THE CHRIST CHILD

Here’s a great poem about Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Enjoy! -anita

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A woman sings across the wild

A song of wonder sweet,

And everywhere her little Child

Follows her gliding feet.

 

He flutters like a petal white

Along the roadway’s rim;

When He is tired, at latter-light,

His mother carries Him.

 

Sometimes a littler silver star

Floats softly down the air,

Past mountains where the pure snows are,

And sits upon His hair.

 

Sometimes when darkness is unfurled,

Upon her breast He lies,

And all the dreams of all the world

Flock to His dreamy eyes.

 

Agnes Lee -1868

WHEN GOD THOUGHT OF YOU…

While reading through one of my many books, I found the following statement.  It is very poetic…it is short…but to the point!  It is what every Godly mother should want for her children; but, sometimes as mothers, we have “plans” for our children.  We want them to be Doctors, Lawyers…we want them to have wonderful jobs so they won’t have to struggle through life as we have had to do.  We want the “best” for them.

However, because we want the best for them in this life, we sometimes forget about the next life and what it has to offer.

Jesus said this:   “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” – Matthew 6:19-21 (MSG)

In other words…don’t worry about making a name for yourself here on earth.  Don’t trouble yourself with making a fortune here….  Think about your rewards in heaven.  Think about the name God will give you in eternity!

God made each of us for a purpose…our role as Godly mothers is to help our children find that purpose and live it out.

Here is the statement we need to remember! …

“I want to help you to grow as beautiful as God meant you to be when He thought of you first!”   -George MacDonald  1824-1905 

Anita

KITCHEN – A – LA – QUEEN

Since Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, I thought I would devote this week of blogs to mothers.  Some of the blogs will be spiritual…others will just be fun; but all mothers will be able to relate!

Children….say “Thank you!” to your moms…they do so much for you every day they’re alive!  Appreciate them while you still have them, for like beautiful flowers…they won’t last forever, although their memory will!

The following is from one of my cook books.  Enjoy!  -anita

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Take four walls;

Add a floor that’s waxed.

Sprinkle lightly with small-boy tracks.

Add:

Cupboards and pans,

A refrigerator,

A sink, a stove and a percolator,

A table to rest your elbows on,

A kettle that sings

And a telephone.

Set a corner aside for a rocking chair

That you and a yellow cat can share.

Place an old stone jar on a window sill

For daisies or bittersweet to fill.

Arrange antiques on shelves, in nooks.

Leave room for dishes and recipe books.

Season with essence of new-baked bread,

Add hungry youngsters; keep well fed.

Mix cookies and milk as the need arises;

Have hot-dogs handy, for club day crises.

Sift and discard unessential chores;

Put worries to soak while you step out-of-doors.

As a final touch, for a perfect blend,

Garnish your kitchen with loving friends.

-Unknown

AMOS: Justice and Righteousness

Amos

Amos 8:11 (NLT)

“The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord,

“when I will send a famine on the land—

not a famine of bread or water

but of hearing the words of the Lord.

 

 

Judah: Jereboam II

Military Victories lead to great wealth, wealth lead to apathy, apathy lead to idol worship, idol worship lead to injustice, injustice lead to abuse of the poor.

Amos 1 (NLT)

1 This message was given to Amos, a shepherd from the town of Tekoa in Judah. He received this message in visions two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, was king of Israel.

Amos 7:12

Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. 13 Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” 14 Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 Now then, hear the word of the Lord.

Idolatry leads to injustice

Amos 2:4 This is what the Lord says:

“For three sins of Judah, even for four, I will not relent.

Because they have rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept his decrees,

because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed,

5 I will send fire on Judah that will consume the fortresses of Jerusalem.”

Judgment on Israel

6 This is what the Lord says:

“For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent.

They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals.

7 They trample on the heads of the poor as on the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed.

 

Great Responsibility

 

Genesis 12:7 NIV

The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

 

Galatians 3:16

The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.

 

 

Amos 4:1

You Never Got Hungry for God

“Listen to this, you cows of Bashan grazing on the slopes of Samaria.

You women! Mean to the poor, cruel to the down-and-out!

Indolent and pampered, you demand of your husbands,

‘Bring us a tall, cool drink!’

 

4-5 “Come along to Bethel and sin!

And then to Gilgal and sin some more!

Bring your sacrifices for morning worship.

Every third day bring your tithe.

Burn pure sacrifices—thank offerings.

