Archive for the ‘Thoughts on God’ Category

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?

Most people love the Christmas time of year, but there’s a lot of folks that see it as a lonely time.

You are not alone in feeling lonely; many deal with this feeling of isolation. For those who trust God, there is help in His Word.

25 Scriptures for Christians struggling with loneliness

 

You can feel lonely in any circumstance, at any age, even when you are surrounded by people, even when you are in a relationship, or when you have many friends and acquaintances. Loneliness is the soul feeling isolated from meaningful human connections, feeling misunderstood, out of place, etc.

Interestingly, the Bible doesn’t say anything directly about loneliness. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t use Scripture to help us deal with these feelings. Here we’ve broken this up into a few different effective ways of doing so.

1.   Get a vision for the heavenly things

Don’t fill your loneliness with empty and meaningless things that play on your soul and intensify your isolation. Even things that are not necessarily evil can actually harm you by the reactions they cause in you.

Seek for heavenly fulfillment, instead of looking for it in earthly  things.

Look to the reward – even if you continue to “feel” lonely, you know that your time on earth is temporary, God will see you through it, and in the end you will be with your Saviour eternally, and will have fellowship with Him and the saints.

2 Corinthians 4:17

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Psalm 17:15

“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”

Colossians 3:1-4

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

2.   Trust in God and seek a meaningful connection with Him

God is faithful and no matter how you feel, no matter if everyone leaves you, no matter how alone you are, He is there. He loves you more than you could ever possibly know or comprehend. It may seem like a Christian cliché, but it’s absolutely true that your relationship with God can fulfill all of your need. Seek Him and you will personally experience His love for you.

Isaiah 49:16

“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”

Psalm 139:7-10

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.”

Psalm 16:11

“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Isaiah 58:11

“The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”

Matthew 6:33

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Philippians 4:19

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

James 4:8

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Joshua 1:5-6

“… as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage …”

Psalm 121: 7-8

“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 43:1-2

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.”

Matthew 11:28

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

1 Corinthians 10:13

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

3.   Work for meaningful connections instead of waiting for them to come to you

It can be easy to relish the role of victim, to think no one has it as hard as I do, to believe the reasons Satan feeds us to make us think that is true, and actually indulge in self-pity. When the temptation comes to sit by yourself and wallow in your own feelings, rather overcome them and go out and do something with and/or for others. This builds love, unity, brotherhood and fellowship.

Galatians 6:2

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

John 15:13

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

Philippians 2:3-4

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

1 John 1:7

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

4.     The body of Christ

The body of Christ is the best antidote to loneliness. All those who follow Christ and have been baptized with one Spirit are the body of Christ. In the body we become one despite our differences; we have fellowship in the Spirit even when alone. We are of one mind, one spirit, one purpose, and have one goal. If you devote yourself to the building of the body of Christ through personal faithfulness, God will ensure that you find your place and your ministry within it.

Romans 12:5

“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”

1 Corinthians 12:12

“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many are one body, so also is Christ.”

1 Corinthians 12:26

“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

Ephesians 2:19-22

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

Ephesians 4:11-13

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

With God beside us and His Spirit to guide us we can navigate the waters of loneliness and come into the rest and peace that comes from giving up all efforts to satisfy my human desires and giving myself entirely over to God.