"In the Bleak Midwinter" Arose Our Savior

“In the Bleak Midwinter” is a little-known hymn yet a favorite of mine.  The final verse is the verse taken by many as the entire song or poem.  Even though we probably know today that Christ’s birth was not in the winter, the period of history could certainly be considered “bleak” with Herod the king, his wrath, and his order to slay all the boys under two years of age in Bethlehem and in all the coasts in surrounding areas.  Yet God’s plan was anything but bleak when we can see even a speck of this Light Who came.  Who came for us, to save us, to call us out of the darkness, to ask us to “follow” Him, to walk with Him.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

 

As I fall to worship Him, I see the Light of God beaming from the manger.  The Light draws me near no matter what my circumstances are, bleak or joyful.  The Light does not scare me because this Light is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  This Light takes the darkness away.  When I fall into those dark times, I must not relinquish the faith He gives to me to know and see His Light.  No matter how dark times seem today and in the future days and years, the Light will always shine.  I must hold my eyes upon Him.  He will lead me through what appears dark and bleak.  It is only the appearance for the Truth is Christ Jesus.  

 

Matthew 2:1-18 
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.  And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”  

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

The Flight to Egypt

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Herod Kills the Children

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” 

 

Thank You, LORD, for this blessed moment with You.  Thank You for faith, for Light.  And I thank You for the darkness as it actually reminds me that the Light is You, that the Light removes the darkness.  May I remember this when I walk in darkness, in bleakness.  I ask for You guidance to see even when it is dark.  The king brought bleakness to the land by his fears and jealousies.  How easily I can fall into bleak periods of this life.  Build my faith, Holy One.  Draw me near to Thee.  I want only You.  I love You so, LORD Jesus.  Amen.  

 

“In the Bleak Midwinter” is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) written before 1872 in response to a request from the magazine Scribner’s Monthly for a Christmas poem. It was published posthumously in Rossetti’s Poetic Works in 1904 and became a Christmas carol after it appeared in The English Hymnal in 1906 with the music, “Cranham”, written by Gustav Theodore Holst in 1906.


poem by
Christina G. Rossetti (English poet – 1830-1894) 

As a Lamb

And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”  Revelation 7:11-12

 LORD, to be with You one day and fall on my face before Your throne!  And for today, I praise You, thank You, and love You … today.  To You, I give myself.  You came to this earth for me, for other “me..s” for You wanted to save us and bring us into Your Kingdom.  As Christmas approaches, the love I feel for You grows deeper and deeper and I thank You, LORD.  I thank You.

  • for sending Your Son
  • The Messiah, The Anointed One
  • Immanuel, God with Us
    • All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”  Matthew 1:22-23
  • Salvation
  • The Light
  • The Truth
  • The Way
    • Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:6
  • a manger
    • … and the babe lying in a manger.  Luke 2:16b
  • Joseph’s obedience to God
    • But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.   She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:20-21 
    • When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.  But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.  Matthew 1:24-25
  • the Shepherds
  • their obedience to God
    • And it came to pass , as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass , which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  Luke 2:15-16  
  • Mary’s humility
    • And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  Luke 1:38
    • ButMarykeptall these things, and pondered them inher heart.  Luke 2:19
  • for simplicity
  • spending very little
  • to prepare for Christmas through words of my heart, actions of my soul
  • to celebrate Christmas by loving and caring
  • baking cookies and making fudge
  • the tiny beaded Christmas tree given to my mother by a dear friend of hers who made it for her now is our Christmas tree
  • God’s Enormous Love packaged in The Gift … Christ Jesus

I praise You today, my LORD of lords;  I thank You today, and love You today, my King of kings.  I open my hands and lift my arms to my Savior born in a manger.  Humbly and quietly, You came to save many such as myself.  May I remember and remain.  May I bow and bend.  I offer my all to You, sweet little Jesus, at this CHRISTmas time and always.  Amen.   

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

Can You Hear the Angels Sing? Oh! How I CAN!!!!

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.  
Habakkuk 3:17-19
YET … I rejoice in the LORD.
YET … I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
YET … GOD, the Lord, is my strength.
The world seems to be all twisted and awry.  So much of what I see hurts my heart.  I want to fix everything.  I want things to be okay.  I want children to be safe.  I want no more war.  I want people to get along whether it be countries, marriages, families.  I want kind words spoken to one another.  BUT … I cannot fix these things for others, only in myself as I allow the LORD to fix me.
SO … I rejoice in the LORD.
SO … I take joy in the God of my salvation.
SO … God is my Strength, my Refuge, my Redeemer.
He came as a Baby.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.  

