VIDEO For Unto You, Carman Christmas

A Long Time Ago in a Land Called Bethlehem
Sept 30, 2014

The swaddled baby meant ‘loved’ (see Ezekiel 16:4).
The baby in a manger/animal trough meant ‘unloved, rejected or hated’. A loved baby in a unloved position: a baby loved by Mary and Joseph, and yet shunned by King David’s entire tribe. There was no guest room set aside for them.

Carman’s 1986 Christmas Album – ‘A Long Time Ago… In a Land Called Bethlehem’ otherwise know as “Christmas with Carman”.

Now there were in the same country shepherds, living out in the fields
Keeping watch over their flock by night
And behold! An angel of the Lord stood before them
And the glory of the Lord shone around them
And they were greatly afraid
And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold!
I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”

For unto You is born this day
In the city of David
A Mighty Savior,
Christ, the Lord.

For unto You is born this day
In the city of David
A Mighty Savior,
Christ, the Lord.

And this shall be a sign to know
A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes
Lying in the manger lo
Christ, the Lord!

For unto You is born this day
In the city of David
A Mighty Savior,
Christ, the Lord, oh

For unto You is born this day
In the city of David
A Mighty Savior!
Christ, the Lord!

And this shall be a sign to know
A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes
He will be lying in a manger lo
Christ, the Lord.

Unto, unto you!
Unto, unto you…

Spoken:
For unto us a child is born
Unto us a Son is given
And the government will be upon His shoulder
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,
Of the increase of his government and peace
There will be no end
Upon the throne of David and over his kingdom
To order it and establish it
With judgment and justice
From that time forward and even forevermore
And the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this!

And this shall be a sign to know
A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes
He will be lying in a manger lo
Christ, the Lord.

And this shall be a sign to know
A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes
He will be lying in a manger lo
Christ, the Lord

Unto, unto you..

For unto You is born this day
In the city of David

For unto You is born this day
In the city of David

What Remains in the Eye

How many are your works, Lord! Psalm 104:24

The hummingbird gets its English name from the hum made by its rapidly beating wings. In other languages, it is known as the “flower-kisser” (Portuguese) or “flying jewels” (Spanish). One of my favorite names for this bird is biulu, “what remains in the eye” (Mexican Zapotec). In other words, once you see a hummingbird, you’ll never forget it.

G. K. Chesterton wrote, “The world will never starve for want of wonders, but only for want of wonder.” The hummingbird is one of those wonders. What is so fascinating about these tiny creatures? Maybe it is their small size (averaging two to three inches) or the speed of their wings that can flap from 50 to 200 times per second.

G. K. Chesterton wrote, “The world will never starve for want of wonders, but only for want of wonder.”

We aren’t sure who wrote Psalm 104, but the psalmist was certainly captivated by nature’s beauty. After describing many of creation’s wonders, like the cedars of Lebanon and the wild donkeys, he sings, “May the Lord rejoice in his works” (v. 31). Then he prays, “May my meditation be pleasing to him” (v. 34).

Nature has plenty of things that can remain in the eye because of their beauty and perfection. How can we meditate on them and please God? We can observe, rejoice, and thank God as we contemplate His works and recapture the wonder.

Father, help me to reflect on the wonders of nature and meditate on them with thankfulness for all You have done!

Wonder leads to gratitude.

By Keila Ochoa 

INSIGHT

Many of the psalms overflow with awe at the magnificence of our God and the world He created. Psalms 8 and 104 are two examples. To realize that we are loved by our Creator God who “wraps himself in light as with a garment” (104:2) and who “set [his] glory in the heavens” (8:1) can cause us, like the psalmist David, to wonder, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (v. 4). Yet Scripture repeatedly assures us that God does indeed love us!

In what ways—large or small—have you felt God’s love for you today?

Alyson Kieda

Putting Off Procrastination

Acts 24:24-27

Some people like to say they are “born procrastinators.” But according to Scripture, that is not acceptable for believers. Procrastination is a form of bondage in a person’s life, and God, who desires the best for us, didn’t design us to be enslaved.

Procrastination has two genuine causes. The first is “discomfort dodging.” Many people put off taking action because of the related anxious or uncomfortable feelings, as in today’s passage—fearing Paul’s talk about righteousness, self-control, and judgment, Felix sent the apostle away. The second cause for putting things off is self-doubt. If we consider ourselves inadequate to complete a task, we may well choose not to begin it.

In our spiritual life, we sometimes postpone Bible reading and meditating before God because He brings to the surface matters that we need to confront. When those subjects come up, we at times choose to put off dealing with them. Issues like pride, guilt, or self-control may not be comfortable to face, but dodging them obstructs God’s purpose in our life.

If we delay action, we can become preoccupied with the possibility of failure or fear of making a mistake. Then we tend to feel drained of the creativity and energy needed to tackle chores we should be doing. But putting God’s assignments on hold is the same as disobeying Him.

