Today we should share with others what we are hoping to find, complish, restore and create during this season of Lent and Easter.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Isaiah 26:3 NLT
For other inspiration messages from Therese go to http://www.theresemarszalek.com/InspirationalMsgs.html
Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.
I am spending the day outside in nature. I write this in advance in the hopes that you to can get outside in this winter weather and see where you hear HIM while enjoying what HE created!
Paul wrote to the Philippians, “I am certain that God, who began the good word within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Phil 1:6 NLT
I know that even when I am not working on me, HE is. The reminder, the touches, the hints. Why are they so hard to hear some days? What is in your way and mine?
Today, I will spend time with myself to listen and work on who HE wants me to be.
While starting to use the 40 Days book, I realized I don’t reflect or mediate or just spend time with God each day. Do you?
Therese says, “Daily, I will respond when Jesus says, “Come.””
WOW, powerful! I think I usually say something like hold on a minute, I just need to finish XYZ. Today I will stop when He calls.
I try to come up with 1-something to give up 2-something to start new and 3-something to change.
My family loves that every other year I give up french fries OR diet coke. They would much prefer that I DON’T give anything up for Lent. They are sometimes the beneficiaries of the other two options. Sometimes it is writing a note in their lunch boxes or cleaning out the toy closet for them. Or spending some quality time with my husband each and every day. It is amazing how much time can go by where you and your hubby act as ground control in your home. “Off to take X here” or “You are needed for vocabulary testing in Y’s room”.
Well this year, I am going to do all three in one. I am going to give up some of my personal reading time to DEVOUR the book 40 Days. I assume working the assignment will help me change many of the things I do today and help me create new and better habits.
Would you consider joining me on this JOURNEY?
Do you know your purpose today? Is it just another day? Are you going through the motions of the same old routine? Maybe you, like me, have a bulging list of “to dos” and your appointment calendar is brimming over. You may know your schedule, but do you know your purpose?
If you’re a child of God, the King of Kings designed a divine purpose for your day today. Before you were born, God had already planned your schedule and prepared good works in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10). Your purpose lies in the midst of the tailor made plan God prepared for you.
Since I’m an organizer and thrive on a structured schedule, I sometimes lose focus of my purpose somewhere between my prayer time and checking off items on my to do list. While giving my full attention to my plans for the day, I sometimes forget that I’m on this earth to fulfill God’s purpose, not my self-designed, self-willed purpose.
Fulfilling your purpose doesn’t mean every item will get checked off your endless to do list and it doesn’t mean everything will be completed as planned. Why? Interruptions! Unplanned and often irritating interruptions arrive at the most inconvenient times, forcing you to put your much thought out plan aside to instead give attention to something you’d often rather not deal with.
If you submit yourself to God’s plan for the day, interruptions will still come, but they won’t induce stress or flustration (flustered and frustrated). As you make your way through God’s to-do list, you won’t sigh in discouragement when incomplete items on your to do list glare at you.
God’s plan for this day and for this hour may be different than your plan. It’s wise to create a plan and to set your course for the day, but surrender that plan to God and allow Him to have His way with it. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart, a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” As you orchestrate the course you’ve chosen to reach your destination, allow God the freedom to determine how you get there.
I remember times I’ve hesitated to answer the shrieking phone, frustrated because the unexpected call interrupted my precious schedule. I recall hearing the doorbell ring in the middle of my prayer time; I felt so put out that someone had the nerve to interrupt such a holy time. Yet, after listening to the heartache of a friend or offering a neighbor comfort and prayer, I realized that what I thought was a frustrating interruption wasn’t a frustration at all. It was a divine part of God’s ordained plan for my day.
What’s your purpose today? To fulfill God’s divine purpose for each moment. As you purpose to know Jesus, He’ll flow through your life to fulfill God’s purpose. Today, as you set your course, allow God to guide your steps and be willing to change your schedule to fit God’s heavenly schedule.
A leap year poem to remember it by-
Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Save February, she alone
Hath eight days and a score
Til leap year gives her one day more.
The Urbino Bible, commissioned by Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, in the late 15th Century, is a stunning work of art in its own right. The Urbino Bible is one of the rare examples of artistic collaboration in Florence during this time period.
This splendid manuscript, without a doubt a Florentine miniature masterpiece of the Renaissance, was commissioned by Federico at the working studio of Vespasiano da Bisticci, the renowned Florentine bookseller who was the primary provider of manuscripts for the Urbino library.
The original Urbino Bible is divided into two books. The volumes are particularly important for the richness of their illustrations. Hugo de Cominellis or Hugues de Comminellis de Mazieres, who was also responsible for other books commissioned by Federico, has been identified as the scribe of these volumes. The copy is a transcription of the canonic text of the Vulgate.
Scholars have identified the hands of a number of different artists who cooperated in decorating these volumes, among them, panel painters, fresco painters and miniature painters. The artists involved in these splendid decorations include Attavante, the Master of the Hamilton Xenophon, Francesco Rosselli, the brother of the most famous Cosimo, Francesco d’Antonio del Chierico, to whom we owe the greatest number of the illustrations, Biagio d’Antonio, Bartolomeo di Giovanni and David and Domenico Ghirlandaio.
