The Meaning of Christmas


Luke 2:13-14  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

With the most popular holiday just around the corner, it seems like everyone is trying to get into the Christmas spirit.  Stores have put up decorations, some way before Halloween, and they are lining their aisles with Christmas goodies and décor.  Santa’s are available for photos, train rides in the mall and TV commercials showing toys and gifts ready to purchase.  And, why shouldn’t they?  After all it is that time of year, the meaning of the season, right?

Wrong, the very first Christmas seemed to do without all of these things.  The first Christmas somehow started a frenzy without the power of TV, without Santa and without Christmas sales.  The very first Christmas involved a poor couple, nobodies, who would lay the most precious child of all in a manger.   Luke 2:4-7

We have come so far from the true meaning of Christmas.  Christmas wasn’t just about giving, or feeling loved, but it was about true love.  Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, the Savior who came into this world to die for everyone.

Today, let’s remember the true meaning of Christmas……Peace on earth, good will toward men, for the Savior has come to show us how to love, and to give us the greatest gift of love.  John 15:13.  This holiday season, let’s think of how we can give to those who would normally go without.  Show them the true meaning of Christmas, the gift of God’s love and love others as God first loved you.  I John 4:19.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Martha Rudd

Martha Rudd- Mentor Mom







Noticing Goodness And Knowing What is Good

Noticing Goodness And Knowing What is Good

   This is one of our 2015-2016 Mops Themes – that is “Noticing Goodness”. I chose months ago to write about this theme first and foremost because I want to become a more grateful human being. I chose November to write because I love Thanksgiving, when people gather to celebrate “thankfulness” for the “good” things in life. Ever since I chose to write on “goodness”, I have been more intentional about my observation of this life’s abundant blessings, whether seen, touched, felt, heard or tasted. I hope you all have experienced, like I have, much “good” and not “bad” in your life as well since we started our “flourishing” Mops 2015-2016 year!!

Now did you notice that, unfortunately, in noticing “good” we can’t help but think of its antithesis- “bad” or even “evil”?  Being the questioning sort of person that I am, I began to contemplate how does one intrinsically know what is “good” from what is “bad”. Or do we sometimes get the two mixed up? Have you ever experienced something “bad” that actually turned out quite “good” or vice versa? I must admit I like to watch the Dr Phil show from time to time. I also watch the world news and read the newspaper fairly regularly. It becomes overly apparent that we seem to live in a pretty “bad” environment. Why can’t people and nations just get along? There seems to be chaos and disconnect everywhere, intermixed with some “good” positive news as well.

So I want to raise the logical question: “Is moral ‘goodness’ an absolute or is it subject to reinterpretation according to the desires of society?”  I can take this question to the extreme; one society says I should not murder you or harm you in any way. Another society says you can and you may be my next meal! A favorite family story of ours illustrates my point even better. We like the movie “End of the Spear” and books about Jim Elliot and Nate Saint. These Christian missionaries dared to befriend a very dangerous tribe in Ecuador called the Auca Indians. To make a long story short, both lost their lives when the tribe turned on them because of a slanderous woman’s misinformation. This happened after spending a week with them enjoying each other’s company with many talks around the camp fire.   But the story did not end there. Their wives befriended a girl who managed to leave the tribe and she in turn taught them the Auca native language. The wives again made contact with the Indians where they lived in the jungle peaceably for over 2 years. The tribe’s members, through these women, experienced love and forgiveness that they had never seen and their lives and society were dramatically changed through the Biblical principles learned from their new friends living amongst them.

I believe the forefathers of this great nation understood that the God of the Bible, and the practice of His truths and principles were the essential ingredients to a peaceful “good” existence between individuals, government, allied nations, individuals and families. I illustrate this with the words of George Washington himself when he proclaimed Thanksgiving a “public day of thanksgiving and prayer” to “Almighty God”.

As President, on October 3, 1789, George Washington made the following proclamation and created the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the United States of America:

 Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

 Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

 And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

 Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

George Washington again proclaimed a Thanksgiving in 1795.

  So this Thanksgiving will you, with your family and alone in your prayer closet, take meaningful time to meditate and to Praise God for “all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2)? Will you think about all the good He provides for mankind – His crowning creation – the only one’s created “In His image” (Genesis 1:26-27)? Will you look to Jesus, the Savior, by trusting in Him for the greatest gift of all – that is, never ending life? If you haven’t done so will you take the time to read the Gospel of John?

Titus 3:4-7 explains that simple faith alone in Christ is all that is required. Mercy is undeserved and cannot be earned:

4 But when the goodness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 This Spirit He poured out upon us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that having been justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the promise of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7


 Mary Visnovsky

Written by Mary Visnovsky- Mops Mentor Mom at GCBC

Proverbs 31 Woman


Proverbs 31 is typically known as the description for a NOBLE women.

The Proverbs 31 women is the “superwomen” .  She had a lot of things going on and still managed to look good doing it.

A lot of women feel intimidated by the Proverbs 31 women because they think she’s perfect and not attainable.

This proverb was written to provide wisdom and instruction on ways to live our lives better.

It’s impossible to be a perfect wife and mother, but we can glean some solid wisdom from her.

