Ask the Animals

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“Just ask the animals, and they will teach you.” Job 12:7

The day is fast approaching. As it gets closer, the world becomes more and more tense. Can you feel it? Can you see the evidence of it? People rushing here and there trying to get all they have on their lists accomplished. Children filled with anticipations and expectations. All in preparation for THE DAY!

Oh, if we could only channel all that energy and excitement toward the coming of the Lord! If only we could quiet our souls and wait patiently for Him. And while we wait, do good in a world that is filled with chaos. All we need to do is watch the animals to see how it is done.

Two dogs meet for the first time. They sniff each other; they check one another out; when they are satisfied, they begin to romp and play with one another. The birds that gather around our pond are respectful of one another. They give each other space to do what the Lord has created them to do. The fish swim and the birds fly. The cows give us milk and stand hours on end just chewing their cud. The horse carries its riders wherever they want to go-some of them pull the plow or the family buggy. The dog gives pleasure and comfort to its owner and his family. Even the wild animals have their places of honor in creations. Watch the animals and you will understand what is required of mankind and the world will no longer have rule over you.

“…what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”(Micah 6:8)

One day we will dwell together in peace and harmony (Isa. 11:6-7). If the animals, that we assume were in the stable the night Jesus was born, could speak our language they would tell us, that this baby was God who came to earth and dwells among us to teach us how to live and how to love. When we finally learn that lesson, He will come again and take us Home. Home is a place of peace and harmony living in the presence of and with the Lord God.

In the genre of the animals, Isaiah says it this way:

“In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child ill lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow.” (Isaiah 11:6-7)

O, MAY WE ALL FIND SUCH PEACE!

SIMPLY BELIEVE!

 

Dear Lord, you have made all things and each one has a place in your heart. I pray that I will fulfill the reason for which I was created and bring You honor and glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Job 12:7   John 1:29   Luke 2:7   Isaiah 65:25   Isaiah 11:6-7

(C) Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell 2018

The Last Day

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“…encourage one another…” I Thessalonians 4:18

 

Today is the last day of the year two thousand and eighteen. People are preparing for big celebrations. There will be parties; people crowded into Times Square to watch the magnificent glass ball drop; and fireworks displays heralding in a new year. We evaluate the past year and look forward to a new one—a new beginning. We make “new year’s resolutions” that seem to fizzle out after a few days. After this night of revelry—which is only a fuzzy memory for some—we awake to a new day of same ole, same ole.

Preparing for the “last day” may take several days, weeks, or even months of planning. Sometimes we start the planning during the celebration of the present last night. It takes a lot of effort to get to the point where you may not remember anything that has happened. Or at the very least, awaken so tired that you can hardly navigate the first day of the New Year. So much energy spent to have the time of your life that you don’t even remember!

The Bible talks about the “last day,” as well. This day, it tells us, “will happen in a moment, in a blink of an eye” (I Corinthians 15:52). Not unlike the night I have described, there must be preparation. However, this preparation takes much less effort on your part in order that you will be ready to participate in its joy. Yet, many have refused.

There will come a time when all the parties, fireworks, and splendor of the glass ball will pale. Nothing will compare with what is to come. Even though, we do not know the time of it’s coming we should not grow into a state of complacency, for even if we pass from this life before “The Day,” we will all be received into its glory by the God of Glory Jesus, if we have recognized our sin (Romans 3:23); repented (turned away from) and believed (Acts 3:19 & Mark 16:16); and began to serve and follow Christ (Revelation 2:10,11). This is the preparation for the greatest celebration known to mankind.

The butterfly goes through a great struggle before it comes into its beauty. So too, for the Christian. But, the butterfly does not give up. It believes that the struggle will be worth all the pain and heartache that it takes to achieve what God has called it to be—a beautiful, carefree creature that gives everyone who sees it great joy. You are that butterfly—maybe still in your cocoon—but, nevertheless, God has destined you to live in His glory that others may be encouraged, also. You see, God does not desire anyone to perish, but for all to be brought to a place where we can share His glory. This IS the day of new beginnings!

“This is the day of new beginnings, time to remember and move on, time to believe what love is bringing, laying to rest the pain that’s gone.

