Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Keeping Christ in Christmas

Dr. Mel and her mother being silly.
Today's message from me is very personal; not that my others aren't. However, due to life's circumstances around, I too become stressed and shed a tear or two. This week is no exception as I face a difficult time with my mother's illness. My mother, Helen Ray, is my best friend. She always has been. There hasn't been anything we couldn't talk about, and I mean nothing. We've traveled the world, gone to the beach on Mother's Day, and every Christmas, me, my sisters, and my mother go on a cruise. In fact, we are scheduled to leave on a cruise this Sunday. However, life circumstances won't allow it this year. My mother is 86, and two years ago in October, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. Her prognosis was six to eight months, so that Christmas we took our cruise believing that it would be our last together. God had other plans. Through his divine healing, after her radiation treatments, she went into remission. One year later, we went on our Christmas cruise. Last summer, cancer lifted its ugly head again and she had to have more radiation. Now, I jump to a week before Thanksgiving this year. My mother, although in remission, fractured her L3. Last Friday, she had a procedure where the surgeon put cement into the fracture hoping to relieve the pain. Her recovery has been difficult and she is in a great deal of pain, can barely sit up, can't get out of bed without assistance, and more. You get the picture.
I am sharing with you these very private moments for two reasons. First, I ask all prayer warriors to pray for her that God's will shall be done in His name. Secondly, I have to share that my authors who I have help to publish their books, edited them, or marketed them, have gathered around me as prayer warriors. It is heartwarming and comforting that people who I have never met face to face have shown me support and prayed for my mother and my family during this difficult time. With all of the toxic activity and people in this world, their selfless acts of compassion have uplifted my soul and strengthened my faith that whatever happens, it is God's plan. I believe that and find comfort.
Last night, I prayed over my mother as she slept. I wasn't selfish in my prayer, rather I lifted her and her team of doctors up. That's when I heard a voice in my head that said, "What about you?" I at first thought I was losing my mind. Then I replied, "What about me?" That's when it hit me, I needed prayer too. I know that if you ask, you shall receive and to pray specifically. The problem with that for me last night was that I didn't know what to pray for other than my mother. So I simply asked God to bring something or someone into my life to help me support my mother and my sisters through this difficult time. I needed to hear or read something to find peace in my heart. I fell asleep to the sound of my mother's oxygen machine.
When I woke up this morning, she felt a little better, but no where near where she needed to be. She ate a little breakfast, then went to sleep. That's when I checked my email and discovered a message from one of my authors who I had helped by the name of Willie Smith. The message was very simple and direct asking me how my mother was doing and he informed me that he was praying for us. Then, he sent me a link to something that he wrote years before hoping that it would bring peace and comfort to me. Wait!!! Did he say peace? Wow! God answered that prayer quickly.
I read what Willie sent and cried. I knew others needed to read these words so I asked him if he would be a guest blogger today. I want to share with you this message of peace and pray that you find it to.
Thank you Willie for agreeing.
My prayer for all of us is that we keep Christ in Christmas.
May you find peace,
Dr. Mel

