June 29, 2017

Shining

phssChristmasgraphic2014
The dawn of peace Christmas Eve
the final night the world would sleep 
Fearful of the dark
but there was a shining star leading
Wise men to a humble place
where they would find the Gift of Grace 
Laying before their eyes
hope had come to life

The Light of the world was shining
The Light of the world was shining 
He came just like He promised
His love would not be silent

Hearts would quake on Christmas Day
as they looked upon the Savior’s face 
God became a man
they could reach and touch His hands 
The hands that made the blind to see
that carried the weight of suffering 
That washed away our sins
so we could be born again

The world knows Christ is born
oh, the King of love has come
And our hearts will be His throne
it is known, Christ is born
Light of the world, leading us home
Shepherd of Hearts, come for His own

 Sanctus Real
Matt Hammitt, Chris Rohman, Mark Graalman, Jake Rye, Seth Huff

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

On November 3, 2015, the Taurid meteor shower and the Northern Lights were possibly going to be visible in our skies.  So at 10:00 at night (when I’m usually already in bed), Steve and I (and Muffin) drove out into the countryside in hopes of seeing them.  We immediately saw some falling stars which is always fun.  But I had never seen the Northern Lights so I was really hoping to see them, and felt somewhat disappointed as time crept by without a sighting.  Then suddenly the brightest falling star came coursing through the sky with a blazing tail…and it seemed that it came down right in front of us.  It was spectacular!  I did see a couple of moments of the Northern Lights but they were without color and brief.  All was amazing and we were praising God!

As we drove home, and even into the next day, neither of us could get our minds off of the meteor that had seemed to put on a show just for us.  Yes, it died out which was disappointing but expected.  But it caused me to think of The Light of the world, which will never die out.

His name is Jesus the Messiah, Emmanuel.

Leaving Nazareth, He (Jesus) went and lived in Capernaum,
which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali
—to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
Matthew 4:13-16 (Isaiah 9:1-2)

Jesus spoke to them, saying,
“I am the Light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The true Light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
John 1:4 and 9

As the song says, “The world knows Christ is born.” People around the world celebrate Christmas because a special little baby was born. It’s a beautiful story that is retold over and over during this season. (Take time this season to read Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2).  The sad thing is that many people only see Jesus as that baby; they don’t see Him as The Light of the world.  They don’t see that He came as Emmanuel—God with us.

When the bright lights of the Christmas decorations are taken down, the world will seem dark again.  As Isaiah said, there are “…those living in the land of the shadow of death.”  For many this glimpse of Jesus will fade as well, and they will go on searching in the dark.  People everywhere are looking for peace, grace, hope, and life, just as the wise men were looking.  The good news is “a light has dawned!” During this season we have the opportunity to share Jesus, the True Light, with those around us who are looking for more than a month of celebration.

God loved the world (all of us) so much that He sent Jesus to light our way to Him (John 3:16-17).  And Jesus willingly came in obedience to His Father, knowing it was the only way to bring redemption to us, His creation.  Jesus said that He is that Light, and just as sunlight brings natural life to us, His Light brings spiritual life to us.

During this Christmas season, take the time to bask in Jesus, The True Light. He is God’s love and life extended to you.  Take advantage of this time of year when so many are celebrating, to share the Good News that there is one light that will not be turned off or fade away. His Name is Jesus.  He is not just a baby—He is the Savior of the world.  He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3

If you personally are just learning about this truth, I pray that you will realize and accept that “the King of love has come,” and He, Jesus, wants to shine into your life and make your heart His throne.

God became a man…that washed away our sins so we could be born again.

The True Light of the world is shining and will never fade away.  Let Him shine into your life, and then share His Light with all around you.

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Dear Jesus, thank You for coming just as You promised.  As the song says Your love would not, could not, and will not be silent.  We are overwhelmed with the realization that You, our Great God and Creator, want to shine into our lives and lead us home to be with You eternally.  We pray for those who have not yet made their heart Your Throne.  May this be the time that they accept You, not just as the Christmas baby but as their Savior.  Please help us to be faithful to share You, The True Light, when we have the opportunity.  Shine, Jesus, shine in and through our lives!  In the precious Name of Jesus, Light of the world, we pray, Amen.

(For confirmation that this was God’s promised plan,
click  here  to read 44 of the Old Testament prophecies
about the Messiah that Jesus fulfilled.)

