Thursday, December 27, 2012

Scripture Thursday ~ Be Still

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

Be still....  

                   and know.........

                                       that I AM GOD.......

I'm finding the need to do that today.  So will leave you with some of my favorite scripture graphics I've made over the year.  You can find them at the end of this post.

If you missed my last post, which was on Christmas Day, I'd encourage you to read it, titled THE CHRISTMAS LETTER.  It's heartwarming and full of spiritual inspiration, written by a mom of three.  You can click on the photo below to be taken to it




You can find most of my previous Scripture Thursday posts here, all in one convenient location:




Some of my favorite Scripture Graphics.  Free for personal use or sharing. 
Click for larger size, right click, and save to your computer.












Some of these graphics were made using WORDart from Karen at Papercraft Memories.   Check it out for lots of free Scripture WORDart.  Thanks Karen!!


Thanks for stopping by today, may you all have a blessed new year season.







Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Christmas Letter




And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host
praising God, and saying, 
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:10-14


A Christmas letter arrived this year in a card like so many of them do.  This one was different.  It came from a mom of little ones named Melissa, who is related to us through my husband.  I started reading it and was surprised and touched by what I read. 



It was so moving,  I asked Melissa if I could share it with my readers.  She agreed and so, here is "The Christmas Letter". 

In Melissa's words:

I have never done this in a Christmas card before, but I feel the need to share my heart at this time.  Christmas is a very special time of year - a time to marvel at twinkling lights, sing along to a familiar carol, and cuddle up on the couch to watch heartwarming Christmas movies. 

While I definitely enjoy all these things, Christmas signifies something much more important to me.  It is the miracle of God becoming flesh and entering a sin-ridden world for you and for me.  The Baby in the manger grew up and bore our sins on a cross to offer a free gift of salvation to all who would accept it.  What a reason to celebrate.


Writer of The Christmas Letter and one of her littles

Many of you are already well aware of the events in my family's life during 2012.  In brief, we discovered I had a pregnancy complication, complete placenta previa, that had also been present with the previous pregnancy and caused a very scary sequence of events surrounding delivery. 

To avoid a similar traumatic situation, I ended up spending 7 weeks in a very capable hospital an hour away from my family.  Needless to say, this was not something that we would have planned, had we the power to write the story of our lives.

However, when I think of my sweet baby, I am reminded that every minute spent in the hospital room, stuck in bed was worthwhile.  Yes I shed many tears.  Yes, I wanted to go home.  I cannot say it was much easier for my husband and children who had a long drive to come see me, and relied on others to help with childcare and food.

However, during that time we were blessed in so many ways.  It is amazing what others did for us.  Throughout it all, God's grace carried us.

Melissa with her three Blessings

You see, Jesus came as a baby so long ago, but now He lives in my heart.  Many years ago, I freely accepted that first Christmas gift to the world and am very grateful that I did.  I continue to have struggles in my life, but I have Someone greater than I Who willingly shoulders the burdens.  I am not perfect but I know Someone Who is.  He is the Christ of Christmas, my Savior, my friend.

May you experience the true peace that Christ offers and enjoy a blessed Christmas. 




Thank you sweet Melissa for sharing your heart with us, and allowing me to share it with my readers. 

May you all have a blessed Christmas, and may the blessings flow over to you in the new year.  I appreciate each and every one of you. 











Thursday, December 20, 2012

Scripture Thursday ~ Put on Love



Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience.

  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances
you may have against one another.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
  And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity.

 Colossians 3:12-14

Have you noticed that Christmas trees come in a variety of shapes and sizes?  Some are very tall, others are short, or they're thin or thick.  But…..they all have something in common – they are a tree and they are green. 

Christmas trees as you know are adorned with decorations / ornaments.  A Christmas tree in your home would be quite plain if it weren’t for the ornaments and lights. 


Like there are a variety of trees, there are a variety of ornaments ~ handmade, store bought, shiny, dull, broken, sentimental, priceless, and more. 

We are like the Christmas trees, all a variety of shapes and sizes.  In Colossians 3:12 we’re told to:

clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience

In other words, these characteristics and virtues are our ornaments.   As Christian women, God wants us to adorn ourselves with these qualities.



COMPASSION
This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. 

Lamentations 3:21-23

KINDNESS
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another,
even as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

HUMILITY
   Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
  Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly,
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.

Proverbs 16:18-19

free for personal use or sharing ~ click for larger size

GENTLENESS
He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.

Isaiah 40:11

PATIENCE
But those who wait on the LORD
shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint
.
Isaiah 40:31

The closer we draw to God, the easier it will be to adorn ourselves with these qualities and characteristics.  How can we draw closer?   Two of the most important ways are through reading and studying the Bible, and communicating to Him through prayer.  In doing so, these characteristics will become us by default.

FORGIVENESS
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger,
and clamour, and evil speaking,
be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:31-32

When we harbor resentment and hatred in our hearts, we’re hurting ourselves and those that love us.  Healing can’t begin until you reach a point of forgiveness. 


And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity. 

Colossians 3:14

LOVE – binds all of these virtues together in PERFECT unity.  When I think of the Christmas Tree I think of the lights being the LOVE that binds it all together.  Without the lights, the ornaments are dull and flat.   In Sunday School we sing This little light of Mine, I’m going let it shine.  


Without love, these virtues are useless.

