But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of His mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. And so, since we have been justified by His grace, we become heirs…of eternal life.
The kindness and love of God appeared in a little manger in Bethlehem as Mary gave birth to the Savior. He further demonstrated kindness and love in works of mercy and healing. Christ then went to the cross so that through faith in Him we could have eternal life. He continues to give us the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, comfort, and empower us. Praise God, He came that we might have life!
We were blessed to be invited by some good friends this season to experience through a dinner play some moments of an early American Christmas.
One of the highlights happened unexpectedly after the play, where a conversation with the main actor led to having us pray for him out by the parking lot. The Spirit of God touched him as we all laid hands on him, he openly wept as the Lord touched his heart. He thanked us profusely stating he needed that refreshing touch. We thanked God for such a powerful and unexpected divine appointment.
A similar scene followed the next evening while at dinner at a restaurant after our annual board meeting. A young Hispanic man we’d shared with at this same restaurant before who had opened his heart to Christ as we ministered to him last year, came up enthusiastically to talk to us. A little more sharing went on this night and next we knew we were the Jesus Freaks out in the parking lot again praying for the guy as people walked by wondering what on earth we were doing!
The guy had now been attending some fellowships and had even had a vision since the last divine appointment. So this time the prayer was for the filling of the Spirit, which we were blessed to see taking place as we all laid hands on him. I thought, Hey, what could be a better way to end a board meeting than this, out in the street ministering the Full Gospel!
Interestingly enough, we ourselves were deeply refreshed by both experiences. We had suffered lots of stress just trying to the get through the absolutely horrible traffic on the evening to the Christmas play, as well as being hit by serious some spiritual warfare the next day—as our sleep had gotten badly and unexpectedly interrupted the night before the board meeting.
In each situation, though feeling weak ourselves, we yet felt the leading of the Holy Spirit guiding us into stepping out to give to another the blessings of the Kingdom of Christ. We found ourselves getting refreshed and renewed as we took a step to bless another person.
When we receive the blessings of Christ it renews us and when we step out to give away some of what He gave us, it refreshes us. This is a mystery of Christ's Kingdom, when we give, we yet still receive! As we follow the greatest Giver of All, Jesus Christ, born in a stable, and dying on a cross, that we might have life!
We pray you are refreshed and renewed in His amazing love through the Holy Spirit this Christmas!
We always appreciate your giving and prayers for us and we know the Lord will refresh and bless you abundantly!
Much love and many blessings to you and your family
this Christmas and all God’s best for 2017!
and Patrick Marleaux