Christmas 2015 - Thoughts on Love

"By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him." - 1 John 4:9


Dear friends,

My mind seems rather blank this year as I try to think what to write in our Christmas update, and I am not sure why!  Often I have a storehouse of ideas jotted down by this time of year to pull from when I write, but this year not so much. I had one idea that technology hindered so I had to start again at square one. What came to me as I was trying to think what to write, is the centrality of love in the meaning of Christmas and the meaning of life in general. So then a few days ago when I picked our photo-card because my original idea didn't work out; in the end the words on the card - FAITH - HOPE - LOVE - (on the only 'religious' photo card that I could find at the store,) really stand out to me and has ended up being perfect for this theme. I think God did that. :) I was so frustrated that my plan wasn't working, but He was in it, and had another plan. Such are God's ways!

ABBI



LOVE
The reason we were created by God: love. The reason God became man: love. The reason that God-man gave up his life on the cross: love. What matters in our relationships to others: love. God is love.

Love never ends.- 1 Cor.1 13:8

                                      RACHEL


BETHY

The face of love can be strict and protective, - “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” - Hebrew 12:5-6, but ultimately true love is always forgiving, redemptive, and sacrificial. That is the love Christ modeled for us, and that is the love we can have too if we live in Christ.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:9-13

                                                            HANNAH

When our lives come to a close aren't these really the things we want to look back on as having lived and accomplished; aren't they really what will matter the most? 

Simple Faith as a child. Hope that lies beyond what we have here, hope in a future we were made for. Profound Love from the Savior, and for each other.

EVIE


Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.               1 John 4:7


So this year rather than many words (oops already this has gotten long anyhow, hasn't it) I just want to send you some pictures of the crowd so dear to me. 
The parents I already spoke of in our Thanksgiving devotional which is online, and the grandchildren just overwhelm me with their uniquenesses and specialness to me. The first 6 on this page belong to Josh and Kerin and the last two are Aaron and Chistina's. I hope you enjoy these snapshots of these precious souls that are blessed by parents who have taken on the rather daunting task of seeking to raise them up to love God and live eternally with our Savior. :)  In our world today, I believe that is more of a challenge than ever!  May God's great grace continue to give Josh, Kerin, Aaron and Christina vision and continued equipping for the task!

                                                               PETER

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13:35


We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord, and we pray that our unity will one day be restored. 
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, and they'll know we are Christians by our love.
We will work with each other, we will work side by side and we'll guard each one's dignity and save each one's pride.

And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, and they'll know we are Christians by our love.
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand and together we'll spread the news that God is in our land.

And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, and they'll know we are Christians by our love.

-Christian hymn written in 1968 by the priest Peter R. Scholtes, inspired by John 13:35. 

EZRA

AIMEE

I couldn't find any youtube version of this hymn that I particularly liked but the lyrics I do think reflect what can be true and life changing in a world hostile to the gospel.

May the Lord give us His love.  And may it win many to Him before the end of all things comes.

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen.      Come, Lord Jesus! - The Revelation - 22:20



We love you all so much!  God bless you with your best year as you walk moment by moment with your loving Savior in 2016! May God also give you grace and equipping to live your life to the fullest for His glory; may your lives be marked by the things that matter and the things that will last.

May God grant you Faith, give you Hope and may your Love for Him and for one another be known to all,

Linda for the Bealls






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