As we enter the week of Christmas, life can get pretty hectic. With all the shopping, decorating, cooking, and socializing, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But don’t worry, there are ways to manage the holiday hustle and bustle and still enjoy the magic of the season.

Some people simplify things with a detailed Christmas list and a to-do list. This helps you prioritize your tasks and ensure that you don’t forget anything important. You can break down your list into categories, such as shopping, cooking, and decorating, and tackle each one separately. You can also delegate tasks to other family members or friends who are willing to help out.

Remember, the holiday season is meant to be enjoyed, not stressed over. By taking a few simple steps to simplify your life during this busy time, you can focus on what really matters – spending time with loved ones, creating special memories and MOST importantly spend time talking with God! Remember the real meaning of Christmas.

Yes, when we think about Christmas, many of us associate it with gift-giving, festive decorations, and delicious food. But at its core, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

According to the Bible, Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. His birth was announced by angels and witnessed by shepherds who were tending their flocks nearby. The arrival of the baby Jesus was a miraculous event, and it marked the beginning of a new era in human history.

For Christians, Christmas is a time to reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ birth and to celebrate the hope and joy that it brings. Many attend church services, sing carols, and spend time with loved ones. It is a time to remember the message of peace, love, and goodwill that Jesus brought to the world.

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas this year, let us take a moment to appreciate the true meaning of this holiday. Let us remember the humble beginnings of Jesus and the hope that his birth brought to humanity. And let us carry that message of peace and love with us throughout the year to come.

One of my favorite teaching pastors is Chip Ingram. If you are not familiar the Living on the Edge Ministry this would be a good time to get to know Chip Ingram. In a current series Chip asks the question: Why did He come? Why did Jesus come to earth as a little baby? In this two-part series Chip considers the Christmas story from a different perspective that just might change the way you choose to celebrate the season this year.

Chip begins the series talking about “The Baby” that changed the world.

Think about the “BABY” and as Chip so simply explains it’s all about the “BABY.”

  • An angel tells Mary about – the Baby!
  • Mary couldn’t comprehend having – the Baby!
  • Joseph’s problem with Mary is – the Baby!
  • And angel tells Joseph to raise – the Baby!
  • A manger is the birthplace of – the Baby!
  • Shepherds come and worship – the Baby!
  • Wise men follow a star to find – the Baby!
  • Herod wants to kill – the Baby!


Have you ever thought about why Jesus left the comforts of Heaven to come to this broken and sometimes heartless earth?

The story of Jesus leaving heaven to come to earth is one of the most incredible and awe-inspiring events in human history. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Son of God, who chose to leave the glory and perfection of heaven to come to earth as a human being. This event, known as the incarnation, is the cornerstone of the Christian faith and has been celebrated by believers around the world for centuries.

The reasons for Jesus’ decision to come to earth are many and complex. According to the Bible, Jesus came to earth to save humanity from sin and death, to reconcile us with God, and to show us how to live a life that honors God and serves others. He taught about love, forgiveness, and compassion, and he showed these qualities in his own life by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and befriending the outcasts of society.

For Christians, the story of Jesus’ incarnation is a powerful reminder of God’s love for all of us. It shows us that even though we are flawed and imperfect, God still cares for us deeply and is willing to go to great lengths to help us. It also challenges us to live our lives in a way that reflects the love and compassion that Jesus showed us during his time on earth.

The story of Jesus leaving heaven to come to earth is a remarkable event that has changed your life and my life. It reminds us of the incredible love and compassion of God and challenges us to live our lives in a way that honors him and serves others. As we reflect on the Christmas story, my hope is that we will all be inspired to love and serve those around us, just as Jesus did during his time on earth.


Jesus left heaven to reveal God’s word to us.  Jesus left heaven to rescue us from the darkness of evil and more importantly Jesus left heaven a faith and HOPE that will never disappoint us.

A hope that we can read about learn about in the gospel. A hope that Christ is going to return. No matter what you are going through, no matter how hard it is or how difficult or what people are teaching, I want to remind you that Christ is going to return.

And I want to remind you, also, that before He left, He told His disciples then and now, “I am going to prepare a place for you. And if it weren’t so, I wouldn’t say it. Let not your heart be troubled. Do you believe in God? Believe also in Me.”

