The Order

December 30-31
Genesis 2:15
God took the Man and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in order.

I like order! My closets are color coded and the hangers match as much as possible. Our spices are arranged on the shelf in alphabetical order and after that I have to go with the flow of living with others who have a much more "free" style! :)

While God is a God of order our lives are filled with the unexpected. Looking back on life we can see it spotted with "pop quizzes" and jacks coming out of the box! As I look back at the highs and lows of 2011 and I watch the winter winds begin to whip up a warning that the cold is coming, I am thankful for God's steadfast love that weathers all storms.

Dear God, my Master, you created earth and sky by your great power—by merely stretching out your arm! There is nothing you can't do. You're loyal in your steadfastlove to thousands upon thousands...
Jeremiah 32:16

May steadfastness of faith be a character trait for which we are known.

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
Psalm 112:7
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10



What's on the inside

December 29
Yesterday, tired of feeling awful for 11 days I decided to get up, shower, wash my hair, put on cute jeans (as cute as they can be on a 50's something), a silk shirt, layers of pearls and some shiny earrings. Contacts and make up did not make the list, because by that point I was exhausted, my back and knees aching and I was lying down again. No matter what we put on the outside, that doesn't change what is on the inside.

Attitude counts more than outward appearance in God's pageant!

While I am staring at 15 extra pounds on the scales, which I know need to come off for the betterment of my health, I need to equally examine the characteristics in this Charles Spurgeon prayer a friend emailed to me.

" Pray that this year you will be holy, humble, devoted, and diligent; that you will have a closer communion with Christ, often entering the banquet room of His Love. Pray that you will be an example and a blessing to others, and that you will live more and more for the glory of your Master."

OK, so you are thinking it will be easier to lose the 15 pounds! :) I will need perseverance and the power of the Holy Spirit to attempt either!

Take a Look & Act

December 28
It was a mirror stare down. Moses sat and looked at himself in the mirror...he was mesmerized by his own beauty or had entered a "don't blink" contest with the bulldog in the mirror. Shooting photo after photo did not phase him. Were the vet's words concerning a needed diet troubling him...he'd only gained 3 pounds!!!! We'd discussed the eyelid surgery years ago and thought he was content to fore go the procedure. Maybe he had New Year's resolutions and needed to confide in another canine. Or maybe he and God were getting real and he was struck by the reality that God was calling him to action.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss had an excellent message today on God's tender mercies. The Greek word for tender she explained is called splanchnon. It means spleen or deep inner part of the body. The message went on to say that when we experience splanchnon towards another...we are to be filled with such compassion that we are motivated to do something about the situation. God's mercy was so deep towards our sinful state that he sent Christ as the redemption for those sins.

When we get face to face with Jesus and allow him to inspect our current state do we take what He reveals and move into action. James' book, thought to be the oldest of the New Testament book, starts off with excellent insight and instruction for us.
James 1:19-25
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.

Let's take time to escape today and allow God into the inner most parts of our hearts. What new Kingdom impacting action awaits us in 2012? After we take a look let's step away into action...not oblivion!



December 27
There are some days where the load is so heavy, the suffering so severe, the demands so devastating that lifting our hands to the Lord is all we can offer up. Positioning ourselves at the place of praise for the simple fact that God is God begins a process where proclamation can flow forward.
On those days...
Praise God
Proclaim Christ King of Kings
Pray with expectancy
Pause and listen
Process the points and procedures placed before you.

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I'll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God, don't forget a single blessing!

Worth

December 26
When such a word rings loudly in my mind hour after hour in the middle of the night...curiosity gets hold of me and the search begins. Recalling a time when I wanted each room in our home to reflect Christ in some way, I wondered if I went room to room now, what would resonate as having great "worth". Items which hold the greatest value to me are those connected to my heart. Daily, my aging father thumbs through photo albums he has compiled, for there among those pages are the memories which are his treasures.
Clay hands of our children grace a silver tray. Should fire erupt here, those are probably what I would grab and being like my father... a suitcase full of photo albums.

When we are wavering in our faith, lacking in the love luster we desire to have shining upon us, or just having a day where we really don't want to get out of bed...we must remember our worth to God! How deep is the love of a Father who would sacrifice His only son.
So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Psalm 148:13
Let them praise the name of God— it's the only Name worth praising. His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky; he's built a monument—his very own people! Praise from all who love God! Israel's children, intimate friends of God. Hallelujah!

