Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Day Dawning

"Dawn" - CC Vince Alongi/Flickr.com CC BY 2.0

The Lord says, “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land."
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NCV)


The New Year is only a few hours away.  What will it bring?  Whatever may happen, God is in it whether we like it or not.  I'm going to be watching for the new roads He sets before me in 2015.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Little Wise Man

"Little Wise Man" photo by Cammie Cole Spencer

 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:10-11


This little cutie is my niece's son, Cade.  I love it when little children play dress-up and pretend to be the characters in the Christmas story.  They can't help but be excited because the story is so exciting.
The wisest thing we can do this Christmas is to bow down and worship Him as the Wise Men of old did when they saw Him.
Hallelujah! Christ is born!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Roots for Christmas

"Family Roots" photo by Sally L. Smith

Then all the people left,
 each for their own home
and David returned home 
to bless his family.
1 Chronicles 16:43


May your family gatherings be filled with blessings.  Turns out our 23 will only get to be that number for about 3 hours.  That's all we can do with our fractured schedules.  Such is the life of a Levite.  I'll take what I can get, though!
Going back to our roots this year.




Friday, December 19, 2014

Rising Sun

"Rising Sun" photo by Sally L. Smith

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven.
Luke 1: 77-78

I'm expecting the Son to be my "rising sun" today.  I'm going to have to begin with the right frame of mind...Christ's.



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reverie

"Early Morning Bliss" photo by Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Be still
and know 
that I am God.
Psalm 46:10


God is in control of my Christmas plans.  
I will not stress today.
Now all I need to do is remember this verse tomorrow and on through the week.



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Morning All Night

"Shining_treetops" photo by Zest-pk on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

This was my situation: 
The heat consumed me in the daytime
 and the cold at night
and sleep fled from my eyes.
Genesis 31:40 


'Twas the week before Christmas...
so many things to do with not much sleep.
The "cold at night" refers to a nagging tickle left from my cold of last week that awakens me at night before I choke. The problem is that I cannot get back to sleep.  
Have you ever been tired of trying to sleep?
Oh, for strength for the day and presence of mind to do what I've committed to do.  Now I know how my daughter feels with her sleepless children.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

If God Is For You...

"Birds of a Feather" photo by Rachel Kramer (CC BY 2.0)

Be strong and courageous,
 do not be afraid or tremble at them,
 for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you 
He will not fail you or forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV



Tonight is one of our big programs to celebrate Christ's birth.  Two church choirs combine to bring music and scripture to the Lord.  What do I have to fear but fear itself when I know God is with us...Emmanuel.
So many people have fears and we can only find the strength and peace we need in the Prince of Peace.

Hallelujah!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Perfect Peace

"Sunset Through the Snowy Woods" photo by Bryan Alexander (CC BY 2.0)

You will keep in perfect peace 
those whose minds are steadfast,
 because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3 NIV


Keep trusting, dear friends,
 and don't lose heart because God has His perfect will ready for you.  
Maybe you can't see the end of the matter
 but He can.
Keep trusting, dear friends.



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Keeping Calm

"New Year's Morning" photo by Anne/End of a Chapter on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


...my peace I give you.
 I do not give to you as the world gives.
 Do not let your hearts be troubled and
 do not be afraid.
John 14:27 NIV


The calm before the storm of activity that produces our gifts to the Lord in honor of His birthday.  May we remember these words in the midst of the flurry of rehearsals and performances.  Jitters abound.




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Peace In The Land

"Excellent Camouflage" photo by Rachel Kramer (CC BY 2.0

I will grant peace in the land, 
and you will lie down and
 no one will make you afraid.
Leviticus 26:6


This is one of the many promises God made to his covenant people...those who promised to believe and obey. 
That promise still holds today.
Why do we fear?





Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Keep Paddling

"Now remember what I told you about paddling your feet..." photo by Rachel Kramer (CC BY 2.0)

...apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 NIV

Just as this goose is teaching her goslings, we have been taught by Christ.
"Keep doing what I've told you to do," said Jesus.  "Remember my words and obey what I've said.  Otherwise you will drift off into troubled waters, away from my voice and endanger your life.  Stay close so you can hear my voice and you'll be alright.  
  Ready? 
 Jump!
...but keep Paddling!"

Monday, December 8, 2014

Ahh...Sun

"Sunset Through the Dark Clouds" photo by Steve Slater (CC BY 2.0)

God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth,...
Genesis 1:17 NIV


It was so good to see the sun today after a week of rain and clouds.  The day was busy and good...the best of days.  It's always good to get to see 10 of 15 grandchildren in one week's span. They bring light to my life as God's sun brings light to the world.

Now a week of preparation before we bring music to God's Son, The Light of the World.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rain and More Rain

"Gloomy Sunday" photo by Magixstix on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

And rain fell on the earth
 forty days and forty nights.
Genesis 7:12 NIV


Six days of rain and gloom... 
 At least we still have the promise 
that it won't happen again.




Thursday, December 4, 2014

Inclining Our Hearts...Always

Photo by Violetta Lough (CC BY 2.0

Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!
Deuteronomy 5:29 NIV


Sometimes it's good to re-read the Ten Commandments.  Surely I can obey ten rules, right?  Hmmmm...wrong.  I can't even do that but I am inclined to fear God.  I guess that's a start.






Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Making Lunch


But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine.
Daniel 1:8 NIV

I made lunch for my daughter's children the other day.  When I do this, I try to serve only healthy foods but sometimes a piece of candy sneaks in.  Can you find the candy?  The kids love my "face lunches" and I love making them.
The Christmas season is upon us and my thoughts turn to food...of course.  I'm going to try to avoid too many "bad for me" foods in hopes of still being in the same size at the first of the year.  It's fruitless to think I'd be in a smaller size.  That will have to wait until the New Year...just being sensible with my demands upon myself.  I'm sure I won't be having "royal food and wine."  Thank you, teetotaler parents.

Photo is from my personal files.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thoughts Like Clouds

"Swim and Fly" photo by Maria Teresa Ambrosi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

You know when I sit and when I rise;
 you perceive my thoughts from afar.
Psalm 139:2


Thoughts:
  At this time of year they are as plentiful as the clouds in the photo above.  Sometimes they gather together and actually produce a storm of activity.
Sometimes they form and then immediately wisp away. 
 Sometimes they twist and swirl and cause unrest,
but...  
sometimes they float by so slowly that I can grasp a vision which sends me on a worthy path. 
God, the giver of clouds and thoughts, holds me in the palm of his hand, watches over me all day and night and knows me better than I or anyone else.
Stress, be gone. 



Monday, November 24, 2014

Faith As You Were Taught

Photo by Sally L. Smith

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7

It's so easy to forget the things we learned as children: be kind to each other, say your prayers, learn your Bible verses, go to church, seek out Christian friends.
Why are these so easily forgotten?  The tempter, destroyer and discourager is forever after us to forsake all the things that bring us peace.  We are all too ungrateful and filled with hate.
Put aside the things of the world and live in the Light.  Be thankful for everything and give God the glory for it all...good and bad.  Allow yourself to live in Him.  Allow Him to strengthen you and your faith walk.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Enter With Thanksgiving

"Time Stands Still" photo by Jason Woodland CC BY 2.0


Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 100:4

 I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” 
Psalm 122:1


It's important to not forsake the assembling of ourselves with other Christians.  We need each other.  We need corporate worship.  We need the fellowship of believers.



Friday, November 21, 2014

Not a Suggestion

Mixed Media Journal "Sing" by Sally L. Smith

Now write down this song 
and teach it to the Israelites 
and have them sing it....
Deuteronomy 31:19


These are God's words to Moses.  He commanded songs to be written and then sung so they can be internalized and remembered.  
It's interesting that Alzheimer's victims remember their songs of old, even in their last days.  My Dad was on his death bed singing with a CD of quartet music.  
We are commanded by the Lord to write, teach and then sing His songs.  


(Above is a notebook I made and sold when I was dabbling in mixed-media art a few years ago.)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Songs and Thanksgiving

"Singing of Love" photo by Sally L. Smith
I will praise God’s name in song
 and glorify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30


Music is my calling; art is my passion.
I've been doing both since I was a young child.  The only difference is that God actually called me to be a musician.  It was always work.  Art, on the other hand, is work but also pleasure.  Don't get me wrong.  It feels good to praise God in song and I'm blessed to still be able to do so in some form or another.  I get great satisfaction after long hours of practice (that are much longer now since I'm older) when the piece goes well.  I give what I do in church as an offering to the Lord.  I don't like to present less than the best to Him.

(Above is a little snippet I placed in a notebook along with other vignettes and offered it for sale many years ago.  I'll be resurrecting a few examples in these days before Thanksgiving.  There are SO many verses that connect songs to thanksgiving and  I feel blessed to combine my art with my music.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Watch Where You Walk

"Best Foot Forward" photo by Jason Rogers (CC BY 2.0)

  Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2

Notice that everyone is walking in the same direction except the person in the background who is walking the other way.
It's easy to follow the crowd; there's no confrontation that way.  It takes a brave Child of God to walk away from obvious wickedness, to refuse to become sucked up into sinful thoughts and actions or to not be influenced by those who mock our Lord.
As a matter of fact, maybe we should put on our running shoes and run, not walk, away.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Calm Yourself

"Fall and Winter Collide" photo by Rachel Kramer (CC BY 2.0)

I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,....
Psalm 131:1-2

This photo by Rachel Kramer looks so much like what Bill and I see as we walk down the path behind our house.  There are deer everywhere and it's so peaceful.
I wish I could take this scripture to heart every day but I'm an alarmist.  I allow situations to push me over the edge and panic/Satan attacks.  Once in panic mode, it takes a heap of control to not totally lose it.  Thank you, Mom.  I blame her but I'm really to blame.  I know better now and sometimes I can actually calm myself...with the Lord's help only.  Maybe if I etch this picture in my brain, it will help.
Have a peaceful day.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Just Be Still

"Planet Sunset" photo by Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

He says,
 “Be still, and know that I am God;
 I will be exalted among the nations,
 I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10


The busiest time of the year is upon us.  College kids are winding up the semester and for musicians, hold on to your hat!
The whole world is busy and not just during these months.  Take time to be quiet before God and allow Him to direct your paths and go before you to make them smooth.  
When I'm calm, I can enjoy things more.  
God is my calming factor.