And the very basis of the gospel, this amazing message hope we find in the Bible: There is a hope that will never disappoint. We are not made just for a time. It’s time but inside of all eternity, Christ in heaven will return, heaven is real, and you learned that – how? By the gospel.


One final thought. As we begin the hectic pace of Christmas…the celebration of the birth of “The Baby,” it’s also important to take care of yourself during the holiday season. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and forget to prioritize your own needs. Make time for self-care activities, reading a book, going for a walk and especially reading God’s word.

Try to focus on the positive aspects of the season. Instead of worrying about everything that needs to be done, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the holiday decorations, the warmth of the fire, or the joy on your loved ones’ faces. You can also give back to your community by volunteering at a local charity or donating to a cause you care about.

Your job of a first responder is one of the most challenging and stressful jobs out there. You are the ones who are called in to help during emergencies, to save lives, and to protect the public. THANK YOU! Unfortunately, your job comes with a heavy toll. The suicide and divorce rate among first responders is too high. The constant exposure to traumatic events, long hours, and lack of support can take a toll on first responders’ mental health….YOUR mental health.

According to recent studies, first responders are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. The suicide rate among first responders is estimated to be 10 times higher than that of the general population and the suicide rate overall increases during the holidays. A time that should be joyful can, unfortunately, be very dark for some.

Please know that you are very much appreciated by the community that you serve.  As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ there is also a nation of grateful people who celebrate your faithful service to keeping our communities safe. Of being there when we need you most and for putting your life in harms way to save ours.

It’s more important than ever, during this season of Christmas, to read the true meaning of Christmas as it is told in God’s word. If you or someone you know does not have a Bible please visit our website – and we would be honored to send you a FREE copy.

Please “subscribe” to our podcast BOLO:Jesus is Coming

By Chaplain Jesus Alverez  US Border Patrol

Prayer is the most vital tool that the First Responder has in his relationship with God.

This communication lifeline will help you develop the spiritual maturity you need to daily overcome the tremendous obstacles you face.

But first let’s take a look at what it means to be prayerful, spiritual and religious.

By praying I mean we are asking God to help us in our needs or to give thanks to Him for His many blessings in our lives.

Spirituality is your relationship with God. The developing closeness that happens as you spend time with Him much like in a growing relationship with someone you love.

Religion is how you express that relationship.


God wants to hear our voice, by praying. We call out to Him to help us in all our needs and frequent prayer establishes our dependency on Him in all things. Prayer reinforces our faith in God. When asking for a spiritual gift or grace, remember that ultimately “God’s will be done” and not yours. Just a a parent would not give a poisonous snake to his child to play with, so our God and Father will not grant our prayer requests if they will do harm to us because our God is a loving and merciful God. He sees the entire picture. He is eternal. We cannot see what He sees and knows, “God is love.” (I John4:8) If God does not answer your prayers according to your desires it is because of His all knowing love for you. Accept it and move on.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for a egg, will give him a scorpion/” (Luke 11:11-12)

When you pray trust that God is hearing you and that He will answer your prayers.

When you pray trust that God is hearing you and that he will answer your prayers.

From the book of Mark 11:22-24: “Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, Go, throw yourself to the sea, and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”


We establish our need for God in every aspect of our lives by praying. We see signs of this when we ask for Holy gifts on our own behalf, or for the betterment of others. These prayers bring forth goodness in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

Be patient in prayer and look for the fruits of what your prayers bring forth, they are called blessings and they almost always are miraculous. Remember again to have faith when you pray, and know that God is anxious to hear your voice calling out to Him. When we establish a establish a prayer dialogue with God, He hears us in all our prayers and answers them, but sometimes we don’t like the answers or become impatient. Temper your prayers with patience and wisdom, patience to wait for an answer or sign and wisdom to accept whatever answer you receive.

“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.”(Luke 12:32)

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings to deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)


Prayer can be short and very to the point when entering a critical incident or crisis situation.

Because time is of the essence, you can simply pray,’ Jesus please help us with this, let thy will be done” or :Jesus, please be with us.” I have recited these prayers many times when my Border Patrol unit is rolling up to a critical incident or situation. After I have finished the prayer I ask my team for an AMEN (let it be so).

