January 23, 2018

Little Drummer Boy

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Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum

 

Mandisa
written by Katherine Kennicott Davis

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,
each of us is to exercise them accordingly…
Romans 12:6 NASB

…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31b ESV

As each has received a gift, use it…
as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
1 Peter 4:10 ESV

This is one of my most favorite Christmas carols. I enjoy it so much that I couldn’t decide which version to include, so I have included two and even posted a third on my FaceBook page.  But as I was listening to this song, God spoke to my heart reminding me once again it is not the gift that matters but what is in our hearts when we give.  I thought instantly of the widow’s mite. Luke 21:1-4 HCSB tells her story…

He (Jesus) looked up and saw the rich dropping their offerings into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow dropping in two tiny coins. “I tell you the truth,” He said, “This poor widow has put in more than all of them. For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

She was giving what she had.  That’s what Jesus wants from us – to give what we have.  He doesn’t want us to give out of show, out of fear, out of pride, or with reluctance in our heart.  Our gifts don’t have to be monetary in nature.  The little drummer boy had a gift for playing the drum.  He used his gift to honor God and made Him smile.  Leo Buscaglia puts it this way:

Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.”

I don’t sing, or preach, or write books. I’m not a celebrity, rich and famous, or an icon. But I do have God-given gifts I can use to glorify and honor God.  And you do, too.  Romans 12:6 NASB provides an answer when we feel we have nothing worthy to give:

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,
each of us is to exercise them accordingly…

1 Corinthians 10:31b reminds us that “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  God has given each of us different talents, different gifts.  We need to use them accordingly.  Give your best to Him—willingly and from the heart.  That is the gift He wants.  That is what makes God smile.

 

Pentatonix

God Has Come To Earth

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All praise to You, eternal Lord
Clothed in a garb of flesh and blood
You chose a manger for Your throne
While worlds on worlds are Yours alone

Once did the skies before You bow
A virgin’s arms cradle You now
And angels who in You rejoice
Now listen for Your infant voice
They sing

Glory in the highest
For there’s no other name by which we can be saved
Glory in the highest
Heaven and Earth forever will proclaim
God has come to Earth

O, little Child, You are our guest
That weary ones in You may rest
Forlorn and lowly is Your birth
That we may rise to Heaven from Earth
Singing

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him

And there’s no other name by which we can be saved
And Heaven and Earth forever will proclaim

God has come to Earth
God has come to Earth
God has come to Earth

Aaron Shust

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant.  While they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

Luke 2:4-7

His first throne was a manger.  And now, He is seated at the right hand of His Father.  This baby, born to Joseph and Mary, would change the world forever!

Jesus was born to walk the earth.  He went through things—hard things—so that we could see that all would be OK.  He taught us how to love and how to serve.  He showed us that it is awesome to be friends with sinners…because there are no perfect people, except Him. He performed miracle after miracle, just to prove Who His Father is, so that all would believe and live eternally with Him.

He brought dead to life and restored sight to the blind.  He healed by just a touch.  And, oh how He loved!  Everyone He came in contact with went away better.  And then He died on a cross, broken and poured out for us. He crushed every sin we would ever commit so that we, too, could live with Him in heaven.

So let’s adore Him today as they did on that night so long ago…

Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favors!
Luke 2:13-14

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Let us pray: Dearest God, oh how we love You!  Oh, how we worship You and bow down at Your feet.  We lay down all our burdens today and we ask that You take our worries.  Thank You that You are for us and that nothing that we have done can separate us from You.  Help us to remember what this season is about; and to not get so wrapped up in the gifts that we don’t have, but to remember the only Gift that we need…You, Jesus.  Remind us, too, that the same miracles that happened back then can happen today.  You are enough!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

When Suddenly A Baby Cries

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How suddenly a baby cries and all forever change
As shepherds leave the angel song to find this holy place
Where in her young and trembling arms a virgin holds her Son
And in this Child of breath divine our Light has finally come

She ponders how the Magi kneel before Emmanuel
With gold and frankincense and myrrh Christ’s sacrifice they tell
A dream would help them flee a king whose pride would cruelly destroy
As mothers weep God’s mercy meets the hunger for His joy

What wonder still that Anna filled with praise should bless the Lord
Her aging eyes now looking on the Savior of the world
For night and day her prayers had filled the temple of our God
Her heart could tell His saving hand within this gift of love

Hear Simeon who had waited long draw near to hold the child
To speak of Him who would reveal the many thoughts we hide
That hearts would rise to know His grace but many fall away
A sword would pierce His mother’s soul upon redemption day

