April 23, 2017

Who Am I

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Over time You’ve healed so much in me, and I am living proof
That although my darkest hour had come
Your light could still shine through

Though at times it’s just enough to cast a shadow on the wall
I am grateful that You’ve shined Your light on me at all

Who am I, that You would love me so gently
Who am I, that You would recognize my name
Who am I, that You would speak to me so softly
Conversation with the Lord Most High…who am I

Oh, “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see”
And the more I sing that sweet old song, the more I understand
That I do not comprehend this love that’s coming from Your hand

Grace, grace; God’s grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace; God’s great grace
Grace that is greater than all my sin

Lord, Who am I, who am I
Lord Who am I, who am I

Point Of Grace
written by Nathan and Christy Nockels

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In Jeremiah 31:3 we hear God tell us of His love.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore with lovingingkindness I have drawn you.

We also are reminded of God’s love in Psalm 36.

How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!
The children of men take refuge
and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.

As well as in 1 John 4:9-10.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us,
that God sent His only Son into the world,
so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Oh, the incomparable, unconditional, amazing LOVE that God has for us!  Throughout the Scriptures we are reminded over and over of God’s love for us!

And, in spite of our actions at times, God is always faithful and keeps His promises. Whether we ever believe them or not. Think about the children of Israel…they knew of God’s promise to lead them, protect them, guide them, feed them, guard them. But they were so often disobedient to His simple commands.  As such, because of His compassionate and abiding love for them, God had to help them to learn…as He will with us, too.

You must carefully follow every command I am giving you today,
so that you may live and increase,
and may enter and take possession of the land the Lord swore to your fathers.
Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey
these 40 years in the wilderness,
so that He might humble you and test you
to know what was in your heart,
whether or not you would keep His commands.
Deuteronomy 8:1 and 2

“As we hear and believe all that God tells us—as we intentionally think these truths and begin to act accordingly—He unfolds the true personality He designed us to be.”

ChristLife, Mrs. Ruth Myers, page 60

(Oh! Don’t you just love that!)  And so we learn more of the Truth as we begin to believe what God says about us. And as we trust Him and take Him at His Word, we will begin to be freed from lies and misconceptions we have held in our hearts.

But the fact remains that we need to be diligent in reminding ourselves constantly of these Truths and promises.  One would think that, with all the many, many, many examples and proofs that God so graciously shows us about how very much He loves us, we would be convinced.  However God is equally as patient with us as He loves us. The negative images that we have allowed into our hearts can be replaced by the Truth of just “Who we ARE” in Christ.  But it takes work and effort on our part. Thankfully, we are not left to do this on our own. God can and will help us through His Holy Spirit! Remember to pray, pray, pray!

Friends, I hope that the beautiful lyrics of this song can be a tool for you to use to pray and sing your heart out to God. Your heavenly Father has MUCH to say to you…MUCH to remind you of…MUCH healing and deliverance and blessing to give to you as you seek Him!

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Fear Not, My Child

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In myself I’ve failed the Lord
Then was afraid to try once more
That fire in my soul had fled
That’s when Jesus came and said

My spirit gives the strength you need
To raise you up and to succeed
And for vision in the night
To you, I’ll give these words of light

Fear not, my child
I’m with you always
I feel every pain
And every tear I see

Fear not, my child
I’m going to be with you always
I know how to take care of
What belongs to me

He said, My child, don’t look behind
Discouragement is all you’ll find
Don’t watch the waves that roll the sea
But just focus your eyes on Me

And I will make you strong and then
Your shattered courage I will mend
And if you fall and should get hurt
Remember these eternal words

Helen Baylor
written by Carman Licciardello with Kim Boyce
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There are more than 100 records in the Bible where God spoke these words of comfort and encouragement—“Do not fear…” and “Fear not….”  A clear statement of His heart towards His people, wouldn’t you say?  But being fearful (afraid, worried, scared) is a temptation that almost everyone falls into at one time or another.  For some of us it takes determined effort to cling to God’s promises that He will always be with us and that He will take care of us.  Me…I find myself falling into this category.  Anyone else?

