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Friday, December 29, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 52:52

Welcome to the last lens of the year! I pray you all had a blessed holiday.

We had a nice quiet day. It was cold and although there was no snow, we still have our memories of the miracle from two weeks before.

We had about five inches in our part of south Texas. The first time in thirty years they say! It barely lasted 24 hours but we enjoyed every moment!



It was humbling to think that for some this was the first snow they had ever experienced and for many, it will be the only one or their last.

I thought about the animals, too. Few, if any, were alive 30 years ago. What did they think of this fluffy white material falling from the sky; coating their fur, hair, and feathers?

The flock of killdeer that had arrived for the holidays did not seem amused. The deer, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy the winter wonderland.




The snow started in the evening and I was so afraid it would be gone by morning that I was taking pictures in the dark! 




The temps stayed cold and we awoke to a blanket of peace. There is a unique silence that the snow brings to the world.








And just like Frosty wanted to run and play before he melted away, I wanted to get as many pictures as possible. The sun was bright and warm so I knew I didn't have much time!







The blessing of the snow is a memory we will cherish for many years to come. I pray that you, too, have memories from 2017 that you will carry with you into the new year.  


May 2018 bring even more memories made to cherish and hold dear.

Happy New Year!
Blessings,

Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture XVI


And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!" (Luk 2:8-14)

Shalom, 



Friday, December 22, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture XV




And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about Him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because He was before me.'") For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (Joh 1:14-17)

Shalom, 





Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture XIII

Scripture Pictures - Cindee Snider Re

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luk 2:1-7)

And so, Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem. The prophecy from day one fulfilled. 

As you might imagine, this was not an easy time for Mary. Pregnant. Riding for days on a donkey. Giving birth in such mean circumstances. 

My friend, Mary Geisen, in her 2nd Sunday of Advent post, considers Mary and Joseph's journey toward Bethlehem and what it might mean for us as we journey these last days before Christmas, waiting to celebrate His birth.

It's worth taking the time to read. Just click either of the links in the paragraph above.

Shalom,

The series:
A Season in Scripture I
A Season in Scripture II
A Season in Scripture III 
A Season in Scripture IV
A Season in Scripture V 
A Season in Scripture VI
A Season in Scripture VII
A Season in Scripture VIII
A Season in Scripture IX
A Season in Scripture X

A Season in Scripture XI
A Season in Scripture XII

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture XII




Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called His name Jesus. (Mat 1:18-25)


We do well to think on Joseph's actions here. As Matthew Henry says, "Were there more of deliberation in our censures and judgments, there would be more of mercy and moderation in them."

We can only assume that Joseph felt betrayed, disappointed, angry and perhaps even jealous over Mary's supposed action. He knew her to be a virtuous woman, yet the fact that she was with child could not be denied. How conflicted he must have been!

Conflicted, yes, but above all, Joseph was a righteous man and was inclined to be merciful as God is merciful.

There is little mercy in our world today. We, as a culture, are quick to judge, often even before all the evidence has been disclosed. We assume that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is guilty of being a duck. But there is more to a person than their walk and their talk.

Sometimes it takes being judged wrongly ourselves before we are willing to extend mercy like Joseph. Friend, this is a hard lesson to learn. I pray, rather, that we will be slow to judgment and more inclined to be merciful simply because we, like Joseph, are children of a kind and merciful God.

Joseph, like Mary, was part of God's perfect plan for revealing His gift to mankind. Jesus was never to be called the son of a harlot. (Matt 13:55

He was the son of a carpenter, the Son of Man, the Son of God.


Shalom,


The series:
A Season in Scripture I
A Season in Scripture II
A Season in Scripture III 
A Season in Scripture IV
A Season in Scripture V 
A Season in Scripture VI
A Season in Scripture VII

A Season in Scripture VIII
A Season in Scripture IX
A Season in Scripture X

A Season in Scripture XI





Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Monday, December 18, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture XI



And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is for those who fear Him from generation to generation. (Luk 1:46-50)

Mary's world had been turned upside down by the visit from the angel and she had just arrived at her cousin's house after an arduous journey. This was far from a quiet and reflective time for her. Yet she praises God for the blessing she has received.

During the next two weeks, which are likely the busiest of the year, you will hear many calls to "slow down."

