O Spread the Good News!

© Jeanne E Webster.  All rights reserved

Excited faces glowed as the shepherd boys scurried to the place where the angels had told them a babe had been born.  This babe was Christ the Lord, the Savior of the world.   I wonder what their thoughts were as they approached the manger where this babe lay.  I’ve tried to plunk myself into their place as they stood looking upon this newly born baby.  How could this little one be the Savior, the Christ?   He’s just a plain baby.  No, the angels had told them this was Christ the Lord.  A Savior?  Yes!

What awe must have filled their hearts!  Did they merely nod to Mary and Joseph, or did they tell them the angels’ story?   Did they bow low as they walked to the manger? Did they reach in and touch his hand?  Did they gaze into the eyes of their Lord in wonder? Did the Babe smile at their bewildered stares?  Oh, my…the wonder of it all.  I just can’t take it in.

There is a song that filled my spirit as I pondered all this:   Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul.  I know this melody is meant for repentance and redeeming grace, but I think my heart would have felt these words as I looked down upon this baby boy in wonderment, trying to take it all in… especially the first verse and beginning of the chorus.

“O what a wonderful, wonderful day – day I will never forget;
After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Savior I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend – He met the need of my heart;
Shadows dispelling, With joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart.

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul! ”

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I love Christmas!  It’s the grandest birthday party we’ll ever attend!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill to mankind. 

Amen”

Sweet Baby Moment

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved and observed.

Luke 2:25-33 “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law.

Then took he him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people: a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”

And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.

This passage of scripture is so fragrant with God’s outpouring of blessings upon mankind. Simeon, an old man and mere servant of God, devoted to Him in all his ways, went to the temple after the Holy Spirit had beckoned to him. He was told that someday he would see the Christ, the Messiah, before he died.

Was this the time?

Can you imagine the heart of this devoted servant straining to keep up with the flow of excitement surging through his veins? The Holy Spirit called; he responded. He was the right man at the right place at the right time. He would be the one to reveal the prophecy that Jesus’ significance would extend even to the Gentiles.

Also guided to the temple that very same hour were the parents of Jesus. Joseph and Mary were there to dedicate their firstborn son to the Lord. It was the customary law, along with offering a sacrifice of two turtledoves.

Simeon took the babe in his arms and blessed God!

This is the sweet part. . . holding baby Jesus in his arms. I have held many babies in my arms, and it was a rich blessing to snuggle each one of them. But–the Son of God, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace? How the arms must have trembled, the knees must have weakened; the head must have grown faint.

Yet. . . yet, Simeon raised his voice and said, “Lord, let me depart in peace now, for I have seen our salvation. He shall be a light to the Gentiles and the glory to your people Israel.”

No wonder Joseph and Mary marveled. Simeon was speaking about their firstborn son! One of the sweetest moments in history, folks.

Shalom

A Kiss

 © Jeanne E Webster.  All rights reserved

 Matt. 26:49-50 “And he came to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi,’ –then kissed him. Jesus asked him, ‘Friend, why have you come here?’”

Can you imagine the thoughts that spiraled through Judas’ mind later that day, moments before he hung himself? “Greetings, Rabbi.” Had he been veiling his edginess as he spoke these words?

Then he kissed Jesus on the cheek. Did he remember that final kiss, a ritual that indicated friendship and respect? Jesus had called him “Friend.”  Judas recognized his cost of discipleship very soon after betraying his Lord. He confronted the horror of his actions: Jesus would soon be crucified because he gave him away…with a kiss. What a lesson we can learn from this tragedy.

Transpose this scenario to our lives today.  John 15:13, 14, 15 “You are my friends if you keep my commandments. Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knows not what his lord does. But I have called you friends, for all things I have heard from God I have told to you.”  Jesus calls those who love and serve Him his friends. Is Jesus your friend? Do you keep his commandments?

Do you run to him one minute with praise then later betray your friendship?  “Lord, I worship you and praise you. You are the Lord of my life.” Then a conscience-pricking situation comes along and you give no thought to your devotion. You “kiss off” this lord of your life as easily as you would change hats.  “I’m no do-gooder. They can pick themselves up from ground. No one helped me when I was down! Who? Jesus? Nah, he doesn’t expect me to do that. I’m a member of the Main Street ******** Church. What more does he expect? No, no, not me.”

Many times during the day, every day, I’m sure we all hear that still small Voice whispering in our ears:

“Write …

Visit …

Check up on…

Put some change in the little kid’s hand …

Rebuff that urge to …

Call …

Listen …

Touch …”

We all get these twinges of conscience or heart but dismiss them as soon as our senses recognize we might have to leave our comfort zone. Being a friend of Jesus means looking upon others as he would, if he were still on earth.

You see, he still is on earth–in you.

Love-wrapped Scraps

clothesline

© Jeanne E Webster.  All Rights Reserved

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Dangling in black space

Hung white-faced mimes

Tiny bits and pieces Of memorable effects

Shredded and shabby

Hoary, wispy specks glowed

On an invisible clothesline.

Drawing closer I recognized…

A glass chip from an antique mirror,

A frayed scrap from a favorite shirt,

A scruffy heel from my first new shoes,

A tattered ear from my treasured teddy bear,

A jagged corner from my grandma’s photo,

Broken silver links that cradled my crucifix,

A fragment of a cherished birthday card,

A tassel from my son’s high school cap,

A dog-eared page ripped from my old Bible.

“What is this? What does it mean?”

Vagabond bits and pieces of my life

Most precious to me a long time ago

How mystifying to envision them again

Prayed instantly for God’s illumination.

Softly He whispered: “Behold… touch… absorb.”

These were tools He’d furnished for me

To comprehend love

Feel it deep in the heart

Love and life have value

Beyond all things Touchable today—

Unearthly tomorrow.

How delicately

A shred or piece evokes

An event that

Seemed so essential

Now is merely

Lingering nostalgia.

Yes, Lord, memories are surfacing…

Grandpa bought the mirror for me

Traded in a pricey grandfather clock;

Grandma surprised me on my birthday

Presenting that longed for plaid shirt;

Dad hunted all over town for my shoes

With a great big hug, his special love;

Teddy bear all petted out was my sister’s

She died young and I miss her sorely;

Grandma’s photo was the last vestige

Of the only real live-angel on earth;

Mom saved up her ironing earnings

Bought me that cross dangling on a chain;

The birthday card gifted in adolescence

My first boyfriend, becoming my husband;

My son so proudly graced me with his tassel

Graduating and making his way in the world.

My heart trembles at the dog-eared page

Torn loose from the Word, my study book

That old Bible was so marked up

Prayers, notes, spiritual growth and such

Broken heart tear-dotted pages

Along with drops of precious “blood”

While sipping from the cup After eating the “bread.”

Oh Lord, how precious are these memories

The love-wrapped folks who were my family

So many friends dot my highway too

All bits and pieces You loaned for my purpose

To soften my heart and feel the pulse

My spirit must possess to become like You.

 

I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

 

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“These things have I spoken to you that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:11-12

 

(This dream was real, merely enlarged upon to share with you.)

 

Gift-wrapped

C

© Jeanne E Webster- All Rights Reserved

I bundle up my entire being and offer it to You, my loving God.

I trust in You for everything, Father.  Don’t let me down; don’t let sin win out over me.   I know You won’t fail anyone who clings close to You.

The wicked ones will hang their heads in shame for the evil things they do.  Let me see your character, Father; teach me more of You.

Gently surround me as You disclose the reality of Your being,
for You’re the One and only God. I linger always for Your presence.

Father, remember me with Your gentle mercies of love, for they go way back to my beginnings.

Wipe away the foolish evil things I did when I was young, and with a loving heart, break bread with me, for You are all good and righteous.

Almighty God is upstanding and the mighty One; He will show people their sinful ways.  He will show mercy to those who are sorry for their wrongs. He will instill in them the good things of life. God is loving, kind and steadfast to those who live righteously.

For Your sake, Father, forgive my sins, for they are numerous.

Who doesn’t stand in awe of God? He knows how to lead everyone in His ways to instill in them a peaceful spirit.