Rest In Peace by Willie Smith
“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.” (Mark 4:37-38 ESV) 
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of you hand, O king.” (Daniel 3:16b-17 ESV) 
“Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:58-59 ESV) 
What is this peace Jesus possessed that would cause Him to sleep in the middle of a disturbance while at sea? What kind of peace did the three Hebrew boys have when faced with the fiery furnace? What makes a man, in the middle of being stoned to death, look to heaven and say, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”? How is it that a person can still smile and go on knowing well that the circumstances aren’t looking good? 
Distresses are all over the world, everyone is experiencing some type of disturbance in their lives. Whether it’s related to work, school, emotions, bills, or health, we all have some type of inconvenience that causes some type of stress. All of these can have a significant impact on our lives, but if and only if we give them the power to do so. If we choose to allow it, circumstances can spiral our lives out of control and make us feel as if there’s no end in sight.  
The good news is, we don’t have to let our circumstances have such an effect on usThanks to Jesus Christ, the peace that Jesus promised is freely and graciously available to us! In John 14:27Jesus took that which belonged to Him and shared it with us, saying, “My peace, I give to you.
The Key:
The key to the peace is knowing who controls ALL things and knowing that you belong to the One ho controls all things. Knowing this makes all the difference in the world. In John 8:14, Jesus declares, “I know where I come from and I know where I am going.” We can rest in our sure knowledge that all is “Good” because no matter what, God really does have our backs and cares for what’s on our hearts! 
God offers this peace to everyone who puts their faith in His Son Jesus. The Bible tells us that once we confess Jesus as Lord, we are born again, a new creation, no longer enemies with God but children of God. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him” (1 John 3:1). Through this, we now can rest in peace in the midst of whatever disturbances come our way because we know that our God is Almighty, All Powerful, and All Knowing.  
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV) 
What a way to live, knowing that no matter what happens, I can be always resting in peace because Jesus has now become my very source of life! Whether in Life or in Death, Rich or Poor, Sickness or Health, with God all things are possible! Rest my Friend, Rest.
Willie is a missionary with a powerful gift of prayer. He has a new book coming out soon called "Self the Hidden Idol.
Are you stumbling through Life? Have you lost your direction? Do you have a clear path for your life and a way to achieve your goals? Many people struggle when it comes to their life’s journey. They often make bad decisions with the best intentions only to feel hopeless and helpless in their path when things didn’t go as planned. Dolly Parton, a famous award-winning country singer, said, “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” You can’t rely on your family, friends, or colleagues to change your direction. The focus of creating your path is your responsibility. Where do you start? How do you pave another path when it’s God’s path you must travel?
With numerous distractions prevalent in our lives, the challenge to create a path without God in control and seek the advancement of self becomes enticing. We are taught as children to focus on becoming the best we can be and at all costs. The saying, “I think I can” becomes, “I know I can,” and as a result, we become entrapped in achieving our success without God’s direction.
What do you do when your path does not lead to success? What happens when you start creating a path that isn’t God-centered and driven? Is there only one path?
Self the Hidden Idol, by Willie R. Smith, a full-time missionary, examines how we deceive ourselves into thinking we can do all things possible without Him in our lives, and self-idolization erupts deep within. The effect is devastating in our lives resulting in despair, depression, and hopelessness. The desired outcome for readers is to become aware of their hidden idol, they maintain within, and address it head-on with no excuses. Smith discusses the many facets of self-awareness of the idol within and how we became self-centered. A reader will learn to recognize their hidden idol, and how to live a selfless life of victory through Christ Jesus, even when the path chosen seems to lead to nowhere. A directionless path is a destructive path. There is victory ahead in your path when you address the idol within and allow God to lead the way. Start your journey to victory today; form your path in the direction He designed for you. Self the Hidden Idol will guide you on your journey. Be victorious!

Acts 20:24 (NASB) reads, But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”
This Scripture aptly describes who and what Willie R. Smith is at his core—a Child of God, redeemed in the Blood of Christ. Raised in Shiloh, GA, in a house with his mother and seven older sisters, Willie grew up surrounded by unconditional love. No matter what hardships his family encountered, they followed God’s Command in John 15:12: to love each other, just as Christ loves us. He was 15 years old when he learned about God’s grace at a revival service and decided to give his life to Christ. Several years later in His walk, Willie read 1 Corinthians 15:10 which showed him that God had accepted him for who he is now and forever without any reservations. The next thirty years would reveal that this was only the beginning of his ministry to come.
Although he was just recently ordained as a Missionary of the Gospel of Christ, Willie has been teaching and preaching the gospel to audiences from all over for over 20 years. Having served as a member of several apostolic missions, a host of various Bible study groups, and the Assistant Pastor with The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Gainesville, GA, he was guided by God’s Grace to conceptualize what it means to be a “New Creation.” His teachings carefully explain the significance of being a New Creation in God and how to live this new identity in Christ.
In 2016, Christ called Willie to serve full-time as a missionary, offering faith-based discipleship and pastoral counseling on the Navajo Reservation. Willie answered Christ’s call, rejecting his comfortable life for the life to which God called him. Ever since that calling, Willie has come to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ and daily walks in faith to what God wants. Accompanied by his two daughters, Hannah and Halle, Willie forsook 23 years of working at DeKalb Medical to serve Christ. Willie created and serves as the President of New Creation 517, Inc.; a 501(c)(3) non – profit, discipleship, faith-based organization and ministry.
As Christ asks all of us to do, Willie now lives according to Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” He first and foremost delights in God, and trust that God will faithfully provide for every single one of his and his family’s needs. Now joined by his wife, Shengxi, Willie attests to God’s glory in his life, and the two of them have made it their life’s mission to counsel others in their wonderful walk with Christ.