The Bible says that when we pray together, God will be with us. “For where two or three come together in my name, I am with them.” (Matthew 18:20)

Many times in your role as a First Responder, you will encounter the face of evil or immerse human suffering. Whichever, the case a prayer will protect your heart and mind and fortify you physically so that you can have God’s power to overcome spiritually whatever task is at hand.

“Don’t be afraid, just believe.” (Mark 5:36)

Afterwards, that same prayer can help you make peace with a critical incident or tragedy that you faced and maybe help you understand it better to accept it.

During the times that I have asked WHY, I have found that prayer many times won’t give me all the answers. That is tough to accept but prayer does give me comfort and helps me to understand that I sometimes don’t need to know why some things happen.

The bottom line is that whether I understand everything or not, when I pray it strengthens me and helps me to keep fighting the good fight with all my might.


  • What is the most difficult aspect of praying for you? What hinders you from doing it consistently?
  • How can you resolve this so that you can strengthen you prayer life and your relationship with God?

By Richard Glickstein, Former President – The National Bible Association

It was the worst aviation disaster in history!

Norman Williams, a strong Christian, was flying on a PanAm747 to the Far East. The plan stopped to refuel on the Spanish island of Tenerife.

While a dense fog rolled in, another 747 from KLM tried to take off. The pilot did not see Williams ‘plane and collided with it killing everyone on the European jet and many on the other 747.

As the accident unfolded, a fireball began rolling through the cabin where Norman was sitting. He stood to his feet and instantly remembered a Bible verse that he had memorized as a child.

“When you go through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not go up over you: when you go through the fire, you will not be burned; and the flame will have no power over you’(Issaiah 43:2).

Norman cried out, “I stand upon your word! I stand upon your word! I stand upon your word!

Norman states that then he looked up to see daylight above his head because the crash had caused a hole in the fuselage. He says that he does not know how he got through it to the roof but moments later he found himself sliding down the side of the wing and off of the fiery plane.

Not one hair on his body was burned. Through faith, Norman Williams escaped certain injury and death! He refused to doubt God in his time of trial!

So what does it mean to have faith in God?

Faith can seem like a mysterious feeling that comes and goes but the Bible is quite clear on what faith is and how we can attain it. Let me give you some practical steps to develop faith in God:

  1. The word “faith” in the Bible means, “to trust”. We need to give control of our circumstances to God and trust that He will work it out.

Such faith is stronger than simply “believing”. I may “believe” that a chair can support my weight but when I sit on it I “trust” it. To have faith or to “believe” in God means to “trust” Him. I rest on his power to support and sustain me just like the chair.

Likewise, I trust that the pilot of an airplane that I am flying on has the skills to safely get me to my destination. I “believe” in him. In the same way I “believe” that God can bring me through life safely and securely because his word promises this for all who “believe”.

  1. Faith is formed through our exposure to God’s Word, the Bible. The Bible is a record of the work and promises of God for all humanity. There are over 3,500 promises in the Bible that God has made to us. He wants us to know these promises and trust that He will fulfill them for us.

Just like in a new car, where the auto engineers put an operational manual in the glove department to consult in order to successfully maintain the vehicle, God has given us instructions in his manual, the Bible, for abundant living.

Read the manual and memorize the promises that are meaningful to you.

When you are having difficulty, find a specific promise in the Bible that speaks to your circumstance and stand on it like Norman Williams did. Begin by reminding God of His promise and thank him for His provision, and the answer that will come.

  1. Faith receives the answers and provisions from God before we physically see them.   David Chois the pastor of the largest Christian Church in the world. But that was not always the case. He began his ministry with a handful of people, who like himself, were very poor.

Cho slept on the floor of his tiny apartment and had no furniture or transportation. Knowing that God’s word promised to provide for those serve Him, Cho began asking God for a desk to work on, a chair to sit on and a bicycle to get around the big city of Seoul Korea, for his ministry.

After a period of time, he felt like God had answered his prayers and that the items would soon be coming.

At the same time, he had the feeling that God wanted him to get up before the church and tell them that he had already received the items!

The church went wild with joy at the news.

Three young men told Cho that they had to see these items for themselves. Not knowing what to do, pastor Cho brought the young men to his empty apartment.

