Two Who Waited

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas Story is that of two people who waited patiently for the Messiah.  Simeon and Anna were both New Testament witnesses to the Christ Child. Their stories are as follows (from the NIV, Luke 2):

 

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…

 

     

 

 

Anna by Rembrandt

Anna by Rembrandt

Luke 2:36–38 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

 

 

Simeon and Anna were the first to see Him in a public place.  They were the first witnesses to who He really was.  More importantly, they were not afraid to say, to other worshippers in the Temple, who He was.

Simeon and Anna were the last of the Old Testament prophets.  Their entire life purpose was to listen for and to God.  Also, they shared with the other worshippers what they had heard God say in the temple.  They did not sugar-coat the words but spoke clearly and with conviction.

Both of their names point to a strong, long-lasting faith.  Simeon means obedient and listening.  Anna  means gracious, one who gives.

Dr. William Smith in Smith’s Bible Dictionary suggests that she was probably more than a hundred years old when she spoke over Jesus.  (If she was married at approximately 14, lived with her husband for 7 years, and had spent 84 years after that in the temple, then she was at least  105 years old.)  It is possible that Simeon was also quite old.  Tradition has it that he was one of the 72 translators of the Septuagint.  If that is truly the case he was over 200 years old at the time of this incident.

So, what is in this story for us.  First, Isaiah 40:31 pops into my mind when I think of the words ‘they that wait upon the Lord…’.  In all the years they waiting for the Birth neither one gave up on God’s promise and they were rewarded with seeing Him personally. We often wonder when God will finally act on one of His promises or our requests.  Simeon and Anna are a great example of waiting and waiting and waiting…  Second, a life of prayer is important to seeing God’s work.  Although the scripture says Anna had lived, prayed, and fasted in the temple since her husband’s death, it does not mean that we have to live in our churches to experience God.  He is everywhere!  And finally, we can trust that God will follow through on His promises.  God will and can do what He says He will.  Our trust and obedience in matters of faith always lead to God’s blessings.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

This post was written as part of Blogs By Christian Women Holiday Tour.  You will find several really excellent posts and blogs in the list below.

12/6/16 Michele Morin http://michelemorin.wordpress.com
12/6/16 Heather Olson http://grace-filledgifts.blogspot.com/
12/6/16 Sherri Autrey http://sherriautrey.com
12/7/16 Gwen Williams http://www.thejourneyofhealing.com
12/7/16 Marie Bungard http://asatisfiedspirit.com
12/7/16 Lottie Staggs https://www.lottiebrooke.com
12/8/16 Lee Felix https://www.likemindedmusings.com
12/8/16 Amanda Brown http://www.skgfun.com
12/8/16 Susan Bricker http://leanintothelord.com

A List For Life

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Are you a list maker?  I am!  I have lists for daily chores, lists for birthday and Christmas cards, address lists, grocery lists, and so on.  This morning I read 1 Thessalonians and came across what could be one of the most lengthy lists in the Bible of how to live this life with Jesus in command.  Are you ready for this?

There can be no hidden agendas in our lives.

We cannot use God’s Word or our own to create a ‘smoke screen’ that takes advantage of another Believer.

We are not to patronize or be condescending.  We are to simply love and encourage others with every word, action, and deed.

Honor God by taking care of yourself.  This verse is directed to the physical care of your body but I know God means every part of ourselves… physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We are to be as beautiful inside as we try to be outside.

Right in the middle of Chapter 4 Paul tells the Thessalonicans to stay calm, mind your own business, and do your own job. Why? So others will see Jesus in us and want that for themselves.

Be cheerful.  Be thankful.  Pray, all the time.

There are some don’ts in here also.  Most importantly (at least to me), we are not to believe everything we hear or read.  We’re to check it out, research it if necessary, and keep only the good.  When we’re in tune with the Spirit, He tells us when something isn’t right.  (It’s that uncomfortable feeling you get when something is said or done that isn’t quite right.) That’s when we go back to pray often.

There’s some really great stuff here…don’t you agree?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

 

Satisfied Spirit Pen Pals

junk-mailHave you noticed your mailbox flooded with adds and junk?

Remember having a pen pal?

 
clasped-hands-541849_960_720Would you like to make a friend, perhaps for life?

 

 

 
letter-700386_960_720Do you love getting letters instead of bills?
Are you willing to write a letter once or twice a month?

Then join the Pen Pal list and I’ll match you up!

 

Please message me in the comments with: (Your comment will not be made visible to protect your privacy!)
Your name
Your address
Your blog address (Not a requirement to participate!)
Your hobbies
Would you like an International pen pal (International letters cost $1.15)

I’m looking forward to this! I hope you are too!

Marie

P.S. I’m not going to police this. Once you’re assigned to a pal you’re on your own. I will keep a list of partners, though.

15 Ways To Practice Lifestyle Evangelism

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Are you looking for creative ways to show Whose you are?  Here are a few I’ve used.  Add your suggestions in the comments.