2 Samuel 22:4
“I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.

1 Chronicles 16:25
For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.

Psalm 145:3
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

Romans 8:18
I consider that our present sufferings are notworth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

1 Peter 1:6-8

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

Philippians 3:8
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ

Proverbs 31:10
A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.

Light of the World



December 24-25
The final two songs I've selected are not Christmas carols, but they have everything to do with Christ coming to earth as the Light of the World....shining hope through salvation on spiritless sinners. There is a filling available to us and it doesn't come from the bountiful Christmas dinners many of us will eat this weekend.
The birth of Christ fulfilled "part 2" of the Trinity...Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

A four year old sleeping in our house last week crept into my bed early one morning. She said, "When I wake up I see a bright light shining over me." I asked her if she thought it was an angel. She said she didn't know, but it was always there wherever she woke up and it was beautiful! How sad that we lose that childlike faith and the ability to see the angelic realm.
One day we will see them and The Light of the World face to face.

There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 22:5


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MKDVx6oiKc

Merry Christmas

An Offering

December 23
The music to the lyrics below is fabulous, but I have not been able to find Nicole C. Mullen singing it online. I bought it on iTunes, but can't figure out how to post it for you!

The concept of what we have to OFFER God challenges us in these lyrics. Searching the NIV for "offering," 714 scriptures are referenced. Bringing an offering to God is not a new idea. At this holiday time, the tradition of gift giving can be burdensome for individuals who feel they can't give extravagant enough gifts, which would be of value to someone who has much more materialistically. Try figuring out what we could give God Almighty we can look to Mark 12 which contains "The Greatest Commandment." This points us toward a free gift God longs to receive from us...the giving of our love to God and others.
32 You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.

We still fall at His fee with the first fruits of our labor and tithe with joyful hearts, but an offering of our love and obedience is of great value.
I do hope you can find a way to hear this music. It is full of passion!

Nicole C. Mullen - Lamb Of God lyrics



VERSE1 - Once upon a long night after a hard cry Somewhere in bethlehem
A baby graced the silence sweetly he's crying I AM EMMANUEL
Then angels gave him music
Shepherds gave reverensce and a message to the land
A widow held and cherishe the god who became a man


Chorus Oh lamb of God
Oh prince of peace
What tribute shall i bring to worship thee
I have no gold to lay at your feet
So lamb of God i offer me


VERSE2 - can you see the wise men?
A star did guide them searching all the earth
Till they found the one child the very godchild who ruled the universe
Did they know the lady's little baby was god in fully man
And everything they gave him he himself had made with his hands

------CHORUS------

I bring you all my hopes
I bring you all my dreams
I give you all my soul my min and all my strength i wrap them all inside my heart to give to the
AND i come
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him christ

Oh lamb of god oh prince of peace
What tribute shall i offer thee
I have no gold to lay at your feet
SO lamb of God may i offer me

SEEI have no gold to lay at your feet so lamb of god
Please let me offer me

Lamb of GOD I offer me

Mary's Boy Child

December 22
The question is posed: Why do we celebrate Christmas?
The responses vary. Some will get it right with the simple statement...
It's Jesus' Birthday!
If the investigator was to delve deeper and ask: And what is the big deal about Jesus?

The lyrics Harry Belafonte sings in the song Mary's Boy Child hint towards the eternal benefit God bestows upon those who believe in the miracle birth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfdx2V5sAic

Where are you Christmas?

December 21
Faith Hill and The Grinch teamed up for this video called Where Are You Christmas?

In the song she comes to the realization that Christmas is "LOVE"...so true although she holds back from explaining it is...God's love, which was given to us in the form of a baby. Christ love which walked on this earth as the perfect example of how to live, and the love of the Holy Spirit who is available to daily fill us.
Being covered in all that love, it should naturally spill out upon others.

The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ,
the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.

Who do you know who might feel as if the love of Christmas is missing from their life?
Share the love today!



What is Christmas

December 20
As we continue along a musical Christmas theme I hope you get a laugh from a church sign which said:
"Dancing with the STARS in Bethlehem!"

In their song, "This is Christmas" Kutlass poses the question :
What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger.
What is Christmas without Christ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20HoJZecNqM&feature=related

We wouldn't be getting our school breaks and days off from work, baking cookies or singing carols, or sending CHRISTmas cards if the Savior hadn't been born. December might be rather dull. Yet, many homes go about decking the halls and making jolly without ever mentioning Christ.