Rather than being stressed about trying to de-stress our lives, let us, like Mary, learn to praise God amidst the craziness. Let us invite Him to be present in our moments of rushing to the cousin's house, rushing to pick up the turkey, rushing to get ready for the Christmas play. Rushing, rushing.

By all means, grab the moment of peace if you can but the wonder of His coming is that He is Immanuel; God with us.

He is with us everywhere - may we simply be aware.

Shalom,

The series:
A Season in Scripture I
A Season in Scripture II
A Season in Scripture III 
A Season in Scripture IV
A Season in Scripture V 
A Season in Scripture VI
A Season in Scripture VII

A Season in Scripture VIII
A Season in Scripture IX
A Season in Scripture X


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Inspired by . . .  A Season in Scripture X



In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."  (Luk 1:39-45)

These two women are beautiful examples of humility. There is no doubt they were strong women. Elizabeth endured nearly a lifetime of unanswered prayer. She was likely viewed by others as unfavored because of her barrenness. And we can easily imagine the scorn Mary endured for being with child before the "official" wedding ceremony.

Strong women, yes, but we see no evidence that they were bold or pretentious. Rather it is their humility that shines through in these early murmurings of the Christmas story.

We saw yesterday Mary's humble response to the angel's message. She was terrified and likely confused about all that was about to happen, yet she doesn't question God about His timing. (Couldn't You wait until I'm married, Lord?) She knows the message is from God and she responds with acceptance and humility: "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." 

For nine months she was blessed to carry our Lord inside of her womb; in nine days we greet Him once again!

Those of you who have had children know the joy of the quickening of the baby within you. Elizabeth's joy was doubled! She had waited her whole life for this child. And now, her child leapt for joy at the voice of Mary, the mother of the long-awaited Messiah.

Unlike her husband, Zechariah, she doesn't grouse at God for taking so long. I imagine that her joy and thankfulness overshadowed any bitterness or resentment that might have grown in her heart as she waited those long years.

Two women receive the gift of a child. One is barely a child herself and one is in the autumn of her life. Elizabeth's baby would change her life. Mary's Son would change the world.

As we wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus let us consider all those other things for which we wait. Let us view them in the light of His coming. In the light of His "already but not yet". Let us remember that the truth of the waiting is that His timing is perfect. So is the gift.

Shalom,



The series:
A Season in Scripture I
A Season in Scripture II
A Season in Scripture III 
A Season in Scripture IV
A Season in Scripture V 
A Season in Scripture VI
A Season in Scripture VII

A Season in Scripture VIII
A Season in Scripture IX








Saturday, December 16, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture IX




In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (Luk 1:26-38)


The city of Nazareth today is a very different place than it was at the time Gabriel appeared to Mary. Against the backdrop of these miraculous verses, a mere man announcing that he is canceling Christmas seems very silly indeed.

The truth is you can't cancel Christmas.

Christmas is much more than an event. It is a Person. And He is eternal.

Shalom,


The series:
A Season in Scripture I
A Season in Scripture II
A Season in Scripture III 
A Season in Scripture IV
A Season in Scripture V 
A Season in Scripture VI

A Season in Scripture VII

A Season in Scripture VIII

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture VIII


A Psalm. 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. 
   Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! 
   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. (Psa 98:1-9)

Psalm 98 reads like a Christmas song to me this morning. Maybe it's just me or maybe its because this time of year every song seems to say, "Merry Christmas"

Or, perhaps, its because these verses reveal the very heart of what we are waiting for, what we are celebrating this time of the year.

Jesus is the marvelous thing that the Lord has done! For us! 

The little baby boy is His righteousness revealed! For us!

In the arrival of the Magi we see that, indeed, all the ends of the earth have seen this salvation.

And then the singing begins! The first CHRISTmas carols! Songs of the season are fun, in fact, Silver Bells is one of my favorites, but the true carols of CHRISTmas feed our souls even as our raised voices bring Him honor and glory!

Even the little boy with the drum knew that he stood before the King. He gave Jesus his best. In all our comings and goings this season, let us remember to do the same.


Shalom,


The series:
A Season in Scripture I
A Season in Scripture II
A Season in Scripture III 
A Season in Scripture IV

A Season in Scripture V 
A Season in Scripture VI

A Season in Scripture VII


Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus