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Archive for December, 2006

ira-sankey.jpg  Ira Sankey was a gospel and music writer during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  He composed music and provided the tunes for some of the great hymns written during those days. Sankey can be credited with providing the melody for the following: A Shelter in the Time of Storm, Faith Is the Victory, Grace ‘Tis a Charming Sound, Hiding in Thee, I Am Praying for You, The Ninety and Nine, There’ll Be No Dark Valley, Trusting Jesus, Under His Wings, and When the Mists Have Rolled Away.   Below is an account that happened to him on Chrismas Eve, many years ago:

It was Christmas Eve 1875 and Ira Sankey was traveling on a Delaware River steamboat when he was recognized by some of the passengers. His picture had been in the newspaper because he was the song leader for the famous evangelist D.L. Moody. They asked him to sing one of his own hymns, but Sankey demurred, saying that he preferred to sing William B. Bradbury’s Hymn, “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us.” As he sang, one of the stanzas began, “We are Thine; do Thou befriend us. Be the Guardian of our way.” When he finished, a man stepped from the shadows and asked, “Did you ever serve in the Union Army?” “Yes,” Mr. Sankey answered, “in the spring of 1860.” Can you remember if you were doing picket duty on a bright, moonlit night in 1862?” “Yes,” Mr. Sankey answered, very much surprised. “So did I, but I was serving in the Confederate army. When I saw you standing at your post, I thought to myself, ‘That fellow will never get away alive.’ I raised my musket and took aim. I was standing in the shadow, completely concealed, while the full light of the moon was falling upon you.At that instant, just as a moment ago, you raised your eyes to heaven and began to sing…’Let him sing his song to the end,’ I said to myself, ‘I can shoot him afterwards. He’s my victim at all events, and my bullet cannot miss him.’ But the song you sang then was the song you sang just now. I heard the words perfectly: ‘We are Thine; do Thou befriend us. Be the Guardian of our way.’ Those words stirred up many memories. I began to think of my childhood and my God-fearing mother. She had many times sung that song to me. When you had finished your song, it was impossible for me to take aim again. I thought, ‘The Lord who is able to save that man from certain death must surely be great and mighty.’ And my arm of its own accord dropped limp at my side.”

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KEEPING CHRISTMAS

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I ran across this article in my devotional, and thought I would share it with you all.

In December 1903, after many attempts, the Wright brothers were successful in getting their “flying machine” off the ground.  Thrilled, they telegraphed the message to their sister Katherine:  “We have actually flown 120 feet.  Will be home for Christmas.”

Katherine hurried to the editor of the local newspaper and showed him the message.  He glanced at it and said, “How nice.  The boys will be home for Christmas.”  He totally missed the big news¾man had flown!

Many people today make a similar mistake when they hear the word Christmas.  They don’t think of Jesus and His miraculous birth.  Instead, they think of family gatherings, festive meals, decorations, and gifts.  To them, Christmas brings nostalgia and memories of childhood.

Family celebrations are wonderful, but if that’s all Christmas means to us, we are missing its true significance.  ¾R.W.D.

 Take care in keeping Christmas, not to lose Christ. (Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.  Isaiah 9:6)

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Today while browsing the news online, I ran across this article regarding a Catholic school that is showing its students a video of a live abortion without parental consent.  I was appalled.  But why should I be surprised?   We would not allow our son Jeremy to go through public school training on the “facts of life”.  That is not the school’s responsibility anyways.  That belongs solely to the parents.  I’m so thankful that my sister and sister-in-law homeschool their children.  Here is a link to that article for those of you interested: 

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/florida/news-article.aspx?storyid=71844

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OH DEER!

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Oh deer!  It happened last year at this time, and now it’s happened again.  I looked out my family room window the other night into our backyard, and to my surprise, there were several deer and a white moose grazing in our yard.  How bright they were, and they moved so slowly and gracefully.  They are back again this year and more beautiful than ever.  I guess we won’t have to worry about trimming the lawn as long as they hang around.  My honey and I like to watch them from our deck underneath the lighted arch from which hangs a “kissing ball”.  We like to steal an occasional kiss or two to make it more fun.  Oh Deer!

