Tuesday With Karen

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He Sees

He sees every tear I cry when my heart is feeling grief,

I know the touch of His hand alone is what brings relief;

When I have thoughts within that make me ashamed,

I take comfort to know He understands my frame.

He sees the broken pieces deep inside my heart,

He can repair it all, right down to the tiniest part;

Even when I’ve been wounded by family or friends,

The Comforter gives grace & love that never ends.

He sees every storm that ever comes upon my life,

Every wind & wave that passes by, in the darkest night;

He is still the Master of the Sea, like in Bible days,

When He says, “Peace, be still”, that storm will still obey.

He sees all that happens from His holy throne above,

Reaching down so often to hold me close in His love;

So, when the devil tries to bring me heartache & defeat,

The Lord reminds me there’s nothing He doesn’t see!

 

Resolve to “Be There”

Let our New Year’s resolution be this:
We will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity,
in the finest sense of the word. —Goran Persson

“Kindness is like snow — it beautifies everything it covers.” —Kahlil Gibran

“The greatest act of mercy that God performs is giving the gift of faith.” —R.C. Sproul

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.” —Phyllis Diller

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that
experience can instill in us.” —Hal Borland

“Ye know not what the Lord is working out of this, but ye shall know it hereafter.” —Samuel Rutherford

In the midst of winter’s chill, as we grow impatient for spring, fill us with
your warmth and new life, dear Lord

Advice

All the Advice You’ll Ever Need

By Steve Goodier

“Let me give you some advice.” How often have we heard that? We sometimes ask the opinions of friends or experts, but I know that unsolicited advice is not something people appreciate much. Which is why it is sometimes said that free advice is worth about as much as you pay for it. Or put another way: “Plain advice is free. The right answer will cost plenty.”

Personally, I don’t like advice unless I think I need it. And I’m careful about giving it, too. I know I’m not alone in this. American president Harry Truman once said, “I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” At least that way your recommendation is followed.

One boy wrote in an essay on the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates: “Socrates was a man who went around town giving his advice and opinions, so—they poisoned him!” What this student lacks in historical accuracy he more than makes up for in his sense about how well most unsolicited advice is received.

The problem is—what works well for one person may not fit someone else. Take the wisdom offered by American baseball player Leroy “Satchel” Paige. His rules on living might have been all right for him, but they don’t suit most of us. Here is his counsel. Take it or leave it.

“Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.

If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.

Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.

Go very lightly on vices such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain’t restful.

Avoid running at all times.

Don’t look back. Something may be gaining on you.”

Don’t hear me say that all advice should be discarded. Not at all. Nor should we overlook wisdom from unlikely sources. Like the “uneducated.” Or those from a bygone era.

I have a faded letter clipped from a newspaper many years ago. The author published some counsel given him by his grandmother who had died some 60 years prior, and who had never attended school. She offered it printed on a slip of paper, accompanied by the words, “All the advice you’ll ever need to have a good life.” I find it worth remembering. This is what she wrote:  (adapted from Abp. Stephen Langton d. 1228)

“Wash what is dirty.
Water what is dry.
Heal what is wounded.
Warm what is cold.
Guide what goes off the road.
Love people who are least lovable, because they need it most.”

There is lot of wisdom packed in those few words. And she said it best: “All the advice you’ll ever need to have a good life.”

By Steve Goodier

The Good Life

By Charles Stanley

Make a joyful shout to the  Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. —Psalm 100

We all know of people who suffer from deteriorating health, financial reverses, and other troubles. How are we to process such situations in light of what the Scriptures teach about the Lord’s goodness and the expression of His benevolence towards us?

First, God’s character is perfect, and everything He does is right. (See Deut. 32:4.) He is “compassionate and gracious … and abounding in loving kindness” (Ps. 103:8). By His very nature, God is good. Second, our heavenly Father expresses His goodness based on His purpose of conforming us to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). From the Lord’s perspective, everything that fits into His plan is beneficial for us.

The greatest demonstration of our Father’s goodness is seen in His Son’s life and death. Jesus left His heavenly home, took on the form of man, suffered, and died in our place so we might be forgiven (Phil. 2:6-8). Because of what our Savior endured, we who have trusted in Him are adopted into God’s family, and heaven is our eternal home.

At the time of Christ’s crucifixion, the disciples could not see anything beneficial in it. They knew only great sorrow. But we understand that God gave His own Son so that He might
accomplish our salvation (Rom. 8:32).

Our definition of the good life would probably include material success, good health, and the absence of trouble—things that make us happy right now. But God has an eternal perspective, and He always works to fulfill His long-term plan for us. We can trust in His goodness, even in dark times.

Wade’s Wednesday

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That’s what Christmas is all about

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Tuesday With Karen

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Thankful for the Babe from long ago who became the Savior we know! KI

The Babe Of Bethlehem

The Babe of Bethlehem came to this earth,
It was a Holy Spirit filled, virgin birth;
Jesus was sent here, as a man, to dwell,
A loving Gift given, who saves us from Hell!

The Babe of Bethlehem came forth unto man,
His delivery came by way of God’s own hand;
God’s righteous Son came down as a babe,
The Redeemer provided so we can be saved!

The Babe of Bethlehem, born of virgin Mary,
Is the only One who conquered the cemetery;
He lived, died, and was placed in the grave,
Arising victorious after only three days!

