O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM

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After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

O Little Town of Bethlehem was written by Phillips Brooks.  He also wrote two books – one called The Joy of Preaching and another called The Consolations of God. 

Brooks actually took a trip to Bethlehem and walked around trying to imagine what that night must have been like.  He didn’t write the carol in Bethlehem; in fact, he waited three years and was back in the United States when he began writing the song.  He must have really given the details a lot of thought.

He records in his diary,

“Before dark we rode out of town to the field where the shepherds saw the star. It is a fenced piece of ground with a cave in it, in which, strangely enough, they put the shepherds. Somewhere in those fields we rode through, the shepherds must have been, as we passed, still keeping watch over their flocks. I was standing in the old church in Bethlehem, close to the spot where Jesus was born, and the whole church was ringing hour after hour with the splendid hymns of praise to God; how again and again it seemed as if I could hear voices I know well, telling each other of the Savior’s birth.”

And so the carol O Little Town of Bethlehem was written.

The best news is that Christ was born for everyone!  He came to earth for all – !

gods-choice

I love this poem from Lucinda’s devotional book Coffee with Jesus.  I’m so glad that Jesus loves everyone regardless of any label you may want to mention.  He doesn’t see the labels, He just sees each soul individually.  🙂

WORLD PASTA DAY

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TL 10-25 WORLD PASTA DAY (2)

Did you know there are over 400 unique types of pasta?  There are so many possibilities for amazing soups, salads and casseroles!  Which one will you create today???

Since I’m a diabetic, I have to be careful to pair pasta with lean protein.  I also try to use a whole wheat pasta when possible.  To be honest – I really prefer regular pasta.  The whole wheat pasta is heavier and an acquired taste.  I’ve not acquired a taste for it – yet.  I may never acquire a taste for it.  😦

I like Dreamfields pasta, especially the lasagna noodles!  I don’t always find it at my local grocery store, but every now and then I find it.

This is my favorite recipe.  Enjoy!  🙂

Ingredients:

12 Dreamfields Lasagna noodles

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 clove garlic, minced

4 cups fresh spinach

2 zucchini, thinly sliced

1 cup peas (thawed if frozen)

16 ounces non-fat ricotta cheese

16 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

5 cups marinara sauce 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to package directions; set aside. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes or until translucent. Stir in Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook 30 seconds; add spinach, zucchini and peas. Cook 10 minutes or until spinach is wilted, peas are cooked through and zucchini is tender. Remove from heat; drain off any liquid. In separate bowl combine ricotta cheeses and grated nutmeg. Preheat oven to 375 F°. Spread 3/4 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13-inch oven-safe baking dish. Layer with 4 of the lasagna noodles (3 vertical, one horizontal). Spread 1/2 of ricotta mixture and 1/2 of vegetable mixture over noodles. Spoon 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce over vegetable mixture. Continue to layer with lasagna noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, remaining vegetable mixture and 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce. Top with remaining 4 additional lasagna noodles and remaining 1 1/4 cups marinara sauce. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese; cover loosely with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Remove foil; continue baking 10 minutes or until bubbly and hot. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information (1/8 of recipe): Calories: 490 Fat: 18 grams Carbs: 56 grams Protein: 26 grams Saturated Fat: 8 grams Cholesterol: 45 mg Sodium: 930 mg Dietary Fiber: 9 grams

Happy World Pasta Day!!!  🙂

HOLY HUMOR MONTH

APRIL IS HOLY HUMOR MONTH

We need to realize that, above everything, we Christians have the greatest reason to be joyful.  – Dr. Karl R. Kraft

Yee-Haw!  April is Holy Humor Month!!!  In case you think that Christians get baptized in lemon juice and are instantly left with no sense of humor…  I’m here to say yeah, we know how to laugh.  We’re more picky about what we think is funny, but we definitely know how to laugh!

