Category Archives: WORSHIP

Running For The Prize – Again

Running

Today, I was reading some comments from one of my previous posts on running.  The comments were from readers of various posts.  One reader had some nice things to say.  I began to think what an appropriate post for January 1, 2018.  Running for the Prize.  OK, OK, yeah, I will be using an old post for a new post, again. The Blog Post Etiquette Police can advise me after the fact.

Let me start with saying I AM SO GLAD 2017 IS OVER!  It has been a trying year, to say the least!  I feel like I have been running and running and running all year.  My family has gone through a great personal loss and my health has taken hit after hit after hit.  I just know 2018 will be better.

Running for Self or Spirituality

I do feel, from time to time, that I am “Running for the Prize”.  Sometimes it seems a spiritual prize and at other times, it’s just running for the prize to just finish the day and to get home to my quiet house with my father and my Zuckie (my standard dachshund).  My home – my Solace .

If you know me at all, you know that I do love my home.  I love to be at home and I love my family.  So, with that said, I will tell you that I do long for the time when I finish this race that we call “life”.  When that occurs for me, I will be home where my heart has always been.  In the presence of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  But until that day, I will continue to run this race on earth.  Striving to make the most of each moment in this race for the prize.  Striving to forget the past and pressing on towards the future because that is where the prize is.

Philippians 3:13-15English Standard Version (ESV)

13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

So, with that said… I will continue with this old post made new, once again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Running for a squeaky ball

Have you ever seen a dachshund race?  Oh My Goodness!  It is the funniest thing I have ever seen!  I follow a little dachshund on Facebook and he is quite the celebrity!  His name is Crusoe and he is from Canada.  He was in a “wiener dog race”Crusoe and he finished 3rd and the prize was a squeaky ball!  (see it here and if you still want more see his blog… here)  It is so much fun and the funniest thing to watch!  If you know me at all you know I L-O-V-E love dachshunds and everything about them!  These races are so funny because these little guys are so excited at the starting line.  They are so wound up to get going on that race and for what?  To get a squeaky ball!?  Not much of a prize as far as you and I are concerned… (or Zuckie – one of my dachshunds – for that matter.  He does not like anything that squeaks!  He doesn’t like noise… loud trucks, loud anything and especially sirens).

Running with Vim and VigorWIENER DOG RACE 2

But let’s focus on how the dachshunds begin the race.  These little guys are so excited and so ready to get going!  Excitement, anticipation and readiness are the traits you see in them!  They are full of joy and life!  You know we run a race too!  Every day!  And we run the race for a far greater prize than any squeaky ball.  We are running for the prize of an imperishable crown

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Striving for a Crown

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. ThRUN FOR THE PRIZEus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

We should be running for the prize daily!  So shouldn’t we begin our daily race the way these little dachshunds begin their race?  With excitement, anticipation and readiness?  We as Christians, in our walk with the Lord, should be filled with excitement, anticipation and readiness.  If we meet every day with that frame of mind we cannot loose!

Our Helper

Jesus left us a Helper which is the Holy Spirit, our closest friend!  That means He can help us throughout each day!  I have a friend at work that when she gets there and walks to her desk we speak the “Good Mornings”.  Then we ask one another the usual “how are you doing?”  We usually say…”Blessed and Highly Favored!”  and yesterday I added “…because I am a child of the King!”  If we truly believe this we can meet each day with an attitude of excitement for what God will do in our lives that day, anticipation of how it will change us or someone around us and readiness to be used for the Kingdom of Christ.

Daily Running Challenge

Try it out!  When you first wake up in the morning, focus your mind on God and how He has blessed you by giving you another day to tell someone about Him.  I love this scripture:

James 1:12

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

 He has blessed you with another day to breathe the air of freedom we have here in America – and that is so precious and hard to come by to others throughout the world.BLESSINGS

Therefore, thank Him for all the blessings you have whether it be a little heartbeat at your feet (human or animal) or a job, or a vehicle to drive, or a nice soft (or firm) bed to sleep in, or food on your table or any number of things!  You choose!  Focus on what blessings God has bestowed on you in your life and not the worries, problems and trials you face each day and THANK HIM FOR THOSE BLESSINGS!  I know… I KNOW if you do this you will feel better and you will be ready to run the race for the day!

