Sunday, December 29, 2013

Brennan Manning - He loves you

The Keeper of the Stars - Laura Story

Psalm 8:3-4
English Standard Version (ESV)
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?
Isaiah 40:26
English Standard Version (ESV)
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
    calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
    and because he is strong in power
    not one is missing.
Laura Story - Keeper Of The Stars (Official Live Video)
I've been fond of Laura Story and her music ever since she came to my small town church to perform.  She's a lovely woman, who keeps close to God's heart.

TobyMac - Speak Life (Lyrics)

My Search and Rescue God





Psalm 121:7-8
New International Version (NIV)
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.
Psalm 61:1-4
New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 61[a]
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Of David.

1 Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.
2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.
4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
    and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.[b]
I can worry about the people I love when they're out of my sight, as if my God is somehow not capable of taking care of His own, as if I know them better than He does.  But He can and does; and I really should know by now that this is true, oh, beanscot of little faith.
I once stood helplessly by when a member of my hiking party literally slid off the snowy mountainside.  It was a difficult rescue accomplished by people suddenly called upon to be brave and selfless.  Still there was a moment when the victim was at the bottom of the mountain with no one but God.  Then she called out and was heard.  I am thankful for those who are God in the flesh when the need arises and am ever thankful that my God never leaves us to rescue ourselves.  The better choice is to never stray so far from God that He needs to send out a rescue party.   Been there?  Done that?  Walk closer to God.
"Just A Closer Walk" - Bifrost Arts


It's Sunday!

Sharecropper's daughters on their way to Sunday School
We go to church.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Enjoying a Present Hope



I really like the 26th of December.  All that has had to be done for Christmas is done.  Stockings are emptied, the gift wrap has been cleared, and resting is a fine thing to do.  The new year will come soon enough.  Christmas may never be what we think it should or ought to be, but that may be a good thing.  We can be happy with close enough.  We can still hope.  There was one perfect moment on my Christmas day.  My husband and son were rooting around in my grandparents' old barn; and, while I waited, I watched the setting sun turn a lovely deep rose behind the farmhouse and the hills beyond.  The past, present, and future came together in sweet harmony and ever so quietly hope whispered.
Whispering Hope - Hayley Westenra
Soft as the voice of an angel,
Breathing a lesson unheard,
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers her comforting word:
Wait till the darkness is over,
Wait till the tempest is done,
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow,
After the shower is gone.

Refrain

Whispering hope, oh how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.

If, in the dusk of the twilight,
Dim be the region afar,
Will not the deepening darkness
Brighten the glimmering star?
Then when the night is upon us,
Why should the heart sink away?
When the dark midnight is over,
Watch for the breaking of day.

Refrain

Hope, as an anchor so steadfast,
Rends the dark veil for the soul,
Whither the Master has entered,
Robbing the grave of its goal.
Come then, O come, glad fruition,
Come to my sad weary heart;
Come, O Thou blest hope of glory,
Never, O never depart.

Refrain

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Give Us Peace



Dona Nobis Pacem - Beth Nielsen Chapman 

Sinner, Sheep and Shepherd

Andrey Shishkin
Proverbs 22:9
English Standard Version (ESV)
9 Whoever has a bountiful[a] eye will be blessed,

    for he shares his bread with the poor.
Proverbs 12:10
English Standard Version (ESV)
10 Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,

    but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
Isaiah 40:11
English Standard Version (ESV)
11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young.
We have livestock of a sort here in this House of the Level Path: dogs, a cranky old cat, assorted fish.  I was laughing this morning about the group who gathered at my husband's feet looking for a piece of his breakfast.  They all know who the soft touch is in our house.  Earlier this week, not thinking, he left a just purchased pound of hamburger in the car while he ran into another store.  When he returned all that was left was shredded, meat-stained paper.  It was one of those times when I wished I could have had a hidden camera recording it all.  I can guess, but I'd like to see which one of the dogs went first.  Did they divide it up or fight a little over it?  Apparently they felt secure enough in their life situation to know they wouldn't get kicked out of the car for their misdeed and probably could have argued that they were just dogs doing what dogs will do.  Did they at least feel a little shame?   It's awfully easy for most of us to jump headfirst into sin while planning to deal with the consequences later.    Now my thoughts are wandering.   I first started writing because this picture of the old man sharing his bread with his animals touched a place in my heart.  When I think of the love and care that goes into the animals in our charge, I marvel considering the love and care the Savior gives to me, His sheep.  I'm sure God doesn't chuckle at my sin.  He may even be angry over sin's destruction in my life, a little like how my husband was when he found his hamburger missing.  There's just no need to steal what God so generously provides.    Even so, He yet cares for me, a sheep in His fold.  


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Star of Wonder



Matthew 2:1-12
New International Version (NIV)
The Magi Visit the Messiah

2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
"Star of Wonder" - Sara Groves

Tenth Avenue North - We Three Kings - Live On UPTV

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry, Happy Christmas

Proverbs 17:22
English Standard Version (ESV)
22 A joyful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Job 8:21
English Standard Version (ESV)
21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter,
    and your lips with shouting.
Psalm 16:11
English Standard Version (ESV)
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
James 1:17
New International Version (NIV)

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
It's good to be merry and share a laugh.  Just don't let pre-conceived holiday expectations defeat your spirit.  Bad things will still happen to good people at Christmas.  Pain will be felt.  Hearts will break.  We do live in a fallen world, but we have a present hope.  Our long expected Jesus has come.
"Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" - Chris Tomlin

It's Sunday!


Wise men still seek Him.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Good Prayer


What A Glorious Night - Sidewalk Prophets

Christmas Lessons

Galatians 6:6
English Standard Version (ESV)
6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.
1 Corinthians 10:11
English Standard Version (ESV)
11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

I've been thinking of lessons that are learned at Christmas, such as never ask for a baby doll that's bigger than you.  Give your wife your Christmas list before she goes shopping is another.  Remember where you store your electrical cords from year to year or you'll be running out to buy more.  This is important if you have a husband who will move cords and even light bulbs from lamp to lamp as the need arises.  Finally, never ever reveal the location of your battery stash to the young man who lives in your house but doesn't want to be blogged about and who also happens to be a heavy user of electronics.  I wasn't sure I'd have enough juice in my mouse to blog tonight and now I'll have to find a new place to hide them.  I'm glad, however, that he's still living under my roof because he does come in handy for more than heavy lifting and cleaning up pet messes.  If I don't learn how the TV remote operates before he leaves home for college, I'll be in a heap of trouble.  He has been telling me about a TV system that is voice operated, but then I say I already have one and call out his name loudly as I helplessly hold up the remote.  
"That Spirit of Christmas" - Sidewalk Prophets

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Little Christmas Romance

Proverbs 18:22
New International Version (NIV)
22 He who finds a wife finds what is good
    and receives favor from the Lord.
Ephesians 5:28
English Standard Version (ESV)
28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Proverbs 5:18
English Standard Version (ESV)
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
    and rejoice in the wife of your youth,

"Grow Old With Me" - Mary Chapin Carpenter

Away in a Manger/Cradle Song-FLOYD AMASON

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Were You There?

Isaiah 40:26
The Message (MSG)
25-26 “So—who is like me?
    Who holds a candle to me?” says The Holy.
Look at the night skies:
    Who do you think made all this?
Who marches this army of stars out each night,
    counts them off, calls each by name
—so magnificent! so powerful!—
    and never overlooks a single one?
Sometimes I wonder why I ever argue with God.  I know He is God and I am not, but still I rebel against the very one who gave me life and breath.  I'm not always that way; but when I am, because He knows and loves me, He brings me back in the fold.  I am thankful He doesn't leave me to my own devices, and I love being His forgiven child.  Unfortunately, this world we live in is in an almost constant state of rebellion against God and even God's people.  We are expected to be tolerant of everything but intolerance, even if it goes contrary to the Word of God.  How long will God forbear with His creation shaking its fist in the face of their Creator?  I don't know, but sometimes it causes me to tremble.
Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord) BY SELAH







Tuesday, December 17, 2013

for KING & COUNTRY - "Angels We Have Heard On High"- Animated Video

No, I Can't Think of Anything...



…too difficult for my God.  Trust Him.  He will do what He says He will do.
John 6:35-38
The Message (MSG)

35-38 Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Mom and God's Mysterious Ways

James 1:17
English Standard Version (ESV)
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[a]
I don't think there was a book I loved better at Christmas time then the Sears and Roebuck Wish Book, although if asked I probably would have answered the Bible to make the grownups happy.  The catalog was the stuff of dreams and momentous decisions.  My siblings and I would circle and put our names by each desire of our hearts.   I even remember thoughtfully adding up the costs for my parents on one of its pages.  We didn't sit on Santa's lap and tell him what we wanted, instead we went straight to the source, Sears.   What I didn't know then was that we were doing exactly as my mother wanted, because she would take the catalog straight to the Sears store and place her order.  I only knew the wonder of finding dreams fulfilled under the tree.  As they were wealthy in children but short in change, how my parents funded the purchases is still a mystery to me.   As it was in my mother's kingdom so it is in God's.  Take your burdens, hopes  and desires straight to the Source, because God still moves in mysterious ways.
Indelible Grace: God Moves in a Mysterious Way 
from Indelible Grace VI: Joy Beyond the Sorrow

lyrics:
1. God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders
to perform. He plants his footsteps on the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

2. Ye fearful saints fresh courage take, The
clouds you so much dread, Are big with mercy,
and shall break, With blessings on your head.

3. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust
him for his grace. Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.

4. His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every
hour. The bud may have a bitter taste, But sweet
will be the flower.

5. Blind unbelief is sure to err, And scan His
work in vain. God is His own interpreter, And He
will make it plain.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My God of All Ages

Isaiah 43:18-19
English Standard Version (ESV)
18 “Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.
Romans 15:4
English Standard Version (ESV)
4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Psalm 146:10
English Standard Version (ESV)
10 The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the Lord!
Hebrews 13:8
New International Version (NIV)
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Yesterday, I watched the movie, Into the Wild, a film by Sean Penn about the life and death of Christopher McCandless, the young man who went off on his great Alaskan Adventure only to dive from starvation in the unforgiving Alaskan wilderness.  This morning I read about a young local woman, who has adopted a Victorian lifestyle which includes the wearing of a corset.  I know the two are hardly comparable, the young Victorian is alive and well and now has a published book. Her fame is growing, which is certainly better than tragic, posthumous fame.  Still both individuals have me asking why.  I would not want to either live off the grid or in the past in order to find myself.  I've already been found by Jesus, who has provided for my every need through His Word.  

So in my meandering thoughts from this house of the level path, I remain thankful for modern conveniences and medical advances.  They certainly make living with rheumatoid arthritis easier.  I'm also happy I'm not writing on my old manual typewriter right now with fingers blue from carbon paper, even though that typewriter was my favorite Christmas gift from my parents.  What truly matters for anyone is Jesus Christ; and He remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. 
"How Great Is Our God" - Chris Tomlin

It's Sunday!

So come all ye faithful...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Because It's Cold Outside...


Genesis 8:22
English Standard Version (ESV)
22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”







































God's Benefit Plan

I confess to being grouchy over my lack of workplace benefits; but I like this Psalm, because it tells me that God has a unmatched benefits plan, and I'm on it!   I've been covered by the blood of Jesus, and it flows freely for me and for any others who call upon His Name.  The Son of God is my union representative and I don't even have to pay dues.  What a sweet deal!  So go ahead and look for my union label.  It reads. "Redeemed."
Matthew West - Hello My Name Is (Lyrics)  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pardon Me, My Jerk is Showing

snark·y
ˈsnärkē/
adjectiveinformal
1.
(of a person, words, or a mood) sharply critical; cutting; snide.
"the kid who makes snarky remarks in class"
James 1:19
English Standard Version (ESV)
Hearing and Doing the Word

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
Philippians 2:14
English Standard Version (ESV)
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing,
2 Corinthians 7:10
New International Version (NIV)

10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
The graduation speaker was a wise woman.  She admonished the class not to be jerks.  I guess I'm still being schooled, because today I let a flash of anger lead to ungracious words; and I've been alternating between pure snarkiness and genuine sorrow since.  In other words I've been a conflicted jerk.  Sigh.  May my repentance be real and may God have the victory.
Before the Throne - Sojourn

I Liked This!

I'll take a Christmas tree, please. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Grandma and The Unmuzzled Oxen

Vintage photo of farm hands eating lunch during harvest circa 1940.
Deuteronomy 24:19-22
English Standard Version (ESV)
19 “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 22 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.

1 Timothy 5:18
English Standard Version (ESV)
18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”
I have found memories of sitting around my grandmother's table eating alongside the hay hands she was feeding.  We ate so well, and I loved being a little girl stuck between happy men with big appetites.  She, who had spent at least one season cooking for loggers in a logging camp, knew well how to feed hungry men; and I was a gladly blessed recipient of her experience. My father told me that she fed the hungry wanderers who came to her door during the Great Depression, giving out of the farm's bounty.  Since it is yet fall, although it feels like winter, I wanted to give a shout out to Grandma, who is now feasting at the table set by her Lord.  
Well done, Grandma.  You were a good and faithful servant.  Your laborers were fed as well as your children and your grandchildren, and no one went away hungry from your table.  
In The Bounty of The Lord - Claire Holley




Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Servant King

"No Room At The Inn" art by Margaret Tarrant
Luke 2:7
King James Version (KJV)
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Mark 10:43-45
New International Version (NIV)
43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
1 Corinthians 2:9
English Standard Version (ESV)
9 But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
Sometimes I confuse my American ideals with my Christian faith.  Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was given to me by my government but not by my God.  If the Son of God was born to be a servant how can I expect more?  I am entitled to nothing but, because of Jesus, I have been given everything.  I believe I'll trade in the American dream for God's promises, but I must first gladly assume of holy calling of servanthood.    
"Just A Girl" Brandon Heath Official Lyric Video

All Is Well - MIchael W. Smith

Monday, December 9, 2013

Simeon's Praise

Arent de Gelder – Simeon’s Song of Praise – 1700 – Mauritshuis, The Hague
Luke 2:25-35
New International Version (NIV)
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss[a] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Simeon's Moment by Ron Dicianni 
In any family gathering people love to pass around a baby and it's lovely to witness each generation being added to the family.  Even into my father's old age he loved holding a grand baby, and I can still remember the special joy I had at being able to at last fill my father's arms with my own child.  Simeon, the righteous and devout servant of God, had that moment in the temple.  What must have it been like to hold the Messiah in your hands and know that hope had come?    I'd like to ask him that in Heaven someday (Is he telling everyone how he knew Jesus when he was only this big?), but for now these two artists, one of old and one of today, have beautifully painted his story.  
Come let us adore Him.
"Oh Come All Ye Faithful" - Third Day


Sunday, December 8, 2013

I Really, Really Like This


Kept by Love

 "He Could Have Called 10,000 Angels" - Ron Dicianni

Matthew 26:53-54

New International Version (NIV)

53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

As the saying goes, my sins may have put Jesus on the Cross but love kept him there.  

"He Could Have Called 10,000 Angels" - Loretta Lynn

Tanner Clark - Do Not Be Afraid - Official Music Video

It's Sunday!

Proverbs 16:31
New International Version (NIV)
31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
    it is attained in the way of righteousness.
Wear your best hat and go to church.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Caught Napping

Matthew 8:23-27
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Calms the Storm

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Nearly every day of my life and three to four times a day a ferry travels between my town and a northern port.  I've never once given thought to its sinking, even when I've ridden it during a storm.  It has always been a constant and faithful vessel and I've never expected it to be otherwise.  Knowing this, I'd like to think that if I had been in the boat on that stormy sea that I would have been a disciple, curled up and catching up on my sleep like Jesus.  Yes, I would like to think it; but I know it wouldn't have been me.  I would have been screaming at Jesus just like the rest, "Wake up!  Maybe you can walk on water but I can't!"  Panic first and pray later could be my life motto.  Too often I forget who's in the boat with me, my Jesus, who commands not only the boat but the seas it rides upon.    
Father, increase my faith so I may be a faithful vessel for my Lord.
Isaiah 26:3
New International Version (NIV)
3 You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Because I Resemble This


Proverbs 24:17
New International Version (NIV)
Saying 28

17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
    when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
Luke 6:27-31
New International Version (NIV)
Love for Enemies

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

How easy it is for me to be as foolish as a snowman who doesn't realize the sun will shine on him too!  It would be so much better if I would be willing to walk on fire for another's  sake rather than to gloat over his calamity.  I can take it.  My God is for me.  His love will carry me through.  
Isaiah 43:2
New International Version (NIV)
2 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;

    the flames will not set you ablaze.
"Oh To Be Loved" - Thad Cockrell


Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Good Man Died


Romans 5:6-8
New International Version (NIV)
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Ephesians 2:8-9
New International Version (NIV)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
John 8:12
King James Version (KJV)
12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Psalm 62:5
New International Version (NIV)
5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Tonight I watched the networks' coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela, a man we have every reason to respect and admire; but I found myself dismayed by NBC's Brian Williams opening statement, "For millions who loved him -- in the modern country he formed and around the world, he was the hope and the light of the world.  Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95."
Oh my, if the hope and the light of the world has died we are a people to be most pitied indeed.  Thankfully, Jesus, the Son of God, who's birth we will celebrate this month is the light of the world; and, because of his resurrection from the dead, He is our hope of life eternal.  Let's not deify men, it's an impossible burden to carry; and one Jesus already carried to the cross.



"Hosanna" - Soweto Gospel Choir

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Light Has Come


John 1:1-5
New International Version (NIV)
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.
John 1:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Snow is in the forecast and I've just made my first batch of Christmas fudge.  In the back of my car are Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus blow mold figures, my Black Friday Goodwill find, to put out in our front yard sometime before Christmas.   While I'm still intrigued by the fact that Baby Jesus was the cheapest figure of the three, I'm also starting to think he deserves better than riding around the back of my car.  Then again it might be good to have him in my car year round, at least it would be if he was some kind of good luck charm, which He's not.  Jesus is the light of the world, the life and light of all mankind.   He is our foretaste of glory divine, and even the most devout among us can barely discern the magnitude of the Savior's birth.  He is here and darkness has been vanquished.
"There's A Light" - Beth Nielsen Chapman



A Requested Image

Madonna and Child

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I Just Liked This...

Albert Anker, La devozione al nonno, 1893
(Devotion to his grandfather)
Psalm 37:25
New International Version (NIV)
25 I was young and now I am old,
    yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
    or their children begging bread.

[Official Video] Little Drummer Boy - Pentatonix

Because I Need This Reminder

A quote by Elizabeth Elliot

Monday, December 2, 2013

Never Frozen

 A girl of Voss, Hardanger. This color photochrome print was taken between 1890 and 1900 in Fjord, Norway.
Princess Anna from the Disney Movie, "Frozen"
John 15:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
I enjoyed watching Disney's new animated film, "Frozen," this last weekend.  I'll try to write this post so as not to spoil the story for others.  The music was good and some of it intrigued me, especially the song "Vuelie."  As I researched it today, I learned that it is the combination of a Sami (indigenous Finno-Ugric people of the Arctic folk song,(join) a song of the earth meaning the earth is good, and the hymn, "Fairest Lord Jesus."  While the hymn was left out of the Disney version, a strong Biblical principal was not, love and sacrifice go hand in hand.  So as I look at these two images and wonder what the girl of old would think of being a Disney princess, I also think about the true meaning of love.  I also know that yes, the earth is good; but the Creator of the earth is great; and only His love can melt a frozen heart. 
Fairest Lord Jesus lyrics:
Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.
Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.
Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.
All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer, fairer or dearer,
Than Thou, my Savior, art to me.
Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.