How suddenly a baby cried and all forever changed
Through history soul by soul have come to find His healing grace
He filled my troubled heart with peace, with hope of endless worth
My voice will join the song of praise that tells Messiah’s birth

 Kristyn Getty
Written and sung along with Keith Getty and Fionán de Barra

*    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

A baby’s first cry gets the attention of everyone around, yes?  At the very moment of birth, all in attendance pause to hear a baby’s first cry—expectant parents, other relatives and loved ones, the nurses, doctors, and other caregivers—and then sigh with joy, with relief, and with thankfulness at that wonderful sound!  When the baby Jesus was born, His cry, too, brought great joy to his parents, Joseph and Mary. Think of the setting:

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.
Luke 2:6 and 7

Joseph and Mary had traveled many, many miles to come to Bethlehem to register in the census.  Upon their arrival, there was nowhere for them to stay but in a stable…and this is where Mary birthed her firstborn, Jesus, God’s Son.  Not the best surroundings!  So I would think baby Jesus’ first cry meant oh-so-very much to them!

But…both Joseph and Mary were fully aware of just Who this tiny baby was!  Both had been told of the significance of this baby’s life by angels. (Read the records here: Luke 1:26-38;   and  Matthew 1:18-25 .)  Don’t you think they each had contemplated for the entire duration of Mary’s pregnancy the magnitude and awesome, eternal implications of just Who their Son would be!  Think for a moment…place yourself in their sandals: when the baby was birthed and took His first breath and released a cry, can you only imagine the praises that must have welled up out of their hearts?  Can you imagine the look they must have exchanged as they realized that the promises that the angel had made to each of them came forth into fruition?  That initial cry of baby Jesus truly changed the world!  Perhaps Mary remembered the words she spoke when she was visiting her cousin Elizabeth:

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
…because the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and His name is holy.
His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him.”
Luke 1: 46-47 and 49-50

And so we, too, do also exclaim and praise!  Even now, don’t we love to sing these beautiful carols and anthems and songs that tell of Jesus’ coming and His birth.  We are reminded of all that first little cry meant as it sounded out that the Savior was born!  He had come…just as promised throughout the ages!  As the words of this beautiful song say,

How suddenly a baby cried and all forever changed
Through history soul by soul have come to find His healing grace
He filled my troubled heart with peace, with hope of endless worth
My voice will join the song of praise that tells Messiah’s birth”

*    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

May our voices rise up in praise and thankfulness to our heavenly Father!  Because of His great love for us (you and me!), He sent His Son to redeem and save us; to rescue us and make available to us a relationship with Him for all eternity.

Never—don’t EVER—doubt His love!

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38 and 39

Christmas Hope

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Her wish this Christmas
Was that Christmas would just pass her by
Nothing could reach her
Or answer her questions why
She feels so alone
And she wonders if all hope is gone

Hope is a candle
A light in the window
Showing the way for
A heart to come home
Hope is a Savior
Who was born in the manger
Sent down from Heaven
To rescue our hearts
Our Christmas hope

She never imagined
That for her there was hope to find
But isn’t it amazing
How God brings a heart back to life
She’s smiling now she’s finding out
What Christmas hope is all about

Hope is a present
A gift freely given
To all who receive
And open their hearts
Hope is a promise
For a better tomorrow
In a world filled with sorrow
We always have hope

NewSong
Songwriters: Eddie Carswell and Matthew West

 *    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

Hope is a Savior
Who was born in the manger
sent down from Heaven
to rescue our hearts

Yes!  This is part of our Christmas hope!  This is our daily hope!  This is the foundation of our eternal hope!  And accompanying our hope—trust and faith that He is coming back again!

This song was written as part of the soundtrack for the movie ‘Christmas Hope’ a faith-based movie about the lives of hurt, sad people and how they intertwine through times of tragedy and hope and restoration. (If you haven’t already seen this movie, it is a wonderful one to add to your holiday playlist!)

Just like the fictional folk who are part of the story of ‘Christmas Hope’ we, too, desperately need hope…sometimes it seems…at every turn of our lives.  And (just like Patty, Mark, Nathan, and little Emily), we HAVE been given the greatest Hope there could possibly be—a Savior, a Redeemer—Jesus Christ the Messiah!

God’s people waited hundreds of years for the fulfillment of the promise of a child to be born of the line of David in Bethlehem.  They believed and trusted and waited with HOPE for the promise to be fulfilled.

Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign:
Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin
shall conceive and bear a son,
and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us].
Isaiah 7:14

(See also Micah 5:2; Jeremiah 23:5 and 6; Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7…among many other verses which contain these promises.)

God also made promises to a young Hebrew girl.  She had been taught by her parents about the promised Redeemer and had this hope within her heart.  God sent His messenger Gabriel to give her another promise.  This surely must have increased her hope!

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

(excerpts from Luke 1:28-35)

Promises made in olden times have already come to pass—Jesus, the Son of God, was born and ultimately gave His life fulfilling many more promises.  And hope has been realized!  We cling to promises made that are still unfulfilled…promises that fuel our hope because we know the One Who has promised IS faithful!!!  May these be a vital part of our Christmas Hope!

And said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?
This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven,
will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:11

…so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many,
will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin,
to those who eagerly await Him.
Hebrews 9:28

Awaiting and looking for the [fulfillment, realization of our] blessed hope,
even the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior
Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One)…
Titus 2:13

Shining

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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.)

Born Is The King

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Born unto us this day the Savior
Gifted from Heaven to a manger
Hope of the world tonight for all mankind
All of the earth rejoice
It’s Christmastime

So lift up your voice and sing out His praise
It’s Christmas
Born is the King, rejoice in the day
It’s Christmas
Make a joyful sound
It’s Christmas
Let His praise resound
It’s Christmas

Goodwill to all the earth
And peace divine
All of the earth rejoice
It’s Christmastime
It’s Christmastime

It’s Christmastime

Phillips, Craig and Dean
Writers: Scott Ligertwood and Matt Crocker

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Don’t be afraid!” he said.
“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”
Luke 2:10 NLT

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
Matthew 2:10 NASB

“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29 NJK

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:14 NKJV

I think I may have found a new favorite Christmas song.  Heard this song for the first time and I could not wait to hear it again.  To me, this song reflects exactly what Matthew 2:10 NASB is talking about: “they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”

We have so much to rejoice about yet we get so caught up in the worldly ideas of Christmas; we forget to stop and celebrate the great
Gift we have been given. There is a line in an Alabama Christmas song that says:

The gift is just what’s in your heart and not what’s in your hand

I need to remind myself of that quite frequently.  Christmas joy should come from what is in our hearts.  Our voices should be lifted in praise for what this one birth means to the entire world.  As Romans 15:10 states:

Again it says,
“Rejoice and celebrate, O Gentiles, along with His people.”
And again,“Praise the Lord all you Gentiles,
And let all the peoples praise Him!”

This song is that happy celebration of the glorious Christmas event. There is such joy in this song!  You can’t help but sing along in a loud, unrestrained voice. “Born is the King” is a great reminder to celebrate the birth of Jesus with unrestrained joy.

After all, isn’t that what Christmas is supposed to be about?

Emmanuel, God With Us

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You’ve come to bring peace, to be Love
To be nearer to us
You’ve come to bring life, to be Light
To shine brighter in us

Oh, Emmanuel
God with us

Our Deliverer, You are Savior
In Your presence we find our strength
Over ev’rything, our Redemption
God with us
You are God with us

Oh, You’ve come to be hope to this world
For Your honor and name
And You’ve come to take sin, to bear shame
And to conquer the grave

You are here
You are holy
We are standing in Your glory

All Sons and Daughters
Singer/Songwriters: Jason Ingram, Leslie Jordan

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

Joy
Love
Hope
Light
Peace
Savior
Strength
Deliverer
Redemption
EmmanuelGod with us!

In this beautiful song, these names are sung in praise of Jesus.  They are just a few of the names/titles by which Jesus is referred to throughout the Scriptures…some proclaimed by God, some through His prophets, and some given by man.  One of the most significant is Immanuel.

The name Emmanuel or Immanuel  of the Hebrew עִמָּנוּאֵל ” God [is] with us” consists of two Hebrew words: אֵל (EL, meaning ‘God’) and עִמָּנוּ (ʻImmānū, meaning ‘with us’). **  And this very special name, as Matthew tells us, means “God with us.” Jesus Christ is Immanuel, “God with us.” This name was first given by the prophet Isaiah more than 700 years before Jesus’ birth.

Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign:
Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin
shall conceive and bear a son,
and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us].
Isaiah 7:14

God’s people trusted and waited for the fulfillment of this promise for a long time.  Mary and Joseph, having been raised by parents who believed this promise and taught them about the coming Messiah, also had it in their own hearts.  Can you only imagine what stirred in Joseph’s heart as the angel told him,

…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife,
because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus,
because He will save His people from their sins.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son,
and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Matthew 1:20-23

{read the whole passage here}

When God sent His Son to ‘dwell among us’ it was just as if God was with us.

