This, That, & the Other

This is a personal Christian blog by Marsha Roland, sharing thoughts and inspirations to encourage others.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


We must always remember that possessions have no inherent value. They become what we make them. If they increase our capacity to give, they become something good. If they increase our focus on ourselves and become standards by which we measure other people, they become something bad.

Kent Nerburn

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Christmas Alphabet

A is for Angels, appearing so bright, telling of Jesus that first Christmas night.
"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host." Luke 2:13.

B is for Bethlehem, crowded and old, birthplace of Jesus by prophet foretold.
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel." Micah 5:2.

C is for Cattle, their manger His bed, there in the trough where He laid His head.
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and
laid him in a manger." Luke 2:7.

D is for David and his ancient throne promised forever to Jesus alone.
"He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God
shall give unto him the throne of his father David." Luke 1:32.

E is for East, where shone the bright star which Magi on camels followed afar.
"Behold, there came wise men from the east asking 'Where is the king of the Jews?'" Matthew 2:1,2.

F is for Frankincense, with myrrh and gold, brought by the Wise Men as Matthew has told.
"And when they had opened their treasurers, they presented unto him gifts gold, frankincense, and myrrh." Matthew 2:11.

G is for God, who from heaven above sent down to mankind the Son of His love.
"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.

H is for Herod, whose murderous scheme was told to Joseph in a nocturnal dream.
"The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt... for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him." Matthew 2:13.

I is for Immanuel, "God with us," for Christ brought man back to the Father's house.
"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14.

J is for Joseph so noble and just, obeying God's word with absolute trust.
"Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife." Matthew 1:24.

K is for King. A true king He would be, coming in power and authority.
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, the King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation." Zechariah 9:9.

L is for Love that He brought down to earth God enfleshed in lowly birth.
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." 1 John 4:9.

M is for Mary, His mother so brave, counting God faithful and mighty to save.
"And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." Luke 1:38.

N is for Night, when the Savior was born for nations of earth and people forlorn.
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." Luke 2:8.

O is for Omega, meaning "the last;" He's eternal present, future and past.
"I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." Revelation 22:13.

P is for Prophets, when living on earth foretold His redemption and blessed birth.
"I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a sceptre will rise out of Israel." Numbers 24:17.

Q is for Quickly, as shepherds who heard hastened to act on that heavenly word.
"And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger." Luke 2:16.

R is for Rejoice. The sorrow of sin is banished forever when Jesus comes in.
"And you will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth." Luke 1:14.

S is for Savior. To be this He came; the angel of God assigned Him His name.
"She will bring forth a son, and you will call his name JESUS, for he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21.

T is for Tidings of joy, not of danger, telling of Him who was laid in a manger.
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." Luke 2:10.

U is for Us, to whom Jesus was given to show us the way and take us to heaven.
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11.

V is for Virgin, foretold by the sage, God's revelation on prophecy's page.
"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matthew 1:23.

W is for Wonderful, His works and His words, the King of all Kings, the Lord of all Lords.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given... and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6.

X is for Christ. It's X in the Greek, Anointed, Messiah, mighty, yet meek.
"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power." Acts 10:38.

Y is for Yes, called God's Yes in His Word; God's answer to all is Jesus the Lord.
"For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." 2 Corinthians 1:20.

Z is for Zeal as it burned in Christ's heart. Lord, by thy Spirit to us zeal impart.
"And his disciples remembered that it was written, the zeal of your house has eaten me up." John 2:17

Author unknown

A Christmas Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson

Loving Father,
Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning
make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds
with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven,
for Jesus' sake.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Everybody's Jesus by Robert Bruce


The name alone has such power. Since Christ arrived on Earth over two millennia ago, His name has produced peace and strife, unity and division, sheer joy and pure anger. Drop Christ’s name into any conversation, and you’ll usually notice a reaction. Perhaps it’s a broad smile from a fellow small group member, or a startled stare from an unbelieving co-worker. Wars have been fought, court cases commenced, and families divided—all because of the name of Jesus.

Yet in Scripture, Jesus acted with profound love and generosity. We find Him forgiving an adulteress who faced the death penalty, taking time to talk to a Samaritan woman at a well, and accepting a brutal, unjust punishment with nary a word. So it’s easy to wonder, Why is the name of Jesus so controversial? After the life of sacrifice He lived and the spiritual example He set, why do some people get downright bitter when He’s mentioned?

In “The Real Jesus,” Dr. Stanley discusses the consistent nature of Christ. Jesus didn’t play favorites. He didn’t forgive the tax collector while ignoring the adulteress. He crossed barriers and erased cultural divides. Jews and Samaritans didn’t mix, yet there Jesus was—discussing eternal life with the Samaritan woman at the well. “The Father sent Him to send a message,” Dr. Stanley says, “And one part of that message was this: Everybody is included. Everybody can be forgiven.”

