Go With Jesus!

I just had my 69th birthday a couple of weeks ago, so, as my husband so fondly pointed out, “You are in your 70th year!”  Thank you, dear. I feel so much better now!  You would think that an elderly lady like me, saved for decades, would be pretty perfect by now, right?  Built up in the most holy faith? Complete? Full of the fruit of the Spirit? Uh, not so much!  He is still working on me!  But, I am standing on His word: Philippians 1:6: Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.  (Oh, thank you, Jesus! You are so patient!)  So, knowing this, I am looking forward to 2016!

 Starting a new year… Turning the page…Out with the old…In with the new! All the things we say at the end of a year. Yes, we have a blank slate, so to speak. A new leg of our respective journeys.  How shall we begin?  Let’s take a look at Moses as he began a new portion of  his epic journey.

Exodus 33: 13-15 (13) Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that IMy Presence shall go with thee (480x640) may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. (14) And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.  (15) And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

I am going to agree with Moses for this year’s portion of my journey!   That is, for my journey from here on!

No, I can’t see around the next bend in the road, but I know that I’ve put my hand in His.  I am going with Jesus wherever He wants to take me.  Mountain high? Hand me my walkin’ shoes!  Valley long and dark?  Hold my hand and shine your Light on my path!  Desert wilderness? Hand me my canteen of Living Water! I’m with You, Jesus!

How about you? He wants to lead you in paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake. Ps. 23

Go with Him!

Let’s pray:

Father help us to walk worthy of the path You have called us to this year. As we go wherever You see fit to lead us, help us to trust You for the outcome.  Help us to say with Moses, “If Your Presence go not with us, carry us not up hence. In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Here is an old song to encourage you.  Paul Wilbur, worshipping in Jerusalem!

 

All is Well

My plan for this post was to write about the Wise Men who searched far and wide to find a King,  because seeking is a very good thing. I encourage each one of you to seek Him. Search the Word of God; spend time in prayer asking Him to lead you. “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

But, instead, I want to declare to you that Now all is well.  Noel!  Christ has come to light your darkness!  We are living in a time of gathering gloom. There is an abundance of evil that has been loosed upon our world. But, Christ has come!  He is our answer. He is your answer! Love has come down!All is well

Run to the Word of God! Read Romans 8!  Here is the good news that will hold us through the gloom and forebodings:  “(verse35:) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?……(verse 38:) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (verse 39:)Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Remember that darkness has fallen! That same Babe in the manger, is the Risen Lord!  He is able to keep you!  Not only that…He is going to finish the work He has started in you!  Oh, there are bound to be trials and hard things to be endured, but these are for our perfecting.  Trust Him!  He is Emmanuel…God with us!  God For us.

Let’s pray:  Emmanuel, God with us, help us to realize that You are doing a great work in us, as well as in the world. Give us the eyes to see past the darkness, into the realm of reality, Your reality. We give You permission to complete the work you have begun in our lives. We trust You to keep us in this evil day. In Jesus name,

Amen  

May your Christmas be filled with His presence!  All is well!  Noel, noel!

 

Voices of Angels

I’ve never seen an angel (that I know of), or heard an angel’s voice. I know the sight and sound must be wondrous though, because every time an angel appears to someone in the Bible that person usually falls down or trembles in fear. So the angel’s first words are almost always, “Fear Not!”

Think of the Christmas Shepherds! Sitting out in the countryside with their sheep. Keeping watch the scriptures say. Doing what shepherds do.  Just watching, protecting their flock; sitting under the stars….and suddenly! “The angel of the Lord came upon them.  And the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.”  (Luke 2: 9) No, not a little troubled. Not surprised or startled.  They were extremely afraid! Quaking in their sandals!

Great Joy

So the angel had to calm them down so that they would listen and said, “Fear Not!  For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Now, not only are these common shepherds struck by the appearance of a heavenly being, and the glory of the Lord shining upon them, but they are the first to hear the good news that is going to change the world forever!  They are the very first to hear what the whole world will hear!  “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord!”

We should remember that Bethlehem was the “Lamb Central” of Israel.  Sheep had been raised there since before the time of David (a shepherd himself).  These sheep were taken down the road to Jerusalem to be sold for sacrifice in the Temple. The shepherds understood well the purpose and end of the sheep they raised. Sacrifice! How appropriate that shepherds were the first to learn of the birth of the Lamb of God, who was destined to become the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and Who would also be known as the Good Shepherd.

As if the coming of the angel of the Lord wasn’t enough, suddenly the very sky above them split open and a multitude of heavenly beings appeared with the messenger, and these humble shepherds were regailed with the very sounds of heaven itself; a host of angels exalting the Lord, and proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The story tells us that these shepherds “came with haste!”  And I bet that was a sight to behold, as they raced over the hills to find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger!   The long awaited Messiah!  The Savior!

After they had seen Jesus, they couldn’t stop talking about it. They told everyone they saw what had happened in the field, and about the baby they found in a manger. They just couldn’t contain themselves!

Oh, that we might  be like the Christmas Shepherds! Making haste to find Jesus, and then making it known abroad; telling everyone that we come across.  Unable to hide what we know to be true! The Saviour is here! Peace on earth, good will to men!

Lets Pray:  Father, thank you for the example you have given us in these humble shepherds. Fearful, yes, yet obedient to do all that was asked of them on that glorious night!  Help us to noise the Good News abroad! May we always be quick to heed the Heavenly Voice!  In Jesus’ name,

Amen!

Here’s one of my favorite versions of the story….along with  the Sidewalk Prophets  singing “Oh What a Glorious Night.”

No Room

It was a holy night, but not many knew it!  Especially not the innkeeper who turned Joseph and Mary away.  This taxing event must have been a boon to his little business in the country town of Bethlehem. Every room full!  So much to do to service the guests! Busy, busy, busy!  Actually, that sounds pretty much like me around the Christmas season!

I must confess that I am not a good multi-tasker.  I am a grab-it-and-growl kind of worker.  If I have a project going, (and I have had some doozies over the years) I am like a horse with blinders on. Single focus; one thing on my mind;  eat, sleep, breathe that project. And yes, I hate to say it, my time for Jesus sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.  No room.

Unfortunately, when this happens, our ears become dull; our “discerners” fail us.  We don’t hear the still small voice that alerts us to the holy thing that is right there before us. Like the innkeeper in the Christmas story, we are just not aware that something heavenly is happening.  We are apt to miss it!

Empty Manger

Think of it!  That innkeeper and his family could have witnessed the birth of the Savior of the whole world, but instead, that awesome privilege was given to the lowly creatures in the stable.  I am hoping to learn the lesson of the ‘innkeeper with no room’ during this Christmas season.  How about you?  Have you made room?  Jesus is coming you know.  So whether you prepare a spacious, gracious room for a King, or a humble, heartfelt manger, take time each day to make Him know that there is room for Him in your heart of hearts.

Let’s pray: Father in Heaven, we want to make Jesus welcome in our hearts.  Help us to make room. Help us not to miss the holy thing…the heavenly thing right at our door, looking for a room in which to be born.  In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Here is a little blast from the past.  Evie Tornquist!

 

What Mary Heard

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved the Christmas Story. I gazed in wonder at every manger scene, large and small.  My grandma had the most beautiful set of figures, replete with shepherds and sheep, elegant Magi who were accompanied by a camel driver and camel, and especially the serene holy family, with Baby Jesus lying in His wooden manger on a bed of hay.  I was always especially interested in Mary.  A teenager who said “yes” to God.

Can you even imagine? A visitation by a heavenly being with a message that she would become theMary Hears mother of the Son of God!  It is true that Mary was a very special young girl.  She was a little troubled at first, when the angel came to her and told her that she was “highly favored.”  But once she cleared up her question about how this could happen, she agreed right away.  “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”  Luke 1: 38.

No more questions; no dissembling; no protesting that “surely, you don’t mean little ol’ me.”  Just, “Whatever You say, Lord.  I am Your handmaid.”

Mary was the first Bride.  She was ready to hear Him and to obey.  The Son of God was to be formed in her.   Now, since His work on earth, He is to be formed in us!  Are we ready? Really ready, to say with Mary, “Behold, your servant. Be it unto me according to thy word.”

I don’t know if Mary understood all that her obedience that night would require of her in the future, but it surely changed the world!  And because of her obedience, we can now have that Holy Thing born in us.  May we carry the fruit of obedience with the faith that He is still changing the world.

Let’s Pray:  Holy Father, help us to hear Your word and obey it like sweet Mary.  May the Holy Ghost and the power of the Highest form Christ in us, that the world might know that You came to save them.  In Jesus’ name,

AMEN!