Psalm 95:2-3 tells us

“2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.”

The Song – Hezekiah Walker – Every Praise!

 

BEING FED BY OTHERS

Hello everyone.  It has been so long since I have been able to just sit down for a couple of hours… maybe three… and just write what God has laid on my heart. I have had a lot laid on my heart lately but not things to share with the world – at least not yet. Just stuff that has happened to me in my personal life that has been … well, let’s just say not your normal, run of the mill stuff.

The title of this post is BEING FED BY OTHERS because I truly have been. Whether it is through my church and Sunday School – Life Groups is what they call it now… I have trouble not saying Sunday School though. I have called it that for many, many years… anyway, I digress. So, whether it has been through church, or friends or family. It has been a wonderful time of learning… and let me add work has provided some of that feeding as well. 0e1274645_merciful

Work is awesome but consuming and my manager is more awesome and so gracious and forgiving. She is one special lady. Now, don’t get me wrong. You walk on the wrong side and disrupt the good flow of things, she will let you know it. She has it in her to say things that cut to the core. However, that is … that it “cuts to the core” because it’s true and you know it. On the other hand, she is the most gracious and merciful manager I have ever encountered and, well, that is pretty awesome to me. So there are some things at work that have happened that have been less than perfect and then there have been things that have been perfect. I know… sounds contradictory. It is but it’s all good! I am learning and trying to be the biggest sponge you have ever seen. My limits are being stretched every day and I like that.. sometimes… I Love that! Then there are days that I just want to scream! But I keep going because I don’t like to quit. I like to learn and I like doing what I do. You see I am an Applications Instructor. That means that I learn EVERY DAY! Yep, I have to “know it” but I also learn it.. meaning “stuff” … over and over again. From my students, from myself and others. It’s a pretty cool thing. However, that is not what I wanted to write about, necessarily.mercy-grace

I wanted to say how much I have experienced grace, mercy and kindness. Today it was from a wonderful bunch of students in my class that kinda had some technical issues. Now usually when there are tech issues, the scores that the students give are usually low. Today, not so. They totally surprised me! I think this is the first time that I have experienced, since being at my current job, that the scores were up there even with MAJOR tech issues. I think it was a combination of things… but I don’t want to analyze it too deep right now. That will come later with my manager… which will be a good thing. However, I do want to acknowledge that the students in this class (10 of them) were a very interactive and happy class. They enjoyed learning and were most forgiving of the circumstances that we encountered today! Yep, it was a refreshing outcome… and one that I am so appreciative of. Gracious and merciful students. Nice!

The other thing I want to recognize is actually from a pastor in San Antonio. I received a message from my website the other day. It was from this pastor in San Antonio and he was asking about one of the pictures I used some time back on a post. He was just asking if he could use the picture for theirencounter “new” church’s logo. The picture is just one I got off of the internet when I Googled a topic. The post was ENCOUNTERING GOD ALMIGHTY. The picture is quite good and he believes it would be a perfect logo for the new church that he is wanting to start on October 24, 2015. Of course I told him I had just Googled it also, same as him, and he could certainly use it and I attached it to the email.

One of the things I wanted to do with this post is include one of his posts. You see he writes a blog also. He has held this blog for 12 years, he says, and it is quite good. Please give him the graciousness to read his blog post on THE BLESSING OF MERCY.

I mainly wanted to introduce you to him and ask you to read his post on The Blessing of Mercy. It is truly a blessing to encounter Mercy from any source. The best is the Mercy that our Savior gave us. Please read on and comment, if you want, on any encounters with mercy and grace you have had lately or ever. Here is his post:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

God morning, beloved.  It is written.  "It is more blessed to give than to receive."  (Acts 20:35)  Jesus lived and died by that truth.  He "gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age."  (Galatians 1:4).  "In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope."  (1 Peter 1:3).