Federico, nicknamed “the Light of Italy”, is a landmark figure in the history of the Italian Renaissance. He imposed justice and stability on his tiny state. He engaged the best copyists and editors in his private scriptorium to produce the most comprehensive library outside of the Vatican. He was a staunch supporter in the development of fine artists, including the early training of the young painter Raphael.
Despite his privileged rank, Federico always remained interested in the average citizen. He took care of soldiers who might be killed or wounded, providing, for example, dowries for their daughters. He often strolled the streets of Urbino unarmed and unattended, inquiring in shops and businesses as to the well-being of the citizens. He held to the belief that all citizens, regardless of rank, were equal under the law.
Celebrate Your Faith is proud to offer a very limited number of this rare Bible for sale. Additionally, the painstaking reproduction of this masterpiece is adorned and jeweled on the exterior cover to create an exclusive version not found anywhere else. The brilliant gemstones and meticulous detailing add a truly remarkable quality to this extraordinary find. Reserve your copy today!
To learn more about Federico da Montefeltro, visit Federico da Montefeltro on Wikipedia
To read about and see excerpts from treasures of the Vatican Library, including the Urbino Bible, visit The European Library
See some of the amazing work in this Bible below. Click on any of the images to see a larger one.
Click here to go to our website…
My love for you is more precious than gold,
Please believe it and enter my fold.
I have placed in your heart a longing for me;
Open your eyes, my child, and this you will see!
My love for you cannot be fathomed;
It reaches from heaven to the deepest chasm.
Since before you became, I have loved you, everything in life proves this is true!
I have pursued your soul from before you were born;
I have loved and protected you, and carried you through the storm.
I promise to be with you every single day,
“I will never leave nor forsake you”, you have heard me say.
I have loved you before I even made time;
I ask you this day, will you be mine?
Everything I have, I offer to you,
Just say “yes” and I will prove it’s true!
I defeated the enemy by my Son, Jesus Christ; when you accept Him I give you true life!
When you trust me I forgive all your sin, I cleanse you and wash you and we begin again.
I know your name and the number of hairs on your head,
Come to me, my child, your old life is dead!
Life is not easy I know that it’s true, but sin, death, and Satan have no hold on you.
I have defeated them and I have set you free;
Let’s get started… come join me!
I am the Way and the Truth, and I am the Life;
No one comes to me, except through Christ!
I won’t force you to come… because I love you so much,
But I hope you say yes, that in me you will trust!
If you do you will feed my sheep;
You will love me and others… with a love so deep.
We will share my truth, to the ends of the earth,
Together we will go, and share “new birth”!
I have written this Valentine through the pages of the Bible;
A love letter of sorts, your only chance for survival!
I long to spend eternity with you, please say “Yes”, that you love me, too!
(written by Mark Halla as a Valentine’s Day reminder of how much God loves us!)
This spring on April 14th from 10-12, join the Christian Recovery Counseling for their Seeds of Spring Event.
Therese Marszalek will be speaking. She is a close and personal friend of Celebrate Your Faith.
We hope to see all of you from the Twin Cities there! Click here to learn even more about the event!
New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
I have a DREAM that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: / we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a DREAM that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a DREAM that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
– Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream, 1963.
(I have a DREAM wasn’t part of his written speech. He strayed from his written speech and reacted to a cheer from the crowd asking him about his dream.)
An excerpt from today’s daily bread… Happy New Year!
All of my life I’ve had to ‘be ready.’ As a child, I had to be ready for dinner by washing my hands. As an adult, being ready for important responsibilities continues to be an ongoing reality. But I’ve come to realize that nothing is more important than being ready for our reunion with Jesus.
As we consider the possibilities that Jesus could return this year, let’s be sure that we are ready. Let’s strive to be pure as He is pure, anticipating the day when tears and sorrow, pain and death will all be replaced with the everlasting joy of His presence. Joe Stowell
I see that progress and failure are both part of the journey. I gain insight from past struggles that help with issues I am currently facing. And, most important, journaling shows me how God has been faithfully working in my life.
Journaling may be useful to you too. It can help you see more clearly what God is teaching you on life’s journey and cause you to reflect on God’s faithfulness. Dennis Fisher
(link to the journal on CYF)
Just the other night, I was watching a Christmas movie on GMC. ‘Tis the season for Christmas movies on a number of channels! The movie was not very interesting, to be honest, but I kept flipping back to it because there was nothing else on TV worth watching. There came a part in the movie where an older gentleman read the Christmas story while a young girl acted out various parts. Once the play was completed, he said one of his favorite parts of the Christmas story was actually a part that was seldom read – the part about Simeon. He then proceeded to the following passage in Luke:
“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
‘Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.’