Pray

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I bow my head to pray
I don’t know what to say
I’m not sure how to fix
The things I’m dealing with
I’m in a desperate place
I need to share the weight
But I just don’t know how
To let it all pour out
And though I’m silent
My heart is crying
‘Cause I was made to
Come to You

So I pray
God, I need you more than words can say
Right here in this moment
You know my heart
You know my need
You know every part of me
So even if it’s just to speak Your name
I’m gonna pray

I failed to find the time
But You’ve been calling out
I let the days go by as if I could live without
But it’s gotta be here and now
I won’t be pulled away
‘Cause it’s just You and I
So let the world around us fade

Father, will You meet me here right now
Father, I surrender, lay it down
Father, and every time I close my eyes I know that I was made
To lift my hands and pray

I lift my hands and pray
You know my heart
You know my need
And every single part of me
So even if it’s just to speak Your name
I’m gonna pray
I’m gonna pray

You know my heart
You know my need
You know every part of me
and more than words
You want my life
Take it as an offering

Sanctus Real
songwriter: Mark Everett

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

If you don’t pray, you’ll fall prey to the enemy at some point in your life. Prayer is so important to my relationship with the Lord.  I begin in the morning by just talking to Him.  First thing after I open my eyes, I say,”Dear Lord…” and I don’t stop until my eyes close at night.

Sometimes life gets chaotic and other things are so loud that I can’t hear His voice.  That’s when I know that I need to be intentional about my prayers.  I make hard stops and hit my knees and cry out to my Creator. Just looking up at Him and saying His name can silence the enemy immediately.  And when He feels far away, I whisper His name and He comes close.  I start my prayer with hands open to receive and end my prayer with my hands reached up high in praise for all that He is about to do.

And remember, just because He is quiet doesn’t mean that He isn’t answering your prayers.  Just keep praising Him for the answer and show that You trust Him in this season.  He will reward your faith.  Your life will be so full of joy and it will be because of constant communication with God!

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

Pray continually…

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Give thanks in all circumstances….

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2

Rejoice always…

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

Because He always love you!

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, thank You that we can come straight to You and talk to You.  We don’t need priests or saints or temples…we just need You. You promise that when we pray, that You hear us and You will answer us. You come near when we press in!  Help us to stay in constant prayer and to believe even when it looks like all is going wrong.  You never let us down and You are always on our side.  Grant us joy and peace, oh Lord!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Lead Me

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjvI look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames, I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling, but on the inside
Oh, I can hear her saying

Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us

Show me you’re willing to fight
That I’m still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They’re just children from the outside
I’m working hard, I tell myself they’ll be fine
They’re independent, but on the inside
Oh, I can hear them saying

 

So, Father, give me the strength
To be everything I’m called to be
Oh Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won’t You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can’t
Don’t want to leave them hungry for love
Chasing things that I could give up

I’ll show them I’m willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me ’cause I can’t do this alone

Father, lead me ’cause I can’t do this alone

Sanctus Real
Matt Hammitt, Jason Ingram, Chris Rohman

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~  *

How transparent the writers of this song are!  They want to lead their families in the right way—to be a guide, a good example of how to live life.  How much more should we live our life for our families?  With God all these things are possible.  We should have nothing we desire or need.  God will provide all we need.  All the love, support, peace of mind, and joy.

They are wise men to ask for God’s help in leading their families! We can’t do these things in our own power.  We are often too quick to begin to seek our own desires and not keep our focus on God’s.

I am echoing their simple prayer:
Father, lead me ’cause I can’t do this alone.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Hold On To The Promises

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Sometimes it’s hard to keep believing in what you can’t see
That everything happens for a reason even the worst life brings
If you’re reaching for an answer and you don’t know what to pray
Just open up the pages, let His Word be your strength

Hold on to the promises (hold tight)
Hold on to the promises (all right)
Jesus is alive, so hold tight
Hold on to the promises

And all things work for the good of those who love God
He holds back nothing that will heal you, not even His own Son
His love is everlasting, His faithfulness unending
Oh, if God is for us who can be against us
So, if you feel weak

Neither life nor death could separate us
From the eternal love of our God who saves us

Sanctus Real
Writers: Matt Hammitt, Chris Rohman, Mark Graalman, Pete Provost

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *

But the steadfast love of the Lord
is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
and His righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments.
Psalms 103:17 and 18

Such a beautiful promise!  Perhaps words like these ‘…to children’s children’  particularly impact women’s hearts.  Does this promise resonate in your heart like mine?  I have one daughter…and by marriage to her…one son!  And through their love for one another—four grandchildren!  So ‘children’s children’ yes, that catches my eye…and my heart.  I pray every day (just like you!) for the Lord’s love and His righteousness and His blessings to be upon my children and grandchildren.  That they would always be under His protection and receiving His provision is very important to me.  So as I read this promise, I pray, ‘Please, Lord!  By Your grace, Lord!’

