Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve Thoughts and Hymn

This year we lost my dear father, who we called Opa. Mercifully, Opa came to a saving faith in Jesus before he went home to be with the Lord. Many years ago, the great pastor and teacher Charles Spurgeon wrote this devotional on December 31 as the year came to an end, and he thought of those who still had not received the gift of eternal life:

"Reader, suppose you should die unsaved, your doom no words can picture. Write out your dread estate in tears and blood, talk of it with groans and gnashing of teeth: you will be punished with everlasting destruction from the glory of the Lord, and from the glory of His power. A brother's voice would fain startle you into earnestness. O be wise, be wise in time, and ere another year begins, believe in Jesus, who is able to save to the uttermost. Consecrate these last hours to lonely thought, and if deep repentance be bred in you, it will be well; and if it lead to a humble faith in Jesus, it will be best of all. O see to it that this year pass not away, and you an unforgiven spirit. Let not the new year's midnight peals sound upon a joyless spirit! Now, NOW, NOW believe, and live"

"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." — Jeremiah 8:20

Across the Sky the Shades of Night- Hymn for the New Years Eve This link will allow you to hear it, read about the author, and hear the memorable original Lutheran evangelical hymn from 1539.


Across the sky the shades of night
This New Year’s Eve are fleeting,
We deck Thine altar, Lord, with light,
In solemn worship meeting;
And as the year’s last hours go by,
We raise to Thee our earnest cry,
Once more Thy love entreating.

Before the cross subdued we bow,
To Thee our prayers addressing,
Recounting all Thy mercies now,
And all our sins confessing;
Beseeching Thee this coming year
To keep us in Thy faith and fear
And crown us with Thy blessing.

And while we pray, we lift our eyes
To dear ones gone before us,
Safe home with thee in paradise,
Whose peace descendeth o’er us;
And beg of Thee, when life is past,
To reunite us all at last
With those who’ve gone before us.

We gather up in this brief hour
The memory of Thy mercies;
Thy wondrous goodness, love and power
Our grateful song rehearses;
For Thou hast been our Strength and Stay
In many a dark and dreary day
Of sorrow and reverses.

Supporting Scriptures:

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” Psalm 121:1

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Still/Be Still and Know, by Don Moen

I just love to get alone and praise our Savior! Or to stand at the kitchen sink and let my voice rise to the heavens! This is one way to bring joy to your home and your own heart as you thank Him for His covering and protection through the day or night. When you are afraid, don't give way to it! Call upon the Lord in sincerity and faith! "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

Using these you-tubes as a time of meditation or devotion would be a great way to start your day with praise and thanksgiving to God. Below the lyrics of each video post are some Scriptures. If you've never had/read a Bible before, get one, and open it to the Gospel of John. The gospel account is filled with first-hand accounts of Jesus' words and His world-changing 33 years on earth. Scholars generally accept that the Gospel of John was written between 50 and 85 A.D, within 50 years of Jesus' death and resurrection from the grave. Many who witnessed it were still alive at the time of John's writing.
The beginning of John, chapter 1, tells us who Jesus is, and chapter 3, v. 16, tells us the significance of Jesus and His purpose for the world. You can call upon Jesus to be your Lord. You can find rest for your soul in Christ when you come to Him in quietness and trust! You can know His power for a new life!

Hide me now
Under Your wings
Cover me
Within Your mighty hand

When the oceans rise
And the thunders roar
I Will soar with You
Above the storm
Father You are King
Over the flood
And I will be still
And know You are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust

Be still and know
That I am God

I am the God
That healeth thee

Supporting Scriptures:

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead." Philippians 3: 8-11

"He said, “If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.” Exodus 15:26

"This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it." Isaiah 30:15

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10

"He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday" Psalm 91:4-6

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up (soar) with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

Monday, December 27, 2010

Glory To The Lord Our God, by Robin Mark

The change in Northern Ireland over the last two decades has been incredible; the churches in Ireland played a major role in reconciliation, becoming involved in meeting with political and terrorist leaders to try to find a way forward. The bad old days of bombs and bullets and retaliations and retribution between factions and terrorist groups from the two political and religious sides have diminished to a state where they are rare or non-existent. It was by God's grace that we found our way out of what were very dark and divisive days. Robin Mark's music encouraged heart change and a searching of souls.

