Monday, December 31, 2012

Musicians who died in 2012

As we close the year of 2012, it's appropriate to pause and reflect on those musicians who have passed on this year.  NPR  put together a compilation of singers, instrumentalists, songwriters, and personalities who died in 2012.  Explore their legacies.  Audio Music, interviews are photos are included in the review!  In Memoriam:  Musicians We Lost in 2012.

music. music. music. :) music. music. music. :) music. music. music. :)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Feast of the Holy Family


feast-of-holy-family

We are children of God



God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.
Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
and preserves himself from them.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast
of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.

After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.

His mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Bells Were Ringing...like a Choir Singing...PEACE ON EARTH GOODWILL TO MEN!

We are still in the Christmas Season...take a moment to reflect...I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day by Casting Crowns:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hark The Herald Angels Sing ---Jana Mashonee ( Sung In Lakota)

Jana has a new CD American Indian Christmas, which features 10 different Christmas songs performed in 10 different Native American languages by one performer. Go to this NPR Interview  to see what she says about what inspired her to craft this album. Here is a sampling of the album - Hark The Herald Angels Sing, in Lakota.  This is beautiful! Enjoy as we continue the celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ!




Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tidings of Comfort and Joy!!

When we were doing our Christmas Carol sing-a-long with the students last week, I was surprised how well they sang God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  A very appropriate carol for today, the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Christmas Story

This is delightful! The story of Christmas as told by the children of St Paul's Church, Auckland, New Zealand.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gentle Woman



Luke 1:39-45New International Version (NIV) Mary Visits Elizabeth
 39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

What an honor it would have been to know Mary personally.  To be able to visit with her, share pregnancy stories, prepare for the impending birth, share fears and joys of this new venture of motherhood!  I bet she is right there beside all of us mothers as we bear and raise our children, praying for us as we make our way through parenting. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

But the rejection will force honesty...




Luke 2:25-35

The Message (MSG)
25-32 In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:
God, you can now release your servant;
    release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
    it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
    and of glory for your people Israel.
33-35 Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother,
This child marks both the failure and
    the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted—
    the pain of a sword-thrust through you—
But the rejection will force honesty,
    as God reveals who they really are.

Jesus' birth brings with it contradiction.  Pain will bring honesty, sorrow will bring joy, rejection will bring love and acceptance, poverty will bring the Kingdom of God, death will bring LIFE!  Often in my life things have happened that seem to be negative, hurtful, painful.  Yet, so often, as I travel through the pain, learn from it, make it my own experience, it is then that the gift of life is given.  It is then that the phoenix rises out of the ashes.  It is then that the power of the Risen Christ is revealed.  Jesus' earthly life ends in crucifixion - but that is not the whole story, is it?  His resurrection is the REAL story, who HE REALLY IS!  Jesus, you are my life, my joy, my reason for living!  Thank you for the assurance of everlasting life in YOU!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord!



Estes Park, CO, 2011

Isaiah 2:1-52The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 
2 In days to come
   the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
   and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
3   Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
   to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
   and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
   and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
   and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
   and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
   neither shall they learn war any more. 
5 O house of Jacob,
   come, let us walk
   in the light of the Lord!
What a beautiful place, the mountains!  Beautiful in the peak of summer fruitfulness as well as the white of winter snow blankets.  I always think of the opening scene of the Sound of Music....green hillsides, God's beauty everywhere!  What a perfect environment to praise and learn God's ways! If our world leaders could all meet, together, on a mountaintop, and learn together God's ways, take them into their hearts, then perhaps "nation shall not life up sword against nation" and we would all be truly walking in the light of the Lord!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Light has dawned

14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." ---Matthew 4:14-16

 A sunrise is a beautiful thing.  What is the sunrise in my own life?  I think we probably have many sunrises throughout life - as we learn, grow in faith and maturity, more and more of ourselves is given to God's will.  For me, it took many years to realize that I am not in control of things around me.  I am not responsible for everyone else's happiness.  God is ALWAYS in control.  The assurance of putting my life in His hands, of accepting His love and security, that is my sunrise.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Shepherds....


