Being a New Widow this Christmas

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But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  Luke 2:19

συμβάλλω

symballō

“to throw together, confer,” etc., has the meaning “to ponder,” i.e., “to put one thing with another in considering circumstances,” as in Luke 2:19

Other definitions of the word, pondering, in other Bible verses are: to combine, i.e. (in speaking) to converse, consult, dispute, (mentally) to consider, (by implication) to aid, (personally) to join, attack:—confer, encounter, help, make, meet with, ponder.

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But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them.  CSB

…but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.  NLT

…and Mary was preserving all these things, pondering in her heart;… YLT

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As they listened to Simeon speak of their child…

And His father and His mother marveled at what was said about Him.  Luke 2:33

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And seeing their 12 year old child sitting with three teachers, listening to them and asking question…

And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And His mother treasured up all these things in her heart.  Luke 2:51

***

To be given these words would make one think about the future of this child:

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

***

Thirty-three years later, Mary stood near the Cross watching her son.  Before Jesus took His final breaths, He made sure Mary, His mother, would be cared for by John.  We do not know when nor how Joseph died, but he has not been written of in the Bible since Jesus was twelve and he is not around when Jesus is teaching.  So Mary is, most likely, a widow.

…but standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”  John 19:25-26

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As I have walked through this Christmas as a widow, I have found my mind and heart wondering and pondering hard things.  I cannot imagine Mary watching her son hanging on the Cross.  Yet, I am making note of Mary’s ways when Jesus was born, when he was growing up, as well as when Jesus was 33 years old and Mary being a widow (in all probability).

There is a calmness about the way she ponders and treasures and listens.  I desire that calmness about me too.  Then God provided for Mary through John.  I must say that this season of my life has far more peace and tranquility than it does fear.  This first Christmas season without Kenneth has been very difficult…hard.  Yet the Lord has been with me all of the way, and has provided for me all the way.  It is in the arms of Jesus that I want to be for He comforts me and loves me and will until I am in His heavenly arms and then through eternity.  Hallelujah!!

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
whoever is discerning, let him know them;
for the ways of the LORD are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.  Hosea 14:9

Father, I thank You from the deepest place in my heart for all You do for me each and every day.  I thank You for loving me.  Thank You for blessing me with a loving and kind husband in Kenneth.  I am so grateful for 25 years with him.  I am so in love with him and cannot help but cry tears of sorrow alongside tears of joy for being blessed by Kenneth himself and then by the beautiful marriage we shared.  I thank You, Abba, for walking with me through this difficult first Christmas season as a widow.  I believe you are going to walk with me for always.  You are such a loving God.  I want to honor You in who I am, how I behave, and the words coming from my mouth as well as the words of my heart.  I want You to be glorified in the way I represent You.  I desire to walk the steps that You have assigned for me.  You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip. Psalm 18:36 I praise You and pray in the Name of Jesus, Your Son, born so that He could die for me.  Amen.  

 

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photo: origin unknown

graphic: https://southatlanticcoaching.com/a-treasured-pondering/

painting:  by Arent de Gelder, 1645 – 1727, (also: Aert de Gelder); Dutch painter.

YouTube: Voctave performs with original songwriter Mark Lowry “Mary, Did You Know;” arranged by Jamey Ray: https://youtu.be/uaRpeMT1tjQ

 

Christ is Christmas

It is nearing Christmas and I cannot seem to gather any get-up-and-go to write a post.  It just is hard this year.  It is not that I am avoiding Christmas as I am NOT!  I revere the birth of Christ, my Savior.  I am celebrating Him with each day.  I just can’t seem to write a whole post.  So I shall not.  Just a bit this day! 

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I hope to be back here more steadily in 2019.  I pray that I walk in obedience to the call of God.  

