Silent Night

IMG_5432

It’s Christmas and my cups are out! Can’t help but smile when you sip hot coffee from a cheerful Christmas mug. This year as part of my own devotion I plan to read a Christmas carol each day. The words are so rich, and I don’t want to miss the message behind the words. Often they were composed with a specific purpose, other times written from a moving experience of the heart, but they always tell the story of salvation in the language of music. Who doesn’t get teary eyes watching little boys in bath robes and sweet little girls with crooked halos singing “Away in a Manger.”

Today the song on my heart is Silent Night. Most of us know the story of the broken organ in a small Austrian village. Joseph Mohr, the priest, had just watched a troupe of traveling actors present the nativity play and his heart was deeply moved. Rather than going home he walked in hushed silence to a hill overlooking the little village. His heart swelled as he reflected on the birth of the Messiah in the stillness of the snowy evening. “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.” Could he visualize the events that quietly took place so long ago in another small villiage in Israel? In Bethlehem? “Round yon virgin, mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild.”

Suddenly that tranquil night was filled with light and angels! “Shepherds quake at the sight!”

The next day he shared this moment and poem with his friend and fellow priest, Franz Gruber. Franz composed a simple melody on the guitar and Silent Night was sung in the tiny little villiage of Oberndorf, Austria, at midnight on Christmas Eve.

Silent Night

By Joseph Mohr & Franz Gruber

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night, Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar, Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light;
Radiant beams from thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

 

Silent night, holy night, Wondrous Star lend thy light;
With the Angels let us sing Alleluia to our King.
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

The first verse ends with “sleep in heavenly peace.” I hope today you will sing all of the verses to this beautiful carol and may you also sleep in heavenly peace, because he came.

IMG_5429

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11 NKJV)

Advertisements

Salt

saltRecently a friend was going through a difficult time in her family life. As we spoke she made the statement, “I need the community of believers right now. I need to worship with others. I have prayed, read and listened on line to worship, but I just need to experience Jesus with skin on.”

A few days later I learned that some women from her prayer group had kidnapped her and taken her out to dinner. They laughed, talked and cried together. They prayed for her and simply loved her. When we spoke again she sounded very different. She had been with believers, not in a church service, but in a restaurant where they laughed, talked and cried together. They prayed for each other and my friend was restored in her spirit. Her situation had not changed, but her total outlook had been refreshed and she had the courage and strength to go on.

I was reminded that years ago I made bread. I had put in the yeast, the flour, honey and oil. I had kneaded it and it rose and became five beautiful loaves of bread. The aroma filled the house and I sliced a piece right away. I watched as the butter melted and mixed with the honey on this delicious looking, amazing fresh hot bread, straight from the oven.

images
Publicdomain.net

WELL YUK!!! What was wrong with this bread?!

I had forgotten to add the salt. I had baked five beautiful loaves of bread. And I threw away five beautiful loaves of bread.

No salt.

Jesus told us we were to be the salt of the earth. My friend had all the ingredients to walk through this pain. She had the Word. She had the Spirit. She had Prayer. But sometimes we all just need a little salt to complete the recipe. We need the salt to make the bread of adversity  palatable. We need the salt to help us share the load so we can grasp hold of the hand of the Lord and just keep walking forward.

We all need a little salt sometimes. And at other times, we need to BE the salt. The Lord told us to bear each others burdens. The Book of Proverbs tells us that when one falls the other can lift him up.  Building community with other believers in so important in our lives. God created community in the garden. Jesus walked in community with his disciples. We were created for community. We need each other.

unknown-1

So go and be salt to your world!

GRACE, The Pleasure of His Company

 

grace1
From http://www.Biblestudyquestions.info

The word Grace appears 132 times in the KJV of the Bible. The first time it appears is when Noah found ‘Grace’. God was in the middle of saying he was sorry he had created man and then the words: But Noah found grace! Grace here means ‘an object of beauty, favor, precious and to show mercy.’ Noah found the Pleasure of His Company and was saved from destruction.

In the New Testament the first time Grace is used is in Luke 2:40. And the Grace of God was upon him (Jesus as a child). Here Grace has a slightly different connotation “Full of cheer, liberal joy & pleasure, divine influence and favor.” Jesus walk in the Pleasure of His Father’s Company, in joy and favor.

Have you ever gone through a dry spell spiritually? Our past several months have been quite busy and disruptive with home renovations, the holidays, and guests in our home. Then at the very end, I caught a cold and was in bed a few days. Now I’m up and going, but feel like a dry crust of bread or a cracker spiritually. During this hectic time my reading was in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. There I saw God’s great wisdom in His law in new ways and felt a Holy fear in my heart at His awesomeness. Yet rather than move on over into the New Covenant, I camped out on Judgment and began to meditate on it.

IMG_0703 (1)
Dry as a cracker!

After a few sleepless nights looking at his judgment, I really ‘worried’ rather than prayed my prayers to him. “Lord, what about my family? What about the nation? ISIS? The presidential election? Human trafficking? The lost people in Mongolia?” My mind was spinning. I realized that sometimes I pray as though the Lord doesn’t have all the information I have and I should explain to him all of the circumstances and the possible solutions to all of these problems. Have you ever prayed this way?

Then, as the morning light began to dawn I heard the Lord say, “Ruthie, believe it or not, I am aware of all of these situations. You have explained them well to me and I’m actually big enough to handle them all. They are not for you to carry. Can you trust me to carry them for you? Today, I want you to look up, print out and meditate on the word ‘Grace’.”

8iG6GgkaT
From Christian Clipart

And so I did.

Grace is a gift and I began to reach out and receive His gift of grace. Grace says to my heart, “You are my joy and pleasure. You are what I came to earth to redeem, rescue and love. Soak in the thought that when I look at you, I smile. I long to just sit a while and simply enjoy your company. Will you sit with me?”

IMG_0701

And so I did that too.

THAT, my friend, is grace. The Pleasure of His Company! His joy, His pleasure, His love poured out on me. The price of judgment (My Debt) has been paid and He has torn up my bill. Now He simply desires the pleasure of MY company. This dry crumb has now become soaked. Maybe even to the point of bread pudding! Moist, sweet, and pleasant for the King.

I challenge you today: Sit a spell with the lover of your soul. Meditate on His marvelous, amazing grace. Realize that when He looks at you, he smiles. Know that you are His joy! His treasure! His child, bought, paid for and fully adopted into His family! Not because you deserved it, but because He saw you, loved you and wanted you for his very own.

IMG_3711.JPG

He desires the Pleasure of Your Company.