Friday, December 18, 2015

Mary E. Adams: They Saw His Star in the East

"We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." Matthew 2:2 (NIV)

The wise men would never have seen that particular star unless they had been watching the night sky.

One of the first things I see after I wake up is the view in my window that faces east here in my bedroom. Lying in my bed, I can see the sun rise or watch a full moon snake its way across the dark sky. Occasionally I am especially treated when the northern lights decide to put on a display, or watch a zillion stars dancing around the Big Dipper.

Years ago we lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, north of the arctic circle. One New Year’s eve, just as we stepped outside to leave a church service we attended in a small village called North Pole, the northern lights were so brilliantly awesome that night. Looking upward, (even though the temperature was well below zero), nobody seemed to mind standing there in the cold looking at that night sky. We were transfixed by the sight of those brilliant yellow, green and red lights dancing up and down across the heavens, even streaking downward to almost touch my hands--- a sight emblazioned in my memory ever since it happened.

I also recall that there was an old Eskimo woman who sometimes attended that church. She lived alone by herself in a small cabin, chopped her own firewood, cooked her own meals, and washed her own clothes. She told me that every morning she would first go to the east window in her kitchen to look out to see “if Jesus had returned”.

Simplistic, and perhaps extreme to most of us. But now that I am alone and 80 myself, what she said makes more sense to me every day I am still alive.

Perhaps a relative or a friend might check on her welfare, take her shopping, or give her a ride to church. Nowadays there are government programs to help do those kind of things, yet as good and needful as they are, there is an element missing in all of that, that can never fill the place of “caring and loving” friends and family. 

I have a friend called Anita. She and I met years ago when our husbands were still alive, went fishing together and had a grand time roaming around our beautiful Alaska. We call each other at least once a week, sometimes enjoy a lunch together at i Hop and share conversation over a cup of coffee. Both of us are the same age and share our spiritual thoughts, memories and dreams.

But one thing that runs through our minds is the same for both of us. We might try to imagine what life was like for that old Eskimo woman, living by herself in one of earth’s coldest places, knowing she would soon die, probably alone. 

For when our bodies can no longer lift the ax to chop our firewood, when we don’t hear so well or see things in focus like we used to do, we wonder. When our friends have passed on to their reward or the ones still around sometimes can’t remember, we wonder. And when a younger generation has never heard, nor even care to hear what we experienced back when...

We wonder.... isn’t it time?

That daily question can keep us old folks a bit apprehensive.

But now that we once again are hearing the Christmas story, a nugget came along just as I was writing this: The answer to that is something this troubled, fearful generation needs to learn about; for it is the same for all of us, at any age, anywhere, included myself, even just as it was for those wise men 2,000 years ago who looked eastward:

She focused on His coming, rather than on her leaving.

Note from Sherry: When I read this article several months ago, Mary's last sentence touched me and has stayed with me. We can apply it to so many situations in our lives.
  • Focus on His coming, not on our fears.
  • Focus on His coming, not on our sorrows.
  • Focus on His coming, not on our circumstances.
  • Even our times of joy can be enriched if we focus on His coming.
Focus on Him!

Mary E. Adams lives in Wasilla, Alaska. Over half of her 70-year old life has been spent in Christian ministry around the world. She has authored several books and began using the internet to chronicle her insights and revelations from the Holy Spirit. Many people have been encouraged, revived, and inspired by them. Alaska is called "The Great Land", and great it is! Towering mountains surround her home, and Cook Inlet welcomes visitors to its shores. It is in this idyllic place that Mary became "born again" and filled with the Spirit of God. This experience changed her life forever.

Her husband Bob passed away in 1989, and after living in Alaska and raising a family, she decided to enter missions work in various countries, but mainly concentrating on India and SE Asia.

These writings came about after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 and underwent various surgeries. They chronicle her thoughts during physical and spiritual battles that she shares with those who might also be afflicted, but also adds humorous everyday insights the Holy Spirit gives her.

Contact Mary at
To be blessed by more of her writings, go to her website:

Friday, December 11, 2015

Two Sides of the Season

Thanksgiving and Christmas: lots of yummy food and indigestion, automatically giving thanks, rushing around to buy gifts. Counting off how many of the things on your list you get done.

The most wonderful time of the year, right?

Recently God challenged me with the true wonder of the season. He used a golden nugget hidden in a scripture I usually skim because I think it doesn’t apply to me.

Matthew 10:5-14. I’m not going to type the whole passage here - aren’t you glad – but I’ll give you the gist of it. In verses 7-8, Jesus prepares his disciples to go on a road trip. He tells them to preach that the kingdom of God is at hand, heal people, raise the dead, and cast out demons. I know we are to go out and tell the gospel but the rest of this doesn’t get my attention. After all, I’m not going to be healing the sick and raising the dead. I sure hope I don’t encounter any demons! 

So I scan on.

Next, in verses 9-14, He tells them to go without a suitcase. I mean, really? No extra clothes, no deodorant, no hairbrush? Instead, they are to look in each town for a home that will take them in and provide for them. I know there are missionaries that do exactly this but, forget it, I’m lugging my bag to the nearest Holiday Inn!

Then God points out the little jewel hidden in verse 8:
Freely you have received, freely give. (NIV)

Sure I am thankful for loads of things and I love to give gifts – to loved ones, friends, those who give their time and services throughout the year. I love to get gifts. I even love the wildness of shopping!

But is that what Jesus means?

Freely you have received: Are we aware, are we grateful for all we have been given?

Blessings God freely pours out on us: Salvation, friendship, family…I’m sure you have a long list. Health, talents, the ability to hold a job. So often, we don’t recognize the richness of these gifts until they are gone. Praise God for His bountiful gifts! They are without measure, even when times are hard.

In this season, we stand in awe at the birth of God’s Son. He freely offered His Son to us, to bring us grace and mercy. Our salvation is a free gift, bought and paid for by Jesus Christ. Praises for this wondrous gift should pour from our hearts all year long.

Blessings of friendship and love showered on us by those around us: Prayers, encouragement, fun times, a helping hand at just the right moment. Most of the time we say, “Thank you,” but we don’t always let them know how we truly appreciate them. Is there someone who has helped or encouraged you? Call them, send a card, do something special for them. Show them how much they mean to you. Sincere gratitude comes from the heart and blesses the giver more than we can ever imagine.

Freely give: God’s love is a flowing spring within us, not a stagnant pond.

As He has given, we should give.
  • Mercy: Shown to the driver who cuts in front of me or to a friend who barks sharply at me for no reason.
  • Grace: Give a cup of coffee or ice-cold drink to a homeless person or buy a little gift for a loved one…just because.
  • Love: Hug a friend, or even an acquaintance. Smile at the worker in the checkout line. Or, best of all, share the hope and joy of the gospel.

Freely give to others: We should look around and freely give the blessings we have received. 
  • A warm house full of loved ones? Invite someone who will be alone on Christmas day or take an old coat to a collection point. 
  • A table full of food? Help deliver food baskets or take a few things to the local food pantry. 
  • Joy of a child on Christmas morning? Donate a new or used toy at a collection point.
Or, the most expensive gift of all: time. Visit someone who can’t leave their homes very often. Stop and really listen to a friend or even a stranger who needs encouragement. Join a choir to sing carols at a rest home.

We have received such riches from God, in the past, present, and future.
Richly give to others right now and in the future.

You will be blessed!