Blessings and Miracles

Of course it’s March, and we will be hearing all about LUCK.  When you give luck the credit for something wonderful that happens in your life, you are not giving God the glory and honor for it.  I’m sure we don’t intend to slight our dear Lord at all – ever, but we should be more mindful of how we express joy for our blessings (and in some cases, miracles).  

It’s really a matter of where you place your trust, isn’t it?  Luck is such an elusive and vague thing, so why would you place your trust in it?  Luck is not higher than we are, and I’m not convinced that it even exists.  Some people think that way about God, and I think that is very sad.  I will bless the Lord God Almighty!

My faith and trust will be placed in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  He’s all I need to navigate this life and make Heaven my eternal home!

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.  – Proverbs 16:33

 

Chance encounter… random happening… plain ol’ luck?  No.  There’s more to it than that.  Do you catch yourself saying things like…

What a lucky shot!

Wish me luck on that test tomorrow!

Only luck had kept her from getting sick too!

Good luck getting the secret ingredient from mom!

I’ll try my luck fishing on the other side.

I’m gonna take a chance and change my luck.

I’m sure we’ve all slipped and said these things at one time or the other.  If we can just think a little bit about what we’re saying, and more to the point, the implications of what we’re saying, we’d be giving all the credit for the good to God by saying:

Thank You, Lord, for helping me with that shot!

Whisper a prayer or two for me as I take that test tomorrow!

Thank the Lord she didn’t get sick too!

I’ll pray that you can get that secret ingredient from mom with no problem!

Lord willing I will catch some fish over on the other side!

I’m gonna dump the luck and say a prayer instead!

What just happened here???  The randomness and chance in the first sentences were turned into gratitude, praise to God, and prayers!  When we acknowledge God in these ways, we are letting Him know that we recognize His sovereignty and His control over everything – big and small.

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.  – Thomas Goodwin

Don’t leave your life in the hands of randomness and chance.  Luck belongs at the local casino, because let’s face it, gambling is probably the most random activity human beings engage in!  Your life deserves more order and planning by God, who loves and cares for you more than you can imagine!  🙂

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WHILE SHEPHERDS WATCHED THEIR FLOCK BY NIGHT

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And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  – Luke 2:8

The lyrics to this familiar carol are attributed to Irish hymnist and poet Laureate Nahum Tate.  It first appeared in print in 1702 and was paired with a tune called “Winchester Old”, a 16th century tune by William H. Monk in the United Kingdom.  Until 1782, it was the only Christmas carol officially sanctioned by the Church of England.  The tune we sing in the United States is a variation on a Handel aria arranged by Lowell Mason in 1821.

Can you imagine going to work as a shepherd, which, by any standard is not the most classy job in the world – and you go about your tasks thinking you’re going to have a similar day to the day before…  then BOOM – a light blinds you and a heavenly host appears before you?  A bunch of angels announce that Christ is born!  Well, I’d say that’s no ordinary day.  Who says tending sheep is boring?  It sure wasn’t boring on that day!

the-view-from-the-innAs we all know, the shepherds went to see the Baby King.  There they found Him along with heavenly hosts giving Him praise.  I’m so glad God sent the angels to the shepherds, and the shepherds got to be a part of the most important event in history!  You never know what God’s got in mind for your life – even if you are on the low end of the totem pole, my friend.

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I hope this little post has encouraged your spirit today.  If you’ve enjoyed it, I hope you’ll leave some love here in the comments.  Have a wonderful day – full of wonder.  🙂

 

 

 

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRIST-MAS

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  – Isaiah 9:6

When I was a kid, this popular Christmas song played on my parent’s Montgomery Ward record player – yes – the record player / television / radio unit that sat in every American living room back in the early 1960’s.  You know the one I mean…  don’t sit there and act like you don’t remember.  😉curtismathes02And, of course the star singer at Christmas time back in the day was PERRY COMO!  My folks had every Como Christmas album that came out, I think.51t6kcvval-_ss500

untitled-21619zyozrzdllargeperry_como-christmasIf I had to choose a favorite Como Christmas song, it would be “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.”  Let’s take a listen:

I know it’s not a terribly meaningful song in a religious sense…  or wait – maybe it is.  Take a look at this poem by Lucinda Berry Hill – it fits the same tune perfectly.  🙂

christmas-is-jesusSo you see, whether you are listening to Third Day, Casting Crowns, Mark Lowry – or Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Andy Williams…  you always remember that Christmas is never Christmas without Christ.  No matter how the world tries to take Him out of the celebration, they can’t – His wonderful name IS CHRIST – and that’s the beginning of Christmas!

