Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In Keeping with Tradition

In Keeping with Tradition

We often share Christmas traditions that our families have shared. Each one has very special meaning especially if passed down from generation to generation. I would like to share one that we all should incorporate into our lives, one that has been passed down from generations in the family of God:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: after His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
Then Joseph her husband being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel which is translated, “God with us”.
Then Joseph being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Matthew 1:18-25

When reading the above verses we see that Mary is with child, the Christ child. Joseph desires to protect Mary from the ‘humiliation’ that she may face or possibly a stoning. Joseph also being a just man more than likely desired to protect his name and reputation. So he wants to send Mary away secretly.

Yet, what happens next?

“But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:20-21

While Joseph was pondering this very thing and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.

~What was Joseph’s response?

He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife.

He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.

~Do we do as we are commanded by the Lord?

I am sure that all of us at one time or another have been faced with a difficult decision to make. Being human, we tend to think in more ‘practical’ ways rather than spiritual and really for us as Christians thinking spiritually is thinking practically.

~What do you think causes us to re-act in a ‘practical’ fashion?


Perhaps: Fear of Humiliation
Perhaps: Fear of being Outcast or Shunned
Perhaps: Fear of Offending
Perhaps: Fear of …fill in the blank

Let’s see what 2 Timothy chapter 1 verse 7 says:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

We have not been given a spirit of fear but one of:

-The Power of the Holy Spirit
-The Love of God
-A Sound Mind being focused on Jesus

Just as Mary and Joseph did, let’s focus on Jesus, our Savior.

Upon reading Joseph’s account I couldn’t help but think of the Sunday School song “This Little Light of Mine”. Joseph and Mary both made the decision to be obedient and not hide the Lord.

~Do we tend to ‘hide’ that light under a bushel when in fear?

Hide it under a bushel….NO! We need to shine for Jesus.

Let’s look at Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 5,

“You are a light of the world, A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”
Matthew 5:14-15

~What happens when we shine for the Lord?

Others recognize a difference in us from the world. I am reminded of what Michael has mentioned in his teachings of the worst thing that a Christian can be told,
“Oh, I never knew that you were a Christian.”

OUCH! I never want to hear that because I never want to misrepresent my Lord.

The next thing that happens when our light shines,

People experience the Lord through us:

-We can offer them Love through Jesus
-We can offer them Comfort through Jesus
-We can offer them Joy through Jesus
-We can offer them Hope through Jesus
-We can offer them Peace through Jesus

-We can offer them the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

A quote from William Bradford:

“One small candle may light a thousand”

If you think that you cannot make a difference for the Lord, think again. He equips us to do His will. He is everything and gives us everything we need to live a life that is glorifying to Him.

When we live a life for Jesus, the Lord is magnified. Let’s be encouraged to not be swayed by circumstances or feelings but be swayed by His word and His command to let our light shine.

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”
Matthew 5:16

So let’s follow Mary and Joseph’s lead to cast our fears away and be obedient to our calling and let that Light shine so the world may come to know the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Our Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we can never, ever thank You enough for sending Your only Son, the precious gift of Jesus to take our place on the cross for our sins. We thank You that You love us So Much, that You are always there for us. Father we ask that we would draw close to You and that we would not let the fears of the world get in the way of being a light for You and showing others Jesus through our lives. We pray for the salvation of the lost and Lord that you would use us to be instrumental in leading others to You. And Father most of all we desire for You to be glorified. Thank You forever. In Jesus most Precious Name we pray…Amen!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Heart Vision

~Heart Vision~

While driving in the mountains, we came across this spot where the beavers had fun

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Best Consolation Prize

The Best Consolation Prize

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles
And the glory of Your people Israel”
Luke 2:25-32

Christ has been born, it is now time for His dedication in the temple as was customary. Simeon, a godly man was anxiously awaiting the Savior, the Consolation of Israel…
Jesus Christ

Our Consolation as well.  Notice that the letter “C” in the word Consolation is capitalized? That is because it is a name. A name for Jesus Christ. Anyone can console, but only One is Consolation.