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God; and all things were made through Him
and apart from Him nothing was made which was made…
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory,
glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth
John 1:1-3, 14

This verse speaks of ‘God with us’  so clearly to me!  What an incredible plan Almighty God had from the beginning to rescue and redeem us—to save us by sending His Son to live among us.

Jesus always gave honor and glory to His Father…never placing it upon Himself (even when others tried to).  I am sure His example constantly showed His disciples that He always did His Father’s will…and that they should do so also.

Even towards the end He faithfully and lovingly prepared and comforted their hearts. During the Last Supper, when He was alone with just those closest to Him, Jesus told them many times and in many ways that He no longer would be with them BUT they would not be alone…He would send the Paraclete—the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.  And reminded them again and again how He had been Emmanuel—God with {them}.

Jesus said to him, “I am The Way, and The Truth, and The Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”  Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own authority, but the Father who dwells in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in My Name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My Name, I will do it.”

John 14:6-14

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

What a loving Lord and Savior!  He came to be Immanuel ~ God with us.  In this one name, everything mankind has ever needed—and still needs!—was brought to earth.   God’s promise of salvation was fulfilled in His Gift of Jesus.  How blessed we are that it was His plan for Jesus to become Immanuel—God with us. May we be thankful for that provision as we wait for the fullness of Immanuel when Jesus returns to gather the Church and we live for eternity in His Presence…truly God <will be> with us!

The songwriter of the carol, Hark, The Herald Angels Sing, Charles Wesley, wrote his understanding of the awesome glory of Jesus being Emmanuel with the words below; may we echo the same!

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.

** click here for more info from the Strong’s Concordance of the Bible

Breathe

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life
Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel You say just

Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

Third cup of joe just to get me through the day
Wanna make the most of time but I feel it slip away
I wonder if there’s something more to this crazy life
I’m busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see
That I only have time for me, me, me
There’s gotta be something more to this crazy life
I’m hanging on tight to another wild day
When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear You say just

Is to take it in fill your lungs
The peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe
Let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe

Jonny Diaz
written along with Jonathan Smith and Tony Wood

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

For David said, “The Lord God of Israel, has given peace and rest to His people,”
1 Chronicles 23:25 AMP

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened
[by religious rituals that provide no peace],
and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation].
Matthew 11:28 AMP

On my way home from taking Scott to work one morning, I heard this song.  I was making lists in my head—groceries needed for this week, chores to get done before our kids arrive, Christmas shopping lists, etc.—when I heard it.  All I caught was the chorus.  But that was all I needed to hear…it was as if God was speaking directly to my heart.

1 Chronicles 23:25 AMP reminds us that we have already been given peace and rest.  We need to take advantage of what has been so freely provided to us.  We get so caught up in doing we forget to just be.  We forget to rest at His feet.  Life gets crazy, even when it isn’t the holiday season. Pay attention to the tempo of this song – it is more frantic during the verses and slows down with the reminder to just breathe.  We can slow down the hectic pace of daily life by taking time to just breathe.  I love the line “Lay down what is good and find what’s best”.  Such a great reminder to check our focus, our motive, our purpose.  Sometimes, even when we are doing good things for others, good isn’t necessarily God.  In fact, doing good can often distract us from God.

It’s three days before Thanksgiving.  The hustle and bustle of the holidays has already begun and it is only going to get crazier unless we remind ourselves to stop and just breathe.  Slow down so we don’t miss the joy and the peace this season brings.  I can get so caught up in rituals and traditions, I forget what the holidays are really about.  I wear myself out trying to get everything done.  I want it to be perfect.  When I read Matthew 11:28 in the Amplified Version, I realized I make myself weary, I burden myself.  The rituals and traditions aren’t what give me peace—Jesus provides that peace…that rest…that refreshment for my soul.  So, let’s slow down the craziness of life and fill our souls with His grace. And just breathe.

Breathe

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life
Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel You say just

Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

Third cup of joe just to get me through the day
Wanna make the most of time but I feel it slip away
I wonder if there’s something more to this crazy life
I’m busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see
That I only have time for me, me, me
There’s gotta be something more to this crazy life
I’m hanging on tight to another wild day
When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear You say just

Is to take it in fill your lungs
The peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe
Let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe

Jonny Diaz
written along with Jonathan Smith and Tony Wood

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

I heard once that the only way to slow down time is to be all there, in every moment…and to stop hurrying from one thing to the next.  The busy season of Christmas is upon us and, if you truly want a memorable one, then it might be time to take this one slow.  Take in every memory and instead of iPhone pics, try a real camera and unplug from technology.

