Friday, December 13, 2019
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Rest. We all need it, yearn for it, especially at this time of the year when busyness takes up unprecedented residence in our lives as we prepare to celebrate Christmas and the coming of a brand-new year.
So, my husband, Danny, and I will leave this coming Monday to spend the week at the same mountain cabin, Nantahala Gorgeous, where we took granddaughter, Virginia Rose, this past June.
No, the view won't be anything like the summer one, but there is something enticing about the barren limbs of endless trees marching up the mountainsides like stalwart soldiers parading proudly before their Maker. With their branches lifted toward the heavens as if in prayer, they remind us to seek out quiet time with God.
To rest in Him.
And that's exactly what we intend to do.
That being said, I will be absent from this blog until January of 2020. And if I don't show up to read and comment on your blogs during this interim, I know you'll more than understand. Be assured that I will be keeping each and every one of you in my prayers.
Danny and I wish you all a Blessed and Merry Christmas, and a Healthy and Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 12, 2019
After Jesus was born in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."
And then upon a midnight clear
When shrouding clouds fled in fear
Light of the world, in babe, appeared
Love and hope and faith revealed
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
The greatest among you will be your servant.
My friend, and fellow blogger, Victor S. E. Moubarak, is a prolific and talented author. His many books range from the zany and humorous to thoughtful reflections on what it means to be a Christian in a world which seems intent on downplaying the importance of faith.
I've chosen to highlight three of Victor's works here. They are novels whose main character, Father Ignatius, a Catholic priest, faithfully serves at St. Vincent's Church in a rather economically depressed town in Great Britain. He is a humble, amiable servant and shepherd to his parishioners, dedicated in his faith, and living a life that shines the love of Christ to all and sundry. Fr. Ignatius has become one of my most beloved literary figures to date. I am so pleased and honored to introduce him to you in these brief reviews.
When three children encounter an apparition of Christ Jesus on their way to church, they eagerly and excitedly tell Fr. Ignatius about it. It isn't long before the entire town is abuzz with this incredulous news.
People, unsurprisingly, react to this vision in a variety of ways. Some readily accept it as truth. Other mock and scoff in disbelief. Still others react violently toward the children and their families.
Parishioners seek guidance from Fr. Ignatius, whereas the church tries desperately to hush the story up, hoping it will simply go away. Yet, as if in holy defiance, Jesus appears again and again.
As a reader, you are challenged to ask, "What would I do in a similar situation? How would I react?" This novel truly provides Christians with a reality check of what they actually believe.
The Priest and the Prostitute
Now that I have your attention with this ominous title, Fr. Ignatius finds himself in a world of hurt. He is suspected of murder! The church is rattled to its foundations, and his parishioners are all too ready to jump to multiple conclusions, judging their mild-mannered priest before any real facts are known.
Fr. Ignatius' faith is sorely tested as he tries in vain to plead his innocence. And through this grueling ordeal, he discovers who his true friends are.
To Love a Priest
This is by far the most poignant and controversial book in the Fr. Ignatius series. When a long-lost love from his less-than-discretionary youth reappears in his life, the priest finds himself wrestling between conscience and dogma, questioning the centuries-held belief that priests should never marry.
Traveling with Fr. Ignatius on this journey will touch your heart and your soul, and have you praying mightily that everything will have a positive outcome.
Christmas is right around the corner, my friends, so don't miss out on ordering Victor's amazing books for a loved one or for yourself. You can visit his entertaining and inspiring blog, Time for Reflections, to get your novels, or simply type Victor Moubarak in the search bar at Amazon.
These wonder novels are sure to make your Christmas merry and bright!
Friday, December 6, 2019
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
The dusk creeps, stealthy steps
Silent, bearing shadows bleak
Enabled by branches barren
Enfolding forest, yard and street
Darkness settles, cold and deep
Yet eyes, undaunted, search beyond
Apparent apparitions don't
Belong to souls, saved, forgiven
Though blackness broods, encroaching
Longs to wrap the clouds of doubt
Around, about, the trusting child
Light upon horizon dawns
Illuminates a world of truth
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Advent it upon us! Can you believe it? Where has this year gone?
And with Advent comes the beginning of the New Year in the life of the church, the days we prepare to celebrate the coming of the Lord as a tiny, helpless baby into a world that would be reluctant to receive Him, anxious to destroy Him, and determined to prevent others from believing in His saving grace.
The odds that plagued Jesus in His lifetime are sorrowfully mirrored in ours. Marginalized are those who believe in Him. We who cling steadfastly to His everlasting promises to be with us always are increasingly mocked and reviled.
The more things change, the more they remain the same . . .
There are so many, too many, folks out there who boldly declare no Savior need apply. The assert that they have everything under control; at the helm, they are the "large and in charge." Never once does the thought, or need, of eternal salvation cross their minds. After all, they are the Elite, the Chosen, and the backwater, hayseed, uneducated, unwashed masses, who cling to God and His Word, matter not.
No one is permitted to tell them differently. If you do? You are silenced, shut down, or relegated to the significance of a gnat.
Makes me wonder: What has become of freedom in this country? Our Constitution and its protections? The Declaration of Independence that clearly states we are given life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness because God, our Father and Creator, deems it so?
I believe from the bottom of my heart that what our beleaguered nation needs, perhaps more than any time in our history, is prayer. Lots and lots and lots of prayer! And what better time than the season of Advent, as we await Jesus' coming into the world, to pray for those so antagonistic toward Him, that they would have a change of heart.
A heart of stone turned into a fleshly, feeling one, open freely to God's love and grace.
So, I'm going to spend every day of Advent in extra prayer for all the souls, lost and fearful, who need the Lord in their lives more than they know. And maybe, just maybe, if we all join together in prayer, they will have a stony heart turned into a fleshly one, and finally know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what Christmas is all about.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. ~Mark ...
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