Without Him there are no Christmas miracles – just artificial holiday cheer.  I’d rather expect miracles than see a bunch of people who pretend to be cheerful from alcohol or some other resource at hand.  When I see X-mas it just makes me so sad because some folks are literally X-ing away the real reason for the season.  I don’t understand it.  I never will.jesus-candy-cane-prayer

This year when I listen to Como, I’m going to sing Lucinda’s lyrics because I like them much more than the original song’s lyrics!  Let’s celebrate the birth of our Lord this year.  That’s what it’s all about!  Christmas is JESUS!  🙂

JUST PRAY NO! WORLDWIDE WEEKEND OF PRAYER

TL 4-23 & 24 JUST PRAY NO! WORLDWIDE WEEKEND OF PRAYERPrayer:  A constant conversation between God and His people through God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  We humbly bow with particular needs on our hearts and minds concerning the United States of America.  We ask God to protect the unborn.  According to Hillary Clinton, the unborn have no RIGHTS under the constitution.  Aside from speaking to her moral fiber, or lack thereof, it begs the question, CAN the constitution ever be amended so that the unborn could have RIGHTS in America?  I don’t have the answer to that question.  I’m not a scholar or a constitutional expert by any means – I’m just a simple child of God who knows that murder is sin, and abortion is murder.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for giving me life.  I know that nothing destroys life more than abortion, yet I continue to rejoice in the fact that You have conquered death by the resurrection of Your Son, Christ Jesus.  I promise to do everything I can to end abortion and commit myself to speak up, write, and never be silent or passive on behalf of the unborn.  I will be active in the pro-life movement and never stop defending life.  Please lead America back to the values it once had, with You in the center of every decision made from the Whitehouse to the local courthouse.  We need to be a country that embraces liberty and justice – especially for our most innocent – the unborn!  May we speak up for them in good conscience because it pleases You.  Lord, through You may America make provision in the constitution that will protect the unborn so they will not be murdered anymore.  We thank You in advance for what You will do.  Help us to hang on to our faith because You perform all sorts of miracles every single day.

We pray this in the matchless name of Christ our Lord, Amen.

We pray for NO MORE HATE.  We pray for peace in our land, in our time.  We pray that God gives us everything we need to STAND UP TO THE WORLD.  While there is so much hate growing all around us, we keep praying and trusting that God will help us.STANDING UP TO THE WORLD

We know as the time gets closer for our Lord to return to earth for His own, things will get worse.  I know I sound very doom and gloom, and I don’t mean to be a downer.  Here’s the good news…  God’s children have a powerful ally in the Lord.  We have a tool called prayer, and it’s the best thing we can do for ourselves and for each other as we lean on Him to guide us down life’s winding narrow pathway.  🙂

 

 

MATTHEW 7:22 ON 7/22

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 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’     – Matthew 7:22

I’ve read this portion of Scripture with a more personal implication.  Did I not play the piano for church services every Sunday and in Your name did I not write poetry and blog posts?  When it hits home, some days I have to say …  ouch!  I have to drop my pride, stop in my tracks, bow my head and let the Lord know that I know it is NOT about me.  It’s all about Him…  His love, His mercy, His grace, His peace and His wonderful love.  I deserve hell but because of His sacrifice on Calvary (and nothing else), I get heaven.  It’s about His mercy, His grace, His love.

I PRAY BEFORE I PLAY

God knows our hearts, minds and motives.  Do we do what we do for Him – or is it for attention from others?  We should do good deeds, to be sure – however, to lay the whole weight of our salvation upon what we have done in Jesus’ name instead of Jesus Himself – His sacrifice, where our salvation comes from, we are missing the mark.  It’s dangerous to put our trust in all the works we do in Christ’s name instead of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary’s cross – the only way we will be assured of eternal life with Him in heaven.

It’s never been about us – and it’s always been about Christ Jesus.  He suffered on the cross and willingly sacrificed His life for all of us.  That is where our focus needs to be.  If we lose sight of that and get all wrapped up in ourselves, it’s time to ask forgiveness and begin again.

