Friday, December 30, 2016

Simple Things- The Journaling Phenomenon

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4 ESV

A journal is something that almost everyone has taken upon themselves to write as they have grown up. How long the commitment was may not have been the best but the idea of writing down your thoughts and experiences is something that many have wondered about, and were most likely forced to do in school.  

Journaling your thoughts on a daily basis can give you something to refer to when difficult times come, as sort of a guide of it’s own. It can show you where you’ve been and give you a clearer picture of what God is trying to reveal to you in your time with.

There have been many times others have been impacted by an entry in their personal journal that was scribbled down several months or even years back.  God has a great way of taking our experiences from the past and bringing back to the forefront of our mind. Having a Journal to refer back to when these times come can be very encouraging.

Today, I still look back on several of my blog posts or “journal entries” and learn something new.  The Bible is the same way. Some of my best ideas come from when I journal about a scripture that has really impacted my life. The result of writing that passage down, along with a few of my thoughts, has birthed most of what I write.

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Reflecting Christmas Movies


As many of you know, Our Christmas eBook will be offered at .99 for 80hrs starting on Dec. 19th, Yes, that is just two days from now. :-). It will then go up to 1.99 the 80hrs following the first.

Part of the content in this Christmas eBook uses good wholesome movies to share the lessons I learned as I researched and created this project. So I thought I'd offer a few links to those movies for you to check out for yourself.

So, Here they are :-). Feel free to check them out on. All you need to do is click on the movie and it will take you to it's Amazon page.

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott

Friday, December 16, 2016

Simple Things- The Ambulance Effect

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
- Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV

 As a child growing up my mother had this little thing she would do every time she heard a siren, hence the name: The Ambulance Effect. She would stop everything she was doing and say a simple prayer, “Lord be with them and keep them in your love and give them understanding. Amen.” Many times us kids would ask why and she’d simply answer, “because Jesus would.”

That answer is the root of everything I hold dear in my life, many who know me know one of my ministry sayings is “Love them Crazy, Just like Jesus.” My mother taught me this and while she never really found out what became of all those she prayed for, it was important that she took the time to stop and do something for someone else, regardless of knowing the outcome.

As an adult, I have continued to follow her lead. I have adapted my prayers a little but still, there is something that clicks in my heart when I embrace an opportunity to help someone else in need, whether it be through these simple prayers or something bigger. So next time you see someone struggling embrace the ambulance effect.

It will do more than change your heart, it will change the hearts of others as well when they see the example you set with whatever assistance you offer those around you. One of the ways I like to keep track of those moments where embracing the ambulance effect really makes a difference is by journaling the events that lead to them.

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott

Monday, December 5, 2016

Simple Things- The Formula

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
- Matthew 7:7-8 NIV

Life is full of it’s ups and downs, God gives us a formula to live by through the scriptures as a way of guiding us towards the patch that we have been called to take.

This formula gives each of us a basic guideline to helping us grow closer to God.  While each of us is given a specific formula for our life all of them come down to simply this, we must ask God to teach us his ways, then we must seek God with all that we are, and then we must knock on the doors he places before us.

With each door that opens, we grow closer to awakening our faith. What matters is how we go about completing that formula.  There is not one specific way that is right or wrong as long as that formula includes all three.  

As you continue to read the next few posts about this project, it is my hope that they will give you ways to combine all three in some form or another. One of the very first things I learned was to Stop and Pray for God to open the doors he has prepared for us to walk through in this life.

This lesson plays a very important role in identifying which formula will work best for you. So, as we will talk about in the next section, make it your choice to go to God in prayer everyday as you seek his guidance in identifying which formula will work best with who you are.

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20
M.J. Elliott

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

An Introduction to Simple Things P2

When I began to think about a project Love the Saints Ministries could offer to our readers freely, my thoughts were taken back to the original project and then to the sermon series I mentioned earlier.

Our hope with this project is to give the reader a small guide they can look back on to help them when life just simply gets in the way of Awakening your faith.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all it will take to awaken your faith is a little God in your life, it’s not that simple. There are certain things that we must do in order to find ourselves growing closer to God.

