Immanuel~ Still With Us?

At Christmastime it’s so obvious (hopefully) what we are celebrating & Who we worship, but what about the rest of the year? In December we hear most people sing out “Merry Christmas!”in celebration of the birth of Jesus, or at least personalized versions of a holiday greeting. In January, we bellow out “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”  Our voices may remain “cheery” after the midnight cry, but conversation seems to change from peace and goodwill toward others to resolutions to be a better ‘self’. Where does all the SELF-centeredness come from all the sudden?

What happens in that one week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day? As we begin to pack up all the Christmas décor and store it away until next year, do we pack up all that we say we believe about Christmas into the boxes, too? What remains? When people walk into your house, what do they see? Where are the gifts of peace, hope, and love that we talked about those few weeks? Look around; is there still evidence of your faith? Faith in Jesus as ‘Immanuel’? Is He truly still “with you”?

HarkHeraldAngelsSingLyrics

When the angels sang, “Glory to God in The Highest…” about the “good tidings of great joy”, their joy was not just about Jesus’ birth, but the significance of His coming to Earth~ the incarnation of God in man. He grew in knowledge and statue, and He LIVED A LIFE in order to give us abundant lives full of blessings and joy. So, let’s resolve to live ours abundantly, proving to Whom we belong. When we do, we will find that those gifts of PEACE, LOVE, & GOODWILL are still with us~ and much more.

Let’s make a RESOLUTION TO SING HIS PRAISES throughout this New Year. Afterall, the angels are still singing; He is Immanuel. 

♫♪ ~ ♥ ~ ♪♫

 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

(Listen by clicking.)

 ~ ♥ ~

NOTE:  These post-Christmas thoughts came from my thought process in January 2012, about how people perceive our homes as they enter into our livingrooms. 

Shortcomings and Recovery

“To be aware of one shortcoming* in oneself
is better than to be aware of one thousand in someone else.”
~ANONYMOUS

Recently, a Facebook friend whom I have known since high school posted the above quote*. She copied it from an AA recovery website of which she is a member. Keep in mind that ‘shortcoming‘ simply means “an imperfection or lack that detracts from the whole”. My friend and countless others have recovered from their their common ‘shortcoming’ to regain the essence of their lives.

The quote reminds me of  Matthew’s (7:1-5) and Luke’s (6:27-49) summaries of Jesus’ teachings about dealing with people mercifully, about not judging our neighbors when ‘we’ have not yet taken care of our own flaws.  Flaws such as addictions, bitterness, and other sins stemming from selfishness are the very imperfections we usually see in others, but somehow the same seem less obvious when looking in the mirror.  However, The Bible encourages us to examine ourselves and to seek God’s instruction in order to overcome the areas we “come short”. The Good Book calls this process ‘sanctification’.

Sanctification is gradual; it comes from faith-to-faith and glory-to-glory. It is a process which begins in each of us at our rebirths (new birth)  and continues until we reach our total glorifications when we meet Jesus face-to-face. However, we don’t all grow at the same pace. Therefore when dealing with others’ shortcomings and they with us, we find ourselves in need of a little love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. As well and more often than not, this life requires a whole lot of long-suffering before the growing process is finished. These essential attributes are referred to as “Fruit of The Spirit”. The are developed in us as we allow Holy Spirit to lead us through this life, teaching us God’s ways of dealing with each other and as we worship God in “spirit and truth”, getting to know Him better.  The “fruit” simply describe God’s character, His nature, His essence of life. In other words, we become more like Him, more like Jesus!

GRAPE CLUSTERS-Carmenere_grapes_close
“What happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–” GAL.5:22
Jesus tells us that as long as we stay connected to Him (The Vine), we (the branches) will grow this fruit, abundant crops of it, enough to share with our neighbors. It is beneficial that we all grow in sanctification; it brings peace into the world in which we live and glory to The Kingdom of which we belong!

~ ♥ ~

“What happens when we live God’s way?
He brings gifts into our lives,
much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.
We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.
We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments,
…able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Gal.5:22,23, MSG

~ ♥ ~

Ro.1:17
NKJV

…the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;
…”The just shall live by faith.”

NLT
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.
This is accomplished from start to finish by faith…

MSG
God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith,
confirming what Scripture has said all along:
“The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.

AMP
For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith…

 ~ ♥ ~

SOURCES
*DISCLAIMER– The quote at the top of this post was originally quoted using the word ‘shortfall’ instead of ‘shortcoming’. Perhaps the person used “shortfall” on purpose in reference to occurrences of “falling off the wagon” so-to-speak, but I changed it to make it grammatically correct for this blog posting. I have no way of verifying my thoughts on the original intent of the wording. I quoted it “anonymous” due to AA policy, and my source is not named in order to protect her privacy.

“Shortcoming.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shortcoming&gt;.

PHOTO— By Agne27 at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

BIBLE VERSIONS– MSG– The Message Bible; NKJV– New King James Version;  NLT– New Living Translation; AMP– The Amplified Bible;

THOSE ‘FAITH PEOPLE’

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. ~Ps.150:6
Let everything that has breath PRAISE THE LORD! ~Ps.150:6

“PRAISE THE LORD!”

Ever been irritated by the ever-jubilant reactions of those “faith people”? You know those who smile too much and go around like they “don’t get it” and never seem to understand that this world is in war against itself and consistently raise their hands to blurt out “PRAISE THE LORD” at seemingly, the wrong times?
Do not be fooled. It is ‘THOSE FAITH PEOPLE’ who have learned to smile while God brought them through their valleys and they “got it” by finding Jesus in every valley; they understand just how much the world is at war with itself so they are in continual prayer for those living in ‘the world’; they blurt out praises from the abundance of the PEACE which is IN THEIR JOYFUL HEARTS at all times. They “get it”; they understand who their GOD IS:

Because the Lord is my Shepherd,
I have everything I need!
He lets me rest in the meadow grass
and leads me beside the quiet streams.
He gives me new strength.
He helps me do what honors him the most.
Even when walking through the dark valley of death
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.
You provide…for me in the presence of my enemies.
You have welcomed me as your guest; blessings overflow!
Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life,
and afterwards I will live with you forever in your home.

~PSALM 23 (LB)