Wednesday, November 30, 2011

O Come All Ye Faithful

Most of us know this Christmas carol…or at least the first few words of it:

Oh, come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
Oh, come ye, oh, come ye, to Bethlehem.

Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;
Oh, come, let us adore Him, oh, come, let us adore Him,
Oh, come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Over the years, as we sing this and other songs over and over, I wonder if the words get lost behind the familiarity.  I wonder if the meanings of the words in these carefully written songs are even pondered.  It seems there is a bit of a “movement” to put CHRIST back into CHRISTmas, and since singing these songs is a big part of our celebration throughout the season, maybe thinking about what we’re singing can help. 

I have picked out some of the words and/or phrases in this song in an attempt to bring them to life a bit, so to speak.  I hope they help you to remember and focus on the true meaning and reason of CHRISTMAS.

All Ye Faithful
Have you ever wondered who these all these “faithful” are?  That would be those who believe in God the Father and His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ!  The “faithful” don’t just profess love, allegiance and loyalty with their mouth.  That’s a great first step, but truly faithful people of God will be evident to the world around them by the way they live their lives; not in showy works that make themselves look good, but through loving actions that bring all honor to God above.  To be faithful is to be loyal and constant; to be true to one's promises and vows; to be devoted.  How do you show or express your faithfulness to Him?

Matthew 25:23 – Well done good and faithful servant!

Come…Let Us Adore Him/Come…And Behold Him
The song invites us to come to Him.  To adore Him.  Adoration is defined as follows:  paying honor; worship; reverent homage; fervent and devoted love.  How often do you go to God (it’s an open invitation!)?  And when you do approach Him, is it in adoration?  I hear about many who approach Him in desperation, but adoration isn’t always first priority.  Oh, most of us eventually get around to that part after we’ve listed all our needs and wants.  But I’m pretty positive we’ve got that twisted around a bit.  Adore Him.  Seek his face.  Behold Him.  Gaze upon it with great affection.

Psalm 95:6 – Come, let us bow down in worship (adoration),
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

As we accept His invitation to be with Him, we can do so with great joy!  Even when our situations make us deeply sad, we can still be joyful in Jesus' presence.  Joy has little to do with US, and everything to do with Him.  To be joyful is to be delighted with something, jubilant and elated!  Just knowing that God is sovereign, and that Jesus has paid our ransom – that is pure joy. We can delight in that!

Psalm 37:4 - Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Oh, I think this is my favorite part…come to him triumphantly! Do you know why?  Triumph means victory.  And through Jesus’ blood, we already HAVE the victory over all that is evil, all that is sinful, all that is not of God!  Death has no hold on us.  By Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are redeemed by grace to our rightful place as co-heirs.  I think that is an amazingly exciting revelation and truth!

1 Corinthians 15:55 - Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?

King of Angels/Christ the Lord
Christ is our Lord and the King of Angels.  He lovingly reigns over all – He is in absolute control of everything.  I don’t know about you, but that is a BIG relief to me.  Because I know he has already claimed victory, there is no need for me to try to be in control of anything.  I can (and should) certainly do my part in the work He has set before me, but there’s no pressure to try to figure out the why’s or the how’s of it all.  The Lord and King above all has everything worked out already!

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD;
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I hope this has inspired you some, so the next time you’re singing your favorite CHRISTmas hymn, you might stop and think about the words you’re singing.   Behind the pretty music, there’s a “reason for the season” and a message just for your heart!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oh No - Not Another Thanksgiving Post! (Oh, Yes!)

Among the hundreds of things I am thankful for, one that comes to mind over and over again is my “small group” from church.  The church I attend is rather large, with an attendance upward of 5,000 on any given Sunday, just at our main campus!  These small groups allow us to connect with other people in a more intimate way outside of attending church on Sunday.  We basically “do life” together.  It is always God-centered; this is a place where we are able to share our highest highs and our lowest lows without fear of being judged or ridiculed.  We are supportive and encouraging of each other, and speaking truth in love to one another is ever-present.

