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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17 Years and Counting

As you know, I’ve been trying to keep my computer/online time to a minimum for several months. Today is Rick’s and my 17th anniversary, so I’ve chosen to repeat last year’s anniversary post with a few pertinent changes.

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Today marks 17 years since Rick and I were married in a covenant ceremony. Like all married couples, we have had our ups and downs, but through it all one thing never wavers: the love God instilled in us for each other. He brought us together and only through Him are we complete. You can read the story of our meeting and courtship here.

This collage shows only a few of the memories we’ve shared over the years.  Wherever we go, whatever we do, we are ever thankful for each other. Even though my activities these days are dependent on how I feel and how often I can get out to do things with Rick, we still have a strong love and that certain peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). As long as we continue to look to Jesus as the head of our marriage and our eternal Hope, He continues to bless us beyond anything we can imagine!

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To my beloved Rick, the other half of my orange: I love you so much! Your continuous and undeniable love for me are truly God’s gift to someone who has always had some trouble thinking of herself as lovable. 

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine… —Song of Solomon 6:3

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Sunday Praise and Worship: Psalm 148

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Beloved, do you enjoy praising our Lord while you are reading one of the praise psalms? I sure do. Here is another Praise the Lord! psalm. This time all of creation is praising His holy Name. Isn’t that awesome to ponder? Please join me in singing this praise and worship psalm in your heart today.

Psalm 148

The Whole Creation Invoked to Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
14 And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the Lord!

New American Standard Bible (NASB). Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

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The Promise of a Messiah

If you haven’t yet visited ChosenPeopleMinistries, you should. It is a wonderful place to find tons of resources and information about sharing the Gospel with our Jewish friends. The I Found Shalom section contains video testimonies of Jews who have made the decision to follow Yeshua the Messiah.

The Promise of a Messiah

He will be a Descendant of Abraham

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

He will be from the Tribe of Judah

The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. (Genesis 49:10)

He will be God Himself 

For unto 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. (Isaiah 9:6)

Read the rest here.

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