Love
Greater love has no one than this,
than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

John 15:13

I think we’ve all been affected in one way or another by the recent school shootings in Connecticut.  Twenty little children whose lives were taken in such a cruel way, are now safe in the arms of Jesus.    There were six staff members, who laid down their lives to protect the children and their co-workers. 

My friend Donna ~ a schoolteacher, mother, and grandmother said this to me:
We do all stand together - as mothers and fathers - in the vast sea of children. Both you and I and most others would defend a child, even if it meant our death. I think that is the image of God built into us from the beginning. His fatherhood is perfect, He was willing to defend us even to the death of His own son.


 We don’t need money to give the kind of gifts this verse speaks of. 
We can generously give:

compassion
kindness
humility
gentleness
patience
forgiveness and
love


As I'm sure you are doing, please continue to pray for the families, staff, students, emergency workers and community of Newtown Connecticut. 

Merry Christmas my friends and blessings to you and  yours.  Here is a printable I made for you with today's verse.  Free for personal use or sharing.  It can be printed on any colored or patterned cardstock. 

click for larger size
free for personal use or sharing

~ Abby ~

Monday, December 17, 2012

Free Christmas Graphics and Hymns


Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.


Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.



Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light.


I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.


Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.



Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.



It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold.


"Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From Heaven’s all gracious King."
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.


I hope you enjoy these Christmas graphics and Hymns.  The Hymn art was made using some graphics, compliments of The Graphics Fairy

As a mother, grandmother, and former school secretary, my heart goes out to the families, school staff, emergency workers, and community of Newtown Connecticut.  Please continue to remember them in your prayers.

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Scripture Thursday ~ Peace of Christmas

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid. 

John 14:27



December of 1861 was not a time of peace on earth in the United States.  A Civil War was being fought between the North and the South, killing and wounding thousands and thousands of men.  It was during this time, a man named Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a Portland Maine native, buried his wife.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry’s wife Fanny had been accidentally burned to death while heating sealing wax.  Wax that was used to seal the envelope containing her children’s cut off baby curls.  Henry had also suffered severe burns while trying to save her as her clothes burst into flames.Two years later one of Mr. Wadsworth’s sons who had gone off to fight in that Civil War was badly wounded.  During this low point in Henry’s life he wrote the poem,
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.



I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth, I said,
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.

free digital scripture graphic ~ for personal use or sharing
click for larger size

This timeless poem/song written by Mr. Longfellow over 150 years ago is applicable still today and reminds us there is HOPE, even in times of despair. 
God is not dead nor doth he sleep.


The Christmas story is about a gift from God to the human race.  The gift of His Son, to take the punishment for our sins.   There’s nothing you can do to earn this gift, you receive it by faith.  Once you receive a gift, it’s yours. 
 For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
Not of works,
lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9





The angel’s message to the Shepard’s was:

Fear not: for, behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people. 

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

And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger. 

And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host praising God,
and saying, 
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace,
good will toward men. 
Luke 2:10-14



Jesus Christ is the only lasting peace you will ever find in this world. 



Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth,
give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid. 

John 14:27

The church bells ring on Christmas to announce God’s gift to humanity and the HOPE He brought to us in the form of the baby in the Bethlehem manger.  

May you and your family be blessed by that Gift throughout this Christmas season and in the coming year. 






Monday, December 10, 2012

Angels from Glory ~ Free Graphics

Compliments of the Feathered Nest

Angels from the Realms of Glory
James Montgomery 1816

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.


Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.



Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light:



Though an Infant now we view Him,
He shall fill His Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to Him;
Every knee shall then bow down:




All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising
To th’eternal Three in One.

Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.


And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude
of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:13-14



Christmas blessings to all of you as we draw closer to the celebration of our Savior's birth.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Scripture Thursday ~ The Faith of Mary


And the angel came in unto her, and said,
Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee:
blessed art thou among women.   

And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, 
and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
 
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary:
for thou hast found favour with God. 
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, 
and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
Luke 1:28-31



Jesus' mother Mary faced the ultimate act of courage head on.  Can you imagine being approached by an angel, and then given a message that is beyond difficult to comprehend.  I think you can read a lot into Mary's response by what she didn't say.  Young Mary merely asked:

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be,
seeing I know not a man? 
Luke 1:38
and the angel responded:

And the angel answered and said unto her,
The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee,
and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:
therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee
shall be called the Son of God.
And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived
a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her,
who was called barren.  For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Luke 1:35-37


Now, that's a serious piece of news, all at once. 
One of those messages alone would create a shock factor.

A visit by an angel
the fact that Mary is told she is highly favored by the Lord

her barren cousin Elisabeth, well on in years was going to have a child as well
and that she, an unmarried Virgin, will conceive and give birth to the Savior of the world.

Can you just imagine the thoughts swirling around her young mind.  She faced not only public ridicule and shame, but death by stoning.  Mary's faith was SO strong, and she trusted her Lord SO completely her response to this news was this:

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord;
be it unto me according to thy word.
And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:38


In other words, Mary said, let it be unto me as you have said.  She accepted what God had given her.  Why?  Because she knew the promise of God's words to her:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
~ Hymn Blessed Assurance ~


This verse promises us that God knows YOUR future as well, and He promises that His plans are not to hurt you but to help you.  Please join me through this Christmas season by using Mary's faith as an example of perseverance through your own personal trials. 
Have a blessed Christmas season. 
This post is linked to:  Walking Redeemed  Fellowship Fridays
What Joy is Mine, Hearts for Home Thursday, Encourage One Another,
Word Art Wednesday

A Sheltering Tree

.