I recently sent out an e-mail to the group as part of a thread that was circulating, and one of my sisters encouraged me that its content would make great blog material, so I took that as a prompting from the Holy Spirit to share this message.

Even though we are only a couple days away from celebrating Thanksgiving, giving thanks is something that goes beyond one day out of the year.  The message is short(-ish), so I hope you’ll continue reading.  I would love to know your thoughts…

I got a little curiosity going in my brain and looked up the words "thanks" and "give" - this may not be new to anyone else, but I know for me there are so many words/phrases I use daily that I really don't even think of the meaning behind them.

to express gratitude, appreciation or acknowledgement to

Give -
to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation

Did you get that?  

"without expecting compensation"

I know that I have been guilty of giving Him thanks out of a sense of obligation, AND in the hope that if I do so He will compensate me with the "desires of my heart" (which aren't necessarily in line with His will for me). 

But that's not how it's supposed to go.

We are to be thankful in ALL things. 

Check this out from scripture:

Not just when we get a prayer answered.
Not just when we are blessed with something awesome.
Not just when things are going our way! 

In ALL things.

In the hurt and pain; in the pit when we are there.  Yes, especially there.

Because although it is unpleasant and sometimes almost seems unbearable, we who belong to Him know He is working it all out for good - for HIS good. And THAT is the *ultimate* thing to give thanks for (in my opinion). Knowing that He is all powerful and working everything out for GOOD. 

On that note, I do sincerely hope you all have a beautiful, blessed Thanksgiving celebration with your families and friends. I pray that it will be Day One of the next 365 that you will continually give thanks to God. 

{{P. S. - I have a favorite blog writer and author, Ann Voskamp, who has written a book on the very subject of giving thanks in all things. Visit her blog here, and read about her book here.  I don't think you'll regret it.}}

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunrise, Sunset - A Legacy in the Making

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD is to be praised.”
--Psalm 113:3

I was driving to an evening appointment last week, headed due west – straight into the prettiest sunset I’d seen in a long time.  Truth be told, there had been plenty of beautiful sunsets for days on end here in the Texas Hill Country. 

{{This was the first I had actually noticed in quite a while.}}
Sad, but true.

My heart stirred as my eyes marveled at the glorious array of colors reflecting off the clouds in the sky that evening – blues and grays, mixed with rich gold, amber, orange, rose, pink and soft wisps of white clouds mixed in a symphony of perfection that could only be created by the One.

I thought about the sun then;
how its daily cycle seems to
parallel our own lives.

Our beginnings have us bursting forth out of the darkness, all in splendor and glory, boldly announcing arrival.  Little by little, light is seamlessly shed on that which surrounds us – all the discoveries that await us.  New and fresh and bright, we are filled with colorful energy that can’t be held back.

As we slowly begin our climb, we burn a path straight upwards.  Sometimes we burn too much, too soon, too hard.  We scorch everything around us.  Sometimes, we hide behind the clouds of life hoping that we can just make it through by remaining hidden and unnoticed.  And sometimes, we burn directly overhead with warm love and passion that spreads and brings life over everything we touch.

Then comes the time we being our slow descent.  Our light and warmth not yet gone, but our colors mellow and blend.  We are able to show beauty to those around us in a way that only can be done after we have experienced the passionate burning of mid-cycle.  Once again, we bring forth a beautiful blend of rich color, much different from the vibrancy of our beginnings.  This softer light is more compassionate, wiser, more forgiving.

And as we begin to dip down past the horizon, as the coolness of the evening sets in, and those around us can no longer see us – this is not the end my friends.  For although we cannot be seen with human eyes, we are still very much alive and burning brightly – only in a different place – continuing to shine light through the legacy we have left behind.

“The Light shines through the darkness 
and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
--John 1:5

What legacy are you leaving as you travel this life? 

Are you striving and going at things so hard that you are burning everything in your path, and perhaps even the path of others? 

Are you hiding behind the clouds because you are afraid to step out from behind them and live out your purpose?

Or are you shining your light for all to see and bask in its warmth so they may know Love?

"Let your light shine before men, 
that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
--Matthew 5:16
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...