Mercy is love expressed.  When Christians practice mercy, they place the needs of others above their own, in much the same way that Jesus placed our need for forgiveness and salvation first, allowing Himself to be insulted, abused, and finally crucified in order to procure that salvation for us.  God so loved that He gave.  Calvary is the proof of God's mercy.

To be merciful is to act out of love and compassion for others, to try to see with their eyes, think with their minds, and feel with their hearts.  God's Son did just that when he took on human flesh and blood to experience life's struggles just as we do, though without sin.  He offered His life in our place as the substitutionary sacrifice for our sins.

As we display mercy in Christ's name, we become more like our Lord.  By His grace we will obtain the ultimate mercy:  entrance into God's heavenly sanctuary, to abide with Him forever. Amen.

Worship with me.  Lord Have Mercy.

Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant.<a href="https://youtu.be/eDpp_YdXnqs" target="_blank">
https://youtu.be/eDpp_YdXnqs</a>

Remember to be in prayer for Encountering GOD church…We launch this church plant on Saturday October 24th 2015.  You are invited to our home for a night of worship and hear what God and Jesus have to say about His church.  Email me for more details or send me a Facebook message.  oxox

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing
Pastor Eric Hughes
Lead Pastor Encountering GOD Church &
Behavioral Health Specialist

A Behavioral Health Specialist is a person that covers the needs of individuals, couples and families dealing with challenges in their everyday lives. I work with people of all ages to find productive solutions for their problems.

Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for reading my blog and his too.  May God richly bless and keep each of you in His tender care.  God loves you so much, after all, He calls you His beloved!

00-SIGNATURE

SO MANY ARE MISLEAD

This post is not like most of my posts, but I believe God wants me to share an important message because I believe so many are misled by whom they worship and what worship is.  So, I do hope you enjoy reading this post and understanding what and how and why I believe what I believe.

I am a Christian and believe in the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Here are a couple of websites that explain this concept – GotQuestions.org and DesiringGod.org. I also believe in the Virgin Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. That He lived 33 years on this earth and walked among the common people of His land. He was fully God and fully man. He was the image of the Father in Heaven. He performed miracles and wonders that the people had never seen and loved like no human ever loved. He was crucified on a cross at Golgotha and He died for the sins of mankind (that includes you and me), our sins were covered with His precious blood and we were forgiven because of His sacrifice. He rose again on the third day, conquering death forever. He – Jesus – was seen by over 500 people before he ascended into Heaven to be with His Father, our God, and now sits at the right hand of God – until that day when God says “Son, go get My children” and at that time there will be a Shout and a trumpet will sLordHorse-19ound by the Archangel and Jesus will descend. He will be riding a White Horse, wearing a white robe dipped in blood and these words will be written on His robe and on His thigh – KING OF KING AND LORD OF LORDS – Revelation 19:16. And the armies in Heaven will also be riding on White Horses and following Him who is Jesus. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that HE IS LORD! LORD OF ALL!

Now this is just a high overview of what I believe. This is the main and most important parts of what I believe. I don’t recall any part in that paragraph about Mary, except that she being chosen by God to bear and birth, as a virgin, our beloved Lord, Jesus Christ, and she raised him along with his earthly father, Joseph. Never once does it say anywhere in my Bible that Mary is to be worshiped. I know this will step on A LOT of toes – if you are Catholic. However, the recognized Christian Bible NEVER ONCE says anything about worshiping Mary or holding her in high esteem except that she was Jesus’ virgin mother when He was conceived and she stayed a virgin until His birth. TCHNJesusNot that Mary wasn’t very special and most precious… but she is not to be adorned with our praises. Those praises are to only … ONLY … go to the One who died for our sins on the Cross.  Please don’t be misled by any doctrine but what the Word of God says.

