens beyond the grave. Life is about knowing the God who made you and who gave you the greatest gift you will ever receive.” 

Please join me back here next week for Part II of my Easter Series – “Growing Up Jesus”.  Between now and then though, I sure hope you’ll make it to the movie show to see “The Shack”…it’s just AWESOME and talk about forgiveness—Just go see this movie. Seriously!

This week, my prayer is that we will all stop and take the time to pray and think about God’s Grace and Holy Gift which He bestowed upon each and every one of us, through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ — The Greatest Gift of All. Amen.

 God is Good! God is Great!! Always!!!

I love you,

Margaret

Note: Thank You, to Greg Laurie for his enlightening interpretation of the Greatest Gift of All.

“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverb 3:3) 

https://www.amazon.com/That-Melvin-Bray-Margaret-McBride/product-reviews/1458212122

            

 

 

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Good morning!!

First of all, here’s a big HAPPY MONDAY to you all and second, a big Thank You for joining me again for my “Monday Blog’! I enjoy this so much and YOU are huge part of that JOY!!

I pretty much drive my sweet husband crazy come Saturday of each week, with my ‘oh gosh, what is my blog topic going to be this week?!’ He always says the same thing: “Oh Margaret, you’ll think of something, you always do.”

He’s right, I just have to ask, I guess. It’s sort of like that age-old question, ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?” When something bad happens to someone we just have to ask that question. I call these type questions “open-ended” questions”. There are answers to these type questions, however, it’s the kind of question that the one asking for the answer is probably needing a specific answer, which in this case will never come.

Yesterday morning I was praying about my title for this blog today and had it all figured out, when I was interrupted by a message from an old dear friend’s younger brother. Well, after I read the message, I realized I would have to change my blog title for today and did.

The message from my dear friend’s younger brother was this: “She was stricken with Alzheimer’s so badly that she had to be taken to a nursing home a year and a half ago, because her husband and children could no longer take care of her properly.”

I sat here reading those heart-breaking words and the first thing I thought was, Oh Lord, why  do bad things happen to good people?’

Of course we’ve all asked that question, needing a specific answer, but as Life would have it, we will never get the answer we want—The one that makes us understand, the one that takes the awful pain away, the one that causes us to breathe a long sigh of relief…THAT answer.

Oh, if we can just muster-up the faith of a mustard seed…how does that go?

Matthew-17:20  He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

How easy is that? Yet, how many of us actually do it? It’s probably one of the hardest things I face every single day—Living totally in my faith in God all day long, every day, day after day, after day. If I did, then I would never have asked God that question this morning about my friend. As a matter of fact, it would never have even occurred to me to ask that question of God.

If I were truly living the “mustard seed” kind of faith God teaches us, upon hearing this sad news of my friend yesterday, I would have surely breathed that long sigh of relief with a smile in my heart, followed by a big HALLELUJAH, and a prayer that would have gone something like this:

Thank you God, for teaching me what to do in a time like this; that it is not my explanation that is important, rather, my unwavering faith in YOU to carry me through it and not question You in the way as to how You handle us, Your children down here on earth. Let Thy Will be done on earth as is in heaven.’  Amen.

I’ll not make excuses for me or anyone else. Faith is a mighty powerful gift, as stated in Matthew 17:20 —It’s such a small amount of Faith, yet so mighty. This kind of Faith is our gift back to God for His gift of Life to us through his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

God is Great. God is Good.

Love,

Margaret

PS Pray for me and the rest of us. We all need it. My prayer for all of us today is that when we  have an opportunity to test our “mustard seed” faith and honor our heavenly Father, that we will have the courage to do just that.

FALSE PRIDE—Wearer beware when you’re caught wearing it; it comes apart like a cheap suit!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hello, my Friends!!

I’m traveling for the next week and am reposting the following Blog from a year ago. The message is timeless, however, so hopefully it will serve us all well…

January, 2015

Good morning, it’s me again, Margaret!

7:30am—Monday…time to Blog!

So far this morning, I’ve had three butter cookies, a cup of coffee (decaf/mandatory) and several conversations with God about what my BLOG topic for this week should be. By now, you know how much I enjoy blogging every Monday morning. The title is the most fun to come up with and I think I’ve come up with a good one for this week, however, there’s the blogging part which has to support it…oh brother!!

3:45pm—Monday…I’m still here…wishin’, hopin’, thinkin’ and prayin’ for the words to come. I did break for a few more butter cookies and a green energy drink for my challenged brain. OK, I’m just going to start free-wheeling, here goes:

Pride:  noun.  An inwardly directed emotion that carries two common meanings. With a negative connotation, pride refers to an inflated sense of one’s personal status or accomplishments, often used synonymously with hubris. With a positive connotation, pride refers to a satisfied sense of attachment towards one’s own or another’s choices or actions, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging. In contrast, pride could also be defined as a disagreement with the truth.

The opposite of pride: humility

Humility is putting others value equal to or greater than your own. –  Eternal Optimist

Humility is true self-knowledge, the good with the bad. It is being able to be comfortable with who you actually are and not trying to pretend to be what you are not. It gives you pride when you have earned it by your talents and accomplishments and shame when you fall short. It accepts that you are far from perfect and keeps striving. It is honest.  –  edfoug

And here are just a few verses from the Bible about Pride…

Proverbs 25:14  “Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts about a gift he does not have.”

Romans 11:29  “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.”

1 Corinthians  7:7  “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.”

There is a false self-destruct which denies the worth of its own talent. It is not humility—it is petty pride, withholding its simple gifts from the hands of Christ because they are not pretentious. There are men who would endow colleges, they say, if they were millionaires. They would help in the work of Bible study if they were as gifted as Henry Drummond. They would strive to lead their associates into Christian life if they had the gifts of Dwight L. Moody.  But they are not ready to give what they have and do what they can and be as it has pleased God to make them, in His service and that is their condemnation.” – Charles Reynolds Brown

“Refusing  to accept God’s love because we are unworthy—of course we’re unworthy!—is another golden calf.”  – Madeline L’Engle

I remember when I was about twelve years old and walking home after school with my two younger sisters, when we came upon two classmates of mine a short distance in front of us, and to my dismay, they stopped and waited for us to catch up with them. I was ashamed of my house and fearful my friends wouldn’t like me anymore if they knew where I lived. When we got to my yard, I motioned for my sisters to just keep on walking and we all three just walked right on past our house. As I breathed a sigh of relief, we ALL continued up the street, chatting away and as we reached the end of my street, my friends turned left, we turned right, said “see ya at school tomorrow” and that was that. Of course, my sisters and I then had to walk all the way around the whole block to get back to our house, but I didn’t care one little bit; I had kept my shameful secret and that was all that mattered to me. When we got home, my sisters told our loving aunt what I had done. Our loving aunt, in all her wisdom, reached for her Bible, sat us all down at the kitchen table and introduced us to Mr. & Mrs. False Pride. From that moment on, I vowed I would never make friends with them. However, I have made plenty of other bad choices in my life, and that same loving aunt was just full of the Bible and shared many awesome verses with me…

“If God is for us who can be against us?”  – Romans 8:31

“I promise that I will bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!” – Hebrews 6:14 (The Message/WBT-The Webster Bible)

God is Great. God is Good.

Love,

Margaret

PS

Sit on your ego and remember to be kind to unkind people—they probably need it the most.

Stars Can’t Shine Without Darkness

Greetings!!

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OK, it’s Monday again—Thank you, Jesus!! It’s also BLOG day for me. I love it! So, when I finish today’s blog, my hope is that I’ll leave you with something inspiring to spiritually ponder.

A few days ago, I saw today’s blog title in something I was reading and immediately became engaged with it. Just what does that mean to me? I asked myself. I wasn’t looking for a scientific conclusion; no, this was of the heart, spirit and soul. I was sure of it, because I was touched  emotionally when I first read the words.

Actually, I try things on personally, before I come to my conclusion in an effort to determine how “that”,  whatever that is,  may affect you, then hopefully I’ll be inspired and pass that inspiration onto you—from my heart to yours.

So as I continued in thought considering today’s blog title, and what it meant to me spiritually, I was reminded of that old 1946 classic movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, with Jimmy Stewart. Among other things, the movie is about divine intervention – (divine intervention: a term for a miracle caused by God’s active involvement in the human world).

The movie:  “It’s A Wonderful Life” – A guardian angel is sent to help a young businessman George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart),  who had dreams of becoming a big STAR in his small quaint hometown.  The movie opens with a playful depiction of angels in heaven discussing prayers they keep getting from mortals, about this young man in this small town who feels worthless, has given up on life and is about to jump off a bridge…literally. He’s lost, without an ounce of hope left and is certain there’s no way out but to take his own life. Among all the angels up there in heaven with God, doing their own pondering about what to do with this poor lost fella on earth, there’s one Angel (Clarence) who is desperately trying to “win” his wings. He’s already a shining star in heaven, but there’s still the issue of his wings. So God sends Clarence on an earthly mission to win his wings. His mission: convince George Baily (Jimmy Stewart) that suicide is NOT the answer, thus ultimately saving his life. Clarence definitely had his work cut out for him but he needed his wings, so off he went to earth with God’s blessings.

After some spiritual pondering myself, I believe to shine as a star in God’s eyes, one must learn to live in darkness. What kind of darkness? The darkness at the bottom of an old well? No, not necessarily. I believe darkness comes in many forms, such as: sickness, pain, disease, debt, disaster, loss, hunger, turmoil, grief, legal problems, bad marriage, bad report card…these are all forms of darkness as we live and walk on this earth until our time to leave arrives. It’s how we deal with this darkness when it’s upon us, which determines if we will shine and become stars in God’s eyes. So, just how do we deal with darkness? Do we persevere, put our faith and trust in Him, and keep on going or do we become so burdened and distraught that we literally can’t see the light through the darkness? Do we lose it, go berserk, even consider checking out? So sad. So unnecessary. I know.

I believe that as unwelcome, distasteful and scary the darkness may be, we must experience it before we can truly SHINE in God’s eyes. To have peace and become Star-worthy on High, we must be obedient and put our faith and trust in Him, our loving and awesome Creator, to light our way out of the darkness.

“Peace isn’t the absence of the dark. Peace is the assurance of God’s presence in the midst of the dark.”  – Ann Voscamp

God is Good! God is Great!! Always!!!

You can trust Him with everything. Try it.

I love you,

Margaret

PS  Clarence convinced Jimmy Stewart that his Life was indeed a wonderful Life and most important to God. He reminded him of all the good things he had done for his town, that so many depended on him and loved him no matter what. In the end, he did not commit suicide, he worked through the darkness and became a shiny star in God’s eyes and thankfully, Clearance got his wings.  Hallelujah!!

Important News Flash From Maggie & Lizzy!!

Knowing Maggie and Lizzy the way you do by now (having read my book or my blogs), I think you’d agree with them when they make statements like “I’m pretty smart for an ole’ girl from a one, or was it two, stoplight town.”

When you think about it though, didn’t they come into this world just like the rest of us— kicking, crying and confused? And, just like the rest of us, they too, were God’s perfect creations, according to His perfect plan. As His plan unfolds, we learn early on that the one real common denominator they share to the very core of their being, is Him, their heavenly Father.

He, of course provided them with the individual tools, unique to each of them, which they would need on their “journey” here on earth, which we refer to  as Life. (For the record, I refer to Life as God’s greatest gift to us).

First, He provided them both with a wonderful Mother to teach them about the love and grace of God. If we don’t know about God, we can’t choose to follow Him,  receive His blessings or spend eternity with Him. So, as we say, they had that going for them from their very first breath—Awesome!!

Then, in is His incredibly uncanny wisdom, God placed these two “little Angels” right where He needed them: On a gloriously love-filled playground under His beautiful sunny sky, where their bond of love, trust and respect for each other was borne, at the beguiling age of just six years old.

This is where it all began for Maggie and Lizzy. From that day on the playground to the last page of the story, God will send them to some pretty scary places to live, love and grow in Him and His fascinatingly perfect plan for their lives!

As we watch Maggie and Lizzy grow from children into adults, we are also empowered by their love, faith and trust in God, and how willing they are to keep listening to Him— to not despair, no matter what hardship they may be asked to feel and face. They know Him and they never doubt Him. And even though they’re afraid, sometimes want to give up, run and hide, even want to die from grief and fear sometimes,  they hold fast to the mighty Hand of God, their heavenly Father.  They will follow Him one step at a time, and they will experience his awesome powers, triumphant joy and a sense of peace and gratitude that make them worthy in Gods all-knowing, all-seeing eyes.

We often hear Maggie appropriately exclaim her favorite superlative to God—Hallelujah!!

So what’s the  “Important News Flash From Maggie & Lizzy?” What lesson can Maggie and Lizzy teach us?

I believe this is their message: No matter what you’re facing right now, tomorrow or down the road…whatever your gift of Life through Him, presents you, remember that this is God’s perfect plan for YOU, with perfect timing for everything. Learn to wait on the Lord (Psalms 27:14). Put your Life in His mighty hands and just trust Him. He has your best interest in His divine heart and He will not forsake you. This brings Him honor and it brings you peace.

Hallelujah!!

God is Good. God is Great.

Margaret

PS  Yes, I agree with Maggie and Lizzy…they’re pretty smart!