Wear a piece of jewelry that invites discussion.

Take a glass of something cold to your neighbor, or the person doing lawn work, etc.

Visit someone in a hospital or nursing home that doesn’t get visitors.

Call to say I’m thinking of you.

Invite the person who is sitting alone (in church, in a restaurant) to sit with you.

When someone’s name pops into your mind send them an ‘I’m thinking of you’  note.

Follow through when you’ve said you would do something.  If you said I’ll call, then call.

Don’t hesitate to pray anywhere and anytime you’re asked. 

Be sincere in your compliments.  People can always tell when you’re ‘just sayin’.

Ask someone you don’t know (while at the doctors, grocery, or other public places) if you can pray for them.  Do it right there.

Prayer-walk your neighborhood.  Pray for every home even if you don’t know the person living there.

When you get ready to get rid of your Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary cards put them in a box and keep them in your ‘prayer spot’.  Take one out each day and pray for that person.  Let them know you prayed with a call or a card/note.

Keep a Jar of Joys.  Put little slips of paper in it that tell about good things that have happened through the year. Go through it at the end of the year and give thanks for the joy and delight God has put in your life.

Invite someone who may be all alone to family dinners like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter…

Take a picture frame that you aren’t using.  Put a sheet of blank paper behind the glass.  Write the names of those you want to pray for regularly.  Hang it in a place you see every day.  Mine is above my home/office desk.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Do You Know All You Need To Know?

How do you read through the Bible? Do you use a plan to do it in a year? 3 months? 6 months?  Any way you choose to do it is the right way if it works for you.  I choose to read at my own pace.  Sometimes a few verses, a couple of chapters, a whole book…  Today as I was reading, (I’ve reached 1st Corinthians.) the Word spoke loudly to me on what I need to know.  Check out 1 Corinthians 8:1-3.

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I saw myself in this verse and knew I needed to make a change.  I do not want to be a know-it-all, or even come across that way.  So how do I fix this issue?  First and foremost,  Only God is omnipotent, all knowing.  Verse 3 tells us clearly that we really don’t know anything until we recognize that God knows everything.

What does that mean?  It’s all wrapped up in our puffed-up, ‘there’s nothing new under the sun’, academically arrogant minds.  When questions of what we believe come up we think we have the inside scoop because we’ve experienced it, read about it…  Friends, that’s just not so!

Paul is referring to a reoccurring question that keeps popping up among the Christians of His time.  Should we, can we, eat meat that was offered to idols.  In our own time it could be should I accept a party invitation where I know they’re serving alcohol? Should I be part of a conversation that blasphemes God? Should I fit in or stand out?

We know how we would respond to those questions.  Yet are we being insensitive to the needs of other believers?  If I choose to go to a popular, local restaurant that serves really good Mexican food and alcohol am I causing another Believer to question their own beliefs? To stumble?  We can cause confusion in the mind of another believer by the things we think, do, and say.

So the real question is does it really matter?  The final verses in Chapter 8 give the perfect answer. (I’ve put it in my own words for you.)

Jesus gave up His own life for everyone, believers and non-believers.  Our choices make a difference.  Would you want to hurt your friend, perhaps cause him to go to hell because you confused the real issue?  Keep this in mind, Christ hurts when we hurt others by our words, actions, deeds… Nothing is worth causing any of our brothers and sisters to stumble.  Nothing!

And so, there it is.  Do you know all you need to know?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Praying the Jesus Way

 

In Matthew 6 Jesus gives us a model for our prayers and a few pointers on the how to do it.  In verses 5-8 He wants His followers to pray in a way that draws them close to God the Father without making a show of it like the hypocrites.  Then He gives the ideal place for it to happen, a place that is secluded.  By shutting the door He shows that there should be no outside influence.  He also said don’t be constantly repeating your words and going on and on.  You see God already knows what we’re praying for so keep it short and focused.

The perfect model is then given in verses 9-13:

the-lords-prayer

Each of the 6 points of this prayer lead us to total focus on the One who hears and answers.

  1. Focus on God and praise Him–Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  
  2. Focus on God’s plan and purpose–Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done
  3. Focus on what you need–Give us this day our daily bread
  4. Focus on forgiveness for yourself and for others–Forgive us our debts (trespasses/sins) and we forgive our debtors (those who trespass/sin against us).
  5. Focus on God’s guidance in daily challenges
  6. Focus on giving God total control–For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory

Verses 14-15 are extremely important!  We must forgive others if we expect to be forgiven by God.  It’s pretty clear isn’t it?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Common

 

common

Such an interesting word.  So many applications.

Common ground — when we are in agreement on an issue

Common sense–the ability to use what you know is right

Common law–personal actions over time leading to common ‘ownership’

Common cold–a health condition

Common chord–musical term

Common property–those items that are shared by 2 or more parties

Common denominator–mathematical term

Common noun–that which is not a proper noun

Common core–academic standards defining what a student should know

In common–a sense of mutual agreement

I am joining Kate Motaung and an incredibly talented group of writers for Five Minute Friday. One word prompt. Five minutes. No editing. Just writing!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

JOURNEY

 

When I saw today’s Five Minute Friday word, JOURNEY, this poem came to mind.

the-road-not-taken

Throughout this journey I have often chosen to take ‘the one less traveled by’ and it has certainly made a difference.

