Merry Christmas!

Sharing this wonderful poem with you….praising God for the gift of His Son and the joy of His kingdom.

 

Emmanuel – God With Us is God For Us  By M.Y. Lee

God of every nation and people,
From the beginning of Creation
You have made known your love
Through the gift of your Son
Who bears the name Emmanuel, “God with Us.”

In the fullness of time the Christ-child came
To be the Good News to all humankind.

Emmanuel, God lives with us as one of us;
Christ, the Word made flesh
Has come to us as a vulnerable,
Weak and dependent babe;
A God who hungered and thirsted,
And longed for human touch and affection;
A God who chose to be born
In obscurity and shame,
To a virgin, an unwed maiden,
With a dirty stable as a home
And a borrowed manger as a bed,
In a tiny, insignificant town called Bethlehem.

Oh, Mighty God, of humble origins,
Christ, the Messiah, whom the prophets foretold,
You were born at a time, and in a place
Where few welcomed you
Or even recognized you.

Have we, too, lost a sense of joy and anticipation
In what the Christ-child may bring?
Have we been preoccupied with endless activities,
Distracted by the tinsel, decorations, and gifts—
Busy preparing for the birthday of Christ;
So busy that there’s no room in our cluttered lives
To welcome Him when he comes?

God, grant us the grace to be patient and vigilant
In watching, waiting, and listening attentively.
So that we won’t miss Christ
When he comes knocking at our door.
Remove whatever hinders us from receiving
The gifts which the Savior brings—
Joy, peace, justice, mercy, love …
These are the gifts we are to share
With the downtrodden, the oppressed,
The outcasts, the weak, and the defenseless.

Christ, you are the hope of all peoples,
The wisdom who teaches and guides us,
The wonderful Counselor who encourages and consoles,
The Prince of Peace who calms our troubled minds
And restless spirits—
Granting us true inner peace.

Christ, you who are the radiant dawn,
Shine on those who live in darkness and in shadows,
Dispel fears, anxieties, and insecurities,
Restore hearts that have grown cold and distant,
Enlighten minds which have become darkened
Through greed, anger, hatred and bitterness.

We remember those who are living in shadows of a marginal existence,
We pray for the homeless, jobless and retrenched,
Those struggling to keep their lives together,
We lift up families, especially the children
Who may not experience
The joy of Christmas celebrations this season.

We pray for those living alone,
The widowed, the orphans, the elderly,
The sick and bedridden, the migrant workers
For whom the Christ-event may hold no special significance.
As happens with most festive seasons,
May it not deepen their sense of abandonment and alienation.

Christ, You who are the Light of the World,
Help us to radiate the warmth of your presence.
Enable us to give of ourselves generously and compassionately
In bringing joy, peace, and hope to others.

As we wait for the dawn
Of the coming of the Christ-child,
We do so with anticipation
Of new and unexpected challenges.
Like Mary, we sense the birth pangs of a new era,
A new kingdom waiting to be born.

May we, like Mary, be filled with courage,
Openness, and receptivity
To be the bearers of the Christ-child
In receiving and bringing forth the Good News
As we continue to be witnesses
Of God’s truth and justice,
As we walk along the path of peace,
As we are strengthened in our love for Christ
And for each other.

In the words of Isaiah:
“Arise, shine, for your light has come.
The glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
Even though darkness shall cover the earth
And over its people,
Yet the LORD will be your everlasting light.”

Amen.

By M.Y. Lee

Merry Christmas to all the new friends I’ve discovered

through blogging!

Connecting, with love

Donna

Balance and beauty

On June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a high wire. He walked over the massive cascade of water from the United States to the Canadian side.

Step by step he moved above the falls, while beneath him, nearly 5.7 million liters of water rushed powerfully over a 200 foot drop each second. He took a little under 30 minutes to traverse the 1800 foot distance over the falls. Wind and mist pounded him from all sides.  Even though he was required to wear a safety tether, he didn’t have to use it…

…because while accomplishing this feat, he relied heavily on the balancing pole he carried, which was harnessed around his shoulders.