A friend sent an excellent email the other day about how we get up in arms over all the efforts to remove the mention of Christmas from our schools, places of business and government. It went on to challenge our own lives to reflect Christ. It suggested instead of fighting for the nativity scene to be put up at the court house...what if we all put one in our own yards...
do our Christmas cards shout Merry Merry, Be Jolly or do they turn our attention to our Savior.

When someone asks us..."What is Christmas?"
Let's have a list ready to share about the Birthday Boy!

When Love Was Born


December 19
We all want to be loved. We are all loved...the baby born to die for us is proof.
Each time this week when your eyes cross a symbol of Jesus... on a Christmas card, in a decoration or through hearing a carol sung...whisper..."I am loved!"
For the most extravagant love came down from heaven for us.

Mark Schultz

Starlight shines, the night is still
Shepherds watch from a hill
I close my eyes, see the night
When love was born
Perfect child gently waits
A mother bends to kiss God's face
I close my eyes, see the night
When love was born
Angels fill the midnight sky, they sing
Hallelujah, He is Christ, our King
Emmanuel, Prince of peace
Loves come down for you and me
Heaven's gift, the holy spark
To let the way inside our hearts
Bethlehem, through your small door
Came the hope we've waited for
The world was changed forevermore
When love was born
I close my eyes, see the night
When love was born

O Come O Come...


December 17-18
Week of preparation is what we are entering. Enjoy these three siblings as they sing,
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and prepare your hearts to receive all Christ has to offer.

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=FEM0BFNU&utm_source=GodTube%20Must-See%20Video&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=12/18/2011

We've found ourselves praising the Lord this week for seeing a precious one year old through surgery to remove a brain tumor and then on the other end of the spectrum we praise God for his Presence in the life of a dear friend, who has left this earth to spend his first Christmas in heaven.

We can be joyful always, because we trust in God's plan.
1 Thessalonians 5:16

Give Your Gift


December 16
"The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 6:23


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrNcD34KFhM

What gift do you have to give our King? This teenager in Canada, took his drums and made a video in honor of Christ and put it on You Tube!

It doesn't have to be extravagant, outlandish or expensive..it just has to come from the heart.

Two days ago, while driving home along the rural back roads of our county, my husband picked up a 60 year old hitch hiker. "You did WHAT?" I exclaimed when he told me. The man had undergone heart surgery 5 weeks earlier, yet he smelled of smoke. Inquiring about the obvious order and the hold this habit had on the man, my husband offered to pray for him. "You a preacher? the man asked. I need a preacher on Friday to marry me. We just gonna do it right here in this trailer."
The important response from my spouse was...."Do you know Jesus?" A requirement before he would marry anyone. Then...."You're not leaving me much room for premarital counseling."

Discussing the situation with me, we both realized this was one of those God encounters and even though we have house guest arriving around noon, I told him to go for it.
Like the drummer boy in this video...my husband can take his talent to the woods today and bless the Lord!

Proverbs 18:15-17

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.

This Year's Favorite

December 15
Chris Tomlin's Hallowed Manger Ground has topped my list of favorites this year! Sing along!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTDA_awnl8g

What hope we hold this starlit night
A King is born in Bethlehem
Our journey long, we seek the light
That leads to the hallowed manger ground

What fear we felt in the silent age
Four-hundred years can He be found
But broken by a baby's cry
Rejoice in the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
God incarnate, here to dwell
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Praise His name Emmanuel

The son of God, here born to bleed
A crown of thorns would pierce His brow
And we beheld this offering
Exalted now the King of kings
Praise God for the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
God incarnate, here to dwell
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Praise His name Emmanuel

Oh, praise His name Emmanuel
Oh, praise His name Emmanuel

Whose Party is it Anyway?


Revelation 5:12
In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

December 14
LOL..arriving home late after a board meeting last night my husband entered the house and said, "Do you realize the outdoor speakers are on and you are blasting Christmas carols all over the Lake?"
I know Jesus is the reason for the season and inwardly (and blog wise) He and I are celebrating the implications of His birth (you know the guy who came to die), but what does the person who walks into my home this month see, what about Christmas Eve dinner and the pomp and circumstance of our Christmas morning routines....is HE visible, is He welcome? Is there a seat at the table for Him? Do we converse with Him in prayer recognizing Him as the GUEST OF HONOR?

A Happy Birthday banner now adorns our front hall closet...it lists the gifts I want to give Jesus for His birthday...my heart, my soul, my mind, my obedience, honor and praise!
It also lists many of His 2011 accomplishments in lives at Shiloh!
The nativity has moved from a side room to the living room coffee table.
Watch December Discoveries tomorrow for some insight into our nativity.

