Great Joy

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“Shepherds Being Told of the Holy Birth” Walter Crane 1895

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 that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:8-11)

According to Bible Gateway.com the word “joy” is used in the Bible 242 times (in the NIV). Additionally, the word “rejoice” is used 154 times, and “joyful” 28 times. In Galatians, Paul lists “joy” as part of the fruit of the spirit, naming it second, after “love”.

So what does joy mean?

Dictionary.com defines joy as
“the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation”

The word translated as joy in Luke 2 is the Greek word, chara, which basically means gladness, but according to the Revell Bible Dictionary (p.590) “connotes an inner feeling of pleasure, satisfaction of well being.”

Here is the thing about the joy that would come from the birth (and later death, burial and resurrection) of the Christ child. For those who accept the gift, joy is an internal state that isn’t dependent on circumstances or feelings. You can be unhappy about a situation, but still remain in the “joy of the Lord”. As a matter of fact Nehemiah says …”the joy of the Lord is your strength. ” (Neh 8:10 b).

Why should we need joy to be our strength? Living a life in obedience to God through Jesus Christ makes us an enemy of the world, and subject to persecution on both the physical and spiritual level.

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23)

Revell Bible Dictionary says

“In the NT (New Testament), joy often wells up in the most painful and desperate of situations. Such joy, known by those who are obedient to Jesus, is supernaturally produced as we look ahead with confidence, to reaffirm our faith in the goodness, and ultimate triumph of our God.” (p.590)

When we know who we are in Christ, and that our eternal home is with Him in heaven, we can have joy even when we are dealing with heartache and pain in this life. It’s the joy that comes from knowing that regardless of what happens, God is in control and is working it all out for our good and His glory.  I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of joy I want to have. I find it more and more, as I learn to lean on Him.

God is still offering the gift.

Have you accepted it?

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Cor 9:15)

Connie

Songs for Sunday: Something Beautiful

If you are a born again child of God, you probably have an intimate understanding of this song’s lyrics written by Gloria Gaither. The song (with music written by her husband, Bill) first appeared on the album, “The Bill Gaither Trio: Because He Lives”, which was also the first appearance for the title track.  Both songs now appear in church hymnals.

“Something Beautiful”

If there ever were dreams
that were lofty and noble,
They were my dreams at the start;
And the hopes for life’s best
Were the hopes that I harbored
Down deep in my heart;
But my dreams turned to ashes,
My castles all crumbled,
My fortune turned to loss,
So I wrapped it all
In the rags of my life
And laid it at the cross!

Something beautiful, something good —
All my confusion He understood;
All I had to offer Him
Was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life

Gloria tells the story behind the song here

Here is a YouTube video, published by Gaither Music TV, of a performance from 1990 of Bill, Gloria and Michael English singing “Something Beautiful”.

 

He made “something beautiful” of my life too! How about you?

See you in Church!

Connie

God’s Amazing Plan, Part 4: Now What?

Last week, we talked about how it was part of God’s amazing plan for Jesus to die as a final perfect sacrifice for sin. How that yearly sacrifices would no longer be necessary

The Hebrew writer says,

He (Jesus) did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves;but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. (Heb 9:12)

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. (Heb 9:24)

So, Jesus paid the price for our sins.

Now what?

The disciples should have known what was coming, because Jesus told them. Probably more than once. Last week, I shared verses where Jesus told them he would die and be resurrected three days later. I also mentioned John 14. Here are just a few verses from that chapter, that should have given the disciples some inkling of what was going to happen.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14: 1-4)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:16-21

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:25-27)

I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. Come now; let us leave.(John 14:28-31)

Twenty four hours later, they didn’t remember any of that. All they knew was that Jesus was dead. They were heart broken and scared to death. They were also afraid they would be next, so they were hiding out.

However, two men who had been following Jesus secretly for “fear of the Jews” laid their fear aside to care for His body.

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. (John 19:38-42)

Other gospels say it was Joseph’s own tomb that he laid Jesus in.rMat2760Dore_TheBurialOfChrist

I have to wonder if their boldness at this point was caused by guilt. Maybe if they had spoken up, Jesus would not be dead. Not that it matters. The whole thing was just another part of God’s plan.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’Then they remembered his words. (Luke 20: 1-8)

The writers of the gospels don’t tell us exactly when Jesus came back to life. They only say that he did. Matthew writes that there was an earth quake and an angel appeared. The guards became like dead men and the angel rolled away the stone and sat on it.(Matt 28). Mark says that when the sabbath was over, the women came to finish preparing the body, concerned that they would not be able to move the stone. The stone was already moved and Jesus was not there (Mark 16). John records only Mary Magdalene going to the tomb and then running for the disciples (John 20). Both John and Luke records Peter going to the tomb to look for himself. John says that John went too. (Luke 24 and John 20)

I believe Jesus was gone before the stone was moved. That was done for the people there…and for us.