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As most of you know, life has taken a huge turn.  The death of Kenneth, my husband of twenty-five years, changed everything.  I am handling life fairly well.  I seek God at most every turn and with each step.  I need Him and He is with me.  He has never left me not forsaken me…and He won’t.  I went to visit my sisters in August in California.  This past month, I went to see Kenneth’s sisters, one in the Houston area, one in Southern Alabama.  I was gone for two weeks driving all the way.  I spent two hours each week for 13 weeks at GriefShare, a wonderful caring, biblically-based grief group with a leader and co-facilitators, a workbook and video series, along with discussion and sharing.  I am also becoming more involved in my new church, in Bible study, meeting so many precious people. 

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As I grieve, both inwardly and outwardly, I am being healed from the inside-out.  I thank my God for His grace and His mercy.  This is a process and probably a long one!  I thank each of you for praying for me, for loving me, and for caring about me.  Many of your comments and private messages have blessed me so.  Thank you, sweet friends. 

I wish you each a Christmas filled with the love and peace of our Savior, Christ Jesus. 


For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 
Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even
for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
  Isaiah 9:6-7

Merry Christmas

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Image/graphic:  https://rustyrev.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/did-the-christmas-message-find-you/

Simply Jesus

 

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This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

As we seek the LORD, following the star, may our hearts know the way to the Savior.  May we find the way.  May sweet and simple be the journey.  As we ponder this season, this season of plenty, this season of giving, this season of gathering, this season of family and friends, food and feast, may we remember Why we celebrate CHRISTmas.  May the eyes of our hearts see the One, see Jesus, and know that He is all that we need.  The gifts may mean a lot to some for some time.  Yet…The Gift changes everything forever.

My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice Psalm 34:2

CHRISTmas is the touch upon my heart to know the One Who came to save my life, to change my life, to love me to death and love me into His Kingdom.  Praising God.

For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you.  He is your example, and you must follow in His steps. 1 Peter 2:21

CHRISTmas takes me from the beginnings of this Child wrapped in swaddling clothes here on earth.  His time began long before that when He was with God, the time of  creation, yet I have come to truly know Him from this poignant point called CHRISTmas, His birth.  I must look upon this Child to see Who He is, to follow Him.  I am His sheep.  He is my Shepherd.   I am ever so grateful LORD.

“I am the Good Shepherd; I know My own sheep, and they know Me, just as My Father knows Me and I know the Father.  So I sacrifice My life for the sheep.”  John 10:14-15

LORD, You came…You came to call me to Yourself, to call me one of Your own.  As a Baby, You were just a baby to most.  Some knew You were to be King of the Jews.  Some knew that yet did not understand.  Some knew You would be the Savior.  I saw You as a baby until I really saw You as God, as my Savior, as my LORD, as my Shepherd.  Oh, Jesus, thank You for opening my eyes, for coming to me, for me, desiring my hearts and wishing to make a home in it.  Oh, I am so very blessed.  LORD, You are the tiny Baby under the star.  You are the Boy Who could talk to the rabbis.  You are the Man Who taught thousands.  You are the One Who was crucified and died on the Cross for me, for so many millions more.  Thank You.  You are God.  You are One in Three…God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. 

A Baby.  As You were protected once by Your mother, Mary, You cover me and keep me safe now.  As Your parents taught You, You teach me.  You are the Holy One of Israel.  You rule over my heart.  Father God, this Gift You have given, Your One and Only Son, the One Whom we celebrate His birth each year, thank You.  Thank You.  In the Name of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, I pray.  Amen.  