Come Away With Me

December 13
This entry is probably more suitable for a December discovery. Actually, it correlates with what the Lord gave me there. Cream cheese was being mixed in a bowl with fresh parsley and green onions. The combination of that spread with a fried egg, bacon, a slice of tomato and avocado were about to be laid out on toasted whole grain bread, but God said, "Come away with me right now." Obediently, I wandered off to a quiet spot with The Message Solo and turned to Day 151.
The title "When Disappointment Comes" and Bible book-Lamentations- were not signs that this was going to be a yippee, good ole time. Two phone calls and one email already had me pensive over the depth of hurt and heartache several of us, who loved each other dearly, are facing. But by faith, expecting God to show me something good I proceeded to read and before I headed back to sandwich making I was rejoicing that my God speaks.

Lamentations 3:19-30

It's a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God

I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when you're young to stick it out through the hard times.

When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear.
Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst.

AMEN!

I don't want to rob your Christmas music time, so check this out!

Take time today and enter into His Presence with thanksgiving in your heart.
Enjoy the video below & allow the song's words to seep into your heart.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulY2KPmpMwk


A Mixed Bag Musically



December 10-12
We worshipped at The Wave yesterday. It is a Hillsong church plant out of Australia. JOY filled is the phrase that stayed with me from the moment we entered the building until we drove away. Eleven children were dedicated to the Lord (2 of our grandchildren) and a passionate message on the Holy Spirit was preached. While I was not familiar with any of the music, the worship was infectious. To see our three year old grandson praising Jesus in such a setting thrilled my heart. Now the music can be a bit loud for the little ones so they provide headphones!
Forgive me Hillsong for not featuring one of your songs today, but as I stood there holding our grandson, watching the big screen flash pictures of God's galaxies, I whispered in this little fellow's ear....God made everyone of those stars and He took time to make you too. He loves you so much and has great plans for you!
So I am mixing up the bag of musical artists and leading you to Chris Tomlin's song called Glory in the Highest from his Christmas album.


Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.
Luke 2:14

I Saw Three Ships

December 9
Continuing with the music theme "I Saw Three Ships" is as close as I can get to my message for today. The link below with the song also has Christmas poems, jokes, etc and may lead you to something else to brighten your day.

A thick fog covers the lake this morning and frost is on the ground. Glancing out my bathroom window I was amazed to see a tiny, white boat venturing out. It was quickly taken from my view in the dense fog. Why in the world would that person go out in conditions like that? Heading back into our bedroom I picked up Jesus Calling recalling a similar theme in today's entry.

"Be willing to go out on a limb with Me (Jesus). If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be. Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief...In order to follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe....As long as you stay close to Me, My sovereign Presence protects you wherever you go."

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10



Hmm, better to be safe than sorry, doesn't apply when the Lord is in the lead.

A Baby Changes Everything


December 8
http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=DW6KZLNX&utm_source=GodTube%20Today&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=12/06/2011

Faith Hill's Lyrics to A Baby Changes Everything are filled with truthful emotions.
Allow them to seep into your soul, devouring walls you may have built and crumble before God in honesty. Allow the Spirit to take what seems as loss and show you how to be found in Christ's love.
Unprepared for what has hit you?
Do dreams appeared to have shattered right before you?
Has a trust been betrayed?
Does the need to run seem the best way out...but where?
Cry out! Remember Mary and watch for a star, a shepherd an angel...
look to the baby who changes everything.
The Lyrics
Teenage girl, much too young
Unprepared for what's to come
A baby changes everything

Not a ring on her hand
All her dreams and all her plans
A baby changes everything
A baby changes everything

The man she loves she's never touched
How will she keep his trust?
A baby changes everything
A baby changes everything

And she cries! Ooh, she cries Ooh, oh

She has to leave, go far away
Heaven knows she can't stay
A baby changes everything

She can feel it's coming soon
There's no place, there's no room
A baby changes everything
A baby changes everything

And she cries! And she cries! Oh, she cries

Shepherds all gather 'round
Up above the star shines down
A baby changes everything

Choir of angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
A baby changes everything
A baby changes everything
Everything, everything, everything

Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

My whole life has turned around
I was lost but now I'm found
A baby changes everything, yeah
A baby changes everything

Joy to the World...God is at Work

December 7
Anticipate the Workings of God was the title of Day 141 in The Message Solo devotional. Have I done that today? Have I lived with positive expectancy?
In Isaiah 65 are found these instructions:
Pay close attention now...
Look ahead with joy...
Anticipate what I'm creating.
Simeon and Anna did that...they watched closely and with joyous expectation anticipated the birth of Christ!
Are we paying close attention to the signs of the times? Are we joyful about the second coming of Christ? Do our hearts thrill at the creation of the New Jerusalem?
This season is about more than a baby who was born in a manger. It's a celebration of life everlasting.
Philippians 1:12 states: The things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.
Paul, could put all the pain and persecution behind him, because of the purpose for which they were produced!