Procrastination is no laughing matter. Are you given to delay? Identify any problem areas in your life—as well as the feelings that accompany them. Then confess your procrastination to the heavenly Father, and rely on His strength to face what needs to be done.

Faithful and Just

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

All too often when we read or quote a favorite verse of Scripture, its familiarity gets in the way of our complete understanding of the verse. Such may be the case with today’s verse, one of the most beloved and oft-quoted passages of Scripture. To begin with, we must remember that the topic is sinful behavior. The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), therefore sin cannot go unpunished. A faithful and just judge must punish such behavior; to forgive it is neither faithful nor just. “Without shedding of blood is no remission” of sin (Hebrews 9:22).

But the Bible also says, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father. . . . Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 2:1; 1:7).

Jesus Christ fully paid the penalty for our sins. He died so that we don’t have to die, for God “hath made him to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God has further promised that “whoso confesseth and forsaketh [his sins] shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

God in His mercy and grace has declared it to be so. What was once devised as merciful and gracious is now “faithful and just.”

Because He is just, He cannot allow the punishment for our sin to be inflicted twice. Because He is faithful and has promised to forgive a penitent and confessing sinner, He will not only “forgive us our sins,” but “cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” thereby restoring the sweet fellowship broken by our rebellion.

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). JDM

The day of the Lord is great and very terrible

Joel 2:1-14

It is most probable that while Amos and Hosea were messengers from the Lord to Israel, Joel was prophesying in Judah. One of his most memorable prophecies relates to a plague of locusts which fell upon the land.

Joel 2:1

It was such a visitation as might well create alarm, and call to humiliation and prayer.

Joel 2:2

The locusts were so many that they clouded the sun and caused darkness at midday. Vast flights of these destructive creatures are not unusual in our day, but the prophet’s description relates to some special and unusual plague.

Joel 2:3

It is so; locusts devour every green thing as completely as a raging fire.

Joel 2:4, 5

The Italians call a locust cavalette, or little horse: they are for number, speed, order, and noise, very similar to troops of cavalry.

Joel 2:6, 8

The order with which they march is wonderful to the last degree; no disciplined troops could possibly preserve their ranks more accurately.

Joel 2:9

Nothing can turn them aside; their march is onward, over walls and fences, hills and valleys.

Joel 2:10

Such is the misery of the poor people who see the fruit of their fields devoured before their eyes by a remorseless and irresistible foe, that for them all things are full of terror, and they feel as if the end of the world were come.

Joel 2:11

Though unheard of human ear, their Commander-in-chief, even the Lord of Hosts, makes his voice to be heard by the dense battalions of devouring locusts, so that at his bidding they push forward in their awful course. Well might the prophet say, “Who can abide it?”

Joel 2:14

If anything could avert so terrible a calamity, prayer would do it. True repentance is the only way to remove the rod from any people. O Lord, help us to cast out our sins, lest they compel thee to chasten us with sore affliction. Accept us, for our hope is in thy Son.

 

When distractions, fear and doubt,

Come from all the world without,

And like locusts plague the soul,

Lord, do thou their power control.

 

When the clouds of grief and care,

Darken down into despair,

When by grief we are laid low,

Then thy gracious kindness show.

 

Your Flesh Will Obey Your Commands!

Luke 17:6

Jesus said that when you finally decide to deal with the wrong attitudes that have stalked and hounded your life for so long, you must order them to “… be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea…” (Luke 17:6).

The words “plucked up by the root” are from the Greek word ekridzoo, which is a compound of the words ek and ridzo. The word ek means out, and the word ridzo is the Greek word for a root, like the roots of a plant. When joined into one word, the compound word means to rip out by the roots.

This is not a person who hopes the plant will be removed but does nothing to make it happen. Quite the contrary! This is the picture of a person who wraps his hands around the base of that plant, pulls with all his might, and rips the roots of that plant right out of the ground. He has made the determination that he is not going to stop until the ground he stands on is totally free from the roots of that nasty plant so that it will never produce life there again!

That’s the way you have to deal with wrong attitudes that have been deeply rooted in your soul for a long time. I guarantee you that if those attitudes have been at work in you for a long time, they are now deeply rooted in the way you think and behave. At this point, the only way they are going to be ripped out of your soul is by your determined choice to do whatever is necessary to rip them out. There can be no accidental deliverance from these attitudes. If your heart is to be liberated, it will only happen as you choose to be liberated and then do something about it!

Once you’ve ripped those attitudes out of the soil of your soul, the Lord Jesus said that we need to command them to “be planted in the sea.” The word “planted” is from the Greek word phuteuo, which would normally describe the planting of a plant. However, plants are not normally planted in the sea, so Jesus must have had something else in mind by using this word. The word phuteuo in this verse means to be permanently relocated to the “sea.”

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus said you have to command wrong attitudes to be planted in the sea? Why didn’t He tell us to throw them into the garbage pile? Why did Jesus say to permanently relocate those wrong attitudes in the sea?

