Peace Like a River

Welcome to the third post in my series on the fruit of the Spirit.Peace like a river

Peace – The ‘conscious possession of adequate resources’. Knowing that our loving God is in control, and resting in Him, helps us to worry about nothing, pray about everything and be thankful for anything. The opposite is worry, fear, and anxiety in our soul.

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord…” (1 Peter 1:2)

Do you like to be by the water? I do! In the spiritual song that I referred to in my last two posts, the first stanza is “I’ve got Peace like a river…♫”. If I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the demands of life, I love to go find a river and sit on the bank and just watch the water flow gently by. It is soooo peaceful! I love how the river seems to just keep on rolling (cue the song “Ole Man River”), it doesn’t matter what “junk” falls into it, or if there are sharp rocks in the bottom, or critters living in it taking advantage of its sweet water, it just stays serene and sublime. We like to go kayaking on a river near us, and it just feels so relaxing and peaceful – all you can hear is the swish of your paddle in the water, the croaking of toads, the rustle of the breeze in the trees, the chirping of birds… I’m feeling relaxed already!

Peace is something we are all searching for, and unfortunately some people never find it. Even though rivers do make me feel peaceful, I know that I cannot find true peace apart from my God Who Created me AND the rivers. There are three areas we need to have peace: Peace with God (upward); Peace of God (inward); and Peace with others (outward). Here’s some Biblical ways to find that peace:

1. Peace with God – Our souls were created to be filled with a loving, dependent relationship with our God. Without Him, our soul is constantly seeking something to fill that void with. When we try to fill it with anything but Him, the result is anxiety, fear, and unrest in our souls. We are sinful creatures, we know that our sin deserves punishment, and if we are honest with ourselves, we feel guilty, and our hearts are not at peace. Romans 15:13 tells us where we find peace with God:

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Peace with God comes from “believing”, believing what?

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:8)

Believing in the Lord Jesus and what He did for us, to pay for our sins! WOW! I’m so thankful that I can KNOW that my sins are forgiven. Because of Jesus, I have PEACE like a river in my soul!

2. Peace of God—Once we are saved, we do not instantly become perfect people with heart and soul content and at peace within ourselves. Sorry to bust your bubble! Without the peace of God, our hearts are still anxious and fearful. Salvation is the first step in the process of “sanctification” – a long word that really means to become a better person, a person who is increasingly more like Jesus Christ, who was perfect and holy. So, how do we do that? God commands us in Colossians 3:15 to let the peace of God rule in our hearts, and in verse 16 to let the Word of Christ dwell in us. Hmmm… maybe that’s a clue!! Philippians 4:6-9 gives us the answer:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true…honest… just…pure…lovely…of good report…virtue…praise, think on these things…and the God of peace shall be with you.”

The peace of God comes from intimately praying to God, with a thankful heart, trusting and turning everything over to Him –because He’s in control of it all anyway!! – and then thinking, or meditating, on God’s Word –and then obeying it! God’s Word is true, and honest, and just, and pure, and lovely and of good report. When we fill our minds with the truths of God’s Word instead of the lies of this world and its prince (Satan), we will find that we will want to obey His Word, and thus have the peace of God. We will know that we can trust in His goodness and His sovereignty to work all things together for good. We have no need to fear. He will take care of us as He does the sparrows.

3. Peace with Others – If we have peace with God, and the peace of God, then it shouldn’t be difficult to be at peace with others. When we get saved, the Holy Spirit indwells us, and He will give us the grace to forgive, to forbear, and to “hold our peace” when we really want to let someone have it! Romans 12:18 strongly recommends that we try to live at peace with others. It takes two people to make an argument – if another person is angry and red-faced and in-your-face, you can still be at peace within yourself and show love to them, and maybe help them to find peace. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about this, in fact, Proverbs 16:7 tells us:

When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Proverbs 15:1 tells us that “A soft answer turns away wrath”, and it is so true! Peace produces healing, it flows like a river from the presence of Christ in our hearts.

