October 21, 2014

My One Word ~ Joyful

I just love this concept of having ‘a word’ as a spiritual discipline. (I’m sure you have stumbled across this idea…recently the blogging world has been crazy busy writing about it!) Somehow…ok, God’s grace, of course…I was introduced to this idea three years ago. A bit ahead of the crowd which is sort of typical for me. You see, I don’t do trendy things, I surely dance to the beat of a different drum. But I am perfectly settled with that…it is who I am and who I imagine I will always be.

Here’s how it works:  the plan is to pray and, following God’s lead, choose ‘one word’ that will be your focus for the next year. In working through this concept it seems to be so simple and, yet, so vast in its application. I have found that my eyes and ears (and spirit!) are aware and attentive to ‘hearing’ my word whether in the Scriptures, or in study of other books, or in listening to a sermon or teaching, etc. But isn’t that just the way that the Holy Spirit leads, and guides, and teaches us? It is the still, small voice that we hear. It is His gentle leading that always bring us to ‘see’ a revelation. Haven’t you found this true?

Each of my words has always been in relation to Almighty God. My ‘one word’ in 2013 has been TRUST, in 2012 it was PEACE, and in 2011 my word was REFUGE. And these are the verses that I began with and stood upon:

TRUST
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?
Psalms 56:3 and 4

PEACE
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything,
but in every circumstance and in everything,
by prayer and petition (definite requests),
with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul
assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God
and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace]
which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard
over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6 and 7

REFUGE
But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy,
and spread Your protection over them, and that those who love Your Name may exult in you.
Psalm 5:11

I can honestly tell you that drawing closer in my relationship with God in light of each of those words has changed my heart. No doubt about it; absolutely! And so I joyfully anticipate ALL that God is going to do in me in 2014 as I focus on one word—JOYFUL.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11

So, what do you think…is this something you might consider doing? If you have already been praying and asking God to lead you in selecting your ‘one word,’ I would love to hear about it! And, if not, pray! Seek God’s guidance and direction! He surely knows what your heart needs. He absolutely knows what will come along your path in the next year. And, most importantly, He loves you so very much and wants to guide you along the right path for you!

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:25

I am praying for you, too! If you would like, I would love to pray with you…send me a FaceBook message!

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{ For those of you who love to read, Pastor Mike Ashcraft wrote this marvelous book My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word sharing the journey that he took along with the congregation of the church he shepherds. It’s a great book and in it he shares much more of the heart behind the discipline of ‘one word.’ }

Looking back and Looking Forward

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.     Romans 12:2

A verse for the new year, don’t you think? As I look back on 2013, I see God’s hand in all of it. I cannot imagine a day without Him, really, and I don’t want to. This year has been challenging for sure, yet my faith has grown by leaps and bounds. There have been times of scarce resources yet God has provided loaves and fishes. My children have not gone hungry and there has always been a roof over our heads. The Lord is so good.

Kyle started a new job this time last year. He has been on the road for most of 2013 and had a lot of time with His Creator. I have had the privilege of watching God grow and mold him into the husband and father that He intended him to be. The marriage that almost ended has been completely renewed  and restored to an even more magical and Spirit-filled marriage, and love for each other is greater than ever. We found a church home and a group of wonderful godly people who love us for us and accept us just the way we are, but love us too much to let us stay content. How amazing when God puts people in your path that actually speak truth to you and help you grow spiritually.

I’ve watched my children grow spiritually through some pretty hard things. But, isn’t that how God works? It’s through the tests and trials that our faith grows and we realize that with God we can do anything. They have seen God do the impossible, too. As much as I would love for their lives to be easy, without hardships and heartaches, their character and faith and relationship with Him grows out of the dark murky soil. I wouldn’t change anything. God is good and all He gives is good. We cannot see the big picture so we don’t see how all these pieces fit together. But God does—and He puts the tapestry of our lives together. I love that I can look back with a smile knowing that He WAS  in control; I love that I can step into next year knowing that He IS in control. What would I do differently? Nothing!