The Babe of Bethlehem, Saviour of man’s soul,
Wonderful, Counselor, makes us fully whole;
Alpha and Omega, the Royal One of Heaven,
Is the most perfect Gift we’ve ever been given!
12-19-19

                              

Christmas Sacrifice

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. Galatians 4:4

O. Henry’s classic tale “The Gift of the Magi” tells us of Jim and Della, a young married couple who are poor. As Christmas approaches they want to give special gifts to each other, but their lack of money drives them to drastic measures. Jim’s prized possession is a gold watch, while Della’s is her long, beautiful hair. So Jim sells his watch in order to buy combs for Della’s hair, while Della sells her hair to buy a chain for Jim’s watch.

The story has deservedly become beloved, for it reminds us that sacrifice is at the heart of true love, and sacrifice is love’s truest measure. This idea is particularly appropriate for Christmas, because sacrifice is the heartbeat of the story of the birth of Christ. Jesus Christ was born to die, and He was born to die for us. That is why the angel told Joseph, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21).

Long before Christ’s birth, it had been determined that He would come to rescue us from our fallenness—which means that we can never fully appreciate the manger unless we see it in the shadow of the cross.

Christmas is completely about Christ’s love, seen clearly in His sacrifice for us.

The essential fact of Christianity is that God thought all humanity was
worth the sacrifice of His Son. 

The Drummer Boy

By Bill Crowder

“The Little Drummer Boy” is a popular Christmas song written in 1941. It was originally known as “Carol of the Drum” and is based on a traditional Czech carol. Although there isn’t any reference to a drummer boy in the Christmas story in Matthew 1–2 and Luke 2, the point of the carol goes straight to the heart of the meaning of worship. The carol describes how a boy is summoned by the Magi to the scene of Christ’s birth. Unlike the wise men, however, the drummer has no gift—so he gives what he has. He plays his drum, saying, “I played my best for Him.”

This echoes the worship Jesus described when He told of the widow and her two coins: “ ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on’ ” (Luke 21:3-4).

God is worthy of our all.

All the drummer boy had was his drum and all the poor widow had were her two coins, but the God they worshiped was worthy of their all. He is worthy of our all as well, having given His all for us.

All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live. (Judson W. Van De Venter)

Your little is a lot when you give your all.

Wade’s Wednesday

Our Christmas season would hardly seem complete without the singing of Joy to the World, the most joyous of the carols. Yet Isaac Watts, its author, never intended it to be a Christmas carol at all. Rather, it was a part of his Psalms of David Imitated, published in 1719, which contained paraphrases of many of the Psalms in New Testament language.

The story of the hymn, Joy to the World, is the story of the author, Isaac Watts (1675-1748), who is universally acknowledged as “The Father of English Hymnody”. He has earned the title, not because he was first to write English hymns, but because he gave impetus to hymnody and established its place in the worship of the English church.

For over one hundred years, congregational singing had been strictly limited to the Psalms of the Old Testament in poetic form. Many of these rhymed Psalms were so unnatural that Samuel Wesley, father of the famous brothers Charles and John, called them “scandalous doggerel,” and his opinion was shared by many.

The birth of Isaac Watts to a dissenting deacon and the daughter of a Huguenot refugee was followed by fourteen years of persecution and hardships for the entire family. Perhaps this suffering was responsible for Isaac Watts’ ill health, for he grew only to a height of just over five feet and was weak and sickly all his life.

Though weak in body, the boy was strong in mind and spirit and early in life showed promise of poetic capability. After one Sunday morning service, Isaac, then fifteen years old, complained of the atrocious worship in song. One of the deacons challenged him: “Give us something better, young man.” His answer was ready for the evening service and was sung that night in the Independents’ meeting, Southampton, where his father was pastor. Perhaps a hint of things to come was contained in this first verse of Isaac Watts:

Behold the glories of the Lamb
Amidst His Father’s throne;
Prepare new honors for His name,
And songs before unknown.

When Isaac began to preach several years later, his congregation sang the songs that seemed to flow from his pen like a river. In 1707, the accumulation of eighteen years was published under the title, Hymns and Spiritual Songs. The river continued to flow, and in 1719 his “Psalms of David Imitated” was published, not as a new paraphrase of David, but as an imitation of him in New Testament language. It was as though the Psalms burst forth in their fulfillment at last.

Joy to the World is the “imitation” of the last half of Psalm 98. The author transformed the old Jewish psalm of praise for some historic deliverance into a Christian song of rejoicing for the salvation of God that began to be manifested when the Babe of Bethlehem came “to make his blessing flow far as the curse is found.” This is one of the most joyous hymns in all Christendom because it makes so real what Christ’s birth means to all mankind.

The tune to which the hymn is sung is attributed to George Frederick Handel and bears resemblance to phrases of his great oratorio, Messiah. Notably the first four tones match the beginning of the chorus, “Lift Up Your Heads.”

As we rejoice in the coming to earth of our Savior, we may also be glad for the veritable river of hymns that flowed from the pen of Isaac Watts. His name stands at the head of our most majestic hymns, notably, “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross.” In many hymnals more hymns of Isaac Watts are to be found than of any other single author.

 

 

Tuesday With Karen

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God’s Faithfulness
When life causes problems to abound,
Making many heavy burdens be found;
He is faithful to all who call on His name,
After His sweet touch, nothing is the same!
 When hard times come for our heart to face,
And the broken pieces need to be replaced;
There’s nothing His hand can’t mend or repair,
When we humbly bow before Him in prayer!
 When situations make us confused,
God’s grace is still there, leading us through;
He never walks away when we need help,
But covers us with love, making all things well!
 God’s faithfulness, He will never forsake,
His leadership & guidance has no mistakes;
When we trust Him every hour of each day,
He will gladly lead us in the right way!