Sunday, January 22, 2017

Birthday Poems, Praise, Prose, & Song

"There are far better things ahead
than any we leave behind."
-CS Lewis

"I will confess and praise You
for You are fearful and wonderful
and for the awful wonder of my birth!
Wonderful are Your works,
and that my inner self knows right well."
Psalm 139:14

Vintage Doll Birthday Card

"For I know the thoughts and
plans that I have for you,
says the Lord,
thoughts and plans for
welfare and peace and
not for evil, to give you
hope in your final outcome."
Jeremiah 29:11

A Little Birthday Nostalgia...
This week in 1964...

 "There I've Said It Again"
Bobby Vinton
 Billboard's Number One Song
January 22, 1964

"January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow."
Sara Coleridge

Boys Playing In The Snow
Vickie Wade

A Birthday Wish

"Let it snow...Let it snow...Let it snow...!!!
Soon...I hope!
Snowflakes falling from the sky
always brings out the child in me!
I hope we get some significant snow
this year so I can build a snowman or two
with my boys!

January is the time to curl up
with a good book or a great movie....
a big bowl of popcorn
and some hot chocolate!

As Little Orphan Annie says,
"Be sure to drink your Ovaltine!"

 “The power of finding beauty in the humblest things
 makes home happy and life lovely.” 
-Louisa May Alcott

 "Little Women"
From left to right: Margaret O'Brien, (Beth);  Janet Leigh  (Meg), June Allyson  (Jo)
Elizabeth Taylor (Amy) and Mary Astor (Marmee)

"No, I don’t think I will kiss you,
 although you need kissing, badly..."

Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O'Hara) and Clark Gable (Rhett Butler)
"Gone With The Wind"

"Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam 
  Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn...
-John Keats

Rex Harrison (Captain Gregg) and Gene Tierney (Lucy Muir)
"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir"

O Winter! frozen pulse and heart of fire,
What loss is theirs who from thy kingdom turn
Dismayed, and think thy snow a sculptured urn
Of death! Far sooner in midsummer tire
The streams than under ice. June could not hire
Her roses to forego the strength they learn
In sleeping on thy breast. No fires can burn
The bridges thou dost lay where men desire
In vain to build.
O Heart, when Love's sun goes
To northward, and the sounds of singing cease,
Keep warm by inner fires, and rest in peace.
Sleep on content, as sleeps the patient rose.
Walk boldly on the white untrodden snows,
The winter is the winter's own release. 
Helen Hunt Jackson

 The beautiful, snow-capped, Sangre de Cristo
 (Spanish for "Blood of Christ") Mountain Range
 Colorado USA

"....oh, birds of the sky,
 you are bound unto heaven, 
to God, your Creator. 
In every beat of your wing
 and every note of your song praise Him.
 He has given you the greatest of gifts,
 the liberty of the air...
 and the most beautiful clothing...
a change of feathers with every season..."
Excerpt from the "Sermon for the Birds"
St. Francis of Assisi

Northern Red Cardinal and his Lady Bird

"Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for tonight!"
-Elizabeth Akers Allen

Vintage Little Red Riding Hood
Birthday Card

The Most Precious Gift

"Thank God for His Son.
A gift too wonderful for words!"
2 Corinthians 9:15

Jesus is the best Gift I have ever received!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Breath of the Almighty

"For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath
of the Almighty gives me life."
-Job 33:4

Sleeping Wonder

“Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you,
 and you shall live.”
 Ezekiel 37:5

Long years we have yearned for the showers of blessing,
Have earnestly prayed for abundance of rain;
Praise God, some are singing the new song of Heaven,
The breath of the Spirit brings power again.

-Civilla D. Martin

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Blend all my soul with Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

-Edwin Hatch

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Man Most Unlikely...

"But from those who seemed to be
influential, whatever they were makes
no difference to me; God shows
no partiality...well, those
influential ones added 
nothing to my message."
Galatians 2:6

One of the toughest tasks a church faces is choosing
a good minister. A member of an official board undergoing
this painful process finally lost its patience. He'd watched
the Pastoral Relations Committee reject applicant after
applicant for some fault, alleged or otherwise.
It was a time for a bit of soul-searching on the
part of the committee. So he stood up and read
a letter purporting to be from another applicant.


