November 18, 2017

Fear Not, My Child

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpts from Psalm 27

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

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

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

Wise Men

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

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

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

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

Allen Krehbiel
written with Trish Matthews

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

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

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

Matthew 2:1-12 NLT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wise men—and women—still seek Him.

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

Who I Am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fearfully, wonderfully, perfectly
You have made me

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

  Blanca
Written by Blanca Callahan / Seth Mosley / Mia Fieldes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Since I belong to Christ, that means:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The King Is Among Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Every single word in the Bible is true!  

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

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

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

*    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

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

Christmas Worship

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

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

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

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

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 
   *    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *
How many do you know of?  How many would have such a depth of love?  How many would sacrifice?  How many would choose to be sacrificed?  How many would give their most precious?  How many would leave the most perfect place…for such a broken place?  How many would do all this for sinful humanity?  Only ONE God…only ONE Lord.

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

The love

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

John 3:16

The sacrifice

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

Hebrews 7:26-8:1

The humility

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

Philippians 2:5-11

The greatness

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

The  majesty…

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

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

And the ONLY response…

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

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

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

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A King Like This

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Tomlin

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Light has come!

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

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

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

Joy To The World

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Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love

Pentatonix
Written by Isaac Watts ~ Music composed by Handel

*   ♥   ~   ✝   ~   ★   *

He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Luke 19:40 ESV

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord.
Psalms 96:11-13 NJKV

Joy

Defined by Merriam-Webster as:
1a) the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight
b) the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety
2- a state of happiness or felicity : bliss
3- a source or cause of delight

Based on these definitions, joy is something to be achieved, and is fleeting or short-lived.  But is that how the Bible defines joy?

Let’s start with where our joy come from. Psalm 16:11 NASB says

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

Jesus is our joy!  His birth makes it possible to have constant permanent joy in our lives though the Holy Spirit.  Look at these Scriptures:

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him
Romans 15:13 HCSB

But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is…joy
Galatians 5:22 AMP

…the joy supplied by the Holy Spirit;
1 Thessalonians 1:6 AMP

And the disciples were continually filled with joy
Acts 13:52 NASB

When we believed in Jesus…when our ‘hearts prepared room’ for Him…the Holy Spirit entered our hearts and joy is one of the many fruits He provided.

 Joy is within us – continual joy.

Jesus’ birth is the beginning of constant, permanent joy in our lives. Our joy is not tied to our emotions or our circumstances. Our joy is tied directly to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and our relationship with Him.  Joy lives within us.

God brought joy to the world in the form of an infant named Jesus. That joy is still with us today. As Luke 19:40 says, even if we remain silent, the stones will cry out.  Psalm 96:11 reminds us that even heaven and earth sing.

Shouldn’t we, too, then ‘repeat the sounding joy’
as we celebrate ‘the wonders of His love’?

Breath Of Heaven

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I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy Father, You have come
And chosen me now to carry Your Son

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone
Be with me now, be with me now

Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven

Breath of heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness
For You are holy
Breath of heaven

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of Your plan
Help me be strong
Help me be…Help me

Sara Groves
written by Chris Eaton and Amy Grant

* ♥ ~ ✝ ~ ★ *
This song—a depiction of Mary’s heart as she prepares to give birth to God’s Son—is such a simple prayer, too… Can’t you just imagine Mary singing it under her own breath?  No one really could ever fully understand Mary’s heart as she gives birth to her Son, Who is her Savior, her Redeemer, Emmanuel.  Perhaps in a small way (especially those who have also labored and delivered a baby) we can empathize a bit with her feelings.  But I do believe we can (we DO!) at times also sing/plead this same prayer.  How about you…been there?  Me, too.

Breath of heaven, hold me together!
Be forever near me, Breath of heaven!
Breath of heaven, 
lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness…for You are holy!

This is a prayer I know He will answer…the Scriptures assure us that it is so.

For in Him all things were created…
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:16 and 17

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Psalms 139:1-6

You know me inside and out, You hold me together
Psalm 41:12

Don’t the lyrics of this chorus just capture so much what we feel—our total dependence on the Lord for everything we need.  And because Emmanuel has come, our Help is here.

Just like Mary, we also recognize our great need for hope to cling to.  She grew up knowing and believing the promises made throughout the Old Testament of a Redeemer, a Savior.  She clung to the words spoken by the Angel Gabriel telling her of the greatness of this baby she was carrying.

For with God nothing [is or ever] shall be impossible.
Luke 1:37

We also know and believe this same Truth as well as the promises that God has made to us…not only of our Lord’s Coming but also of His second Coming!

Mary, I am sure, had moments of fear and worry and despair, but she had been given a promise and she knew that holding on to that promise was ultimately not only all she had but all she needed.  We, too, should follow Mary’s example.  For nothing shall be impossible with God!  We, too, have the hope of being blessed by God’s goodness and faithfulness and grace to cling to!

Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His Word]…
Hebrews 10:23

Knowing of the great love that God has for mankind (for you…and for me!), we have faith and hope and trust in His ability to ‘hold us together’ and to ‘be forever near me’.  I am praying and asking God to encourage you, my friend, and remind you that He loves you.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing,
will be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39

Your Presence

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All of my life I search for You Lord, You call me to Your side
With all of my heart I’m desperate for more, Your Presence is my light
The cry of my heart is to be where You are

I love Your presence, I love Your presence
Father, where You are is where I want to be
Hidden in Your courts is ev’rything I need

You are my strength You are my shield, surround me with Your song
All that my soul will know is Your peace, hide me in Your love
The cry of my heart is to be where You are

I love Your presence I love Your presence,
I can hear You call, I run into Your arms, Jesus
You are all my heart is longing for

Father,  You are my heart’s desire,
Overwhelmed I will worship You
I will dance to the dance of heaven
All my heart be enthralled by You