July 21, 2017

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!}

Psalm 18:30 ~ God is a Shield and a Refuge

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{This final week of 2015 we will be re-visiting some of my personal favorite themes on which our wonderful writers have shared with us throughout this past year.  I hope that you (as I was, too!) will be encouraged and reminded of God’s faithfulness and loving care through their inspired words.}

As for God, His way is blameless.
The Word of the Lord is tested [it is perfect, it is faultless];
He is a Shield to all who take refuge in Him.
Psalm 18:30

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During this week, our devotional writers have greatly encouraged us as they shared their belief and trust that God is our Shield, protecting us and providing refuge for us.  My own heart was encouraged to remember that the Scriptures are God’s own words that bring us His promises.  Please click on each link to read each complete devotional; here are a few excerpts from their thoughts….

In Take Heed, Clella reminded us that we need to know and heed to God and His promises…

“…Because God’s way is perfect, and His word is flawless, and He has promised to protect His children, we need to take heed.  Yes, like David, we have enemies—whether in the physical or in the spiritual—who try to “entangle us with cords of death” (Psalms 18:4-5).  But if we take heed of God and His Word, He will ”avenge us, and save us from our enemies” (Psalms 18:47-48).  When we are faithfully in God’s Word, then we will know God and experience His deliverance….”

In Daddy’s Protection, Tina gave us the example of God’s love has protected us….

“Remember, as a child, how our dad was our hero?  How he could not do any wrong in our eyes?  Well, God wants us to love and trust Him like that…As we grew older our dads made mistakes, because they are human. They maybe did not show up at a ballgame, dance recital or have time to listen.  But I know Who does—God our Father.  He has time to listen to all of our issues.  He is always there….”

In God’s Pure Word, Ann shared the blessings and benefits of God’s Word…

“There are benefits and value to God’s Law and Word.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
Psalm 19:8

The ‘precepts of the Lord’ are definite rules concerning righteous living that are a joy to the godly.  The ‘commands of the Lord’ are the authoritative source of guiding light for the faithful who seek His way…”

In There is Refuge in God’s Word, Ahmee pointed us to some important reminders of the refuge and warnings that God’s words can be for us…

“I know our verse (Psalm 18:30) is most likely referring to physical refuge—as in keeping you safe from bodily harm. But when I read it the first refuge I thought of was emotional refuge.  Life can be rough and it has this way of wearing you down, if you let it.  God’s Word does have a way of warning us about certain situations. However, whether we listen, or not, is up to us.  I think Proverbs is a really great book that lets us know “If this…then that”.  We can find refuge in the Lord’s words by avoiding these situations….”

The King Is Among Us

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

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.

This Week…Luke 2:8-14

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In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened. but the angel said to them,

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. for this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah).

And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.”  Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.

Luke 2:8-14

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

This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have been encouraged by our writers to praise God and bring Him honor and glory… just as the angels did when they came to the shepherds to announce the Good News of the birth of the Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

In When the Glory of the Lord is Shown Upon You, Ann reminded us of our privilege and joy to testify of God’s glory…

“I therefore request us, brethren, to cry unto God to show us His glory in all aspects of life so that we can be able to testify to others.  How can we testify of His glory if we ourselves have not experienced it?  The shepherds experienced the glory.  (And, yes, they were terrified…just as the shepherds!)  But the angel said to them “do not be afraid” for he came with good news.  The testimony they had was “God brings good news.”  Trust me, God is bringing His glory in different ways and we will testify.  But I pray we will testify as we have experienced it and perceive it in Jesus’ Name.”

In God Draws Near, Clella encouraged us—through many examples—to take the opportunity we’ve been given to ‘go tell!’ others about our God and Lord Jesus…

“We may be small and insignificant from the world’s perspective, yet to God we are like the lowly shepherds–we are very important to Him. He is personal. He has drawn near to us by sending His Light, Jesus, to dwell in our hearts. During this Christmas, we have the wonderful opportunity to show others just what a personal God we love and serve by sharing Jesus—Emmanuel—with anyone who will listen.”

In Great Joy, Tina shared about recognizing the joy that we can have as we submit to God’s will…

“The fear of the Lord can also lead to great joy.  Just as Mary submitted to God’s will for her life to have His Son, we can submit to His authority for His will in our life.  Angels live among us today.  There are many examples of situations where people were suddenly moved away from a possible accident, or have been miraculously healed of a disease.  I have heard of these in my own church and from friends. God is alive and very active in our lives! (We just have to be willing to see.)”

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!

Great Joy

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In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.  For this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah).  And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: You will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.”  Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.”

Luke 2:8-14

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Do you recall the anticipation you felt before your child(ren) were born? Or before the birth of a niece or nephew?  I remember well.  I was concerned and expectant all at once!  I wondered if I would be a good mom, would I make the right choices as a new mom, am I ready to have some little person that I am responsible for.  Then I remembered…God has given me a gift.  Someone He is entrusting to me and my husband to rear in the fear of the Lord.