There are always going to be struggles and temptations that we have to overcome. What I am suggesting is that even though your life may contain heartache and suffering, YOU have the ability to work through the pains of this life and embrace a joyful heart.

Life has given each of us so much opportunity to embrace a little more joy and the thing we experience, big and small all play a role in forming that desire deep within the confines of our hearts. If personal experience has taught me anything, it is that our experiences do matter and that they can lead us down the path of righteousness or a path of destruction.

So let’s embrace the simple things and start preparing ourselves for an awakening, an awakening of the heart. The journey won’t be as easy as you might think but through Christ and each other we can accomplish the task that has been set before us, to find ways we, as individuals and as believers in the way , the truth and the life, can grow in our walk with God.

There are many different ways a person can do this and as your read the pages of this book you may find some you would like to try and others that you may think are kind of ridiculous. In the end, the important thing is that something begins to awaken, something that will change your life forever.

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."
"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20 M.J. Elliott

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Journey with ACTS 2:29

“Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave.” - Acts 2:29-31 NLT

It is simply amazing that David was able to foretell some of the things that he foretold while he was living on this earth. It is a good reminder that God can use and speak through anyone at any time in history. That in itself, is more wonderful that we can ever imagine.

Because David was faithful until the end, and even in the moments of his sinful life, God blessed him with knowledge beyond his years, literally. It’s encouraging to know that God does this even today with many who are faithful to him.

The blessings that were given to David are the same blessings that God offers many of us today.  What it comes down to is simply that God promised he’d be faithful to David’s descendants, honoring them with the many blessings of heavenly provisions.

David knew that God would take care of what he believed was most important, his legacy. God would take care of his descendants until the end of time and this passage can remind us that as long as we are faithful, he will take care of the important things to us as well.

Let us not be afraid to reach out to our Lord God and ask him to show us the life that we were meant to have, a life woven together by the blessings He provides. Remember that just as God never turn away from David in his time of need, that he will never turn on you either.

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."
"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20 M.J. Elliott

Thursday, November 3, 2016

An Introduction to Simple Things P1

Have you ever wondered about growing closer to God?

 A While ago, I put together a sermon series that taught about the simple things in life and how they can help awaken your heart, at the time I never really thought about using what I learned as I put that series together in a small eBook like this.

That’s the beauty of God though. He loves to use the “Simple Things” in life to help us understand the vastness of his great love and of the growth we can have in our own walks with God.

There are big things and small thing that we can do each day to help remind us of what our faith is all about and embrace the opportunity to do these things more in our daily lives, the possibilities are endless.

This little Project is just starting off so we are not really publicizing it just yet, but I needed to post something and this is what's on my heart right now. My hope in sharing this project “Freely” is that it will give you, the reader, a little glimpse into what God can do in your life through the “Simple Things” that we often forget about or pay little attention too as we go about our daily routines.

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."
"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20 M.J. Elliott

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Journey with ACTS 2:25-28

“‘King David said this about him: I see that the
Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.” - Acts 2:25-28 NLT

There are so many people in this world that are shaken by the struggles that they face each day and often we forget that we aren’t really ever facing these struggles on our own. King David was a very spiritual person.

Even in the midst of all of the horrendous things he did he found himself on his knees seeking God's guidance and placing is heart in the saviors arms. He knew that it was only through God that anyone would find hope. We need to remember this in our struggles today.

When we focus our energy on giving our praises to God in the midst of our struggles, they often seem to resolve themselves. It may not be in the way that we want it to take place but the do tend to work themselves out.

We can find joy in knowing that God will never leave or forsake us and we can embrace a heart that is glad, not broken.  Let us take a few moments this week to ponder the majesty and the glory that resides within His presence.

Embrace Joy, Echo Praise and Embody God’s Peaceful Rest in your lives today, don’t be afraid to honor him in the midst of every situation that comes your way today.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

I Am Sending You

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” - John 20:21 NIV

  It is an interesting thought to believe in a statement such as this. To be truthful we don’t really see things like this in today’s world. I must admit, I miss hearing things like this on a daily basis.  In my college days we heard things like this everyday and we knew that it meant something to be sent by God, into a world or darkness as vessels of light. Our struggles in college were nothing like the struggles that we face today and that was only six years ago. My, how our perspectives change in such a short amount of time. 

