Wishing everyone a most wonderful Easter!
He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.
Come, see the place where he lay.
Interestingly enough, I went looking for a picture that spoke of … Rembrandt’s “The Adoration of the Shepherds”. I found several different ones and not one that I thought was the one mentioned in a devotional I read recently. However, they are all magnificent. It brought to mind a dear friend of mine down in Beaumont, Texas. I used to work at Lamar University in the Art Department. I was the Art Department Secretary and my office was in the Art Gallery and what a wonderful place to have your desk. I was in the midst of the exhibits all the time. My friend Lynne Lokensgard was the Art Historian among many other things. Dr. Lokensgard was always one to ask anything about art. She had studied art and the history or art for many, many year and I would love to ask her about this and see where she directs me. I may just have to give her a call. I learned a lot working there in the midst of all of the magnificent art that was in their collection. There are so many memories from that time in my life that there are too many to recount here. However, I know I can pick up the phone and relive many of them with my friend Lynne.
I am not sure why I told you all of that except to say there is so much to be enjoyed by the arts. The wonderful styles of the artists and the different depictions of a scene can be so varied. One thing is for sure though… when you see the scene at the manger with the baby Jesus you will always see the area around Him flooded with light. He is the Light of the world for sure. He has been since He entered this earth in the body of a human baby.
You may have a lot of darkness surrounding your life at this time… I think we all do at one time or another. There is One who can bring light to that darkness and illuminate the way so you can have the Peace and Comfort of Christ that the Bible speaks of. Yes He is remembered at this time as a baby in the manger but like Max Lucado says, don’t keep Him there. Experience the saving power and grace of Jesus Christ as He is meant to be. Our Savior, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Our Friend, Wonderful One and so many more names. Mainly He is the One who loves you so much and left heaven to be with us. To light the Way to The Father! He is the Light of the world! Let Him be your light today!
I love the prophets of the Old Testament. The foretelling of the Christ child by Isaiah is wonderful!
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
The song – Rejoice Emmanuel
Good morning everyone! I am still working towards the next post in the Prayer series and will get there in the next couple of days, hopefully. However, this morning I read one of my daily devotionals that I receive via email and had to share. Some of you probably already get it. It is from Our Daily Bread and I receive an email from them every morning with the most wonderful devotionals. I just had to share this one because it applies to all of us that call ourselves Christ followers, and this blog is all about “Vine Living” and “Abiding In The Vine” which is what this particular daily devotional is about. I hope you enjoy it!
OUR DAILY BREAD
December 17, 2014
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. —2 Peter 3:18
Pablo Casals was considered to be the preeminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century. When he was still playing his cello in the middle of his tenth decade of life, a young reporter asked, “Mr. Casals, you are 95 years old and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice 6 hours a day?”
Mr. Casals answered, “Because I think I’m making progress.”
What a great attitude! As believers in Christ, we should never be satisfied to think we have reached some self-proclaimed pinnacle of spiritual success, but rather continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Jesus reminds us in John 15:16 that He chose us to “go and bear fruit.” The result of healthy growth is continuing to bear spiritual fruit throughout our lives. Our Lord promises: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit” (v.5).
In a steady and faithful progression to become more and more like the One we love and serve, we can be confident that He who began “a good work” in us will continue it until it is finally finished on the day when He returns (Phil. 1:6). —Cindy Hess Kasper
Closer yet I’d cling, my Savior,
You’re the all-sufficient Vine;
You alone can make me fruitful,
Blessed source of strength divine. —Bosch
God’s unseen work in our hearts produces fruit in our lives.
We can never stop growing in Christ. He is our perfect example for our lives today! Staying attached to the Branch will help us to bear fruit. Vine Living is the place to be!
The Video – Pablo Casals: Bach Cello Solo Nr. 1, BWV 1007 (8.1954)
Well, I am finally able to sit down and write a post… oh my goodness… it has been difficult at best to find the time and mindset to do this. I had planned on writing this afternoon and it just wouldn’t happen. I have been gathering much information for my next post on the Prayer series… There is a lot to read about and figure out which is really following Biblical story line or someone’s idea of how they think it happened and even where it happened… Yep, there are folks out there that have their own ideas for sure. Nonetheless, I am gathering information and pictures and will be posting soon on the Split Rock at Horeb. It is a fascinating journey and the symbolism is wonderful.