Luke 2:4-7
 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous 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.  And he came in 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 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”  And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.   
Luke 2:25-33

 

 
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”  
Luke 2:34-35

Even the Blessed Child’s parents heard words that “pierced” their ears and hearts when their little one, our little One, was only eight days old.  If I had lived then and known that, how could I fix that?  I could not!
YET … I rejoice in the LORD, the Messiah.
YET … I take joy in the God of my salvation.
YET … GOD, the Lord, is my Strength.
YET … Jesus is my Hope and my Redeemer.
Although I am a frail human and I am a sinner, God came to this earth in this wee little Jesus Child to save one such as myself.  He loves me so.  He rejoices over me.  He exults over me with loud singing.  He quiets me with His Love.  (Zephaniah 3:17)  Only He can live in my heart to soothe the ache that comes.  Only He can whisper love into my ears when I am troubled by what I hear, by what I see.  Only He.  Only Jesus.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,…. Habakkuk 3:17

Where life is cut off, where hearts do not feel, nor eyes see or ears hear, many go on pretending and looking like we feel, see, hear, care, and love.  For some, Christmas is not!  Not a celebration of Christ nor of beginnings nor of the Light shining today upon this God-created earth nor His children.  Not a celebration of love either.  So much is missed and some never even know they miss anything.    
… yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.  Habakkuk 3:18-19
YET, even when it hurts, when life pierces our very souls, when things are skewed in the world, when we struggle to understand those “whys”, the life and the Light of Jesus points the way to the resurrected life in us. We have hope in the LORD.  We hold close to the One Who came to save us.  He is Life.  He is our life.  We grow in maturity to bloom again and again.  
Can You Hear the Angels Sing? Oh! How I CAN!!!!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

AND SO … I rejoice in the LORD.
AND … I do take joy in the God of my salvation.
AND … GOD, the Lord, is my Strength.
AND … how great Thou art, my LORD.

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

O ye beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

           “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”  

Oh!  Can you imagine this whole world singing back the angels’ song Heavenward?  Hallelujah!!!!!
I celebrate Christ for He is Christmas.  He is All.   
King of kings and Lord of lords.


“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”: Written by Edmund Hamilton Sears in 1849.  Music — composed by Richard Storrs Willis in 1859.

A Heart Adorned — Part Four of Four

Originally published “At the Well – A Titus 2 Ministry,” this four-part series ran in November, 2010.

May this short study bless you as it has me and others.  May the glory be ALL God’s.  Amen.
 

A Heart Adorned
Part Four

Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  1 Peter 3:3-4 (NASB)

Welcome back to “A Heart Adorned”, our final day on these two verses in 1 Peter 3.  Our focus today is on what “is precious in the sight of God.”  As we walk with You, LORD, may the precious jewels hidden in our hearts be uncovered so that we would become a brighter beacon to Your world.  

Just as we can easily believe that our outward appearance is of importance in who we are, so too must we consider this outer shell to be precious to God.  He created our bodies.  His Holy Spirit dwells in our body-temple.  Caring for it should be of prime importance.  Caring for God’s temple is important and truly necessary.  Yet our bodies, clothes, makeup, and jewelry are only our outward appearance.  God knows the beautiful bodies He created and considers them all such and we must remember that.  It is important to see ourselves in the mirror through God’s eyes, seeing the beauty He created without judging ourselves by worldly standards.

In my young adult years, I really struggled with self confidence and esteem.  With a little help from a precious friend, I began looking into the mirror and saying, “I love you, Linda”.  I said that a couple of times each day, but I could not look myself in the eyes in the mirror when I said those words.  Yet I kept it up.  One day, well into the third month, I caught my eye in my reflection and turned, focusing on myself, and said, “I love you, Linda”.  I repeated the words several times, each time looking myself straighter in the eyes.  I began to see myself differently.  Over time, with repetitive reflection, I began to see the love of God towards me, knowing that He created me, beginning to discern that He loved me.  And I began to see the inward beauty of my hidden heart.  God knows the inner me, the inner you, and wants His beauty to shine and be reflected to His world.  Look at the reflection of the roses in the picture.  The reflection is near perfect in the glass compared to the actual roses.  Imagine we are those roses with all their beauty reflecting Christ as He is beautiful.  Allow the world to see Christ in us.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).   Belonging to Christ does not eliminate the pressures of the world.  In Christ, our lives are changed as we become a new creation with ever-renewing minds.  We are the dew on the roses of today, sound minds grounded in Jesus, our LORD, to discern His will.  This word “discern” in Greek is “dokimᾱzo”, meaning that “by putting something to use the worth of it can be found”.  Let’s look at some of what we can put to use for God’s Kingdom by finding that which is precious to Him.