This is probably one of the most important passages in the Sermon on the Mount.  I don’t think anyone misses the mark on purpose.  Sometimes we get caught up in the “doing” and before long, it’s about us instead of Christ.  The devil wants to work on our ego, our accomplishments, our good works…  he eases Christ out of our minds and away from our focus – but outwardly, it looks like we’re doing the right things.  But doing the right things with the wrong motive…  um…  why bother?

Keeping God through Christ the center of our lives in an ongoing process. It cannot be done once and then forgotten. We have to keep choosing God, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.  But I want Him to know that I know…  it’s all about Him.  🙂

 

LUKE 6:22 ON 6/22

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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.  – Luke 6:22

Does it bother you to be excluded from the “popular” group?  Do you think co-workers or others in your class hate you, or at the very least misunderstand you?  Well – me too, but I want to encourage you and let you know that God is blessing you while the world turns its back on you.

When we trust Christ and accept His gospel, it means there is an automatic target painted on our backs.  We have to  keep the eternal perspective in mind and remember that God’s blessings on our lives is forever and the acceptance or rejection of other people – well, it’s temporary and means little or nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Really – sometimes when we are excluded from some activities – it’s nothing that we need to be engaged in to begin with.  God really does protect His children from harm and keeps us safe.  We have to lean more on Christ when we are feeling especially left out.  By the same token, we need to pray that God will provide a safe haven with like-minded friends where we can feel accepted and loved.

Why is church so important?  It’s almost like a support group of sorts, where we are not seen as the world often sees us.  Finding a group of believers where you can feel comfortable and at ease to speak your thoughts and beliefs means so much to Christians.

While we are not to spend all of our time hidden inside the church building with like-minded brothers and sisters, it’s good to have a soft place to land after we’ve done our best to share the good news of Christ with a world that does not even almost understand what we’re talking about.

At times, we will be hated and rejected in this world simply for what we believe.  We profess, preach, teach and believe the full gospel of Christ from beginning to end.  Our Messiah came in the flesh and was the Son of God according to His divine nature, yet the son of man according to His human nature.

He walked the earth doing miracles – doing good.  He suffered, bled and died on a cruel cross as the Lamb of God – the only worthy sacrifice for the sins of every man on earth.  By the power of God He arose from the grave and sits at the right hand of the Heavenly Father.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He left us a helper known as the Holy Spirit.  God’s Holy Spirit helps us navigate this life and do what God would have us do.

One day God the Father will instruct Jesus to come back to earth to take those who love and trust Him to heaven to live forevermore.

MEET GOD AT THE DOOR

God blesses His children – even when others make fun of us, reject us, and intentionally hurt us because of our faith.  It’s my prayer that you will notice less of the temporary hurt and look beyond to the eternal blessing from your Heavenly Father.  🙂

 

 

 

 

GARDEN MEDITATION DAY

TL 5-3 GARDEN MEDITATION DAY

Prayer may not change things for you, but it for sure changes you for things.   – Samuel M. Shoemaker

Stress is a very real part of this life.  This comes as no surprise to anyone, does it?  People have all sorts of ways to combat stress and some of those ways are not the most healthy.  My coping mechanism used to be food.  Junk food.  Evil, wicked, gross, disgusting junk food.  Let me tell you – there is a better way to cope with stress and keep up the wellness and peace of mind you deserve!

There are few things in this world that I appreciate more than a beautiful garden.  I do not (by any stretch of the imagination) claim to be a gardener, but I do admire those who have a green thumb.

Today is GARDEN MEDITATION DAY!!!  We do not have a garden at our house, but we do have a small area in front of our house with shrubs and assorted landscaping accents.  There is a bench to the side where I sit and read devotionals in the morning.  A garden can set a mood for meditation faster than any atmosphere.  So calm and serene, it makes my blood pressure lower and suddenly all of my cares and worries disappear.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.  – Psalm 19:14

While I’m reading devotions, hymns come to mind and I sing them.  It’s as though I’m joining nature in a chorus to God.  Of course, my voice pales next to that of a bird.

May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD.  – Psalm 104:34

How many times have you began singing “Count Your Blessings” and ended up literally adding up all the benefits from the Lord’s hand?  It makes a soul more grateful than ever to do that.  The old hymns of the church are not merely words to be muttered with half-witted understanding.  They are timeless truths that we need to embrace and live our lives with.

Enjoy a garden meditation today.  It’s good for your soul🙂