Triumphant Song of Confidence

I’ve found myself a little behind in reading my Christmas devotions.  I’m so glad I didn’t totally dismiss this one (I couldn’t find the author of this Christmas devotion).  It spoke so loudly to my heart, I just had to share it.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid? – Psalm 27:1

“Mary, the mother of Jesus, is held in very high esteem by many of us, because she was chosen by God to carry His Son and bring Him into the world.  It was the greatest task anyone has ever been given.  Even though we hold Mary in high esteem, it’s important to remember that she was a normal person just like us.  In fact, she probably battled fear as much if not more so than most people.  She was an unmarried teenager that found herself miraculously pregnant after an angel told her she would give birth to the Messiah.  She was probably afraid of the great task that God had given her and dealt with fear from the backlash she and Joseph received because of the unique pregnancy.  She probably battled fear on their long journey to Jerusalem, as she was nine months pregnant and travelling on a donkey.  Despite her fear, however, she remained faithful to God and the task they were given.”

“The song, Breath of Heaven, gives us a prayer that Mary most likely prayed asking God to hold her together, be near her, and to light her darkness.  How many times have you prayed a similar prayer?  Christmas is a joyous time, but the reality for many of us, is that it’s hard to experience joy in the midst of all the turmoil and trials that are happening around us.  Jus as God protected and guided Mary through a difficult time, allow Him to guide you this Christmas.  Pray and share with Him what troubles your spirit, and allow Him to restore the joy of Christmas within you by holding you together, being forever near you, and lighting your darkness.”

“What trials are you enduring currently that are robbing you of the joy of Christmas?  What are some things you can do to reclaim joy and hope in your life?

 

 

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Ever Get a Song Stuck in Your Head?

Last Sunday our congregation sang a song during communion that is familiar to most Lutherans (and probably others too).  Usually, if the tune lingers in my head, it’s only for a few hours.  This one, however, didn’t stay with me at all.  That is, until this morning. I was beginning my typical routine of the morning…take the dog out, brew a cup of tea, write in my journal, read a devotion, pray for the people…THEN, I’m supposed to begin reading the day’s entry from “Christ in Our Home“.  All of a sudden I hear, in my head, “Let me ever walk with Jesus…”  I can’t remember the rest of the words, so I figure after I’m finished with my morning readings, I’ll pick up my copy of the Evangelical Lutheran Worship and I’ll find the song. “Let me ever walk with Jesus”… Again, and again, this is repeated to me.  This is becoming a bit annoying.  I can’t ignore this any longer.  So I go to the shelf, remove the book, and search. It took me a bit to find it, but I did.  Of course, I was singing “me” instead of “us”!  I sang the song.  I read the lyrics.  I cried.  Yeah, I’m brought to tears a lot in my guilt-ridden humbleness.  I tried to ignore it.  I prayed. I prayed asking God why this is being repeated over and over and over, again and again.  So, then I look up at the sign from Donna.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  I tried but didn’t hear an answer, except that I should put this into words here, but I’m not feeling much release here either.  I’m hearing this song as background music. This will be a strange Saturday for sure. *Head in hands, shakes her head* Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus (#802 ELW) 1 Let us ever walk with Jesus, Follow His example pure, Flee the world, which would deceive us And to sin our souls allure. Ever in His footsteps treading, Body here, yet soul above, Full of faith and hope and love, Let us do the Father’s bidding. Faithful Lord, abide with me; Savior, lead, I follow Thee. 2 Let us suffer here with Jesus, To His image e’er conform; Heaven’s glory soon will please us, Sunshine follow on the storm. Though we sow in tears of sorrow, We shall reap with heav’nly joy; And the fears that now annoy Shall be laughter on the morrow. Christ, I suffer here with Thee; There, oh, share Thy joy with me! 3 Let us also die with Jesus. His death from the second death, From our soul’s destruction, frees us, Quickens us with life’s glad breath. Let us mortify, while living, Flesh and blood and die to sin; And the grave that shuts us in Shall but prove the gate to heaven. Jesus, here I die to Thee There to live eternally. 4 Let us gladly live with Jesus; Since He’s risen from the dead, Death and grave must soon release us. Jesus, Thou art now our Head, We are truly Thine own members; Where Thou livest, there live we. Take and own us constantly, Faithful Friend, as Thy dear brethren. Jesus, here I live to Thee, Also there eternally.

Resting In His Love

WARNING: This may be a very emotional post.  So, far I’ve not gotten through any of it without many tears.  I’ve read it, and I’ve written it, and now I’m putting it out for the world.

I know that if two or more of my devotional readings line up, I’d better pay attention. Maybe because it’s raining and I’ve recently changed my thinking about raindrops being kisses from heaven.  Or maybe because I miss those who have gone before me.  Maybe I don’t know…but today is one of those days.

Even though, I know how my own mother’s love for me was unconditional, and I know how the love for my own children is unconditional, I’m so totally overwhelmed, blown away, with the unconditional love of the Father.  Perhaps it’s my deserve level I need to work on.

Read Romans 4:1-5,13-17.

In today’s entry from Christ In Our Home by Rev. Gene G. Bradbury, I read, “God acts first and foremost on our behalf. That is the gospel, the “Good News”. We are loved because God is love. We are not loved because we deserve love; rather, we are like the child welcomed onto the mother’s lap because she is the mother. There are no conditions.  It is as simple as that.  God welcomes us.

Gracious God, thank you for your continuous welcoming love, through Christ. Amen”

Read Psalm 33:22.

Then I read this from Mornings With Jesus, 2013, the March 16, 2013 entry by Erin Keeley Marshall.  ”I wondered at the effect of Jesus’ love resting on us. Just snuggling against her mother’s familiar heartbeat called Emma, when we draw near to Jesus, His nearness soothes us and allows us to find true rest.  I can almost feel the warmth of His hand on my back now, the stresses of life fading under the gentle press of His care, my head supported, the race of my thoughts slowing in time with His.

Someday I will be held by Jesus in person.  That truth stuns me, and I savor it…Someday I will hear my Savior’s heartbeat.

What a thought.  It is enough to rest in today.

FAITH STEP:  Give yourself a time-out, even if it’s only ninety seconds long, to imagine meeting Jesus face-to-face.  Enjoy a measure of rest simply anticipating those first moments with Him.”

I know there are many more references to be recognized, but these are the ones that bring me to my knees today.