 During this Christmas season, I was led to explore fresh insights about Jesus and the changes His life produced. While meditating before the Lord, I suddenly started thinking about Nik Wallenda’s walk across Niagara.  I waited to see if it was a passing thought generated by my random mind, a distraction, or the Lord showing me something. I realized quickly the Holy Spirit was giving me a visual lesson about one of the changes Jesus has provided to believers, who are willing to accept it. Jesus didn’t just come to live among us, He came bringing changes that bless our lives. The larger concepts of salvation, justification, redemption and deliverance are all changes for our blessing, but I want to focus on a change I call balance.

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The Niagara Falls of life are always potentially ahead, for each of us. We walk through our days with countless decisions to make… what, when where, or who. Our overall well-being (which includes relationships, health, finances, maturity,  safety, stability, comfort, security, happiness) lies before us like a tight rope. If we lose the balance, we tumble off that tight rope of harmony and peace, and into the turmoil. One careless move can cause pain and suffering within a blink of eye; one misguided decision can send us into debt or destroy a relationship. Some have developed skills to keep up the balance of life themselves. With much concentration, they take one step at a time on that high wire, using the balancing poles of education, common sense, fame, wealth, resourcefulness, creativity, or just plain bull-dog tenacity, all of which can be valuable in varying degrees. 

Seemingly, this skilled high wire act appears to do well, until eventually a gust of life’s winds or the fog of life’s mist attack their balance. During these pressing conditions, it becomes obvious the balancing pole being used is not enough for the completion of this journey over tumultuous falls. Education will eventually reach a peak. Common sense will get tripped up by inexperience. Fame and wealth fade away. Resourcefulness and creativity hit blank walls and discouragement, and that bull-dog tenacity becomes weary and unfocused.

When Jesus came to fulfill God’s love for humanity, God gave us the greatest gift, Himself. Jesus made a way, through His Spirit within us, for us to access His unlimited abilities, and we gain a supernatural balancing pole. We have every skill needed to live balanced lives, through His power working in us, to walk over the turmoil and even to experience the beauty of life despite the troubles. I imagine Nik Wallenda had an amazing view of the beauty of Niagara.  God’s work is always beautiful, whether it is His creative work, like the physical beauty Niagara Falls, or through His creative work within us spiritually.

Matthew 1:21 Amplified Bible (AMP)

21 She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus [the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means Savior], for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God].

Nik Wallenda did not start across Niagara without a balancing pole and then suddenly realize he needed it. That is why he didn’t have to use the safety tether to prevent him from falling. He assessed his inability to walk that high wire without the pole before he ever stepped on it, and he totally relied on the balancing pole the entire way. Consistent peace in life comes when we prepare our hearts to realize our need for Jesus, and our willingness to depend on, and receive the blessing of balance through Him.  It isn’t about waiting until all our resources are proven inadequate, it is starting the walk across life’s traps and pitfalls, knowing it can only be accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 11:28-30 Amplified Bible (AMP)

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

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Many of us have experienced a tumble off life’s high wire. I know I’ve gotten wet many times, as I dangled above life threatening waters, saved by His grace alone. Had it not been for the safety tether of God’s saving, sustaining grace, I would have fallen completely into the turmoil, never to have recovered. But, praise God  He loves us and watches over us in such a way that He is able to rescue us from the foolishness of not relying on Jesus to balance our lives.

Galatians 5:25 Amplified Bible (AMP)

25 If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]

My heart yearns to live a life patterned after Nik Wallenda’s balancing ability, entrusting my life to the balance provided by Jesus, not needing to be rescued from the waters of despair, because He helps me walk over them.

John 16:33 Amplified Bible (AMP)

33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

Connecting, with love

Donna

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