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’” Luke 2:25-35 NKJV
Hearing this made me pause to think: What would it have been like to be Simeon? That’s when I knew I kept switching back this movie for a reason. This was the part that God intended me to hear. He wanted to get a message to me, and to you.
Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us WHEN it was revealed to Simeon that he would see Jesus before he died. What if the Holy Spirit spoke that to him when he was 30 years old? He could have taken that one of two ways: either Christ is coming soon and I’m going to die young, or I’m going to have to wait a LONG time for this promise to be fulfilled.
At first glance, neither prospect seems “fun”, I have to admit. Simeon heard the voice of the Holy Spirit give him this wonderful promise… but how would he know when “the time” had come? I believe that as the years went by, he continued to practice hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit. Each time the Spirit spoke, Simeon obeyed. Simeon probably figured that when the time came for this promise to be fulfilled, he didn’t want to second guess that is was God who had spoken to him.
When the Spirit led him to the temple at the appointed time, it turned out that he was being led there not only so he could see the Lord’s Christ with his own eyes,
but so he could release words of blessing over Jesus and also Mary and Joseph. In fulfilling His promise to Simeon, God used him to bless Jesus’ earthly parents and communicate a specific message to them.
God is a connecter and a multiplier. Allow the story of Simeon to sink deep in to your heart, pondering how it applies to you and how it applies to the promises God has spoken to you.
But, Simeon was “just and devout”, you might say. So are you, if you’ve been washed by the Blood of Jesus, accepting Him as your Lord and Savior.
“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” 1 Corinthians 1:30 NKJV
Now that we’ve got that point settled, consider what it is that the Holy Spirit has been speaking to you. What has God promised to YOU? Are you waiting expectantly for it? Are you endeavoring to follow the Holy Spirit in your daily walk, fine tuning your listening skills?
Are you willing to do what it is He says to see the promise come to pass? Like Simeon, will you follow the Holy Spirit as He leads you to the temple, or wherever that place is for you? At the exact day and in the exact hour? Will you be ready, in the midst of the fulfillment of His promise to you, to reach out and be His hands and His mouthpiece to bless others?
The promise that God made to Simeon may seem extra special, because it involved the birth of His Son, Jesus. But as sons and daughters of God, He treats each and every promise He makes to us the same way. It is important to Him that they come to pass in the right way, at the right time, and that we are prepared to receive them.
Listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit is vital. Reading the Word of God is vital. Prayer and worship is vital. It strengthens our relationship with God, which allows us to trust Him more fully and deeply. It gives us a certainty that can be obtained no other way.
Jesus came, as is said in Luke, to be “a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” Allow that light and that glory to penetrate your heart afresh and anew this Christmas.
The story of Simeon is my story. It’s your story. It’s the story of a person who dared to trust God.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Celebrate Your Faith!
MONDAY: Most children who receive shoe box gifts live in desperate circumstances. Pray that God will meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
TUESDAY: Pray for our ministry partners in countries around the world, especially that the shoe box gifts and follow-up discipleship programs will be effective evangelism tools.
WEDNESDAY: Pray that doors will be opened, so the Good News can be shared in countries that are you not receptive to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
THURSDAY: Pray for those who fill shoe box gifts this year, especially for children, that they will see that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.
FRIDAY: Pray for those involved in collecting, processing, transporting and delivering shoe box gifts, including the tens of thousands of volunteers.
SATURDAY: Pray for Samaritan’s Purse staff located throughout the world as they handle the logistics of Operation Christmas Child.
Christmas morning… What is the first thing your children do? Mine run to find and place Baby Jesus in the nativity with his parents, angels, wise men and animals. I love that they (13 and 11) still enjoy the wonder and excitement of His coming. (Ok, I know the pile of presents under the tree aid in their excitement!)
KT loves jewelry. And I love crosses. So would you surprised to hear I own over 10 cross necklaces/pendants. That means a lady can never have too many jeweled crosses. The one I selected to show here is a medium size. The same vendors makes a small and a large version in case you like to look but not the size. Here is a link to the entire assortment of jeweled cross necklaces!
KT loves Creator Mundi bronze. They are a little more contemporary and leave the details to my imagination. I love the sharp lines of the figures. I also like that I don’t have to worry when my children play with the nativity or when one gets dropped while dusting.
My mother-in-law loves angels. She keeps an angel tree up all year long. I think she would love the angel for Christmas.
If you want to see what other great items are in this collection… click here!
Charms as so much more versatile then when KT was a kid. I had to get mine soldered onto a bracelet. Today you can clip them onto a link bracelet, a bangle bracelet or a necklace(Instyle gift guide 2011 twice). Mix and match them. Remove them around. I like all the memories that go along with charms. Like the one I got on my birthday so many years ago from my parents. It was of a birthday cake and you pushed a hidden button and candles popped up.
KT loves cuff bracelets. I know I have shared this before on Facebook but I really really do. The photos attached are hot hot hot! I was reading Real Simple and InStyle last night and was thrilled that both publications included cuff bracelets in their Gift Guides.
