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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The Way of Holiness – Isaiah 35

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God speaks to us through His Word.  I continue to ponder this highway that I am on.  I feel His nearness, His love for me, His joy as I learn from Him.  I walk the road with God.

Isaiah 35:1-10:

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. 

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.  John 15:16

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. …. So there was much joy in that city.  Acts 8:5, 8

I desire to abide in You, my LORD, being obedient and submissive to You.  I want to be a fruit bearer, honoring You with joy and song.

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”  Luke 22:32

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.  1 Thessalonians 5:14

May I serve You, my LORD, with boldness and strength, acceptably, with reverence and awe.

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.  For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

“…to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in Me.’  Acts 26:18

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.  Psalm 46:4

Oh, LORD, You are my All in all.  You are the One Who turns me from darkness to light, from blind to seeing, from deaf to hearing.  You set me apart for Yourself.  I am so very grateful.  May the springs flow through me as I walk in this world…that I would be Your witness, Your light, Your salt.

8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it.  It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.

Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. ….”  Jeremiah 6:16a

This highway stands before me.  I ask for the ancient paths and walk upon them for this is the good way.  I know I shall find rest there.  Thank You, LORD.

10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  Revelation 7:17

I praise You, LORD.  I sing and rejoice for I know You.  You are my Guide.  You are the Way of Holiness.  Hallelujah!  and Amen!

 
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Photo 1:  Patricio Hurtado from Chile:  https://pixabay.com/en/hills-flowering-desert-flowers-960126/  CCO Public Domain (from Pixabay)

Photo 2:  Stas Kulesh, a Russian travel photographer living in Auckland, New Zealand.  https://hd.unsplash.com/photo-1451817045432-8c40f15299f9; https://unsplash.com/@kulesh; licensed under Creative Commons Zero

A Highway

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And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.  Isaiah 35:8

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Isaiah 40:3

Father God, I want to walk in Your ways, the highway of holiness.  You are Holiness that I seek and desire.  You are Love and Righteousness.  You are Holiness.  You make me whole.  When I walk on this highway, I walk toward You.  I so want to be wholly Yours, and walk the remainder of this life on earth in holiness. 

But my people have forgotten Me;
they make offerings to false gods;
they made them stumble in their ways,
in the ancient roads,
and to walk into side roads,
not the highway,  making their land a horror,
a thing to be hissed at forever.
Everyone who passes by it is horrified
and shakes his head.  Jeremiah 18:15-16

I do not want to wander from this highway yet I am human.  I have; I do; I will.  I have made and will make mistakes and I do error.  Yet, LORD, I do not want to.  You have forgiven me of my many past wrong steps.  I seek Your face, asking forgiveness for these paths I walk down when they are not Yours.  Thank You for loving me back into Your arms, my Precious Father. 

“Set up road markers for yourself;
make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.”  Jeremiah 31:21

I read Your Word, Father, as It is truly filled with the road markers that You have set before me.  I may wander off the highway, yet I want to be able to find You and Your way no matter what happens, no matter which way I turn.  I seek You and am learning to be quiet so that I may hear Your still and small voice, for I want to know You in the beauty of Who You are.  You are my God.  In the dark of night when the highway is black and there is no moonlight, I want to know that I am on Your path for me, for my life.   

But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  2 Peter 3:13-14

With anticipation, with joy, and with expectancy, I continue taking step after step.  Today, I desire to stay in this very moment with You, my LORD.  Tomorrow, I want to walk beside You on Your road for me. 

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.  Romans 6:17-18

God, You have transformed my heart, beginning with my conversion to be Your daughter in Christ Jesus.  I walk as closely to You as I can.  I hope to stay near You from this moment on.  When I stray, LORD, please draw me near.  I sense Your strength as I am drawn under the shadow of Your wing, into the cleft of the rock.  I want to grow in love and righteousness, live according to Your Word, and be pleasing to You now and for always.  In the Powerful Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

But this command I gave them: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’  Jeremiah 7:23

Amen and Amen. 

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Photo 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7895628@N03/2807135427; “Endless Road” via http://photopin.com;  licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Photo 2:  Stas Kulesh, a Russian travel photographer living in Auckland, New Zealand.  https://hd.unsplash.com/photo-1451817045432-8c40f15299f9; https://unsplash.com/@kulesh; licensed under Creative Commons Zero

He Came….

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But as he considered these things, behold, 
an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).  When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a Son. And 
he called His name Jesus. 
Matthew 1:20-25

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

He became flesh.

He dwelt among us.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:1-5

The Word was God.

In Him is life.

The Light is He.

The true Light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him.   John 1:9-10

This Light was coming.

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

The Son came and will come again.

And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”  Acts 1:10-11

Father God, You have seen us and know we are weak and are sinners.  You chose to gift us by Your Son, Your precious Son.  You came as a Babe that we would see flesh, yet have the ability to chose to receive You or reject You.  I chose, late in life, but early enough, to receive You as my God, my Lord and Savior.  I worship You, glorify Jesus, Immanuel, Son, God with us, and desire to listen and obey the Holy Spirit.  All One yet Three.  I cherish these days because I am Yours.  I cherish the moments when we are quiet together and I am in Your arms.  I cherish You, my Father, my Abba Father.  You have given me the most beautiful gift imaginable.  I pray that those of my family who do not know Jesus as their Savor and their Lord will have open eyes and ears this Christmas season to hear and see that the Babe has come.  I so very much want them to be in Heaven with us, Father.  May the stillness at the manger be in their hearts.  May the calm of the night when the shepherds followed the Star call them to Your Son this night.  May the joy of Christ truly ring in their ears.  And may the Prince of Peace come to rule in their hearts for always, for eternity.  In the Name of the Holy One, I pray.  Amen.

 

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photo:  https://jsbandura.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/safe/

Christmas Coming…

Where I've Seen Jesus ... in the Midst ...
Christmas coming Oh! to breathe the air of God as He comes to us as a child, as Immanuel, as the breath of Heaven, as the Way, the Truth, the Life.  

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  John 1:9

Oh, to be sensitive and anticipating Christmas coming!

Where I've Seen Jesus ... in the Midst ...

Mary heard and knew Christmas coming:

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.  And the virgin’s name was Mary. …”  Luke 1:26-27

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”  Luke 1:31-33


And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born
 
will be called holy—the Son of God.”   Luke 1:35

Mary honored Christmas coming:
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:38

Joseph became aware of and honored his vows for Christmas coming:

… an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”   Matthew 1:20b-21

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called His name Jesus.  Matthew 1:24-25

Elizabeth felt Christmas coming:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!  Luke 1:41-42

John recognized Christmas coming…from the womb:

…the baby leaped in her womb.  Luke 1:41

Zacharias prophesied Christmas coming: 

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to His people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Luke 1:76-79

The shepherds saw, heard, and believed Christmas coming:

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:9-12

The angels rejoiced for Christmas coming:

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”  Luke 2:13

Simeon awaited Christmas coming:

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.  Luke 2:26

“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.”  Luke 2:29-32

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

Anna, the prophetess waited, was sensitive to, and then praised Christmas coming:

And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.  Luke 2:38

The wise men saw Christmas coming:

“For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.”  Matthew 2:2b

Prophets prophesied Christmas coming:

Micah – But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.  Micah 5:2

Ezekiel – And I will set up over them one Shepherd, My servant David, and He shall feed them: He shall feed them and be their Shepherd.  Ezekiel 34:23

HoseaLet us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”  Hosea 6:3

Isaiah – Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.  Isaiah 7:14

Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”  Isaiah 49:7

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

Christmas coming:

  • in a manger over 2000 years ago
  • in Salvation
  • in Grace
  • in Truth
  • in the Word
  • in a cloud 
  • in my heart each day
  • in the praises of His people
I see Christmas coming.  Christmas comes in the Christ, directly to my heart as my LORD and Savior.  He comes in the quiet of prayer.  He comes in the darkness as the bright and shining Light.  He comes in love and joy.  He comes as the Word.  He comes in a song.  He comes every day, every moment of every day.  Some I miss.  Yet He comes and waits.  I wait with anticipation and adoration.  I feel Christmas coming from the inside-out.  Truly remarkable moments!

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for blessing us with Your One and Only Son.  Thank You for opening the eyes of my heart to truly see Christmas coming.  May I be sensitive to Christ coming, the Holy Spirit within me forever teaching me, praying for me, loving me.  May we each take the time to ponder the Truth of Christmas.  May we each treasure the beauty of Your gift to us.  The Son of Righteousness has come to us, to me.  He is the absolute expression of Your Love to us.  He is our King.  He is our Shepherd.  He is our LORD.  He is the innocence of the Babe in the manger.  He is Birth in me, Rebirth in me.  He is Forgiveness.  He is Love.  He is Salvation.  I thank You, Father, for Your Son… for Christmas Coming.  Amen and Amen.  Selah…
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Simeon Waiting

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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.        Luke 2:25

παράκλησις

paraklēsis

consolation

  • a calling near, summons, (esp. for help)

  • importation, supplication, entreaty

  • exhortation, admonition, encouragement

  • consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment [thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter)]

  • persuasive discourse, stirring address [instructive, admonitory, conciliatory, powerful hortatory discourse]

Simeon was waiting for the Consoler, the Messiah.  The Holy Spirit was upon him.

Oh, Father, I praise You for giving this man the testament of Your Holy Spirit.  He knew Your will for his life and waited.  Waited!  He knew the gift that You were giving to this world in Your Son.  He let the Holy Spirit lead him into the temple at that very moment.  He knew.  He waited.  Hallelujah!


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 Greek bondservant
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.” 
Luke 2:26-32

Simeon prayed.  Simeon was so attuned to God that he believed that God was delivering His Messiah as promised to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.  He knew.  He believed.  He had read the Word and knew God’s promises.

Simeon called Jesus “Your salvation.”  He is.

The Lord has bared His holy arm

before the eyes of all the nations,

and all the ends of the earth shall see

the salvation of our God.  Isaiah 52:10

Simeon called Jesus “a light for revelation.”  He is.

He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also make You a light of the nations
So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”  Isaiah 49:6

Simeon said Jesus was “for glory to Your people Israel.”  He is (although not very many have seen Him…yet).

“In the LORD all the offspring of Israel
shall be justified and shall glory.”  Isaiah 45:25

 The sun shall be no more
your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
give you light;
but the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.  Isaiah 60:19

Father, I praise You.  You have shown us Simeon in Your Word.  He loved You and spent his days in prayer, seeking Your face.  He came face-to-face with You, by Your Son, Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Consoler.  He knew that this Child was You.  He knew because He walked with You and fed upon Your Word, upon You.  Oh, LORD, I am so filled with gratitude that You showed me this about Simeon this week.  May I seek Your face each and every day.  May my walk be as You design it, and not in my way.  May light shine upon me from the Sun of Righteousness, revealing Your Truth in and through me.  I thank You, Abba Father, for the most beautiful Gift possible, Your Consolation to me.  You have reminded me that I am to continue to be ‘expectant’ for You to show up in my life at any time, at all times.  In His Name, I pray.  Amen.

 “‘…and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”  Luke 3:6

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Painting–Simeon’s Song of Praise by Aert de Gelder, 1700-1710/Public Domain:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nunc_dimittis#/media/File:Aert_de_Gelder_-_Het_loflied_van_Simeon.jpg