"...I write only when I feel I have something to say. I cannot sit down and write automatically or prolifically, God hasn't given me that gift, unfortunately! But whether it’s in music, song, business, family or other area of service, so long as I am praising Him, that's all that matters." -Robin Mark

“I remember being told by an old Pastor to “hold everything loosely”. Everything that I have ever had or will ever achieve is simply God’s grace and pleasure.” -Robin Mark


Lift up your heads oh, ye gates, let the King
of Glory come in--Be lifted up, oh ancient
doors, let the King of Glory come in

The altars we've built and the works we
have done, can never compare to the
Savior's love-- the hearts of the humble are
temples of praise, as we worship the Ancient
of Days, as we worship the Ancient of Days

Glory to the Lord our God, Glory to the
Lamb on the throne-- we open wide the
gates of our hearts, with our lips we rise up
and pause, as we worship the Ancient of

Who can ascend to the hill of the Lord
People of clean hearts and hands-- you who
are righteous and seeking His face, come
and worship the Ancient of Days, come and
worship the Ancient of Days

Supporting Scriptures:
This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit,and trembles at my word. "
Isaiah 66:2

"Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false." Psalm 24:3-4

"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Revelations 7:17

"Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty—he is the King of glory." Psalm 24:7-10

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." Daniel 7:13

Friday, December 24, 2010

What Child Is This?, by Mannheim Steamroller

Used by permission. Artwork by Jason Jenicke.

Our family has loved the old 1984 CD Mannheim Steamroller Christmas for at least 20 years. We never tire of the music for a pleasant and joyful atmosphere in our home. What Child Is This? was a popular Christmas carol written in 1865 by William Dix, set to the tune Greensleeves. It is good to see this old melody claimed for Jesus!

I like to think anything on this Christmas CD is akin to Mozart for stimulating those old brain synapses in us 50-60 somethings :) Quintessential Christmas!


What Child is this, who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing.
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here,
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear, shall pierce Him through,
The Cross be borne, for me, for you.
Hail, hail, the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh;
Come peasant, king, to own Him.
The King of Kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise, the song on high,
The Virgin sings her lullaby:
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary

The Mannheim Steamroller version is called Greensleeves.
For many people, the song ‘Greensleeves’ is associated with the Tudors, England and with traditional English music. There is a persistent myth that Greensleeves was composed by Henry VIII for Anne Boleyn, his second wife ~1580.

Supporting Scriptures:
"And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh." Matthew 2:11

"And she (Mary) brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

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

We Will Find Him, by Michael Card

Ponder these words! The Chaldeans "turned so many musty pages in (their) hope to find a clue. Then the words leapt from the parchment from Jacob shines a star." Even the eastern astronomers were drawn to the Truth and searched it out on the prompting on the Holy Spirit!

"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come." John 16:13

I won't speculate over the number of wise men. However, they were mathematicians - very fine ones - and had calculations to determine where the star would be (is that a plumb line in the video below?) And the 'V' shaped device..? There are more scenes of the 'wise men' studying the stars in The Nativity Story (a lot of dramatic liberty used in the astronomer scene) and in the O Come, O Come Immanuel post (2 posts back) at 1:45 min into video.

On a day like any other
In our search to find the truth
We turned so many musty pages
In our hope to find some clue
Then the words leapt from the parchment
From Jacob shines a star
That a wordless one who is the word
Will be worth a journey far

We will find Him
We will find Him
We will follow His star
We will search and we will follow
No matter how far
In castles, through kingdoms
To find the king whose kingdom is the heart

It was a night like any other
So cold and black and dark
And it told us all too clearly
Of the night inside our hearts
Then the star tore through the darkness
And like an angel shone
To guide us to that one true Light
Who became flesh and bone

CHORUS: above

He stilled our secret syllables
And hushed our wisest words
In the silence of the stable there
Was wisdom finally heard

We have found Him
We have found Him
We have seen the true Light
What was darkness
What was shadow
In His presence is delight
This One born so lowly the heavens declare
Will someday reign without a rival there

Supporting Scriptures:
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." Micah 5:2 (Old Testament prophesy) ----------------------------

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler

who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Matthew 2:1-6 (N.T. fulfillment of Micah 5:2)

"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

"And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 1 Peter 1:19-21

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Carol of the Bells, George Winston piano solo

While this isn't worship music, I couldn't resist posting it up for the sheer beauty and joy of it!

We are told to, " Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly... as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:16-17

There is a charming old Slavic legend that at midnight, when Jesus was born, all the bells on earth started to ring of their own accord.

Ring, Christmas Bells, Merrily ring,
Tell all the world: Jesus is King!
Loudly proclaim with one accord,
The happy tale; Welcome the Lord

Ring, Christmas Bells, Sound far and near,
The birth day of Jesus is here.
Herald the news To old and young,
Tell it to all, In ev’ry tongue.

Ring, Christmas Bells, Toll loud and long,
Your message sweet, Peel and prolong.
Come, all ye people, Join in the singing,
Repeat the story, Told by the ringing,

Ring, Christmas bells, Throughout the earth
Tell the glad news, Of Jesus birth.
Loudly proclaim With one accord,
The happy tale; Welcome the Lord

This carol was originally composed in 1916 by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Leonovych.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, by Selah with scenes from The Nativity Story

The Nativity Story (used for this video - not the best visual quality) gives us the context of a Jewish nation in the midst of oppression. Historians tell us the following:
Hebrew identity was maintained through a deep spiritual conviction that Yahweh had chosen them to play a unique role in the history of the world. In particular, the Jewish people had come to expect a Messiah who, they believed, would enable them to fulfill this divine mission. There were differing understandings of the mission and role of the Messiah ranging from the establishment of a Jewish political kingdom here on earth to the idea of a heavenly kingdom at the end of the world.

Religion and politics were deeply intertwined in Hebrew faith and self-understanding.
By the time of Jesus' birth, the Romans had established a two-tiered system of government consisting of Roman overseers and Jewish leaders who exercised control in the name of Rome. This was the system of power in which the family of Herod the Great grew to prominence.

Although half-Jews, the Herodian family was detested by the Jewish people for its tyrannical rule and also because of its key role in selling out the Jewish heritage to a foreign power. One of Herod's sons, Archelaus, was so brutal in his exercise of power in Jerusalem, that Rome replaced him with one of its own governors,
Pontius Pilate, who was to play a significant role in the crucifixion of Jesus.

Another of the sons,
Herod Antipas, was responsible for the beheading of John the Baptist. It was the same Antipas who is accredited with the mocking of Jesus at his pre-crucifixion trial.


Oh come, O come, Emmanuel

And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!

Oh come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Thy people with Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!

Oh come, Thou rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!
Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!

Supporting Scriptures:
4 Old Testament prophesies-

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners." Isaiah 61:1

"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14

"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord—...
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. " Isaiah 11:1-2, 4 (and all of Isaiah 11)

"And thou, child (speaking of John the Baptist, forerunner of Jesus), shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us,
To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." Luke 1: 76-79

New Testament fulfillment-
"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.' " Matthew 1:23

“And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began said to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4: 16-21

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O Little Town Of Bethlehem, by Fernando Ortega

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

Fernando Ortega performs this old Christmas favorite to a new melody.
The original music was written by Louis H. Redner from St. Louis in 1868. The old favorite can be found at According to NetHymnal, Phillips Brooks, who penned the words in 1867, wrote about his horse­back jour­ney from Je­ru­sa­lem to Beth­le­hem, where he as­sist­ed with the mid­night ser­vice on Christ­mas Eve, 1865:

"I re­mem­ber stand­ing in the old church in Beth­le­hem, close to the spot where Je­sus was born, when the whole church was ring­ing hour after hour with splen­did hymns of praise to God, how again and again it seemed as if I could hear voic­es I knew well, tell­ing each other of the Won­der­ful Night of the Sav­ior’s birth."

