Christmas 2015

O Holy Night

O holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name

One of my most favorite Christmas hymns. 

May Christmas 2015 be a time of peace and joy and fellowship.  May you sit in awe and amazement as you contemplate the birth of Jesus and what it meant for all of His creation.

From my family to yours, Blessed Christmas and a glorious 2016.


Do More...

A quote flashed by in Pinterest the other day.  It's annoying to look at Pinterest on my phone because it auto-refreshes and when something pops up, it often disappears in that auto-refresh and I can't find it.  I was going to follow this pin, see where the quote came from but I couldn't.  I'm not trying to take credit so if someone knows where this originates, I'd love to hear about it.  (the quote I saw on Pinterest - the Bible references I added for my own reminder)

With that said, the quote struck me.  In a culture where "it's all about me" is prevalent (sometimes overtly, sometimes quite subtly), this reminds me of what I need to focus on doing instead of what the world tells me I should be doing.  

Our Lifegroup is working through Jerry Bridges' "Respectable Sins" study and this week we're talking about ungodliness and ungratefulness.  Perhaps seeing the quote on Pinterest wasn't quite so random.  There have been a few things to "make me think" this week.  It's difficult, it's hard to dig deep because that involves looking at the blackness that is your own heart.  I know I tend to think I'm doing better than I am and while I know I am covered by God's grace and that Jesus' blood is the filter God sees me through, if that alone does not make me want to please Him in every way, shape and form then I am too involved in my own self.  If God does not enter my thoughts constantly, then I am being ungodly and I am grieving Him.  That is being much less than holy.

There is more, so much more.  There is a danger of getting stuck in self-examination and beating oneself up quite a bit.  I can do that quite easily.  I must remember God's wrath has been poured out, through Jesus, for my sins and I bow my head in awe and wonder at that gift - and I have to ask God to help me avoid belittling that gift by not accepting His grace.  

May I forever be living Romans 12:1-2:  "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."


Words Have A Way

My seventh grade reading teacher used to tell us that if the use of profanity was the best word we could come up with in any given sentence, we needed to expand our vocabulary.  Profanity proves laziness and a lack of personal integrity.

I've always remembered that, every time I've uttered a vulgar or profane word.  It is about the only thing that has probably kept my mouth "clean" long before I came to Christ.

Don't misunderstand - I am definitely no saint.  I get angry, I slip.  I get passionate about something, I slip.  There is, though - always - instantaneous conviction.  I KNOW I could have said something better the moment I use profanity.  Always.

Now that a friend of mine has posted the above quote, it'll probably ring in my head each time I go to speak, too.

A thought to ponder - why doesn't Ephesians 4:29 or Colossians 3:5-17 bounce around my brain when those words pour off of my lips?   Why is that?


I Am Quite Confused

I was doing some looking around on Pinterest (a site I can get lost in for HOURS.  You?) and someone posted a picture of "a perfect fall bed."

People change their bedding by the season?  I mean...I can see buying some snowman sheets to use in December but an entire comforter/sham/bed skirt set for fall?  (a beautiful rusty color by the way)  My first thought was what are we coming to when even our beds have to get decked out for the season?

Maybe we're taking our comfort a bit too far?  Maybe we're too affluent for our own good?  I know my grandmothers would have both been shocked at not just the waste of money in buying different bedding for the seasons (they would have had two - a blanket they added, under the bedspread, to the bed in the winter and then removed in the summer) but a waste of space to store them all.

As we look at Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram and all sorts of social media, "keeping up with the Jones'" seems to be so far out of hand I'm not sure what would bring it back.

For instance...dishes.  I saw an advertisement today for four different sets of new dishes and could find a reason to use all of them.  (Believe me - I am not immune to this.  I love pretty, sparkly things, too.)  I actually started justifying to myself the cost of four sets and then I had to stop.  FOUR NEW sets of dishes???  Who do I think I am?  The White House?  Am I deciding the china patterns for the next three Presidents (I'll keep one for myself...)?

Am I the only one who feels like my priorities might be a bit out of whack?  I can't speak for anyone else but I know I, for one, need to skip the material stuff for a while.  There is certainly more "stuff" in my possession than my house can hold (I've started to bring some of it to my office in the guise of making it more "homey") and it's time to simplify.  Simplify.  Perhaps I'll start posting more as I figure out just what that looks like...