These are from Lucinda Berry Hill:

Neal’s Story (May 7, 1979)

One night when I was putting my little brother to bed, I stood by and quietly listened while he was saying his bedtime prayers.  He said the regular prayer of “Now I lay me down to sleep…God bless Mommy and Daddy…”  Then he added, “Thank you for this day Jesus, and thank you for the mirror.”

I patiently waited until he completed his prayers, then curiously asked, “Neal, why did you say,  ‘Thank you for the mirror’?”
“Well,” he said with great sincerity, “when I look in the mirror I see me!”

Probably my most favorite joke is:

What did the 0 say to the 8?
Nice Belt!
Oh I laugh every time I think about it.  Especially because it was told to me by my 8 year old nephew and I didn’t get it at first.  Once I did I couldn’t stop laughing.
I was at a funeral for a dear old friend.  I took my 8 year old daughter with me because she was her friend too.  During the service I handed her a piece of paper and a pencil.  She soon handed it back to me with a note, “I’m not bored.”
A little boy was going home from his great grandmother’s funeral.  “Mommy,” he said, “If Heaven is up in the sky, why did they put grandma great in the ground?”
“Well,” his mother said, “they bury people in the ground but their spirit goes up to Heaven.”
He accepted that  answer very well.  A few minutes later he said, “I made a decision,” he spoke sincerely.  “When I die, my spirit’s not going anywhere without my bones.!”
We love Lucinda’s poetry, but this back story is too cute!

Reaching in a pan for a brownie, my hand came back empty.  Since there was only two of us in the house I complained to my 4 year old, ” Charlotte, you ate the last brownie!”  And she exclaimed, “But mommy they’re too much good!”  And so a poem was born and it became Week 18 of devotional “Coffee with Jesus.” OUR GOD OF TOO MUCH

HOLY HUMOR
This looks like something I would have turned in back in school:30b5b01042f550f27eb8c7222258e80d

Did you know there were rules on Noah’s Ark???  Neither did I – let’s take a look:

INSTRUCTIONS ON THE ARK

– Alligators….stop nibbling on fellow passengers.
– Flies….quit pestering the horses.
– Elephants…..shovel up your own mess, it blocks the hallways.
– Pigeons….the lions are not statues.
– Mosquitoes and bats….quit biting the other passengers.
– Myna birds….stop repeating everything you hear.
– Cows….fly swatting is prohibited.
– Lightning bugs….remember lights out at 9 PM.
– Pigs…..clean up your room.
– Raccoons….stop your midnight raids.
– Hyenas….stop laughing at the other passengers.
– Lions….quit stalking everyone.
– Vultures….stop hovering.
– Bugs….stay out of the pantry.
– Snakes….pick up your own skins and throw them away.
– Ants….bring your own picnic lunch next time.
– Hoofed animals….please tiptoe after midnight.
– Camels….no spitting at the other passengers.
– Squirrels….quit hiding nuts in the bathtub drains.
– Night Owls….keep your hooting down, it keeps the Morning Doves awake.
– Turtles….your dinners are getting cold, start for the dining hall earlier.
– All passengers…. be careful what you say around the parrots if you don’t want it repeated.

Signed,
Noah

And what of Rex???  Did he miss the boat?  Awe…  no room!76348131d21059ff9d216e16ef1d3a13

dcc344595ef9a049af08cb29a647eddcLet me guess…  the snails were the last ones to board – well, technically, Noah was, but…

True story.  My husband was on patrol one day and clocked a speeder.  He stopped the young man and asked if he knew how fast he was going.  The quick-thinking gentleman said, “Officer, you’re not going to believe this, but I hit a skunk a few miles back and I’m trying to outrun the smell.”  He got off with a warning and my husband had a great story that he told time and again.  I don’t recommend using this story – it doesn’t always work.  LOL!

If you must speed on the highway, sing these hymns loudly:

5 mph over the limit: “God Will Take Care of Me”

10 mph over: “Guide me, O Great Jehovah”

15 mph over: “Nearer My God to Thee”

20 mph over: “Nearer Still Nearer”

25 mph over: “This World is Not My Home”

30 mph over: “Lord, I’m Coming Home”

35 mph over: “Precious Memories”

25e37871fb191566e1be4c883486b993Um…  yeah.