The sea is made of salt water. Salt water won’t allow a plant to grow because the salt would kill the roots. So once a plant or tree is thrown into the seawater, it becomes a dead issue. No matter how hard you try, that plant will never grow again. Its life is gone forever! If you planted it in the garbage pile, it could reestablish its roots and grow again. But by throwing it into the sea, you have plunged those wrong attitudes into a place where they will never grow, never re-root, and never produce life again. Once in the sea, they are dead forever!

This is so very important in the context of this verse, for it tells us that Jesus doesn’t want us to be just temporarily relieved of these destructive attitudes; He wants us to be permanently freed of them. He wants them to become dead issues that never stalk or hound us again.

This is precisely how you have to look at the dead issues that you’ve spoken to and commanded to go. Once you’ve told bitterness and unforgiveness to leave, don’t ever allow them to take root in your life again! Even if your flesh would like to dwell on those old hurts again, don’t allow that bitter tree to come back to life! Bury it in the sea of forgetfulness so its roots can never regain a foothold in your soul.

Jesus told us to say to the sycamine tree, “Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” Notice the last phrase, “… and it should obey you.” The word “obey” is the Greek word hupakouo, which means to submit and to obey.

Your out-of-control emotions are just like an out-of-control child. That child will rant, rave, and carry on all day long until you finally stand up and tell him to straighten up and act right! In the same way, the flesh will pout, throw a temper tantrum, and carry on to a ridiculous extent—until you finally decide that enough is enough! When you make that choice to rise up, speak to your emotions, and exert your authority in Jesus Christ, your flesh WILL obey your commands!

  • If you don’t take authority over your flesh and emotions, they will continue to dominate and hound you.
  • If you’ll stand up to your emotions and plant them in the sea forever, they will obey you!

So today I must ask, “Isn’t it time for you to rise up and take charge of the situation in your soul?” Never forget that it is your soul, so you are responsible for what happens there. Even if others have wronged you, it is simply a fact that you are the only one who has the power to allow such a foul tree of bitterness to grow inside your soul. It is your responsibility to remove those bitter roots and be freed of that inner mess.

The Holy Spirit is present right now to help you make the choice to forgive, forget, and permanently walk free of the past wrongs that others have committed against you—or the wrongs you think they committed against you. Right now it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. What matters is that you uproot that tree of bitterness before it begins producing deadly fruit in your life.

So by faith, reach out and grab hold of the base of that ugly growth. Grip it tightly; pull with all your might; and rip those roots right of out of your heart. Then dump that gnarly tree of bitterness and unforgiveness permanently in the sea where it will never bother you again!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I thank You that I don’t ever have to be stalked and hounded by bitter attitudes and wrong thinking for the rest of my life. With the authority You have given me, I can speak to those attitudes and command them to go! I can speak to my flesh, and it will obey me. Rather than be conquered by my flesh, my negative emotions, and my wrong attitudes, I am asking You to help me rise up to take authority over my soul and clean up the mess that has been made inside my head. I know that with Your help, my whole perspective can change!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that it is time for me to rise up and take charge of the situation in my soul! It is my soul, so I am responsible for what happens there. Even if others did wrong to me, I choose to forgive, forget, and permanently walk free. Right now it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. What matters is that I uproot the tree of bitterness before it produces any more deadly fruit in my life. So by faith, I am reaching out to grab hold of the base of that ugly growth. I am gripping it tightly and pulling with all my might to rip those roots right out of my heart! Those old thoughts no longer have a right to operate inside me. They are now dead issues—cast once and for all into the sea where they can’t hound me anymore!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Do you have a wrong attitude that has been deeply rooted in your soul for a long time?
  2. If the answer is yes, are you ready and willing to rip that foul growth out of your soul today with the power of your spoken, faith-filled words and by your authority in the name of Jesus?
  3. There will be no accidental deliverance from these attitudes, so what steps do you plan to take to see that your heart is fully liberated once and for all?

 

God Places Our Character Development Over Our Comfort

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve. I was made weak, that I might humbly learn to obey:

 

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decreesBe merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.” (Psalm 119:71; 31:9, 10) (See Psalm 119:67; Hebrews 12:10)

 

I asked for health, that I might do great things. I was given infirmity, that I might do better things:

 

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we dont know why things happen as they do, but we dont give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep goingSee, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this… ” (2 Corinthians 4:8, 9 – Living; Isaiah 48:10, 11a)

 

I asked for riches, that I might be happy. I was given poverty, that I might be wise:

 

Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before himWhat good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (James 2:5b; 1 Corinthians 1:27-29; Matthew 16:26) (See Proverbs 3:13-18; 4:7-9; 8:10, 11, 19-21; Luke 6:20; James 1:9)

 

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for God:

 

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8, 9) (See 2 Corinthians 4:7-11)

 

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among men, most rightly blessed!

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:3-5)

 

 

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