In Heaven a river flows from the throne of Christ (Revelations 22:1), a peaceful river that waters the tree of life in a place where there is no more curse, no tears, no sorrow, no pain, and no darkness – PEACE!!

There are so many other verses about peace, I would encourage you to do a word search with a concordance, or your Bible App, and see all the ways God promises us peace.

Grace and Peace unto you…

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Know God, Know Peace. No God, No Peace!

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JOY Like a Fountain!

smiley faceJoy –The ‘smile of the soul’ that is unaffected by people or circumstances. It grows from the love of God flowing in and through us. Our relationship with the Lord makes us thankful for everything when we focus on Him and abide in His presence. The opposite is a selfish, ungrateful, complaining spirit.

                       “…in thy presence is fulness of joy…” Psalm 16:11

Joy like a fountainIn my last post, we talked about the spiritual song that we sang in Vacation Bible School — another stanza of it is, “I’ve got joy like a fountain”. Again, I started thinking, “why joy like a fountain?” Well, think about a fountain for a minute, it is usually very attractive, and it has water bubbling up and flowing over, or even shooting into the air. They are fueled by life-giving water! They are always fun to look at, and they get our attention – they make you happy – did you ever notice how joyful children are when they try to reach their hands into the water and play with it? Joy is like that – it bubbles up from your soul, and no matter the situation or circumstance you are in, you can have joy, real joy, the kind that comes only from the Lord and His presence in your life. This is what Habakkuk was talking about in Chapter 3:

 

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”

Again, it is by God’s providence that I was meditating on the fruit of the Spirit JOY this month – Last month was February, when Valentine’s Day falls, and I studied “LOVE like an Ocean” – this month has been a crazy month, but I experienced the JOY of the Lord through it all.

On March 1st my 90-year old father-in-law fell and broke his hip. We saw this as an opportunity to start the process of getting him into Assisted Living. But, God had other plans. He did not recover well from the surgery, we brought him home on hospice, and he passed away on March 17th. Although it was an emotional time and a stressful time, by keeping our gaze toward God – it was also a joyful time.

The Lord gave us assurance beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was saved, and is now in Heaven with his Savior (JOY like a fountain!).

The Lord provided a lovely Christian caregiver for his last few days at home (JOY like a fountain!).

The Lord gave us time to visit with Greg’s brother, sister, and nephew (JOY like a fountain!).

The Lord brought all of our kids, and their respective spouses that could come, home safely in the midst of a snowstorm (JOY like a fountain!).

The Lord gave us a very special day, a private burial up near us, he was buried next to my husband’s late mother, where our children all shared special memories of Papaw (JOY like a fountain!).

The Lord gave us a wonderful time of fellowship with our children, unexpectedly having them all home for a few days (JOY like a fountain!).

The Lord coordinated so many details, I can’t even recall them all (JOY like a fountain!).

As Easter approaches, I am reminded again of what the Lord Jesus went through for me and for YOU in the last week of His life on this earth. He suffered and died to pay the price for our sins, because we could never pay it ourselves. I am SO thankful that I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and so does my husband, and all my children, we have that HOPE that we will all be reunited in Heaven one day when our time on earth is over. If you don’t have that assurance, read my post GOOD NEWS! A FREE GIFT!. I am filled with JOY when I think of Jesus:

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:8)

Here’s a little Recipe for JOY for you:

1. Get your eyes off the circumstances and onto the Lord (Psalm 61:10)

2. Live one day at a time (Psalm 118:24)

3. Count your blessings (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

4. Focus on the TRUTH that God is Sovereign and God is good (John 15:10,11)

I hope you can rejoice with me, and with the Psalmist, when we say,

And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.” (Psalm 35:9)

…No matter what the circumstances and situations we find ourselves in.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

JOY is the flag that is flown from the castle of your heart when the King is in residence”

LOVE like an Ocean

HeartLove – The essential ingredient for all other graces to grow. Not a feeling, but a choice. Self-sacrificing, seeking what’s best for others, expecting nothing in return. The opposite is a selfish, hateful, envious, critical spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22,23)

(This is the first blog post in my series on the fruit of the Spirit, I plan to do one each month, with God’s help.)

At our Vacation Bible School every summer we sing a song with the kids, it is called “I’ve got Peace Like a River”. It covers the first 3 fruits of the Spirit – Love, Joy, and Peace, and uses water as a simile for those virtues. This fun song compares the LOVE of God to an ocean. And so, I got to thinking about LOVE like an OCEAN. WHY did the song refer to LOVE like an OCEAN? Well, an ocean is very very deep, and very very wide, and very very BIG. Which reminds me of a verse:

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

This verse is talking about God’s LOVE. And as Christians, we should be “rooted and grounded in” His Love (Ephesians 3:17). Love is listed first in the fruit of the Spirit because it is foundational to all the rest. We can do all kinds of good and spiritual things, BUT, if we don’t do them with LOVE, we have nothing! If we truly love God, and are thankful for what He has done for us, we will pass on that love to others, and the Lord Jesus confirms that the whole Law can be summed up by loving God and loving others! (Read Matthew 22:36-40, and Mark 12:30-32). So, if we can get a handle on God’s LOVE, that’s really all we need to know! And, we can only live out God’s LOVE when we yield to His Holy Spirit, and allow Him to LOVE others through us. 

When we stand before the Lord and our works are judged, I believe that we will be judged on how much (or how little) we showed love for God and for others. Paul said that our lives are an “…epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2) –a letter that all people watching can ‘read’! It has been said that people may not read the book of Acts or the book of Revelation, but they will watch our lives and our “acts” will “reveal” a whole lot! I hope that they see our lives as a LOVE letter from God, telling others how much He loves them and wants to have a relationship with them.

So, LOVE is pretty important! True Christians (those who have trusted in Christ and Christ alone for our salvation, by believing that He died on the Cross to pay the price for our sins) are a very small minority in this world. Which means that God’s LOVE –that results from a Christian being indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit, and then yielding to that Holy Spirit—is in short supply in this world. It’s no wonder our world is in such trouble! At the beginning I said that the opposite is a selfish, hateful, envious, critical spirit. Isn’t that what we are seeing with the increase in divorce, single-parent homes, abuse, domestic violence and the horrific school shootings?

I know I have written a couple of blogs about LOVE (‘All you need is Love’ and ‘Love is in the Air’), but that’s because it is so important. My prayer is that others will see God’s LOVE in me, and that I can pass it on to others. I pray others will see it in you, too!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

“We cannot love too much.” –Amy Carmichael

Fruit of the Spirit

fruit-of-the-spirit-KJV-1.jpgBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  (Galatians 5:22,23)

Our Pastor encouraged us to set spiritual goals for 2018, and the only goal I can think of is to be more Christ-like. And, what is more Christ-like than the 9-fold Fruit of the Spirit? So, this year, that will be my focus. Here’s a brief synopsis of what I know right now about the Fruit of the Spirit, and I am going to try to go more in-depth through the year as time permits, and as the LORD leads…

Love – The essential ingredient for all other graces to grow. Not a feeling, but a choice. Self-sacrificing, seeking what’s best for others, expecting nothing in return. The opposite is a selfish, hateful, envious, critical spirit.

Joy –The ‘smile of the soul’ that is unaffected by people or circumstances. It grows from the love of God flowing in and through us. Our relationship with the Lord makes us thankful for everything when we focus on Him and abide in His presence. The opposite is a selfish, ungrateful, complaining spirit.

Peace – The ‘conscious possession of adequate resources’. Knowing that our loving God is in control, and resting in Him, helps us to worry about nothing, pray about everything and be thankful for anything. The opposite is worry, fear, and anxiety in our soul.

Longsuffering –When we realize how patient and forgiving our loving Lord has been with us, we can extend the same to others. Patience is accepting a trial in our lives, and waiting for God to work, without giving Him a deadline to remove it. The opposite is selfishness, impatience and an unforgiving, bitter spirit.