As the days shorten and the temperatures drop, candles are more frequently used at our home. At our family dinners, after the children go to bed and even in the mornings while reading the Sunday paper. The warmth and aroma from a candle is so welcoming.
Give a gift that is sure to brighten someone days through the long winter.
What says, “I thought of YOU!” more than a personalized gift. They know you didn’t regift it. They know you had to think about it in advance. AND with it being a Bible, they know you thought enough about them to give them something so precious and inspirational and loving.
Here is a link to the ENTIRE collection of personalized Bibles… click here and enjoy!
Decorating for the holidays isn’t one of my favorite things to do HOWEVER I love to decorate my home year round with crosses. I have 4 crossing hanging in my office. I have 5 hanging in my dining room. You get the point. I have a ton of HANGING crosses. I want STANDING CROSSES for Christmas. Think how beautiful they would look with candle light during a family dinner. How beautiful with it’s reflection in the mirror on my bureau. Crosses should be used as part of everyday decorating- don’t you think so too?
KT loves all the nail cross necklaces. I included a sample of a favorite. If you go to www.celebrateyourfaith.com and search nail cross jewelry, you can search the whole assortment.
At Thanksgiving, we oftentimes reflect on WHAT we are thankful for. We think of our family and friends, the freedoms we enjoy living in America, the roof over our heads, the food on our table and the clothes on our backs. We may even think of how God saw us through a difficult time this past year, and we are thankful for His hand of mercy and deliverance. All of these things, and countless others, are definitely things we should to be thankful for.
The way to honor God and walk in His will is to be thankful in EVERY circumstance. Notice all the little things that God does for you – that close parking space, that favorite song that comes on the radio, that super sale on the item you’ve been eying for months, the kind service you received in the checkout lane, that cute dog walking down the street that made you smile, how you avoided that accident just in the nick of time. When we notice these things and stop for a couple of seconds to thank God, we are showing Him our dependence and reliance on Him, our love for Him. We’re letting Him know that we acknowledge His hand of blessing in our lives. He doles out these blessings in hopes that we will indeed seek Him.
That’s why I want to challenge you, that even more than being thankful for the BLESSINGS, let’s be thankful this year for the BLESSER! I believe that being thankful for the BLESSER, above all else, is the greatest and highest way we can fulfill the command we are given in 1 Thessalonians!
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV
You see, every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17). But we have access to those good and perfect gifts through our Savior, Jesus Christ. He died to give us ACCESS to God the Father. It’s through this relationship with Him that we experience the blessing that adds no sorrow with it (Proverbs 10:22). We experience the FULLNESS of redemption and salvation – in our bodies, souls, spirits, relationships, finances… every area of our lives.
But what about those people in the world who have no relationship with God and yet they seem to be blessed and prosperous? Well, I would propose that a portion of what they are experiencing is the mercy of God towards them… His GOODNESS… which is for a purpose:
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4 NKJV
God desires that ALL men are led to repentance and into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We are told to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good and His mercy endures forever (Psalm 107:1)!
Jesus Christ is the ULTIMATE gift that’s been given to us. He is our Lord and our Savior. He is our Redeemer and Friend. He is the Restorer of our souls. He sent the Holy Spirit, who is our Comforter, our Helper, and our Teacher (1 John 2:27). We are never left without a solution to any problem. We are comforted in situations that would attempt to discourage us and try to steal our joy.
Let’s be thankful for the PERSON of Jesus Christ, who never leaves us nor forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). Let’s be thankful for the PERSON of the Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth (John 16:13). Let’s be thankful for the PERSON of God the Father, who gives us eternal encouragement and good hope (2 Thessalonians 2:16).
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5 NKJV
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us at Celebrate Your Faith!
The San Damiano Cross is the large Romanesque rood cross that St. Francis of Assisi was praying before when he received the commission from the Lord to rebuild the Church. The original crucifix was painted by an unknown Umbrian artist in the twelfth century.
The San Damiano Cross is rich with symbolism based on the elaborate imagery contained in this icon. The cross is called an icon cross because it contains images of people who have a part in the meaning of the cross.
Below are some selected highlights along with reflection Scriptures to consider.
The central element of the San Damiano Crucifix is the figure of Christ. It is not the body of a corpse, but of God Himself, incorruptible unto eternity and the source of life, radiating the hope of the Resurrection. Christ is a figure of light dominating the scene and giving light to the other figures. Christ stands upright, not nailed. The eyes of Jesus are open: He looks out to the world, which He has saved. He is alive, the one who is eternal.
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” John 8:12 NKJV
The Hand of the Father:
From within the semi-circle at the very top of the Icon, He whom no eye has seen reveals Himself in a benediction. This blessing is given by the right hand of God with the finger extended – the Holy Spirit. The Father gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to all because of the merits of the Christ’s Passion.