But we DO have God’s promises…so knowing the Truth, and acting on it, is critical to dealing with our fears and worries.  And we DO know where to find the Truth—in the Bible.  Below are just a very few…oh, there are SO many…Scriptures to hold in our minds and our hearts. Perhaps you could write them out on index cards and keep them where you can find them easily—in your Bible, or on your desk, perhaps tacked up where you can see them easily.  The point is to be reminded and to be encouraged and to ‘fear not.’

Serve only the Lord your God and fear Him alone.
Obey His commands, listen to His voice, and cling to Him.
Deuteronomy 13:4

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
and He delivers them.
Psalm 34:7

So don’t be afraid;
you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:31

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27

This is My command—be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.
Psalm 56:3

In God, whose Word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
Psalm 56:4

He will cover you with His feathers.
He will shelter you with His wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Psalms 91:4-8

They do not fear bad news;
they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
Psalm 112:7

David, who God called ‘a man after My own heart,’ dealt with much temptation to fear throughout his life.  But David was sure that his LORD was always with him, even when he was (actually) alone.  Listen to his confession of trust and confidence in his Lord:

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread?
The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes,
came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me, [even then] in this will I be confident.
For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter;
in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock.
And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me;
in His tent I will offer sacrifices and shouting of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed
that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord;
be brave and of good courage
and let your heart be stout and enduring.
Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.

Excerpts from Psalm 27

May we each also confess, as David did, that ‘the Lord IS my Light and my Salvation…the Refuge and Stronghold of my life’.   May we also be assured that ‘my heart shall NOT fear…and in this will I be confident’.  May we ‘offer sacrifices and shouting of joy…and sing praises to the Lord’.   I pray for each of you that you, too, will ‘wait and hope for and expect the Lord; that you will be brave and of good courage…and that your heart will be enduring’.

And that you will know that this is God’s heart toward you…

Fear not, my child
I’m going to be with you always
I know how to take care of
What belongs to me

El Shaddai

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El Shaddai, El Shaddai
El-Elyon na Adonai
Age to age You’re still the same
By the power of the Name
El Shaddai, El Shaddai
Erkamka na Adonai
We will praise and lift You high, El Shaddai

Through Your love and through the ram
You saved the son of Abraham
Through the power of Your hand
Turned the sea into dry land
To the outcast on her knees
You were the God who really sees
And by Your might
You set Your children free

Through the years You made it clear
That the time of Christ was near
Though the people failed to see
What Messiah ought to be
Though Your Word contained the plan
They just could not understand
Your most awesome work was done
Through the frailty of Your Son

Michael Card
written along with John Thompson

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We are most identified by characteristics and names that identify who we are.  For example, who I am—Coleen—can be described in many ways: wife, mom, tata (grandmother), daughter, sister, friend, worshipper, singer, baker, writer, pray-er, crafter, lover, listener, etc.  But The Great I AM has described Himself throughout the Scriptures with many names—Yahweh (YHWH), ELohim, Adonai, LORD, Jehovah, JAH, EL Shaddai….  I believe He has used these (and additional) names to graciously help us to understand more of His character.  The Great I AM makes Himself known to us through the words of His Word, as well as through His Creation, through His Spirit, through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, through the words of the prophets—in oh so many ways!

One of my most favorite characteristics of I AM is that He IS God AlmightyEl Shaddai.  Hearing this name brings comfort and peace to my heart!  The fact and truth that Almighty God/El Shaddai loves me (and you, too!) and perfectly provides His care, provision, protection, supply of my (your!) needs is so thrilling to my soul!  The most common understanding of the title El Shaddai is “God Who is Almighty.”  There are 48 times in the Scriptures where God calls Himself by the name El Shaddai.  Let’s look at just a couple of these records.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old,
the Lord appeared to him and said,
I AM the Almighty God <El Shaddai>;
walk and live habitually before Me and be perfect.
Genesis 17:1

This is the very first record in the Scriptures where I AM identifies Himself in this way.  God Almighty/El Shaddai was about to reveal to Abram a part of the covenant He was making with him.  And this is where He promises the 99 year old Abram that he and his 90 year old wife, Sarai, would be having a son!!!  This is such a beautiful record!  (You can read the complete record here.)  Only El Shaddai could have made an eternal covenant such as this.  Only El Shaddai could have made a deadened womb to nurture life and bring forth a baby.  Only El Shaddai — God Almighty!