Speak up—announce freewill offerings!

That’s the sort of religious show you just love.”

 

5:21-24 “I can’t stand your religious meetings.

I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.

I want nothing to do with your religion projects,

your pretentious slogans and goals.

I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,

your public relations and image making.

I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.

When was the last time you sang to me?

Do you know what I want?

I want justice—oceans of it.

I want fairness—rivers of it.

That’s what I want. That’s all I want.

25-27 “Didn’t you, dear family of Israel, worship me faithfully for forty years in the wilderness, bringing the sacrifices and offerings I commanded? How is it you’ve stooped to dragging gimcrack statues of your so-called rulers around, hauling the cheap images of all your star-gods here and there? Since you like them so much, you can take them with you when I drive you into exile beyond Damascus.” God’s Message, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

 

A TRUE LOVE OF GOD TRANSFORMS YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

Amos 5:24  NIV

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

 

Spiritual Drought

Amos 8:11 (NLT)

“The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord,

“when I will send a famine on the land—

not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord.

 

SEEK THE LORD and SEEK GOOD
Amos 5:

6a Seek the Lord, and ye shall live;

14a Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live

Romans 12 (NLT)

12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us…

 

6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

 

9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

 

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

 

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

 

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

BE A GIVER!

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.” -Luke 6:38

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As I read this verse this morning, I recalled a few of the times I had “given” and how God brought it back to me one-hundred fold.  Now there have been times that I have “given”, but it was not from the heart.  It was out of obligation…feeling pressured, and in those times-I was not blessed in return.

God looks at our hearts.  We give with a good heart, not begrudgingly, but joyfully, and He gives back to us in the same way.  If our heart is wrong when we give, or if we do it with a motive-then He will not…and can not bless that action!

Jesus did not die for us out of obligation…He died for us out of LOVE!  He joyfully took our sins unto Himself, cleansed us with His blood that was shed on the Cross of Calvary, so that we might go where He is IF we will just accept His gift!

This is the kind of heart we need to have when “giving” to others.  It should be done with joy.  It should be done with love.  If we give in that manner, God will bless us…and also bless the person we are giving to.  They will feel the joy.  They will recognize the love in our hearts; then we can tell them of Jesus’ gift for them.

Be a giver.  Give with joy.  Give with love!

Anita

BEING CONFIDENT…

Philippians 1:6 (KJV)

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

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This is the promise I drew from my box this morning.  It was a real comfort to me as I read the words.  Like most of us, I fail in my Christian walk-almost daily; but it’s good to know that even though I fail…Jesus never does!

Do you see how that is worded?  “Being CONFIDENT…”  We can KNOW that even if we fall, Jesus is there to forgive us … to pick us up and continue to use us for His will.

Romans 2:7
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

Commit thou all thy griefs

And ways into His hands,

To His sure truth and tender care,

Who earth and heaven commands! -Unknown

Anita

WE TOOK IN THIS HOMELESS PERSON, AND HE TOOK OVER OUR HOME!

As most of you that read The Gathering Blog know, I am an avid fan and follower of the Fat Beggars School of Prophets Blog.  I read the following this morning, and was reminded of my own short comings to my Heavenly Father God,  and His Son, Jesus.

The picture painted is REAL…no going around the barn…no wasted words…so remove your ‘holier than thou’ hat,  and take it for what it is….    This must be how God sees us.  When Him and Jesus discuss our state, I can almost hear Him say…”I kept trying to see You in him, Jesus.  I kept telling Myself that he was the stranger We took in, and tried to help…to redeem… but he just about exhausted every kindness and charity I could muster.”  (quote by Agent X)

Enjoy this!  But at the same time…look at your own life.  How does Jesus see you? -anita

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I get it now.  I must confess.  Perhaps I was a bit rash when I insisted that Christians take homeless people into their homes and put them up in guest bedrooms that go empty night after night.  I mean that sounds good in theory, but in practice…?  Wow!  You just don’t know what you are getting into.  I suppose I should be more careful about the things I insist my brothers and sisters should be doing with their church-houses, their homes, their time, their money and their energy.

Yeah, we took in this one homeless person that just overwhelmed us.  After this experience, I will be much more realistic about things.  I mean this guy just cried and whined whenever he didn’t get his way – which it turns out was a lot, and we heard it from him day and night.  He was too hot.  He was too cold.  He got a sniffle.  He didn’t like what we were eating and would turn his nose up at it.  Never seemed the slightest bit grateful.  Never once said “Thank you” for anything.

Help him get a job???  Forget it!  He was not about to go to work.  Wouldn’t even begin to fill out a job application.  Perhaps I should have known then and kicked him out.

If you have been reading here long, you may recall my post that featured the guy on the street corner that smelled of piss.  He was a hardcore alcoholic who wet his own pants and did not change them or shower for days!  Well, this guy managed to mess his pants too.  Both number 1 and number 2.  And then he needs help cleaning that stuff up!  Oh MY GOD!!!

I kept trying to see Jesus in him.  I kept telling myself that he was the Matthew-25 Jesus (the stranger we took in), but he just exhausted every kindness and charity we could muster.  Sometimes I would look into his face and ask myself, “Is this really Jesus?”  Then I would wonder if surely Jesus was supposed to be a comfort to me!  Jesus is my savior; I am not his – nor am I supposed to be!

And I got to say, waking up at three in the morning to fix him another bottle, change his diaper, and rock him back to sleep in the rocking chair sure makes you question all that, alright.  If this foster baby is Jesus come to stay in my house, he has come in and turned the tables, scattered my money all over the place, and turned it into a house of prayer alright! (Mark 11:15-17).  Yeah, if Jesus comes into your house, whether as a grown man driving everyone out with a whip (John 2:15) or as a baby no one has room in their place for (Luke 2:7), he will take the place over!  Might seem hostile to every little agenda you ever set for yourself.

But then as I watch those little eyes get heavy and drift back to sleep, I think I am in the presence of great HOLINESS.  I have come to see God and NOT live (Exod. 33:20).  My life comes to an end there as his takes me over.

May the servants of the house be prepared for the Master’s return (Mark 13:33-37).  May you recognize the day of your visitation! (Luke 19:44).  You might just entertain angels unaware (Heb. 13:2) or even God himself (Gen. 18).

(Yes, I typed up this post in the middle of the night.  I will let you guess what prompts it.)

Agent X -Fat Beggars School of Prophets

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Here was my comment on his post!

Great post X! Loved the reference to Mark 11:15-17. You painted a vivid picture of what you and your family were going through in trying to help this guy. Wonder if Jesus tells His Father the same things about us?

I had a very stressful situation the other day and was using the words damn and hell like salt and pepper. I thought nothing of it…in fact it felt good to vent and get my anger out… until God spoke through my nine yr. old as he (HE) said, “Wow mom! We better take our camping gear with us when YOU stand before the Judgement Seat…cuz we’re gonna be there for a real LONG time!”

…Needless to say, I put the ‘salt and pepper’ back in the cupboard, apologized to my son, and asked God to forgive me for my whining and ungrateful heart! -anita

AND WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?

Here’s a really good one from Hard Times Ministries.  The title intrigued me to read on…I wondered what in the world it would say.  After reading this blog…I think the writer has it correct!  I believe that sometimes we try to witness in our own strength and the devil looks at us and says those exact words…”I know Jesus, and I know Paul…but who in the hell are you?” -anita

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Acts 19:15

But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?”

In at least some ways, at times, we are the same way of the group that as charlatans went canvasing for the purpose of profit.  In a nutshell, their motives were wrong.

The part I really like about this scripture is that the demon ran out of the house and kicked the con-man’s ass.  Wouldn’t this be so very wonderful if it happened all across America to the many quakes that roam our great nation?

Really, often our motives are extremely amiss whenever either witnessing for God or even going to God in prayer.

At some point if we were to charge against the world, can you imagine the demons stalking out and addressing us?  “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who the hell are you?”

And the truth is unless our hearts were pure and unless our motives were true, we’d be every bit as bad as the sorcerer described in the Book of Acts.

There is no magic formula or magic bullet involved in being a Christian.  In fact, the most basic ingredient involved is possessing Faith in our Lord, Jesus in order to properly execute our mission in serving Him.

In fact, if we are doing it right, if our approach is correct, then we are not worried about the evil ploys of demons, but instead we are interested in engaging the children of God as ambassadors of His Church.

The answer then is no longer posed in a question. Instead of asking us who we are, we receive an affirmation of who we are as they know who we are for we have been in their midst.

The acuity of our deeds should indeed affirm WHO we are so that rather than a question, we are addressed with nothing but affirmations which are good.

