June 28, 2017

In The Light

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I wanna be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my Salvation
‘Cause all I want is to be in the Light

There is no other place that I’d rather be
No other place that’s right for me
Than in Your Light…in Your Light

Singer / Songwriter: Toby McKeehan

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What does it mean to be in the light ??

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light,
then we have fellowship with each other,
and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7 NLT

So, what does it mean to be in the light?  It means to have close fellowship with God.  I love this excerpt from Taste Heaven Now:

“If we are to walk in the Light as He is in the Light, we need to ask an important question. How is He in the Light? We need to know this because we are to walk in the Light in the same way as He is in the Light.
…Since we are to “walk in the Light as He is in the Light” and we know that He “wraps Himself” with Light, we should do the same.
When you live your life continually wrapping yourself in His Light you have fellowship with God and He continually cleanses you from all sin (1 John 1:7).”

quoted from the Taste Heaven Now website
(click link to read entire article.)

I love that— ‘continually wrapping yourself in HIS light.’  We must make a conscious effort each and every day to put God first.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously,
and He will give you everything you need.
Matthew 6:33 NLT

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Heavenly Father, thank You for the ability to walk in the light so we may be free of the disease of self and seek You first in all things.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!!

Rooftops (Redux)

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Redux means to revisit, bring back, re-release. This last week of 2014, we—the bloggers here at Girlfriends Coffee Hour—are each ‘revisiting’ a blog we wrote earlier this year.  We would love to share with you just a bit about how very good God has been to us!  He has given us all so much grace and mercy, blessings and provision, protection and guidance!  He has led us and taught us through His Holy Spirit so many incredible things!  He has molded, and chastised, and encouraged us to be daughters with humble hearts who are dependent upon Him.  And He has helped us to be strong, committed, and faithful women who love Him and desire to bring Him much honor and glory and majesty.  We pray that our words would encourage you also…and draw You deeper into relationship with the One Who loves you so!  Here is my friend, Kim, and some of her words….

I am so much enjoying going back and looking at the date of when I originally wrote this blog. I wrote this blog May of 2014 and only I knew the trial I was experiencing at that time. It was one of the most painful trials in my life and yet as I look back I learned, I grew, I was stretched and I was strengthened.

Now I believe it was preparation for an even bigger trial; one I would experience towards the end of 2014. Some things I learned: God is my Vindicator, at the end of the day God knows the truth of what was spoken about me and I knew the truth and that is where I rested… I rested in the truth of knowing exactly who I am in him … that when others come against you… praying for them and letting God vindicate the situation is what Jesus would have us do.

But I say, do not resist an evil person!
If someone slaps you on the right cheek,
offer the other cheek also.
Matthew 5:39 NLT

I knew—and God knew—the things said about me weren’t true; and there were and still are people out there who believed what was said. I was never given the opportunity to be asked if what was said was truth. So I let go and let God in it; knowing and believing God would vindicate me (and you know what He did!).

How I love You, Lord! You are my defender.
Psalm 18:1 NLT

Was it easy to not defend myself? No! I was practicing strength under control and complete trust in my God. When others come against you then the people who truly KNOW you will know the truth and that’s the important part.

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Heavenly Father, I thank You that when I am weak You are strong. I thank You that You are my Defender, my Vindicator and that You are faithful if only we trust in You. In Jesus’ name! Amen!

Here I am before You, falling in love and seeking Your truth
Knowing that Your perfect grace has brought me to this place
Because of You I freely live, my life to You, oh God, I give
So I stand before You, God
I lift my voice cause You set me free

So I shout out Your name, from the rooftops I proclaim
That I am Yours, I am Yours

All the good You’ve done for me, I lift my hands for all to see
You’re the only one who brings me to my knees
To share this love across the earth, the beauty of Your holy worth
So I kneel before You, God
I lift my hands cause You set me free

All that I am, I place into Your loving hands
And I am Yours, I am Yours
Here I am, I stand, with arms wide open
To the One, the Son, the Everlasting God, the Everlasting God

Performed by Kim Walker and Jesus Culture

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What if, instead of focusing on our trials and circumstances, we put our focus on the One Who is faithful???  What if we focused on ALL that God has done in our lives??? What a difference that would make!!!

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way,
consider it an opportunity for great joy.
James 1:2 NLT

Trials are opportunities for growth and to experience God in a powerful way!!!