I just can’t understand why people – a religion – Christians – promote worshiping Mary when the Bible says NOTHING about it! I have just been educated today that the Catholic Bible does say something about Mary and that she should be worshiped and prayed to. I believe that is causing many to be misled… and so many are misled by this belief.  However, I believe the Bible that is recognized by the Christian religion as to be the Bible that was written by Spirit led men and God spoke to them and instructed them what to write. God filled them with His Spirit and they wrote the Bible. Here are a couple of excerpts from a website I found: AnswersinGenesis.com

The Bible is unlike any other religious book. Despite forty authors writing from three continents over nearly two thousand years, it maintains a perfect consistency of message. Its words point unerringly to Christ, whose work on the cross was ordained by God—the true author of the Bible—before the world began.”

“The Bible was written over a period of roughly 2,000 years by 40 different authors from three continents, who wrote in three different languages. These facts alone make the Bible one of a kind, but there are many more amazing details that defy natural explanation.”

There are many other things said on this website that are compelling. I suggest you read it. It is jam packed with wonderful facts about the Bible. OK, you say… “But man left out the texts that referred to Mary…. And how she should be worshiped.” Well, I say that the texts that were left out of the Bible today were not divinely inspired and did not have the consistent message of Christ and Christ alone.130822-TH-Gods-Word-Our-Foundation All of the books of the Bible, as it says above, written by 40 different authors and was written over a 2,000 year period “…maintains a perfect consistency of message.” The divinely led men that assembled the Bible that we have today saw a message that was consistent in the books that we see today in our Bible. That is why they chose to assemble those particular books to create our Bible. It has a consistent message. Jesus Christ is our Savior and … well, refer back to my first paragraph of this post. It states it all, and why I believe in the Bible is the Divinely Inspired Word Of God. It is God’s message to His people. The people He created.

So, I will wrap this post up by saying … I hope the ones that “didn’t” know now know why the Bible is the Bible and why Mary should not be worshiped. Oh, another website I would like to direct you to as well… The article is entitled “Should we worship Mary?” and the website is Bible.org. This is another excellent article that explains that if you use Mary as your mediator … well, here is the 1st 2 paragraphs of that article with a scripture reference.

While all Roman Catholics do not necessarily worship Mary, the fact that many pray to Mary (which is an act of worship and no where justified in Scripture) and give her titles which resemble those given to Jesus Christ including the idea of mediatorship, this question and others related to Mary have been included under this heading.

Worship is something that is to be restricted to God alone. As the angel stressed when John fell at his feet in appreciation for the revelation he had seen and received, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God” (See Rev. 19:10; 22:9). Mary is not God and her exaltation in the Catholic church has no foundation in Scripture. While we may and should appreciate the ministry of men and women, they are only instruments used of God for His glory. Christ alone is our mediator. Paul clearly points this out in 1 Timothy 2:3-6.”

3 “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.”

So with all that said, I will say that I hope you now understand my view point and understand why the Bible is the Bible and why I dislike the idea of Mary being prayed to or worshiped in any way. As it says above, God alone is to be worshiped. There is a lot more I could write about but I, myself, need to read some more about it.

I want to add that I believe Mary is very wonderful in that she was chosen of God as the “favored one” which translates literally, “endowed or filled with grace”.mary_gabriel

Luke 1:28

28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!

But that does not mean we are to worship her or even pray to her – because as it states above… praying to her is a form or worship. Anyway, my views are strictly based on what the Bible, the Holy Word of GodJesusAkiane says… Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of my faith, and yours too, if you believe in Jesus and have accepted Him as your Lord and Savior. If you know this Jesus, I will see you one day in Heaven with Him. If you do not know Jesus and have a relationship with Him as your Savior, here is another link to explain what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It will explain it in very easy to understand terms and help you know why we believe what we believe as Christians.

God loves you so much! After all, He calls you His beloved.

The Video – King of Kings

00-SIGNATURE

 

BREATH OF HEAVEN

Picture2

The Breath of Heaven… Jesus Christ our Lord!

