Sunday, December 30, 2012

My God for All Seasons

John 14:18
New International Version (NIV)
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Today I'm wishing I didn't have to say goodbye to Christmas.  Our move to the house of the level path left us with less than the normal time to prepare our home for the holiday.  I'm not sure that I'm ready to take down the tree and decorations just yet.  I'm still loving how pretty it all is.  I'm thankful that the Savior came and I can celebrate long after the season is over.  Jesus came to stay.  He has a home in my heart, and His lamp will never go out.

"There's a Light" - Beth Nielsen Chapman

O to Grace

"Come Thou Fount" - Jars of Clay

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My God, My Pilot

Aniva Lighthouse, Russia

Proverbs 18:10
New King James Version (NKJV)
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.

"Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me" - Bifrost Arts

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Rheumatoid Arthritis Shuffle

This morning I woke up with a new hitch in my get-along.  Yes, I'm now walking and talking funny, such is the adventure of rheumatoid arthritis.  Everyone has something that needs fixing.  Life goes on.  I'll keep walking by faith, for my God remains good.

Rob Thomas - Her Diamonds
(a song by a husband to a wife living with an auto-immune disease)

What a Relief!

I'm not in charge!  

My God, My Morning Star

Thursday, December 27, 2012

What I'm Listening To...

Matthew 5:14-16
New International Version (NIV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Kari Jobe: We Are (Acoustic)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My God, My Shoe Maker

Matthew 28:16-20
New International Version (NIV)
The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Isaiah 52:7
New King James Version (NKJV)
7 How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

Ephesians 6:15
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.

I was at your lovely bride's today.  She's doing fine.  You took such good care of her that it may be a while yet before she joins you.  All of our stockings still hang on your hearth.  So many feet!  What it must have taken for the two of you to keep us in both shoes and socks, not to mention boots and mittens!  I remember how you taught me to tie my shoes, so I wouldn't face further embarrassment in kindergarten.  That bunny-eared loop was a life saver!  You helped me face the world then and so many times after, teaching what my Heavenly Father also wanted me learn about this life this side of Heaven.  The journey isn't always easy but I'll make it with the right shoes, the ones that help me to tell others about the Good News of Jesus Christ, the tiny babe born to die for the sins of the world.  His beautiful feet were pierced for me!  What a wonder that is!   

"Go Tell It On the Mountain" - The Blind Boys of Alabama

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

John 3:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

"Happy Birthday,  Jesus" (Avery Winter, 2006)

Silent Night

My church's candlelight Christmas Eve service was lovely tonight.  We ended singing Silent Night.  I then found myself wanting to upload the song to Youtube.  I can't embed it here because it was so newly uploaded but I found another version also by the late Eva Cassidy.  I hope you enjoy it.  I think it's better than the one I did anyway.

"Silent Night" - Eva Cassidy

Sunday, December 23, 2012

What I'm Listening To...

Ali Matthews @The Salvation Army North Toronto carols and candles 2012

Comfort and Joy

Psalm 96:11-13
New International Version (NIV)
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

It's a challenge to move during the Christmas season.   We're in this house of the level path but not fully unpacked.  Now we're trying on December 23rd finish decorating for Christmas.  My husband is more ambitious than I am, perhaps because he had to pack up all the Christmas stuff I've collected over the years, especially during the time I never met a Christmas decoration I didn't like.  I still love the stuff but illness has turned me at least part way towards moderation.  I know I can muster the enthusiasm in a heartbeat, however, if someone else will do the work.  That's when my comfort equates to my joy. 
I'm learning that it's more important to prepare room in my heart for Jesus than for all the baubles that come with the season.    May my heart beat only for Him.

"Little Drummer Boy" - Blind Boys of Alabama

"Joy To the World" - Folk Angels

Counting My Blessings

After a day of Christmas shopping interrupted by the stuff that happens in life, this seems a good quote to me.  Life takes unexpected turns; things get lost, but I'll never lose my Jesus.  I can rest in that truth.
It's good to be back in my house of the level path.  

