Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Because We All Need a Little Music...

Psalm 150:1-6 English Standard Version (ESV)
Let Everything Praise the Lord
150 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens![a]
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
    praise him according to his excellent greatness!
3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
    praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
    praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with sounding cymbals;
    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 57:7 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 My heart is steadfast, O God,
    my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!

...during these cold winter days.  Praise the Lord with the very breath He has given you, even if you're breathing little frozen puffs of air.   It is cold outside!

Morning Song - The Digital Age 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Ever Laughing Life

Ecclesiastes 3:4 English Standard Version (ESV)
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Job 8:21 English Standard Version (ESV)
21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter,
    and your lips with shouting.

Zephaniah 3:17 English Standard Version (ESV)
17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

The celebration of life was held today for our dear loved one and there was sweet laughter as we remembered him.  Because his illness took away his ability to smile, and he had had a great one, I like thinking about him having an ever-laughing life.  He's been restored. God has indeed filled his mouth with laughter and his lips with shouting now and forevermore.  

Absent From Flesh (Featuring Jamie Barnes) - Sojourn 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

One Day He's Coming

Casting Crowns - "Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)" - Live

Nichole Nordeman - Real (Lyric Video)

It's Sunday!

Frances Cook

Obey your parents and go to church.

Ephesians 6:2-3 The Message (MSG)
6 1-3 Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, “so you will live well and have a long life.”

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Run Like God Intended

Ecclesiastes 9:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 I have seen something else under the sun:

The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
    or wealth to the brilliant
    or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.

Job 2:10 English Standard Version (ESV)
10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”[a] In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Ephesians 2:10English Standard Version (ESV)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Philippians 1:12 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Advance of the Gospel
12 I want you to know, brothers,[a] that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,

My dear brother-in-law was a giant of a man; but restricted by leg braces, he was not fast at least on foot.  (He could be very fast, though, behind the wheel of a car.)   I never saw him move so quickly, however, as he did the night his car stalled in Beverly Hills.  I watched from the back seat of his car, packed with the youth group kids that he had taken on a special trip to California, as he lifted the hood to take a look.  Somewhere nearby the dogs of a rich man barked and he could have put a NASCAR pit crew to shame the way he got that car running and himself back behind the wheel.   We learned from having a youth pastor with a disability what we may never have learned otherwise, especially the concerning the sovereignty of God.  In faith he accepted what had come to him from the hand of God and used it to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He may have run a slow race, but he did run it.  He ran it all the way home.  

Thursday, December 25, 2014

This Christmas At Last

Matthew 25:23 New King James Version (NKJV)
23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

This Christmas morning our much loved family member entered into the joy of his Lord, leaving all of us behind who would very much have enjoyed seeing him  walking into Heaven.  What joy for this man, a paraplegic since childhood polio and most recently a sufferer of an uncommon disease that rendered him helpless, to have been healed at Heaven's door!  We will see him again, but for now we can only marvel at the contrails left behind as he flew away.  What a Christmas!  
Maybe This Christmas - Leigh Nash

Maybe this Christmas will mean something more
Maybe this year love will appear
Deeper than ever before

And maybe forgiveness will ask us to call
Someone we love, someone we've lost
For reasons we can’t quite recall
Maybe this Christmas

Maybe there’ll be an open door
Maybe the star that shined before
Will shine once more, oh

And maybe this Christmas will find us at last
In Heaven, in peace, prayed for the least
For the love we've been shown in the past, oh
Maybe this Christmas, maybe this Christmas

May Christmas Find You...

...as happy and joyful as this little girl was that Christmas past.

Luke 1:14 New International Version (NIV)
14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,

Monday, December 22, 2014

Just a Little Christmas...

...joy and smile too perhaps.
Luke 2:10 New International Version (NIV)
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Singing Snow, Expecting Rain

Matthew 1:23 New International Version (NIV)

23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[a] (which means “God with us”).

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.

Psalm 51:7b New King James Version (NKJV)

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

I'm not expecting a white Christmas, though we've had them in my part of the world.  It's more likely we'll have a wet damp Christmas; but that's okay, I'm used to it.  The idea of a white Christmas is lovely though, a snow that turns everything white and pure, but it's only a temporary wash, not the eternal one we received the the day Christ was born, the day the Word became flesh.  My Savior, my Jesus has washed me and made me whiter than snow.  It's a reality and not a dream.  Still the song is fun to sing.
"White Christmas" - Sidewalk Prophets

It's Sunday!

Home For Christmas

Home for Christmas - Norman Rockwell
Psalm 113:9 New International Version (NIV)
9 He settles the childless woman in her home
    as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord.
The young man who now lives in a dorm has come home for Christmas break today and his parents and his dog are very excited.  Yes, he did eat once again from my crockpot before running out to see his friends, but he's here looking happy and healthy.  God is good. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

This Was My Favorite Carol...

...when I was a child, "Away In a Manger."  This version is from The Andy Griffith Show. 
Andy Griffith Show Christmas Song

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Some Children, All Children

Children of Lesotho
Matthew 19:14 New International Version (NIV)
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Hebrews 2:16 New International Version (NIV)
16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.

I'm so glad Jesus came to earth as babe.  If he hadn't what would children think of Him?  Would they know how much like them He was?  Would they know how much He loved them?  He was once as they are and that must give a sweet comfort.  It still does to me.  This song, "Some Children See Him," leads me to pray that all children will see Him.  

Some Children See Him -Sixpence None the Richer

Ginny Owens- This is Christmas

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Atomic Christmas

Isaiah 60:13 English Standard Version (ESV)

13 The glory of Lebanon shall come to you,
    the cypress, the plane, and the pine,
to beautify the place of my sanctuary,
    and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
My husband is putting the lights on our Christmas tree and perhaps I should help him, rather than looking at goofy Christmas pictures on the internet.  I like Christmas kitsch.  It suits our mid-century house of the level path that looks like it never evolved past the 1960's.  So from our house to yours have a merry atomic Christmas!  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Calling All Wise Men

"Three Wise Men" (1900) ~ J.C. Leyendecker (1874-1951)

Proverbs 3:5 English Standard Version (ESV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.

1 Chronicles 4:10 English Standard Version (ESV)
10 Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm[a] so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.

Philippians 4:6-7English Standard Version (ESV)
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The young man who lives in a dorm but doesn't want to be blogged about is going through finals week.  Tonight I googled bible verses for finals week and found the above among others.  It's amazing how the Bible has an answer for everything, but not always a test answer when needed.  When I went through college there was no google, no internet for that matter, or wikipedia.  I had to type out my reports on a small manual typewriter, using carbon paper.  My class lecture notes were all written out by hand and without hand held electronics, chicken scratch notes telling me just where I fell asleep.    It's wonderful how a preceding generation can always point out to the current one how they don't have it so bad.  (I still doubt, though, that my dad walked five miles through the snow to get to school.)  Coming across this picture of the wise men made me wonder what they would bring Jesus during finals week.  Coffee? Energy bars, energy drinks?  Well, my husband wants the computer so I should stop rambling.  He's trying to figure out Obama care for us for 2015.  He could use three wise men too.
We Three Kings (Piano/Cello) - ThePianoGuys

Carol of the Bells (for 12 cellos) - ThePianoGuys

Sunday, December 14, 2014

[Official Video] Silent Night (Live) - Pentatonix

Because I Can't Think of Anything...

Jessie Wilcox Smith
... to write about.  Kittens in a barn will always speak for me.  

It's Sunday!

Wise men still seek Him.

Deck the Halls

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.

I had a small business for a time selling antiques, collectibles and just pretty things. I knew enough to make it hard to walk away from a good thrift store or garage sale.  Now I have too much stuff and that extends to the Christmas decorations.  Tonight my husband brought in three more boxes of Christmas decorations that have been tucked away in a barn every since we lost our house to foreclosure.  It reminds me that it used to be easier to put the effort into readying the house for Christmas.  Now that I am older and have rheumatoid arthritis it's a more daunting task.  Still I pulled out a couple of decorations I hadn't seen for a while exclaiming with pleasure, "There you are!"  The joy of scoring a bargain hasn't left me either.  Last night my husband and I stopped at the Goodwill and I found a very collectible Christmas doll for a small fraction of it's actual value.  Score, indeed!  Now if I could just hire a few elves to sort all this out for me and deck my halls.  That would be nice.
Tenth Avenue North - Deck The Halls

Rend Collective - Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Comfort and Joy

John 15:11-12 King James Version (KJV)
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

James 1:2-3New International Version (NIV)
Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Luke 2:9-11 New International Version (NIV)
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Revelation 21:4 King James Version (KJV)
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

A picture my husband took of a store window tonight is decorating this blog entry.  He took it after we again visited our loved one in the nursing home.  I wondered what this man might want for Christmas when he is unable to even hold or unwrap a gift.  We spoke with him of joy, leading my husband to sing a bit of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," with an emphasis on the comfort and joy.  Yes, those are two things this merry gentleman needs a continued supply of comfort and joy; because, from that supply he gives.  There was a time when he lead my youth group in singing, "This is my commandment that you love one another that your joy may be full."  He taught us teenagers of the fullness of joy.  Tonight my joy was full as I watched my husband spoon feed him a cup of pudding, and then gently wipe his tears away.  We also sang, read Scripture, and prayed with him; but I think the greatest joy was wiping away the tears of a man no longer able to do so.  We got to stand in for God on that one!   As we left this dear man extended his hand for my husband to hold.  Saint Francis was right to pray that it is in giving that we receive.  
Celtic Thunder - 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'

Thursday, December 11, 2014

God Is With Us

A Dream of Christmas, George Hitchcock (American painter, 1850-1913)

Matthew 1:22-23 New International Version (NIV)
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[a] (which means “God with us”).

Isaiah 9:6 New International Version (NIV)
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.

Because I was asked to consider uploading a certain Christmas song to my Youtube channel, I've had the privilege today of considering the greatest gift, God with us.  God kept His promise and gave the world His Son.  That so many have rejected this gift is both perplexing and terribly sad.  That so many have received this gift is both wondrous and a great joy.
God Is With Us - Casting Crowns
The skies don't seem to be as dark as usual
The stars seem brighter then they've been before
Deep within I feel my soul a stirring
As though my hope has been restored

The shepherds say they've heard the voice of angels
Confirming rumors spread across the land
That a child protected well from Herod's anger
Is our Father's Son, and the Son of man

Love is raining down on the world tonight
There's a presence here I can tell
God is in us, God is for us, God is with us, Emmanuel
He's a Savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts He will dwell
God is in us, God is for us, God is with us, Emmanuel

I feel compelled to tell all who will listen
That peace on earth is not so out of reach
If we can find grace and mercy and forgiveness
He has come to save, He is all of these

Love is raining down on the world tonight
There's a presence here I can tell
God is in us, God is for us, God is with us, Emmanuel
He's a Savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts He will dwell
God is in us, God is for us, God is with us, Emmanuel

Love is raining down on the world tonight
There's a presence here I can tell
God is in us, God is for us, God is with us, Emmanuel
He's a Savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts He will dwell
God is in us, God is for us, God is with us

You're the Savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts You will dwell
You are in us, You are for us, You are with us, Emmanuel

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Born In a Barn

Isaiah 32:18 English Standard Version (ESV)
18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
    in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

Luke 9:58New International Version (NIV)
58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
My childhood home is for sale and if I had a couple of hundred thousand dollars to spare, I'd buy it without hesitation, such is my appreciation for family history.  It's a big old Victorian house, built in 1900, painted white just as it always has been.  Today I made my husband stop so we could peek in the windows now that the previous owners had moved out. I could see that the living room fireplace now holds a free standing wood stove, so it wouldn't be quite the same as the fires my dad used to build.  Then we saw that the back porch where my mother used to wash our clothes in all sorts of weather is now enclosed.  She'd have liked that.  Someone had added a hot tube, something we all would have liked!  I saw the door to the stairs that dad would climb with us children every night to put us to bed.  Still it was very evident that the house had aged just like the large brood of kids it used to hold.  I wish I could have run through the house leaving both doors open if it would mean hearing my dad yell once more, "Were you born in a barn?"
No, I wasn't but my Savior was.  Isn't that amazing?

In the Bleak Midwinter - James Taylor

Rend Collective - Joy to the World (You are my Joy) [OFFICIAL]

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Declaring His Praise

Psalm 51:15-17 New International Version (NIV)

15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[a] a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.
It would be the desire of my heart to sing God's praise forever; and it will happen, because God has promised to renew me, if not outwardly, inwardly day by day. 

Open My Lips - Fernando Ortega

It's Sunday!

Antioch Church Interior~ Washington County, Ga. "Welcome to the House of the Lord"

James 1:22-25 King James Version (KJV)
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed

I actually attended our church's younger, hipper Saturday night service tonight, so I could attend with my husband who will be working Sunday morning.  Our pastor, who will be dressed much differently Sunday morning wore a sweatshirt hoodie and jeans.  As I looked around, quite a number of us were wearing hoodies...and flannel...so appropriate for our damp weather.  We wear them not necessarily because we're hip, but we just never know when it will rain and it's good to have a hood for our heads.  A local rarely carries an umbrella.  The rain could stop and start so many times during a simple outing that it just becomes a bother.  So my hoodie wearing pastor spoke from this passage in James and challenged us to be doers of the word this week.  It's a good challenge!  I pray I'll meet it.  

Because I Like Cows and Christmas...

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Breaking of The Dawn - Fernando Ortega (Live)

Listen! We're singing!

Psalm 104:33 English Standard Version (ESV)
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
I've stayed up too late tonight...again...listening to Christian music for a song that speaks to my soul.  A pastor once said he loved the Christmas season because the whole earth is singing our songs, songs about the birth of Jesus.  So whether this is the holiday season or the Christmas season, we can't help but hear of Jesus.  It's been nice but I'm too sleepy to continue.  I do, however, like this song.

Listen! They're Singing - Evan Wickham 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Joy of Seeing Sons

Psalm 127:3 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
3 Children are a blessing
    and a gift from the Lord.

Psalm 127:5 English Standard Version (ESV)
5 Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.[a]
Nehemiah 8:10 b New International Version (NIV)
" Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

My husband and I visited again tonight the bravest man I know, the father of three of my nephews, all fine men.  This terrible disease he suffers from may weaken his body but not his soul.   He has little strength to speak, so when he does, we do our best to listen.  My husband explained that we missed last weeks visit because of Thanksgiving and then remarked about my joy over having my son home.  He responded much like an amen firmly saying, "The joy of seeing sons!  The joy of seeing sons!"  Living a life, as helpless as one can be, he still knows joy.  I can remember when he came by my work place after son number three was born and announced with a loopy grin, "My three sons!"  I can also remember one of his sons telling me of his plans when he got big and got crutches like Daddy, because a man who walked with crutches and braces was how he defined a man.   The joy of the Lord has been and continues to be this brave man's strength.
I uploaded this song tonight about the Father's Son:

Manger Throne HD - Derri Daugherty, Julie Miller & Third Day

Holding Heaven - Ron Dicianni

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sometimes Just a Snippet of a Well Known Carol...

Psalm 8:3-4 New International Version (NIV)

3 When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?[a]

...is enough to set you back on your heels and gasp, "Ah!" 

I Stand By Your Crib by Quint Buchholz
O Holy Night, Third Day

Monday, December 1, 2014

Use The Door

John 10:9 King James Version (KJV)
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
John 10:3 New International Version (NIV)
3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
John 14:6 New International Version (NIV)
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Mark 8:29 New International Version (NIV)
29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

I'm not sure if this woman is seeking shelter or freedom, but it would be so much better if she could use the door.  My junior high home economics teacher would enter her class this way.  She'd pull her car up next to the classroom window, then as we watched, she'd extend first one long skinny leg inside then the next. I know she was insistent on teaching us economic ways of working in our kitchens, so it also extended to her workplace.  When it comes the Kingdom of God there are no shortcuts.  You'll not find a verse in the Bible that promises when God shuts a door he opens a window.  Jesus is the door and God has not provided a window.  The only way to the Father is through Jesus, the Son, and it is through Him that we find both shelter and freedom.   

Heart & Soul - Josh Fox