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How dying helped me to live

Posted: March 15, 2020 in Thoughts on God

I just walked in the bathroom to comb my hair, and suddenly the reality of the past ten days hit me. As I looked at the new three-inch scar on the side of my face from the surgery, barely able to stand from the weakness of an extended hospital stay, I realized I was alive.

When you have the medical conditions that I have, you tend to focus on the past and present because that’s what the Doctors are always asking you about. Zig Ziglar always said, “You are what you think about.” Well, I’m always having to talk to the medical community about what’s going on now, so that’s what I talk about. That needs to change. I have a future that is much brighter than my past, or what’s happening now.

Ten days ago today, I was in the Emergency Room of the San Diego VA Hospital having two Code Blues called on me. I literally died! The magnitude of what really happened never occurred to me until this morning when I saw that scar on the side of my face. I realized that God wasn’t done with me yet. I have a future, and it’s built on my past. I can recall all of the horrible medical events that I have gone through for the past eight years, or I can relish in the fact that I have survived another day to be grateful. I have to choose between the two, and today I choose to be an overcomer rather than a survivor.

I’m sure there will be times in the future that I lose this feeling of empowerment that I am currently experiencing. I’m sure I will suffer from a self-pity attack occasionally, but that’s OK, God doesn’t abandon us for such minor offenses. I won’t let Satan use that against me, and I’ll rebound from my “Stinkin’ Thinkin’.”

As we face the crazy world, and what’s going on in it today, we can all start thinking about the brightness of our future, and put the past behind us. Let’s put our faith in God, not Social Media.

As I close this long-winded post, instead of venting my misguided frustration, I’ll ask that you pray for Carmen and I in the following ways. Medically for obvious reasons. Financially, this has set us back drastically. Finally, but above all other things, to strengthen my relationship with the Lord. This is the most vital of all if I am to truly enjoy the future that I have been given.

If you’ve read this far, then I give you kudos because it was long-winded. I appreciate your hanging in there with me. Please lift each other up, not put them down. We all have hope.

Jeremiah 29:11-For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a a HOPE.

Christmas today has become about self-gratification. That’s no way to celebrate the Birth of Jesus. If you want to really give Him a gift, then here’s the real Christmas Story…

Luke 10:25-37

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Now that’s what we should be doing on Christmas, being examples of Jesus. Heklping others. Caring for the needy.

Isaiah 58:7

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Luke 14:13-14

But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Proverbs 19:17

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Leviticus 25:35-36

“If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you.

 

Cold

Click on the link below to see what being a Christian is all about

 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/three-young-men-invite-elderly-widow-to-sit-with-them-after-seeing-her-dining-alone-2019-04-24/?fbclid=IwAR1I2k8D-h7k3oM5Tf-yZNVIilfgc4Hj_j0-tNN25tij-sJy3x0SF4J9oE0

 

via The Amazing Story of O’ Holy Night

Reprinted from “Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas” with permission of Zondervan.

The strange and fascinating story of “O Holy Night” began in France, yet eventually made its way around the world. This seemingly simple song, inspired by a request from a clergyman, would not only become one of the most beloved anthems of all time, it would mark a technological revolution that would forever change the way people were introduced to music.

In 1847, Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure was the commissionaire of wines in a small French town. Known more for his poetry than his church attendance, it probably shocked Placide when his parish priest asked the commissionaire to pen a poem for Christmas mass. Nevertheless, the poet was honored to share his talents with the church.

In a dusty coach traveling down a bumpy road to France’s capital city, Placide Cappeau considered the priest’s request. Using the gospel of Luke as his guide, Cappeau imagined witnessing the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Thoughts of being present on the blessed night inspired him. By the time he arrived in Paris, “Cantique de Noel” had been completed.

Moved by his own work, Cappeau decided that his “Cantique de Noel” was not just a poem, but a song in need of a master musician’s hand. Not musically inclined himself, the poet turned to one of his friends, Adolphe Charles Adams, for help.
The son of a well-known classical musician, Adolphe had studied in the Paris conservatoire. His talent and fame brought requests to write works for orchestras and ballets all over the world. Yet the lyrics that his friend Cappeau gave him must have challenged the composer in a fashion unlike anything he received from London, Berlin, or St. Petersburg.

As a man of Jewish ancestry, for Adolphe the words of “Cantique de Noel” represented a day he didn’t celebrate and a man he did not view as the son of God. Nevertheless, Adams quickly went to work, attempting to marry an original score to Cappeau’s beautiful words. Adams’ finished work pleased both poet and priest. The song was performed just three weeks later at a Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

Initially, “Cantique de Noel” was wholeheartedly accepted by the church in France and the song quickly found its way into various Catholic Christmas services. But when Placide Cappeau walked away from the church and became a part of the socialist movement, and church leaders discovered that Adolphe Adams was a Jew, the song–which had quickly grown to be one of the most beloved Christmas songs in France–was suddenly and uniformly denounced by the church. The heads of the French Catholic church of the time deemed “Cantique de Noel” as unfit for church services because of its lack of musical taste and “total absence of the spirit of religion.” Yet even as the church tried to bury the Christmas song, the French people continued to sing it, and a decade later a reclusive American writer brought it to a whole new audience halfway around the world.