So what are my hopes for the new year? For starters, I don’t want to take one step that He does not ordain. And what is the best way to hear what He says about our future? We go to His Word. His promises always come true and His word is more valuable than any amount of money.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect,
but I press on to make it my own,
because Christ Jesus has made me His own.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind
and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward
the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3, verses 12-14

‘Forgetting the past,’  ‘pressing on toward the goal,’  ‘for the prize,’  amazing words! And the prize is the the call on your life—an anointing on your life from your Father.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

You are a new creation, the old has passed! 2013 has passed, there is nothing that can be done about it now. If wrong has been done, then we repent, ask forgiveness and move forward, right? And that is all that is required. We are forgiven. Grace is ours for free! And there’s more…

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and (spring) rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18-19

This is actually our family life verse. He does make a way in the desert—He always has and He always will. When there seems to be no way, He makes a way. He is the way. John 14:6 says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Friends, if you don’t know Jesus and you don’t know the way to the Father, please read these Scriptures and pray them back to Him. All you have to do is ask Him to come in to your heart and live forever. Then read His Word and begin the most important and amazing walk of your life.

Last is Isaiah 43:1-28, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name and you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.” (Verses 2-5)

 He has called you by name and you are His!! Praise the Lord, He will walk in to 2014 with you and you will start fresh. You have an empty slate, a fresh start, a do over, if you will. All your steps are ordained and He will go before you and make a way for you! Oh…how He loves you and can’t wait to do life with you this year. So let’s take a deep breath, and take His hand and step on into the new year….

Let us pray: Dear God, our Father, thank You so much for this past year, for our successes and failures, for our victories and for trials, for keeping us safe and for loving us always. You are an amazing God, and even the rocks cry out to You. You are our Abba Father, our Daddy, we can crawl up in Your lap and forget the world. Thank You for going before us and making a way for us in the wilderness. Thank You for the fresh springs in the desert and for giving us the victory before the trial. Lord, as we walk in to this new year, I pray Your hedge of protection be around us and our families. Provide all we need, Dear Jesus, and keep us close to Your heart. I’m excited to see what;s in store for us this year! For it’s in Your name we pray, amen!

Emmanuel

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This song only has 15 words (not counting the repeats) in the whole song. Hmm, it must not say much, right? Wrong! These 15 words are some of the most powerful words you will ever sing. Once those 15 words get down into your spirit, you will never be the same!

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Wonderful Counselor
Lord of life, Lord of all
He’s the Prince of Peace
Mighty God, Holy One
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

 

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son,
and they shall call his name Emmanuel,
which being interpreted is, God with us.
Matthew 1:23

There are many more Scriptures that promise that God is with us.

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding,
so that we may know Him who is true. And we are in Him who is true—
even in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
1 John 5:20

Here’s a few others to look up: Isaiah 7:14, John 1:1,14, 1 Corinthians 3:16, Isaiah 44:24, 1 Corinthians 8:6.

Why is it important that we remember that God is with us through His Son Jesus? Look at Who Jesus is:

Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor:

For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:5-7

Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.
Psalm 119:24

Jesus is the Lord of life:

I am the Bread of life.
John 6:48
I am the resurrection and the life.
John 11:25

Jesus is the Lord of all:

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel,
telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.”
Acts 10:36

Jesus is the Prince of Peace:
For unto us a child is born…Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.”
John 14:27

Jesus is Mighty God:

The Mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken,
and called the earth from the rising of the sun until the going down thereof.
Psalm 50:1

Jesus is the Holy One:

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.
Psalm 22:2-4

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:9-11

Has Emmanuel been your focus during this Christmas season? As it comes to an end and we move back into the busy-ness of life, we will leave the Christmas carols behind but let’s not leave Jesus behind. Let’s take Jesus with us! Jesus is our all-in-all. He is everything we need. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. This is what God wants for us in 2014!

* * * * *

Dear Jesus, I have just scratched the surface of what it means for us to have You—Emmanuel—living in and through our lives. As we move into 2014, I pray that we will take time to ponder and learn the depth of this Truth. We are so grateful that You are everything we need! We bow in humble adoration to our Counselor, our Lord, the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, the Holy One, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

cyndaChristmasgreetingCynda Collinger

For me, Christmas is all about family.  Ever since I was little Christmas always meant big family get-togethers.  When we moved to Colorado big family get-togethers became few and far between. Two years ago was the first time in several years we actually got to spend Christmas Day with both of our girls together. That was the year the little love in this picture was born on Christmas Eve. This year we will spend Christmas Day with him. We will see all our family this year, just not all at the same time. I miss our big family get-togethers. But there is one thing that ties us all together, either way.  We all celebrate the birth of the Christ Child – God in human form. The perfect gift for all mankind!

