God's gift to you this Christmas

 To Our Dear Activate Church Friends,

I serve as a trustee on Tree of Life Ministries in Belize and I got this from our friend, George Ferrar. It is a good word for this time of year. May you be blessed abundantly always.

Jorge and Anna Marie Parrott

Dear friends & supporters,

I'm a member of the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches, and I'd like to share with you the Christmas greeting we wrote to our nation-just slightly revised for a broader reach. We can share the heart of this message with family, friends & others through our actions during the Christmas season. It applies to every nation and every person, "for God so loved the world":

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God's Gift to You This Christmas. Our churches have different pasts but the same future. We share the same Bible to guide us and the same Lord to lead us. During these holidays we encourage all to consider that, despite the undeniable problems our nation faces, God provides answers, and invites us to cooperate with Him.
Many of the answers begin in the home. During this season God wants us all to pay especial attention to members of our family, some of whom may feel estranged. Don't let them spend Christmas that way. If reconciliation is needed, God provides a way for it to happen if you seek it. Take the initiative, and God will give you grace. Surprise them with a phone call or a visit. Show them you care. Admit any wrong you've done and ask forgiveness. You may be surprised too, that they may be willing to forgive and be forgiven and let bygones be bygones.

But if they do bring up an issue, be willing to pray with them for God's guidance. Then gently address the issue one point at a time, with an aim toward understanding what has been misunderstood,  and forgiving what needs to be forgiven. No relationship can survive without plenty of forgiveness!

In the same way, many of you may feel estranged from God and His family. He wants you back. He wants to forgive every way you've gone wrong. He wants to guide you in His way that leads to abundant life. He wants you to forgive as you have been forgiven. He wants you to reconcile with His children, and come home to church to celebrate the birthday of His Son. For He so loved you–and all of us–that He gave His only Son to suffer in our place, take away our sins, and give to  us from His goodness forever. It's a free gift!

He also gave His Holy Spirit to fill us with power to overcome every temptation, trial and trouble. He promises to work it all to the good, if we only let Him. Don't let the enemy of your soul lure you away from this opportunity to celebrate Christ's birthday with your family and His family. Give up your grudges and your grievances, and join God's party of praise. The more we know Him the more we have to praise Him for!

Together we can find His way to overcome difficulties in our families, our churches and our nation, and make 2009 a turnaround year. That is the truly Happy New Year we wish and pray for all of us. It can happen, one person at a time, one step at a time. Will you take the first step?

Actually, God has already taken the first step by giving His Son to you. Have you received Him? Jesus wants to take His rightful place as the loving Lord of your life.  What will you do with this Christmas gift? We encourage you to receive this gift like never before, and share His goodness with others. Have a truly merry Christmas and new vision, new virtues and new ventures in the coming New Year! 

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God's grace to you,
The Belize Association of Evangelical Churches

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