Why seek the living among the dead? (Luke 24:5)

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. (Matt 28:6)rMat2805Dore_TheResurrection

Jesus did make himself known after he was resurrected. The gospels record several different “appearances”, but not all of them. Paul later says,

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, he was buried,that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (I Cor 15:3-8)

Just in case you don’t know, “Cephas” is Peter. People saw Jesus.  A lot of people. They knew he was alive. The scriptures say they were overjoyed, but still, now what? Luke records in his gospel and in the book of Acts

He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple,praising God. Luke 24:46-52

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

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Jesus had a job for them to do, but it wasn’t time to do it yet.

They had to wait in Jerusalem until the promise came. Then they were to go to all the world and tell them what Jesus had done. Jesus said he would be with them always, and then they saw him leave. You know they must have been staring up with their mouths open, when the angels told them that Jesus would come back they same way they saw him go.

So they went back to Jerusalem to wait. They knew they needed to wait a few days,  and they weren’t exactly sure what they were waiting for, but they believed Jesus and they were full of great joy.

They still didn’t quite understand, but they would soon. They wouldn’t have to to wait long.

Until next week,

Connie

Songs for Sunday: Come Ye Sinners

I had never heard this hymn until our community choir performed last year’s Easter Cantata. We only sang part of it.

A few weeks ago, when I was looking through an old hymnal, I saw it. Thinking it kind of fits with our current subject matter, I decided to learn more about it. Most of what I found comes from hymnary.org. It’s a great place to find a lot of information about old hymns.

The short story is the hymn was written by Joseph Hart (1712-1768), sometime around 1759. His early life is described as “obscure”, but “In 1757, after living a life he described as ‘carnal and spiritual wickedness, irreligious and profane,’ Joseph Hart turned to Christ (Psalter Hymnal Handbook)”

The rest of the story is the song was published in 1239 hymnals. At first, I feared there might be 1239 versions of the hymn

In the first column below is the version that usually shows up when you do a search. It is the one I found at cyberhymnal.com, The second one is from Hymnary.org, and may actually be closer to what Joseph Hart wrote.  Hymnary.org also says that Hart’s original lyrics had “seven stanzas of six lines each.” It goes on to discuss different changes until there were 20 different versions. No, it isn’t 1239, but I think it’s still 19 too many.

1.Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r.

    • Refrain:
      I will arise and go to Jesus,
      He will embrace me in His arms;
      In the arms of my dear Savior,
      Oh, there are ten thousand charms.
  1. Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
    God’s free bounty glorify;
    True belief and true repentance,
    Every grace that brings you nigh.
  2. Come, ye weary, heavy-laden,
    Lost and ruined by the fall;
    If you tarry till you’re better,
    You will never come at all.
  3. View Him prostrate in the garden;
    On the ground your Maker lies;
    On the bloody tree behold Him;
    Sinner, will this not suffice?
  4. Lo! th’ incarnate God ascended,
    Pleads the merit of His blood:
    Venture on Him, venture wholly,
    Let no other trust intrude.
  5. Let not conscience make you linger,
    Not of fitness fondly dream;
    All the fitness He requireth
    Is to feel your need of Him.
1. Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore!
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.
He is able, He is able, He is able,
He is willing, doubt no more!

2. Let not conscience let you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness he requireth
Is to feel your need of him.
This he gives you, This he gives you, This he gives you:
‘Tis the Spirit’s glimmering beam.

4. Come ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and mangled by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.
Not the righteous, Not the righteous, Not the righteous;
Sinners Jesus came to call.

5. Agonizing in the garden,
Lo! your Maker prostrate lies!
On the bloody tree behold Him:
Hear Him cry, before He dies:
“It is finished!” “It is finished!” “It is finished!”
Sinner, will this not suffice?

6. Lo! The incarnate God ascending,
Pleads the merit of His blood;
Venture on Him, venture freely;
Let no other trust intrude.
None but Jesus, None but Jesus, None but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good.

Once we decide on which lyrics to use, then we can disucss the tune. Hymnary.org lists 34 different tunes used with this song. Some of the tunes are used for several other songs as well. The top three for Come Ye Sinners are “Come Ye Sinners” composed by Jeremiah Ingalls (used in 53 hymnals), “Arise” aka “Restoration” composer unknown (used in 72 hymnals), and Greenville composed by Jean-Jaques Rousseau (used in 120) hymnals.

The tune “Restoration” was the one used in our cantata.

