My Favorite Christmas Carol

IMG_80801There are many beautiful and touching carols, but none has captured my heart more than Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The theology in the song is crystal clear and my heart rejoices hearing and singing it. You may pick out some other Christian themes in it, but these are the ones that stand out to me. Mind you, this is one song, and it is filled with truth and glory. I’ve listed all the theology simply stated in this song. The lyrics are below the list.

  • God sent Jesus into this world to save us.
  • All the nations rejoiced at His coming.
  • The angels proclaimed His birth.
  • Jesus is the highest and all supreme God, born of a virgin.
  • He deserves our devotion and allegiance.
  • The Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were all present at His conception and birth.
  • HE IS WITH US.
  • He is the epitome of hope because He brings life to all who accept Him.
  • Death is just a passage to the best life.
  • He is PEACE, He is RIGHTEOUS, He is LIGHT and LIFE.
  •  He put His glory aside to come to earth as a humble babe.
  • Those who know Him, one day will be raised up to reign with Him.
  • And lastly…
  • All glory, any amount, should be directed and freely given to Him.

HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING

Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful, all ye nations, rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King

Christ, by highest heaven adored
Christ, the everlasting Lord
Late in time behold him come
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb
Hail the Flesh, the God Head
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King

Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace
Hail the Son of Righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His Glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

dan-kiefer-467645-unsplash (1)

5 Reasons to Send Christmas Cards

The last week of November is here. I look at it as bonus time to get a few things finished or to get a head start before December arrives.

The tradition of sending Christmas cards is one that I love. Receiving this  personal mail reminds me of  faithful relationships and provides a connection to others beyond technology.

Whether a card comes with glitter, 3 dimensional art, gold and silver letters, vellum lining, shiny graphics, embossed or just a plain card with a simple image, its eye candy for sure! There’s no doubt about it…this is happy mail! What other time of year does mail come so creatively portrayed on a piece of paper with thoughtful words inside declaring GOOD NEWS? Not just good news but THE Good News.

Although I’ve not finished sending mine, completion is very near. You might be thinking of not sending Christmas cards for the first time this year. I think even those of us who love the tradition have certainly been tempted in this way. Maybe you have so many people to send them to and it seems overwhelming. Or perhaps you think you are the only one that actually sends them anymore?

I want to encourage you not to give in to these ideas. Here’s 5 reasons to send Christmas cards:

  • Real mail – People love to get it and it’s not a bill or junk mail and will be received well.
  • Remembering in prayer –  I know a family that keeps every card they receive. In the coming year they pull a card and pray for that person or family.
  • Recycled but Real – Some people keep the cards using the imagery to make other crafts. And, it’s a way to keep the REAL meaning of Christmas alive when you choose cards about Jesus!
  • Reminiscent – Each card represents a friendship and is a personal act of love. I’ve been known to keep them from year to year.
  • Reflective – Sending cards through the mail seems like it’s from another era. Keeping this tradition alive gives people a few moments in their day to reflect on the family or friend who sent them a card.

When someone makes the effort to purchase the cards, fill out the cards, and mail the cards, that is a thoughtful act! Whether you enclose a photo or a gospel tract or just your signature, receiving them is a blessing. 

There’s no other way to look at it. It takes time, money, effort, and intention to send Christmas cards. Let’s keep this tradition alive and keep sending Christmas cards!

rawpixel-445786-unsplash


Sending Christmas cards is a good way to let your friends and family know that you think they’re worth the price of a stamp. Melanie White

Simple Homemade Cranberry Sauce

We’re 2 days away from the wonderful, American holiday of Thanksgiving. Maybe you’re headed to a friends home or to your family for the Thanksgiving feast. Are they expecting you to bring something?

The time it takes for you to pick up rolls from the store is about how long it will take to make this sauce and  it will impress everyone at the table. To say it is better than the canned product is an understatement! And, you’ll be taking something homemade to your gathering.  So here’s how you make it.
You’ll need:

1 bag of cranberries

3/4 – 1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup of water

Directions:

  • In a pot add the water and let it come to a boil. This takes about a minute.
    Add the cranberries and cover with the pot lid.
  • Turn down the heat from high to between low to medium. You’ll begin to hear pops. This is the cranberries breaking up to make a sauce.
  • In a few minutes stir the pot of cranberries and add the brown sugar. Continue stirring.
  • Return lid and let simmer a few minutes.
  • Then, uncover and stir. Mash any still whole cranberries and mash as you stir the entire mixture.
  • Once the mixture is reduced to a shiny, creamy sauce, then pour it into a heat proof dish.
  • Let cool and refrigerate.

