CAROL OF THE BELLS

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Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  – Luke 2:11 

Carol of the Bells is of Ukrainian origin.  Did you know that this was originally a New Year’s Carol?  These lyrics were written in 1936.  Through the years this old tune has been given several different lyrics, but Carol of the Bells has been a Christmas classic since then.

It’s not quite Christmas without bells, is it?  Obviously there are jingle bells, but in church we are more likely to hear a handbell choir.  Some churches have bells that ring on a regular basis – but even so, when it’s Christmas, the ringing of the church bells has a special sort of meaning.  It’s as though the bells are proclaiming, Christ is born!  Come and worship the Lord!  Let’s prepare our hearts, proclaim the good news and announce to everyone that hope was born in Bethlehem!

RING THE BELLS!!!

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When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.   – Luke 2:17-18

bell-prayer

Did you know in Victorian times it was fashionable to go caroling with small handbells to play the tune of the carol?  Sometimes they would just play the bells and not sing along.  Each person in a handbell choir is vitally important.  You are only responsible for one or two bells, but knowing when it’s your turn to play either of your bells is crucial.  If you miss it – then…  OOPS!

The bell’s rhythm and pitch indicate joy at Christmas and are symbolic of the harmony existing in the society.  Bells act as a go-between from heaven to earth, between God and man.  Sometimes new church bells get dedicated and even baptized before being used.  I’ve never been to a bell baptism, have you?  It’s quite a visual…  I’m trying to imagine what that would be like.  🙂

 

 

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COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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https://youtu.be/hNDI0QolYm0

John sent me a great video!  He said this is a hidden creek 10 miles Southeast of Augusta, Kansas.  His appreciation for God’s creation makes me want to go out and plant a garden.  Okay, at the very least, it makes me want to go outside and make mud pies!  🙂

Under the giving snow blossoms a daring spring.  – Terri Guillemets

FLOWERS IN THE SNOW

It was quite a sight to see snow on Easter morning, but isn’t that just like God?  You know, when I taught Sunday School, my favorite lessons were object lessons.  Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a visual learner.  You can talk me to death, but until I see something and have it click in my own mind, talking just doesn’t do much good.  Don’t make me read boring statistics either, or you’ll lose me completely.  I believe God sent that snow to remind us that on Easter, the plan of Salvation was completed and He is more than able and willing to wash our sins as white as snow.

 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  – Romans 10:9-10

Spring is a time of renewal – a time to begin anew.  What a great time to ask God into your heart and life.  He wants to be the Lord of your life.  Let’s pray this simple prayer together.  If you already know Jesus as Lord and Savior, what a great prayer of rededication and recommitment to Him:

Lord Jesus Christ,

I know that I have sinned
and done things that have hurt you.

I am willing to turn away
from what is wrong in my life.

I want to go where you lead in the future.

Thank you for dying on the cross
so that I might be forgiven.


Come into my life this day;
Come in as my Saviour and Lord:
Come in to be with me for ever.


Thank you Lord Jesus.
Amen.

You know – sometimes God’s children just need to laugh.  Before it gets too far away from Easter, I want to share a poem with you.  My friend Deanna posted a photo and said it was a naked peep taking a bath in her cup of hot tea.  I thought I’d split a stitch, I laughed so hard!  How could that not become a poem?  Laughter is one of many…  gifts from Heaven.  🙂

GIFTS FROM HEAVEN

 

 

NUMBERS 7:1 ON 7/1

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When Moses finished setting up the tabernacle, he anointed and consecrated it and all its furnishings. He also anointed and consecrated the altar and all its utensils.  – Numbers 7:1

What if Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle and not dedicated it to the LORD right away?  What if he had not instantly declared that it was GOD’S TENT?  What if…

When we are serving God in whatever way we serve Him – whether it’s through music or writing or…  do we get all set up to do what we do – and dedicate it all to Him immediately?

It is so easy to go through the motions without inviting God to be a part of it.  It’s easier still to leave Him out completely – it can become routine and familiar to us.  Yes – US – I’m talking to myself too.  Nothing is easier for me to do than play the piano, however, if I’m getting ready to serve the LORD, I’d better dedicate my service to Him – or it will be worthless. 

We dare not boast one bit about anything we do for God.  Without His presence, His love, His guidance – it means nothing.  The second we forget that and start making it about our own ability or skill – we’ve lost out on the blessing from God.  When we try to go it alone, that is when failure happens.

Moses teaches us to prepare to serve and be careful to invite God’s Holy Spirit into the service.  If He is part of the service – part of the process – then what you do must succeed because it’s backed by God Himself.  He can not fail and He will not let your plans fail – especially your plan to serve Him.

If you are serving the LORD and it seems to be more difficult than usual, ask yourself if you invited God to be in the midst of your efforts.  You may think it can wait – that you can take care of it later – but it can’t wait.  Before you begin doing what you do, ask God to do what He does!  He will bless your tiny efforts and make them huge!  🙂

REVELATION 2:19 ON 2/19

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I know what you do. I know your love, faith, service, and endurance. I also know that what you are doing now is greater than what you did at first.  – Revelation 2:19

God knows everything.  I could stop there and it would be a profound truth we all need to hear.  God knows our level of love, our level of faith, our level of service and our level of endurance.  He also knows that we are trying to do better than we did when we first believed.