Joy to the World the Lord has come and will come again!

Where's the Line to See Jesus


December 6
Ok, so this is looking like a songfest blog! Bring on the Christmas Carols..old and new.
Thanks to sweet Aunt Ruby, from Nashville, who read this blog for sending the story behind this thought provoking song.


While at the mall a couple of years ago, my then four year old nephew, Spencer, saw kids lined up to see Santa Claus. Having been taught as a toddler that Christmas is the holiday that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, he asked his mom, "where's the line to see Jesus"?


My sister mentioned this to my dad, who immediately became inspired and jotted words down to a song in just a few minutes. After putting music to the words, and doing a quick recording at home, he received a great response from friends. He sent the song off to Nashville without much response, except for a Christian song writer who suggested adding a bridge at the end of the first chorus. My dad then asked if I wanted to record the song to see what we could do with it. I listened to the song, made a few changes to the words to make it flow better, and we headed to Shock City Studios. It was at the studio where Chris, owner and producer, rewrote the 2nd verse and part of the chorus... with goose bumps and emotions high, we were all hopeful and felt like we had something special. The demo was recorded in just under 2 hours and sent off

again to Nashville... still no response. Then 2 weeks before Christmas last year, my cousins Greg and Robbie decided to do a video to see what we could accomplish on YouTube. The first day we had 3000 hits and it soared from there. We received e-mails, phone calls, Facebook messages from people all over asking for the music, CD's, iTunes, anything... we had nothing. After a couple of meetings with Chris following the amazing response, we got serious. We headed back into the studio this past spring... this time with guitars, drums, bass, pianos, choirs... the real deal.... and here we are today.

Getting iTunes set up, a website put together, and loving that thousands upon thousands of Christians have come together... remembering the true meaning of Christmas. Out of the mouths of babes come profound truths that many adults can not understand. Hopefully Spencer's observation will cause people all over to reflect on the love of Jesus, and that one day we will all stand in line to see Him. We are most thankful to our Heavenly Father to have this chance to share our music with you. Merry Christmas everyone.


Remember to pop over to the special December blog....

http://decemberdiscoveries.blogspot.com/

Bethlehemian Rhapsody

December 5
The beauty of the voices in the opening of this puppet show sent a shiver through my body. I love the diversity of the ways there are to share about Jesus.

An All About Jesus Tree


Getting into the Word and remembering who is "The Word" I felt it appropriate to have a tree that tells a story of Jesus...it is His birthday we celebrate! Snowmen melt, reindeer die and bells on bobtails are limited in the longevity of joy they shower, but Jesus...He lasts forever.
It will be next year, before all the desired ornaments are gathered in. I prefer to buy them half price after Christmas. A few already inhabit our holiday closet! Click under the Jesus Tree link above for the list I've come up with so far.

Also, check out our daughter in laws blog www.thoseandrews.blogspot.com for some great recommendations on Keeping Christ in Christmas!

Simeon: A Song of Hope

December 3-4
"The rewards are worth the wait."

One of my closest friends has battled cancer for 8 years and during that time, God has graciously extended her the opportunity to see her children graduate from college, get jobs and her daughters be married. Now she longs for the day she will become a grandmother and is waiting and walking alongside a daughter with infertility issues and a very difficult pregnancy. Holding this baby boy in their arms will so be worth the wait.

Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.
Luke 2:29-32

That passage refers to an spirit filled, elderly, gentleman named Simeon, who along with his Anna, spent his whole life waiting for God's promise called, the consolation of Israel. Salvation through Jesus. Simeon was ready to die in peace after seeing the Christ child! What a challenge to not tire of waiting for the redemption of the world, but to be prayer warriors for many to come to Christ.

Who is it we need to pray for today to come to know Jesus? Sing a song of hope!