Another occurrence where the Great I AM is called by the title El Shaddai is in Psalm 91.  The psalmist declares,

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty <El Shaddai>.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my Refuge and my Fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalms 91: 1-2

Perhaps you, too, rejoice in your heart of hearts that El Shaddai, Who is the Great I AMloves and cares for you in the very same ways He has always cared for His people.  He is God and He does not change.

Would you share here in the comments below about this characteristic (or a different one) of the Great I AM that is important to you?  I would love to hear about it! 

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Almighty God,  El Shaddai, we praise You and thank You and love You with our whole hearts!   You always show Yourself mighty on behalf of Your children!  You are our Refuge and our Fortress—our God in Whom we trust!   May we always be cognizant of Who You are…the Great I AM.  May we be excited to read of and to remember Your awesome acts and works that are recorded in the Scriptures.  May they ever and always encourage us to never doubt You, El Shaddai—You never change!  ‘Erkamka na, Adonai!’  Praying in Your Son, Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Erkamka na, Adonai! ~ translated~ I love You, Lord!

Wise Men

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Three believed without a doubt
Saw a guiding light
Found Him in a lowly place
And knew He was divine
Wise men, wise men, wise men
Still look for Him

Giving gifts of thanks and praise
They called Him a king
Feeling joy that knew no bounds
They fell down worshiping
Wise men, wise men, wise men
Still look for Him

Surely angels still sing when someone comes so far
Traveling the distance from the depths of one’s own heart
Searching for salvation, they need not wear a crown
He’s still here for all who seek and He wants to be found

Letting God’s Word be their guide
They went home again
That’s where their story leaves us
And where ours begins
Wise men, wise men, wise men
Still look for Him

Allen Krehbiel
written with Trish Matthews

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Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

Matthew 2:1-12 NLT

As Christmas has passed and we are all cleaning up and getting back to our routines, it’s possible that we may unintentionally be leaving our focus on Jesus behind.

We say that we want to keep our minds on Jesus…but do we?

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3

We don’t know the details of the lives and work of the wise men, but it is fair to say that they studied the stars. They were knowledgeable enough to recognize that something new and important had appeared in the night sky. They were scholarly men who studied various literatures, which included what we refer to as the Old Testament, specifically the prophecies. We could say that they were ‘full of knowledge.’ What made them wise was how they accepted that knowledge and used it for good. With their knowledge, they wisely committed to look for…and find…the prophesied Messiah. According to the prophecies, the King of the Jews had been born; and not an ordinary king, but one so great that He was worthy of their time, their gifts, and their worship.

{Here is an interesting article from the Institute for Creation Research…}
When They Saw The Star

I know some of us are saying, “I took time out from my daily life to focus on Christmas. Now I need to get back to my family and work routines to keep things running smoothly.” God knows all of that is necessary, and He certainly doesn’t condemn that. But He also knows that focusing our hearts and minds on Jesus is important to all aspects of our lives and the lives of our family.

This story of the wise men leaves us with a very good lesson. The wise men used their knowledge to personally seek the king of the Jews, the Messiah. That is wisdom. As we “travel” into the new year, 2016, let’s make the same commitment that the wise men did. As we daily study God’s Word, we will gain knowledge of God and His plan for us. With God’s Word as our guide, we will wisely seek Jesus in a more personal way, and our very life will reflect Him. “He’s still here for all who seek and He wants to be found.”

You will seek Me and find Me,
when you seek Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

Wise men—and women—still seek Him.

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Lord, many of us have heads full of knowledge, but we know that doesn’t equate to being wise.  In this coming year, please help us through Your Holy Spirit to be more committed than ever to study Your Word, and then use it wisely to grow closer to You, more like You, and draw others to You. In the Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen, It Is So.

