O Morning Star

Promised One.

Since Creation, God had been making and fulfilling promises. But this is the big one.

Jesus is the Promised One.

What I love about how God works is that if I take the time to look back and analyze my life, I can see times of interjection and moments of clarity where I knew in my heart that God was showing me Jesus and His grace. Yes, Jesus came for the world. But He also came for me.

That treasured Promised One was promised for me.

Countless promises have fulfilled in Scripture. Surely someone somewhere has analyzed how many things God promised and fulfilled. God delivers. Even when I don’t have the eyes to see it, I have the words of The Bible to read. I can see promises fulfilled throughout the generations. I love the big picture, I do. But when it comes to a God who knew Moses and those other giants of the faith. The One who created the world and sent a Savior. The God who has been there for me and redeemed my life from the pit. That is where it gets personal.

These promises are for me.

God has the same end goal for each of us but how He is able to bring it about all depends on softened hearts and a willingness to be led by Him. Are my heart and ears are attuned to Him? Am I able to discern His voice from the clamouring of the others? The path of life isn’t always easy. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and fearful and I kick and scream. He holds me anyway and He waits for me.

Thank you for fulfilling Your promises to the generations. And thank you for keeping your promises to me. Thank you for The Promised One. Amen.

O Morning Star, how clear and bright,
your beam shines forth in truth and light!
My Sovereign meek and lowly!
O Root of Jesse, Promised One,
my God and Ruler, you have won
my heart to serve you solely!
You are holy,
great and glorious, all-victorious,
Rich in blessing,
rule and might o’er all possessing.

Come heavenly Brightness, Light divine,
and deep within my heart now shine,
there make yourself an altar!
Fill me with joy and strength to be
your member, joined eternally 
in love that cannot falter;
Longing for you
does possess me; turn and bless me;
Here in sadness
eye and heart long for your gladness. *

*Philipp Nicolai (1556 – 1608)

God's Own Child….

This sweet little hymn was a part of my weekend. There is so much here to ponder over — each stanza can be savored in a daily reflection this week! So sing it, write it, listen to it, read it, look up the author, or handle it however you like!

There are so many amazing ones to ponder that I had a difficult time picking one but I am going to focus on this snippet below:

He, because I could not pay it,
Gave my full redemption price.

How humbling that God was willing to pay TOP DOLLAR for me! It’s settled. The debt has been paid. I could not pay it. It isn’t something I can pay because there is nothing I can do to earn His love! This allows me to rest from scurrying around trying to be “good enough” or “worthy” because Jesus settled that. I have been released from that pressure and fear. I can sleep secure.

Salvation is a sweet, sweet gift. Thank you, Lord, for providing a way for me! Amen!

I don’t want to say too much here because it might spoil your thoughts and distract you from what you are reading and thinking about. So, go on. Enjoy this hymn!

God’s own child, I gladly say it:
I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it,
Gave my full redemption price.

Do I need earth’s treasures many?
I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free
Lasting to eternity!

Sin, disturb my soul no longer:
I am baptized into Christ!
I have comfort even stronger:
Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice.
Should a guilty conscience seize me
Since my Baptism did release me
In a dear forgiving flood,
Sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood!

Satan, hear this proclamation:
I am baptized into Christ!
Drop your ugly accusation,
I am not so soon enticed.
Now that to the font I’ve traveled,
All your might has come unraveled,
And, against your tyranny,
God, my Lord, unites with me!

Death, you cannot end my gladness:
I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness
To inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes
Faith’s assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine
To make life immortal mine. 

There is nothing worth comparing
To this lifelong comfort sure!
Open-eyed my grave is staring:
Even there I’ll sleep secure.
Though my flesh awaits its raising,
Still my soul continues praising:
I am baptized into Christ;
I’m a child of paradise! *


*Neumeister, Erdmann, 1671-1756 Translated by: Robert E. Voelker

Joy to the world!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing.
*

Thank you, Jesus,

… for coming

… for dying

… for rising from the grave

… for making blessings flow

… for the glories of your righteousness

… for wonders of your love

… for the wonders of your love

… for the wonders, wonders of your love!

Merry Christmas!

Boldog Karácsonyt! (that’s in Hungarian!)

May the Prince of Peace flood you with His peace!

Jesus is here!
Liz

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love.

* by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

Redeeming grace

Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth. *

In a world (and sometimes my heart) where resentment, discontent, anger, frustration, and ugly attitudes can abound, redeeming grace is an amazing gift that soothes my soul.

He redeems, renews, and refreshes …. God does it and then does it again.

and again and again.

God’s well does not run dry. He sent Jesus to restore, renew, redeem, remove, reveal, renovate, refresh, repair, reclaim, and replenish.

Some days I feel like I am a full time job for God! Of course, He is bigger than me and my flailings. He holds onto me while I argue and complain. He restores my soul. His redeeming grace is steadfast and true.

Redeeming grace.

Redeeming grace.

Redeeming grace.

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz

*by Joseph Mohr, 1792-1848

All is calm…

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing, Alleluia.
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!
*

For some of us, everything is ready and the house is relatively calm. But for others, there is a lot of last minute hustle on tap for today.

It all depends on what is happening in life at the moment. And yet, it is important to press the pause button and choose calm. I prefer less hustle, but that probably has to do with how busy things have been for the last six weeks helping everyone else get their Christmas gifts in order due to our business. It is a wonderful change in pace to go from long working days to just shipping out a package or two a day and spending more time with the kids and grandkids.

Nearly all is calm here in my neck of the woods. We don’t host a huge dinner because we don’t have the space. That’s okay with me because these limitations contribute to my calm. They also limit my distraction from the true celebration here. The gifts and family time are fun and precious. But…

Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

When I ponder these words, the what is and what isn’t in my life takes a back seat. Christ, the Savior, is born! Christ, the gift for the whole world, is here. His salvation is a gift for me. And this so very personal gift from God is an incredible treasure to me.

Christ, my Savior, is born.

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz

*by Joseph Mohr, 1792-1848

The Prince was born to bring your peace…

All you, beneath your heavy load,
By care and guilt bent low,
Who toil along a dreary way
With painful steps and slow:
Look up, for golden is the hour,
Come swiftly on the wing,
The Prince was born to bring your peace;
Of him the angels sing. *

Wow. The imagery of this verse is so strong. I see this person trudging along, weighed down by the situations and circumstances of life. All burdens are not created equal. And a heavy burden on the backs of two different people can look very different because everyone’s ability to carry burdens is different and how people “wear their burdens” is just as various. And, we don’t always know the whole story. We only see a small portion of the whole story.

But … the Prince was born to bring your peace!

Alleluia!

The sizes of our burdens vary greatly but they are burdens nonetheless. Even a small burden can appear to loom large depending on what else is going on. Today, I thank Jesus for being the Prince of my peace. He is the one who can calm the raging sea and calm the storm in me.

This life is always full of challenges and burdens. But I look to the one who came to give me His peace.

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz

*By: Edmund H. Sears

Over all the weary world

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
Over all the weary world.
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever over its babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

The world is weary on many fronts.

And if I am too weary myself, I am of no use to others. It is important that I pace myself so that I have the time to help provide a meal, a word of encouragement, or some kind of help to those in need. Some of those among us have heavier burdens to bear and it is a good thing — even a God thing, to share a burden. When I am feeling discouraged about any circumstance in my life, I don’t have to look very far to find others who are in a much, much more difficult situation.

Who is weary in your life? Do you have an opportunity to provide relief? Can you be more mindful of their situation and offer assistance, prayers, and/or encouragement in some way?

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz

* By: Edmund H. Sears