Understanding your pulpit is vacant, I should like
to apply for the position. I have many qualifications.
I've been a preacher with much success and also have
had some success as a writer.  Some say I'm a good
organizer. I've been a leader most places I've been.

I'm over 50 years of age. I have never preached in one
place for more than three years. In some places I have
left town after my work caused riots and disturbances.
I must admit I have been in jail three or four times,
but not because of any real wrongdoing.

My health is not good, though I still get a great deal
done. The churches I have preached in have been small,
though located in several large cities.

I have not gotten along well with the religious leaders in
towns where I have preached.  In fact, some have threatened
me and even attacked me physically. I am not too good at
keeping records. I have been known to forget whom I
have baptized.  

However, if you can use me, I shall do my best
for you."

The board member looked over the committee.
"Well, what do you think? Shall we call him?"
(He asked.)
The good church folks were aghast.
Call an unhealthy, trouble-making, absent-
minded ex jailbird? 
Was the board member crazy?
Who signed the application?
Who had such colossal nerve?
The board member eyed them all
keenly before he answered.
"It's signed,  'the Apostle Paul."*

 "... and he fell to the ground and
 heard a voice from heaven saying to him,
 “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting and oppressing Me?”
Acts 9:4

Conversion of Saint Paul

“His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain.”
 1 Corinthians 15:1

Sweeter than all is the love of the Savior,
Dearer by far than earth’s jewels so rare,
Flooding my soul by the grace of His favor,
Filling my heart with the spirit of prayer.

Pardoning grace the Master has spoken,
Pardoning grace has now made me whole;
On Calv’ry’s brow His poor heart was broken—
Pardoning grace for my sin sick soul.

Wonderful thought! how it fills me with singing!
Jesus has spoken, His word is divine;
I can rejoice, for His mercy is bringing
Life that is bless├Ęd and sweet into mine.

I am content, for I know He is near me,
Keeping me pure by His wonderful grace,
Whispering words full of comfort to cheer me,
Lighting my soul with a glimpse of His face.

There is a refuge beyond pain and sorrow!
When He shall call me to dwell with Him there
I shall behold, in a brighter tomorrow,
Jesus my King, all His glory to share.

"Pardoning Grace"
Words By Alfred H. Ackley
Music By Bentley D. Ackley

*"The Apostle Paul"
from the book,
"Dear Abby's Keepers"
Author Unknown

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Prayer Warrior's Journal January 2017

A mountain church
 near Sellrain, Austria

Where Are The Lamps?
By June Masters Bacher

In a certain mountain village in Europe several centuries ago
(so the story goes), a nobleman wondered what
 legacy to leave his townspeople. 
At last he decided to build them a church.
Nobody saw the complete plans until the church was finished.
When the people gathered, they marveled at its beauty.
But one noticed the incompleteness.
"Where are the lamps?" he asked. 
"How will the church be lighted?"
The nobleman smiled. Then he gave each family a lamp.
"Each time you are here, the area in which you sit will be lighted.
But when you are not here, some part of God's house will be dark."
Today we live in a world of darkness, a darkness in which even
our secular problem-solvers are beginning to stumble.
In spite of our "social conscience" all around us is evidence
of ignorance, illiteracy, and dark imaginings.
Romans 2:19 tells us that we, as Christians, are
"a light for those who are in the dark."
But the world is so big.
And our lamp is so small.
Yes, but we can light some small part of each day.
Look to the star-struck heavens. How small each
star looks in the distance. Not one of those
little lamps of heaven is missing-else the heavens
would be less bright.
Each of us is a star (or a lamp, if you will).
And yes, we can make this world a brighter place.

It all begins with the desire expressed in
Michelangelo's prayer:
"God give me the desire always to desire more
than I can ever accomplish."

The Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
By Michelangelo

To think and pray about:
Light your lamps.
Let God send you in a new direction today.
Meet someone at the crossroads of his or her life.
Put on a bright face whether you feel like it or not.
Gladness will come.

" We pray Thee, O Christ,
 to keep us under the spell of immortality.
 May we never again think and act
 as if Thou were dead.
 Let us more and more come to know
 Thee as a living Lord 
Who hath promised to them that believe:
 "Because I live, ye shall live also."
 Help us to remember that we are praying
 to the Conqueror of Death,
 that we may no longer be
 afraid nor dismayed
 by the world's problems and threats, 
since Thou hast overcome the world. 
In Thy strong name,
 we ask for Thy living presence
 and Thy victorious power. "
Reverend Peter Marshall Sr.
Twice-elected Chaplain of the United States Senate 

Mary Magdalene at the Sepulchre 
By Harold Copping

"Be joyful always; pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstances, for this
is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Test everything.
Hold on to the good.
Avoid every kind of evil.
May God Himself,
the God of peace,
sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit,
soul and body,
be kept blameless at the
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The One who calls you is faithful
and He will do it."
1 Thessalonians 4:16-24

 A Child's Prayer
Jessie Wilcox Smith

"Grace is flowing from Calvary,
Grace as fathomless as the sea,
Grace for time and eternity,
Grace, enough for me."

-Edwin O. Excel

The Christ of Calvary

Christ does not save men by His life,
Though that was holy, sinless, pure;
Nor even by His tender love,
Though that forever shall endure.

He does not save them by His throne,
Though it shall never pass away;
Nor by His vast creative power
That holds the elements in sway.

He does not save them by His works,
Though He was ever doing good;---
The awful need was greater still,
It took His death, His cross, His blood.
Annie Johnson Flint

"There is more power in one drop
of the blood of Jesus
than in all parts of the kingdom
of Satan put together."
-Derek Prince

"The Christian life is a battle.
It is warfare on a grand scale."
-John MacArthur

The Armor of God

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Some Thoughts On A Sunday Afternoon In Winter

“Where morning dawns and evening fades 
You call forth songs of joy.”
 Psalm 65:8

Dawn at Hunters Head
Acadia National Park

 "For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from Him comes my salvation.
He is my Rock and my Fortress,
I shall not be greatly moved."
Psalm 62:1

Sunrise At Newfound Gap
Smokey Mountains National Park
on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee

“The Lord’s mercies…are new every morning.” 
Lamentations 3:22-23

The sun is on the land and sea,
The day begun;
Our morning hymn begins with Thee,
Blest Three in One;
Our praise shall rise continually
Till day is done.

Thy love was ever in our view,
Like stars, by night;
Thy gifts are every morning new,
O God of light;
Thy mercy, like the heavens’ blue,
Fills all our sight.

We do not know what grief or care
The day may bring;
The heart shall find some gladness there,
That loves its King;
The life that serves Thee everywhere
Can always sing.

All glory to the Father be,
With Christ the Son,
And, Holy Spirit, unto Thee,
Forever One;
All glory to the Trinity
While ages run!
"The Sun Is On Land And Sea"
 By Louis F. Benson

Boldt Castle
Thousand Islands 
New York State

"Our inner selves wait earnestly for the Lord;
He is our Help and our Shield.
For in Him does our heart rejoice,
because we have trusted
in His holy name.
Let Your mercy and loving-kindness
O Lord, be upon us,
in proportion to our waiting
and hoping in You."
Psalm 33:20-22

Sunlit Snow Shower
 Pine Barrens
Wharton State Forest 
New Jersey

 To everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter or
purpose under heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Lenten Roses In The Snow 

"He has made everything beautiful
in its time. He has also planted eternity
in men's hearts and minds...a
divinely implanted sense of purpose
working through the ages
which nothing under the sun
but God alone can satisfy,
yet so that men cannot find out
what God has done from the
beginning to the end."
Ecclesiastes 3:11
The Amplified Bible

 Winter Sunrise Over Delaware Water Gap
Photograph by Dave Sandt

“Take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, 
until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”
 2 Peter 1:19