May joy and blessings be yours as we celebrate the birth of the sweet little Holy Child!

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Clella Fox

clellaChristmasgreetingclellaspicchristmasFrom our house to yours, Steve and I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas! We pray that the Emmanuel of Christmas will be with you and yours throughout the year of 2014. Numbers 6:24-26.

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Megan Smidt

smidtsgreetingFrom our home to yours…. May the magic  of Christmas fill your heart and soul for the best Christmas ever!  Enjoy your family and friends and always live each moment intentionally showing love.

Love, The Smidt Family

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

bolme

Teresa Bolme

In honor of the Child King born to save us all, our family wishes to serve and to love and spend time with Friends and Family this Holiday Season.

This is our “Christmas Offering” to each of you.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Laura Pattillo

laurachristmasgreetingFrom Micheal, Laura, Thomas, and Nattie Grace:

We wish you a blessed Merry Christmas and blessed New Year!

Happy Holidays from the Heart of Dixie.

 

 

 

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Cheris Gaston

photoWe have so much to be thankful for this Christmas season and everyday! We thank God for sending His precious Son, Jesus, to be the Savior of the world! Let us always be in awe of His great love, and be so filled with it to the point it overflows from within us! Merry Christmas, friends!

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

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Tonya Ellison

tonyachristmasgreeting

 

 

 

Merry Christmas from the Ellison Family! In between baking, wrapping, unwrapping, family, fun and food, remember that Christ’s love for you is the best gift you can ever receive, and that showing love to another is the best gift you can give.

Merry Christmas!

 

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Laurie Ellis 

lauriegreeting (2)Merry Christmas from the Ellis’.  We pray you have a very Merry Christmas as you celebrate the joy of our Lord’s amazing birth. May His grace and peace be with you and your family in the new year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christi Wilson

christi wilsonMerry Christmas from the Wilson’s. May God bless you and your loved ones as we celebrate the birth of our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

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Coleen Hayden

2013-09-17 17.08.38If we were face to face right now, exchanging hugs and Christmas greetings, I imagine these would be some of the words that we would share with one another: God’s gift, little Child, humble birth, glory to God, angels singing, peace–love–joy, Savior, Redeemer…but the words that I would leave you with…in the end…would be ‘God loves you! and I do, too!’  Merry and blessed Christmas, friend!  May God bless you this Christmas and every day with His Love!  xo 

 

 

 

 

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Kim Golds

kimgreetingsMay you Be Blessed this Christmas season remembering the Truth ♥   A Savior who loved you and I so much that He was born in the humblest of circumstances only to then endure the cross, to save you and me… “For The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.. For those who live in a land of deep darkness a light will shine…. For a child is born to us, a son given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders… And he will be called Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace… His government and it’s peace will never end…”

Merry Christmas, sweet ladies, from my family to yours… Love and Blessings!!!  Kim

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Tina Marin

tinaspicgreetings2Merry Christmas from the Marin Family!  We pray that you all enjoy each other and remember the reason we celebrate this season—the Birth of Our Lord and Savior!  We are blessed with many friends and pray that you will be as well!

 

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Beverly McCormick

bevsfamilypicgreetingsMerry Christmas, everyone. From our family to yours. In each day of new beginnings with God, all things are possible. We are restored and renewed in a joyous awakening to the wonder that our lives are and, yet, can be. Love to you all as we begin and grow in an upcoming year!

 

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

We Are The Reason

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“Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him
may not be lost but may have eternal life.”
John 3:16

This verse pretty much speaks mountains of why God gave….\ It was all for us! He wanted us to know His love so He demonstrated His love!  Listen and let this song speak to His reasons as to why He gave and continues to give.