  • Be adorned with modesty, discretionary taste, godliness–Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. (1 Timothy 2:9-10) 
  • Bearing fruit, we are God’s jewels.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • We grow from His incorruptible seed by abiding.  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
  • Embrace hope, chasteness, submission, obedience, reverential awe as many women of the Bible displayed.  For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear (1 Peter 3:5-6).  Mary, the mother of Jesus, Ruth, Esther, are just a few of God’s examples of holy women for us to ponder.
  • As we abide in the Word, we become an epistle, a letter to the world.  We speak His Truth without fear.  In purity, we do not malign the Word of God.  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  (John 8:31-32)
  • Trust, hope, and love for God produces inner peace and a deep-seeded joy reflected in our countenance.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  (John 15:11)
  • Adorned in respect, dignity, integrity, security, consistency, graciousness, we bring light to the world.  A gracious woman retains honor,….  Proverbs 11:16a  Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.  (Titus 2:3-5)
  • Wisdom, discernment, and an inward righteousness are precious to God.  And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11).
  • Glorifying God in all we do, in all we are is truly a part of our heavenly adornment.  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him!  Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;  (some versions of the Bible read – in the beauty of holiness, or in holy attire) (1 Chronicles 16:29).  “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us” (Psalm 90:17). 

 
LORD, we ask that You teach us Your ways so that we are clothed with Your beauty.  May we open our hearts and minds to Your revelations.  May we be willing to change, to grow, to cleanse our hidden hearts.  We love You, LORD, and want to please You in all we are and in all we do.  LORD, I love each precious woman joining us for this study.  Guard, guide, and grow Your daughters to be more precious day by day.  Remind them as they seek You that You created them beautifully.  Amen. 

CULMINATING QUESTIONS FOR STUDY:

What image are you reflecting to your world?
In what ways does your image affect the ripple effect?

Are you seeking the true beauty of holiness in your own life?  In what ways would you like your holy attire to change (permitting that we are not perfect!)?

 

Photo 1: “Rose Reflection” by Beverly Taz@stock.xchng  http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1147813 Standard Restrictions/Creative Commons license; permission granted

Photo 2: “prayer 7 alt” by KHRawlings@Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/khrawlings/3925045109/; Standard Restrictions/Creative Commons license;permission granted

Photo 3: “Ripples” by clix@stock.xchng; Standard Restrictions/Creative Commons license; notified

A Heart Adorned — Part Three of Four

Originally published “At the Well – A Titus 2 Ministry,” this four-part series ran in November, 2010.
 May this short study bless you as it has me and others.  May the glory be ALL God’s.  Amen. 

 

A Heart Adorned
Part Three

Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  1 Peter 3:3-4 (NASB)

Welcome back to “A Heart Adorned”.  Today, we reach toward understanding “the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit.”

Oh, I so wonder how I could shelter anything within me that is “imperishable”, “incorruptible”, “unfading”.  I am human.  I am just me.  Yet, God’s Word tells me that I am to “let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality”,  revealed in other versions of the Bible as “with the unfading beauty”,”with incorruptible beauty”.  The words “incorruptible” and  “imperishable” mean that something does not decay, or become corrupt or worsen with age.  The Revised Standard Version of the Bible says “imperishable jewel.”  Think of the diamonds, the rubies, the amethysts buried beneath the surface of the earth, covered, hidden, and even disguised by layers of rock and dirt.  We don’t know they are there until they come into the light, have the layers of dirt cleared off.  We have that precious jewel within us awaiting the indwelling of Christ.  The value of me increased when Christ came to dwell in me and even more so with each layer of worldliness removed.  I become more Christlike with every particle of dirt that is washed away.  Value grows with our years when we stay near to the LORD.  Our preciousness to God seeps out from the inner heart touching those we are with and near.

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides,….” 1 Peter 1:22-23 brings me to my knees as my heart wraps around these truths.  I am reborn, remade, renewed by the “incorruptible seed” of the Word.  I am new and beautiful because of His sacrifice for me, FOR ME!  FOR YOU!

This precious commodity is described as “a gentle and quiet spirit”.  Colossians 3:12 tells us that Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.   Humility is often translated as meek, quiet, gentle.  None of these words should be treated as inferior, weak, or worthless.  Being meek is wholly relying upon God in all situations, good or bad.  I have heard it described as “strength under control”.  A horse trained to plow a field is strong yet gentle, able to be guided, under control.  The etymology of the word meek in Old English is “soft, mild, gentle”, and “easily flexible” from the Middle English; from the Old Norse, is means “gentle, courteous, kind”–nothing negative in any of the original meanings.  God calls us to clothe ourselves in these characteristics.  A gentle person does not center upon the self, and is able to trust in God’s goodness and control over any situation.  Of course, this is not about us, our will, or determination.  It is about the Holy Spirit at work in us.  As we wear meekness and gentleness, we carry an easy temperament and a quiet obliging behavior.  We refrain from pride, jealousy, and uncontrolled anger.  Our soul becomes more beautiful to the eyes of the world.