Gentleness – Jesus always responded with kindness and compassion, He understood that human beings are valuable and fragile, and need to be handled with care. When we yield to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and show kindness to others, we are doing it to our Lord. The opposite is a selfish, unkind, insensitive, and rude spirit.

Goodness – Just doing what is right and good, as Jesus “…went about doing good”. God’s indwelling love will help us to sacrifice and do good even to those who are not good to us. It is enough to know that God saw and smiled. The opposite is a selfish, worldly, sinful, and retaliatory spirit.

Faith – Having a firm faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and acting on it! Our faithfulness to Christ and to others will cause us to shine as bright lights in this dark world. The opposite is a doubting, distrustful and untrustworthy spirit.

Meekness – Having a humble servant’s spirit that is more interested in being a servant than in being served. Not insisting on my own rights, rather insisting on putting other’s and God’s will first. The opposite is a prideful, arrogant, and selfish spirit.

Temperance – Strength from the Lord not to give in to indulgences, desires, and passions, and to submit to God’s will. Having a guard on our mouth, and a leash on our temper. The opposite is a selfish, carnal spirit, controlled by self and the flesh.

I look forward to studying these nine visible attributes that grow in us as we yield to the Holy Spirit’s control, and sharing my discoveries with you. I’m already working on “Love” for February, and will post at the end of each month what I learn about each fruit.

~ Graced and Grateful Grammy

You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving”

 

 

Little Arrows

Little Arrowsquiver

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed…” (Psalm 127:3-5)

I have been thinking a lot lately about my children, how we raised them, and how thankful I am that they are all such fun people to be around. It must be because I miss them all after having them all home at Christmas.

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert, and my children are not all full-grown yet. But, as my husband and I like to say about our five children, “there’s not a throwback in the bunch!” I thought I would share with you some principles we used when raising our children. So, here are some of my thoughts as a mother of five and grandmother of three, on how we raised our children – you will notice that the fruit of the Spirit is woven throughout, which is no surprise, because it takes the fruit of the Spirit in us parents to raise good kids, and our aim is for them to be led by the Spirit.

LOVE them – As a mother, our job is to LOVE our children (Titus 2:4), and loving our children encompasses a lot: Protecting, guiding, nurturing, nursing, saying “NO” when necessary, being there for them, and looking out for their best interests – in a self-sacrificing, unconditional manner, as our Heavenly Father loves us. My husband likes to give our children the “I’m the best friend you’ll ever have speech”, because, really, their friends will come and go, their friends will not put their needs ahead of their own, and their friends may not always be in their lives.

PRAY for them – Someone once challenged me, “If you don’t pray for your children, WHO do you think will?” That struck me to the core! I MUST pray for my kids. Daily. Fervently. (James 5:16). Pray for them to seek and obey God’s will. Pray that they will grow in His grace and knowledge. Pray for their protection from evil. Pray for their future spouses (whenever my children bring home a ‘special someone’, I always think “is this the one I’ve been praying for all these years?”). When we pray, God gives us that PEACE that passes all understanding as we place them in His capable hands, knowing that they belong to Him anyway (Philippians 4:7).

SPEAK to them about God and His Word – Family devotions are so important, especially when children are young. They need to hear their parents talking about God and His Word, and how it applies to every aspect of our lives, and it should be a natural part of our everyday conversations (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). We gave our children Bibles as soon a they were old enough to carry it to Church by themselves. I used to teach them to repeat after me what the Bible says (in a nutshell, at their level of understanding): “Jesus loves me, and obey your Parents!” They would repeat it back, it was funny, but true! They need to learn at an early age that they are sinners in need of a Savior, and that their FAITH needs to be in Him for their salvation.

DISCIPLINE them – Children need our help to stay on track, if you’ve spent any time around children you know that their natural bent is to be selfish and foolish. They need help! Don’t be afraid to say “No”, even when it’s hard to (Hebrews 12:11), because you know what’s best for them. They need to learn TEMPERANCE, or SELF-CONTROL. One definition of the word “discipline” is training that makes people more willing to obey or more able to control themselves, often in the form of rules, and punishments if these are broken And that’s exactly what we do!