May God bless you and keep you in His tender, loving care this holiday season and the upcoming year. I look forward to writing more of what God wants me to share with you each and every day… or at least almost every day. Christian-Christmas-Quotes

Please keep Christ in Christmas and worship the Risen Lord and not just the baby in the manger. He Lives In Heaven with God the Father and awaits the day when He will come again and take His children home to be with Him forever.

The video attached is simply screen shots from the movie “Nativity Story” with the lyrics of the song “Breath of Heaven” on the screen shots. It is sung by one of Christian music’s all-time favorite singer/song writers – Amy Grant. The song is a few years old but the message is timeless. It is a beautiful song that Mary could have sung while she was pregnant with the Christ Child. It has always been one of my all-time favorites since it was released and I hope you enjoy it.jesus-christ-the-reason-for-the-season

Remember to keep Christ in Christmas!

 The Video – screen shots from Nativity Story
The Song with the video – Breath of Heaven – Amy Grant

00-SIGNATURE

ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS

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.  2-the_adoration_of_the_shepherds

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 rememberjesus-lammet-og-lc3b8vened 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!

 Isaiah 9:6-7

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.
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

00-SIGNATURE

VINE LIVING

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?”pablo-casals-300x300

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)

00-SIGNATURE

CHRISTMAS CAROLING – WHAT A JOY!

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.THE PEANUTS GANG REJOICES IN THE TRUE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

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 licima_da_conegliano_god_the_fatherlted 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 beauxmas angel 2012tiful 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! Picture3She 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 thjingle bells with red boweir 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. joy_to_the_world-e1354734985741They 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. 1We 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!

00-SIGNATURE

RUNNING THE RACE – REVISITED

WE ARE RUNNING THE RACE FOR LIFE!
EVERY DAY!

I am re-posting an older post.  I haven’t had enough time to research and read about Moses, yet.  Please enjoy this one about running a race.  I have begun reading a book “Unstoppable” by Christine Caine.  I have just begun the book, but this post is about a race that we run every day and so is the book.

I will be back to writing about Moses tomorrow!  Thanks for your patience.  Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Have you ever seen a dachshund race?  Oh My Goodness!  It is the funniest thing I have ever seen!  I follow a little dachshund on Facebook and he is quite the celebrity!  His name is Crusoe and he is from Canada. CRUSOE He was in a “wiener dog race” and he finished 3rd and the prize was a squeaky ball!  (see it here and if you still want more see his blog… here)  It is so much fun and the funniest thing to watch!  If you know me at all you know I L-O-V-E love dachshunds and everything about them!  These races are so funny because these little guys are so excited at the starting line.  They are so wound up to get going on that race and for what?  To get a squeaky ball!?  Not much of a prize as far as you and I are concerned… (or Zuckie – one of my dachshunds – for that matter.  He does WIENER DOG RACE 2not like anything that squeaks!  He doesn’t like noise… loud trucks, loud anything and especially sirens).

But let’s focus on how the dachshunds begin the race.  These little guys are so excited and so ready to get going!  Excitement, anticipation and readiness are the traits you see in them!  They are full of joy and life!  You know we run a race too!  Every day!  And we run the race for a far greater prize than any squeaky ball.  We are running for the prize of an imperishable crown

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Striving for a Crown

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

We should be running for the prize daily!  So shouldn’t we begin our daily race the way these little dachshunds begin their race?  1 cor  9With excitement, anticipation and readiness?  We as Christians, in our walk with the Lord, should be filled with excitement, anticipation and readiness.  If we meet every day with that frame of mind we cannot loose!  Jesus left us a Helper which is the Holy Spirit, our closest friend!  That means He can help us throughout each day!  I have a friend at work that when she gets there and walks to her desk we speak the “Good Mornings” and then we ask one another the usual “how are you doing?”  We usually say…”Blessed and Highly Favored!”  and yesterday I added “…because I am a child of the King!”  If we truly believe this we can meet each day with an attitude of excitement for what God will do in our lives that day, anticipation of how it will change us or someone around us and readiness to be used for the Kingdom of Christ.