What has to come your way to make your level rise?  God loves us so much He will not leave us lacking anything we need to be the best follower of Christ we can be.  A continuous progress towards and in all good of every sort is the very law of the Christian life.

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If you read the rest of the chapter, you will see that it’s not all glowing.  But so many times in my life the news, or the “letter” I get from my Savior is not always positive.  He loves me enough to want to help me be better than I was yesterday.  He does see our strides forward and He takes notice of every one.  We are not saved by these efforts, but we are made to be Christians with a right attitude and humility toward our Lord.

Let’s all commit our ways to the LORD and strive to be even more dedicated than ever to His work.

Father! — to God himself we cannot give a holier name.  – William Wordsworth

Today let’s agree to pray for one another and bear one another’s burdens.  Let’s call sin by its rightful name and admonish and reprove it, restoring others and comforting the distressed, for it is not too late for any of us yet.  Let’s build one another up in faith as we exhort and stir up each other to the work that needs to be done.

Traveling light means trusting God with the burdens you were never intended to bear.  – Max Lucado

May we do better today than we have ever done before. 

 

 

WORLD DIABETES AWARENESS DAY

TL 11-14 WORLD DIABETES AWARENESS DAY

11-14 I'M SO THANKFUL TODAY

I have to chuckle at the word AWARENESS sometimes, especially when it comes to diabetes.  If you have diabetes or you live with someone who has diabetes, trust me, you are painfully aware – on so many levels!

The idea is to make those who do not live with diabetes aware of not only the challenges of living a life with diabetes, but also the way we can overcome those challenges with positive thinking, a good support system and of course – insulin!

What am I thankful for today as I live another day with type 2 diabetes?  It’s a long list, so fasten your seatbelt and hang on …

1.  I can see clearly!  Since my diagnosis in 1994, I’ve faithfully seen my eye care specialist once a year.  People without diabetes see their eye doctor every other year.  I say this with all humility, a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes – every year when my eyes are dilated and I am checked for retinopathy (a common condition with diabetes), my doctor gives me a glowing report!   He says, “If I didn’t know you were diabetic, I would not be able to tell from these pictures.” 

2.  I hear ya!  It’s recently been proven that diabetes can cause hearing loss.  They think that the small vessels of the ear get plugged up because of excess glucose in the blood.  If I could not hear it would not be the end of my life, but I am a musician and have been blessed with perfect pitch.  I’m not bragging, just telling the truth.  Hearing loss would be a huge loss to be sure.

3.  I’m walking on sunshine!  I admit there are days when I need a cane to walk better because of neuropathy (another complication of diabetes), but I am on my feet and moving.  What a wonderful blessing to still be mobile and able to take a walk anytime I want to.  It’s so important that I stay as independent as possible.  I do not take my freedom for granted.  I thank God for the ability to exercise without much pain.  Through the years I have relied on a good Chiropractor and an occasional massage to keep me going.  Exercise is a key component in diabetes management.

4.  I smile every day!  Keeping blood sugar within a healthy range is so important because everything is affected – even my smile!  If my gums are not healthy it could lead to tooth loss.  Along with brushing and flossing I use Sesame Oil to “pull” bacteria from my teeth and gums every day.  Just one Tablespoon of oil once a day really helps my gums stay healthy.  Swish for about 5 minutes and spit – (never swallow the oil), then rinse with water and smile!

5.  I keep stress at bay!  I’m the first to admit that this was not easy a few years ago.  Now that I’m retired it is so much easier to manage the stress in my life.  God has helped me to re-evaluate priorities and re-examine the things that cause stress to begin with.  Sometimes stress just happens, like when there is a health crisis in my family – but these days I really don’t sweat the small stuff.  The older I get, the less most things really matter.

Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul.  Thank You, Lord, for making me whole.  Thank You, Lord, for giving to me Thy great Salvation so rich (full) and free!  I do count my blessings and these are just a few of them.  Yes, I have diabetes, but diabetes does NOT have me!  D stands for dedication to living a healthy lifestyle because God has blessed me so much!  ❤

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I AM YOUR NUMBER ONE FAN

On this April Fool’s Day there is one thing that a good wife can do to avoid being called or even thought of as a fool. She can stand behind her man and be the best cheerleader ever!

I’ve read books and articles my whole married life. I have participated in so many Proverbs 31 Bible studies, I’m almost tempted to by a loom so I can make my own blankets so I can make it official. The perfect Proverbs 31 wife does that, right? She is the enthusiastic woman weaving and singing away because she is providing warmth for her family.

Does a good wife have to go to all that trouble in our day and time? Well, probably not. My biggest challenge is to keep my big mouth shut, but I’m just speaking for me. Maybe you struggle with some other issue. There’s probably not a perfect wife among us. We could all use a little refresher course in Proverbs 31. What is a virtuous woman? Well, that seems to be the opening question:

Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yer night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She strethcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children rise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. – Proverbs 31:10-31

A virtuous woman is one who puts God first, husband second, children third. She is busy because she has a family to raise. She is wise enough to take a break and do something for herself once in a while, but she is faithful to her husband and dedicated to her LORD and to her family. There are three words that, if I remember right, were in my wedding vows: LOVE, HONOR AND CHERISH. Yes, that about covers the virtuous Proverbs 31 woman. ❤