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

These last three verses of words are sung in the original hymn by Brooks:

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy pray to the blessed Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;

Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;

O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

Supporting Scriptures:
"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she 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 2:4-7
“Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you shall come for Me One who will be Ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2 Old Testament prophesy
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:8-14
"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” Matthew 2: 1-12

Monday, December 20, 2010

Joseph's Song, by Michael Card

Used by permission. Artwork by Jason Jenicke.

Hugo McCord writes: "An extraordinary person, a vessel of honor, one whom we expect to meet in heaven, is Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus. He was “the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, the one called Christ,” with Jesus “being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph” (Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23).

"When Mary’s fiance Joseph learned that Mary was pregnant, he was shocked. He, being honorable, and not wanting to disgrace her, decided to break the engagement quietly. However, while he was thinking about the problem, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to marry Mary, your fiance, because her conception is by the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:19-21).

Joseph was a righteous man of strong conviction who lived out his beliefs in his actions. Even when personally wronged, he had the quality of being self-controlled and sensitive to someone else's shame. He responded to God's directions in obedience. It is not easy to entrust your children to someone else. Imagine God looking down to choose a man to raise his own son? Joseph had God's trust.

Chorus 1
How could it be this baby in my arms
Sleeping now, so peacefully
The Son of God, the angel said
How could it be
Lord I know He's not my own
Not of my flesh, not of my bone
Still Father let this baby be
The son of my love

Chorus 2
Father show me where I fit into this plan of yours
How can a man be father to the Son of God
Lord for all my life I've been a simple carpenter
How can I raise a king, How can I raise a king
He looks so small, His face and hands so fair
And when He cries the sun just seems to disappear
But when He laughs it shines again
How could it be
Chorus 2
Chorus 1

Friday, December 17, 2010

While You Were Sleeping, by Casting Crowns

Since I am a 'boomer' and have a perspective of the then (50s) and the now, I have been mourning the widespread loss of the Christian heritage of our country. Around the world we are known as a 'Christian' nation, even though the polls here show otherwise. One product of our culture exported around the world is our entertainment-driven media. It encourages a lifestyle of sports-consuming couch-potatoes, internet and video game addicts, as well as, overfed and undernourished children who disdain a real education in favor of personal fun. In many cases this is becoming reality, as parents pursue their own interests and abdicate headship of the home, leaving children to do "whatever'! We are increasingly asleep at the wheel, unaware of the chaos this is heaping upon the vital infra-structure of our land - the family. There are still a few who uphold the true values of Jesus Christ which include modesty, morality and decency, honest business practices and a strong work ethic, enduring family ties, and compassion. There will always be a remnant as in Genesis 18: 32 when Abraham asked God if He would spare Sodom and Gomorrah if there were as few as 10 righteous people who had not bowed the knee to idols. May it be that we are like the five virgins in the parable (Matthew 25:1-10 below) who were found awake and ready!

" This is what I see in our culture. We have strong convictions in one area, but we totally contradict them in another place. And to me, someone who is passionate about saving dolphins and saving trees and then applauds someone who is killing their child--and to do it with a straight face--it just shows you how far away we are.

"To look back at Bethlehem and to look back at Jerusalem and say, "How can they have had Jesus with them face-to-face and still miss it?" I think we have even more than that. We have Jesus’ people all around us and we've got the signs. We’ve got all the scripture that they never had back then. And here we’re going to miss it again as a country.

"Paul said to Timothy, the time is going to come when people are going to surround themselves with teachers that are going to tell them what their itching ears want to hear, and what our philosophies tell you today is, “I’m OK, you’re OK, don’t believe anything that has any sort of accountability to it. Just take some from here and take some from there and just be/do whatever feels good to you."--Mark Hall of Casting Crowns

Oh little town of Bethlehem

Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky
And while you're lying in the dark
There shines an everlasting light
For the King has left His throne
And is sleeping in a manger tonight

Oh Bethlehem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh Bethlehem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

Oh little town of Jerusalem
Looks like another silent night
The Father gave His only Son
The Way, the Truth, the Life had come
But there was no room for Him in the world He came to save

Jerusalem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
The Savior of the world is dying on your cross today
Jerusalem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we're sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we're lying in the dark
There's a shout heard 'cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping
Will we be sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night

Supporting Scriptures:
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. "Matthew 25:1-13

"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Thessalonians 5:1-9

The church is the bride of Christ (America is NOT the church, however):
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." Ephesians 5:25, 31-32

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” Colossians 2:8

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron... Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. " 1 Timothy 4:1-2, 16

"And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." Luke 2:7

Here Is Love, Vast As the Ocean, by Robin Mark (Old Welch Hymn)

Do you feel loved? Dr.Gary Chapman, a respected Christian marriage counselor and author of The Five Love Languages says, "Many couples find that their "love tanks" are empty. They may have been trying to express love for their spouse, but in reality they may have been speaking a different love language. The best way to fill your spouse's 'love tank' is to express love in their love language." However, the love language that Christ spoke while on the cross of crucifixion is an eternal word of love. Our spouse or children will never be able to give us this kind of love even though they learn to speak our love language! We can never find true satisfaction in anything the world has to offer, but there is one thing that will last forever...and ever...the deep, vast love of God!

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails...And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
~ from 1 Corinthians 13

Below is a reworking of the wonderful old Welsh hymn.
Words: William Rees, (1802-1883). Music: Robert Lowry, (1876).
You can hear
a rendition of the original four verse hymn at

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

Supporting Scriptures:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3: 16-17

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." 1 Peter 1: 18-19
“I will ransom them (mankind) from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death." Hosea 13:14

“When the lovingkindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us.” Titus 3:4-5
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:7

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Give Me Jesus, Fernando Ortega -- Tribute to Ruth Graham

These are some great quotes by and about Ruth Graham which give insight into her and her life as a mighty woman of God. I desire to be like her:

“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” --R.G.

“No, I’ve never thought of divorce in all these 35 years of marriage, but I did think of murder a few times.”--R.G.

“As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible and trust God with the impossible.”--R.G.

My mother was in love with Jesus…and that love was contagious. She wasn’t caught up in religion or tradition or rituals-she was caught up in a personal relationship with Jesus.” – daughter Ann Graham Lotz

“I am so grateful to the Lord that He gave me Ruth, and especially for these last few years we’ve had in the mountains together. We rekindled the romance of our youth, and my love for her continued to grow deeper every day,” Graham recollected. “I will miss her terribly and look forward even more to the day I can join her in heaven."---Billy Graham

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus

When I am alone
When I am alone
When I am alone, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus

When I come to die
When I come to die
When I come to die, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus

Supporting Scriptures:
"But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble." Psalm 59:16

"When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?" Psalm 56: 3-4

"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done." Matthew 16: 26-27

"I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:1-3

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." John 3:16

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You Are My Hiding Place, by Selah

The Ten Boom home was a refuge for Jews and the Dutch underground in Holland during WWII. Corrie credited her family's strong Christian faith as the motivation for their rescue efforts.
Their lives were torn apart when her family was arrested and taken to a concentration camp. Her father died, her sister Betsie died, and she had to look to the Lord for her source of strength.

There are 3 reasons to hide:
1. It is the right thing to run and hide from rough elements of this world. I brought my red geranium in from the weather so it wouldn't freeze this winter. I placed it in a south-facing window, and it is blooming! Too often, though, we hide in the wrong places - sleep, busyness, shopping, eating...God wants us to hide in Him.

2. As we read the writings of Christians gone before us, we see that they took their greatest fears, circumstances, and thoughts and hid them in Christ. They developed an 'inner life' in Him. So you are really not living in "the financial meltdown" or a "lonely life of singleness", but you are in Christ Jesus. Acts 17: 28 says: "For in him we live, and move, and have our being..."

3. Taking refuge in Him, we take on an aura of peace and contentment that makes the world wonder why. Corrie ten Boom, after living through the horrors of Ravensbruck, a concentration camp built for women in 1939, said, "If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. If you look at God you'll be at rest." God is our only source of hope!

You are my hiding place

You always fill my heart

With songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid

I will trust in You
I will trust in You

Let the weak say I am strong
In the strength of the Lord

You are my hiding place

You always fill my heart
With songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid

I will trust in You
I will trust in You

Let the weak say I am strong

In the strength of the Lord
I will trust in You

Supporting Scriptures:

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defense; I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
Psalm 62: 6-8

"For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10