Mary part 3

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Christmas tree by Leslie Layton Coslet
Christmas tree by Leslie Layton Coslet

Good morning, beloved,

I am, for some reason, up very early.  My mind is scattered in many directions. Parents this morning packing and organizing their children for school, holding tight, fearful, unsure. Schools trying to cope with security and calming frayed nerves. We, as a nation, are watching this unfold like a train wreck. Newton, Connecticut shattered. All sorts of  ideas, opinions given a voice through social media. Pictures of the children being led into Jesus’ arms, pictures of the victims…ugh.

We went to a Christmas concert last night and for me, remembering to treasure this moment, this season, this breath is critical.  I am grateful, for today. For this moment, quiet with the Lord to ponder His Word, His power, His strength.

2 Corinthians 4:

16 Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though

A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burning candles, adorned with homemade Christmas decorations such as red hearts, white paper snowflakes, a golden star at the top, and gifts stacked underneath. by Malene Thyssen

our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.

17 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparingand producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],

18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

So, as we start our day, do we start it in fear? Or do we remember… Paul’s words are perfect. We are being renewed. We are being prepared for glory (we can’t even fathom it). So we look to the unseen, the unfading, deathless, everlasting. What is before us now? The seen, yet we need to remember these eyes are viewing what is very brief, and very fleeting.

This makes me think of the Christmas tree. 🙂 We pick it out, we place ornaments on it, lights, we make it beautiful. Yet after Christmas, this tree either gets packed away or put to the curb. We need to treat our life more like a Christmas tree. The moment we are in, we decorate it with joy. We light it up with a joy only found in Him. We make our life beautiful by plugging into the Spirit of God. We sparkle with His radiance. Today. Now. We have a gift. It’s not wrapped under any tree, it’s open, it’s beautiful, it’s available to all: We have hope because of Jesus. We share it. We invite others to come in and enjoy the peace. We place the Christmas tree in front of the window for all to see. Our faith should be like that too.

Mary’s song recorded in Luke 1 gives us a gift. Let’s look.

Christmas tree with real candles in Switzerland by Traumrune

49 For He Who is almighty has done great things for me—and holy is His name [to be venerated in His purity, majesty and glory]!

Almighty-(dynatos) of God, Luk 1:49, “mighty;” Rom 9:22, “power” (here the neuter of the adjective is used with the article, as a noun, equivalent to dunamis); frequently with the meaning “able”.

Genesis 17: When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, I am the Almighty God; walk and live habitually before Me and be perfect (blameless, wholehearted, complete).

Psalm 24: Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.

Jeremiah 10: None at all is like You, O Lord; You are great, and Your name is great in might.

Mary remembered that Her God was great. He was (and is and will always be) magnificent. He is strong. He is mighty. Good things to remember today as the day unfolds.

Has done-poieō-to do a thing unto one

Psalm 71:

19 Your righteousness also, O God, is very high [reaching to the heavens], You Who have done great things; O God, who is like You, or who is Your equal?

20 You Who have shown us [all] troubles great and sore will quicken us again and will bring us up again from the depths of the earth. 21 Increase my greatness (my honor) and turn and comfort me.

Psalm 126:

Then were our mouths filled with laughter, and our tongues with singing. Then they said among the nations, The Lord has

Brazilian Christmas tree

done great things for them.

The Lord has done great things for us! We are glad!

Holy- (hagios) in Scripture in its moral and spiritual significance, separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God, sacred. (a) It is predicted of God (as the absolutely “Holy” One, in His purity, majesty and glory)…

Exodus 15: 11 Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, doing wonders?

Psalm 99: Let them confess and praise Your great name, awesome and reverence inspiring! It is holy, and holy is He!

Isaiah 6: And one cried to another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!

Isaiah 57: 15 For thus says the high and lofty One—He Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, but with him also who is of a thoroughly penitent and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the thoroughly penitent [bruised with sorrow for sin].

This day, today, remember whom we serve. Whom we praise. Whom we adore. The temporal? It’ll fade. The beautiful? It’ll get old and wrinkly. Yet, God? Friends, He’ll never fade. He’ll never get old. He’ll never get wrinkly.

Our God lives and so we can face this day.

My thankfuls:

51. I’m so thankful the chance to listen to my kids belt out the Christmas Carols last night.

52. I’m thankful for church members who care deeply and remind me they are praying.

53. I’m thankful for home-made ice cream. 🙂

Pray on. Pray on.