Perhaps, then, the reason so many people get upset over Jesus is not so much because of who He is, but because of how we’ve portrayed Him to the unbelieving world. As believers, we’re Christ’s representatives to humanity. Made in the image of God, we are the only example of Christian love some people will ever see. But what type of example have we displayed? Do our actions support our professed faith? And at the end of the day, do we project the same image of Jesus that He exhibited during His time on earth—that of a loving, caring, humble, unprejudiced soul who devoted His life to serving others? Sometimes I think we Christians monopolize Jesus. We project our personalities, our attitudes, and our biases onto Him but fail to grasp the true nature of Christ, the real Jesus. We seem to forget that He lived as a lower-class Jewish carpenter in the mid-East. Jesus wasn’t a Methodist or a Baptist, a Republican or a Democrat. Neither was He wealthy or even “middle class.” He was a Savior. And He came for everyone. So I guess the question is this: Do we, like Jesus, reach out to the “other person”? Does our faith cross party lines, denominational divides, and perceived cultural and social boundaries?

With the election season quickly approaching, we’re sure to hear sound bites from all types of political figures and religious leaders. Some will certainly drop Jesus’ name into conversations on news channels, in televised debates, and at organized rallies across the country. And to them, I would simply ask: Is your Jesus genuine? Is He as relevant to you—a middle-aged, wealthy politician in America—as He would be to the forlorn and abused child in Sudan, the homeless and drunken grandfather on the streets of New York, or the widowed and destitute mother of four in Kabul? Or is he fabricated and exclusionary, a prop who will appeal to a particular demographic, a platform on which to gain votes and power?Jesus is unflinching, unchanging. Hebrews 13:8 simply says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

In an ever-evolving world marked by wars, terrorism, and extreme social division, it’s comforting to know that there is Someone who can appeal to all of us, cutting through the muddiness of our personal biases and culturally influenced interpretations of Him. Yet we have a choice. We can allow “the vine” to work inside of us (John 15:5). Christ can empower us to live as He lived—to reach out to our “Samaritans” in grace and love while still communicating God’s truth. Or we can draw our line in the sand and shut the doors to our Christian communities, treating our enemies like enemies and lobbing bombs of judgment and vilification. Meanwhile, the log in our own eyes grows larger with each toss.

Though our words are important, our lives will be the basis on which God judges us one day. It’s easy to write an article such as this, or to make a speech and stand behind a podium. But in a culture which so often tunes out Christian views, our lives, when directed by the Holy Spirit, may be the only testimony we truly have. If we believe Jesus really is for everyone, then imagine the impact if the way we live reflected that truth.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Fruit of the Spirit

The fruit of the Spirit includes:

Love – for those who do not love in return.
Joy – in the midst of painful circumstances.
Peace – when something you were counting on doesn’t come through.
Patience – when things aren’t going fast enough for you.
Kindness – toward those who treat you unkindly.
Goodness – toward those who have been intentionally insensitive to you.
Faithfulness – when friends have proved unfaithful.
Gentleness – toward those who have handled you roughly.
Self-control – in the midst of intense temptation.

Charles Stanley

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Poem by Judge Roy Moore

The following is a poem written by Judge Roy Moore from Alabama .
Judge Moore was sued by the ACLU for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom foyer. He has been stripped of his judgeship and now they are trying to strip his right to practice law in Alabama ! The judge's poem sums it up quite well.

America the beautiful, or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrims' pride; I'm glad they'll never see.
Babies piled in dumpsters, abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty; your house is on the sand.

Our children wander aimlessly, poisoned by cocaine
choosing to indulge their lusts, when God has said abstain
From sea to shining sea, our nation turns away
From the teaching of God's love and a need to always pray.

We've kept God in our temples,
how callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool,
and Heaven is His throne.

We've voted in a government that's rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless judges; who throw reason out the door,
Too soft to place a killer in a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby before he leaves the womb.

You think that God's not angry, that our land's a moral slum?
How much longer will He wait before His judgment comes?
How are we to face our God, from Whom we cannot hide?
What then is left for us to do, but stem this evil tide?

If we who are His children,will humbly turn and pray;
Seek His Holy face and mend our evil way:
Then God will hear from Heaven and forgive us of our sins,
He'll heal our sickly land and those who live within.

But, America the Beautiful, if you don't then you will see,
A sad, but Holy God, withdraw His hand from Thee.

~~Judge Roy Moore~~

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Christians by Maya Angelou

When I say...
"I am a Christian" I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin' "
I'm whispering, "I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven."
When I say.. "I am a Christian" I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
And need Christ to be my guide.

When I say...
"I am a Christian" I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.
When I say... "I am a Christian" I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say...
"I am a Christian" I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.
When I say... "I am a Christian" I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say...
"I am a Christian"I'm not holier than thou
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

People Come Into Your Life for A Reason

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing! On your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real, but only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Author Unknown