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Who appreciates you?"
December 13, 2023

December 2023
Issue 213

Jesus appreciates you--yes, you!

Recently I've heard people say something I really like. Instead of telling another person, "I appreciate it," they said, "I appreciate you."

This time of year, we single folks may feel painfully unappreciated. Christmas and New Year's can be tough. But what would it be like if you were absolutely sure Jesus appreciates you?

He does, you know. You can't love somebody without appreciating them, and Jesus loves you. He proved that, without a doubt, at Calvary.

It puts pep in your step to know the magnificent Creator of the Universe appreciates you. He has numbered the hairs on your head and he's aware of the tiniest details of your life.

Here's a spirit-lifter for this season and, I hope, for the rest of your life. See exactly why Jesus-appreciates-you

Christmas, cross and crown

Two thousand years.
Can it still matter now?
I set out to discover
the answer somehow.

I learned of the prophet
who told the whole world
a child would be born
to a virgin girl.

A Messiah was promised,
then one night he came.
"God saves his people,"
was the code in his name.

His message was love,
his conduct was kind.
He healed the lame,
and gave sight to the blind.

"He's just a good teacher,"
the skeptics all said.
But when did a teacher
resurrect the dead?

This Author of Life
they killed on a cross.
God's puzzling plan
to rescue the lost.

First disillusion
then panicky fear.
But things are not always
the way they appear.

The tomb was empty,
the Master was gone.
Then hope came alive
on that Easter dawn.

I learned of his promise
of life without end,
Through this sacrifice
of Savior and Friend.

He will raise me up
when I finally fall down.
Forever and ever,
Christmas, cross and crown.

~ Jack Zavada,, 2023 ~

Einstein was right about this, too

Albert Einstein was a brilliant physicist, but he also made a famous statement we singles can benefit from:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

In 2024, will you be doing the same thing you've been doing for years? If it's not working, try something different! Hope for Hurting Singles is different. Why? Because it's packed with wisdom you haven't learned yet. It took me over 40 years and lots of trial and error to discover these truths. If you're in your 20s or 30s, you've got a long way to go before you figure this stuff out on your own.

Or, you could inv'est in Hope for Hurting Singles and get the answers faster than the speed of light. You'll learn what really works against loneliness, depression, anger, bitterness, low self-esteem, and other problems we singles grapple with. Hope for Hurting Singles is the sane way to spiritual maturity: learning from other people's experience. Stop spending time and energy on dead ends. You'll feel like a genius when you avoid all the unnecessary pain and frustration.

Plus, you'll have a rockin' hairdo like Einstein, too.

Hope for Hurting Singles is only $10.99 in paperback and $3.99 for the Kindle edition. Get on the sane train!

QOTM: The message of Christmas

December's Quote of the Month comes from novelist Taylor Caldwell (Janet Miriam Caldwell):

And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent...

~ Taylor Caldwell (1900 - 1985) ~

For millions of single, divorced, and widowed people, Christmas is not "the most wonderful time of the year." That used to be me.

Over the years, I have taught myself to enjoy it and not get upset. How about you? Is it your favorite season or your worst dread? I'm not saying we have a right to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves, but we do have a choice to make.

It's a cliche to complain about how Christmas has been commercialized so I won't do that. Instead, I'll ask you to give thanks on Christmas, and every day of your life, for the gi'ft of salvation through Jesus Christ. That's something to sing about, dance about, and, in the privacy of your own home, to yell "Hallelujah!" about.

That's a fun thing to do.

Try it. You'll enjoy it. And if your dog or cat looks at you funny, grab their front paws and have them dance with you. Jesus loves you! Merry Christmas!

Your reason for living, in 2024 and beyond

Having a powerful reason for living makes you want to get out of bed in the morning and get at it. It's the spark that provides meaning and drive to your life.

But what should that reason be? Does it have to be something noticeable like fame or fortune? Should it be a series of impressive accomplishments?

My reason for living is this newsletter and web site and my work at church. They all have one thing in common: I believe they help other people. Jesus calls all of his followers to be servants. Why? Because when we serve people, we serve God.

If your life has been unmotivated, give this some thought. You can change your reason for living over the years. Some people discover their prime motivator was selfish. They thought only of themself, and ultimately their existence was unfulfilling.

I put together some ideas for you to think about. Maybe they'll reinforce what you're already doing. Maybe they'll inspire you to change.

Take a look at how to come up with a worthwhile reason for living.

How do you feel about Christmas?

For some singles, Christmas is the most unbearable time of the year. Others jump in with both feet, get in the spirit and have an incredible time. Reality lies somewhere between the festive fantasy of a champagne TV commercial and the painful retreat of sitting alone in a dark room.

I hope you lean to the happy side. But if you need a holiday lift, here are a few articles about how to enjoy Christmas:

Getting through Christmas;

Having a better Christmas than last year;

Appreciating Christmas

Experience tells us we can get more out of the season by focusing on others instead of our own problems. Relieving someone else's suffering, if only for a day or two, is a godly goal.

Another year wiser, or what?

Did you grow in spiritual maturity in 2023 or take a step backward? We can learn from our mistakes—and other people's mistakes. I hope you're to the point that instead of beating yourself up, you can gently say to yourself, "I'll be sure not to do that again!"

Did you notice the wisdom in being kind in 2023? We saw too much rudeness and cruelty this year. When, as a follower of Jesus, you're kind to people, you step up to a higher plane of existence. People are shocked, but in a good way.

Did you talk out loud to Jesus in 2023? Did you have conversations with him, understanding he's interested in every detail of your life? Did you grasp the life-changing truth that when you get on his side, you've got him on your side?

That, single friend, wraps up the December Inspire-O-Gram. I want to thank you for allowing me to visit you this way. If you have something you'd like to say to me, our contact form will keep it secure, send your message to my personal inbox, then I'll answer back. I'm just a regular guy, doing this from my home office, not some snooty celebrity surrounded by a posse of minions. Well, I do have Neville the dog, but he doesn't screen my email (no opposable thumbs).

Oh, and this newsletter looks a little different because I'm using a different layout form. I hope to work out the bugs by January.

Merry Christmas, and God bless you!

Jack Zavada
PS: Not a Christian? Find out how to become one!

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