Christ is alive, and goes before us to show and share what love can do. This is the day of new beginnings, our God is making all things new.”

Words: Brian Wren, 1978; alt. 1987 (Rev. 21:5)

Music: Carlton R. Young, 1984

U M C Hymnal (1989) pg. 383

Read Isaiah 43:19

Heavenly Father, I may not understand how everything will work out, but I trust You. I don’t see a way, but I know You will make a way. I have faith that at this very moment You are touching hearts, opening doors, and lining up the right breaks and right opportunities. Things may look dark and bleak now, but I have faith that my dawn is coming. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

I am looking forward to whatever is in Your plan for me!

A Blessed New Year to all!

I Thessalonians 4:16   Matthew 24:30   I Corinthians 15:52

(C) Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell 2018

 

The Visitation

The Visitation

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“…an angel of the Lord appeared to him; Gabriel appeared to her; and an angel of the Lord appeared to them…” Luke 1:11; 1:28; 2:9

One of my favorite songs is: “Angels Among Us” by Alabama. The words of the chorus is: “Oh, I believe there are Angels among us/Sent down to us from somewhere up above/They come to you and me in our darkest hours/to show us how to live/to teach us how to give/to guide us with the light of love.”

The song begins by telling a story of a little boy walking home from school on a cold winters day. He took a short cut through the woods and lost his way. It was getting late and he was scared. He thought he was all alone, but he was not—God sent an angel to guide him home.

When he got home, he told his mother about the old man who had taken his hand and led him through the dark woods to safety. His mother couldn’t see the old man, but the little boy knew in his heart that he was an answer to his prayer.

Zechariah, Mary, and the Shepherds felt alone and in the dark, also. When you read their stories in the scripture, according to the Gospel of Luke, you will see that they were never alone, God made sure His Messengers were on hand to guide them through the dark, frightening times.

You see, God has a plan! It is a plan to bring hope, peace, and love to His creation. It is a plan that will not fail. It began long before the world was created and it includes you and me. Believing in Jesus, the Son of God, and that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, a virgin, brings a shining light to a world of darkness and chaos. Just as that old man appeared to the little boy lost and afraid in the dark woods, an angel (in some form) will appear to you. I know, because my husband and I have experienced the visitation of an angel!

While traveling through a city, that we were unfamiliar with—we lost our route. We drove down several streets, seemingly going around in circles, driving through dangerous neighborhoods. Finally, we stopped at a gas station to ask for directions. My husband went inside hoping to find someone who could help. I sat in the car with the doors locked, praying. It seemed like forever, but soon my husband appeared—there was a disheveled man right behind him!

Del got in the car and said, “We have help! He is going to lead us out! We are going to follow him!” God sent His angel, in the form of a disheveled man and his wife in a black car, to bring us forth from the dark woods and be safely on our way home. There are angels among us—do not be afraid!

Do not be lost in a cold, dark world. Believe in God. Believe in Jesus Christ. Believe in the Holy Spirit. Believe there are Angels all around you to light your way through the “dark woods” of life to the clearing of peace, joy, and love.

Dear Heavenly Father, you light up my life with song. Help me to see the angels whom you send to light my path. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Luke 1:11 & 13   Luke 1:28 & 30   Luke 2:9,10,13

(C) Rev Betty A Beach-Connell 2018

Jesus is Better Than Santa

IMG_5488Santa lives at the North Pole; Jesus is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh; Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year; Jesus is an ever present help.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited; Jesus stands at your door and knocks.

Santa makes you stand in line to see him; Jesus is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap; Jesus lets you rest in His arms.

Santa asks, “Little boy, little girl, what is your name?” Jesus knew our names before we did.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly; Jesus has a heart full of love.

Santa offers “Ho,ho,ho”; Jesus offers health, help, and hope.

Santa says “You better not cry”; Jesus says, “Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.”

Santa’s little helpers make toys; Jesus makes new lives, mends hearts, repairs broken homes.

Santa may make you chuckle; Jesus gives you joy.

Santa puts gifts under your tree; Jesus became our gift and died on the tree.

There’s really no comparison.

Jesus is the reason for the season.

(C) Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell  2018

The Twelve Days of Christmas

According to folklore, the song “The 12 Days of Christmas was written to help young believers learn about their faith. Although no evidence proves that claim, some say the popular carol contains these codes:

The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ.