Luke 2:8-20
New International Version (NIV)
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Can you imagine, being in your field, farming or herding cattle and suddenly angles appear??  I wonder if the shepherds at first thought that aliens were approaching!  It's just not something that a person expects to happen!   We read about angels, we talk about angels, we believe in angels, we even make snow angels!  But it is rare that we actually SEE and HEAR from one!

They must have felt totally excited with the news that the angels brought!  I am sure they told this story over and over to their friends in years to come...one never knows what excitement God has in store for us!  And we can also, as Mary, treasure these things, ponder them, in our hearts!

Here's a video of  my granddaughter Mia, making a snow angel!
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/117564377025764584502/albums/5560258158497897377/5560258355870633218

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Then there is Joseph...



Matthew 1:18-25
New International Version (NIV)
Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 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. 21 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.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
 Joseph must have been a man of GREAT faith and trust in God.  And he LISTENED to God.  He was an honorable man, wanting to protect the reputation of Mary...yet what God asked of him was even more...to trust that God was at work in Mary, that she was actually bringing into the world the Son of God!  What a responsibility that would have been for him as well!  To be the earthly father to this little baby...to be the spouse of a woman as holy at Mary.  It seems that God was asking quite a lot of Joseph, yet, he didn't argue or procrastinate!  He took the responsibility that was given to him, and lived his life in service of his God!

Monday, December 17, 2012

SING!


Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion, shout, O Israel!  Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has cast out your enemies.  The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall fear evil no more.On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:  "Do not fear, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak.The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. --Zephaniah 3:14-17
What an appropriate verse for today!  Tonight our students at school perform our Christmas concert!  There is not a better way to celebrate, I think, than by singing!  "When you sing you pray twice" is a phrase we have heard, and I think it's true!  When I am singing, my heart is alive, is full.  My entire being is praising God!  As we all sing in celebration this Christmas season, our hearts are lifted in praise and thanksgiving for the gift of Jesus, our Savior.  Thank you, Lord, for the gift of music, and especially the gift of song!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

REJOICE SUNDAY!

The Third Sunday of Advent is traditionally Rejoice Sunday!  We light the pink candle in the Advent Wreath!  We are rejoicing at the anticipation of the upcoming birth of Christ!  One of the readings for today comes from Isaiah 12:2-6....

     God indeed is my salvation;

I am confident and unafraid.
For the LORD is my strength and my might,
and he has been my salvation.

With joy you will draw water

from the fountains of salvation,

And you will say on that day:

give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
Among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.

Sing praise to the LORD for he has done glorious things;

let this be known throughout all the earth.

Shout with exultation, City of Zion,

for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
We will rejoice today!  Many opportunities present themselves to us during this holiday time - concerts, plays, gatherings.  As you enjoy these activities, remember, it is Christ that is the reason for rejoicing!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The stone...has become the Cornerstone


1 Peter 2:5-9

English Standard Version (ESV)
you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”
and
“A stone of stumbling,
    and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

We made stones this summer.  As you can see by looking closely below, they don't always come out of the mold perfectly!  Sometimes they break, they are imperfect. Perhaps those broken stones would have been rejected by some.  After all, there were those that came out of the molds perfectly!  Why keep those others around?  Instead, we repaired, we painted, we made beautiful all of the stones, even those with injuries.  The girls took pride in their creations.

Jesus was rejected, put to shame...yet He did not succumb to those voices.  Instead, he literally rose above it all.  He is our cornerstone, our light, our life.  When we ourselves are rejected, we do not have to accept that verdict. We can choose to make our lives a spiritual cornerstone to a house (life) dedicated to doing God's will.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Light...just a little while longer


John 12:35-36
New International Version (NIV)
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light,before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.

When I read this, I thought of my husband, Jerry, and his farming.  I know that many times, he works "till dark" when in a tractor that doesn't have lights.  Usually there is some sense of urgency to his as well.  Something needs to be planted, tilled, harvested before the weather changes, or before an insurance deadline, or before he has to be gone somewhere.  A person, of course, can continue to work after dark, but without good lighting, it's a guessing game if you are going in a straight line!  

You might look out a month later to some very crooked rows of crop coming up!  Or see strips of grain that didn't get harvested!  Many combines and tractors these days do have pretty good lights on them.  But if you happen to be working with one that does not, the LIGHT from the sun is of great importance.  It's not wise to delay in getting the job done, or in trying to finish the job in a sloppy way.  

