Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Simeon & Anna

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy 
Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.  and he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

"Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peach,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation 
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel."

And his father and mother marveled at what was said about him.  And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."

Luke 2:25-35


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Angel's Song

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you in born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those 
with whom he is pleased!"

Luke 2:8-14


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Zechariah's Song

And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace."
Luke 1:68-79


Friday, December 19, 2014

Mary's Magnificat

And Mary said,
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever."


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Elizabeth's Song

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb.  And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!"  And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

Luke 1:41-45


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fruitful in the Place of Affliction

Today, like most days, I was listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  The episode was called Fruitful in the Place of Affliction.  It was so fabulous I just felt I really wanted to share some of the highlights.  May they bless your hearts as they did mine.

"If you're a child of God, God has already redeemed and delivered you from the worst possible outcome that anyone from sin, from Satan, from hell, from eternal damnation and condemnation, from the wrath of God. You have been delivered."
"You may be in a storm. You may be in some other kinds of chains, but you've been delivered in the ways that matter most for all of time and eternity."
"A soul redeemed demands a life of praise."
"If you've been redeemed, if I've been redeemed, it is unthinkable that we should live lives of anything other than unceasing, unending praise and thanksgiving and worship."
"We lift our eyes up to heaven into the light of His face. Up from our darkness and we say, "Oh, God, I choose to believe that You are good, that Your steadfast love endures forever. I give You thanks that I have been redeemed."
"And let me say to those with prodigal children or friends, husbands, important word here, all of those women who were crying in the aisles last night? Be willing to let God be God in that person's life. And be willing to let God do whatever He knows is needed in their life to make them desperate for Him."
"Know that whatever discipline God brings about in our lives or those we love, He can also with a word restore."
"Wherever you're going, He will go with you. He will go in you, and He wants to make you fruitful even in the place of your affliction."
"You can experience fullness, freedom, and fruitfulness in Christ as long as you keep abiding in Him and letting Him have His way, letting him be God, trusting Him with what you can't understand, not demanding answers, not demanding fixes. Yes, crying out, and then trusting God to deliver in His way."
"Not only does God want to turn some of the desert places where you are in His way and time into fruitful places, but for generations to come the fruit of your walk with Christ will be experienced in the lives of coming generations."
"Joy is the presence of Christ with me, in me, through me in the midst of the storm and the pain."
"You say, "Yes, it's bad out there, but it's true in my world where I live, in my workplace, in my family. There's so much evil." I want to tell you one day as you walk with Him through this, all wickedness will shut its mouth."
"You don't have to perform to be loved by Him. You don't have to fix your own life. Cry out to Him, and believe Him to come and do by His grace what you could never do."
"Crying out to the Lord shouldn't be just something we do when an invitation's given. It's something we ought to be doing all the time."
"That daily connection to biblical truth is so important for all of us we seek to thrive in Christ."
The scripture used for this message was taken from Psalm 107.
Oh give thanks, to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.  Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.  Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.  He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.  Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!  For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.  
To read the rest of Psalm 107, click here.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Decisions! Decisions!

It that time of the year again.  Yes, it's Christmas time.  It's a time giving and sharing, BUT how do you handle it.  There are SO many opportunities to give.  It seems like every time you turn a corner, someone is collecting for some needy cause.  All good causes mind you.  I love giving, but a person can only do so much, right?  So, what is a girl to do?  

For years, I would feel guilty if I didn't give to everything.  That's crazy, I know.  So, my wise husband suggested we focus our giving to our local church.  We've done the Angel Tree, Operation Christmas Child, food bags to our local food pantry, gift boxes called Gifts of Grace, adopted families, etc.   The opportunities in the church are limitless.  It's not that we never give outside of our church, but it is primary.  Now, I can walk pass the bell ringer with a clear conscience.  I am actually ok with it.   Here are some reasons we've decided to focus our giving to the church.

1.  It simplifies giving.   I'm not running here and there to drop off donations.

2.  We know the causes are legitimate causes.  We trust our church and the discernment of the leaders.

3.  I can open the mail or go to town without feeling pressured because we are, in fact giving.

4.  All gifts are given in the name of Christ.  This is my favorite reason.  Not only will recipient hear the Gospel, but they see it in action.

So there you go, folks!  Free yourself from the guilt.  Remember, we can't give to everything, but we can give where it does the most good.  Relax.  Enjoy the season.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."  
John 13:34-35