 

As little children we’d dream of Christmas morn
And all the gifts and toys we knew we’d find
But we never realized a baby born one blessed night
Gave us the greatest gift of our lives

We are the reason that He gave His life
We were the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

As the years went by we learned more of our gifts
The giving of ourselves and what that means
On a dark and cloudy day a man hung crying in the rain
Because of love…Because of love

I finally found the reason for living
It’s in giving every part of my heart to Him
And all that I do every word that I say
I will give all my life just for Him, just for Him

We are the reason that He gave His life
We are the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

 * * * * *

 Dear God,

 Its hard to fully understand the love You gave and give us everyday, and I want to thank You and praise You with all of my heart.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

Sing Along

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A couple years ago I was in the car with my sister and nieces, and my niece instantly started singing along to “Angels we Have Heard on High.”  It was such a sweet moment. My sister told me she just loves that song! Now, each Christmas season when I hear this song playing, I think of that moment years ago and smile.

 

I simply love that one of my niece’s favorite songs is one which highlights the glory of God!  I want all of my nieces and nephews to grow up loving God and knowing that He is their Savior. I am thankful they hear about Him daily.

Just as my nieces and nephews hear, how is the entire world going to learn about God’s goodness and love and know Him personally unless they are hearing about Him?

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8

I love this verse so much! It challenges me to truly share Jesus with everyone I pass by in a day. Whether it be a smile, a kind word, or lyrics to a Christmas song—don’t pass up any opportunity to be God’s witness to the whole wide world!

One thing we can take advantage at this time of year is the fact that many people who normally listen to stations playing music with empty words are now hearing Christmas songs filled with God’s words blast through their speakers. These new lyrics can leave them searching for something, for Someone. Let’s be ready to share the good news that Jesus is Who, what they have been searching for. He came into this hurting world for you and me, in order to save us and so we could spend eternity in His glory one day!
Truth be told, maybe the only time Jesus will be heard on most of these stations is during the Christmas season.

Think about the words of this song alone, Angels We Have Heard on High:

Shepherds, why this jubilee
Why your joyous strains prolong
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song
Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the Highest)
Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the Highest)
Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing
Come adore on bended knee
Christ our Lord, the new born King

What is the reason for your joy? What is the reason for the hope you have found? What is the reason for these songs of praise? Just as this song answers these questions, let us, too, answer these questions for the single mom asking…the drug addict asking…the homeless person asking…the quiet child asking.

Let us pray for each for these ones to be brought along our path this Christmas so we can share with them God’s love…so that one day they will be singing along with us and the angels, to His glorious song in Heaven, Glory to God in the Highest!

Oh Come to My Heart, Lord Jesus

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Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home there was found no room
For Thy Holy Nativity:

Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus!
There is room in my heart for Thee;
Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus, come,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth cam’st Thou, Lord, on earth,
And in great humility:

The foxes found rest, and the birds had their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee:

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary:

Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus!
Thy cross is my only plea;
Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus, come,
Thy cross is my only plea.

When heaven’s arches shall ring, and her choirsshall sing
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me up, saying, “Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee!”

And my heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus!
When Thou comest and callest for me;
And my heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus!
When Thou comest and callest for me. 


Oh, Come to My Heart, Lord Jesus ~ Lyrics by Emily Eliott; Score by Timothy Matthews

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Oh the memories this song brings to mind;  really, all my childhood Christmases are wrapped up into it. Every Christmas, our church put on a Christmas musical called “Carols by Candlelight” and my sweet precious daddy sang this song and my sweet little sister sang in the children’s chorus behind him. My sweet precious mom and I sat side-by-side in the pew, along with my dad’s parents.  We were all dressed up in our Christmas best and I remember how much I loved sitting right beside my mom. I remember how I loved holding her hand and how safe I felt. How she knew my every need before I asked, and how she knew I would want that piece of gum she had in her purse. Oh, how she loved me and how she took such good care of me. Isn’t that a picture of how our Father in Heaven loves us? And takes care of our every need before we even realize we need it?

The hymn was sung a little differently than the lyrics above. It started like this:

“Welcome, we’ve gathered today to praise the Christ of Christmas.
Let’s invite Him in today!” And then these beautiful words:
“Lord, You left Your throne and Your kingly crown,
when You came to this earth that day.
But in Bethlehem’s home there was found no room for your Holy Nativity.
Oh! Come to my heart, Lord Jesus!  There is room in my heart for You.”