Believing he had received wisdom about faith from God, he asked one of them several questions before entering his apartment. Cho asked him how long he had been in his mother’s womb before birth and what he was doing in there. He answered Cho that he was growing inside his mother for nine months.

David Cho then explained to the young men that by faith he too was pregnant but with a desk, a chair and a bicycle.

It wasn’t too long afterwards that Cho received the actual desk, chair and bicycle.

As the Bible says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

  1. Faith requires our enduring patience and not our tendency to panic!

We need to resist the urge to take back control when things don’t look good.

It is emotionally and sometimes mentally painful trying to fight against the desire to panic when we are trusting God. Many times, during the process we will be tested by the reality we are experiencing. Out senses will tell us one thing and God’s word will say another. Everything around us will be crying out for us to take back control.

But don’t give in! Quote the word of God and be reminded of His promises.

This is what David did before he slew Goliath, the giant and champion of the Philistines who fought against Israel. David heard about the promise of King Saul to reward any person who would slay the giant, and he believed that God would use him to kill Israel’s enemy (1 Samuel 17:30).

But no one believed that David, a young shepherd boy, could succeed in a battle with a seasoned warrior who was nine feet tall! Even David’s own brothers mocked him when he told them that God would use him to kill the giant. In the face of such discouragement, David’s faith was sorely tested, but David turned away from the skepticism and looked to someone else who would encourage him. God’s promise was the rock that David stood upon. His faith in God’s deliverance would not be moved!

Faith turns away from doubt and listens to the promises of King Jesus. We might have giants facing us in our daily lives, but God’s Word will strengthen and encourage us even when others might doubt.

  1. Finally, faith seeks to trust in God one day at a time.

Jesus taught us, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).

Each of us is encouraged to trust God for today. Victory in faith comes only one day at a time. Focusing on this truth from God’s Word will help us to overcome our fears and experience the power of the living God as the One who saves and delivers.

Don’t tell God how big your storm is; tell the storm how big your God is.–ANONYMOUS


  • What circumstances in your life are the hardest for you to have faith in God for?
  • Reflect on the times that you have been in these circumstances where God delivered you.

By Dennis Roy Maynard, D. MIN.

In my own journey it has been in the silence that i have been able to know the intimacy of God.

The Psalmist stood looking up into the sky. He considered the vastness of the universe and asked, “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:4). Contemplating the vastness that surrounded him he felt insignificant. He thought of himself as but a small dot staring into an unending night sky. Our own proportion in the universe can seem minute with each new discovery that reveals the boundless expanse of the universe. We too may be tempted to ponder the question asked on that starlit night. The Creator of the Universe can seem so far away. Such a God can appear remote and unapproachable. We are tempted to view ourselves as small and inconsequential.

The prophet Elijah was feeling very unappreciated and insignificant. He complained to God. God told him to go stand on a mountain because he was going to pass by him. There was a strong wind. Then came an earthquake. The shaking ground was followed by a fire. God was not in any of them. “After the fire came a sound of sheer silence. Elijah heard it and wrapped his face in a mantle” (I Kings 19:13).

In my own journey it has been in the silence that I have been able to know the intimacy of God. When the storms in my life have appeared overwhelming, I had to learn to quiet the conversation in my mind. Even in the midst of turmoil I only needed to listen for the silence so that I could hear that little inner voice. It is on those occasions that I have known “the peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). It is in that silence that I know Him and feel known by Him. It is then that I am able to commune intimately with the Almighty.

That peace comes not because of all my questions, doubts and problems have suddenly been removed. It is on those occasions that I am reminded of the comforting promises in this book. I recall that God reminded the Psalmist, ‘The Almighty knit me together in my mothers’ womb. While I was being made in secret God’s eyes beheld my unformed substance’(Psalm 139:13-16).

When my soul is filled with fear and anxiety the words of Jesus strengthen me. “Five sparrows are sold for two pennies. Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. Even in the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7). On those occasions that I feel inconsequential, lost in the vastness of the universe or the billions of nameless faces that share this planet with me, the inner voice of God lifts me. Jesus “calls his sheep by name” (John 10:3).

The Lord God of the Universe knows my name! He has known me since my mothers’ womb. God has even numbered the hairs on my head. I am able to have an intimate relationship with God not because I completely understand the Creator. I am able to do so even though the ways of the Almighty remain a mystery to me. My intimacy with God is made possible because He knows me so very well.

