"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Advent-Week Three

The flame from the Shepherd’s Candle brightens the way in Week Three of the Advent season. JOY is our theme. The four focus scriptures are printed below. Week One and Week Two are available if you missed them and want to catch up.
“JOY to the world, the Lord has come,” we sing with gusto during the Christmas season. The baby whose birthday we are waiting to celebrate brought JOY to all of us with His first breath. When that same baby returns as a King following His Father’s orders to “go bring my children home," He will again bring JOY to the world.
Then we sing the next line of the song: “Let earth receive her King,” and we learn the choice to embrace that JOY is ours. We have to make a conscious decision to accept the JOY that is Him.
This week think about how God gave JOY to the whole world in the form of a baby. And ask yourself, “Have I opted to align myself with JOY or have I rejected the One who offers it to me?” My e-mail address is hiskid410@gmail.com if you need to talk.

Go forth with JOY-


Zephaniah 3:14-20 Israel's Joy and Restoration

14 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil.
16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
18 I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,
so that you will no longer suffer reproach.
19 Behold, at that time I will deal
with all your oppressors.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.
20 At that time I will bring you in,
at the time when I gather you together;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes,” says the Lord.

 Collect (Prayer) for Advent-Week Three:
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.

Zephaniah 3:14-20

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart!
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has taken away the judgments against you,
he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst;
you shall fear disaster no more.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands grow weak.
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you,
 that you will not bear reproach for it.
I will deal with all your oppressors
at that time.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.
At that time I will bring you home,
at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes, says the LORD.

Canticle 9 The First Song of Isaiah Ecce Deus

Isaiah 12:2-6

Surely, it is God who saves me; *
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, *
and he will be my Savior.

Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing *
from the springs of salvation.
And on that day you shall say, *
Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;
Make his deeds known among the peoples; *
see that they remember that his Name is exalted.
Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, *
And this is known in all the world.
Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy, *
for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Luke 3:7-18

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our ancestor'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

And the crowds asked him, "What then should we do?" In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise." Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, "Teacher, what should we do?" He said to them, "Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you." Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what should we do?" He said to them, "Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages."

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Advent-Week Two

Week Two
We are now in Week Two of the Advent season. The candle this week is the candle of Bethlehem (some call it the candle of preparation) and the theme is PEACE. The four focus scriptures are printed below for your convenience. The post for Week I describing Advent can be found here if you missed it.
I am blessed to be able to share a poem about preparation with you this week. I met Keith Wallis through ChristianWriters.com. He has an amazing talent for using words in unique ways to bring new meaning to them. Check out his blogs or books for other poems he’s written.

Ascend our Thoughts
By Keith Wallis

Resplendent in glistered frost we unwrap the special day
when all is changed,  though still the same,
and mangers, stars and hay
ascend our thoughts. 

Nativities have come and gone in varieties of craft
some creating tear drops,
and some creating laughs
ascend our thoughts. 

Discarded wrappings litter our paths and cheery homes
and somehow Jesus lays there
while reindeer, elves and gnomes
ascend our thoughts. 

The carols fuel our reveries, Silent Nights and First Noels,
and in semi-Bleak Midwinter
the turkey-roasting smells
ascend our thoughts. 

The Christmas gift, if gift it is, costing much yet given so free
meanders in the mistletoe
as mischievous kissery
ascends our thoughts. 

Yet, trapped within our wonders, the miracle of birth,
new sounds upon the quietude,
new feet upon the earth
ascend our thoughts. 

And Christ has come again, again. In mangers of unworthy hearts
unwrapped, and Holy, bright and new
that love of God, which He imparts,
ascends our thoughts.

               Throughout the remainder of the Advent and Christmas seasons, let’s set our mind on PEACE as we go about the myriad chores it takes to prepare for Christmas. Let your spirit be so peaceful that it spreads to others. When they mention how peaceful you appear, tell them where your PEACE comes from – the One we celebrate, who came to bring PEACE to all, now and forever.
May your days be blessed with PEACE and joy-

Keith Wallis
Keith Wallis is an English poet and part of the Senior Leadership Team of Houghton Regis Baptist church. An Engineering Designer by trade, he brings an eye for detail as well as his faith into his poetry. Keith is also the poet in residence at Ruby e-zine and moderator at ChristianWriters.com. Married to Val in 1970, they have two sons and three grandsons. You can read his poetry on his blogs: ( http://wordsculptures-keith.blogspot.com/, http://ariverofsmallstones.blogspot.com/ , or wordsculpture. Keith has four books in print which you can find out about on his blogs.

Malachi 3:1-4 (ESV)
3 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Philippians 1:3-11 (ESV)

Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. 

Psalm 95 (ESV)

Let Us Sing Songs of Praise
95 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand. 

Luke 3:1-6 (ESV)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way
3 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent-Week One

Advent Wreath
The season of Advent on the Church Year Calendar began on Sunday, December 2, 2012. This marks the start of a four-week period in which Christians spend time preparing for the coming of the Messiah.
The word Advent originates with the Latin “Adventus” which translates   “coming” and is the equivalent of the Greek “parousia” which is commonly used in reference to the Second Coming. The season of Advent serves as a dual reminder of the waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the their Messiah, as well as the waiting Christians endure today as they await the second coming of Jesus.
Each week in Advent has a common thread including: a candle with a special meaning that is lit during corporate or family worship; there is a theme; and there are four scriptures. This week’s candle is the candle of prophecy, the theme is HOPE, and there are four scriptures, one each from the New Testament, the Old Testament, a Psalm and the Gospels.
Prophesy and hope are two sides of the same coin. Prophesy in the Bible was given as a warning of things to come, a heads-up so that people could change their behavior and receive the reward that is coming. It gave people hope that God loved them enough to give them a second chance to avoid the wrath that would come with disobedience. People living in obedience to God’s laws have an endless hope for the future rather than a hopeless end.
Moses with the
Ten Commandments
Before God gave us the Ten Commandments there were over 900 laws to obey. It was an almost impossible task so God boiled it down to just ten. That was better, but even that was hard. In the New Testament, Jesus boiled it down further to just two rules to live by – Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love everyone around you.
We do a long list of things to prepare for Christ’s coming at Christmas, but what do we do to prepare our hearts for Jesus’ birth and His Second Coming? The warning in the four scriptures for the week is to be ready at all times for His coming.
 How do we do that? Ask Jesus to come into your heart and be your Savior and then Love God and love those around you. If you need help with that, my e-mail address is hiskid410@gmail.com and it would thrill me to be in the birthing room with you when you are born into your new life in Christ.
I’m praying that God will fill your spirit with hope today and that your journey will be “joy-full” –


Jeremiah 33:14-16 (ESV)
The Lord's Eternal Covenant with David
14 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ 

Psalm 25:1-9 (ESV)
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.
6 Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way. 

I Thessalonians 3:9-13 (ESV)
9 For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10 as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?

11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Luke 21:25-36 (ESV)
The Coming of the Son of Man
25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
The Lesson of the Fig Tree
29 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Watch Yourselves
34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”