When studying the definition in Webster’s 1828 dictionary here is what I found:

~ Comfort
~Alleviation of misery
~Alleviation of distress of mind
~Refreshment of mind and spirits
~A comparative degree of happiness in distress or misfortune springing from any circumstances that abates or beats down evil

Let’s put  “Jesus is…” before each definition. Wow! Jesus is even more than we thought!

~So, how can we have that Consolation?

If we look at Simeon as an example, here is what we find:

He was just
He was devout
The Holy Spirit was upon him
The Holy Spirit revealed truths to Him
He was willing to be led by the Holy Spirit

What a wonderful example of obedience and surrendering our will for Him!
When I first read “Came by the Holy Spirit” the picture that stood out in my mind was the Holy Spirit holding our hand and guiding us. If we can just let go of our wants and desires and be in one accord with Him, how can we go wrong?


~How can we bring that comfort and Consolation to others?

Again, we can look to the example set by Simeon and also by….

Pressing toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

Ladies, if we continue to press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus we can show others how much they need Him and His love for them.

Often, this time of year when most are celebrating, there are those who have no one to celebrate with, those who have lost a loved one, those who are ill or in despair. Let’s be encouraged in our goal, in our walk with the Lord to be led by His Spirit to reach out to those who need Him oh so desperately. To give them the Consolation they need.

There is only one Consolation and that is Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the Lover of our souls.

Our Prayer:

Oh Heavenly Father, You are more than gracious with us, loving us so much that You were willing to send Your Beautiful Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. We thank You for the Indescribable Gift You have blessed us with. True Consolation. True Peace. True Love. Father we ask that You would speak to our hearts, that Your Holy Spirit would lead us in reaching those that do not yet know You. Father we ask that souls would be won for Your kingdom. We pray this in Your Precious Son Jesus’ Name…Amen!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Wooden Spoon

The Wooden Spoon

Once a wooden spoon was so fine, so neat, so pretty, made of the best wood and carved in the most beautiful manner, no one could ever see a more delicate or tasteful wooden spoon, and no one took it up without saying,

“Ah, how pretty it is!”

Thus the little spoon grew vain and proud.

“Ah”, thought the beautiful wooden spoon, “if I could only be like a silver spoon! Now I am used by the servants alone; but if I were a silver spoon it might happen that the king himself would eat rice and milk with me out of a golden dish; whereas being only a wooden spoon, it is nothing but meal porridge that I serve out to quite common folk.”

So the wooden spoon said to the mistress:

 “Dear lady, I consider myself too good to be a simple wooden spoon. I feel within myself, that I was not meant to be in the kitchen, but that I ought to appear at great tables. I am not suited to servants, who have such coarse habits and handle me so rudely. Dear mistress, contrive that I shall be like a silver spoon.”

The good woman wished to satisfy her pretty wooden spoon; so she carried her to a goldsmith, who promised to overlay her with silver. He did so. The wooden spoon was silvered over, and shone like the sun. Then she was glad and proud, and scorned her old companions. When she came home she lay in the plate-basket, and became quite intimate with the family silver. She wished the tea-spoons to call her “aunt”, and she called herself “first-cousin” to the forks. But it happened that when the other spoons were taken out for daily use, the silvered wooden one was always left behind, - although she took the greatest care to render herself conspicuous, and often placed herself uppermost in the basket, in order not to be forgotten, but to be laid with rest, on the great table. As this happened several times, and that, too, when there was company, and all the silver was brought out, and the poor wooden spoon was left alone in the basket, she complained again to the mistress, and said:

“Dear lady, I have to beg that the servants may understand that I am a silver spoon, and have a right to appear with the rest of the company. I shine even more than the rest, and cannot understand why I should be so neglected.”

“Ah!” said the mistress, “the servant knows by the weight, that you are only silvered.”

“Weight! Weight!” cried the silvered spoon. “What! Is it not by the brightness alone, that one knows a silver spoon from a wooden one?”

“Dear child, silver is heavier than wood.”

“Then pray make me heavier,” cried the spoon. “I long to be as good as the rest; and I have no patience with the sauciness of that servant.”