  When we were younger things just seemed different, but the reality is that the world is always changing. As we live our lives we encounter many different experiences that impact who we are in that present moment. 

  Those experiences change the way we look at the world and teach us something about ourselves that we would not normally have the opportunity to learn. With each experience comes another step in our journey to becoming the person we were meant to be. I believe that this happens because of bold statements like the scripture passage above.

God has given each of us the ability to experience certain moments in life because they are meant to show us something of who we are meant to be. In essence, these experiences ‘send us’ into the world as witnesses of his glory, and soldiers of His heart. 

  As we embrace the experiences we encounter we grow and as we grow in God we become who we are meant to be. The peace that is promised in this passage only comes through the path God has set for us. God sends each and everyone of us into the world to share the wonder of His amazing grace with a broken world.

  God, the Father, sent Jesus into the world so that he could pave the way for us to be sent into all the world as the vessels of this amazing grace. As the vessels God has chosen to share this message, it is our calling to embrace each experience we encounter as a path towards peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding. 

This peace is part of our inheritance as the people of God and with it we can go forth into the world leaning on the everlasting power of God’s love. In the end, we are given a foundation of grace, growth, peace and of experience that we can use to spread His love. 

  Even though the world is changing before our eyes and becoming darker everyday, we are changing too. Just as the Father sent His Son, the Son has sent us into the world and given us the foundation to change the world. So, I encourage you today to go forth, embrace your experiences and become the change that truly does make the difference.

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott

Friday, September 30, 2016

Thoughts On The Purpose of Pain

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if there were no pain? How different would life actually be? Would we really be all that different?

I have often thought of this, and even more as of late with some news I heard recently. Sometimes I've wondered why pain even exists, what its true purpose is. To be honest, it hasn't always made any real since to me. Life is full of so many different hurts and all types of suffering and I just don't really understand why sometimes. If it were up to me I don't really know if I even would have brought the concept of pain and suffering into this world.
It's really hard sometimes for me to see what goes on in the world and then to think any other way. However, I've always known that pain is a part of what God can, and does, use to make miracles happen, but there is just so much of it.
Our world is broken and while I have never really thought that the purpose of pain was about Judgement or His wrath, it can be difficult to see it in any other light. I realize that all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, but would He really take the concept of pain and use it to pass judgement on His beloved children.

If you think about the way a parent disciplines a child, we often do bring some type of pain to our children, whether we ground them from TV, put them in time out, or when we start embracing more of a tough love approach. Each of these causes some type of pain.

One of the things that I learned a long time ago was that there is more than just one type of pain. There is Emotional Pain, there is Physical Pain, there are even Mental attributes to pain, but most importantly there is Spiritual Pain. All of these types of pain have a purpose I'm sure, but why?
I've come to believe that maybe the purpose of pain changes with circumstance, situation and experience. So, there is not really one purpose but many. You could say that pain is the result of sin, which some would argue, or you could say that pain is only in this world so that the light of God can use it to break through the darkness that has taken hold of each of us in some way or another.
None of us are perfect are we? We all have something we struggle with and to me, that's where the darkness has the higher ground. You could even say that we experience pain so we can learn from it, I'm not sure how that would work but, there it is.

Maybe there is an answer that I just haven't been able to comprehend yet or maybe there really is no purpose behind it. I think that it's worth some research though. So, I guess I'm going to commit to doing some research about it and go from there. For now, Let's just leave it open and see where God leads.
Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Journey with ACTS 2:22-24

“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene[d] by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. - Acts 2:22-24 NLT

The idea the God has publicly endorsed any one is a special one to think about in times like the ones we share in today’s world. There is so much hurt and brokenness thought, that sometimes we just can’t see where God is doing this.

The miracles that we see today are so much different than they were back then and yet we do not see them, or even care to look for them. In many ways we have tied God’s hands behind his back, so to speak, by not taking more time to look for those places that he has done great and mighty things for us today.

We can find our way back from this untimely ‘death of a miracle’.  As we go about our day we can take the time to look for God in the things around us. We can find those places that God is publicly working through in this day and age, just as the believers did back then.