I love this powerful statement about circumstances by Graham Cooke (from The Way of the Warrior – live version):

“Everything you are passing through right now is a learning opportunity. We need to stop treating life’s difficulties as though they shouldn’t be happening to us. They are training. They are a really important part of who you are. God allows in His wisdom what He could easily prevent by His power. The darker the situation, and the more problematic the circumstances, and the more difficult the things we have to go through, the reward on those things is substantially greater.”

Instead, let us choose to enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise for all that He has done and continues to do….

Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God.
He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations
and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands.
Deuteronomy 7:9 NLT

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Heavenly Father, here I stand…arms wide open…heart wide open. All that I am, I place into Your loving hands. So I shout out Your name, from the rooftops I proclaim that I am Yours, I am Yours…in Jesus’ name!!  Amen!!

Move In Me (Redux)

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Redux means to revisit, bring back, re-release.  This last week of 2014, we—the bloggers here at Girlfriends Coffee Hour—are each ‘revisiting’ a blog we wrote earlier this year.  We would love to share with you just a bit about how very good God has been to us!  He has given us all so much grace and mercy, blessings and provision, protection and guidance!  He has led us and taught us through His Holy Spirit so many incredible things!  He has molded, and chastised, and encouraged us to be daughters with humble hearts who are dependent upon Him.  And He has helped us to be strong, committed, and faithful women who love Him and desire to bring Him much honor and glory and majesty.  We pray that our words would encourage you also…and draw You deeper into relationship with the One Who loves you so!  Please listen to the words of my friend, Kim….

This week at GCH the bloggers were asked to go back and give thoughts, insight, and growth from a previously written blog. As I was pondering which songblog to revisit…this one kept popping in my head. I wrote this blog almost a year ago; it is amazing to go back and see where you have come from and what trials have come your way and where you have grown! Growth in all things is the goal.

I have grown HUGELY since I wrote this blog and, oh boy, as I reflect on 2014 I have had MANY opportunities to practice not being moved no matter what comes my way. God wants us to be solid in our faith—not to be tossed to and fro like the sea when difficult times come. I have encountered some BIG trials this past year and many of which I was not prepared for. It was as if the rug had been pulled out from underneath me…I never saw them coming. However this I have learned and this I know: my God has been faithful in each and everyone of them! And the best part is that, after the dust cleared, I am still standing and I have been strengthened in the process. Strength comes from the journey….

What shall we then say to these things?
If God be for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

God’s timing is always perfect!  To be able to go back to this blog now and have the reminder of how God wants us to be—”steadfast, constant and consistent, keeping on in the faith walk, not wavering to the left or to the right, keeping on the love line“—is exactly what I needed to remember!  (Maybe you do, too….)

Father, thank You for our growth opportunities.  May we do them well as we focus on you.  In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

The man I buried had a heart of stone
Left him there in the bright light, out on a dirty road
The day You saved me from shadow and shame
Old things gone, got a new song, got a new name

Burnin’ like the wildfire, kickin’ up flames
A brand new band in the wasteland singing about Grace
Gonna jump the fences ’til the world is free
But I won’t make a move ’til You move in me

I’m knocking on doors, You’re keeping the keys
Maybe they’ll open, maybe they’re not for me
I’m setting the sails, You ready the seas
But I won’t make a move ’til You move in me

Gonna sing a little louder, gonna rattle these chains
Locked up tight ’round midnight, won’t stay that way
Gonna bless this dirt floor, gonna kiss these walls
Singing Your praise ’til the earth shakes and watching them fall

~ performed by: Jeremy Camp;  written by: Nichole Nordeman/Bernie Herms ~

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Old thing’s gone, got a new song, got a new name. The day you saved me from shadow and shame….” It’s my story.  Is it your story too?   I love this song…it speaks to me in many ways.

But this morning the Lord has given me a new perspective. “I don’t want to make a move until you move in me….”  How many times I have been impatient with things and have taken control of my circumstances and tried to work them out myself. Instead of waiting for God’s leading and direction in making a move.  How many times have I taken control only to exhaust myself and end up in the same place that I started.  When I have made a choice to do this and ended up at the foot of the Cross weary, worn, and completely depleted.

God gave me a visual of Jesus standing there, waiting, as I run myself ragged trying to fix things instead of resting and trusting in Him.  Then as I fall to His feet, exhausted and defeated, He gently extends His hand and helps me up and says, “Are you ready to trust Me and let Me handle things???”

We want a quick fix, don’t we?  We want answers now.  But it is all in God’s timing and not ours!   Steadfast, constant and consistent, keeping on in the faith walk, not wavering to the left or to the right, keeping on the love line.