I’m not Catholic, but as I was looking through posts on Pinterest, I spotted some outright funny stuff that even a Protestant can understand…4e139852a0da43b788476c4e29bdbd9a1e2d99737f7421763dc682454a7e67a4b9df032075f0c3718fe17970fc072c7dThis is my favorite – we should ALL be the one who makes others feel special…  sweet!fab723a436d018ea8e6ea8290fdb25c8

OH…  surely not.  Is there an initiation ceremony???

The longer I live, the more convinced I am that making a joyful noise unto the LORD is less about singing and more about laughter!  I believe God inhabits the praises of His people, but He inclines His ear to our laughter and laughs with us!  Have a wonderful joy-filled day!  🙂

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL WALKING DAY

TL 4-6 NATIONAL WALKING DAY

WALKING

The American Heart Association (AHA) encourages us to get out and walk today!  They hope that this will begin a good habit that will last while we have good weather.

Whether you are a seasoned walker or tend to waddle like me, today is the day to get out and motivate those feet – one in front of the other – for thirty minutes.  Some can do that all at once and some like me will have to do either two fifteen minute walks or three ten minute walks.  I was so happy to read that the results are the same regardless – isn’t that great?

Exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart.  – Gene Tunney

There are obvious benefits when you walk.  It strengthens your heart and lungs as your breathing increases, but it is good for your legs and helps define your muscles.  There are mental benefits that are almost immediate – a sense of well-being and accomplishment help you feel more positive about yourself and about other projects you tackle.  The human body was not created to sit around all the time.  You are worth a half hour of exercise every day – YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Some folks walk at our local mall every day.  I’d rather get outside to walk, but whatever helps you get started – do it!  Taking that first step in a very literal way is what matters.  It’s nice to get together with other walkers for support.  The time goes so much faster when you’re engaged in conversation along with jokes and laughter.  It’s possible to exercise alone, but it’s not as much fun.

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking.   Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.  – Raymond Inmon

As you walk along, it’s amazing how many threads of inspiration are weaved together as you keep moving.  Most of my scathingly brilliant ideas come to me as I’m walking.  Some days I’m bombarded with creative notions just waiting to be launched.

Sometimes I take a camera with me on a walk, but that can slow me down if my goal is to realize health benefits.  A camera usually goes with me when I’m more interested in mental benefits and a little stroll.  Every bit of it helps.  Just get out and enjoy God’s creation.  It will make you feel better!  😉

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 2

https://youtu.be/gXGfngjmwLA

There are horrible portions of history that make us cringe.  Try as we may, we can’t just go back and re-write it.  The holocaust is probably the worst time of all.  We ask God why these things had to happen.  This all took place nearly 20 years before I was born, but I know it happened.  My father was in the Navy during WWII and of course, we studied about it in history class.  I wonder if it’s even taught in classrooms today.  Is this just one more part of our history that we try to sweep under the proverbial rug?

I don’t believe we will know the answers to any of our questions that begin with the word WHY until we reach heaven – and frankly, by then it won’t matter why – am I right???

GOD WILL NOT BE SHAKEN

As I watched the GOP debate last night, a few thoughts came to mind.  I know that God’s timing is perfect and I know that this is HIS plan playing out.  I also know that He will see His children through everything that the future holds.  Now, that doesn’t mean that I won’t have opinions and it doesn’t mean that I won’t vote – I most certainly do and I surely will.

America is not immune from repeating history.  We must be well-educated about the past to avoid future pitfalls.  You know, many times my parents would talk to me about something and relay their own experiences – and follow the story with the statement, “I just don’t want you to make the same mistake.”  It was their attempt to keep me safe and save me from hurt and disappointment and failure.

We must pray about who our next leader will be.  Let’s pray that God’s will be done and vote accordingly.

AMERICA'S IN HIS HAND

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  – 2 Chronicles 7:14

I want to encourage all of us to humbly pray and seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways.  Then America will receive the blessings of forgiveness and healing of our land.  🙂

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDOn the fifth day ‘fore Christmas (and this is a big one, so pay attention…) we are to pray for forgiveness for our sins, give praise for His love, pray for love for one another, joy to share with others, peace in our hearts and thank God for His amazing grace.  The list grows…  are you keeping up???TEN DAYS FORE CHRISTMAS

My mama used to tell me that there’s no such thing as a little sin – it’s all big stuff in the eyes of God – and it all matters.  Wrong is wrong and right is never wrong – so sitting on the fence and saying that you don’t do a lot of sinning – or you don’t sin great big huge – you just commit (or omit) little sins – um…  sorry to burst your proverbial bubble – but that’s still sin and needs to be put under the blood of Christ.  That means you need to ask Him to forgive it – and mean it – then not do (or not do) it anymore.  It’s about change – and I know we get comfortable in our sin – but we need to not be so comfy in it.

Sin is not an OOPS or a MISTAKE or an OH, HOW DID THAT GET THERE…  call it what it is – sin.  It’s not pretty and it separates you from God.  It makes your life less than what it could be.  God wants the very best for your life – and that sin gets in God’s way.  Sometimes a sin can take first place in your life – the hiding of it and the care you take of it – well – God wants first place in your life – He wants that spot.  Get that sin out of His way.  He hates sin and will not tolerate it.  He wants you to hate it too – and love Him.  It can’t be a little sin and a little God – this is not a combo that is possible.  It’s one or the other – you must choose.

FORGIVENESS OF SIN

Nobody can make that choice for you – it’s up to you.  I’ll tell you this…  if you choose to ask God to forgive your sins – He will do it the second you ask… and they are forgotten from this day forward.  People tend to remember the sins of others if they know about them – but God will never hold them up to you once He’s forgiven you.  They are as far as the east is from the west… it’s not north and south because those two eventually meet – it’s east and west – because they don’t meet.  Isn’t that cool???  I think so!  🙂

 

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDTEN DAYS FORE CHRISTMASOn the seventh day ‘fore Christmas we will pray for love for one another, joy to share with others, peace in our hearts and thank God for His amazing grace.  Love for one another – I mean, were you out there on Black Friday???  Seriously?  But maybe it’s a love that goes beyond mere commercialism…  hmm…

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The only way to love anyone – and yes, that includes family members – is with the love of God, through Christ Jesus.  That is the love we pray to receive from God.  Love came down at Christmas:  https://youtu.be/WsSapMaTnKw

Christmas is a time to LOVE:  https://youtu.be/DOG8uXqKgNI

https://youtu.be/gOQGpSVvJ94

Dear Lord,

We need to learn how to love one another the way You want us to.  We’ve learned well how to be divisive and hateful toward those who are not just like us.  So many lines divide us, but we seriously need Your Word to speak to us and teach us to erase those lines in our lives.  Shower Your wisdom over us, wrapped up in Your love – the love that was born in Bethlehem.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

https://youtu.be/Y_n2CDALG10

When we have God’s love through Christ, we are able to give good gifts – gifts of love.  We receive the best love from God – it’s a love that sees beyond ourselves and into the feelings and emotions of others.  Christ Himself instructs us through the Holy Bible, so we are ready to show God’s love to those around us.

Jesus loves you…

https://youtu.be/-q6HJTUDOMI 

This cracks me up – in our church we used to have to coax the kids to sing louder…  whew! 

The greatest life one can have is of service. Give joy, happiness, bliss, laughter, wisdom, prosperity, love & light to others. By doing so, you tap into the Infinite Source within ensuring that you will never have to do without these “treasures” yourself! – Lateef Warnick

Serving the Lord during the Christmas season is the best thing you can do!  I hope you have an opportunity to give in some way of time, talent or treasure – maybe all three.  🙂