Share the Greatest Gift!

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Just like that, two weeks have gone by since my last post. Amazing how time flies during the holiday season!

Several years ago I had fun using Christmas song titles within a poem. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed composing it!

“Christmas Poem”

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear,
the reason for our holiday cheer.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,
and all through the land,
very few knew what God had planned.
O’ Holy Night, Silent Night it was,
when Emmanuel came to live among us.
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night,
they left after beholding the sight
of Angels, who were Heard on High,
as the star in the east led the magi.
Joy to the World! The Lord had come!
God gave to us His only Son.
Go, Tell it On the Mountain, or just to a friend
that Jesus came for all, God’s love to send.
Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful, let us rejoice,
with old songs and new, with one joyful voice!

11-9-96
©Ladeena Ashley

Jesus is the greatest GIFT that anyone can get, and unlike fruitcake, I’m happy to “re-gift” Him! My prayer is that all who celebrate the true meaning of Christmas will be PRESENT with others, and DECORATE others’ lives with His love by sharing the joy of our Savior’s birth and the hope He brings. May we all shine and twinkle with the LIGHT of the Spirit; dispelling the darkness and showing others the way to lasting peace beyond anything this world offers.

In this season of giving, I pray that more folks receive forgiveness and new life through Jesus. That people hear how the birth of Jesus Christ the Messiah fulfilled scriptures, setting the main stage for our ultimate redemption. How in fact His birth was not simply a quaint story or fairy tale, but that the King of kings and Lord of lords was born and placed in a manger in the most humble of circumstances. But most importantly, that He lived a sinless life here on earth before willingly giving it up on the cross for our sins, put in a tomb, and rose again on the third day.

In the nicest way possible, we should spread the less-than joyful truth that we all get to live forever, but we have free will to chose where: eternal life in heaven, or a tortured existence separated from God. Let’s share that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God offers us the greatest gift of all: the gift of a Savior who broke the chains of sin and death. For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Let’s share the true meaning of Christmas.

Do you understand and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas? If you haven’t yet received Jesus and trusted Him as your personal Savior, you are truly missing out! To accept the free gift of salvation, I invite you to pray something like this: “Father God, thank You for loving me. I believe that You sent Your Son Jesus to earth, and I believe He died on the cross and rose again, as a payment for my sins. I accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus, and ask You to help me to follow You the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

If you prayed and accepted God’s free gift, congratulations! I’m sure many of the same angels who sang in the skies over Bethlehem are rejoicing that another soul has escaped from death into new life with Him! If you don’t have a Bible, get yourself one, and find a Bible-believing place of worship where folks will help guide you on your new journey with Christ.

This Christmas, whether you’ve just accepted the gift of Jesus, or you’ve been a follower of Christ for many seasons, let us all share the true reason for the season with everyone we meet!

Merry Christmas!

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2017 All Rights Reserved (blog content and photos)

An Easter Poem

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I’ve struggled a lot with what to say in this post. Last weekend I was plagued with a series of migraines and tension headaches that pretty much had me feeling useless. Knowing that Easter was coming, and I’d missed a week (in my mind anyway), there was a great deal of internal pressure to write a truly moving and meaningful post for this important holiday. After worshiping with a few songs, I felt ready to compose something special.

Here’s what God helped me write:

“Easter Poem”

Hallelujah! What a Savior!
“It is finished!” Jesus cried,
All our shameful, bad behavior
on the cross was crucified.
Then, that glorious third day
Jesus mightily overcame
Death and the grave itself,
fully despising its shame.

“Christ is risen!” “He’s risen indeed!”
We shout out on Easter Day;
He showed the way to be freed
when He rolled the stone away.
Because the Father sacrificed
His only Son from heaven above,
there’s healing and peace beyond belief,
forgiveness and unending love!

Such a wondrous feeling to be saved
through faith, by His amazing grace.
Mercies new each day, I start again,
with a joyful smile upon my face!
Can’t help but share my hope with others
as I’m loving and serving them, too.
Giving my life because Christ gave His
is really the least that I could do!

4-15-17
©Ladeena Ashley

Pressure
I must confess that this poem reads much differently than what I began with.

So what happened? Taking pen to paper, all I got down was six long lines before getting stuck. After several furtive attempts to continue, I eventually stepped away. Feeling like a failure for a few moments, I stopped myself and asked the Lord if perhaps I was pushing too hard. Was an Easter post His idea or mine? Ultimately, I surmised that the pressure I put on myself to write seemed to turn this joyful ministry into somewhat of a chore. To be honest, I do have the tendency to downgrade even enjoyable activities as mere items on a mental to-do list to be accomplished. I’d gotten in the habit of posting every week, but in reality, it should be God’s timing. It still seemed like the right thing to do this time, so after a short break and more prayer, I finally scooped up my laptop and sat somewhere more comfortable to write the post and finish the poem.

Joyful Ministry
Whatever you’re planning to do this Easter and beyond, keep in mind what Christ did for you, and share with others as you feel led. As I was reminded again recently: as a believer, everything you do is ministry. At work, at home, at school, at the store, not just at church. Every day is a new beginning, a chance to grow and a chance to love and serve others. Just don’t let it become a chore, like I sometimes do. Jesus died for us so when we surrender our lives to Him we would each live out our special purpose. So if you’re not sure what that is, pray and ask Him to show you. It helps to make a list of of what you’re good at (skills and gifts) and what you’ve learned (in school and in life), and you might see a pattern. Once you’ve discovered what your purpose is, get out there and do it… joyfully!

“Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2017 All Rights Reserved (blog content and photo)