A Baby’s cry changes everything


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On Keith and Kristyn Getty’s Christmas album is a song entitled How Suddenly a Baby Cries. The lyrics of the first line are “How suddenly a baby cries and all forever changed”. This phrase caused me to consider how Jesus Christ has indeed changed everything.

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Concentrating on what Jesus has done, the basic concept for this post began to formulate. By basic I mean, a thought here, a belief there, random thoughts, not connected together. Every time I set out to write a post, those random thoughts are the first to appear in the draft. Even though I am new to blogging, I learned very quickly to appreciate the delete key when what I have written does not adequately express what I know or what I believe. I also use the delete key when my writing stumbles upon my lack of knowledge on a subject. As I try developing a thought, I realize I’m not able to adequately describe it just yet. I then have to consult with my Editor, the Holy Spirit, Who instructs me more thoroughly or leads me to another blog subject. If I sense there isn’t a confident flow with a certain draft, I will put it aside until a later date.

I have discovered that writing is a wonderful discipline and I welcome the challenge because it causes me to look at what I know, and discover what I don’t know. Yes, it is easy to readily agree that the birth of Jesus forever changed our world. It is something else to express that concept in a manner that reveals  I own that truth. Restating truths gathered from others is not ownership. I own a revelation or truth when the Holy Spirit reveals it to me, and I then accept it by faith and seek to live it out. Once that truth belongs to me, I can express it with certainty and confidence. It holds steadfast in the light of God’s Word, as the Holy Spirit continues to work it out within me.

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In admitting this, I broach this subject with caution. I want to devote December’s posts to some simple, but significant ways Jesus has changed things, things we don’t normally consider at Christmas.  I will not attempt to examine those bigger, more profound changes attributed to Jesus. This will be a process to clarify some simple truths for me. Hopefully others will appreciate the process as well.

Baby, Lamb, and Lion, Jesus has touched every aspect of our lives in this world. Regardless that those who deny Him would negate His impact, this truth will one day be fully revealed and totally validated by the Lord Himself. Until then we have opportunities to be blessed by the changes Jesus provided, if we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us how to welcome those changes into our lives.

This is the link to How Suddenly a Baby Cries by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Connecting, with love

Donna

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I’m thankful…

…for God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit…for the cross and all that Jesus made available through that cross to those willing to receive it

…for grandchildren and sunny days at the beach

…for sunrises, even when the red sky foretells of coming storms…because my hope is based on Jesus Christ and nothing less

..for peaceful sunsets at the end of blessed days

..for spring days abounding with flowers in all their varied colors, sizes and aromas

…summer green all over

..for fall days and nights and brightly painted mountains

…winter beauty with mountains dressed in snow

..for the Body of Christ…brothers and sister, near and far…related to each other by the Holy Spirit…joined in worship, praise, prayer, service, ministry and fellowship…knitted together in love

…did I mention grandchildren…and a husband, a daughter, a son, and their spouses…a mother, a father, a sister, a brother and their spouses…aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and grandparents, long gone, but still close to my heart

…for all the joys of nature

…mountain streams

…for rain

…lakes, rivers, and creeks

…gardens, orchards, farms….provision of food

So many more people and things to be grateful for…friends…new and old, homes, comfort, love and acceptance…safety, good health and strength…helpers, servers, supporters and mentors…provision and jobs…laughter, fun and adventure…seasons, climates, holidays, celebrations… people of all nations…visitors, guest, neighbors and strangers…memories, and anticipation of the future…painful lessons learned… fears overcome…tears shed with loved ones…

How do I wrap this up?  During this week before Thanksgiving, as I become still to consider, the good in life is without measure. Even the bad is made right by God’s grace and loving kindness. To abide in Christ is a win-win. He causes us to walk in His favor and He cause what would be considered painful or wrong to be made favorable for our good.  So, I praise you Lord with all my heart! I thank you for each and every day You have given me, and for whatever lies ahead.

Isaiah 30:18 Amplified Bible (AMP)

18 And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

Connecting, with love

Donna

Aging well = living Life each day we live

These are some of the charming homes along the inter-coastal waterways on Isle of Hope in Savannah, Georgia

During a recent visit with family in Savannah, Georgia, I played the part of a typical tourist, and enjoyed snapping photos of the sites that make this city a popular tourist attraction. One feature that Savannah is famous for is its elegant old homes. Someone, long ago, was wise enough to promote the preservation of these historic sites. Now visitors from around the world come to admire the architectural beauty of past masters of design, and study the landmarks from our history.