Moses asked God to give him his name. God responded, “I Am who I Am” (Exodus 3:14). For centuries the faithful knew God simply as The Great I Am. Jesus taught us to call Abba (Luke 11:2). The most accurate translation for Abba is “da-da” … daddy. Jesus is telling us that God loves us and cares for us as a loving daddy cares for his children.

A pastor visited with a women being overwhelmed by the storms in her life. She was filled with fear and anxiety. Her mind and heart were consumed with doubt about the very existence of God.  The pastor attempted to reassure her, but his efforts were falling deaf ears. He then picked up a photo of a young girl that was sitting on the woman’s dresser. “Who is this?” He asked, “That’s my daughter. “The woman smiled. “So, you love her very much,” The woman nodded. “There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for her. She is the most important person in my life.” The pastor placed the photo back on the dresser and turned to face the woman. “God has your photo on his dresser. He loves you even more than you love your daughter.”

We are able to have an intimate relationship with God simply because our Father knows us so very well. When we sit quietly and read the words of His great love for us contained in Holy Scripture the restless ness in our souls is quieted. We can know him because He knows us. We know Him intimately because He makes Himself known to us. He knows your name!

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”—John 17:3

“…and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. “Ephesians 3:19


  • What does it mean to know God intimately?
  • What practical ways can you think of to develop this intimacy for yourself?

By Chaplain (Lt.Col.) Mark Johnston, U.S. Army

Immediately following the terrible destruction of September 11,2001, first responders began arriving at the Pentagon to rescue survivors, locate the missing and bury the dead.

Teams of persons equipped with flashlights, helmets and shovels entered the darkened wreckage, still smoldering from the jet fuel that exploded upon the impact of American Airlines Flight 77 into the building’s southern façade. The nightmarish grotesqueness of twisted metal, shattered concrete, smashed office equipment along with the red glowing embers and horrific smell of burned flesh, presented rescuers with images of hell.

Someone once observed that religion was for those who believed in Hell, but spiritually was for those who had been there. That was how the First Responders felt that day. Those anchored in their spiritual traditions recognized the power of their spirituality as they bravely faced that tragic day when the whole world changed.

The somberness of the First responders in their search for persons who might have miraculously survived was heightened by the knowledge of awaiting families desperate for any news that could lead to hope or closure.

Organized teams left the blue skies of the outside world and stepped into the darkness of the Pentagon’s cavernous ruins.

Stress, trauma and grief accompanied each of the Responders in their painstaking discoveries. Forgetting themselves, many First Responders did not eat, hydrate or properly rest as hope for survivors remained. This cumulative denial of their own needs took a toll as persons struggled to continue a search for life.

Sometime during the third day, a team of worn out rescuers emerged back into the sunlight from the darkened, jagged corridors of death. It was apparent that they had seen too much. The continual entrance into and emergence from that tomb of death finally overwhelmed this team. Bystanders outside the wire could hear the team captain say “We’ve had enough… we can’t do this anymore!” At that very moment a military chaplain, who had been praying nearby, boldly stepped over the dividing wire between death and life, placed a helmet on his head and taking a flashlight in his hand, said, “That’s alright, I’ll lead the next team in.” With those words , the next team followed this chaplain into the darkness, to eventually emerge back into the light. With that one example all the teams were strengthened and inspired to continue their difficult rescue operations.

This is one of the realities of spiritual fitness. Spiritual fitness is a source of strength when our natural limits are reached. We might define spiritual fitness as “being right with God, being right with others and being right with yourself.” Those who have a nurtured spiritual dimension in their lives whether through prayer, fellowship, Scripture readings or other devotional practices, are able to give an inward look in acknowledgement of their own limitations while simultaneously looking outward to a world in need of rescue. This inward look is always accompanied by an upward glance to God who is the embodiment of Love, Life and Light.

God himself was the original First responder who searched for a lost Adam and Eve within the destroyed remains of Eden, and Who found them and redeemed them. It is no coincidence that the sight where Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon is now a chapel, a place where an upward glance is encouraged to any who would survey the history of that terrible day. It is the wreckage of this world that First responders imitate the Divine Rescuer and through their courageous efforts, bring love, life and light in answer to the darkness.