I look at Proverbs 31 as a string of pearls.  Each characteristic that she embodies is like a pearl on the strand of life.

We don’t just automatically have the whole strand put together.  Some of us are long strands, some short bracelets , but all are a work in progress.

We’ve got to face the fact that this is something wonderful to strive to attain.  We have to work at it.  All the “pearls” don’t come naturally to us.  Some of us have to work hard to string the thread through the pearl to pull it onto our strand.  Sometimes our pearls get loose and a few fall off and we need to work to thread them back on to our stand.

Pearls of the Proverbs 31 women:

  1. Noble Character, VS 10- a brave women with great courage.  We need to be a brave women –one who can face trials and tribulations of life with tenacity knowing, Phillipians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.
  2. Trustworthy, VS 11- Need to be a women of integetrity both in heart and actions. Being truthful in every word that comes from my mouth.
  3. A willing worker, VS 13
  4. A good Manager , VS 14,15
  5. Industrious, VS 16- First thing in the morning, she dressed for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.  She’s up before down, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.  She is skilled in running an effient home and senses the worth of her work.  This is a women who can’t wait to care for her family.  Usually the first to rise and last to go to sleep. She’s thinking of her family first.  Her priorities are in order.
  6. Charitable, VS 20- she’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to the poor. Am I reflecting the love of God to those outside my family?  Am I quick to help the hurting, lost and broken?
  7. Well dressed, VS 22- makes her own clothing and dresses in colorful linens and silks.  This is not a women who wears sweats everyday and hasn’t showered in days.  This is a women who takes pride in her body, heart and mind.  She celebrates her womanhood.
  8. She’s busy, VS 27b- not lazy, watches over the affairs of her household.  Makes sure everyone is well taken care of us. Proper food, clothing, etc.
  9. A good mother- VS 28- her children respect and bless her. Husband praises her.  All her sacrifices, “extras” she’s gone without are worth every moment.  Her value is known and celebrated by the one’s who love her.
  10. Fears the Lord, VS 30. Most important attribute of all.  Her beauty is not only skin deep, it reaches to her soul.  We need to be in God’s word, having a daily prayer time and fellowship with like believers so we can reflect Jesus Christ, to be a women after God’s own heart.

Closing:  when we look at all the wonderful qualities of a Proverbs 31 women, it can be overwhelming, but if we look at each one as a “pearl” to thread into our life, we can start to make the strand out of them that God intends for us.

Keep our lives in tune with Christ daily is a big part of making our qualities as women something that reflects Christ.

SO, are you threading your pearls?

Written by:


Martha Rudd – Mentor Mom



palm tree

Psalm 92:12

The righteous man will flourish like a palm tree.

God compares us to many things in the scriptures:  salt, mustard seed, light, etc.  Today we are going to look at PS 92:12 where we are compared to palm trees.  Why does God do this?  So we can better understand what HE desires for His children.

Let’s look at three qualities of a palm tree.

  1. GROWTH- A palm tree is known for their long life.  To flourish like palm trees means to stand tall and live long.  A palm tree never grows wild.  It has to be planted with intensive care.  It has an internal column of living tissue protected by it’s bark.  The bark can be bruised or cut but you cannot kill it.  With the tissue protecting underneath, the palm tree grows to the sky.   Our outward man is like the bark of the palm tree.  It can be abused and battered by many circumstances of life, but with much patience, perseverance, determination and feeding on God’s word and staying on our knees in prayer, we can grow in Christ.  II Peter 3:18
  1. USES- The palm tree has over 200 uses.  Wood, rope, textiles, mats, brooms, hats, food and rubber are just a few.  One use of the palm tree branches is found in John 12:12-13, where the people laid across Jesus’ path as HE made HIS triumphal entry into Jerusalem right before HIS crucifixion.  In comparison:  we yearn to be used by God in different ways:  to feed others, teach, reconcile, love and many other things.  The palm tree does not wither because it’s roots are deep.  We need to have deep roots in our Christian life to be strong.  We need to go deep and stay connected to HIM and trust God and grow stronger.  With these deep roots, a palm tree can bow and be tossed about in a storm, but won’t break.  CHRIST strengthens us in the storms of life that we face and can teach us to flourish, fiercely.
  1. FRUIT- In contrast with many fruit trees, the palm tree’s fruit is much sweeter when it is older. So should it be with us.  The more we mature in our Christian life, the more bountiful and sweet should be the fruit we bear as a result of a life in Christ Jesus.  Because of our life in Jesus Christ, we can flourish as we come along side of other women, who may not know Christ as Savior and Lord and we can share HIM with them.  1:10-12.  The pulp of the palm tree gives off oil when heated.  This is used in soaps and lotions.  When we find ourselves in the furnace of affliction, God wants to use us to be a healing balm to others.  They may be going through the same thing and we can be there to help them through it.  Fruits of the Spirit:  Gal.5: 22-23

Conclusion:  You may be bent over by the force of winds, but get up.   You may be bent, but you’re not broken.  Your roots are grounded in the word of the Almighty GOD, continually growing stronger as the storm rages on.  Don’t lose your peace or joy.  Keep your eyes on Jesus and have that FIERCE FLOURISHING that only HE can give.

Devotional By:


Mentor Mom – Martha Rudd