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  • Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13, ESV)

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Are you someone who is always trying to figure out what is really important – moving from one thing to another? Are you constantly busy and feel that you aren’t really accomplishing anything? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then tune into this program and we’ll address these issues.

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I hope this message ministers to your heart to see that God’s grace is a gift that we all need in our lives. It is a gift that will nurture, strengthen and enable us to walk with Christ.

A MORNING GIFT

Every morning when I wake up I find a neatly wrapped gift lying on my chest. Now I have to admit that in my past I always pushed this gift aside without even looking at it. I was too rushed and determined to get things done to even consider opening it. I was working, pushing, and trying so hard to make my life work out with so little progress at the end of each day. I trudged through all of my pains, challenges and difficulties while things went from bad to worse. I kept crawling through my life until I was too exhausted to go on. Then one morning I finally noticed that beautiful gift lying there and opened it for the first time.

These days when I open my eyes and see the gift waiting for me, I smile. I carefully and happily tear off the paper and open the box. I take out the gift and hold it in my arms. I give thanks for it and bring it with me wherever I go all through the day. This gift makes my life so much better. I meet people with a smiling face and a loving heart. I laugh easily, sing often, and feel my spirit dancing even when my feet don’t. I face life’s struggles, challenges, difficulties, and pains with hope, determination, optimism, and joy. I know that whatever I must face and whatever I must do that this glorious gift will carry me through.

This gift is Grace. It is the unconditional love of God. It is the unmerited help of our Heavenly Father in all we do. Grace is waiting for us each and every morning of our lives. It is waiting to make a home in our hearts and minds. It is waiting for us to share it with the world. Grace is there ready to help us live our live with love every single day.

What are you going to do when you wake up tomorrow morning? Are you going to shove this gift aside and struggle to make it on your own? Or are you going to thank God for this precious gift, take it in your hands, and place it joyfully into your soul?

By Joseph J. Mazzella

I hope this message encourages and inspires your heart to see that we are
blessed beyond comprehension and we have many people in our lives ready and
willing to help us overcome the challenges in our path.

SAIL ON

My friend and neighbor gave me a book recently. It is called Parables From
The Sea and was written by Robbins Wolcott Barstow. What amazed me about
it was that in the first few pages I found a paragraph that describes my
friend perfectly. It goes: “I often think of the way some people are
always leaving trails of light and gladness as they sail on through life.
There must be a great many who do for I know a lot of them. They are the
kind of people you are happy to meet anywhere, in a shop or on a street or
at home.”

That quote made me think not only of my friend, but also of all the other
people over the years who have blessed my life’s voyage with their light
and gladness. There was my Mom and my Grandma whose shining love guided me
over the rough waters of childhood and all the storms that went with it.
There was my Aunt and my Dad who kept me sailing on through the heartbreak
after my Mom and Grandma died and back towards a joyous horizon once
again. There were my two brothers and three children who taught me how to
find the joy in life even on the fiercest days when the waves crashed
against my ship.

There were my teachers, neighbors, and friends who showed me the many ways
to steer my boat into the peaceful harbors of love and happiness that life
gives us. Each and every one of these people taught me a little more about
sailing the ship of my life. Each and every one of them showed me as well
to always look towards God’s North Star and to always set my sails with
the winds of His love.

May all of you always sail on towards greater love and joy in your own
lives. May all of you always bless those around you with trails of light
and gladness as well. But most of all may all of you always keep your
ships guided by God’s loving light and never forget the true place that
you are sailing towards.

By Joseph J. Mazzella

APPRECIATION

Spring is continuing to work her wonders in the mountains this year. The
skies are full of sunshine with only a few clouds floating on the wisps of
the winds. My flower box is full to overflowing with purple phlox. A patch
of bluebonnets sits proudly next to my front porch. A million dandelions
dot the fields. Thousands of bees and butterflies are doing their best to
help them flourish and grow. In the morning the birds sing their own “Ode
to Joy” while in the evening a blanket of stars keeps you warm in the cool
night air.

It seems too that this year I am appreciating Spring’s beauty more than
ever before. I am standing outside a bit longer in the morning to admire
the rising sun and am staying out a few more minutes each night to gaze at
the smiling moon. I am lying down on the warm grass to smell the flowers
and am taking the time to rescue the few, stray moths that fly into my
house. I am taking deeper breaths of the fresh, Spring air and am saying
some extra “Thank You’s” to God for giving us such a blessed time of the
year.

Perhaps this greater appreciation comes from the long and difficult Winter
we had this year or perhaps as I am getting older and wiser I am finally
beginning to see the glory and majesty that was around me all the time.
Either way I am grateful and happy. There is nothing sadder than passing
by a treasure everyday and not seeing it.

This world is full of beauty, wonder, and delight. It is full of countless
blessings given to us by our loving Father above. All we have to do is
open our eyes to see them and open our hearts to feel them. Don’t ignore
these glorious gifts from God. Don’t allow yourself to pass them by. Open
the door of your soul and welcome them in. Let them warm you, nourish you,
and strengthen you. Let them become one with you. Then go out and share
their joys with everyone.

By Joseph J. Mazzella

Welcome to www.leisenringpresbyterianchurch.org. We’re glad that you stopped by for a visit. If your curious about our church, just click on the history section. Tune in to our podcast or listen to the audio of our services if you would like to know just a little more about us. We welcome you to our virtual home on the internet. Grow with us together in faith, hope, and love. And if you’re ever in the neighborhood please stop in and see us.
We’re located at:

1004 church street
Leisenring, Pa. 15455