The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 29:19)  LORD, may we know this fresh joy, this incorruptible seed, know it as it flourishes within us.  One day the dirt and grime will be washed away.  May the sun hit upon this precious jewel.  And may we shine brightly to all those around.   May it be so in me, LORD.  May it be so in me.  May I exult in You, my Holy One.  May I shout in exultation.  Amen.

THINK ABOUT:
What are you clothed with this day that shines upon your world
speaking of your relationship with Jesus?

Has the word “meek” been a word you have disdained?  If so, how can you change that to fit with the Scripture in 1 Peter 3?

 

 

Graphic 1:  Zach Fonville/redferriswheel @ Flickr; http://www.flickr.com/photos/redferriswheel/3060090408/; Some Rights Reserved/Creative Commons license; permission granted

Statue: “Gentle Woman” by Quinn Dombrowski @ Flickr; http://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/3389946008/; Bonaventure Cemetery Set; Some Rights Reserved/Creative Commons license; notified

A Heart Adorned — Part Two of Four

Originally published “At the Well – A Titus 2 Ministry,” this four-part series ran in November, 2010.
May this short study bless you as it has me and others.  May the glory be ALL God’s.  Amen.

A Heart Adorned
Part Two

Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  1 Peter 3:3-4 (NASB)

Welcome back to “A Heart Adorned”.  In session one, we pondered “Your adornment must not be merely external”.  We are called to shine from the inside-out so that the world will see Jesus in us through that which is our outer shell.  Today, we are peeking into “the hidden person of the heart”.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)  Oh, how we think so much about how others perceive us.  We dwell on being accepted, appreciated, or ridiculed, rejected.  As God’s daughters, we truly must take this scripture to heart and allow Him, and only Him, to mold us and make us into His image.  He is our judge and sees us for the women we are, from our heart.  He sees the spiritual beauty that is enveloped by the outer self.  He knows the steps we take towards becoming more beautiful each day.  The life we live, the speech we utter, the works we do, the care of our body-temple, the reading of His Word, the utterance of prayers to Him, the thoughts we think, our care of our children, respect for our husband, the integrity of our walk and our talk, and so much more makes up this hidden person of the heart.
A Heart Adorned -- Part Two of Four

The heart is not only for loving, but it is where the Holy Spirit dwells.  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. (Romans 8:9)  The heart is our soul, the very center of our being.    The heart is where we are to live our days, dwelling in the wisdom and love of the Holy Spirit so that we are transparent to the world.  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

Another beautiful reminder is Psalm 51:6:  Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart.  Oh, that we should be steadfastly listening with the ears and seeing with the eyes of our hearts.

When we asked Christ to come into our hearts, we were crucified with Him.  Our sins have been hung on that Cross with Him.  We have been made new.  Everyday is a new day for us.  Everyday is the beginning to live anew with our LORD.  We do not need to look back with an unforgiving spirit upon ourselves.  We do not need to wish we had not done something.  We start fresh by asking for forgiveness, by seeking His Ways, by being willing to be yoked with Him, that He would help us carry burdens, guide us in our steps, teach us as we go.   I love Luke 24:32:   They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”   Should not our hearts be burning, be set on fire as He teaches us from His Word?  As He speaks to us on the Way?  Oh, that my heart be ablaze!  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

There is a lovely song written by Albert W. T. Orsborn (1886-1967).  It is called “The Beauty of Jesus”:

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me
All His wonderful passion and purity
Oh, Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
When somebody has been so unkind to you.
Some words spoken that pierces you through and through.
Think how he was beguiled, spat upon and reviled.
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me. Amen.

LORD, may You refine me as silver, removing the dross, that I would be made more pure as You want me.  Abba, You love me as I am for You created me, yet I have wandered in and out of Your life during mine, and know that is not Your way for me.  Please take me as I am and make me wholly Yours.  Bring the parts of my heart that are unlike Christ to the surface so that I may be refined and purified.  Show me the hidden parts that are You that I may reflect them and glow before others in Your Holy Name.  Let Your Beauty be seen in me, LORD Jesus.  Amen.  

PONDER AND SHARE WITH US AS YOU WILL:
As you thinks about the words to Mr. Orsborn’s song, what is on your heart?

What is hidden in your heart that you reflect to others … positive and negative?

Have you asked the Holy Spirit into your heart?  If so, what is He teaching you?  Is your heart on fire?

And if the Holy Spirit has not been invited to dwell in you, please feel free to contact me @ BeingWoven@gmail.com  —  He desires to lives within you, sweet sister.
 
 

Photo 1: “Hidden” by Thomas Norsted, Denmark/stock.xchng; http://www.sxc.hu/photo/776852; Standard Restrictions/Creative Commons license; permission granted

Song by Albert W. T. Orsborn:  “The Beauty of Jesus”–date of publication—1947

Image 2: “Branch with Hearts” by Renate Kalloch, Germany/stock.xchng; Standard Restrictions/Creative Commons license; http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1254865; notified