2005 was a roller-coaster year for my family and me. Cathy and I certainly went through a lot - emotionally, financially, and spiritually - and it is by God's grace that we're still here, stronger than ever before.
This Christmas, thousands of Christian bloggers are imploring their readers to remember the reason for the season - the birth of Christ, naturally - in their blogs. I, for one, am just grateful for that sacrifice. Suffice it to say that, end of day, it is only by God's grace that I am worth anything. All the good deeds and accomplishments in the world are worth diddly squat if there is no love in one's heart that keeps one marching - not trudging - merrily on, doing great things for Christ.
Christ didn't come into the world on December 25, but we know He did come, and will come again. This Christmas, I pray that all of you will receive all you need to live a life that is comfortable and glorifying to God's greatness, in preparation and thanksgiving for that glorious day. I also wish upon you everything in my prayer list for myself. I think we all, at some point or another, need these.
If you need prayer, please post it in the Comments box and trust we will pray for you.
1. Courage. I have been a Christian for more than six years but can count the number of times I have shared the gospel, on two hands. The joy I feel for His goodness is tempered by how I do not spread His Good News. This Christmas, I pray for boldness and courage for all Filipinos to do what is right, to tell the world of His love (thanks, Trina), and be a beacon of light in a world that has grown dark with apathy and denial.
God doesn't want us to be shy with His gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. So don't be embarrassed to speak up for our Master. - 2 Tim 1:7-8, The Message
And He said to them, "Go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature. - Mark 16:15
2. Self-Control. Suffice it to say that I am no paragon of virtue, and the ease by which I succumb to temptation is embarrassing and shameful. I pray that the fear of God will lead us to stand strong in the face of temptation, to say "no" by the Spirit when our own spirit or flesh is weak, and for us to respect the law, even if those who implement the law do not respect the law themselves.
No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what other have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He'll never let you be pushed past your limit; He'll always be there to help you come through it. - 1 Cor 10:13, The Message
3. Joy. Many people have complemented our online home for being a source of positivity and growth, and for that we are grateful, because we have reason to be joyful and acknowledge that with declarations of joy. I pray that all Filipinos will see the silver lining in the rainclouds, trust in God to deliver us through the storm, and be thankful and happy for the blessings we already have. When we have God, it's easier to handle everything else.
So thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy to the children He loves! - Psalm 107:8
4. Physical and Spiritual Health. We want to do great things for God, but don't take care of our bodies, His temple. I pray that whatever it is that is stopping you from serving God fully in your heart because of physical difficulties, including addiction to smoking, prescription drugs, pornography, and the like, I pray that in Jesus' name, all these evils that are harming you will be cast away! Be clean and holy, that in all things you do, God's name may be glorified!
Behold, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. - 3 Jn 1:2
And the final item on my Christmas prayer list...
5. Love. I don't mean one man for every woman, nor do I mean having someone to have and hold. I mean love in its purest form, the kind that makes you do things for other people without having to be asked or seek reward.
Just recently, Cathy and I were hoodwinked by one of our household help, who told us she needed money for something, but she had plans to use it for something else. We took pity and lent her the money, which was a significant sum, a big deal to a family like ours which barely makes ends meet. In the end, she left us, but not before she gave us the money back.
I'd like to believe we did the right thing - and God protected us from being misled by this woman. Let me encourage all of you: God sees what's in your heart, and if you do good because you want to bless God's people - on a year-round basis, especially - you will be protected as you bless them.
And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? - 1 Peter 3:13