Listen to this: “We are to consider it wholly joyful when we encounter trials (temptations to get off faith), because the trial OF OUR FAITH (it’s our faith being tried not us) produces patience, constant consistency, resolute steadfastness.  As we let patience have its work (we yield to constant consistency, not looking to the left or to the right), so that we may be perfect (complete) lacking nothing.” Isn’t that a wonderful viewpoint on James 1:2-4.  Love that!

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Oh, Father, forgive me for when I have made the choice to move instead of trusting You to move in me. May I make the choice today to not make a move until I know that I know You are moving in me. Father, won’t You move in me…. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem

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Oh, little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shine
The everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep the angels
Keep their watch of wondering love
Oh, morning stars together
Proclaim thy holy birth
And praises sing to God the king
And peace to men on earth

Traditional hymn written by Philip Brooks and Lewis Redner
Arrangers for Elvis Presley: Steve Abbott / Ian Tilley / Martin Neary

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I love this song! It makes me think of the peacefulness of that night…and what Bethlehem was like. And what Mary and Joseph were thinking as Mary awaited the birth of Jesus. Here is some interesting history I found on what Bethlehem may have been like all those years ago:

“ ‘O Little Town Of Bethlehem’ is one of the most famous Christmas hymns. Bethlehem has become almost a mythological place. Children imagine it with a few “huts,” a few camels and the Holy Family. At the time of Jesus, Bethlehem was a little town of 300-1,000 inhabitants. What people might not know is that the city of Bethlehem today is not in Israel but in Palestine, and that it is a bustling city with 28,000 people.”

(Click here to read the entire article: Bethlehem, Then and Now)

Let’s look at how the Scriptures describe that night:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod,
wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?
For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
Matthew 2:1-2

I love the part in the song about ‘…Yet in thy dark streets shine the Everlasting Light.’

The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the LORD will be your Everlasting Light,
and your God will be your glory.
Isaiah 60:19

Jesus is our Everlasting Light.  Praises be to the Father for this precious Gift!

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to His mercy He saved us,
through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
Whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
that having been justified by His grace
we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:4-7

“God’s gift to us, however, was a complete surprise. It was not expected, and as you examine it more carefully, you realize how great a gift it actually was.
Second, God’s gift came to us in the humblest of wrappings. What would you think if you saw a gift under your Christmas tree that was wrapped in newspaper and tied up with string? At first, you would probably assume that a guy wrapped it.
But think about God’s gift to us. Jesus was not born in a palace of gold; He was born in a stable. He was clothed with rags. He was laid in a feeding trough.
Yet these things do not, in any way, diminish the story of Christ’s birth. If anything, they help us realize the great sacrifice God made for us. God’s gift to humanity, the ultimate gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ, came in the simplest and humblest of wrappings.”

(Click here to read “The Greatest Gift“)

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Father, thank You for the most precious gift of Jesus. May it never be something we take for granted and may we daily remember the great sacrifice for such a precious gift…In Jesus’ name. Amen !!

Christmas This Year

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As fall rides off in the sunset
I sweep the snow from my doorstep
I just can’t help but stop and grin
It’s like I’m ten years old again
And everywhere I go I can feel it
Some say it moves like a spirit

It falls on us once a year
Like it came on a midnight clear
It’s all love
The season is a gift
When love came down to let us live
Let’s open up and let our hearts embrace this moment

For Christmas this year
Gonna make a sound
Gonna make it loud
For Christmas this year
We’re gonna make some noise
Let the world rejoice
For Christmas this year
For Christmas
For Christmas this year

The laughter starts before the sunrise
I sneak downstairs to sparklin’ lights
And oh what joy it brings to me
Our family around our Christmas tree
And I thank the Lord for His favor
As we sing the songs of the Savior
Our Savior

Holy…Holy… Holy, God is coming near
Unto us a Savior born on a midnight clear

 Toby McKeehan, Cary Barlowe, Jesse Frasure (and Leigh Nash)

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‘The season is a gift when love came down to let us live’

Really ponder and think about that sentence!  It is so POWERFUL!!

I am the living bread which came down out of heaven…
John 6:51 ASV

Love came down from Heaven in the form of a little Baby so that we may live.  There are no words when you truly think about what Jesus went through to give us life.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10

Let us all sing and rejoice with grateful, thankful hearts for the BEST gift of all—the gift of eternal life!