Who I Am

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This is one thing I really struggle with.  Let’s just say self-confidence and self-esteem are not among my strong suits. (Not to be confused with pride, which I often have WAY too much of).  As I was looking back through my old blogs, I noticed a recurring theme: blogs about who, and Whose, I am.  I confess, it is an ongoing struggle, especially now as I have joined the 50+ club.  But the words in the blog below still hold true. When doubts creep in and self worth crumbles, it is because I have forgotten who and Whose I am.  In the song “I Am New” by Jason Gray, it says…

“Forgiven, beloved, hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and holy, reborn and remade
Accepted and worthy…”

This is my new name. This is who I am—I belong to Him. Sometimes I just need to be reminded once again of who I am. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 HCSB states:

…beloved by the Lord, because God
from the beginning chose you for salvation
through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth…

I am beloved by the Lord…chosen from the beginning…filled by the Spirit…and am continually being transformed.  This is who the Bible says I am.  So, what do I need to do?  As Blanca sings, I need to believe who I am and Whose I am.

Turning down
Tuning out
Every single word
That caused me pain
Unashamed
And unafraid
‘Cause I believe You mean it when You say

Here are just a few of the things that the Scriptures tell us…

  • Colossians 3:12 AMP says I am “well-beloved [by God Himself,”
  • 1 John 3:12 NASB tells us “now we are children of God,”
  • Zephaniah 3:17 NIV states “The Lord your God is with you…He will take great delight in you; He will rejoice over you with singing.”
  • Isaiah 49:16a AMP reminds us “Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands.”

As I wrote above, the words in the blog that follows still hold true. When doubts creep in and self-worth crumbles, it is because I have forgotten who I am and Whose I am.

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Another voice, another choice
To listen to words somebody said
Another day, I replay
One too many doubts inside my head

Am I strong…beautiful
Am I good enough
Do I belong
After all that I’ve said and done
Is it real when I feel
I don’t measure up
Am I loved

I’m running to the One who knows me
Who made every part of me in His hands
I’m holding to the One who holds me
‘Cause I know whose I am, I know who I am
I am sure I am Yours

Turning down, tuning out
Every single word
That caused me pain
Unashamed, and unafraid
‘Cause I believe You mean it when You say

I am strong…beautiful
I am good enough
I belong
After all
‘Cause of what You’ve done
This is real what I feel
No one made it up
I am loved

I am sure I am Yours
I know who I am
I am sure I am Yours

Fearfully, wonderfully, perfectly
You have made me

I’m running to the One who knows me
I’m holding to the One who holds me

  Blanca
Written by Blanca Callahan / Seth Mosley / Mia Fieldes

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For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.
Psalms 139:13-14 HCSB

Another voice, another choice
To listen to words somebody said
Another day, I replay
One too many doubts inside my head

Am I strong…beautiful
Am I good enough
Do I belong
After all that I’ve said and done
Is it real
When I feel I don’t measure up
Am I loved?”

Surely I am not the only one that can relate to these words!  Thoughts and questions just like these have played over and over in my head at least a thousand times (sometimes in just one day) but as I was listening to this song on the radio, the light bulb went on!  I have to know WHOSE I am before I will really understand WHO I am. Duh!  {Mental head slap here.}

As I looked through the many lists of Scriptures about ‘who I am’, I began to see ‘Whose I am’:

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:26 NLT

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, His own special people…
1 Peter 2:9 NKJV

…For our citizenship is in heaven…
Philippians 3:20a HCSB

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved…
Colossians 3:12a NASB

Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him]
1 John 4:4a AMP

I am a child of God!
I am His!
He chose me.
He created me.
And He holds me close.