Our God, our Creator sent His only Son to this earth as a baby. He entrusted Him to a carpenter and his wife, Mary. He came into this world in a filthy stable where He was and is still most comfortable—among the dirty. He was laid in a manger, made of wood, and He was to be the Savior. He would later die on a cross, made of wood, so that we, the dirty, could be clean. Do you realize what a miracle this was?

“You came, Oh Lord, with the Living Word that should set Your people free! But with mocking scorn, and a crown of thorns, they sent You to Calvary. Oh come to my heart, Lord Jesus, Your Cross is my only plea. Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus. “ And the final verse, that’s full of hope, send chills and brings a smile I can’t contain. “Let Thy voice call me up saying ‘Yes there is room,there is room at My side for you!’” Isn’t that what we long to hear one day? I know I’m living for that day!

So today, if you haven’t given your life to Him or made room in your heart for your Savior, He is waiting. All you have to do is ask. I can’t imagine a better birthday gift for Jesus than to have another of His children ask Him to be in their heart. Can you? Doesn’t matter how dirty you are or how you live or where you live, He meets you where you are and He can’t wait to walk with you through this life. Once He comes into your heart, you will never be the same and He will never leave you or forsake you!

Where are you this Christmas? He knows and He cares and He wants to sit beside you and hold your hand and make you feel safe. Will you ask Him to come into your heart today?

* * * * * 

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You so much for the gift of Your Son! He came to earth and paid the ultimate price so that we don’t have to. You know where we are right now and You meet us and You love us! Help us to remember and to celebrate You this season and to not get tangled up in the material aspect of it. Help us to keep You in the center of Christmas and the center of our lives. We love You and praise You. Give those who don’t know You the courage to try life with You. Give us Your Holy Spirit to guide and direct us until that awesome day when face-to-face we will see You!  In Your Son’s name we pray. Amen.

Gabriel’s Message – Sting

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The angel Gabriel from heaven came
His wings as drifted snow
His eyes as flame
“All hail” said he “thou lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

“For known a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee,
Thy Son shall be Emanuel,
By seers foretold
Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,
“My soul shall laud and magnify His holy name.”
Most highly favored lady, Gloria!

Of her Emanuel, the Christ was born
In Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn
And everyone throughout the world forever saved
Most highly favored lady, Gloria!

Gabriel’s Message  ~  Sting

I first heard this song sometime in the ’80s.  Musically depicting the events told to us in Luke  chapter 1 (verses 26-38, 46-55),  I was originally drawn to the description of the Angel Gabriel and what it must have been like to have been visited by a messenger of God!  Now that I am older and in a different place in my walk with God, I am still drawn to this song, although now focusing on Mary and her obedience.

To me be as it pleaseth God.” – that line always brings goose bumps! In Luke 1:38, Mary says more specifically: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”  What beautiful humility!  What a servant’s heart! What a willingness to be a vessel (literally) for God. Surely she had to know the risks, the potential to be shunned and humiliated.  What would Joseph think?  What if he left her? She was a “lowly maiden” – what if she was financially unable to take care of herself and her child? What an amazing trust in God to fulfill His promise to her!  In verses 46-55 we see Mary’s beautiful song of praise:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His name.  His mercy extends to those who fear Him from generation to generation.  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm, He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  He has brought down rulers from their throne but has lifted up the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as He said to our fathers.”

To me be as it pleaseth God.”  Mary’s obedience brought our Savior into the world!  Do I say to the Lord, “May it be to me as you have said”?  May we follow Mary’s example and be as obedient, sisters!  When we do, God uses US as vessels for His divine purpose, and brings blessings to others!

Merry Christmas!

And may God bless you richly with rewards for your obedience to Him!

Joseph’s Lullaby

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During the Christmas season, I often think of Mary.  I place myself in Mary’s shoes and consider how scared and confused and undoubtedly honored she must have felt that God had chosen her to carry baby Jesus for nine months and then to be His mother while on this earth.  Just as Mary was chosen by God, Joseph was chosen to be Jesus’ earthly father.  I let this part of Christmas slip by until I listened to Joseph’s Lullaby.