Teach them to WORK HARD – A good work ethic is invaluable! And, there is nothing more satisfying than to sit back and look at a job-well-done! (2 Thesselonians 3:10) That is something you should want your children to experience. Resist the urge to do it all for them! Our job as parents is to ‘work our way out of our job’ – lead our children into adulthood so that they can live independently of their parents. It will take PATIENCE and LONG SUFFERING, but it will be worth it.

LAUGH with them – Don’t forget to have fun with your children. Laugh with them (Proverbs 15:13). Make home a haven where they know they can come and relax, enjoy some family private jokes, and be themselves. It should be a JOY for them to come home, they shouldn’t dread it!

Teach them to be KIND – My husband still teases me about the number of times I would proclaim to my kids, “Be ye KIND one to another!” My mother taught me to ‘kill them with kindness’ when someone was unkind to me, and it is Biblical truth (1 Thessalonians 5:15, Ephesians 4:32).

Teach them to be HONEST – We do this mostly by example. Don’t be a hypocrite! Now, I know we all act a little differently at home than we do at Church, but we have to practice what we preach, or it doesn’t mean anything! We always told our children the importance of telling the truth, and so we must be truthful too. Our “GOODNESS” cannot be skin deep, it must come from a heart that wants to please and serve our Savior (Matthew 12:35), and you know what? Our kids can see right through us!! So, don’t judge them harshly on something that you do (Matthew 7:5, Romans 2:1). Be honest for Goodness’ sake!

Teach them RESPECT for Authority – Children learn respect for authority from how their mother treats their father. The father is the head of the household, and if I am rebellious and disrespectful to him, they will be too! And they will be rebellious and disrespectful to other authority figures in their lives (Ephesians 5:15,33). It takes humility, or MEEKNESS. I have heard meekness described as “velvet over steel”, meekness is not weakness, it is having power but knowing when and how to use it in a kind and loving way that is helpful to everyone.

Our Pastor recently said at a baby dedication that children are like arrows – we place them in our “bow” of training them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, aim them at the “target” of living to please the Lord, and “shoot” them off into the world praying that they hit the mark. I pray that your arrows fly straight and to the “mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

I hope this was helpful, it’s pretty much common sense, but nowadays it seems like common sense isn’t so common! Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5)

 

Christmas Thoughts

Creche

 

I have been meditating recently on all the components of the Christmas Story, and here are some of my thoughts…

1. The Ancestors: (Matthew 1:2-16; Luke 3:23-38):

When we start to read the story of Christ in Matthew, we begin with the list of “begats”, and the account in Luke ends with a list of “was the son ofs”. Have you ever wondered why those lists of ancestors are there? I know they are there for a reason – lineage is important! The Messiah was prophesied to come from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), and from the lineage of David (Isaiah 11:1). These lists of “begats” prove that both Joseph and Mary were of the lineage of David. To me, it shows that God was orchestrating from the beginning, from Adam, a lineage all the way down to Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, and to Mary, His mother. I found it fascinating in Luke 3, when Jesus was baptized, and God the Father said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased”, and then goes on to talk about all the other sons: And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, ich was the son of Heli”. So, Jesus “was supposed” or assumed by most to be the son of Joseph, and Joseph was the son(-in-law) of Heli. Thus proving that both Jesus’ earthly father and mother were from the lineage of David. We know that Joseph really was not His biological father, the Holy Spirit is, so it is important that His mother is from that same lineage, too.

2. The Angels: (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:11, 1:26, 2:13)

Angels have appeared as messengers singly, and sometimes in pairs throughout the Bible. A single angel (Gabriel) told Zaccharias about his son, John. A single angel (Gabriel) told Mary the news that she would give birth to God’s Son! A single angel told Joseph the truth about his espoused wife’s pregnancy. BUT, when the greatest event to happen on earth was being proclaimed, the WHOLE SKY was filled with “a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Christ the LORD was born in the City of David!!