Life, as I’ve always said, is full of God's wonders and it is up to us to identify where they are at and whom He is working through. The People of Israel saw what God was doing and in many ways, denied some of the possibilities that could have come out of Jesus’ Ministry.

Instead of focusing on ourselves today, let's take a few moments to focus on what's going on around us. When we do this, wholeheartedly, God still protects us from the dangers around us, but He will also bless us in immeasurable ways when we realize just whats He’s doing in the midst of the world around us.

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."
"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20 M.J. Elliott

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Welcoming Hannah Joy

Hello Everyone, 

I know it's been quite a while since my last blogpost and I've got some I will be posting this week before I head back to work. For today, I wanted to share my account of we welcomed a beautiful little girl, Hannah Joy Elliott, into our family this past week and it was a miracle to say the least.

As many of you know we usually plan to have home births, both Leyla and Caleb were born in the comfort of our home and we had planned to do the same with Hannah. However, there were some unforeseen complications with her delivery. These complications we completely unexpected, both the good and the bad.

My wife, Traci, went into Labor at home around 10:30pm on September 21st and was doing quite well. We were only 6 hours in and we thought that Hannah was going to be here with in the next hour, but for what ever reason she could not get any further. No matter how hard Traci tried over the next several hours nothing changed.  She was bleeding pretty badly and it seemed to be getting worse. WORRY!!

So, in the blink of an instant we were talking about having to go to the Hospital. As we arrived at the hospital, it was about 10:30am on September 22nd.  The Doctor on duty met with us and checked everything out and said that she wanted to wait for a while before making any major decisions. While we waited nothing changed, what ever was keeping baby Hannah from coming into this world was not letting up. FEAR!!

While we waited, we heard of the arrival of other babies in the maternity ward and discouragement sank in. My mind began to wonder both about the baby and about Traci. Her lips had turned pale blue and her skin as pale as could be. The blood loss continued to control the entire birth. It was not a very easy feeling.  I could do nothing but pray and ask others to do the same. DISCOURAGED!!

Finally, the Doctors were able to get the bleeding to stop but Hannah still had not come down enough.  We sent out mass amounts of texts to those we could get a hold of and asked them to pray. Others called us saying things that were beyond comprehension as they prayed for us. It was as if the Lord God had moved in the hearts of Men and Women all over and that a war was waging, Satan would not take the life of our little Hannah or my beloved wife Traci. PRAYER!!

The prayers of the people spoke louder than all the discouragement around us and we were not about to give up. Some of those that prayed, shared of the promises that God had given them about our daughter and little by little the light began to gain the ground discouragement and worry has taken. Little glimmers of hope surrounded us all and unknowingly, God continued to work HOPE!! 

Our hearts slowly began to sparkle with peace and even in the midst of despair we knew we'd see our little Hannah that day. ENCOURAGED!!

Finally the Doctors had chosen, "We are going to prep you for a C-Section." Preparations began and while our hearts desire was that God would work a miracle WE WERE AT PEACE!! As they came in to take us into surgery, the doctor said to the nurse, "lets check her out one more time." Immediately Every thing changed...  PEACE!!

Close to 8pm on the 22nd the nurse stopped everything that she was doing. "Your going to give birth in the next hour or so." WHAT?? WE THOUGHT?? Well, not any more. At first we doubted but then the doctor confirmed and after just one push, our little Hannah was coming out all on her own. With in the hour, Traci held our beautiful daughter in her pale skinned arms and kissed her with her pale blue lips. REST!! 


We found out later that the situation was more dangerous that we thought, Traci had a partial placental abruption. This was what they assume had stopped Labor, if it had gotten worse things would have been a lot different. It could have been very serious and it was for a while, but God spoke life into both Traci and little Hannah through the prayers of the people and the knowledge of his peace within our hearts. JOY!!

God's hand was upon us and everyone involved, Satan's hold was vanquished and life truly prevailed. I will always remember that day and that God watches over us and that His glory will always win. LIFE!!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I hope and pray it will bring encouragement to all who read it. God is always with you and to those who claim God does not exist, you weren't there but HE WAS!!

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott