Thank You!

Instead of making resolutions for the coming year—which I rarely do—I’d like to share the many things for which I’m thankful as we slide from 2015 into 2016. 

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  • First, I thank and praise God for working through me in this blog. To Him be the glory in all of this! I cannot imagine doing any of it without the Holy Spirit’s guidance and help.
  • I am beyond blessed with a wonderful husband who not only supports my writing and blogging, but who is also diligent to make sure I don’t overdo. Thank you, Rick, for always being there for me to lean on and hug, to hold hands with, and to walk this earthly journey with me.
  • I can’t let 2015 end without thanking my friend Pat Knight for all of the devotionals she writes for this blog. In spite of the constant chronic pain she deals with on a daily basis, she has been instrumental in keeping this blog going. Thank you, Pat!
  • A huge thank you to all my readers and followers for hanging in here with me as I’ve tried to keep up with a consistent blogging schedule. I’m still working out a balance in my life so that I can keep up with this blog without hampering my health.

I don’t know what 2016 holds for me, but I do know Who holds 2016! I believe without a doubt that if it is God’s will for me to keep blogging here, He will continue to enable me in this venture.

Beloved,

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. —Philippians 1:3-4

God With Us

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PROPHECY:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. —Isaiah 7:14

FULFILLMENT:

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

From PreceptAustin:

Have you ever wondered if you should spell Immanuel with an “I” or an “E?” The answer is that both are correct! Immanuel with an “I” is a transliteration of the original Hebrew word composed of ‘Immanu (with us) and El (God), while Emmanuel with an “E” is a transliteration of the Greek “Emmanouel.” The NET Bible is one of the few translations that maintains this distinction, translating Isa 7:14-note as Immanuel and Mt 1:23-note as Emmanuel.

Read the rest here.

Sunday Praise & Worship: Joy to the World!

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Joy to the world, the Lord has come,
let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room

And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ!
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found

Songwriters: G. F Handel, Isaac Watts 
Published by Lyrics © HAL LEONARD CORPORATION

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Joseph’s Lullaby

Merry Christmas, Beloved!

After all the busy-ness of this Christmas season, please take some quiet time to enjoy this beautiful song by Mercy Me titled “Joseph’s Lullaby.”

If for whatever reason you cannot view this video, you can read the complete lyrics here.

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Apathy Stifles Joy

 

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Apathy Stifles Joy

By Patricia Knight

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
and she {Mary} gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger
because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).

Mary and Joseph sought overnight accommodations in Bethlehem, where their ancestors originally lived, the town where they were required to register for the government-decreed census. After an exhausting, three-day walking journey from their hometown of Nazareth, the couple probably found only one inn available. The Bethlehem inn could have simply been a personal dwelling that offered guest beds, still a welcome sight to the weary travelers.

We aren’t aware of the innkeeper’s name.  Though he most certainly observed Mary’s advanced pregnancy, he powerlessly quipped, “no room,” like he had to so many other travelers that day.  The innkeeper wasn’t altogether heartless; he did have the compassion to point the couple to a nearby barn. Early tradition suggests the royal family’s lodging may have been a cave, used as an animal shelter. The innkeeper today is known only as the man who missed Christmas, who participated only by complacency. His personal identity has passed into anonymity.

Consider how the innkeeper could have enriched his life if he had entered into worship—if only he weren’t so involved with everyday details. Down through the centuries the prophecy of a Messiah, promised as the Savior of the Jews, had been communicated to each generation. There was great anticipation and expectation associated with the promise. When the prophecy was finally fulfilled, the innkeeper was caught too absorbed with mundane business dealings to notice the Savior’s birth on his own property; too preoccupied with the ordinary to detect the extraordinary.

How do we react to the celebration of Jesus’ birth?

Are we too entrapped by daily demands to focus on the phenomenal entrance of Wonder into our lives? Are we too overwhelmed by family obligations to ponder the miracle of the Messiah’s birth? Have the demands of the season distracted us from the amazing plans of God to send His only Son into the world, forgiving sins, and securing eternal life for those who believe?  Do we allow the natural to interfere with the supernatural entrance into our lives?

God was aware that the known world at the time of Jesus’ birth would be indifferent to His sovereign, astonishing methods, so He chose to announce His Son’s birth to the shepherds tending their flocks of sheep in the nearby fields, men considered lowly outcasts of society and religious life.  To their limited audience the angels acknowledged the glory and majesty of God by singing praises to Him. The Prince of Peace had been born!  As we grasp the enormous gift of Jesus’ birth, we offer praise for a Savior who lived on earth, who experienced challenges and victories similar to the ones we confront daily, and who knows how to respond to our needs.

“The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:7) concluded God’s early prophecy of His Son’s birth. This year, like the innkeeper, does apathy relegate Jesus to the stable room of our hearts?  Or, do we resolve to emulate the ecstasy and enthusiasm the Father displayed for the sacrificial, extravagant gift of His Son, as the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior of the World?

You can read more of Pat’s writing here.

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Hurting During the Holidays

This is an excellent and very pertinent article from David Platt’s Radical blog.

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Hurting During the Holidays

by Tate Cockrell

I love the sights, sounds, and smells of the holidays. The great food, the holiday shopping, the time with friends, and some wonderful family traditions– all these make this time of year special for me. But the holiday season can also be a dreaded time of year for me. It’s dreaded because I know at some point during the season, I’m going to find it difficult to celebrate. Like many others, I am going to struggle with the “holiday blues.” In this blog I hope you will see the reality of the holiday blues–what it is and what causes it. Then, in a follow-up post, I want to talk about how you can minister to others as they struggle through it.

So what are the holiday blues?

Read the rest here.

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The Birth of Jesus Christ

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The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about:

His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph,
but before they came together,

she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man
and did not want to expose her to public disgrace,

he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this,
an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife,
because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

24 When Joseph woke up,
he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took Mary home as his wife.

25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son.
And he gave him the name Jesus.
-Matthew 1:18-25

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