…No one will snatch them out of My hand.
My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all;
and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
John 10:28b-29

Since I belong to Christ, that means:

For you are all children of the light and of the day;
we don’t belong to darkness and night.
1 Thessalonians 5:5 NLT

Do you not know that your body is the temple
(the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you,
Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God?
1 Corinthians 6:19 AMP/1 Corinthians 3:16

Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of it.
1 Corinthians 12:27 HCSB

…But I have called you friends…
John 15:15

For we are God’s masterpiece.
Ephesians 2:10a NLT

(Did you get that?  We are God’s masterpiece!)

A masterpiece is beautiful.  It is lovely.  It is treasured.  It is of immeasurable worth!  So that means God sees us as beautiful, lovely, treasured, and of immeasurable worth!

Knowing Whose I am gives me a sense of identity, of self confidence.

We are strong, we are good enough, we are loved!
{And I really need to remember that!}

The King Is Among Us

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All our fathers saw
In the days of old
Would you do it again
Do it again
All the stories told
All the miracles
Would you do it again
Do it again

You said “Consecrate yourselves to Me
And you will see amazing things”

We need Your revival
Holy Spirit fire
Burning ever brighter
In our souls
Kings and kingdoms falling
Hear your people calling
King of Kings we need a miracle

There’s a time to sow
And a time to reap
Would you do it again
Do it again
There’s a time to heal
And a time to build
Would you do it again
Do it again

The King is among us
And His glory surrounds us
And His fire is falling as we sing
The Savior is for us
And His love is victorious
And revival is rising in His name

Elevation Worship
Mack Brock, Chris Brown, Steven Furtick, Wade Joye, Matt Redman

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Every single word in the Bible is true!  

Every story and every miracle and every word written was given by our Heavenly Father…to you and for you.  How often do you read it?  Is it just a coffee table book that collects dust?  Or is it a memory that you received in fifth grade for Promotion Sunday and you used to read it then (when the teacher called on you).

We are about to step into a new year, friends, and it’s always a time to reflect on what has been and also to move forward with change.  And what better way to start a new year than to begin in His Word? Because He really is among us.  He longs to walk with you daily, into whatever it is that you’re facing.  He longs to give you the peace that you so desperately need and have been longing for.  He wants to give you a hope in His Son, Jesus.  And He wants to save your life.

So as you listen to this song today, I pray that the Spirit moves in your heart.  And that whatever change is needed in your life, that you will allow God to show you and allow Him to help you move forward, leaving all the past exactly where it needs to be—in the past.  I pray that you have a great 2016!   May God bless you and be with you!

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Dear God, thank You for the opportunity to share with these friends every week. I pray that You move in each one of their lives as You see need. Bring them peace and hope and joy. May they walk with You into this great new year and see it as an opportunity to get to know You better. Help us to stay in Your Word and to share it with all who will listen. We love You and we praise You! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Christmas Worship

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…And while they were there, the time came for her delivery,
and she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn;
And she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room or place for them in the inn.
And in that vicinity there were shepherds living [out under the open sky]
in the field, watching [in shifts] over their flock by night.
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them,
and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them,
and they were terribly frightened.
But the angel said to them, do not be afraid; for behold,
I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.
For to you is born this day in the town of David
a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!
And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]:
you will find a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
Then suddenly there appeared with the angel
an army of the troops of heaven (a heavenly knighthood), praising God and saying,
Glory to God in the highest [heaven],
and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased .
When the angels went away from them into heaven,
the shepherds said one to another, let us go over to Bethlehem
and see this thing (saying) that has come to pass,
which the Lord has made known to us.
So they went with haste and [by searching] found Mary and Joseph,
and the Baby lying in a manger.
And when they saw it, they made known what had been told them
concerning this Child, and all who heard it were astounded
and marveled at what the shepherds told them.
But Mary was keeping within herself all these things (sayings),
weighing and pondering them in her heart.
and the shepherds returned,
Glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told them.
Luke 2:6-20

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Here on the GCH Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs blog there is nothing we love to do more than praise and worship our God!  (We know you each agree…and are most probably nodding your heads and voicing your ‘Amen!’)  And singing through seasonal songs of both traditional carols and contemporary Christian music is such a lovely, simple way to voice your praises.  Below is a wonderful collection of carols and choruses.