But whether you have children or not, the promise of His steadfast love is from everlasting to everlasting <FOREVER!> to every one who has the fear of the Lord.  We play a part in these promises coming to pass, y’know.  Many, many, many of God’s promises have a stipulation attached.  God’s people have something to do to receive the promises that He makes to them.  It is kind of like when I promise my grandchildren, “Okay now, when the playroom is cleaned up we are going to the library.”  I have promised…but they have something to do, too.

According to these verses, the steadfast, everlasting love of our Lord is on those who fear Him (so that’s one thing we need to do).  And His righteousness carries over to our children’s children who remember to do His commandments (another thing we have the responsibility to do).

God’s heart to bless and care for His people’s lives is incredible!  He always wants to do good for those who love Him.  And He is faithful!

And we know that God causes all things to work together
for good to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

Do you remember the message that Moses gave to the Israelites after delivering God’s Ten Commandments  to them?   (Deuteronomy 5 and 6)

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9

So we teach all the children in our lives about loving God with their whole heart, soul, mind, and all their strength.  We help them to grow in their understanding of how great our God is, and to have a worshipful fear of His AWEsomeness.  We impress upon them the right way to ‘walk’ with God, and to love everyone around them.  We teach them about Jesus and all that God has made available through Him and how they, too, can make Him Lord of their lives.  And we—they and we—will be blessed with the promises of God!

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *

Dear Lord, oh how much comfort it brings to our hearts to know of Your promises…not only to us but to our loved ones!  You are so very good to us!   We trust and have confidence knowing that You are faithful to do what You say You are going to do; please help us to remember we have our part to do also.  Our desire is to obey You, trust You, have godly fear…and love You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Whatever You’re Doing

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

It’s time for healing time to move on
It’s time to fix what’s been broken too long
Time to make right what has been wrong
It’s time to find my way to where I belong
There’s a wave that’s crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there’s peace
It’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see
but I’m giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender

Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I’ve wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears

Singer/Songwriters ~~ Sanctus Real
(D. Gartley, M. Hammitt, M. Graalman, C.Rohman, P. Prevost)

  *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

How many times do I have to remind myself to just breathe.  The world can be a really hard place and sometimes things are thrown at us when we are not ready.  How would I react if I actually expected it?  What if you knew that a person was about to shove you while you were standing in line? If you didn’t see it coming, you would stumble. If you saw it coming and  were prepared, you would stand firm where you were, feet planted.

God tells us that we will have trouble and hardships and chaos in our lives. And He has given us a way to prepare ourselves—His Word.  The Bible gives us direction and guidance in every situation.  We can read how David lived and defeated a giant with a stone and slingshot.  We can see how Jonah ran from God and yet God sought him and went to all the trouble to have him swallowed by a fish.  He really needed Jonah to spread the Good News to a specific city.  And then there’s Gideon who doubted that he could do anything, even with God proving over and over to him that he was really equipped to defeat his enemies.  And the list goes on and on….  Each one of these men went on to do great things. Because they didn’t let it defeat them.

The chaos going on in your life is also creating something beautiful and heavenly.  God wastes nothing…no hardship, no affliction. He makes something good out of the hard things that we just knew would be the end of us.  It is time for healing, dear friend.  And the only way that can happen is to totally surrender to Him and His will for you…whatever that may be. Are you ready?

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart, I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

Seek the Lord while He can be found: call upon Him while He is near.
Isaiah 55:6

And God is able to bless you abundantly,
so that in all things at all times, having all you need,
you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8

When times are good, be joyful; when times are bad, consider this:
God made the one as well as the other,
so people won’t seek anything outside of His best.
Ecclesiastes 7:14 ISV

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Let us pray:
Dear Lord, You are mighty and awesome.  Your name is to be exalted above all!  Your love knows no end and we are so blessed to be Your children.  Oh, Lord, it is time to surrender, clean house, and let You take control of our lives.  What may seem like chaos may just be the beginning of a change that was so needed and You are to be praised for it all.  Lord God, thank You for Your precious Word!  A Light in this dark world and a Guide to make it through it all.  May we turn to You and be patient and just breathe.  Knowing that all will be well…because in Him, all IS well!  In Jesus’ name, amen.