The light is with us only so many hours of our day.  Jesus was on this earth for only a short time.  I wonder how many regretted not taking advantage of His Light while he was physically there!?  Jesus is with us now, also...do I take advantage of His Light in my life?  Our moments here are fleeting...

Wake up, sleeper!!!


Ephesians 5:6-14

New International Version (NIV)
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

Many of the readings this Advent talk about WAKING UP!  Wake up to those around me who are in need...HELP THEM!  Wake up to what is important in my life...PRIORITIZE!  Wake up to who is Lord of my life...HONOR HIM!  Wake up to my own shortcomings....CONFESS THEM!  Wake up to the beauty around me....ENJOY IT!  

WAKE UP!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Psalms 119:105-106


Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to observe they righteous ordinances.

If I am to find my way through this life, I need to see my path!  How can I do this?  By reading God's Word, and saving it to my heart!  What better way to prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

To dwell in the house of the LORD!

“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid? ...

Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war should rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple."
Psalm 27:1-4
No matter what the circumstances, my strength lies in the Lord.  That is all that matters.  To know that my anchor, my light, my safety, lies in Jesus, my Savior. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Psalms 43:3-6


3 Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me to thy holy hill and to thy dwelling!
4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise thee with the lyre, O God, my God.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
God's light is within ME!  I don't need to go searching for it, it's here already!  How can I use that Light and Truth to lead my own life in better service?




Sunday, December 9, 2012

Luke, Chapter 3


The Preaching of John the Baptist.1In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,2during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.3 He went throughout [the] whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,4as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one crying out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
5Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
6and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

We hear from John the Baptist this morning!  Prepare!  Make straight!  Sometimes (a lot of the time) I need to slow down, and take the time to prepare!  Take time to reflect, to pray, to LISTEN.  My world is filled with activity and people.  What I need at times, though, is SILENCE.  Silence to wait, to listen to what God is saying.

Take time to be silent.  To listen.  Here is Waiting In Silence, produced by Matt Kawei Studio.



Saturday, December 8, 2012

The LORD will be your everlasting LIGHT!


Isaiah 60:19-22 (New International Version)



19 The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. 20 Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. 21 Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. 22 The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly."


I love beautiful sunsets and sunrises!  Does this verse mean they are to one day be no more?  That would be the assumption in physical, human terms...but what does it mean for my SOUL? "The LORD will be your everlasting light"?? 
 Light=Peace.  Confidence.  Love. Patience.  Calm.  Truth.  Kindness.  Integrity.  Joy.  Gentleness.  Self-control.  This is what it looks like when the LORD is my LIGHT! 



Friday, December 7, 2012

The LORD is our RIGHTEOUSNESS



Jeremiah 33:14-16 (New Revised Standard)


14 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: "The Lord is our righteousness."
Righteousness is the quality or state of being righteous.  According to dictionary.com, the definition of righteous is as follows:

right·eous

  [rahy-chuh s]  Show IPA
adjective
1.
characterized by uprightness or morality: a righteous observance of the law.
2.
morally right or justifiable: righteous indignation.
3.
acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous: a righteous and godly person.
4.
Slang. absolutely genuine or wonderful: some righteous playing by a jazz great.
I'm guessing that in Jeremiah's time, definition #4 wasn't very common!  (although I wasn't there, so who knows!)  Godly, moral, and upright, all are synonyms for righteous.  Is my life characterized by these words?  Do I live my life in such a way that God's saving grace, that HIS SAFETY is active in my words and actions?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

John The Baptist

6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. --John 1:6-9

John was on a mission.  He was clear in his intent -  callin people to reform.  To repent.  To turn away  from sin.  He challenged the people of his time to return to ways of holiness.  We are being called today also, to focus on our relationship with God.  How am I doing this in my own life?  Intentional time spent on reflection on God's Word is a good start.  Putting it into action in my daily life, even better.  Changing my heart, true repentance - my goal!  What are your ways of reform during this Advent season?  Share, leave a comment!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The LIGHT shines in the darkness!


John 1:1-5
 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 anything 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.


The dawn always comes.  Even after the darkest, stormiest, most painful night, there it is.  The dawn.  Nothing, no darkness, can overcome the Light of our Lord!