I’ve told you before that I inherited my grandpa’s books, but I also got my grandma’s sheet music. She was an extraordinary pianist, and her collection of music included several hymnals. Of the ten I looked at, four didn’t have “Come Ye Sinners” at all, the other six that did were all different from each other, although two did have the “Restoration”tune.

After you get through all the different versions of the lyrics, and all the different tunes, the message is still the same: Sinners need Jesus to save them.  That is the important thing.

Here is a YouTube video uploaded by Dave Hunt. It uses the popular lyrics and the arrangement is based on the “Restoration” tune. It is performed by Fernando Ortega and Amy Grant. I like it.

See you in church!

Connie

Songs For Sunday: Tell Me The Old Old Story – I Love To Tell the Story

I am always amazed when I research old hymns. I always find something interesting. I started looking for Tell Me the Old Old Story, which is similar to I Love To Tell The Story.

Researching this morning, I discovered that both hymns are based on one lengthy poem, written in 1866 by an English woman named A. Katherine Hankey (1834-1911). The poem called “The Old Old Story” is written in two parts; the first dated in January of 1866, and the second in November of the same year. You can read the whole poem here. It is said that she wrote the poem while convalescing after a serious illness.

A. Katherine Hankey, or Kate as she was called, was the daughter of a banker, and a member of the Clapham sect, which was both anti slavery and pro missionary. She taught Sunday school for girls as a teenager and later worked as a nurse in South Africa, while helping her invalid brother.

Tell Me the Old Old Story was taken from the first part of the poem. The music was written by William Doane, (1832-1915), who according to Cyber Hymnal.Org, heard the poem recited in 1867 by a Major General Russel at a men’s fellowship in Montreal. He wrote the music on a “hot afternoon while on the stage-coach between the Glen Falls House and the Crawford House in the White Mountains.”

Noting the years of Doane’s life, curiousity got the better of me. I wondered if he might have written music for any of Fanny Crosby’s lyrics. He did. Both “Near the Cross”, and “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” were collaborations between Doane and Crosby. All told, Doane composed over 2000 songs.

Tell Me the Old, Old Story

Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply, as to a little child,
For I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.

Refrain

Tell me the old, old story, tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story, of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in,
That wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin.
Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon;
The early dew of morning has passed away at noon.

Refrain

Tell me the story softly, with earnest tones and grave;
Remember I’m the sinner whom Jesus came to save.
Tell me the story always, if you would really be,
In any time of trouble, a comforter to me.

Refrain

Tell me the same old story when you have cause to fear
That this world’s empty glory is costing me too dear.
Yes, and when that world’s glory is dawning on my soul,
Tell me the old, old story: “Christ Jesus makes thee whole.”

Refrain

Here is a YouTube video uploaded by Gandalf1948, of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s recording of Tell Me the Old, Old Story.

William G. Fischer (1835-1912) took from the second part of the poem and wrote “I Love To Tell The Story” Fischer was an interesting character in that he began singing with the church choir as a child, where he learned to read music. He learned piano and organ as well . While learning book binding during the day, he practiced music in the evening. He directed choirs, taught singing and music theory. He finally opened a piano business which became extremely prosperous.

I Love To Tell The Story

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

Refrain

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.

Refrain

I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.

Refrain

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.

Refrain

Here is another Tennessee Ernie Ford recording uploaded by Gandalf1948. This time, Ernie is singing I Love To Tell The Story

See you in church!

Connie

Forgetful

I know I haven’t posted in a few weeks. Things just got away from me.

The week before Memorial Day, my daughter and I finished our homeschooling for the year. That Friday (May 26th), was her birthday, and we definitely needed some Mom and daughter time that didn’t involve school. We went to a movie, and then did some window shopping. We had a great day. I am so blessed to have a truly appreciative daughter. We spent Saturday cleaning house, getting ready for some of our extended family to arrive after church Sunday to “officially” celebrate her birthday. All that went well, and we had a nice visit with my mom, sister and nieces.  Yes, we also took the time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.

Additionally, I’ve been dealing some health issues, including allergies that became an upper respiratory infection, and an umbilical hernia. I had surgery to repair the hernia on Wednesday. Trust me, pain meds and blog writing really do not belong together, so as much as I have been wanting to get back in here, I thought I should wait until my thoughts were a little more clear.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about rejoicing and giving thanks, and how those attitudes bless our lives and the lives of those around us. I would love to tell you that the epiphany lead to immediate and permanent change, but you would all know better.

Anyone who earnestly tries to walk with the Lord knows that there are a lot of missteps, stumbles, and falling flat on our faces. The best we can do this side of heaven is keep moving toward that goal, and trust the Lord to do what we cannot.