Tonight, however, was an absolutely memory making night that I just had to share. Tonight’s events may be old hat for some but for me it was a first. As you have read before, I am a member of a wonderful church and the people there are absolutely some of the most welcoming folks I have ever met in a church. From the first day I stepped foot in the church 1 ½ years ago, it has been a blessing.
Well, tonight was the Church Choir Christmas Caroling party. We all met at Garth and Vickie’s house (the Worship Leader and his lovely wife), dropped off all the food and then loaded up into 4 vehicles and took off to sing Christmas Carols to 4 elderly shut in folks. Oh My … it was so much fun and such a blessing to see the smiles and gleaming eyes when we started singing. There were 25 or so of us that stood out in the cool night air and sang the beautiful Christmas Carols to these lovely folks. I tell you what, I don’t know who was more blessed, the folks we were singing to or me. It was one of the loveliest evenings I can remember. The voices blended so beautifully and lilted through the night air and the stars danced above as we were Christmas Caroling. It was such a memory maker evening.
I think the best thing of all was the smiles on the faces and the sparkle in the eyes of the recipients of this wonderful night of harmony. We all were singing with nothing held back. It was grand! I believe God even smiled and that was a blessing for sure!
The first lady at age 92, told us, after a couple of songs, that she was reminded of a time when she was a Christmas Angel in a Chinese Christmas Pageant. Her voice had excitement and her eyes had the look of that eight year old girl that was in that wonderful pageant as she told us that she had two sisters that were much prettier than she and they had beautiful curly hair, but she was chosen because she was the right age. She just gleamed! After a couple of more songs she reminded those that remembered, that she had been a member of the church for quite a number of years. She never said how many but the previous Worship Pastor and her had joined at the same time… and the previous worship pastor was just a child when he joined, I believe that was the story… Anyway, Then we sang a couple more for her and wished her a Very Merry Christmas and on to the next one. Did I mention that she sang every song that we sang, and didn’t miss a lick. She was gleaming the whole time.
The next little lady was a very tiny lady that had a smile that would stop Rudolph! She was a pleasant lady that loved the songs, too. She complimented us on our harmony and just glowed with excitement as we sang. She too sang along with every song. She noticed that we brought Santa along and we all laughed because one of the Choir members looks just like Santa and actually does Santa gigs for various places. She thought it was a great touch. I noticed that many of the choir folks went up to hug her and personally wish her a Merry Christmas. I heard many of them say “I love you” and she responded in like manner. She has been a church member for many years as well.
The next folks had to stay just on the inside of the front door. The daughter held the door open a bit so they could hear the melodious tunes. She sat on her walker and her husband leaned over her and held her shoulders as we sang to our hearts content. I could see their smiles when we sang a song that was apparently one of their favorites. The Jingle Bells added a little bit of levity to the song Jingle Bells… obviously, and that made them smile and move their heads back and forth. Their son and his wife lived next door and they were out in the front yard with us and thanked us profusely for coming to sing for his parents. Again, the love of the Choir members and the love that I saw in the faces of the recipients was incredible.
The last folks we sang for were quite nice. The lady stepped out on the front porch first and then her husband came. Their puppy dog stayed just inside the door listening as well. I had seen them at church at one time, I think. I am not sure, but I think the Mr. may have been sick or had some sort of health issue because as we sang our hearts out I could see the Mrs. glance over at her husband with the look of “are you overdoing it, dear?” from time to time, but she never said a word and he didn’t seem to mind standing there listening to our melodies. He gazed over the crowd, shielding the bright porch light from his eyes, every now and then, so he could see the entire group. He had a stern face that would soften every now and then with the memory of the songs that we were singing. When we sang our last, they wished us a Merry Christmas and were almost sad to see us go. They enjoyed the music so much and the Mr. asked “where did you get all these folks?” He had a smile that was from ear to ear and both the Mr. and Mrs. were absolutely pleased with all the songs we sang. Several of the Choir members went up to hug them and tell them they loved them. It was a very tender time for many of them.
Then after all of the Christmas Caroling, we headed back to the house where the food was… at least the folks in our vehicle were hoping there was some left, because the son, home from college, was left at the house. Lo and behold, when we arrived, there actually was food left. We ate some of the best “finger food” I have ever had and had a wonderful time of just visiting. We gave Garth and Patti (the pianist) their Christmas card and gift and I think they were both surprised. The two of them do a lot for our Church and Choir and we wanted them to know we appreciated them greatly! After that, we just had a fun time answering Trivia questions about Christmas. Garth was the Questioner and we had to answer. It was fun and informative. Not that I actually retained any of that knowledge though… it was just good fun.
So that was my memory making evening. Maybe not a monumental evening to some, but for me… well, it was because of who I was with. The Church that God led me to 1 ½ years ago has been a blessing beyond what I could have ever imagined.
Thank you all from Shady Oaks Baptist Church! The Choir, Sunday School and Congregation! You have all blessed me tremendously, just being able to be a part of your community. I am forever grateful for each of you! And especially for Julie… she drove the vehicle that I was in tonight. She tolerated six of us laughing and carrying on while she tried to follow the much to fast lead cars. And thank you Hurst Police for looking the other way as our caravan sped down Bedford Road tonight – I didn’t really see any Police, but if they were there, they must have turned their head because we were not going 35 mph! Oh My… but we made it safely, nonetheless.
That’s gonna’ wrap it up for me on this post. Thanks for reading my memory making evening events. It was priceless to me!
I tell folks that I have sung since before I was born, because my mother always sang in the choir and just because she was pregnant with me… that didn’t stop her from singing in the choir. I just learned to sing in the womb. I love music!
I also love Mark Lowry and his way over the top humor and I even noticed tonight, while watching these old videos of him, he reminds me of Robin Williams sometimes. I still miss Robin Williams and my brother said something to me the day after he was found dead in his home. He said something about hopefully Robin Williams knew our Lord Jesus Christ. We will not know until we get to Heaven and that will not be at the top of my list when I get there, believe me! I loved Robin Williams but when I enter the Gates of Heaven, I will hear the angels singing those glorious praises to the Risen Lamb of God and I will join with them in singing those praises for eternity! I will never have to stop singing.
Sometimes when our worship is over at church, I am a little sad, because I LOVE THE WORSHIP TIME at our church. We lift the roof off sometimes when we praise our God and Savior! So I am a little sad when it’s over. However, there is always a wonderful message brought by my great pastor, Brad Martin. He is on fire for our Lord and he brings God’s Word to life for us!
So with all that said and out of the way, I wanted to share the hilarious Mark Lowry with you in these three videos. Then the last one of him is the song that he wrote – which is one of my very favorite songs … Mary Did You Know. I had to share…
Next is another wonderful music artist that I had the pleasure of watching his entire concert tonight on You Tube. I have only seen him a few times with the Gaither Vocal Band but he is another great one, indeed. The last couple of videos are his and these two songs touched my heart tonight and I wanted to share them with you all.
I do hope you will watch these videos. They will make you laugh, think, cry and praise our Lord Jesus Christ for what He did for us. Sit back and enjoy! Thanks for allowing me to bring this to you instead of the Prayer series post today. I have enjoyed this evening immensely and realized I need to do more of this. Tomorrow I will be back on track with Joseph and the king’s dream interpretation. It will be a good one… so don’t miss it! Now enjoy the comedy and music!
Mark Lowry (2007)
Home Depot/Dealing With An Atheist – Comedy
Mary and Jesus – Comedy
Mary Did You Know – Video (for some reason I could not embed the video but click on the link and you will see the end of the concert with Mark singing Mary Did You Know. Beautiful!
David Phelps (2012)
That’s What Love Is (live concert)
Oh Holy Night (2013)