The mistress, still willing to gratify the desires of her little spoon, carried her again to the goldsmith.

“Dear heart,” she said to him, “make this silvered wooden spoon as heavy as a real silver one.”

“To do that,” said the goldsmith, “it will be necessary to put a piece of lead here, in the handle.”

“Ah,” thought the poor spoon, “then must he bore straight into my heart,” (for the heart of a wooden spoon always lies in the handle; that is to say, when wooden spoons have hearts;) “but it is necessary to bear all for honor, Yes, he may even put a bit of lead in my heart, if he only makes me so that I shall pass for a real, heavy silver spoon.”

So the goldsmith bored deep into her heart and filled it up with melted lead, which soon hardened within it. But she suffered all for honor’s sake. Then she was silvered over again, and brought back to the plate-basket. Now the servant came and took her up with the rest of the spoons, and saw and felt no difference. So she was placed, with the rest of the silver, on the great dinner-table, and passed for a real, beautiful silver spoon, and would have been as happy as possible, if she had not got a lump of lead in her heart. That lump of lead caused her a great heaviness there, and made her feel not quite happy, in the midst of her honors. So time went on, and the wooden spoon continued to pass for a silver one, so well was she plated, and so heavy had she been made. But the mistress died. At that, the silvered spoon, instead of sorrowing, as she once would have done, almost rejoiced; for every time she had lain shining on the great table, she had recollected that the mistress was the only person who knew that she really was nothing more than a simple wooden spoon; and so, if her mistress took up another spoon instead of her, she was jealous, and said to herself,

“That is because she knows all about me. She knows I am a wooden spoon, silvered outside, and with a lump of lead within me.”

But when the mistress was dead she said to herself, “Now I am free, and can enjoy myself perfectly; for no one will ever know, now that I am not quite what I seem.”

The goods, however, were now to be sold. The family silver was bought up by a goldsmith, who prepared to melt it up, in order to work it anew. The unhappy wooden spoon was bought with the rest; she saw the furnace ready, and heard with dismay, that they should all be cast within. She was dreadfully alarmed, and exclaimed against the cruelty practiced upon the friendless orphans, who had so lately lost their good protectress appealing to her companions in rank and misfortune, who lay calmly within the sight of the furnace.

“They will burn us up!” she cried. “They will turn us to ashes! How quietly you take such inhuman conduct!”

“Oh no,” Said an old silver spoon and fork, who lay composedly side by side. They had been comrades from youth, those two, and had already gone through the furnace, I know not how often.

“Oh no; they will do us no harm, and we shall soon appear in a more fashionable and handsome form.”

The silvered wooden spoon listened, but was not comforted. It did not console her to find that silver would not burn; for she knew well that wood must do so.

“Ah,” cried the silly little spoon, “I see it is not by brightness only, nor only by weight, that real silver is known.”

The silver was cast into the furnace; but when the goldsmith came and took her up, she cried, in great excitement, and with a trembling voice, “Dear master, I certainly am a silver spoon; that is seen both by my appearance and weight; but then I am not of the same sort of silver with the other spoons. I am of a finer sort, which cannot bear fire, but flies away in smoke.”

“Indeed. What are you then? Perhaps tin.”

“Tin! Can the dear master think so meanly of me?”

“Perhaps even lead.”

“Lead! Ah the dear master can easily see if I am lead.”

“Well, that I will do,” said the master, and began to bed the handles, - when, snap it went in two; for wood will not bear bending like silver, any more than it will bear melting. The wooden handle broke in two, and out fell the thump of lead.

“So,” cried the master, “only a common wooden spoon silvered over!”

“Yes,” cried the poor wooden spoon, which, so soon as the lead fell from her heart, grew quite light and happy. “Yes, I am only a common wooden spoon. Take away the silvering dear master, and set me in the kitchen again, to serve out meal porridge for the rest of my life. Now know I well how stupid it was, for a wooden spoon to want to pass for a silver one.”

~Edith Vaughan’s Victory or How to Conquer

By Helen Wall Pierson

Alfred Martien Publisher 1870