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#6: How to Give Your Heart and Service

17 Quotes About Christmas

#6: How to Give Your Heart and Service

Paul Foslien, Senior Pastor, Living Word Family Church, Naples, FL

December 28, 2016

#6) “Christmas gift suggestions: “. . . To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” – Oren Arnold

In the previous blog regarding this quote (#9), we looked at the first two gifts from Oren Arnold’s quote – forgiveness and tolerance. Remember that true forgiveness is when we declare and choose not to harbor malice or treat someone unkindly because of an offense – to bury a matter completely. And tolerance, true and Godly tolerance, deals with being patient and kind towards those who behave differently, think differently, or have different beliefs. Imagine if our Lord was intolerant of you and me? No one is so perfect in action or word to be deserving of forgiveness, but our God is tolerant and ‘longsuffering’ giving ample time for all to come to know Christ – even those who mock Him. The next time you are given a choice to forgive and be tolerant, remember the forgiveness and tolerance our Lord affords us. With these first two gifts in mind, let us move onto the next two – giving your heart and service.

Your heart:
What does it mean, “Christmas gift suggestions: . . . To a friend, your heart.” – to give your heart? With great wisdom, the Bible offers many insights into the heart, our hearts. In Psalm 51:10 NIV, King David is praying to the Lord asking Him to “create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” In this verse, we see David asking for a ‘pure heart’ meaning there must be other options for the condition of our heart besides being pure. In fact, if you continue reading all of Psalm 51, you will see that King David is asking the Lord to have mercy and forgive him of his sins in the time after David committed adultery with Bathsheba. However, even while David made mistakes and sinned against the Lord, David was declared by God as a man after His own heart. I believe this was due in part because no matter how much power, wealth or influence David had, he remained humble, faithful, and always came to the Lord to repent when he sinned.

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#7: Focusing on Love

17 Quotes About Christmas

#7: Focusing on Love

Paul Foslien, Senior Pastor, Living Word Family Church, Naples, FL

December 27, 2016

#7) “Christmas — that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance — a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.” – Augusta E. Rundel

The new year is almost here and another year has passed. Soon we will be taking down decorations, getting ready for another year, and reflecting on our choices. Reflection can be a powerful tool that will help us master our future decisions. I think every person alive wishes they could go back to a moment in time and hit the reset button. Of course, that’s impossible, but we can take an honest look at how we are going to live our lives moving forward. So, here is the question that I would like to ask, “What did we learn his year to make us a better person, Christian, friend, father, mother, etc.?” Let’s focus on the last sentence of the quote as we reflect:

The last sentence says Christmas is “a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.” The greatest memories that most of us have is when someone loved us unconditionally, or we showed unconditional love. Here are a few moments from this year and past years that I will cherish forever.

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#8: We Are Never Alone

17 Quotes About Christmas

#8: We Are Never Alone

Paul Foslien, Senior Pastor, Living Word Family Church, Naples, FL

December 26, 2016

#8) “This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.” ~Taylor Caldwell

The Bible tells us that God is with us and that he will never forsake us. We know at the beginning that God walked and talked with Adam, he was never alone. Until man sinned, we had wonderful fellowship with God. Sin is what causes loneliness in our lives because it has a separating effect. This is why the Christmas message is so important. Jesus came to restore fellowship with God; that is why He is called Immanuel, which means “God with us.”

Matthew 1:23 NKJV “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

When in our lives do we need someone with us the most? Every one of us wants someone with us when we are afraid, lonely, happy, sad, excited or when we want to share a life event. God created us to be this way; we are creatures that crave community. Stop and think about this for a second, all throughout the Bible you rarely see anyone doing this ‘thing’ we call life alone. In fact, it’s not just the Bible but also in this world. Here are a few examples; Batman had Robin, Burt had Ernie, Frodo had Sam, Adam had Eve, Paul had Timothy, Jesus had the Father and the twelve. God himself said, “it’s not good for man to be alone.” At the center of all our hearts, we were created to have social interaction, never isolation.

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#9: Giving Forgiveness and Tolerance

17 Quotes About Christmas

#9: Giving Forgiveness and Tolerance

Paul Foslien, Senior Pastor, Living Word Family Church, Naples, FL

December 21, 2016

#9) “Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” Oren Arnold

Christmas brings challenges to us all, but my greatest challenge is what to buy everyone for Christmas. Now, my wife loves receiving gifts because her primary love language is “gifts.” When she was little, her mother would never miss an occasion to shower my wife with gifts. It did not matter if it was a birthday, Valentines Day, Christmas, or any special event that would happen in her life. Because of this, I have to ask for gift suggestions to make sure I meet her love language and give something meaningful. In general, if you do not give me at least three or four options, you may end up with the exact opposite of what you wanted. While giving material gifts is meaningful and important, there are some gifts that surpass many others which our quote examines.

Let us take a moment and look at each of these “Christmas gift suggestions,” and if we can each give these gifts to people we meet every day, then this world will be a better place. Today, we will look at the first two.

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#10: Who Started All of This Anyways?

17 Quotes About Christmas

#10: Who Started All of This Anyways?

Paul Foslien, Senior Pastor, Living Word Family Church, Naples, FL
December 20, 2016

#10) “Who started this Christmas thing anyway?”

A woman was Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable; and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.

She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season time of the year: overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, getting that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, making sure we don’t forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.

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#11: Rededication

17 Quotes About Christmas

#11: Rededication

Paul Foslien, Senior Pastor, Living Word Family Church, Naples, FL
December 19, 2016

#11) “There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. It is the time to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart – and our neighbors as ourselves.” Thomas S. Monson

A wonderful man of God once said; “with every new revelation, there must be a rededication.” and how true that is!  When we go to church to learn about acting as a Christian, the hearing is the easy part and the doing becomes difficult.  It is just as Jesus said, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” where follow through has always been the hardest part of our Christain walk. Our human nature prefers to respond in kind: You hit me, I’ll hit you; You hurt me, I’ll hurt you.  But, the Bible tells us to LOVE those that hurt us – not condemn or hate them.  Doing the right thing is not always easy, which is why so many people struggle to walk in love, but it is always worth it.
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