Mary part 2

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Gígjökull, an outlet glacier extending from Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland. Lónið is the lake visible in the Andreas Tille

Good morning, beloved,

We went to the mall yesterday. I’m not sure what came over us but we went to a store that was all decked out for Christmas. There were crafts to make, toys to try, and Santa to visit. Of course, when we learned it would be three hours before we could greet the jolly old elf, we exited stage left. We then entered the mall. We had a mission: each sibling to find a gift for another sibling. We separated and I took two. Joshua took two. Overwhelming. Danny found the gift for his sister. It was perfect. The store mystified me for a moment until I realized there were two security guards patrolling the tiny place. There were people near the counter where we were paying and I was amazed to watch the guards carefully see every movement. They were afraid that an object was about to be stolen.

The Beeston Christmas mattbuck

Now me? They didn’t really pay attention to me other than to help Daniel pick out the gift and check us out.  The guards made assumptions of both the people by the counter and of me with my kids. They regarded us and found one party untrustworthy.  It was a shock to my system.

In our continuing work through Mary’s Magnificat, Mary speaks to her lowly state and how the Lord regarded her.

Luke 1:

48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

Looked: (epiblepō) to turn the eyes upon, to look upon, gaze upon on. The root word of epiblepō is  blepō which means, to turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing, to consider, contemplate, to look at, to weigh carefully, examine.

Humble estate: (tapeinōsis) spiritual abasement, leading one to perceive and lament his (moral) littleness and guilt

Servant: (doulos) one who gives himself up to another’s will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men

Mary knew the Lord had considered her, examined her. She was humbled by His gaze, humbled He thought of her, because she knew her heart had sin, she understood her need of forgiveness and mercy from the Lord. She regarded herself as lowly, unworthy, yet willing to be used however God saw fit. God saw fit to trust her with His Son.

What verses was she referring to? She was quoting the Old Testament…let’s look at some possibilities.

Psalm 136:

23 To Him Who [earnestly] remembered us in our low estate and imprinted us [on His heart], for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever;

24 And rescued us from our enemies, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever;

Isaiah 66:

For all these things My hand has made, and so all these things have come into being [by and for Me], says the Lord. But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands.

49 For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

Will call me: (makarizō)- to pronounce blessed. from a root mak–, meaning “large, lengthy,” found also inmakros, “long,” mekos, “length,” hence denotes “to pronounce happy, blessed,”

So the words here, I love this..Mary knew that from this point on in history she would be regarded by the generations. It is interesting to me that “will call me” and “blessed” are the same word.  The word is repeated. This only happens one other time in the New Testament:

Christmas decorations, Astir Palace Hotel, Vouliagmeni, Athens, Greece, Christmas 2009 by Vouliagmeni

James 5:

11 You know how we call those blessed (happy) who were steadfast [who endured]. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the Lord’s [purpose and how He richly blessed him in the] end, inasmuch as the Lord is full of pity and compassion and tenderness and mercy.

We will never, ever truly understand the majesty and wonder of God with us, will we? Mary knew she was blessed. Do you know you are blessed? Feel it or not, you are blessed with Emmanuel, God with us. God sees us in our lowly state now and loves us. As we are, He reaching out His hand for us to hold. We are so blessed to have His Spirit.  Let’s be a blessing.

48. I am thankful for books that make me laugh.

49. I am thankful for yummy fudge.

50. I am thankful for Christmas lights.

Christmas Lights and Christmas Ornaments with Cool Light Effect by ParentingPatch

Pray on. Pray on.



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Though astronauts and cosmonauts often encounter striking scenes of Earth’s limb, this unique image, part of a series over Earth’s colorful horizon, has the added feature of a silhouette of the space shuttle Endeavour. The image was photographed by an Expedition 22 crew member prior to STS-130 rendezvous and docking operations with the International Space Station. Docking occurred at 11:06 p.m. (CST) on Feb. 9, 2010. The orbital outpost was at 46.9 south latitude and 80.5 west longitude, over the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern Chile, with an altitude of 183 nautical miles when the image was recorded. The orange layer is the troposphere, where all of the weather and clouds which we typically watch and experience are generated and contained. This orange layer gives way to the whitish Stratosphere and then into the Mesosphere. In some frames the black color is part of a window frame rather than the blackness of space. by NASA/Crew of Expedition 22

Good morning, friends,

I’m sure I have told you I’m a hymn girl. Love me some hymns. My kids sing the hymn. Their Momma loves hymns.  Their Daddy bought a hymnal..and we used to sing hymns every night. I’m thinking we need to pick that up again. Music has a calming effect on us. This morning two songs ring in my head. One is a hymn. One is not. Yet both speak truth that helps us cope with our world.

