I found a new rendition of one of my favorite Christmas songs this morning, O Come Let Us Adore Him, and I want to share it with you. This old 18th century song has been used for many years as a Christmas carol, but it is a worship song that might be on the heart of a true worshipper any day of the year. Enjoy this song with me as we celebrate this holiday season.
Celebrate the Reason For the Season!
There is an irrepressible spirit in the holiday season that bring hope to our hearts and lifts us above the mundane into another realm. We stand in faith, in heavenly places amidst a cloud of witnesses that proclaim with joy that Jesus Christ has come into our hearts.
One of my favorite movie
scenes of all time is the scene from Sister Act 2 when the young choir sang “Joyful, Joyful.” That is just about how I feel this year and I pray the same for you all as we really remember what this season is all about.
Tis the season to be jolly! But even in the frenzy to celebrate what the world declares the holiday season, there is an underlying sadness that lingers in the hearts of many. Whether it is the remembrance of a lost love one or the immense pain and loneliness that affects many this time of year or even the helplessness of not having enough–it is extremely difficult to enjoy the festivities. You find strength within yourself to carry on. You put on a happy face and persevere. You believe that this too shall pass.
But in the midst of your pain, there is hope for today and hope for the future in the One who came to this earth to bring joy to the world. If you know Him you can rest assured that He knows what you are going through because He suffered the same things (Hebrews 4:15.) You can know that you are not alone in your pain because He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). You can know peace which passes all understanding because He is our peace (Isaiah 26:3). And you can have joy in Him…
“And though you have never seen him, yet I know that you love him. At present you trust him without being able to see him, and even now he brings you a joy that words cannot express and which has in it a hint of the glories of Heaven; and all the time you are receiving the result of your faith in him—the salvation of your own souls.” (1Peter 1:8)
This joy is not dictated by situations and circumstances. It is not predicated on how you feel or what you see. This joy comes from knowing and believing in the Lord of Glory whose love transcends every obstacle and destroys every hindrance to find its way into your heart. It is a gift from God’s heart to your heart and it is for you right now if you just look within and see with eyes of faith. It is yours if you believe.
And even for those sceptics who question the validity of such a hope, there is a light which lights every man that comes into the world (John 1:9). This true Light is able to illuminate your darkness and eradicate your doubt. This Light will give you power to become a child of the King of Glory whose love for you is so vast and limitless that it will take you the rest of your life to even begin to comprehend its magnitude. Joy is available to all who would believe and receive this matchless gift even now. Just believe…
This world is so full of the tragedies of life and this sad fact is even more evident in the light of the recent events in an elementary school in Newtown, CT. Our hearts are heavy. Our prayers are many and fervent. But in the midst of what seems so senseless and horrific, I find myself remembering the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8, 9:
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
I focus on the One who makes all the ugliness bearable and the One who is my peace in all things. I run to Him whose arms are always open.
Want to know this God of peace? This beautiful Jesus with arms always wide open to love and welcome you?
Faith To Persevere
There is a story in the Bible about a man named Caleb that gives me hope for the future and encouragement to possess my mountain. You see, Caleb was one of the Israelites who when asked to assess the situation in Canaan to determine the feasibility of taking control of the promised land, he stood strong on the God of the promise and was not frightened by the giants who were the current inhabitants. He and Joshua were the only two of the original 12 men who believed that God could bring them the victory over their adversaries. Joshua and Caleb eventually did receive their promise. But it’s Caleb’s passionate statement to Joshua at the age of 85 when he could have been content to let the younger men do the work that got my attention and my heart. What a testimony!!!
Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him: “You know the word which the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord my God. So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim werethere, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.” And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance. Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. Joshua 14:6-14 (NKJV)
I’m not quite 85 but I am at the point in life where many would retire and live a life of leisure. And as tempting as that might be, I have the spirit of Caleb and the heart of a conqueror. And I wholly follow the Lord God of Israel! Now I say as I stand in faith and not fear, “Give me my mountain!” I’m up for the fight! It’s a fight of faith and faith wins every time. Fear will make you want to stay in a “safe” place. Faith will give you eyes to see beyond the giants into the promised land of milk and honey. That’s where I’m headed so you can laugh and ridicule me if you like, but I’m trusting the God of the promise to do what He said He would do and give me my mountain!
Put It On Pause!
I have recently embarked on a new venture and an intensive course of study which is just a little scary for me at this time in my life. I love learning the new information and I love developing the skill-sets that I need for the future, but it is intimidating too. The entire course of study is on the internet–seminars, videos, Power Point presentations, etc. I was watching one such video the other day, totally intent on taking notes and so excited about the amazing material that was being presented when I realized that my note-taking skills were not sufficient to keep up with the lesson. And I realized that I would lose this valuable stuff if I couldn’t keep up. I was about to be frustrated when I heard the Lord say, “Put it on pause.” OMG! I was so caught up in the moment that I didn’t even realize that it was a video with a pause button so I could stop it and take notes at my own pace, and a rewind button so I could go back and re-watch things that I missed. I could even play the entire video over and over again until I got it!!! Game-changer!!! I don’t have to be anxious and intimidated about these new concepts and my ability to learn them. I just have to make up my mind that I will learn the material no matter how many times I have to put it on hold. No matter how many times I have to re-wind it. No matter how many times I have to watch the entire thing over and over again until I get it. Because I have made up in my mind I will get it!!!
There are many times in life when things seem to be going so fast and we get frustrated and anxious and afraid we are going to miss out on what really matters. But we need to realize that there usually is a pause button that we can use to to step back and look at that situation. We don’t have to rush. The Word of the Lord says, “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The KJV says, “Be still and know that I am God.” What it means is “put it on pause” and look to God. Shut up and listen for the still small voice. God is talking but we are too busy to listen. Psalm 46 says, “Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, and though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging, we will not fear.” We know that God is our refuge and our strength and an ever-present help in trouble. We can enter into the “control room” where The Master Controller is ready to be exactly what we need. We can just put it on pause and know that God is God and He is in the “control room” any time we need to pause, or re-wind, or play it again.
I thank God that He gave me the grace to hear, listen, and obey. Life is moving fast but we must never forget to sometimes take time out to put it all on pause.
It is so important to start your day with a positive attitude and hope for good things to come. One of the things that I find extremely helpful is to start my day in the Presence of the Lord. Praying, reading my Bible, or sometimes just reading a devotional is of supreme importance when starting my day. One of my very favorite devotionals is called, “Come Away My Beloved” written by Frances J. Roberts. This little book never fails to speak into my life the very thing that I need for that particular day. I have the actual book somewhere in my library, but the one I use most often is the ebook I purchased from Amazon.com. I have it on my ipad on the Kindle app and it is so easy just to open it up and enjoy it wherever I am. (The Kindle application is free and you can download it on any computer.)
Many mornings before I even get out of bed, I am reading and preparing my heart for the day ahead. One of my favorite scriptures is, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (Proverbs 4:18.) The light of God’s Word is what must light our path every day and there is no better way to do that than by beginning your day with devotion.
As I was praying this morning I heard Father God say, “I love it when My children walk by faith.” Then I had a little mini-vision. I saw a little child standing on the steps grinning at the Father and saying, “Catch me, Daddy!” The Father was down below with His arms outstretched, a smile on His face. Then I heard the Lord say, “Jump! I’ll always catch you.”
Lord, let the faith rise up within me so I can always jump knowing that You will always catch me.