Put yourself in Joseph’s place, as you close your eyes and listen to these words…

I believe the Glory of Heaven is lying in my arms tonight. 
Lord, I ask that He for just this moment simply be my child.

Joseph’s Lullaby  ~ Mercy Me

These have to be my two favorite lines throughout the whole song.  I can only imagine how Joseph must have felt knowing the Glory of Heaven was lying in his arms that night.  This song has challenged me to read through the Christmas Story from Joseph’s perspective.  When Joseph learned about Mary’s pregnancy, he did not want to publicly humiliate her so he decided he was going to break off their engagement.  How heartbreaking of a thought for him, but one which shines his true character through and through.  Mary was someone Joseph loved dearly.  They were planning to spend their life together and now this dream vanished before him—or so he thought until the angel appeared before him.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife,
because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sin.”
Matthew 1:20-21

With confirmation from the angel, that Joseph was supposed to keep their engagement, Mary and Joseph traveled the long, nine-month road placed before them which led to that awe-filled moment where Joseph reached out into the Glory of Heaven.

I believe we can take a piece of Joseph’s journey for ourselves.  Just as Joseph held the Glory of Heaven in his arms, we hold the Glory of Heaven in our hearts with us everywhere we go.  Let us never take for granted this precious Gift we have been given.  Not for one moment should we ever rush what God is doing in our lives at this moment.  For what He is doing now is preparing us for our very own awe-filled moment with Him in Heaven one day. Until that face-to-face encounter takes place, let us just be His child.  Let us just be still and know that He is God and know that in what may seem like our momentary troubles God is achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs it all.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

It is my sincere prayer that we reach for one thing this Christmas—the Glory of Heaven.

The Gift

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Don’t you just love receiving gifts?  It makes us so excited when we are given a box with beautiful paper and a bow—and know that whatever is inside is ours!

I want everyone to think back for a few minutes to  the “BEST GIFT” you ever received?  Now…tell us: what was it?

I wish I could hear you tell me and to be able to hear the excitement and joy in your voice as you tell about that special gift!

There was one special Gift that was given to us all that will surpass all the gifts anyone has ever or will ever receive….  That Gift is JESUS!

But we must remember this gift can’t be ours unless we receive it by faith.  It can’t be of any use to us now or in our future unless we receive it  (Matthew 7:8 “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened),  open it (Revelation 3:20  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.)  and accept it  in our heart  (John 1:12 “But to all who believed him and accepted him, He gave the right to become children of God.”)   And then we need to make this Gift our own as He meant for it to be.

Many times, gifts we have received over the years become something left on a shelf that gets looked at occasionally, or eventually something that wears out…but this Gift is one that is “alive” and is hopefully sought after every day.  It’s a Gift that you get to re-open every morning when you open His Word and you get to experience a new part of the Gift given to you from when you first said ‘yes!’ to Him.

It truly is “the Gift” that keeps on giving.”

He was born in Bethlehem they say, there was a star to light the path to where He lay.  Rich or poor they came from far and near, cause they’d all heard the reason He was here.

He was the Son God sent to one and all.  Put on this earth, to hang there on that Cross.
Born to die so we could live. He had the birthday, we got the gift.

They wrapped him up with gentle hands. God hoped the world would understand.
Eternal life we shall receive. And all that He asks in return is that we just believe.

He was the Son God sent to one and all. Put on this earth to hang there on that Cross.
Born to die so we could live. He had the birthday, we got the gift.

There’s no way in this world we could repay the miracle He gave us on that day.

He was the Son God sent to one and all. Put on this earth to hang there on that Cross.
Born to die so we could live. He had the birthday, we got the gift.

The Gift  ~  Randy Travis


 On our Savior’s birthday, we got the gift.

Dear God,

As I think about Your sacrifice You sent to each of us I am joyfully excited for this Gift yet my heart is still saddened because there are some gifts that are still unclaimed, some packages that are still unopened by many!  How sad You must feel to think that the “Gift” is not wanted!  The greatest gift of all, God’s Christmas Gift, Jesus Christ, is still unclaimed by millions!  I pray Lord that before this year is done those millions will say YES to you and open “The Gift” you have given for free.

In Your name I pray. Amen.