Who am I? Who are YOU?

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One of my greatest struggles while living with chronic illness and disability has been the loss of my identity as a pastor . . . as a productive person in the world. I grew up with a belief system that said my value was determined by what I could DO. People are constantly implying that I need to get healed so that I can really do ministry once again. What they seem to imply is that the ministry of prayer and spiritual support I offer is not a worthwhile ministry.

I have come to know that my true identity is as a child of God . . . as
the Beloved. There is nothing I can DO to earn this position . . . it comes as God’s grace. I am “good enough” just being who I was created to be.

Naturally, just as a little child wants to please their parent because they love them, me desire is to give back to God in whatever way I am able.
In the eyes of the world, my prayers may seem like a pittance. But I know that God honors whatever we offer . . . even as Jesus honored the widow’s mite.

Whoever you are . . .whatever your circumstances . . .
YOU are the Beloved child of a loving God.

May you know this blessing deep within your heart today.

~ Anna Lin

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Who Is God?

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In spite of the dazzle and tinsel of Christmas there is a deeper meaning that we can know if we shall rest a moment to ponder and see . . . .
~ that Christ came to reveal the true nature of God as LOVE

At Christmas we experience the unique wonder of our faith . . .
~ that God chose to come to earth in search of us . . . humans
. . . and dwelt among us . . . as love and grace.

In spite of all of the distractions and busyness and stress,
Christmas is a time to contemplate this mystery and to celebrate
the powerful message of God’s love, joy, peace and hope that is
given to us through Jesus, the Christ.

May we find room in our hearts to receive this gift of LOVE today.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!    ~ Phillip Brooks

~ Anna Lin

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Christmas Is A Time Of New Beginnings

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away; behold, the new has come!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

Christmas is a time of new beginnings.
At some moment in this holy season you will feel
a sense of wonder and your heart will fill with tenderness and love.
Be aware that in that instant Christ is born within you once again.
It is a fragile love that needs to be nurtured every day to grow into
all the magnificence God intends for you to be.
It is time to rebuild our spiritual communities – – time to set our priorities in order so that the world may heal from its mistaken pathways.
Seek first the realm of God’s grace and God’s truth and together
we shall stand amazed at the miraculous changes that will occur.
Invite your friends and neighbors to come to church.
Ask them again – and still once more.
Through you God will work to set them free from all the troubles they bear. One by one our communities and our world will be reborn into places of peace and joy and love. The moment is coming for you to begin – –
watch for it, and everything new will come to be.

~ Whispers in the Wind by Anna Lin

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Rejoice With All Your Heart

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Rejoice and exult with all your heart.
(Zephaniah 3:14)

Dear God,

Sometimes we scurry so hard after joy that we forget what it feels like.
Sometimes we work so hard for peace that we neglect the peace that
is sitting with us in our chair.
Sometimes we hope so much for hope that we miss the hopeful signs
that are right underfoot.
Give us this day a song. . .
one we sing in harmony with heaven and nature.
Let the song recollect joy. . . be peace itself.
Let the song express a little more hope than we feel.
You grant us joy and peace and hope;
these are not our own accomplishments.
Let this day find us rejoicing about You.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

~ Donna Schaper, in Stir Up Your Power

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Let All Creation Sing For Joy

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Let all creation sing for joy
In the places of brokeness
God is bringing salvation.

Let all creation sing for joy
In the depths of darkness
God is bringing light.

Let all creation sing for joy
In the midst of death
God is giving birth to life.

Let all creation sing for joy
For the Lord who loves justice
Is coming to renew all that is broken.

Let all creation sing for joy
All you who follow the Way
God’s righteousness is springing up

Let all creation sing for joy
God’s world is breaking into ours
In healing, in generosity, and freedom. Amen

~ Christine Sine

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A Celebration Blessing

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Now is the time
to free the heart,
Let all intentions and worries stop,
Free the joy inside the self,
Awaken to the wonder
of your life.

Open your eyes and see the friends
Whose hearts recognize your face as kin,
Those whose kindness watchful and near,
Encourage you to live everything here.

See the gifts the years have given,
Things your effort could never earn,
The health to enjoy who you want to be
And the mind to mirror mystery.

~ John O’ Donahue

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Joy Is Now In Every Place

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Joy is now in every place,
Christmas lightens every face;
now be with us, in your grace,
O hear us, bless us, holy Jesus.

May the star that shone that night,
making your poor stable bright,
fill our hearts with love and light,
O hear us, bless us, holy Jesus.

Through the New Year let it stay,
leading us upon your way,
making Christmas every day,
O hear us, bless us, holy Jesus.

Now and ever may we find
your good news to fill our minds:
peace and love to humankind,
O hear us, bless us, holy Jesus.

(Author unknown)

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