 

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Christ … Son of God

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The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.  Luke 1:35

He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.”  Matthew 2:15

υἱός

huios

  • son of God

    1. used to describe Adam (Lk. 3:38)

    2. used to describe those who are born again (Lk. 20:36) and of angels and of Jesus Christ

    3. of those whom God esteems as sons, whom he loves, protects and benefits above others

      1. in the OT used of the Jews

      2. in the NT of Christians

      3. those whose character God, as a loving father, shapes by chastisements (Heb. 12:5-8)

  • Son of God
    1. those who revere God as their father, the pious worshippers of God, those who in character and life resemble God, those who are governed by the Spirit of God, repose the same calm and joyful trust in God which children do in their parents (Rom. 8:14, Gal. 3:26 ), and hereafter in the blessedness and glory of the life eternal will openly wear this dignity of the sons of God. Term used preeminently of Jesus Christ, as enjoying the supreme love of God, united to Him in affectionate intimacy, privy to His saving councils, obedient to the Father’s will in all His acts.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Mark 1:1

And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”  Acts 9:18-20

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Only Begotten Son

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.  John 1:18

“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God John 3:18

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Beloved Son

This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

“BEHOLD, MY SERVANT WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN;
MY BELOVED IN WHOM MY SOUL is WELLPLEASED;
I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT UPON HIM,
AND HE SHALL PROCLAIM JUSTICE TO THE GENTILES.  Matthew 12:17-19

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”  Matthew 17:5

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:13-14

His Son

His Beloved

His Only

His One

His Begotten

Father God, may I see through my selfishness to the heart of You, to know the love You hold for Your Son.  Father, should I be able to understand that which is so holy, so powerful, so wonderful, I will begin, just begin, to know the love You have for me, one for whom You sent Your Son to the Cross.  Oh my!  I can barely behold such love.  Thank You for Your precious Gift.  In the Beauty if His Name, I pray.  Amen.

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Christ…The Beginning of the Creation of God

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As Christmas approaches, preparing for God’s Gift, Who came over 2,000 years ago, is the most important part of Christmas.  It is not as though I forget Him the rest of the year, but as the world prepares for the season of Christmas, so much happens…shopping, decorating, spending more money than one has by taking out loans or using credit, preparing a large meal for lot of family and friends, parties, etc.  The older I become, the less Christmas looks like all of that for me.  It is a holy day, not a holiday, for me.  Yes, I do a few of those Christmas things, but very little.  I am drawn closer to the Lord.  I want to delve into just Who this precious Gift is for me, discovering newness about Jesus all of the time.  I want to live for Him in the ways that He wants me to live.  I want to know Him…to really KNOW Him. 

Jesus is the BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:….”  Revelation 3:14

the Beginning

ἀρχή

archē

that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause

Jesus is the very first, the ultimate start of all that was to come.

of the creation

κτίσις

ktisis

the sum or aggregate of things created

Jesus was the first of all to be created.  Everything else came after Him, through Him, by Him.  Amen. 

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.   John 1:1-2

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

“From whom this message was sent. Here our Lord Jesus styles himself the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.

(1.) The Amen, one that is steady and unchangeable in all his purposes and promises, which are all yea, and all amen.

(2.) The faithful and true witness, whose testimony of God to men ought to be received and fully believed, and whose testimony of men to God will be fully believed and regarded, and will be a swift but true witness against all indifferent lukewarm professors.

(3.) The beginning of the creation of God, either of the first creation, and so he is the beginning, that is, the first cause, the Creator, and the Governor of it; or of the second creation, the church; and so he is the head of that body, the first-born from the dead, as it is in ch. 1:5, whence these titles are taken. Christ, having raised up himself by his own divine power, as the head of a new world, raises up dead souls to be a living temple and church to himself.”

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the Seed from which grows the plant

the Acorn from which sprouts an oak tree

an egg from which grows a chick, a duck, a bird

an egg from which come one or more of the mammal species

an egg fertilized becomes a human baby…a mammal species

Beginnings

Growth

Development

Changes

Beauty

Love

Joy

Peace

Compassion

…and so much more…all that is Jesus.

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Jesus is the first, the beginning of all that was, and is, and is to come.

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.   1 John 1:1-4

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.  And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.  Colossians 1:15-18

First…He always was.  Oh, how fine to know that He is and was, and will always be.  We can trust that He will be with us and for us…for always.