T. F. Thompson- Hard Times Ministries

CHANGE YOUR LIFE…NOT JUST YOUR CLOTHES!

I drew the following Promise from my box this morning, and wanted to share it with you.  In our busy world, we sometimes need a quick reminder of what is REALLY important.

The following verse is short…but to the point.  This is all God is asking from each of us, every moment of every day.  We are not perfect…we sin constantly; sometimes deliberately, and sometimes we aren’t even aware that we are offending God Almighty; But whether through our words, our thoughts, or our actions, we have grieved the Holy Spirit.  But, God said this…

Joel 2:13 (NIV)

13 Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
    and he relents from sending calamity.

Another version of the Bible, puts it this way…

Joel 2:13 The Message (MSG)

13-14 Change your life, not just your clothes.
    Come back to God, your God.
And here’s why: God is kind and merciful.
    He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot,
This most patient God, extravagant in love,
    always ready to cancel catastrophe.

God KNOWS we are sinners…that’s why He died for us-to redeem us.  Some of us look more put together than others, at least on the outside, but in the deep recesses of our hearts, there is a mess… a darkness that only Jesus can bring light to.  Only HE can change us from the inside out!

If you find yourself in sin today, come back to God.  He is merciful and will forgive!

Anita

ARE WE LOSERS?

Here’s another one from Lee Pierce!  Enjoy! -anita

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I read something disturbing this morning: I was called a “loser.” A person I highly respect, Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., was discussing the moral revolution in this country and he cited a stunning essay from a Harvard law professor, Mark Tushnet, who last year declared a total liberal victory in this so-called revolution. Tushnet claims that liberals firmly control almost every power base in our culture.

What shocked me the most was Tushnet’s unconciliatory stance in his blatantly high-handed pronouncement. His position: an ultimatum to the losing side in the culture conflict: “You lost, deal with it.” He goes on to say that liberals should take the hard line rather than be accommodating. Then the real shocker: “Trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War… and taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.” Christians and conservatives are thrown into the same stew pot with the evil Axis Powers of WWII??!! I’m rather dumb-founded.

After I cooled down from reading this (some, but not much) I started to analyze this fellow’s position. First, is it true that the liberal position is dominant in our culture today? As has been talked about in this blog on prior occasions, while liberal positions have taken hold in the world, they certainly aren’t dominant or exclusive across the landscape. I also find Tusnet’s position, as a self-styled liberal spokesman, inconsistent with some traditional basic tenets of liberalism. One of these is tolerance: Whatever your stance is on moral cultural issues is fine for you, just don’t try to make it mine.

This whole issue is now prominent in the news. Just this morning, the newspapers reported that the Methodist Church high court has ruled that an openly gay woman is in violation of church policy and cannot continue as a bishop in the church. Regardless of where one might stand on the topic of LGBT in society or in the church, I was pleased that some authority had the backbone to stand up and say that gay ordination is contrary to Biblical teaching. I’ve read some news accounts on this woman, Rev. Oliveto, and she sounds like a very caring, committed servant within her church. And much loved. But, for me, her lifestyle is counter to what our Lord has taught and I must stay true to that. I have no doubt but that I would like her a lot as a person, but I can’t accept her as a leader in any church that I would attend. You have to draw the line somewhere and, for me, the Bible is a great place to start.

I actually got to a point where I managed to feel sorry for Mr. Tushnet. For him, life is a war and all about winning and losing. I have often found myself in the past viewing life in much the same way. “Them” versus “us.” I don’t like living life that way. It’s rather dehumanizing. “I’m a nice guy and you’re a jerk!” I guess I’ve learned over the years that I’m not such a nice guy; certainly not all the time. And as bad as I am, I believe with all my heart that God still loves me. To honor the Lord, the least I can do is love others who are made after His image just as am I.

The world isn’t bleak or vacant of hope, despite the fact that some elements of the liberal culture dictate are found profusely in the land. I need to remind myself that God is bigger than all of the somewhat misguided thoughts and conventions of the people He has created. And He is a God of great compassion. I’m thinking here of God’s actions regarding the Jonah story where he visits Nineveh in Assyria. Whereas Jonah is upset with God for sparing that great city of 120,000+ inhabitants, God says “… should I not have compassion on… [these] 120,000 persons….” [Jonah 4:11] Who’s to say what God might choose to do to (or for) all of the liberals (and conservatives) in the land. All of the people can have their say now but it’s God who will have the final say. He always does….

Lee Pierce