His heirs will be blessed with the land. God remains with those who honor him. He will let them know what he expects of them.

My focus lies on my God, for He will rescue me from the pit.

Look on me and have mercy, for I am desolate and ill at heart.

My problems are getting worse. Oh, save my life!

See how sinful I am. Forgive my sins!

Many people seek to harm me; see how they despise me and are cruel.

Protect me and rescue my life. Don’t forsake me, for I trust You.

Wrap me in Your integrity and uprightness, for I wait for You.

Ransom Your people Israel, Lord, and free them of their burdens.

letter

Shalom

Homeward Wing the Birds

birds

 

© Jeanne E Webster-All Rights Reserved

Matthew 6:6   “But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.”

If you hear me say, “I’ve got to go to my closet,” it is not what you think.  I’m not looking for wearing apparel. I must lift someone up to the Lord and need to retire to a quiet place, hence, my closet.

Did you play “Pretend” when you were a child?  Many of us did.  We would make believe we had an invisible friend to relate to, talk to; we’d just have fun.  This friend was as real as real could be, when you are a child.  One day you grow up and realize it was merely child’s play.

Now grown and no longer playing games, I hope you have a real friend, your personal Savior, Jesus Christ.  You can walk with Him and talk with Him, and He is as real as any person you’ve ever seen or imagined.  Jesus is there to share your needs, your joys, your burdens and those of others.  Look upon prayer as a serious privilege and duty, along with a deep relationship, a holy union.

What is really happening when you pray for the needs of another?  Do you understand this mystery?

You have taken their spirit’s need and drawn them into the presence of the Lord and formed a holy accord.  Quieting your mind and spirit, you enter into this prayer closet and tell it all to Jesus.  From your heart and soul, you bear those burdens to Him, and the Holy Spirit prays with you throughout this gathering.

Such as, “Lord, this is my friend, Mary, and she is in need of your help.  She is suffering from dizziness and severe headaches.   .   .   ”

You continue in spirit, hushed by the stillness and peace emanating from His presence.  It is a special moment when Spirit speaks with spirit.  In time you come away with the sense that the need is in God’s hand, and His peace reigns supreme in your heart and in the heart of the one in need.  The Lord has heard . . . and all is well.

Shalom

Jesus, Kneel Beside Me

~Allen Eastman Cross

Jesus, kneel beside me in the dawn of day;

Thine is prayer eternal—teach me how to pray!

Master, work beside me in the shining sun;

Gently guide Thy servant till the work be done.

Savior, watch beside me in the closing light;

Lo, the evening cometh—watch with me this night!

Birds are winging homeward, sun and shadow cease;

Savior, take my spirit to Thy perfect peace.  Amen

godfinger

Are You Still Breathing?

chickadee

One . . . Two . . . Three . . .

© Jeanne E Webster  All Rights Reserved

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Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.   — Psalm 150:6

One bitterly cold January morning I peered out my dining room window and glimpsed the neighborhood birds gobbling down the tasty seeds from the freshly filled bird feeder. A petite chickadee perched on a tree sprig close to the window quickly caught my attention as it waited patiently for the traffic to clear at the feeder. Its perky acrobatic maneuvers exuded a cocky, high-spirited cheerfulness. Enthralled, I inched closer to the window as my spirit was transformed from the winter blues of a dark frigid morning to a light-heartedness I sorely needed.

Suddenly this cheery, comedic creature thrust its breast forward, threw its head upwards to the sky and babbled out a crisp “chick-a-dee-dee-dee!” It was at that moment I spotted a teeny wisp of its breath hanging in the cold, frosty air, like a tiny white cotton shroud. What a vibrant and vital breath that was! What an awesome sight to behold! I’d like to believe it was singing and praising God that it was alive and well on that frosty, wintry morning.

How many mornings do you arise to a new day and are suddenly aware that you do not feel like praising God? Take a lesson from the lively chickadee. You still have breath, so “praise ye the Lord!”

Lord, I need to praise You each day
To keep Satan’s fiery darts away;
Help me to be of good cheer,
To trust in You and have no fear.

All creatures great and small, including us, need to sing praises to our Creator.