1 Thessalonians 2:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?

"Count Your Blessings" - Ali Matthews

Thursday, December 20, 2012

We All Fall Down

Romans 5:3-5
New International Version (NIV)
3 Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

 We fall down, but we get up. For a saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up. 
Donnie McClurkin, Gospel Singer and Minister

Fall down seven times, get up eight.
Japanese Proverb

I'm experienced in falling down.  I've fallen down stairs, fallen out of a car, fallen on ice as well as dry ground.  I've fallen forward and fallen back.  I've fallen short and fallen away.  I've fallen into sin and fallen out of favor.  
I've yet to fall up.  
I'm learning more and more that it is only by God's grace that I stand at all; and, by His grace, I will one day fall down on earth so I may stand up in Heaven.
"Kingdom Come" - JJ Heller

"If I Stand" - Rich Mullins


Sleep Well

"Sleep Well" - Todd Agnew and Friends

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hope Continues

Jeremiah 29:11
New International Version (NIV)
From the Letter to the Exiles in Babylon
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Day to Hope

Vickie Wade Painting

1 Peter 1:3 
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Psalm 43:5 (NIV)
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

Hebrews 2:10 -14
10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.[g] 12 He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the assembly I will sing your praises.”[h]
13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”[i]
And again he says,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”[j]
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them,[k] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

C.S. Lewis Quotes on Hoping For Something More

Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.
At present we are on the outside… the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get “in”… We will put on glory… that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch.
We do not want to merely “see” beauty–though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.

As the victims of the mass shooting in Connecticut continue to be laid to rest, I find myself trying to weigh such a deep, confounding tragedy with what I know about hope.  In Christ I have a sure and certain hope and it is to that hope I cling.  Proverbs 24:24 tells me that evil has no future and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.  Evil will not prevail.  Satan will lose.  God, the ultimate good guy, will always, always win.
Can you hear the angels singing?

"Listen!  They're Singing"  - Evan Wickham

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Day to Mourn

Jeremiah 31:15
New King James Version (NKJV)
Mercy on Ephraim

15 Thus says the Lord:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted for her children,
Because they are no more.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
New International Version (NIV)

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

The heart wrenching funerals began today for the Sandy Hook shooting victims.  We shall mourn with those who mourn, but not without hope.  Christmas, if anything, should remind us of the hope that once slept in the manger and rose from the grave.  He is Emmanuel, God With Us, the ransom for sinners, who ended our exile from God.  The separation, began in the Garden of Eden and paid for at the cross, ended with our Lord's victory over death.  He, who is ever for us, will never leave us or forsake us.

"O Come, O Come Emmanuel" - Enya

God Is The Answer

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Day to Comfort

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (NIV)

2 Corinthians 1:3-7
New International Version (NIV)
Praise to the God of All Comfort

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Philippians 2:1-2
New International Version (NIV)
Imitating Christ’s Humility

2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

I was blessed by words of comfort from the pulpit this morning in church and I trust that others found that to be true in their own churches.  I was also blessed by President Obama's words at the service tonight for those who were murdered in Connecticut.   Pain and suffering teaches us powerful lessons in how to comfort others as they walk through their own fiery troubles, lessons that could not be learned without Jesus, our Savior, who passed suffered for us all.  

I pray that I will be ever aware of others outside my own circle of pain and love and comfort those God puts in my path.  

I will also hold the young man who lives in my house but doesn't want to be blogged about ever dearer. 

"Crying For the World" - Eden's Bridge

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Day of Sorrow

The tragic school shooting in Connecticut has left me weeping, angry and questioning God.  It has also had me thinking on the goodness of God who willingly sacrificed his own perfect, unblemished Son for the sins of man.   So while my heart breaks for the innocents lost and the innocence lost, I can yet praise God for shining His light in our darkness.   Evil visits but God triumphs.  
Still I cry for those who hurt.

"The Angels Cried" - Alan Jackson with Alison Krauss

Isaiah 9:2-7
New International Version (NIV)
2 The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Man Named Jim

It's amazing what you can find on YouTube.  I have read Jim Elliot's writings as well as Elizabeth Elliot, his wife; but I've never heard him preach until stumbling on this video.  He never fails to inspire me.  I hope you will appreciate it also.

Our Great Light

"One Small Child" - Ali Matthews

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sweet Sleep

Proverbs 3:24
English Standard Version (ESV)
24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

I am feeling ever so sleepy and am looking forward to bed.  First, though, I want to give a shout out to the young man who lives in our house but doesn't want to be blogged about and his friends, fine young men all.  It was time to clean the little house under the weeping willow tree so it can be turned over to its next tenant.  The young men stepped up and thoroughly cleaned the house greatly helping me in my illness.  It's good to be in this house of the level path with room for friends.   It's good to hear their laughter.  It does feel like the exiles have returned to Jerusalem and we are home.

I love the Christmas Lullaby by the late, great Doc Watson.  Sleep well.

Ready For My Close Up!

It's hard not to smile back. . .

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My God of Level Paths

Psalm 27:11
English Standard Version (ESV)
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.

This is a wise statement for those who are moving such as we.   I am out of the little house under the weeping willow tree into the house of a level path.   Moving is such hard work that it makes me wonder if the Jews were 70 years in Babylonian captivity because nobody had the heart or strength to move.  When Cyrus the Great released them to return to Jerusalem, how many husbands declared  things were really not that bad so why move?
Even so God moves us along.   Rheumatoid arthritis meant that I needed a house with easier accessibility and He has provided.  The walk to my new front door is straight and smooth with no steps to negotiate, and I am grateful.  God was with me under the willow tree when I mourned my foreclosure loss and He continues to be faithful as I battle my new enemy, this illness.   I've seen my Egypt and my Babylon,  I'll not turn back.

"So You Want to Go Back to Egypt" - Keith Green

This Made Me Smile...

 This also makes me thankful for E-readers.

The New Kid

"Nativity" Mary Cicely Barker

"There's A New Kid in Town" - Kathy Mattea

Monday, December 10, 2012

Scripture For A Weary Day

Psalm 43:5
New International Version (NIV)
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I'm old enough to remember when "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was a new Christmas special.  It's still special this many years later.   I pray that I will always remember the true meaning of Christmas that was explained so well by Linus and his blanket.

The True Meaning of Christmas

Mary, My God's Choice

Luke 1:26-33
New International Version (NIV)
The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

While I don't worship or venerate Mary, the mother of Jesus, this is the time of year where my admiration for her grows.  What was about her young life that caused God to find favor with her?  I don't believe I'll know until I meet her in Heaven.  She does seem to have been a brave and courageous woman, pure and devoted.  I'm thankful for her and her role in delivering my Savior.  

"Mary Sweet Mary" - Selah and Plumb

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Each Child, Still Knows

Cisely Mary Barker, artist

"Christmas Canon" - Trans Siberian Orchestra

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas

(The joy that he brings)
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas
(The joy that he brings)
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas
(The joy that he brings)
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas
(The joy that he brings)
Merry Christmas

This night, we pray
Our lives, will show
This dream, he had
Each child, still knows

This night, we pray
Our lives, will show
This dream, he had
Each child, still knows

(He had)
This night, we pray
(Our lives)
Our lives, will show
(He had)
This dream, he had
(Our lives)
Each child, still knows

(He had)
This night, we pray
(Our lives)
Our lives, will show
(He had)
This dream, he had
(Our lives)
Each child, still knows

(He had)
This night
(On this night, on this night, on this very Christmas night)
We pray
(On this night, on this night, on this very Christmas night)
(Our lives)
Our lives
(On this night, on this night, on this very Christmas night)
Will show

(He had)
This dream
(On this night, on this night, on this very Christmas night)
He had
(On this night, on this night, on this very Christmas night)
(Our lives)
Each child
(On this night, on this night, on this very Christmas night)
Still knows

What I'm Listening To...

"Baby It's Cold Outside" - JOHNNYSWIM

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Glorious Impossible

"Glorious Impossible" - Carl Cartee

See the Virgin is delivered
In a cold and crowded stall
Mirror of the Father's glory
Lies beside her in the straw

He is Mercy's incarnation
Marvel at this miracle!
For the Virgin gently holds
The Glorious Impossible

Love has come to walk on water
Turn the water into wine
Touch the leper, bless the children
Love both human and divine

Praise the wisdom of the Father
Who has spoken through His Son
Speaking still, He calls us to
The Glorious Impossible

Glorious Impossible

He was bruised for our transgressions
And He bears eternal scars
He was raised for our salvation
And His righteousness is ours

Praise, oh praise Him, praise the glory
Of this lavish grace so full
Lift your souls now and receive the
Glorious Impossible!

Glorious Impossible

Glorious Impossible
Glorious Impossible

Praise, oh praise Him, praise the glory
Of this lavish grace so full
Lift your souls now and receive
The Glorious Impossible

Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Hallelujah
Glory, Hallelujah

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Whiter Than Snow

Psalm 51:7
King James Version (KJV)
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

I uploaded a song to YouTube today called "Winter Snow."   It's a lovely song by Chris Tomlin featuring Audrey Assad.   Thinking about snow reminded me of the old hymn "Whiter Than Snow," and  I found Kathyrnne's precious version.  I pray that she'll grow into the truth of this hymn.  I pray that for myself as well.

Kathrynne's rendition of "Whiter Than Snow"

Whiter Than Snow

1. Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul.
Break down every idol, cast out every foe
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

2. Lord Jesus, look down from Your throne in the skies
And help me to make a complete sacrifice.
I give up myself and whatever I know
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

3. Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat;
I wait, blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet.
By faith, for my cleansing I see Your blood flow
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

4. Lord Jesus, before You I patiently wait;
Come now and within me a new heart create.
To those who have sought You, You never said "No"
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.