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Life in the Mouth

While working as a dental hygienist, I looked into a lot of mouths.  Although at that time  it didn’t seem funny,  I remember two particular patients that I chuckle about now.  Of course, the humor might only be appreciated by those who have worked in a dental office.  One day I was running late with my afternoon appointments. I looked at the book with encouragement, noting that my next patient was a teenage boy, and not an adult. Adults generally take longer because of possible issues with gum problems. So, I was beginning to relax, thinking I could get back on schedule. Well, I was wrong.  Words can not describe how I felt as I looked into this young man’s mouth. Not only was he wearing full orthodontic metal braces, but he had decided, just before coming in for his dental appointment, that a juicy orange would be a good snack. Without being too descriptive, taking orange pulp off metal brackets takes a long time.

Another time, an elderly man came in as a new patient. I introduced myself and seated him in the chair. I then turned my back on him, as I began setting up the paper work to record his patient history.  However, he had decided it was time to begin work right away, because as I turned in my chair to ask my first question, he had already dislodged his upper denture and it was resting on his extended tongue. He sat there, in that position, with his eyes closed waiting on me to retrieve his denture and start cleaning his remaining teeth in his lower jaw.

I’ve learned to appreciate a healthy mouth, after seeing so many afflicted by tooth aches, disease, malformations, or injuries. This is not an appeal to brush and floss your teeth, although that isn’t a bad idea. 🙂  I want to focus on the mouth because there is an important link between a healthy mouth and our well-being, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Regarding physical significance, when food enters the mouth, the digestive process begins. The mouth contributes to our musical ability, as we sing, hum, and whistle.  By using our lips, we can kiss, blow, bite, and spit.   A damaged or malformed mouth can cause someone to battle with how they view themselves. Dental health impacts the cardiovascular system, our immune system, our ability to support healthy weight, and our enjoyment while dining.

Emotionally, our words, and the tone of those words, display to the world, what is inside us. I heard it said  years ago, and I say it often, to remind myself of this truth, “what is in the well, will come up in the bucket”. If there is anger in our hearts, it will slip past our teeth with the least provocation. If there is bitterness, it will ooze out of our mouth like slime, covering those around us, our situation and our environment. If there is unforgiveness,  our words will sound harsh, brassy and sharp. When hatred is felt,  there is potential for violent, harmful thoughts to be propelled by our tongue, and out of our mouth. People will often interpret our personality by observing our mouth, labeling us with terms like friendly, shy, quiet, loud. Our mouth can show when we are fearful, stressed, in pain, or in trouble.  We can frown and pout and do various other forms of expressions to convey our emotions.

Getting to the spiritual aspect of the mouth, a heart where the love of God resides has the potential to offer words of  love in many flavors : merciful, gracious, forgiving, healing, comforting, affirming, encouraging, edifying, uplifting, blessing and understanding.  The  words we speak change lives, ours and others.

Scripture gives us some promises about the words we utter:

Proverbs 18:20-21 (AMP)20 A man’s [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil].21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].

Proverbs 11:11 (AMP)11 By the blessing of the influence of the upright and God’s favor [because of them] the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

Proverbs 12:18 (AMP)18 There are those who speak rashly, like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

How many blessings are we missing by speaking with hopeless, faithless and lifeless words?  How many times do we experience lost opportunities to see God’s favor surround us, when we need it the most, because we speak with unbelief? How would our world look if we spoke the words God leads us to speak, with His wisdom, His heart, and His compassion? How many times have we failed to speak in a way that would encourage, uplift or bless others?

Biblical guidelines for speaking are not merely suggestions to be taken lightly.

Ephesians 4:29 (AMP)29 Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.

Ephesians 5:4 (AMP)Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God].

James 1:19-27 (AMP)19 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.

Healthy life, physically, emotionally and spiritually begins in our hearts, and is evidenced by our mouths. We, His Body, can impact the world by allowing Him to reign in our hearts and letting His words flow from our mouths. We all face this battle with our tongue, and James states that no man can tame it. These verses urge me to weigh my words more carefully.  By allowing the Holy Spirit to reign in our heart, we are filled with Him and He enables us to speak words that bless and heal.

For a long time, I never really considered that words mattered. After all, everyone is entitled to say what they think and feel. Yes, this is true, but is everything I think and feel honoring to God and to those around me? This has become such a tangible lesson for me.  God has allowed me to see the hurt felt by others from my words, and to experience how other’s  words have hurt me. There is overwhelming frustration as I reflect back over all the useless and unloving words that have come out of my mouth. My only encouragement is knowing the Lord’s forgiveness, and that He is able to redeem and restore. It is never to late to learn what the Holy Spirit is willing to teach, and to expect Him to change, within me, what is not pleasing to God.

connecting, with love

Donna

Overcoming the fear that cuts down our blessings



Dealing with fear is common to all humanity, in one form or another. Some fear is healthy, warning us of danger. A healthy fear or respect is due something potentially dangerous  like fire.

  • Fear is a kind of bell, or gong, which rings the mind into quick life and avoidance upon the approach of danger. It is the soul’s signal for rallying.   Henry Ward Beecher

Fear of God is justified. Fear of man is not.  A good fear is a reverence toward God, and Him alone; it is awe inspired devotion, to who He is, and to what He does.  With gratitude and thanksgiving, we are drawn by His great love and our hearts are filled with desire to please Him. In His loving wisdom, the Lord knew that denial, of His will and way, would only bring loss and grief. God  provided a way, through Jesus and His Spirit, for us to avoid being outside of His will, His favor, and vulnerable to fear. The Holy Spirit, within us, beckons if we begin to move outside of His protection, and points the way back to restoration. His power is able to defeat that which alarms us.

  • Happy the soul that has been awed by a view of God’s majesty. A.W. Pink
  • The fear of man strangles us, because we can never please everybody; but the fear of the Lord frees us, because it challenges us to live and serve for an audience of One. Paul Chappell
  • To win the war against fear, we must know the true God as He is revealed in the Bible. He works to give us lasting peace. He receives joy, not from condemning us but in rescuing us from the devil. Yes, the Lord will bring conviction to our hearts concerning sin, but it is so He can deliver us from sin’s power and consequences. In its place, the Lord works to establish healing, forgiveness and peace. Francis Frangipane

The opposite of healthy fear is irrational, worrying, faithless fear. This anxious fear leads us to focus too heavily on our circumstances and the dealings of the enemy, and to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness.  As it creeps into our lives, it robs us of freedom, health, peace and joy.  As surely as a sharpened ax or power saw can fell a tree, so this type of fear can cut down our blessings. Experiencing this robbing fear, your body reacts to its presence. A sickening chill running down your spine, a queasy, churning stomach, clammy or cold hands, headaches, a stiff neck or other muscle tension, weakness, confused thoughts, heart palpitations, panic attacks, shallow, rapid breathing, trouble sleeping, depression or dread….one or several of these reactions might be warning that fear has arrived.

  • Fear imprisons, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable. Harry Emerson Fosdick

Fear can be real or imaginary.

  • Imagination frames events unknown, In wild, fantastic shapes of hideous ruin, And what it fears, creates.Hannah More

If  our confidence is in the goodness of God, His faithfulness and everlasting love,  and we rely on His Holy Spirit within us, Who leads us to appropriate the power of Jesus’ name and shed blood, fear will surrender to faith.

  • How sweet the name of Jesus sounds, In a believer’s ear! It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, And drives away his fear. John Newton
  • God incarnate is the end of fear; and the heart that realizes that He is in the midst… will be quiet in the middle of alarm. F.B. Meyer
  • If my attitude be one of fear, not faith, about one who has disappointed me; if I say, “Just what I expected,” if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary love.  Amy Carmichael
  • Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Corrie Ten Boom

To accept what the world, the enemy or self says, over God’s word, is to invite fear to enter your heart.

  • Our lives are full of supposes. Suppose this should happen, or suppose that should happen; what could we do; how could we bear it? But, if we are living in the high tower of the dwelling place of God, all these supposes will drop out of our lives. We shall be quiet from the fear of evil, for no threatenings of evil can penetrate into the high tower of God. Hannah Whitall Smith

The door to fear is closed by detecting the first signs of anxiety and allowing the Holy Spirit to bring that hopeless despair into submission before God’s truths.  The Lord has said “Fear not” over and over because He has only good things planned for us and God’s heart is a heart of perfect love.

  • 1 John 4:18 (NKJV) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
  •  The presence of fear does not mean you have no faith. Fear visits everyone. But make your fear a visitor and not a resident. Max Lucado
  • Giving in to fear alters God’s best plan for your life. So use the power of God’s Word to do what He wants you to do…even if you have to do it afraid! The rewards are great. Joyce Meyer
  • Beloved, I say, let your fears go, lest they make you fainthearted. Stop inspiring fear in those around you and now take your stand in faith. God has been good and He will continue to manifest His goodness. Let us approach these days expecting to see the goodness of the Lord manifest. Let us be strong and of good courage, for the Lord will fight for us if we stand in faith. Francis Frangipane

The thievery of  anxious fear is defeated by meeting it head on, in the power of the Holy Spirit, never denying nor hiding it. Fear can not be medicated away.  Victory over fear comes through God, by trusting in Him, plain and simple.

  • Never turn your back on your fears. Woodrow Kroll
  • Are you facing fear today? Perhaps you are afraid of losing your job, of developing cancer or being left by your spouse. At times all of us experience fear. But don’t allow fear to keep you from being used by God. He has kept you thus far; trust Him for the rest of the way. Woodroll Kroll
  • Hebrews 10:35 (AMP) Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.
  • John 14:27 (AMP)  Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]

I yearn for a greater understanding of our Father’s heart to fill our churches, and draw the lost to His salvation. Without a doubt, our world faces many occasions for fear to knock on our door. A reverent fear of God assures our hearts of His love and His Holy Power,  providing us with freedom from fear .  This blog is a montage of thoughts and quotes gathered together for emphasis, because one voice joined by others declares a message more clearly.

connecting, with love

Donna