3. The Town: Bethlehem: (Micah 5:2: Luke 2:4,11)

The name Bethlehem means “House of Bread”, it is the town where the first king of Israel, David, was born and raised, and where he was anointed to be king. Thus, its being referred to as “The City of David”. It is in the land of Judea. The prophet Micah said that the Messiah would be born in the little town of Bethlehem. And, Jacob (Israel) buried his beloved wife, Rachel in Bethlehem. It is also where the passover lambs were raised, the first-born, perfect males who would be sacrificed at the Temple at Passover – to remember when God passed over the homes of those Israelites who had the blood of the Lamb on their doorposts. (Kinda gives you the glory bumps, doesn’t it?). Bethlehem is a little town with BIG meaning.

4. The Virgin Mary: (Luke 1:28, 38, 47, 48)

Mary does not say much, but what is said about her speaks volumes. “Highly favored…the Lord is with thee…blessed among women…” She was espoused to Joseph, sort of an engagement period where the marriage had not yet been consummated, but they were in a binding contract that could only be ended by divorce (“putting away” which Joseph considered in Matthew 1:19) usually for sexual immorality (“fornication”). This special young lady is told that she will be impregnated by the Holy Ghost and that the child she would bear is the Son of God. She responds humbly, reverently, and obediently – I think that every devoted young Jewish girl in those days wondered if they would be the virgin spoken of in Isaiah 7:14 who would bear the Son of God – Immanuel! I wonder if Jewish girls today still wonder the same?? Mary was the chosen vessel, although she herself was still a sinner in need of a Savior, she said, “my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. When Elizabeth confirmed what the angel had told her about the baby, Mary said, “from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” I don’t think she fully understood what was going on, but the Bible tells us that Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” – She was thinking hard on all of this! She was a wise young woman.

5. The Cousin, Elisabeth: (Luke 1:6, 7, 18, 41-45)

Mary’s cousin Elisabeth also experienced a miraculous conception, she was “well stricken in years” when God placed John the Baptist in her previously barren womb. The Bible speaks highly of this godly lady righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless”. At first, she may have been curious, she may have heard rumors that Mary was with child, and was waiting for Mary to arrive so she could find out the truth. But she was filled with the Holy spirit when she met with Mary face-to-face, because He revealed to her that Mary’s baby was the Lord. She learned from her husband’s mistakes and said to Mary, “…blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Elisabeth was a wise older woman.

6. The Husband, Joseph: (Matthew 1:19-25;

Joseph was also a very special man. He was just, kind, humble, and obedient to the Lord. The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly what transpired when Mary broke the news to Joseph that she was with child, but you can just imagine the thoughts that went through his mind – she said it was the Holy Ghost, but, really?! He could have had her stoned, but the scripture says, “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily”. What a guy!! And to add to this – imagine a young groom looking forward to his wedding night as any man would – an angel came to him and told him that he could not know her as his wife until after the child is born. But Joseph, being a godly man, obeyed, he went through with the marriage, and “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son”. Joseph was a wise man.

7. The Shepherds: (Luke 2:8-18)

I LOVE that the amazing announcement was not made at the Temple, or at the Palace, but to shepherds, ordinary people, just going about their ordinary lives. Now, these shepherds did have a special job, they took care of the Passover lambs – those perfect first-born males who would be sacrificed at the Temple at Passover – and THAT gives me the glory bumps too! The angel came and told them that they had good tidings of great joy for ALL people. And those shepherds hurried to Bethlehem to see what the angels had described. Imagine! The very first people to hear the news that Christ the Savior is born – they who went and worshiped Him in that humble stable – they saw the Bread of Life, in the House of Bread, laying in a feed trough (a server of bread)! I don’t think that is a coincidence! Then those Shepherds couldn’t wait to run out and around the town telling everyone they saw that Christ the Savior is born!! They were some wise shepherds.