If you read the video while listening you would have seen the hymn writer’s biography. Unspeakable horror. Yet, in the pain, Mr. Spafford wrote a hymn that speaks directly to my heart, maybe yours as well.

This next video was in a beautiful movie I watched last night.

The reason for the world is to make us long for home. Yesterday was one of those days for our nation, wasn’t it? We watched the horror unfold against these precious people. I was very dizzy yesterday and a lump on the couch so my eyes were on the horror a lot yesterday.

Then I found a quote by Tim Sinclair, radio morning host of WBGLWhen tragedies like this happen at Christmas, I can’t help but think that tragedies like this are the very reason Christmas happened at all.

Today is a very good day to remember He has come. He will  come again. Let us not lose sight of the hope within us. Let us share the hope. Social media can be used for the glory and edification of our God. We can show the world where our hope is found. Mary‘s magnificat in Luke 1 keeps my eyes focused. Come join me as we look at the words of a humble Jewish girl who knew the Word of God and praised Him accordingly.

Luke 1:

46 And Mary said, My soul magnifies and extols the Lord,

47 And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48 For He has looked upon the low station and humiliation of His handmaiden. For behold, from now on all generations [of all ages] will call me blessed and declare me happy and to be envied!

49 For He Who is almighty has done great things for me—and holy is His name [to be venerated in His purity, majesty and glory]!

50 And His mercy (His compassion and kindness toward the miserable and afflicted) is on those who fear Him with godly reverence, from generation to generation and age to age.

51 He has shown strength and made might with His arm; He has scattered the proud and haughty in and by the imagination and purpose and designs of their hearts.

52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of low degree.

53 He has filled and satisfied the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty-handed [without a gift].

54 He has laid hold on His servant Israel [to help him, to espouse his cause], in remembrance of His mercy,

55 Even as He promised to our forefathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

And Mary said, My soul magnifies and extols the Lord...friends, let’s look at the words she is quoting.

1 Samuel 2: 1 Hannah prayed, and said, My heart exults and triumphs in the Lord; my horn (my strength) is lifted up in the Lord. My mouth is no longer silent, for it is opened wide over my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.

Magnify-(megalynō)-to make great, magnify, to esteem highly, to extol, laud, celebrate

Psalm 34:

My life makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad.

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.

And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

Isaiah 12:

Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation.

Therefore with joy will you draw water from the wells of salvation.

Zephaniah 3:

14 Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice, be in high spirits and glory with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem [in that day].

15 [For then it will be that] the Lord has taken away the judgments against you; He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, even the Lord [Himself], is in the midst of you; [and after He has come to you] you shall not experience or fear evil any more.

16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear not, O Zion. Let not your hands sink downor be slow and listless.

17 The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.

My thankfuls today:

45. I’m thankful for rain today.

46. I’m thankful for sleep.

47. I’m thankful for a call from my brother.

I will pick up more tomorrow. Everyone is awake. 😉

Pray on. Pray on.



Far as the curse is found…

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Lake Sils, in Graubünden, Swizerland. by Hansueli Krapf

Good morning, dear friends,

I celebrate this morning. I had a good day yesterday. I was able to make Christmas cookies with my kiddos, I was able to make dinner, I was able to help clean up. It was huge. I kept stepping back and wondering who is this here? I am grateful. My parents came yesterday and we were together. It was a good, good day.  My children gave me gifts yesterday. Long hugs. Speaking on my behalf, understanding how the medical issues for me work, finding a Christmas box that had special items, standing around in the kitchen and just looking at them, covered in flour..wanting this moment to last.

In the midst of all the beauty and chaos, I worry. How? Why? When dizzy spells come or jolts of pain, I sit and wonder. I realize my focus is not where God has asked me to be. I worry about finances. I worry about my kids. I worry. God’s presence is the greatest present. My battlefield is my mind. Can you relate? When you are focused on you, you become the focus. When you take your eyes off yourself, remember Bible verses that are special to you, that God has given to you as gifts or begin to pray silently for the one who is in front of you in the grocery aisle, or for your family, or whatever God has in front of you..the newspaper, the emails, the Facebook messages.

Self portrait of Tracy Caldwell Dyson in the Cupola module of the International Space Station observing the Earth below during Expedition 24. by NASA/Tracy Caldwell Dyson

Or just ponder the wonder of Him. Look out your window. Praise Him. Sing praises. And what happens to me when I do this? My mind shifts. I can enter back into the beauty and chaos of my life knowing He is with me. Emmanuel. God with us. He is with me, now, in the stillness of this morning, with a little dog by me. I sip my coffee and I have peace.

There is a song we all know well, Joy to the World.  My favorite verse usually is skipped..everyone knows the first verse, right?