“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” Acts 1:4-5 NKJV
The Astonished Angels:
Around the crossbar of the cross, there are two groups of angels – animatedly discussing the scene unfolded before them.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV
The Centurion of Capernaum:
To the right of the Cross stands the Centurion. He holds a piece of wood in his left hand, indicating his building of the Synagogue (Luke 7:1-10). The little boy beyond his shoulder is his son healed by Jesus. The three heads behind the boy show “he and his whole household believed” (John 4:45-54). He has extended his thumb and two fingers, a symbol of the Trinity, while his two closed fingers symbolize the hidden mystery of the two natures of Jesus the Christ. “Truly He is the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).
“Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your son lives.’ So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, ‘Your son lives!’ Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’ So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, ‘Your son lives.’ And he himself believed, and his whole household.” John 4:50-53 NKJV
Also to the right of the Cross stands Mary Magdalene, she who loved the Lord so sincerely that she would not even abandon Him at His grave. Listening intently to Mary Magdalene is Mary Clopas, another woman who came to the tomb with Mary Magdalene, to anoint the dead body of the Lord. These two women typify an intense and courageous devotion that persists no matter how difficult life may become.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NKJV
In the red border around the cross are scrolls that recall tendrils of vines. They bring to mind Christ’s admonition that He is the vine while we are but branches. To bear fruit, we must remain in Him.
“‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.’” John 15:5 NKJV
Near the border of the Cross on the right, just below the level of Christ’s knees, you will find a small rooster. Firstly, this recalls the denial of Peter, who wept bitterly, and reminds us that we should not be presumptuous of the strength of our faith. Secondly, the rooster proclaims the new dawn of the Risen Christ, the true light (1 John 2:8).
“Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.” 1 John 2:8 NKJV
“But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings” Malachi 4:2 NKJV
For further explanations into the meanings of these and many other symbols and icons on the San Damiano Cross, please visit any of the following websites:
Celebrate Your Faith sells Italian crafted replicas of the original cross in sizes ranging from 3-29 inches. These are reproductions of the original that hangs in Santa Chiara (St. Clare) Church in Assisi, Italy. Along with this, we have many other Wall Crosses.
Sundown Wednesday, October 12 thru Thursday, October 20.
The festival of Sukkot is instituted in Leviticus 23:33-44. The Festival of Sukkot begins on the fifth day after Yom Kippur. It is quite a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in our year to one of the most joyous. Sukkot is so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as the Season of our Rejoicing.
Sukkot is the last of the three pilgrimage festivals. Like Passover and Shavu’ot, Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as the Festival of Ingathering.
The word “Sukkot” means “booths,” and refers to the temporary dwellings that we are commanded to live in during this holiday in memory of the period of wandering. Sukkot lasts for seven days. (Reference: Judiasm 101: Sukkot)
From an agricultural perspective in ancient Israel, Pesach [Passover] corresponded to the planting season, Shavuot [Pentecost] corresponded to the grain harvest, and Sukkot corresponded to the fruit harvest. When you planted your crops in spring, you do not yet rejoice because you were uncertain about how the harvest will turn out. And when you harvested your grain at the start of summer, you might have rejoiced that you now had bread in hand, but you would still be uncertain about the success of your fruit crops. Total joy would come after you had harvested all of your crops in the fall, and thereby received sustenance and provision for the coming year from the LORD.
From a spiritual perspective, Sukkot corresponds to the joy of knowing your sins were forgiven (during Yom Kippur), and also recalls God’s miraculous provision and care after the deliverance from bondage in Egypt (Lev. 23:43). Prophetically, Sukkot anticipates the coming kingdom of the Mashiach Yeshua wherein all the nations shall come up to Jerusalem to worship the LORD during the festival (see Zech. 14:16). Today Sukkot is a time to remember God’s Sheltering Presence and Provision for us for the start of the New Year. (Reference: Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles)
Click on the link for additional information on the Jewish Feasts.
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39 NJKV
In a message recently broadcast by Joseph Prince Ministries, Pastor Prince talked about the significance of Jesus’ words while he was in Jerusalem on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus was speaking of rivers of living water, which are moving and refreshing. The living water here refers to the Holy Spirit.
A very important distinction highlighted from Scripture was this:
Forgiveness was given to you because Christ was crucified. The Holy Spirit was given to you because Christ was glorified.
During the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests on the last day, the “great day”, take a container and go down from Mount Moriah to the pool of Siloam to collect water, which they bring back and pour out as they say Psalms 118.
“Save now, I pray, O LORD;
O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.”
Psalm 118:25 NKJV
They are saying to God – send now prosperity, send now salvation – they are asking God to send rain the coming year. Salvation is Yeshua in the Hebrew… and who appeared? Jesus! He is the answer to the cry of “send now prosperity, send now salvation”.
To order this message in its entirety, visit the Joseph Prince online store for Sermon CD #36.
Click on the link for additional teaching on the significance of Jesus in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Feasts are important to the Jewish people, but they also teach many things and reveal Jesus to us as believers.
Whether Jew or Christian, please join us in celebrating this important time in our shared heritage. Let it be your personal Season of Rejoicing!
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 33:12 NIV
The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks conjures up many memories and emotions in the hearts of every American and those around the world. It was a day where we saw unprecedented attacks on our homeland.