8. Roman Rulers: Caesar Augustus and Herod: (Luke 2:1, Matt. 2:1-8, 12-15)

God even used heathen, evil men to bring His plan to fruition. Caesar Augustus got them to Bethlehem to fulfill Micah’s prophesy (Micah 5:2), and Herod got them to Egypt to fulfill Hosea’s prophesy (Hosea 11:1). This gives me comfort in this world to know that even evil rulers are under God’s control. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” (Proverbs 21:1).

The wisdom of man is foolishness to God.

9. The Magi, the Wise Men: (Matthew 2:1-13)

These wise men from the East had studied many things, they knew enough about the Hebrew scriptures to know that when the special star appeared that the King of the Jews was born! They hurried to Jerusalem with their entourage and asked the current King of the Jews – Herod – where the baby was?! Herod didn’t know – What star?? What baby?? The Wise men went on, led by the star to Bethlehem, and worshiped the young child, the Lord Jesus. They brought Him gifts fit for a King – Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. They were truly wise men who sought out the Lord Jesus, and wise men still seek Him.

10. The Baby Jesus – Immanuel:

And then there is our Lord Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us. It still blows my mind that God Himself, the Helper of the helpless, laid aside His glory in Heaven, and took on the form of one of the most helpless creatures on the earth – a baby human being. Not only did He become a helpless human, but instead of being born in a palace or temple, where we would expect the King of Glory to be born, He chose to be born in a humble stable, in a humble feed trough, to humble people, and His first visitors were humble shepherds. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself…” (Philippians 2:8). The baby in the manger did not stay a baby, though, He is the Savior, the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

This Christmas I am filled anew with the wonder of it all. Jesus came down from Heaven to live a short, perfect, life on earth so that He could be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He was born to die for us. Hallelujah, What a Savior!

Merry Christmas, and blessings for the New Year!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

I wonder as I wander out under the sky, How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on’ry people like you and like I; I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

All One Body We

All one bodyFor as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)

My husband and I like to tease each other that we are both “missing parts” 🙂 I have had my gallbladder removed (cholecystectomy), and he had his thyroid removed (thyroidectomy) – the suffix “-ectomy” is from the Greek word for the “act of cutting out”. Now, our bodies still function, but not as well as they would if we still had all our parts. There are some things that our head (or our mind) might want to do, but we just can’t (at least not without taking medication!)…

I find it fascinating that the Lord refers to His Church as the “Body of Christ”, and that every born-again believer is a “member” of that Body. The word “member” means “a part belonging to a whole”! Isn’t that wonderful?! Christ is the Head, and we are the Body – we are to work together in harmony to accomplish whatever our Head asks us to do. Every member has their specific job as it pleased the Lord to determine – just like the human body has hands, feet, eyes, ears, noses (1 Corinthians 15-18). So, when one member is not working properly, or has “cut out” entirely, the Body of Christ will still function, but not to its fullest potential.

This makes me think that I don’t want to be the one that causes the body to be dysfunctional. But, I know that when I am in sin, and am ignoring the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life and going my own way – someone else has to fill in where I “cut out”. Or, I may have to fill in sometimes where others have “cut out”, and then I get overwhelmed because I can’t keep up with it all. (I know, sometimes we take on unnecessary stuff in our lives and then we can’t accomplish the necessary!)

However, when the Body of Christ works together and everyone is doing what God has called them to do, it is a beautiful thing!! I know – I’ve seen it happen many times at my own Church!

You know how, when you stub your toe, your whole body reacts – your mouth yells, your hand grabs your toe, your body jumps up and down?? Or, when you hear some beautiful music and your eyes fill with tears, you may get goosebumps all over your body, and you feel warm and fuzzy inside?? Well, as a Body, we weep when other member weep, and we rejoice with them when they rejoice.

And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)

So, as you go to Church, as you pray for other believers, as you go about serving and ministering – remember, we are all one body, and we are doing it all for our Head, the LORD Jesus Christ, that He may be glorified through us.

Let’s remember Whose body we belong to, and let’s take care of that body

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

 Like a mighty army moves the Church of God;

Brothers, we are treading where the Saints have trod.

We are not divided; All one body we:

One in hope and doctrine, One in charity.”