Thanksgiving Day: Pull out of refrigerator.  This will travel well to your destination and can be put in their refrigerator if necessary once you arrive.

Truth In a List

Do you need a simple list of your personal theology regarding God, Jesus and the Bible? Years ago, I was working with children that hadn’t necessarily grown up in church. It was not my paradigm but it made my faith sharper as I looked for ways to reach them with the truth of Jesus and the Bible.

david-beale-168546-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Bible stories that I’d known all my life needed to be taught in a way they could grasp and simple theology was needed.  They needed a foundation to believe so these stories could become their truth.

One day the Holy Spirit answered by giving these statements to me. I then used them in Sunday School each week. There we played games to help the children memorize these truths.

I pray they are written in their hearts. Even more I pray the scripture that proves each statement is forever etched inside them.

These are certainly nothing new, but they are simple and easy to understand. Even now, I use them with the ladies of Buried Treasures Home where I serve.

Feel free to copy these to use in your Sunday school classes, mission classes, Bible drills, adult classes, with someone you’re discipling, or even your own children or grandchildren.

    Truth Sentences

  • Jesus is God.  John 1:1

  • All the Bible is true.  John 17:17

  • Jesus never sinned.  Hebrews 4:15

  • The Bible is God’s Word.  Psalm 119:11

  • All Scripture is God-breathed.  2 Timothy 3:16 & 17

  • Jesus is God’s Son.  John 3:16

  • Jesus never changes.  Hebrews 13:8

  • The Word of God is alive and active.  Hebrews 4:12

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

I Corinthians 15:58

 

 

Help with Scripture Writing

IMG_1827A few months ago, I wrote a blog about Scripture Writing here. Since we use this spiritual discipline at Buried Treasures Home, I saw a need to make a list of what to look for in a scripture passage so that one can get the most out of God’s word. Below is a list I compiled of items to focus on when participating in Scripture Writing. You may come up with more on  your own. But for now, hopefully this is a list you can print and use as you interact with God’s Word through Scripture Writing.

Diagramming Scripture:

Names of God – Almighty God, Heavenly Father, the Lord etc.

Action words – go, stay, wait, pray etc.

A command for His children

 Characteristics about God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit

Characteristics about us in our rebellion

Characteristics about us after we are redeemed

Characteristics about God’s Word

Consequences of rebellion

Results and rewards of obedience

A promise to His children

The words IF, THEN, THEREFORE, ALWAYS, BUT

Things God will do and things we are to do

Phrases that begin with “so that” or “in order that”

Place your name where there are personal pronouns

 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Real freedom

IMG_7164

John 8:36  says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Because Jesus lives in my heart, I am FREE from…

the penalty of sin ~ HELL

the power of sin ~ HERE

the presence of sin ~ HEAVEN

When we were church planters in Rhode Island, we had something called the  “free table” that was set up every Sunday at our church. Each week people could get whatever they chose off the free table. Usually brimming with discipleship resources, sometimes there were handmade bookmarks. The above statement was one I made into a bookmark. It explains the process from the moment of salvation to heaven.

  • Justification – We don’t have to go to Hell. God, through His Son Jesus has given us the way to heaven. This gift of salvation and forgiveness is free. Free means free.  If we choose this free gift, He cleanses us and it is just as if we’d never sinned! We are declared not guilty forever!
  • Sanctification – Once this free gift is received then we have power over sin through the power of His Holy Spirit who comes to live inside of us. A process of being made holy, set apart begins to take place. He gives us the desire to become more like Jesus. Every addiction, every thought, every obsession, every perversion, everything is being changed. We have the supernatural power to choose Jesus each moment of each day. He always provides a way out, always (I Corinthians 10:13). We have the power to choose against sin.
  • Glorification – One day as a redeemed follower of Jesus, a trumpet is going to sound. Every eye will see Him, every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father (Philippians 2:10-11). On that day, heaven will finally be ours. There is no sin in Heaven. We will finally be free. The race will be won.  All striving, and battles with temptation end. We will be changed. Our resurrected and glorified bodies will see Jesus in all His glory.

That friends is the best news. We have much to look forward to. Keep your mind and heart set on Jesus today. Remember His promise that He is coming one day to get His kids. Until then, let your life bring much glory to Him.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…Galations 5:1