And this is the testimony:
God has given us eternal life,
and this life is in His Son.
1 John 5:11

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Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son.  A Savior born unto us on a midnight clear.  May we never take for granted the gift given to us….  In Jesus’ name. AMEN!!!

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

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I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth good will to men

And the bells are ringing (Peace on Earth)
Like a choir they’re singing (Peace on Earth)
In my heart I hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men

Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep (Peace on Earth, peace on Earth)
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men

Then ringing singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men

Do you hear the bells they’re ringing (Peace on Earth)
The life the angels singing (Peace on Earth)
Open up your heart and hear them (Peace on Earth)
Peace on earth, good will to men
Peace on earth, Peace on earth
Peace on earth, good will to men

Original hymn: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (lyrics) and John Calkin (music)
Casting Crowns version includes lyrics&music by Mark Hall, Bernie Herms, and Dale Oliver

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In today’s day and age it can be easy to get discouraged with all the things we see around us.  We have to decide if we are going to focus on all the stuff surrounding us or CHOOSE to look at the good.

I love the lyric ‘Do you hear the bells they’re ringing?  I think of this every time I walk out of the apartment where I live now.  When I go outside every so often I can hear the faint sound of church bells ringing from the church close to where I live.  In today’s world with all the evil around us it would seem that you have to intentionally listen for the still, small voice of God in the midst of it.  This does not mean that God has stopped working.  He is still there.  He is a gentlemen.  It is up to us to be looking for Him.  Are we listening?

But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.
John 5:17 NLT

The key to peace in this world is the peace that can only be found in Him.  Jesus said…

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
John 16:33 NLT

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Heavenly Father, thank You that You never stop working and that no matter what is happening in our personal lives or in the world around us Your good plan will always prevail.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN!!!

If Every Day Was Like Christmas

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I hear the bells
Saying Christmas is near
They ring out to tell the world
That this is the season of cheer

I hear a choir
Singing sweetly somewhere
And a glow fills my heart
I’m at peace with the world
As the sound of their singing fills the air

Oh why can’t every day be like Christmas
Why can’t that feeling go on endlessly
For if everyday could be just like Christmas
What a wonderful world this would be

I hear a child
Telling Santa what to bring
And the smile upon his tiny face
Is worth more to me than anything

 Performed by Elvis Presley ~ Written by Red West

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What if every day we could be more Christ-like…and treat people with kindness and good cheer everyday…and not just at Christmas?

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up,
as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you,
along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love,
a tender heart, and a humble mind.
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling,
but on the contrary, bless,
for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and His ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
1 Peter 3:8-12 ESV

Christmas-time should not be the only time to help someone else in need.  We should be aware every day of those who God places around us that need something we have to give.

The purpose of life is not to be happy.
It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate,
to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Are we too busy to notice those who God places around us?  Do we brag to others when we do help someone in need as to bring glory to ourselves?  God has much to say about this.  In Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV) it says,

Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.  If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

When God calls us to help those around us…if our heart is to self-glorify then that is the only reward we will receive.  So be careful your heart is in the right place when you are helping those in need around you.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

This Christmas season, let’s remember the true reason for the season and the sacrifice that Jesus made.  To get outside of ourselves and pay attention to those in need around us everyday of the year…not just one season.

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Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunities You give each of us everyday to love and help others as Jesus has loved us.  May we have the right heart in doing so.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Christmas Offering

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Over the skies of Bethlehem appeared a star
While angels sang to lowly shepherds
Three wisemen seeking truth
They traveled from afar
Hoping to find the Child from Heaven
Falling on their knees
They bow before the humble Prince of peace

We bring an offering of worship to our King
No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing
Jesus, may You receive the honor that You’re due
O Lord, I bring an offering to You

The sun cannot compare to the glory of Your love
There is no shadow in Your Presence
No mortal man would dare to stand before Your throne
Before the Holy One of Heaven,
It’s only by Your blood
It’s only through Your mercy, Lord, I come

We bring an offering to You
We are an offering to You
An offering of praise we sing
An offering to You
We are an offering to You, Jesus
An offering of praise we sing
An offering to You
We are an offering, oh Lord
We are an offering of worship to our King
No one on earth deserves the praises that we sing
Jesus, may You receive the honor that You’re due
O Lord, we bring an offering to You

Written by Paul Baloche ~ Performed by Mark Hall & Casting Crowns

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When we make an offering or a sacrifice to God we are showing our love for Him…our thankfulness for all He has done and continues to do. The definition of sacrifice is ‘…an act of offering to a deity; something precious’.

Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us
and gave Himself up for us
as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:2 NIV

I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I truly stop and think about the sacrifice that God made when He sent His only Son to save the world from sin!  We are so undeserving…and yet He loves us so!

Is there something in your life you need to sacrifice as an offering to God?
“Ask God to help you move from smelling the odor of waste to the bouquet of grace.”
– Pastor Rick Warren

God took my life of waste and turned into a bouquet of grace.  The very least we can do is give our King the offering of something precious to show our gratitude for all He has done; and stand in the awe and presence of His Glory and Majesty.  If God does nothing else for me for the rest of my life, the fact that I have been saved from my life of waste is enough.

The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
Proverbs 15:24 KJV

What will you be sacrificing or offering this Christmas season?

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Heavenly Father, may You receive the honor that You’re due
Oh Lord, I bring my offering to You.
AMEN

Mary’s Little Boy Child

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Long time ago in Bethlehem
So the Holy Bible say
Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ
Was born on Christmas day

Hark now–hear the angels sing
A new king born today
And man will live forevermore
Because of Christmas day
Trumpets sound and angels sing
Listen what they say
That man will live forevermore
Because of Christmas day

While shepherds watch their flock by night
They see a bright new shining star
Then hear a choir sing
The music seemed to come from afar

Now Joseph and his wife Mary
Come to Bethlehem that night
Then find no place to born the Child
Not a single room was in sight

By and by they find a little nook
In a stable all forlorn
And in a manger cold and dark
Mary’s little Boy was born

 Songwriter: Jester Hairston ~ Singer: Mandisa

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This song really makes me think about things from Mary’s perspective.  How she must have felt the night the angel told her should would become pregnant with Jesus.

Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: Good morning!
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, beautiful inside and out! God be with you.
She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that.
But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear.
God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant
and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.
He will be great, be called ‘Son of the Highest.’
The Lord God will give Him the throne of his father David;
He will rule Jacob’s house forever—no end, ever, to His kingdom.”
Luke 1:28-33 MSG

I wonder if she was afraid of what people would think…. Or if she thought, ‘Why me, Lord?’ Yet honored and overwhelmed that God had chosen her to be the one. Those are some of the things I wonder; and yet Mary received the task before her and trusted God in it.

He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth.
She gave birth to a son, her firstborn.
She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room in the hostel.
Luke 2:5-7 MSG

What an honor it is when God chooses us for Kingdom work to be used for His glory to shine through us! The unthinkable becomes possible when we receive the task before us and allow Him to work through us.

Jesus looked at them intently and said,
“Humanly speaking, it is impossible.
But with God everything is possible.”
Matthew 19:26 NLT

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Heavenly Father, what an honor it is when you choose us for the unthinkable, unimaginable tasks. May we receive the task before us without question and boldly trust in You as we allow You to work through us. To You be the Glory!! In Jesus’ Name!! AMEN!!!

Give Thanks

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Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

Give thanks, give thanks
We give thanks to You, oh Lord
We give thanks


Songwriter: Henry Smith / Performed by Don Moen
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Having a thankful, grateful heart is one of the most powerful tools we have in the Kingdom.  Did you know that the word, thanksgiving, is mentioned in the Bible 69 times? **  According to Paul, only where gratitude is present is there true faith (Romans 1:21).  Paul was heavily persecuted, yet he wrote,

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

The people of God are thankful people, for they realize how much they have been given.  Even in the most dire of circumstances Paul was always thankful.  A thankful heart is a heart that says “I trust God more than the circumstances around me and I KNOW that He will work them out for good no matter what things look like around me!”

“Thanksgiving breaks the power of the enemy. Whenever you give thanks to God, despite the most difficult circumstances, the enemy loses a big battle in your life. When you give thanks in the midst of difficulty, you bring pleasure to God’s heart. He is looking for Christians who live in a realm of praise and thanksgiving where the enemy no longer has an ability to hold or manipulate that person. Satan is defeated when we have a thankful heart because thankfulness during difficulty is a sacrifice pleasing to God.”

(Quoted from ‘Thanksgiving: The Power of a Thankful Heart’  Read the entire article here.)

Be joyful always;
pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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Heavenly Father, I pray that I will choose to be thankful in ALL things no matter what things look like around me… that I will always be looking for the good that You are doing in the midst of it. Help me to be like Paul and live with a heart of thankfulness and thanks giving in ALL things. So that my sacrifice may be pleasing to you….In Jesus’ name AMEN!!!

**  http://trinitycleveland.org/biblechallenge