The fear of the Lord can also lead to great joy.  Just as Mary submitted to God’s will for her life to have His Son, we can submit to His authority for His will in our life.  Angels live among us today.  There are many examples of situations where people were suddenly moved away from a possible accident, or have been miraculously healed of a disease.  I have heard of these in my own church and from friends. God is alive and very active in our lives! (We just have to be willing to see.)

When my son passed his driving test and received his license to drive, he felt great joy.  When he graduated from college he was relieved he had completed this part of his journey.  I pray he will be able to find that mate God has reserved for him. A mate to help him be more complete, a mate who will encourage him to do his best and he do the  same for her. I want my son to experience the joy of being a parent. To not feel the burden, but to see the child(ren) as gifts from his heavenly Father to nurture and grow in the ways of God.  Just as Mary and Joseph did.

Despite the whispers, looks, and misunderstandings, Mary and Joseph knew whose this Child was. They knew they had done nothing wrong and had obeyed God in all of the laws. These poor parents gave their all for God’s Child.  Yet their joy was in receiving from God the huge responsibility in raising His Son.  Joseph received more instruction from God in order to keep His son safe from Herod (Matthew 2:13-14; 19-23).  Then when called to return from Egypt, Mary and Joseph chose Nazareth to raise their family there.  Not too far from the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus would perform many of His miracles.

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Father, I thank You for sending Your Son to such humble beginnings. When we reflect on Jesus’ life and upbringing, we see You in every area.  You were there and You are present now, through your Holy Spirit, to guide and watch over us in ways we cannot begin to imagine. You are the great organizer of our lives.  I pray asking for Your favor and blessing upon our nation and our people.  I ask for a revival to begin in us as we help spread Your love to others.  In Jesus’ name, I praise You and thank You, amen!

(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

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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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God Draws Near

adventwk4seekHimoholynight

 

In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened. but the angel said to them,

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. for this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah).

And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.”  Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.

Luke 2:8-14

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Did you ever wonder why all the shepherds in that area, and even some of the town’s people, didn’t respond to the angel’s appearance to the shepherds?  Due to some translations and traditional art works, we tend to picture the night sky filled with the brilliance of the angel’s appearance. But the original Greek words say this, “and behold, an angel of Lord stood by them, and glory of Lord shone around them….” God sent His angel to make a personal appearance to these humble shepherds.

What a shock to have someone suddenly appear at your campsite, shining with a light—“the radiance of The Lord’s glory”—like nothing you could ever imagine. (No wonder they were terrified!) The angel’s reassurance calmed their souls, and they heard the greatest news (the news all Israel had been waiting for) they would ever hear—the Messiah has come! Then a vast host of angels joined in with praise to God. Wow, what a scene, and it was just for this lowly audience of a few poor shepherds.

I think most people around the world consider God as very powerful, unreachable, and impersonal. This event with the shepherds shows us a very different God. Oh yes…He is powerful; but He uses His power to reach us, to draw near to us.  God is very personal.

In the Old Testament we see that God appeared to Abraham, Noah, Moses, and many others time and again. His message to them was very personal. If they heeded His Words and obeyed Him, they were blessed and many others were blessed as well as they shared what God instructed them to share.

How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You,
to dwell in Your courts.
We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.
Psalm 65:4

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
to all who call upon Him in truth.
Psalm 145:18

Again in the New Testament we see numerous times when Jesus personally appeared to those He wanted to bless. They weren’t anyone special from the world’s point of view, but they were special to God. Here’s just three such events:

So when they [the disciples] had rowed about three or four miles,
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat;
and they were afraid.
John 6:19

And it came to pass as they [followers] conversed and reasoned,
that Jesus himself drawing nigh, went with them;…
Luke 24:15

As he [Saul] was approaching Damascus on this mission,
a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
“Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!”
Acts 9:3-5

Although it may seem implied, the Scriptures (Luke chapter 2) don’t actually say that the angels instructed the shepherds to go find Jesus. However, because God drew near to them, they were drawn to Him, and went searching until they found Him. Neither were they told to go tell others, but in their excitement of personally experiencing God Incarnate, they told “everyone” they could, and they too were “astonished.”

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 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.

Luke 2:15-18

We may be small and insignificant from the world’s perspective, yet to God we are like the lowly shepherds–we are very important to Him. He is personal. He has drawn near to us by sending His Light, Jesus, to dwell in our hearts. During this Christmas, we have the wonderful opportunity to show others just what a personal God we love and serve by sharing Jesus—Emmanuel—with anyone who will listen.

So, go tell it on the mountain, (in your workplace and in the mall), go tell it everywhere that Jesus Christ is born!

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!

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Dear God, thank You for drawing near to us through Jesus, so that we can draw near to You. Thank You for dwelling in us who believe, so that others will have the opportunity to be astonished at what a personal God You really are. May we be Your “little lights” so that others will be drawn to You. In the Precious Name of Jesus, we pray. Amen. It Is So!

The True Meaning of Christmas…by Linus

adventwk4seekHimoholynight

In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened. but the angel said to them,

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. for this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah).

And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.”  Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.

Luke 2:8-14

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A Charlie Brown Christmas
Just Like New Kids Productions