Try it out!  When you first wake up in the morning, focus your mind on God and how He has blessed you by giving you another day to tell someone about Him.  I love this scripture:

James 1:12

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

BLESSINGS

 He has blessed you with another day to breathe the air of freedom we have here in America – that is so precious and hard to come by to others throughout the world.  You can thank Him for all the blessings you have whether it be a little heartbeat at your feet (human or animal) or a job, or a vehicle to drive, or a nice soft (or firm) bed to sleep in, or food on your table or any number of things!  You choose!  Focus on what blessings God has bestowed on you in your life and not the worries, problems and trials you face each day and THANK HIM FOR THOSE BLESSINGS!  I know… I KNOW if you do this you will feel better and you will be ready to run the race for the day!

Psalm 95:2-3 tells us

“2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.”

The Song – Hezekiah Walker – Every Praise!

The Video – Hezekiah Walker – Every Praise!

00-SIGNATURE

WORSHIPING

This past Sunday was my first day back to sing with the Praise Team at church. I had to work on Sunday for a while and was unable to attend church. I want you to know that it was an awesome event! God was present in that room! We sang some of my favorite songs and the congregation worship was so awesome! Garth is the Worship Pastor and he led us into the presence of God Almighty and Pastor Brad brought an awesome message! Worship is so very important for believers! It brings us right into the presence of God.

Worshiping the LoDavid Kills a Lion I Samuel 17:34-36rd!  There are so many ways to do this and it is not for sissies.  One of my favorite ways is to do it in song.  David also liked to worship God in song considering all the Psalms that he wrote.  Some were poems or just thoughts and some were songs, but all were written with worship in his mind and heart.  Now David, before he was King, was a shepherd.  He tended his father’s sheep.  He wasn’t a lowly little man though.  He must have been pretty strong and sturdy to fight lions and tigers – those creatures that would get after his sheep.  Then to have gone against Goliath the giant and defeat him, however that was just with a smooth stone and his sling shot.  Wow… Nonetheless, David loved worship and loved to worship his God!  Here is one of his wonderful Psalms.

Psalm 138

I will praise You with my whole heart;
Image3 Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.

All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord,
 When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord.
Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.engage-in-worship3

David knew how to worship and praise his God.  It was his way of connecting with God.

Have you ever been in a church service or seen one on the internet or TV and just watched the Praise Team or Choir members?  Some of them look like they would so rather be somewhere else.  I don’t understand… if you are “leading worship” – which is what the choir and praise teams are supposed to be about – you need to look like you are enjoying what you are doing… and not only “look” like it, but you ought to feel it in your bones!  NOT just go through the motion!  If you don’t “feel” it you shouldn’t be leading worship.  Worship before the sermon or message is so very important!  When we worship we are in the awesome presence of the Almighty God Himself and we are telling Him how much we love Him!  We should be happy about this, right?  But there is also a time to be reverent, not boisterous and shouting. Heart-of-worship

My father tells a story of when he was leading worship once in a church and the last song was a very quiet, gentle song that ushered the congregation right into the presence of God Almighty and the atmosphere was filled with a sweet peace.  Then the preacher came up and told a loud boisterous joke that really dampened the spirit that was present!  One should be aware of the presence of One so Wonderful and act accordingly for sure. 

You can worship anywhere too!  Of course at church but it is not confined to the church building.  I worship in my car, my bathroom, my kitchen, at my desk at work …. Anywhere!  Because God is everywhere!  I am so thankful God has given us this way to worship Him.  It fills me up and gets me through the day!  I do love worship. worship-him1

I challenge you today to worship! Take time to worship God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They are 3 in 1 and deserve our praise and worship!

The Song – God Is Here – Darlene Zschech (Revealing Jesus CD)

The Video – We Will Remember – Tommy Walker