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,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found. 

(Christmas carols)

I asked my kids what that meant. We sing it, but what does it mean? Where is the curse not found on this earth?

No more let sins and sorrows grow…My worry, your worry, my sin, your sin…we are free. Jesus came to set us free. Free! Do you hear me? I have a chance today to throw my hands up in the air in praise and worship to the One who has set me free.

I found a quote from Abraham Lincoln...

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

Thorns are yucky. Yet I think our 16th president was on to something. Instead of pondering our thorny lives, we can pause and give thanks for all the roses.

My thankfuls today: (won’t you join me? I am not stopping until…)

42. I’m really thankful for yummy cookies sitting on my shelves.

43. I’m thankful for good health..even when i don’t feel good..I know.

44. I’m thankful for a clean puppy who groans in her sleep and always looks like she is smiling.

Psalm 98: Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

Salvation, deliverance! What glorious words. He has remember HIS steadfast love to the ends of the earth have seen the salvation. So our focus cannot be on worry and fear, look for His salvation, His deliverance as far as the curse is found, Jesus’ blood has set us free from that curse. Sing a new song for He has done marvelous things! What has our God done? Start your own list of thankfuls.

” Years ago, Isaac Watts wrote “Joy to the World,” the well-loved hymn often sung during this busy Christmas season. Ironically, Watts never intended his hymn for Christmas use. Instead, he simply intended to paraphrase the words of Psalm 98: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth . . . for he comes. . .” (vs. 4, 9).

Amidst his poetry about Christ’s second coming, however, Watts also provides fitting words for our Christmas frenzy: “Joy to the world! the Lord is come . . . Let every heart prepare him room.” Prepare him room-significant words for any time of year. Yet perhaps we need to hear them the most at Christmastime, when so many things can distract us from our faith.” (Center for Church Music)

I love this quote. The Lord is coming again. He has come. Prepare Him room.

Psalm 98: Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who dwell in it!
Let the rivers clap their hands;
let the hills sing for joy together
before the Lord, for he comes
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.

Watch the world around you. See how creation cries praise! Marvelous. Joy. Dear friends, please don’t allow the whispers of our enemy to rob you of the joy of knowing His peace. Especially now. Right now.

Pray on. Pray on.


God of the universe

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Zodiacal Light Seen from Paranal. by ESO/Y.Beletsky
Zodiacal Light Seen from Paranal. by ESO/Y.Beletsky

Good morning, beloved,

Sundays should not be grey. Sundays should break forth with beautiful sunrises and remind us to praise our Creator. I love all the ways God‘s beauty is revealed in grey days. Green grass is vibrant. The bare trees reveal the intricate beauty of each branch, it’s connection to the trunk. Christmas lights sparkle in the bushes and trees. The squirrels still jump from branch to branch in their chases. Birds still sing their praises. It’s all good.

This month our eyes focus on Jesus. His birth. Much of the world celebrates a Christmas of sorts that originated with our Savior’s birth. I always ask the Lord to reveal new to me. Every year I am never disappointed. Some years I have just reveled in the Son of God becoming a baby. Some years I wonder at the God’s announcement to the shepherds and how they were first to know. Some years I have been amazed with where Mary delivered the Savior.

This year, as I think I’ve mentioned, my eyes have turned to the prophecies in the Old Testament.

“In many separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets, [But] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order].” Hebrews 1:1-2AMP

I’ve wanted my children to see the revelations for themselves. I’ve wanted to see the portions of Truth set forth. I want to hear God’s voice spoken to the forefathers (from a root signifying “a nourisher, protector, upholder“) and prophets (one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially concerning future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation. )

Not one word of our precious Scriptures was brought forth on man’s idea or thought. Each word was moved by the Spirit of God. Think of it, friends. We read the Bible, we hear His thoughts, His movements, His grandeur every time. We read a verse that we’ve heard our whole lives and we are not moved. We nod and say the verse but seriously, how often are we moved to remember it is His whisper, His voice?

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Ponder His love. Ponder the choice He made. Could we ever imagine giving up our precious children for such a sacrifice? Why did He do it? Why did He give so much?

He wants to spend eternity with us.

The God of the universe created the worlds, the reaches of space..He made, He arranged them in order, wants to have communion with me. With you.

So much to be thankful for today.

12. I’m thankful for bird feeders that bring little birds to our window.

13. I’m thankful for warm sweatshirts and socks that keep me warm.

14. I’m thankful for Christmas lights and people who decorate their houses.

Go to church today. Pray for your pastor. Be a part of community today. And always, pray on. Pray on.