Every morning, before you make the first move, sit at His feet and empty yourself from yesterday and all of it’s worries.  This day will have enough of it’s own and, with God, nothing is worrisome.  Just worship instead.  As His children, we are called to live differently.  If chaos is the norm, then we should choose another way.  Our children will not remember the things we didn’t choose to take them to. They will remember when we slowed down and spent time with them.

Oh, how I wish I could go back and make one more glitter picture with my oldest…or one more sock beanbag with my second…or one more sword game in the back yard with the third…or one more American Girl sleepover with the fourth.  Cherish it…savor it all…and when the enemy tries to steal your joy by pushing you from one frenzy to the next, claim God’s peace!  Remember His words:

Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Psalm 55:22

Casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7

Rest in Him…He is strong enough to take it all.

Let us pray: Dear Father, we thank You so much for this awesome time of thanksgiving.  Spending time with family and friends and praising Your Name for all of this.  Lord, sometimes this world is too much.  The enemy comes to take our joy away but when we are Yours, he cannot.  We claim Your peace today and we lay all of our cares at Your feet.  When chaos comes crashing in, help us to come quick and release it all to You.  We love You!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

You Have Been So Good

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

You have been so good
You have been so good to me
In my faithless hour
You’ve been my strength
You are my tower

From the enemy
You have been so good
So good to me

Your hand is always faithful
Your mercy never ends
And when I feel unable
Your grace is there again

You chose me with my weakness
And all my sins forgave
I’ve nothing to repay You
So all that I can say

Lenny Leblanc, singer/songwriter

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Today is a day when many folks recognize the importance of being thankful.  As Christians, we are to have a life full of expressing our gratitude and thanks to our heavenly Father.  I think that the words of this beautiful song sing out our praise and gratitude for God’s overwhelming goodness.

You have been so good
You’ve been my strength
You are my tower

You chose me with my weakness
Your hand is always faithful
Your mercy never ends
Your grace is there again

We are so very thankful for God’s constant goodness to us, His children.  Truly, can you think of anything else that can so change your heart’s attitude more than being thankful?  Websters 1828 Dictionary (one of my favorite references) defines thankful as ‘grateful; impressed with a sense of kindness received, and ready to acknowledge it.’  Hmmm, sounds vaguely familiar…similar to a praise the Psalmist wrote:

Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!
Who can put into words and tell the mighty deeds of the Lord?
Or who can show forth all the praise [that is due Him]?
Psalms 106:1 and 2

I think  Mr. Webster’s definition clearly shows that thankfulness is both thought and action—you ‘sense’ being blessed AND you ‘acknowledge’ it.  Here’s a great example:

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come before His presence with singing!
Know that the Lord is God!
It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]!
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving
and a thank offering and into His courts with praise!
Be thankful and say so to Him,
bless and affectionately praise His name!
For the Lord is good;
His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting,
His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.
Psalm 100

The Psalmist was confessing—remembering—just a few things he was grateful for, AND voicing his gratitude  ‘for the Lord is good‘.   To remember is ‘…to bear in mind; to keep, consider, meditate.’ We can—we should—do the same!  We have oh-so-very-much to be thankful for, amen?  We have so very many memories of God’s abundant goodness to us, true?  We can sing…

I will thank Yahweh with all my heart;
I will declare all Your wonderful works.
Psalm 9:1

Listen to the some of the things that David remembers the Lord did for him and the beautiful way he voices his thankfulness here in Psalm 30:

I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to You and You have healed me.
O Lord, You have brought my life up from Sheol (the place of the dead)
Sing to the Lord, O you saints of His,
and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
By Your favor, O Lord, You have established me as a strong mountain;
You hid Your face, and I was troubled.
I cried to You, O Lord, and to the Lord I made supplication.
Hear, O Lord, have mercy and be gracious to me!
O Lord, be my helper!
You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;
To the end that my tongue and my heart
and everything glorious within me
may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

We have oh-so-very-much to thank our great God for…so many ways in which He has been so good to us!  Today, of course, as you gather with friends and loved ones…but each day, every day tell Your Father how very grateful you are for His goodness, for His protection, for His healing, for His deliverance, for His provision, for His admonition, for His guidance, for His love, grace and mercy!  And give Him much thanks!

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His compassion and lovingkindness endure forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…
Psalms 107:1 and 2