Mary Sang a Song of Trust

December 2
Of all the personalities in the Christmas story, being a mom, I think Mary is the one I relate to the most. Each time I study the scenarios she was faced with I am awed by her faith and joyful obedience. Joseph had a pretty good attitude himself. OK, so the angel encounters probably helped increase their faith! I can't recall the site where I saw this study, but under the Mary chapter was this quote: "Like Mary, we can move from anxiety to adoration."
Mary had a great attitude, which birthed from her trust in the Lord. Look around your circle of friends, and rejoice and be strengthen through their faith in the forest.

Luke 1:46-55 Mary’s Song
And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me-holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things,

but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”


The Angels Song of Peace

December 1
There is a peace that passes understanding available to us through our relationship with the Lord. One of the comforts of our faith is the realization that God created specific beings called angels to watch over us. And whew wee, do I look forward to hearing them sing!
A favorite song of mine, "Amen" was sung as the recessional at our daughter's wedding. The artist, Debbie Forrest, has this chorus in the lyrics, "And the angels sang Hallelujah!"

Put on some Christmas carols today and be like the angels as you sing to the Lord!

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14

I have a new project in the works...it is an "All About Jesus Tree". Will post soon.


Zechariah's Song of Faith

November 30
Looking for a good study on Advent, I came across a Bible study, which could be downloaded for $20, on various songs that were sung related to the awaiting of the Savior. The four chapters titles themselves were free food for thought, so I wanted to pass these titles and their scripture references along this week for you to feed upon as you await the day we celebrate our Savior's birth.
Theme One
Zechariah's Song of Faith in Luke 1-"Even in silence God is at work."

Giddy up horsie! We do not like to wait and when God is silent we initiate thoughts which bring his character and existence into question. Yesterday, I share a magnificent answer to prayer with a new believer...I left out the timetable...it was 5 years before that prayer was answered. Also, quite often we do not like to be silent ourselves and activate the instructions in James 1:19. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

The temple priest, Zechariah (father of John the Baptist) didn't have much of a choice with that one. Literally struck dumb, he had to wait in silence during his wife's pregnancy. Disbelief that he and his wife could have a child, due to his age, brought about a request for a sign to uphold the prophecy he had heard from an angel. Here's your sign! God was still up to good in Zechariah's speechless life and influencing the lives of those around him and even us today.

Luke 1:67-79

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us 72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

The Old Testament prophet, Zechariah, prophesied about the coming of the Savior.
Zechariah means, "God has remembered."

Daily Devotion

November 29
The best part of a daily devotional, beside the discipline, is getting into the Word and allowing the Lord to lead you. It is so exciting to see God take the same string of words and minister in a variety of ways to a diverse range of people. Where I thought we were headed today took a turn and instead I've nibbled again and again on the message in 1 Chronicles 16.
My heart's desire has been to "be still" before the Christmas tree at least once a day, while it is up and truly keep Christ at the center of Christmas. This passage maps out a game plan of possibilities for our Christmas gatherings. I've placed in bold some of the elements we may want to include as we gather together with those we love in the name of Christ and celebrate his birth during this time of year, remembering how blessed we are to be Christians.

1 Chronicles 16 Ministering Before the Ark

1 They brought the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before God. 2 After David had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD. 3 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each Israelite man and woman.

4 He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, to extol, thank, and praise the LORD, the God of Israel: ...They were to play the lyres and harps, Asaph was to sound the cymbals, 6 and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow the trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God.

7 That day David first appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise to the LORD in this manner:8 Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 9 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. 11 Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.12 Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, 13 you his servants, the descendants of Israel, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob. 14 He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.15 He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, 16 the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. 17 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: 18 “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.”19 When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, 20 they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. 21 He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: 22 “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. 24 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. 25 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. 26 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 27 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place.28 Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

29 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. 30 Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. 31 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!” 32 Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them! 33 Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 35 Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.” 36 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the LORD.” 37 David left Asaph and his associates before the ark of the covenant of the LORD to minister there regularly, according to each day’s requirements. 38 He also left Obed-Edom and his sixty-eight associates to minister with them. Obed-Edom son of Jeduthun, and also Hosah, were gatekeepers.

39 David left Zadok the priest and his fellow priests before the tabernacle of the LORD at the high place in Gibeon 40 to present burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of burnt offering regularly, morning and evening, in accordance with everything written in the Law of the LORD, which he had given Israel. 41 With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest of those chosen and designated by name to give thanks to the LORD, “for his love endures forever.” 42Heman and Jeduthun were responsible for the sounding of the trumpets and cymbals and for the playing of the other instruments for sacred song. The sons of Jeduthun were stationed at the gate.

43 Then all the people left, each for their own home, and David returned home to bless his family.