As you listen along, whether you are sitting quietly or wrapping those last few presents or gathered with your loved ones for a Christmas sing-a-long, may the words that you sing be a sweet, sweet sound to the ears of Almighty God.

From Clella, Cynda, Kim, Tina, and myself…
we wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!  
God bless you and keep you!

(Christmas Version) Hallelujah

I’ve heard about this baby boy
Who’s come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this—the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I’m singing Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God’s only Son was born, oh Hallelujah
Hallelujah

The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You’ll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wisemen three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah
Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged Cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah

Cloverton
Original tune: Leonard Cohen
This version lyrics: Lance Stafford, Layne Stafford, Kirby LeMoine and Josh Svorinic
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HalleluJAH!  This phrase, which most often has been translated “Praise the Lord,” is found only a few times throughout all of the Bible.  We read it in the Book of Revelations, chapter 19, verses 1, 3, 4, 6.  As well as in the Psalms (#111, 112, 113, 117, 135, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150).  Many of us are familiar with Leonard Cohen’s classic original Hallelujah’.  But the words in that version, while though very stirring, pale in comparison, in my opinion, to the lyrics sung here by the Cloverton boys.   Cloverton’s rendition sings out the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel-God with us.   Truly, I would call it a modern-day Christmas carol.

It reminds me of another very popular musical piece—Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from The Messiah, his most well-known orchestral composition.  Now they differ greatly in style, of course…but are very similar in their lyrical content.   Point being, both of these songs were written to sing about the birth of Jesus and praises to  Almighty God, as well as give us, fellow singers and praisers, inspired songs to sing our praises.

In the account in the Gospel of Luke of the announcement of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, the angel and the ‘heavenly host’ similarly offered praise to God.

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host
praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
Luke 1:13 and 14

And upon returning from seeing the Baby and acknowledging the fulfillment of the angel’s words, the shepherds also worshipped and praised God.

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph.
And there was the Baby, lying in the manger.
After seeing Him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened
and what the angel had said to them about this Child.
All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,
but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
The shepherds went back to their flocks,
glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.
It was just as the angel had told them.
verses 15-20

The birth of the Savior certainly was an occasion for much ‘Hallelujah-ing,’ wouldn’t you say?!  And there WAS much praise and glorifying of God!

May I encourage you to take time throughout the busyness and celebrations of this season to voice your praises and gratitude to Almighty God!  May each of us be found glorifying and praising God for His goodness and love to mankind.   It doesn’t matter whether it is in quiet meditation regarding how GOOD God is…or singing out our praise and worship through this gorgeous song…or praising God as we sing along with the carols and hymns of the season.

Just let ‘HalleluJAH‘be on your lips!

How Many Kings

phssChristmasgraphic2014

Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe, after all we’ve projected, a Child in a manger
Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in His mother’s shawl – just a child –
Is this who we’ve waited for

How many kings stepped down from their thrones
How many lords have abandoned their homes
How many greats have become the least for me
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me

Bringing our gifts for the newborn Savior
All that we have, whether costly or meek
Because we believe
Gold for His honor, and frankincense for His pleasure
And myrrh for the Cross He will suffer
Do you believe is this who we’ve waited for

Only One did that for me
All, all for me…
All for you…

DownHere
Written by Marc Martel and Jason Germain 
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How many do you know of?  How many would have such a depth of love?  How many would sacrifice?  How many would choose to be sacrificed?  How many would give their most precious?  How many would leave the most perfect place…for such a broken place?  How many would do all this for sinful humanity?  Only ONE God…only ONE Lord.

only ONE Lord…only ONE Great…only ONE God…
only ONE Father…only ONE Son
only ONE King

The love

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

The sacrifice

[Here is] the High Priest [perfectly adapted] to our needs, as was fitting—holy, blameless, unstained by sin, separated from sinners, and exalted higher than the heavens.
He has no day by day necessity, as [do each of these other] high priests, to offer sacrifice first of all for his own [personal] sins and then for those of the people, because He [met all the requirements] once for all when He brought Himself [as a sacrifice] which He offered up.
For the Law sets up men in their weakness [frail, sinful, dying human beings] as high priests, but the word of [God’s] oath, which [was spoken later] after the institution of the Law, [chooses and appoints as priest One Whose appointment is complete and permanent], a Son Who has been made perfect forever.
Now the main point of what we have to say is this: We have such a High Priest, One Who is seated at the right hand of the majestic [God] in heaven,

