Today is the Day!

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalms 27:13‭-‬14 NASB1995

And then, Jesus was born!

“So they [the shepherds] came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.” Luke 2:16 NASB1995

The Saviour of the world has been born, and He lives today. Celebrate His birth!

I Heard the Bells

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalms 27:13‭-‬14 NASB1995

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells….. I love hearing the church bells as they peal out their songs, especially on Christmas Eve night. There’s something about the sound that stirs my soul. As they ring, it brings to mind the sounds of angels announcing that the Messiah, Jesus Christ has been born and is waiting, even now for us to believe in Him and to love Him. The ringing bells are the sounds of the angels, reminding us that we are not alone on this earth. There is no need to despair, for our LORD is here and in control. The bells remind us that though He came here as a baby the first time, He is coming again as the Lion of Judah, to conquer sin and defeat for the final time! I can’t wait!

Silent Night, Holy Night

“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” ”

(Luke 2:1‭-‬14 NASB1995)

Do You Hear It?

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?

Said the night wind to the little lamb:
“Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite”

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy:
“Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song, high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea”

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king:
“Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king
Do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Let us bring Him silver and gold”

Said the king to the people everywhere:
“Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people everywhere!
Listen to what I say!
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light”

– 1962, Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker

Are you listening? JESUS is the answer; the only answer to all of the trials and tribulations and troubles we are dealing with – yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The Child Who left His Throne wants to give you peace. We still have to live in this sinful world, but we have a choice. Live in worry and fearful anticipation of what might happen, or be at peace in your heart.

I have troubles, and I would love to be able to see past them. I have concerns about where my country is headed (the phrase “to hell in a hand basket” comes to mind….) No matter what, I know that no matter what happens, my God is in control. If I should die tomorrow, or in the next 5 minutes, I’m not afraid, because I know where I’m going, and it’ll be FANTABULOUS.

Do you hear what I hear? The Glorious sound of the celebration of my Saviour’s birth, Who came to die and cover our sins with His blood; Who was resurrected on the third day, and returned to heaven to prepare a place for me! Can you say it for yourself?

The angels and all of Creation are joining in the song!!

Christmas Day

We know that Christmas Day isn’t actually the day that Jesus was born. It’s a day that was co-opted from the pagan celebrations of the winter solstice, and many of the symbols were co-opted, as well. Is there anything wrong with this? Should we, as Christians, take this day and disown it, choosing to celebrate Jesus every day of the year?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1‭-‬5 NASB1995

Jesus has always been. He IS and WAS and WILL BE to come. Why bother with His “birth” day? And how do we come up with a birth date? We’re human. We need the tangible in order to grasp the intangible. Choosing a day to celebrate the birth of our Saviour as a man, a GOD-man, gives us the opportunity to show His birth to the world. It’s unfortunate that the day has evolved into a day of giving gifts to other humans instead of celebrating the gift that God gave to humanity. I think Christmas is a great example of our degenerate humanness and just how far we have fallen. We take a day that celebrates God, and make it all about us.

It came upon the midnight clear,

That glorious song of old,

From Angels playing near the earth,

To touch their harps of gold;

“Peace on the earth, good will to men,

From Heaven’s all-gracious King.”

The world in solemn stillness lay,

To hear the Angels sing.

JOY to the world!

I choose to embrace the Christmas season. I celebrate my Saviour’s birth in Bethlehem. On the morning of December 25th, my household listens to me read aloud the Christmas story from Luke. (Even when I’m the only human in the house.) It’s up to each of to determine how, and when, we celebrate God’s birth as a baby boy. Celebrate the Reason for the Season, and don’t be ashamed to say “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NASB1995

40 Fails

The number 40 appears around 146 times in scripture, and is used to indicate a time of testing or trial. For 40 days and 40 nights it rained and the waters came up out of the ground to cover all of the earth, while Noah and his family took shelter in the ark. (Genesis 7:12)

Moses spent 40 years living in Egypt before moving to the land of Midian, where he spent another 40 years (Exodus 2) before he returned to Egypt and led the Israelites away from captivity. He spent another 40 years with them, wandering in the wilderness. During that time, Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights, on two separate occasions (Exodus 24:18, 34:1 – 28), receiving God’s laws. He also sent spies, for forty days, to investigate the land God promised the Israelites as an inheritance. (Numbers 13:25, 14:34).

The prophet Jonah powerfully warned ancient Nineveh, for forty days, that its destruction would come because of its many sins. The prophet Ezekiel laid on His right side for 40 days to symbolize Judah’s sins (Ezekiel 4:6). 40 days in the wilderness. That’s how long Jesus was there.

For me, I wandered in and out of my own personal wilderness for 40 years. I walked away from a home of spiritual safety, into the sinful ways of the world. There is another story from the Bible that I want to share as an example that God can overcome if we allow it.

From the devotional “Epic Fails” by Brittany Rust: “Samson’s epic fail was a thirst for the things of this world, fulfilling lust, and not learning from his past mistakes. His story shows us that pursuing these things will only bring us down and hurt us. That refusing to learn from our past will be our fall. Take cues from your pitfalls and draw boundaries that will protect you from repeating the past. I’m thankful to see that Samson finished strong; he connected with God and went out victoriously. Even though he didn’t steward his gift well, God still graciously blessed him for His purposes and, in the end, used him greater than ever before.”

“Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O LORD GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O GOD, ……”
Judges 16:28a NASB

I failed as a follower of Jesus for 40 years. I still stumble and fall, and fail, constantly; I’m sure at least 40 times a day. My saving grace is that Jesus is my Saviour. His Mercy covers me. Have you received His Grace and His Mercy and Forgiveness? Ask Him today, right now. He’s waiting patiently.

And JESUS Was Born!

The God the Father speaks to His Son, God the Son, Jesus, and to the Heavenly Hosts, before Jesus was born as a man – all man and all GOD:

“And when He again brings the Firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.” But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.” And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed . But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.” But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies A footstool for Your feet”? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” – Hebrews 1:6‭-‬14 NASB

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is CHRIST the LORD.” – Luke 2:10‭-‬11 NASB

A Time of Thanks

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8‭-‬9 NASB

Christmas is coming. What are you going to be grateful for? Jesus, the reason we even have something to celebrate, or how much “stuff” you get?

According to HIS Will

“God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.” Hebrews 2:4 NASB

HIS Will.

What’s your plan? Are you getting ready to celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Saviour, or are you stressing out over presents and sending cards and decorating the house?

Slow down for a moment. Breathe.

We get so caught up in the “holiday spirit” that we forget what the “holiday” is all about. The decorations and the presents and the parties take over our thoughts and actions. We concentrate so much on everything being perfect, we forget why we’re doing all of it in the first place. Are the presents the focus, or the Presence?

Seriously.

I love the lights and the decorations. Opening presents makes me feel like a kid again (especially when they are actually wrapped instead of in gift bags 🤗 ) ….. I could happily leave the nativity up all year around as a reminder of the precious gift we were given by the Lord.

Especially this year, 2019, with the insanity happening in Washington DC, our focus needs to turn to Jesus. What is HIS Will in this mess? Celebrate His birth, His Presence, but be sure to take the time to pray for our nation and our leaders. What a mess.