From The Beginning

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Genesis 1:28

From the beginning, God had a plan. With that plan, He created our world. But, He didn’t stop with the things visible to us.

He had–has a plan for us, too. Isn’t that amazing!

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And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. Genesis 1:29

Throughout the Bible, we read of His plan. Repentance. Salvation. Adoption. Abundance. Purpose.

Sounds like the beginnings of an exciting adventure, doesn’t it? Yet, when we read about characters like Paul and all that he endured we may wonder if the effort to fulfill our purpose is worth the pain.

And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. Genesis 1:30

No one ever said it would be easy. At times, we will scale the mountain of heartache, traverse the valley of set backs, sail the dark waters of indecision, and wander the barren lands of loss.

But take courage, my friend. Do not let fear or discouragement keep you from fulfilling your purpose. Together with God, we can do this.

How can I be sure?

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Genesis 1:31

Because from the beginning, God had a plan!

Carpe Diem

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

There is nothing I enjoy more than music that points to the Savior.

In the past weeks, I have enjoyed finding new artists to share with you. Each day the songs I posted were on my mind reminding me of the reason for the season. But then things changed as problems on top of problems occurred. At first, it didn’t faze my joy. But then yesterday…

Everything I touched went wrong. Have you ever had one of those days? I tried baking bread. The dough didn’t rise. I tried making divinity candy. The thermometer went haywire. The first batch of sugar and water turned to rock candy. The second batch was too syrupy. Then, I tried making pralines. That didn’t turn out right either. My daughter said she didn’t care what the candy looked like, it was still good to her! I disagreed. I like pretty candy.

Just before I fell into the “depths of despair,” Paul’s words suddenly came to mind. “We are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). I remembered the post, Joy to the World. Moment of truth! I always have a choice whether to give in to my emotions or reach for higher ground. So, I took a deep breath and made a decision. I would not allow my circumstances or the enemy to steal my joy and peace. I stepped out of the kitchen and began thanking the Lord for everything in my life. And do you know what happened? That’s right. My joy returned, and peace flooded my soul once more.

 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. Psalm 16:9

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:28-29

Through the Prince of Peace, we have rest!

History

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was first published in 1833. Although the author is unknown, it is believed to be one of the oldest carols. It appeared in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843). Listen to the 1917 Edison record recording here.

Favorite Line

To save us all from Satan’s pow’r when we were gone astray

I confess I enjoy the 1917 Edison recording, but Keith and Kristyn Getty makes the Irish in me stand up and shout, “Yes!”

Joy to the World!

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

There is a joy that bubbles inside me with the mention of His name and the thought of Bethlehem. The Lord is come! Oh, the unspeakable joy! I guess that’s why I love this song.

History

With Psalm 98 in mind, Isaac Watts wrote Joy to the World and published it in 1719. Astonishingly, the hymn refers to Christ’s second coming and not His birth.

Favorite Line

Let earth receive her King

O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.
The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.
He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.
Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together
Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity. Psalm 98

We Three Kings

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Matthew 2:1

The Lord said, “But wisdom is justified of her children.” Today, I want to share with you another favorite hymn and the lessons I’ve learned from their story.

They left all to find Him.

Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. Matthew 2:2

Nothing wrong with having possessions but, He must come first.

They shared the good news while on their journey.

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. Matthew 2:3-8

I want to share the good news with everyone I meet. So many are hurting who need to hear the Hope of Salvation.

They went where they were led and never gave up!

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. Matthew 2:9

In this life, we will have heartaches. Let us remember Who is waiting at the end of this journey!

They brought their best and laid it at the newborn King’s feet.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11

At the closing of each year, I question if I have given my best. He truly deserves my best!

They worshiped.

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:23-24

I love to worship Him! Adore. Nothing between. No secrets. Honesty, openness, and willingness. True love.

They listened.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. Matthew 2:12

Lord, fine tune my ears!

History:
Words and Music 1857 John H. Hopkins Jr.

Favorite Line:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Sounds through the earth and skies.