Hebrews 7:26-8:1

The humility

Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

The greatness

It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you
must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you
must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served
but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:26-28

The  majesty…

He who descended is Himself also
He who ascended far above all the heavens,
so that He might fill all things.
Ephesians 4:10

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though He was rich,
yet for your sake He became poor,
so that you by His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

And the ONLY response…

By this the love of God was manifested in us,
that God has sent His only begotten Son
into the world so that we might live through Him.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:9-11

By this we know that we love the children of God,
when we love God and obey His commandments.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.
And His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:2 and 3

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love;
just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
John 15:10

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A King Like This

phssChristmasgraphic2014

A King like this, majesty
Laying in a manger
A King like this
Unto us is born a Savior
The Light, the Light has come
A King like this, the highest
Name and the song of heaven
A King like this born of
Flesh into our suffering
The Light, the Light has come

He is Christ, the Lord
He is Christ, our Savior
I bow my heart before no other name
I bow my heart before no other King

A King like this, a saving
Love that would not forsake us
Betrayed by a kiss and led
To the cross for our forgiveness
The Light, the Light has come

He is Christ, the Lord
He is Christ, our Savior
I bow my heart before no other name
I bow my heart before no other King

We lift up our eyes,
the 
Light has come
We lift up our eyes,
the 
Light has come
We lift up our eyes,
the 
Light has come
We lift up our eyes
lift up our eyes
lift up your eyes

He is Christ, the Lord
He is Christ, our Savior
I bow my heart before no other name
I bow my heart before no other King

A King like this, a throne of grace
That will stand forever
The angels sing glory, glory, hallelujah
The Light, the Light has come
The Light, the Light has come

Chris Tomlin

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How many heirs to a throne, a king-to-be, have you heard of who were born in some lowly, stinky, dingy place? Personally, I can only think of one–Jesus.
By prophecy and lineage, Jesus was born a king.

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Jeremiah 23:5-6

“Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name Him Jesus.
He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David.
And He will reign over Israel forever; His Kingdom will never end!”
Luke 1:26-33

This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah,
a descendant of David and of Abraham…
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.
All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David,
fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile,
and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.
Matthew 1:1, 16-17

But why a stable? When a gem is found in the dirt and mud of a mine, it really stands out as something different than the ordinary rocks surrounding it. When a beautiful, delicate flower is found in the weeds, it makes one stop and take notice. When a precious, beautiful baby is born in a less than appealing place (such as a stable), everyone stares in amazement.  I believe God wanted the contrast so the people would notice, and He still wants that today.

Jesus was the little baby born in that dingy stable, so that the shepherds would stop and take notice.

Jesus was the little child who had a major star shining over His head so that the wise men could find Him and worship Him.

Jesus is The Light of the world so we will stop and take notice in our otherwise dark world.

Jesus is our Savior Who died an agonizing death on the cross so that we would bow before Him to receive our salvation.

Jesus is The King sitting on Heaven’s Throne that we might lift up our eyes in worship to Him, our Lord and Savior, for all eternity.

A King like this, a saving
Love that would not forsake us

A King like this, a throne of grace
That will stand forever

The Light has come!

Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there.
Its rider was named Faithful and True,
for He judges fairly and wages a righteous war.
On His robe at His thigh was written this title:
King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
Revelation 19:11-16

There is no better day than today to stop and take notice of The King whose throne was once a manger in a dingy stable, but Who now sits on The Throne of Grace in Heaven.  Join with me as ‘I bow my heart before no other name, I bow my heart before no other King,’ only Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Lift up your eyes, The Light has come! Let us sing with the angels,

Glory, glory, Hallelujah, The Light, The Light has come!