Not only did this American writer–John Sullivan Dwight–feel that this wonderful Christmas songs needed to be introduced to America, he saw something else in the song that moved him beyond the story of the birth of Christ. An ardent abolitionist, Dwight strongly identified with the lines of the third verse: “Truly he taught us to love one another; his law is love and his gospel is peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother; and in his name all oppression shall cease.” The text supported Dwight’s own view of slavery in the South. Published in his magazine, Dwight’s English translation of “O Holy Night” quickly found found favor in America, especially in the North during the Civil War.

Back in France, even though the song had been banned from the church for almost two decades, many commoners still sang “Cantique de Noel” at home. Legend has it that on Christmas Eve 1871, in the midst of fierce fighting between the armies of Germany and France, during the Franco-Prussian War, a French soldier suddenly jumped out of his muddy trench. Both sides stared at the seemingly crazed man. Boldly standing with no weapon in his hand or at his side, he lifted his eyes to the heavens and sang, “Minuit, Chretiens, c’est l’heure solennelle ou L’Homme Dieu descendit jusqu’a nous,” the beginning of “Cantique de Noel.”

After completing all three verses, a German infantryman climbed out his hiding place and answered with, “Vom Himmel noch, da komm’ ich her. Ich bring’ euch gute neue Mar, Der guten Mar bring’ ich so viel, Davon ich sing’n und sagen will,” the beginning of Martin Luther’s robust “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come.”

The story goes that the fighting stopped for the next twenty-four hours while the men on both sides observed a temporary peace in honor of Christmas day. Perhaps this story had a part in the French church once again embracing “Cantique de Noel” in holiday services.

Adams had been dead for many years and Cappeau and Dwight were old men when on Christmas Eve 1906, Reginald Fessenden–a 33-year-old university professor and former chief chemist for Thomas Edison–did something long thought impossible. Using a new type of generator, Fessenden spoke into a microphone and, for the first time in history, a man’s voice was broadcast over the airwaves: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed,” he began in a clear, strong voice, hoping he was reaching across the distances he supposed he would.

Shocked radio operators on ships and astonished wireless owners at newspapers sat slack-jawed as their normal, coded impulses, heard over tiny speakers, were interrupted by a professor reading from the gospel of Luke. To the few who caught this broadcast, it must have seemed like a miracle–hearing a voice somehow transmitted to those far away. Some might have believed they were hearing the voice of an angel.

Fessenden was probably unaware of the sensation he was causing on ships and in offices; he couldn’t have known that men and women were rushing to their wireless units to catch this Christmas Eve miracle.

After finishing his recitation of the birth of Christ, Fessenden picked up his violin and played “O Holy Night,” the first song ever sent through the air via radio waves. When the carol ended, so did the broadcast–but not before music had found a new medium that would take it around the world.

Since that first rendition at a small Christmas mass in 1847, “O Holy Night” has been sung millions of times in churches in every corner of the world. And since the moment a handful of people first heard it played over the radio, the carol has gone on to become one of the entertainment industry’s most recorded and played spiritual songs. This incredible work–requested by a forgotten parish priest, written by a poet who would later split from the church, given soaring music by a Jewish composer, and brought to Americans to serve as much as a tool to spotlight the sinful nature of slavery as tell the story of the birth of a Savior–has become one of the most beautiful, inspired pieces of music ever created.

 

What are you saying?

Posted: December 15, 2019 in Thoughts on God
What’s in a word? – 20 Bible verses to think about
What’s in a word? – 20 Bible verses to think about

Bible verses about words and their significance

Each one of the following verses is a forceful reminder of the power of words, how important it is to guard our hearts and our minds, and how seriously God regards these things. As a whole, this collection of Bible verses about words is a mighty exhortation to consciously live before God’s face, where we are on holy ground!

Take these exhortations to heart, and test yourself: what are you letting in, and what are you letting out? Do the thoughts and words you drink of and use drag you and others down, or build up with eternal value? Are you yourself a spring of living water?

Psalm 19:14

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”

Psalm 39:1

“I said, ‘I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me.’”

Psalm 141:3

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Proverbs 4:23

“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”

Proverbs 10:32

“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.”

Proverbs 21:23

“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”

Matthew 12:33-37

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matthew 15:18-20

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man …”

John 4:14

“… but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Ephesians 4:29-30

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God …”

Ephesians 5:3-4

“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”

Colossians 3:8

“But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”

Colossians 3:16-17

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Colossians 4:6

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

1 Timothy 4:12

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

2 Timothy 2:16-17

“But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer.”

Hebrews 13:15

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

James 1:26

“If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”

James 3:2-12

“For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. … Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. … no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.”

1 Peter 3:10

“He who would love life and see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.”

What are you saying?