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Our Father, You created me.  Through Your Son, I am adopted into Your Family.  I am Your daughter.  Thank You, thank You.  As Christmas nears, I bow.  Your Son is the greatest Gift I could have ever received in my whole life.  My parents were generous and loved Christmas.  They had fun giving to their children.  You are my Father and loved giving Jesus to me.  How blessed I am.  Nothing can top Jesus as a Gift. Nothing.  You also gifted me (and so many others) with  Your Holy Spirit to teach me, pray for me when I know not what to say, to guide me in Your ways, and so much more.  I feel so blessed this day and know that I never need another gift.  I have the All of all.  I lift up those who do not know You as Lord and Savior.  I pray for their souls, Father.  Thank You for loving us right to Your heart.  You want us to come to You.  I pray that many others will receive the precious gift of salvation in these coming weeks.  Praising You, Father, for Jesus, the Beginning of creation.  In HIs Name, I do pray.  Amen.

 

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O Holy Night

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But the people of God will sing a song of joy,
like the songs at the holy festivals.
You will be filled with joy,
as when a flutist leads a group of pilgrims
to Jerusalem, the mountain of the LORD
to the Rock of Israel.  Isaiah 30:29

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Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.   Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?  When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.  You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.”

Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For He took notice of His lowly servant girl,
    and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
    and He has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
    to all who fear Him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
    He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
    and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped His servant Israel
    and remembered to be merciful.
For He made this promise to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and His children forever.”  Luke 1:42-55

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When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.  Luke 2:15-20

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Father God, such joyful news You have given me in the beauty of Your Son, Your One and Only.  You have brought glad tidings to us all.  May my ears be open to hear the words of the shepherds.  May my eyes be open to see this wonderful “thing” that You have done.  May my heart be open to hear Mary’s heart-words.  I thank You for blessing me with the saving grace of Christ Jesus.  I bow humbly, Father, in adoration and respect and honor.  I love You so.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

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Prepare the Way

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As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make His paths straight.

Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,

and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”  Luke 3:4-6

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Preparation for…

The birth of our Lord on Earth

The beauty of the Lord to be magnified

The Breath of Heaven bringing life

The Bread of Life nourishing soul-bones

The Living Water quenching thirst

He is coming!

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Prepare the way for I want to be with Him forever and ever.

Don’t you?

Oh, come with me to adore Him.

Let us bring Him our hearts for we need Him so.

Thank you, John, for preparing the way to the King…

the Shepherd…

the Holy Child…

the Door…

the Glory of the Lord…

the Lamb of God…

the Only Begotten Son.

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Father, may my heart be prepared for the coming of Your Son.  May my life be lived in the light of my Savior Who will come again for me.  I want this time on earth to be well spent as unto Him.  With anticipation I wait.  I thank You for sending Your Son to meet me in the stable, lying in the manger.  Thank You for bringing the Light of the World to meet me in this world that I may walk in His Light, as I leave the darkness that surrounds.  He is the Messiah and has come to save me from satan and the ways of evil.  Oh, thank You.  You blessed me so by watching over me for all those years when I wandered lost, when I fell down, wanting to stay down, when I cried myself to sleep because I knew You not, yet I knew Who or What I was missing in my life.  I needed Him then, and still need Him now…the Savior, the Lord, the Mighty One.  Yes, I need and I want You.  My heart is prepared to receive the Love that You send.  My heart is prepared to accept You wholly as You bring Yourself to me and to the world.  May more and more seek and find You, Jesus.  I want all to know You, Jesus.  You are the Holy One.  I lift up special people in my life that they will knock at the door only to find their One and Only Savior.  Oh, how I pray this for them.  May they be prepared for the coming of their Savior as well as the end of this world.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

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“Let Every Heart Prepare” graphic – https://chapcalvert.com/

second graphic: whowillyouserve.blogspot.com/

“Stepping Stones at Sunset”http://publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=154285&picture=stepping-stones-at-sunset