So why is it so hard?
Because we forget.

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Honestly, our forgetfulness is staggering. Think of the children of Israel, who watched the Egyptians experience the ten plagues while they remained unscathed. They crossed the Red Sea on dry land, were given manna and quail, and yet they had Aaron make them a golden calf. We shake our heads, and then we realize that we are just as forgetful.

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses recounts the entire story, from the time their rebellion caused them to wander forty years in the wilderness, until the day they were ready to take possession of the land, and Moses would be “gathered to his people”

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them (Deut 4:9)

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery (Deut 6:6-12)

Well, as you probably know, Israel did not heed Moses’ instructions and they forgot. The story is repeated over and over in the Old Testament. The people forget about God. God allows their enemies to attack them. The people remember God. God delivers them from their enemies. Some time passes. The people forget about God.

I can’t say much…I’ve done the same thing. I’m sure you have too. James says,

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (James 1:23-24)

Now, that’s forgetful.

I had been thinking about the whole frustrating topic of forgetfulness, as I was finishing Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts Devotional. On page 189 she says, “He keeps whispering to my trembling heart, to me who knows and then forgets:…” (Italics mine).

The phrase jumped off the page, and I wanted to say, “oh me too! I know…and then I forget.” Lord help me remember. I need to remember!

This is why it is so important to keep our heads in God’s word. We constantly need reminders of His goodness, His compassion, His forgiveness and His love. Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper so that we would remember what He did for us.

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.(Luke 22:19-20)

Peter understood the importance of reminders.

So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. (2 Pet 1:12-15)

We need to remember who God is and who we are in Him.

Connie

Songs for Sunday: King of the World

How many times do we ask God to direct our paths, but then fight Him for the reins.
For most of us, giving up control is hard. I know it is for me.  I often need to be reminded that He is God and I am not.

The Grammy nominated “King of the World” was written by Natalie Grant, Becca Mizell, and Sam Mizzel. Natalie Grant recorded it for her album “Be One”  that was released last year.

King Of The World

I tried to fit you in the walls inside my mind
I try to keep you safely in between the lines
I try to put you in the box that I’ve designed
I try to pull you down so we are eye to eye

When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you’re the one who holds it all
When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world

Just a whisper of your voice can tame the seas
So who am I to try to take the lead
Still I run ahead and think I’m strong enough
When you’re the one who made me from the dust

When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you’re the one who holds it all
When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world

Ohhhh, you set it all in motion
Every single moment
You brought it all to be
And you’re holding on to me

When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you’re the one who holds it all
When did I forget you’ve always been the king of the world
You will always be the king of the world

See you in Church!

Connie

Songs for Sunday: Thank You Lord

First of all, let me say “Happy Mother’s Day” to all the moms out there. Thank you for everything that you do for your families.

This week’s song is a perfect expression of what we discussed in yesterday’s post. It’s about being thankful in all circumstances.

I found this YouTube video posted by the songwriter Dan Burgess, where he talks about writing the song, and then gospel recording artist Cynthia Clawson tells her own story about the song before she sings it.  I think I’ll just let them tell it.

See you in church!

Connie

Songs for Sunday: Need You Now

Christian Artist Plumb wrote and recorded the song I Need You Now in 2013. In this recording she says she drew on her own experience with anxiety while writing the song.

Need You Now (How Many Times)

Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Though I walk,
Though I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

I need you now
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
I need you now
I need you now

For many of us, anxiety, depression, bi polar, and other disorders are an every day fact of life. For others, circumstances become overwhelming. Those of us who belong to the Lord often echo Plumbs words “God please take this!”  Some times he does. Sometimes he says “My grace is sufficient”, and it is.

See you in church. Remember that person sitting next to you in the pew might be hurting and need some encouragement. Maybe that’s why God sat you next to them.

Connie

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, the day we remember Jesus’ death.

I’ve spent the last few days talking to the Lord, and trying to determine what He wanted me to say about it.

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 (John 3:16)

That’s it.

God intended for us to have a personal relationship with Him. Adam and Eve had it in the garden, before they disobeyed God’s word and put the whole Earth under a curse.

God longs to have that relationship with us again, but only the sacrifice of a sinless life could do that.  That’s a problem, because there isn’t one human being who can live a totally sinless life.

God, however had a plan. He would send His son to live that sinless life, so that he would be the perfect sacrifice.

That’s what He did.

He sent Jesus to live as a human being. The only difference was that He would live a perfect life, and then, when it was the right time, He would offer up His own life in our place.

And that is what Jesus did.

When the work was complete,

…Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)

What was finished? Our redemption.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

Hold on though, that’s not the end of the story…it’s just the beginning.

Like this song performed by David Phelps

Connie