Two turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.

The four calling birds are the four gospels.

The five golden rings are the Law: the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese a-laying represent the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represent the gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership and mercy.

The eight maids a-milking are Jesus’ eight Beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing are the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The 10 lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.

The 11 pipers piping stand for the 11 faithful disciples.

The 12 drummers drumming symbolize the 12 statements of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.1224171810

 

The Song

The Song

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“Serve [worship] the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.” Psalm 100:2

 

Songs, music, convey a message that can be understood through no other media. Our hymnals contain hymns which are poems set to music. For each hymn you will find “Words by…and Music by…and the year it was composed. In our Bibles the largest collections of poems, which were set to music and sung by the Israelites, is the Book of Psalms, each identified as written by David, Asaph or the Sons of Korah.

The Psalmist writes, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart sad? Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you…” (42:5) He sang his song. Mary sang a song of praise because she knew her baby was a gift from God. Her soul sang His praises, even though there was great controversy swirling about her. (Luke 1:46ff) Zechariah, being filled with the Spirit sang praises to God on the birth of his son, John the Baptist who was destined to prepare the way of the Lord. (Luke 1:67ff) The angels sang and filled the sky with song as one of them was informing the shepherds of the birth of the Christ child. (Luke 2:14) And, Simeon sang a song even as he knew his death was imminent. His soul was glad because he had seen the savior of the world. (Luke 2:29ff)

You and I can sing a new song in the midst of any situation. Whatever is happening in your life, you too, can sing a song, because no matter what, Jesus is with you. We celebrate His birth over and over again because we need the reminder that through Jesus, our God came to earth that we might live a life abundant. The baby Jesus is the promise of God that He will even sacrifice Himself that you might live. Now that is something to sing about!

As you sing the Christmas carols this year, allow your heart to take in the love that God has for you. If you do, you will brighten the corner where you are and your soul will emanate His presence. As the stable was aglow, even though it was devoid of earthly light, so too will the darkness fade away and you will walk in a halo of light that will enlighten your path.

“He is born, the holy Child, play the oboe and bagpipes merrily!

He is born, the holy Child, sing we all the Savior mild.”

He is Born—Words Trad. 19th cent. French carol Anon

Music 18th cent. French carol; harm. By Carlton R. Young, 1988

United Methodist Hymnal, pg. 228

Dear Baby Jesus, God my Father, Holy Spirit, fill my cup to overflowing with your love. Let me look upon all you have created with the same eyes of love that I look upon the Baby lying in the cradle.  In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Luke 1:46ff   Luke 1:67ff   Luke 2:14   Luke 2:29ff

The Heart of Christmas

The Heart of Christmas

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“Let the little children come to me…” (Mark 10:14)

I can’t help but think about the mothers, fathers and children huddled at the border of the United States. Also, I think of those who have lost their home due to a hurricane or fire and are living in tents. There may be some who are birthing a child at this very moment and they have nowhere to lay their heads. Just like Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus.

In my heart I know that God will watch over them. He will take care of them. He will send Angels to call for them and He will supply all their needs. (Ps. 23) He will also protect them in the presence of their enemies. He will bring all the little children to Him. Remember how Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” (Mark 10:14) It is for sure and for certain that the Word of God is true and He stands behind His promises.

As Christmas approaches I pray that all believers will unite in prayer for all the little children of the world. May these children and youth bring a revival of peace and joy and unity to the world! May a calm come over the governments and give them a new heart towards peace.

Lord, you know we can’t go on much longer the way we are. People are angry, frustrated, and even confused. They are listening to false doctrine and being led astray down a dark and dead end path. There may be only one way and I shudder to think about it. Save us Lord. Turn our hearts toward You and Your precepts. Help us to remember Your command to love one another as You have loved us before there is no other way, but to start all over again as with Noah (Genesis 6-9) and Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19:24/Isaiah 1:9/Romans 9:29)

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be. With God our creator, children all are we. Let us walk with each other in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow; To take each moment and live each moment is peace eternally; Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Words & Music by Sy Miller & Jill Jackson © 1955

Wishing you one and all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

(C) Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell  2018