The decisions we make as we journey through life are like a tree as it grows its branches.  If you can imagine with me the start of the tree, just a little sapling, no branches yet. Then as the years go by growth allows branches to grow on branches from the original sapling.  As this tree of life, if you will, grows year after year, there is new life from the old.  Sometimes winter takes it’s toll and a few branches fall off.  Spring and summer storms may remove a few branches here and there.  The tree continues to withstand the buffeting of wind, maybe a few lightening strikes, perhaps a few children climb and play in it…  The journey continues…

My journey has been much like the tree.  Each new branch has been a fork in the road, a life change or decision has presented itself.  I’ve often chosen ‘the one less traveled’ and yes, it has made all the difference.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

10 Ways To Build Strong Friendships

10-ways-to-build-strong-friendships

When I was in my younger years I often wondered if I would have Best Friends later on in life. Guess what? I do. I have incredible friends in a range of friendships from bare acquaintances to BFF’s.

Have you ever met someone and immediately said to them you’re going to be my best friend.  Of course not!  Being a friend is a deliberate process.  It’s about spending time together. Getting to know one another. Sharing ups and downs and in-betweens.  Supporting them, praying for them, sharing with them, accepting them… That’s what grows strong friendships.

It’s nice to have friends that share interests and hobbies.  However, if we surround ourselves with exact copies of ourselves it gets really boring.  One of my BFF’s shares few commonalities with me, except a desire to grow closer to our Jesus.

In building strong, lasting friendships there are a few things that really don’t matter.  Age is one of them.  Yes, people of our own age share similar likes and experiences but those of other age groups have much to teach us.  Friendships cross many boundaries. Things like status, education, marriage, distance, can be overcome when two people say let’s be friends.

There’s a beautiful contemporary Christian song that points to the fact that God gives us our friends.  God Gave Me You by Dave Barnes really says it all.  Check out these lyrics:

God gave me you for the ups and downs

God gave me you for the days of doubt

For when I think I’ve lost my way

There are no words here left to say, it’s true

God gave me you.

What does God say about friendship? Check these verses out:

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 one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. 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

Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:5-6

There’s a Kroger commercial that ends with a woman saying, “My momma always said if you want to have a friend be one.” Nothing more needs to be said, does it?

Blessings to you and yours!
Marie

499th Anniversary

499th Anniversary of what, you might ask?  On October 31st Protestants around the world will celebrate The Reformation.  Some of you may be saying and what is that?  In a nutshell, on that day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed a list of 95 points that the Church was ‘out in left field’ on, to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  I’ll include some of them below, but most importantly it launched the evangelical church as we know it.  In the years since the Resurrection, it is probably the most important and far-reaching event in Christian history.

Luther's theses are engraved into the door of All Saints' Church, Wittenberg. The Latin inscription above informs the reader that the original door was destroyed by a fire, and that in 1857, King Frederick William IV of Prussia ordered a replacement be made.

Luther’s theses are engraved into the door of All Saints’ Church, Wittenberg. The Latin inscription above informs the reader that the original door was destroyed by a fire, and that in 1857, King Frederick William IV of Prussia ordered a replacement be made.

There were some interesting practices in the Church during that time period.  And Luther’s 95 Thesis address them.  I’ve included some of the most interesting and applicable to my belief’s below.  If you want to read them all, in modern English, Check them out here. 

2. Only God can give salvation – – not a priest.

4. Sin will always remain until we enter Heaven.

37. Any Christian – dead or alive – can gain the benefit and love of Christ without an indulgence.  Indulgences are prayers and pay-offs to the Church for the person who has died.  The belief is that a person can be paid or prayed into Heaven.  Several of the Thesis Points cover this concept but I think 46 sums it up…  A Christian should buy what is necessary for life not waste money on an indulgence.

62. The main treasure of the church should be the Gospels and the grace of God.

94. Christians must follow Christ at all cost.

What is most interesting to me is that the Word of God then, and now, is interpreted in ways that benefit those who are ‘in leadership’.  Check out Paul’s words in 2 Peter 3:16

His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Some will choose to distort the scripture to meet their own objectives and get others to do what they want or to believe as they do.  This is not acceptable in any way and Peter clearly says it will lead ‘to their own destruction’.  If our ‘treasure’ is truly ‘in the Gospel’ (see #62) then we have all we need when we know and keep ‘His Word in our heart’ (Psalm 119:11).

I truly hope that all of my readers understand that we cannot buy our way into Heaven through indulgences and the prayers of others. (see #37)  Eternal life is secured by our belief in Jesus, the One and Only Son of God.  And that is all that matters!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie