It’s New Year’s Day, 2022. It’s cold outside today and it’s snowing! Christmas has just passed and now we are ringing in the new year!
I’m looking back to Christmas; the significance of it. The sense that it never really “felt” like Christmas. The temperatures were unseasonably warm. No coats or jackets were needed for going out. Some were even wearing shorts! So often we say, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas!” but how does Christmas feel? How is Christmas supposed to feel?
To me, it feels like family and friends. It feels like memories of years gone by, perhaps when you were a child and got that special gift.
But Christmas is more about “who” than “what”.
When you think about the “who” that makes Christmas special, it helps you get the right perspective about the season and the reason to rejoice. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Is God with us once a year on December 25? Do we pack Jesus up with the Christmas tree, the stockings, the wrapping paper and move him to the garage or attic and leave him there until next year? The Word tells us, “The Virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means “God, with us”. God is with us always! He is for mankind. “Joy to the World, the Lord has come. Let “Earth” receive her King!”
He came for all of us. He came for the woman in prison and for the man with no home. He came for the broken hearted and for the wounded. He came for the addicted and he came for the poor.
Jesus can change our circumstances. He re-writes stories and changes destinies. He wants to be a part of your life. He knocks patiently at the door of your heart. Will you invite him in? Romans 8:1 reminds us that, “there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” He doesn’t expect perfection. He wants you to come to him just as you are. We don’t have to clean ourselves up to come to him. Truthfully, we can’t. We need his help to do that.
Lucky for us, he doesn’t leave us as he found us. To those that are bound, he sets free. It doesn’t always look the same for every person. It doesn’t always take the same amount of time. For some, deliverance comes immediately. For others, it’s a process. But one thing is for sure, you will change. When you accept Christ as Lord and Savior, you will change. You can’t meet and get to know the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and not be affected.
You’ll begin to talk differently. Your habits will begin to change. As you read the Word, your mind and your thoughts will change. We are “renewed” by the reading of the Word. Don’t ever discount the Word just because you don’t understand it. There are many versions of the Bible. Find one that you can read and enjoy.
When I opened my heart to the Lord at age 23, I found that Jesus was the answer to my problems. Jesus was the answer to my addictions. He was and He is. He is the answer to your problems too.
Jesus is knocking. He is seeking and looking for someone to bless. He is for you and never against you. It’s not his nature to be against you. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, you are never too far for God to reach you.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Let 2022 be the year of your Salvation! It will be the best decision that you will ever make.
All in for Jesus
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. Matthew 25:13-14 King James Version
Christmas is the season of the year that most people want to bless as many families as they are possibly able to do so. Yet most people do not realize that presence in a person’s life is the best gift that someone could give.
Presence in a person’s life is a gift that keeps on giving. It is not a gift that will expire, rust or fall apart.
When our Chaplain’s go into a jail they give that gift of presence to people that are in a place of lost hope. This is part of our mission from God (Matthew 28:19).
Jesus also told us in Matthew 25:34-40 that whatever we do for the least of these we do for His kingdom. Since we are not promised tomorrow, let’s take advantage of the presence of today.
We are so close($3,694.71 short) to our goal for 2021 Matching from the JASCO Giving Hope Foundation . We ask that you pray and if at all possible help us with this goal.
JASCO Giving Hope Foundation has already committed to giving us another $50,000 matching gift for 2022 as well but first we must complete our 2021 goal.
Considering all the change that has affected us with the pandemic, we are in need of more donations and volunteers. Praying for God to send us more donations and volunteers. Please contact us if God has put a passion for the incarcerated on your heart.
Working in the present to give to the future.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again rejoice! Philippians 4:4
In this joyful Christmas season when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, I am reminded of an experience of my son Andy several years ago. He had gone black Friday shopping to get a special gift. As the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was playing on the speaker he looked around at a mass of people shoving each other, fighting over the last television, and general mayheim. He grabbed and paid for the gift he wanted to buy, got out of the store as quickly as possible and has never since braved the black Friday crowds. I remember, with a chuckle, him telling that story every time I hear that song.
Why are people not joyful? It’s obvious more than ever that the world needs Jesus. We have been called to a wonderful opportunity to share God’s gift of Salvation to the lost at the jail. It was an exciting day when Rosetta, who works in the Ladies Office of the Oklahoma County Detention Center, called and said the volunteer chaplins could return after a year and a half of not being able to go on a consistent basis. Now the men’s office has opened and hopefully the rest of the county jails will open soon if they haven’t already.
I have been in a Bible Study on the book of Exodus. I was surprised how relevant it is to the time in which we are living. God’s chosen people grumbled and complained when things were not easy for them. They were looking at their circumstances rather than God who was personally leading them in the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day. We have the Holy Spirit within us guiding us day by day and yet I find myself complaining, gas prices are going up, the grocery store doesn’t have every thing I need, etc. In our Bible Study I learned: It is human nature to grumble sometimes. We might say to ourselves that we are just annoyed at “circumstances” but, in reality, we are grumbling at God who controls our circumstances. Oops! This has made me more aware of my complaining and to stop and be thankful for God’s blessings.
Exodus 19:4 “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.”
God uses the eagle to illustrate His care for Israel. The eagle is an amazing creature, it can use high winds to soar to great heights. It has keen vision and can see a rabbit from two miles away.
Deuteronomy 32:10-11 “In a desert land He found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; He guarded him as the apple of His eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.”
In Deuteronomy, God speaks of the eagle stirring up her nest. Eagles use sticks to make their nests and pack it with soft material like grass to make it comfortable for their young. At a certain point the mother eagle will tear out all the grass and soft material from within the nest. The sticks will begin to poke the eaglets and it’s time to leave the nest. When the eaglets are learning to fly, the mother eagle flutters over her young. When each eaglet takes its first flight, the mother eagle will spread her wings under her eaglet and bear them up, literally bearing them on eagle wings until they have sufficient strength to fly alone.
We don’t need to be anxious, when hard times come our Heavenly Father carries us until we are healed/delivered and He gently sets us on our feet. He always walks with us, guiding us, loving us, correcting us through his Word. We have great reason to rejoice! Joy to the World the Lord has come, let earth receive her King!!
OJPM Board Vice President