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It Takes a Village

village-scene-1.jpgvillage-scene-2.jpgOne of the Christmas traditions in our household in years past has been a Christmas Village.  It all started around the early 90’s when Mike purchased a few houses at Mervyn’s.  I think they were Department 56 brand.  And each season, when all the Christmas items would go on clearance, Mike would be there to purchase more houses, stores, churches, etc.    So each Christmas, the village would grow and spread out, until it ended up filling about half of our living room.  We even added on four feet to our living room and a big bay window to accommodate the village.  The biggest village so far, was in 2001. Mike and Jeremy took a week off during Thanksgiving and began building it.  The village included a railroad that circled the entire village.  Jeremy built a tunnel going through the mountains and even did a bridge complete with waterfalls.  Some of the landmarks in the village are:  the village church, the village schoolhouse, the village snow park, the bank, city hall, a dress shop (of course!) and many other unique sites.  Whenever we have company over during that time, Mike gives them assignments to try and locate different characters or landmarks in the village to see how quickly they can find them.  It’s a lot of fun.  Since that time, we have not been able to do another complete village; due to the addition of more furniture in our living room.  However, every year around this time, Mike breaks open all the boxes and assembles a few scenes on our speakers as well as the mantel, piano and coffee table.  Some are homesteads while another one is a huge snow park/playground and a forest with horses and sleighs.  It still looks quite festive.  Hopefully you can see some of the pictures from the village scenes above.

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CHRISTMAS IS A PROMISE KEPT

When I think of the word “Promise,” my mind reminisces back to the innocent days of my idyllic childhood.  As a little girl, I can remember when making a solemn promise to one of my friends, that I would follow my promise with the phrase, “Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye”.   Needless to say, in many cases, before the day was over, I had broken my “Promise.”  In the foolishness of my youth, I did not realize it took commitment to keep a promise.

 

The word Promise is actually a Latin derived word (Pro= forth + mitre = to send) that literally means to send forth.  Funk & Wagnalls defines promise as:  “An assurance given by one person to another that the former will or will not perform a specified act”.

 

Life is filled with promises that we make.  When I married Mike, I made some promises:  “to have and to hold,” “to love and to cherish”.  When our son Jeremy was born, Mike and I dedicated him to God and made a promise to raise him up in the love, fear and admonition of the Lord.  When we bought our first car, we signed a “Promissory” note.  When we bought our house, we signed another “Promissory” note.  The list goes on and on.

 

Sometimes as humans, we fail to keep our promises, but God is always faithful to keep His word.  God promised in Isaiah 7:14 that He would send forth His son to us as a baby born in Bethlehem.  Even though centuries passed before it was fulfilled, God kept His promise one dark night in an obscure stable.  The birth of Jesus reassures us that God always keeps His promises.  Thankfully, Jesus’ birth is not the end of the story.  The promise God kept with the birth of our Deliverer continues with Jesus’ death on the cross.  With ordinary nails and a wooden cross, Jesus changed the world forever.

 

Underneath all the tinsel and glitter of this season, lies the true meaning of Christmas¾the glory of the cross, and the promise of eternal life to whomsoever will. (“Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”  Acts 2:38-29).   

 

The choice is up to us to live by the Promise.  Best wishes to all for a Christmas filled with Promise!

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COLD BUSTING TEA

Ah…ah….AHHHHCHOOOOO!    Since this is the time of year when everyone seems to get sick the most, I thought I would share with everyone a recipe my dear friend Lottie gave me a few years ago.  It really helped me, and although you wouldn’t think garlic could taste good as a tea ingredient, it really does!  May it chase away your colds and coughs this season.

 In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups of water and 3 cloves of garlic (cut in half) to a boil.  Turn off the heat when the water boils, and add 1/2 cup of honey and a 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice.  Strain.  Sip 1/2 cup warm, three times a day.  Refrigerate extra to use the next day.

And as Kaiser Permanente says, “Be well and thrive”! 

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