In the wake of 9/11/2001, many in our nation turned to God for comfort and solace. It was an “awakening” of sorts for many people. And so it is appropriate that after we pause to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in those attacks, that we turn to our family, friends and neighbors and offer encouragement for the future.
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 NLT
As we reflect on the events of 9/11/2001 and everything that has happened as a result of those attacks, we need not tremble in fear or be anxious about the future when our trust is in the Lord God.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NKJV
“The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.” 2 Samuel 22:3 KJV
Let this Day of Remembrance followed by the National Day of Encouragement be a renewed call to prayer for our nation, our state, our city and our neighbors. Let it also be a call to prayer for our troops serving both at home and around the world.
God’s Word offers us an encouragement for prayer in Colossians 4:2 where it exhorts us to “devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” (NLT)
Let us reflect with a heart of honor, and let us look forward with a heart of hope.
May God bless each one of you, and may God Bless America!
We thank you for your support as we celebrate the fourth anniversary of CelebrateYourFaith.com. Looking back, it is amazing all that the Lord has done through this business. We are looking forward to celebrating all that is coming in the future!
This has been the dream of our hearts; four years of learning, growing, and celebrating making a difference. Doing what we love with amazing customers and fans, beautiful artisans and their creations, and our special team of believers who work together for a great cause.
When we started CelebrateYourFaith.com, we deliberately chose July 7, 2007 (7.7.07) for our grand opening, as a powerful symbolic scriptural reminder of the Great Commission (see the post about “God’s perfection: Number 7“).
All of us at CelebrateYourFaith.com are dedicated to reaching the world with the Good News of the Gospel. It is our heart to support mission work and missionaries with proceeds from every purchase. This has been one of the biggest blessings to us, to see our support for missions directly affect the lives of people in countries all over the globe.
For more about our company story, see this article (PDF) from the Christian Booksellers Association’s November 2008 issue.
Celebrate. Give. Share.
With your purchases, you are helping us continue to touch hearts and change many lives. It is an honor to do what we love. Thank you for your continued support!
Father’s Day is a time set aside to show special honor to our fathers, or men who are father-figures in our lives. A father is someone who is there to offer love and support to his children – be they biological children, step-children, or “spiritual” children that God has placed in his life for him to nurture.
Being a good father begins with having a solid relationship with Jesus Christ. He must be the center of every communication, affection and discipline that a man gives to his children. A good father must first and foremost be a Man of God.
“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12 NKJV
A good father demonstrates to his children what it means to have faith in God and trust Him for everything we need. He is a reflection of God to his children. It’s an awesome responsibility, but one that can be carried out with dignity and love and respect when he looks to God for direction and guidance.
All this is not to say that fathers need to be perfect. But a father who is humble and teachable is the best father a child could ask for.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV
If your father needs some encouragement to strengthen his relationship with God, this is a wonderful time to give him some tools to help him do so. Give him the web address for Bible Gateway’s 100 most-read Bible verses.
Give your father a fresh look at the Word of God with this NLT In His Image Devotional Bible.
This Father’s Day, above all, be sure to tell your father how much you love him and appreciate him. Remember those godly men who have influenced you and thank them for everything they have done for you.
Celebrate Your Faith has many wonderful gifts for fathers. Pick out a special treasure to honor him today!
A hero, as defined by Noah Webster’s Dictionary of 1828, is “a man of distinguished valor, intrepidity or enterprise in danger; as a hero in arms”. The modern-day Merriam-Webster Dictionary places the first meaning of a hero as a mythological or legendary figure. I’d like us to hearken back to Noah Webster’s definition on this Memorial Day as it reminds us that REAL heroes live among us, and have died for our freedom.
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday which honors and commemorates the men and women who died while in military service. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
Salute or commemorate a loved one serving in the U.S. military by proudly wearing a military cross or medal. These pendants also make treasured gifts for someone serving in the military to assure them that you are praying for them and that their protection is found in God.
The mini-book entitled “Pray for Our Nation”, published by Harrison House, includes this prayer for Veterans:
Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for our veterans. I thank You for their willingness to risk all so that our nation might dwell in peace and safety.
May they find the honor and recognition they deserve.
In the name of Your divine Son, I pray that You will heal the physical and psychological wounds some of these veterans have suffered. Bring peace to those who mourn the loss of comrades.
Father, I pray that our nation would learn to respect and acknowledge those who have served their country well.
Scripture Reference: Romans 13:7, John 14:17, John 16:33
Visit the US Memorial Day website for more information on the history of Memorial Day.
Make this Memorial Day about more than barbeques with family and friends, about more than the start of the summer travel season, about more than a 3-day weekend. Take time to truly remember and thank God for the ultimate sacrifice many men and women have paid. Pray for their families and loved ones. And take time to remember and thank the men and women who currently serve in all the branches of our military.
Celebrate Your Faith has many thoughtful and meaningful gifts to honor our service men and women. Check out our Memorial Day Gifts section to find the perfect one today!
May 15, 2011 has been marked as Internet Evangelism Day, which is an annual worldwide focus day for digital evangelism. The entire month of May is also designated as Digital Evangelism Month.
The Internet is a powerful tool for reaching people all over the world. It may seem very obvious how people all over the world have the ability to access the Internet and as such, the Internet can be used to bring people to a personal relationship with Jesus. One site having amazing results all over the globe, including many countries where the Gospel is not easy to preach via traditional avenues, is Global Media Outreach. They minister to people in an important 3-step process.
1. Lead them to the Savior
2. Nurture them in Faith
3. Connect them to Church
Many ways exist to share your faith digitally: Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites; blogs or message board posts; email and text messaging (just to name a few).
The website blog.ourchurch.com has some amazing ideas for how to share your faith online in its article 20 Ways to Share Your Faith Online.
Internet Evangelism is such a multi-faceted concept. Sure, there are websites you can either direct people to, or that they find on their own. But, Internet Evangelism is transacted every day through many avenues.
Take Celebrate Your Faith, for example. We are an online retailer of Christian gifts. These gifts are purchased by people for the purpose of encouraging believers or sowing a seed into an unbeliever’s life in hopes of introducing them to Jesus as their Savior. In this gift giving process, the Internet was used as an evangelism tool.
In addition, CYF is steadfastly dedicated to promoting the preaching of the Gospel through direct monetary support of missions and humanitarian efforts. So, all the gifts that are purchased (for the purpose of evangelism) are also funding missionaries that travel all over the world to tell people about Jesus and His saving love. Again, the Internet is being used as an evangelism tool.
Another example could be sending a text message to a friend, confirming with them a time and place to meet up for dinner. That night, they decide to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. That interaction was also facilitated by digital media.
God is so creative with how He reaches people. He created the ideas for all the technology we have at our fingertips today. We as Christians need to harness its power and use it to point people back to Him.
Join us on Sunday, May 15 in using the Internet to reach out to a lost and dying world.
While listening to a recent message by Jack Hayford on the “Spirit Formed” broadcast, I heard him describe Easter in this way…
The whole message of Easter is not that there was an event. The whole message of Easter is that Easter released a power that guarantees to everyone who will come to Him that there is a force that will reverse any situation that looks like its been a set up for a put down…to reverse everything in our lives that looks dead. But there is no promise of a schedule, of a schedule that will suit us.
Easter released a power into our lives that is available to us every day. Jesus is ever-present with us and He’s given us the Holy Spirit to forever abide in us. He is “the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25). When we believe in Him, life is present ALL THE TIME. There is a constant release of divine life and grace that’s always there for us.
We need to not only be conscious that it is there, that HE is there, but we need to RECEIVE this power so it can work in our lives. God will never force His will upon us, but His will for us is always for life and health and fulfillment.
If there is any area of your life that seems “dead” as we celebrate Easter this year, look to Jesus and receive His life-giving power for that situation. Receive His wisdom as your answer. Receive His strength to continue on the journey. Receive His deliverance.
There is no promise that it will happen on OUR schedule, but there is a promise that it WILL happen. Hold fast to that promise and you will see it realized!
Simply say, “Thank You, Jesus, for Your resurrection power that is available me to today to breathe Your divine life into my situation. I receive from You this free gift of power and declare that it will infuse my situation with life. Thank You for reversing anything that looks like a put-down in my life, for promising to turn it around for my good, and for using it to bring glory to the Father. I trust You and look to You as the source of the answer for every problem I am facing. In Your Precious Name, Amen.”
Go WHERE the Lord says go. Go WHEN the Lord says go. These are both statements that as believers, we would like to be able to say we would do. Sometimes the WHEN and the WHERE are very clear, but the WHY may remain a mystery. Are we willing to go with no real explanation of WHY, but simply in obedience to the voice of God that says WHERE and WHEN? How do we deal with ambiguity concerning the call of God? Let me tell you how it all unfolded for me…
Late last year, the Lord impressed upon my heart that I was to go back to Northern Ireland in February 2012. It would be my seventh time visiting this lovely country, so I could easily conjure up a long list of WHYs on my own. But the truth was, God had told me WHERE and WHEN, but He’d left out many of the specifics as to WHY. The WHERE was a no-brainer for me… of course I would go back to visit a land and a people I love! The WHEN… well, February is not the ideal time of year, but hey, they have warmer winters than we have in Minnesota, so that didn’t take much convincing either. As to the WHY… I knew God had a reason, albeit one that I knew not of, and so I decided to fully and completely trust His timing and pack my bags and go.
God has a purpose for asking us to do the things He asks us to do. What can seem insignificant, or silly, or even crazy to us is all a part of God’s divine plan. His divine plan to reach others through us – both saved and unsaved, and also to reach us through other people. Just as the Word of God says, He is delighted in our decisions to obey Him. Especially when we don’t have all the information.
“So Samuel said: ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.’” 1 Samuel 15:22 NJKV
During the three weeks I spent in Northern Ireland, God moved in such a variety of ways! It would take pages and pages for me to describe all the wonderful things He did in and through me! Here are just a few:
I saw Him touch the relative of a friend of mine, just by sitting down and having tea with her. We were just supposed to stop and pick something up and be on our way, but if you’ve ever been to Northern Ireland, you know it’s practically impossible to get out the door without having a “wee cup of tea”. I had never met her before, so we began to talk and she asked me what I was doing in Northern Ireland. I began to share with her my story as to how God connected me with Northern Ireland many years ago, and had called me back there seven times – six of the times being in the past three years. The words I spoke seemed so simple and conversational, and yet she was visibly moved by my testimony and it was clear God was touching her heart. What had seemed like a “delay” to our plans in the natural was really an open opportunity to minister to someone God desperately wanted to reach.
I had the humble honor and privilege of witnessing relationships being repaired and restored that had once been broken. God in His love and mercy had orchestrated this divine restoration, and quite frankly, the only real part I played in it all was just BEING THERE to bring these people in to the same room together. I had no idea what was going to happen before I was standing in the midst of it happening. But in that moment, the Lord said – that”s WHY you needed to be here NOW. It reminded me that we are oftentimes just “divine facilitators”, used by God to bring people into a position where He can minister to them. Whether that involves bringing someone to a PHYSICAL location, or bringing them to a place emotionally where they are open to receive from Him, offering our lives to Him to use as He wills is amazing and rewarding.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
I had the opportunity to share and lead prayer at a house prayer meeting. We spent time in prayer for the nation of Ireland. The Lord also ministered specific words to people that touched their hearts deeply. God will prompt you to speak certain things to certain people, whether it’s during an “official” time of ministry or just in casual conversation with them. Be open to His promptings and quick to obey, even if it doesn’t make sense to you. It may be a word or phrase you don’t normally use, but it may have very significant meaning to the one hearing it. This can be categorized as a word of wisdom, word of knowledge or prophecy, but when it comes right down to it, no matter what you call it, it’s the Holy Spirit prompting you to reach someone on the Lord’s behalf.
I was also able to minister in a small church I had visited last year – to bring them the NOW Word from the Lord, a word of encouragement. I love going in to the small places that guest ministers may not often, if ever, visit. All of God’s people are important to Him, and this little congregation warms my heart.
In addition, I was able to bring a helping hand to a ministry that’s been launching out into new territory – to come alongside them and do whatever needed to be done to help them realize the vision God has placed in their hearts. I helped make fliers announcing upcoming events, set up ministry resource tables, served tea and biscuits, updated Facebook pages, and other computer-related items – anything practical that I could do to assist them. It’s just as much of a joy to be able to use natural skills and abilities for His Kingdom. I was not only involved on a practical level with this ministry, but on a spiritual level as well, through prayer and sharing the Word.
Now, God did not ask me to go there to give out without the intention of putting something back in! He used many people to speak very specific words to me regarding certain facets of my future, and plans and purposes He has prepared for my life. He gave me many wonderful times of fun and fellowship with dear friends, and added some new ones to the mix! He opened a door for me in the near future to go to an area in the Republic of Ireland that has been on my heart for nearly a year and a half. All I had to do was SHOW UP at the right time in the right place and He brought the right person across my path to make that happen!
One evening, we went to hear a minister from England speak who had experienced revival in his church many years ago. He and his wife literally lived in the manifest Presence of God for six months. From the start of the service, the atmosphere was different from any service I’ve ever been in. He shared out of 2 Kings 6:1-7 NKJV:
“And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, ‘See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us. Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell.’ So he answered, ‘Go.’ Then one said, ‘Please consent to go with your servants.’ And he answered, ‘I will go.’ So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, ‘Alas, master! For it was borrowed.’ So the man of God said, ‘Where did it fall?’ And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float. Therefore he said, ‘Pick it up for yourself.‘ So he reached out his hand and took it.”
Many truths were shared from this passage, but one thing in particular that I want to share with you. Regarding the ax head – it is like a dream that the Lord has given us that has, for one reason or another, sunk to the bottom of the river. God wants to raise those dreams and plans back to the surface… but when He does, we have to reach out and take them. Otherwise, they will float by and someone else down the river will pick them up.
This very thing he was saying was mirroring something a pastor-friend of mine had said the day before when we met for lunch. She said God has a plan He wants to accomplish in the earth, especially in these ends times, and if we aren’t obedient to the call, He will just skip over us and find someone else.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be skipped over or let my dreams go floating by for someone else to grab. Our quick obedience to the Lord in every area will not only prove to Him that He can trust us and use us in any way He desires, but it will bring to pass the most fulfilled life we could ever imagine living!
God knows the WHY even when we don’t. Sometimes He will let us in on it in advance, but sometimes He needs us to trust Him so He can orchestrate things exactly how He has planned… we just need to be willing to show up and be a part of it! It is in that place of obedience that we will be the biggest blessing possible to others, and also receive a blessing in return.