WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT HERALD?

Hark the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild;
God and sinners reconciled.”
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,
Charles Wesley, 1739

Just for fun, imagine with me that there’s an angel named Herald. I think it would play out something like this:

“What’s the big deal about Herald? Everybody thinks he’s the best angel.”
“Maybe he is. You’re jealous.”
“No I’m not. He toots his own horn like he’s somebody special.”
“He’s not tooting his own horn. He’s telling everyone about the new king.”
“King? He’s a baby. You see one baby, you’ve seen them all.”
“Oh I don’t think so. This baby is special.”
“How do you know?”
“I just read about him.”
“Oh that’s right, you’re the reading angel. I can’t do that either.”
“Don’t feel bad that you’re the angel in charge of getting people out of the mud. That’s an important job.
“Anyway, listen to this: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12)
“I’ll talk to you later. I gotta get one of the shepherds out of the mud so he can go see the Baby King.”

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them…Luke 2:9a.
……………………………..

This is just one of the 25 entries in the book, TWENTY-FIVE DAYS AROUND THE MANGER. You can get your Kindle copy in a few short weeks.

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TRIBUTE TO MY MOM

The following is my introduction to TWENTY-FIVE DAYS AROUND THE MANGER, which will be out in Kindle form the first part of October. Just a little something to whet your appetite.

To My Favorite Chicken Thief

Little Georgia Lou’s father had an old car in the yard. It didn’t run, but didn’t have to for her purpose. Georgia Lou excused herself from the breakfast table. She quickly did her chores so she could go out and get in the car. She took her hymnbook, rolled the windows up and sang to the top of her lungs, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning.” This and other old (yes, they probably were old even then) hymns kept her occupied much of the morning. Looking for cheap entertainment for your kids? Keep your old clunker and purchase a used hymnal.
But yes, as she grew, she became a little wild, as teens will do. It was Halloween night. She and a few friends found an old dark farmhouse. There it was, a chicken coop. They couldn’t help themselves. It simply was too easy. One of them (surely not my mother) grabbed a hen through the fence. They went to a vacant lot and built a fire. They then cooked and tried to eat the chicken. “That was the toughest chicken I’ve ever eaten — before or since.” With that, I think she learned her lesson. For the next eighty-five years she has been an upstanding, law-abiding citizen.
Mother and I laugh, cry, pray — and even talk together when she can get a word in edgewise. I have recently started doing more of the cooking. She is so gracious. As I bring out still another new recipe, never does she say, “Why don’t you do it the old way or just throw a roast in the skillet?” Instead, she says, “Do you want me to chop your onions or brown the meat for you?”
I’m thankful for this closet singer turned temporary outlaw turned blessing to many, whom I call Mother.

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MUD PIES

This blog is dedicated to my husband, David Magee, who just turned 70. Happy Birthday to a great guy who often sticks to something even if it means swallowing a little dirt. I’m not sure why the determination this time. Maybe he wanted to show the other kids he was the real deal. Or maybe he just needed the minerals.

I love to tell the story,
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest.
I Love to tell the Story,
A. Catherine Hankey

MUD PIES

“David and Bobbie and I used to make mud pies. Bobbie and I pretended to eat ours and then threw them over our shoulders. David ate his.”
“You guys were wimps,” David responded with a grin.
David and Gary’s friendship spans over 65 years. They remember riding tricycles and playing cowboys together. Every time we meet, we tell the same stories as if for the first time. We laugh and cry just as hard each time we hear them.
Once when we got together, our daughter, Judy, joined us. “I know a lot more about you now, Dad. I think I have enough scoop to blackmail you.”
When we get together, we tell another Story over and over. We share different experiences, but all come through the shed blood of Jesus.
My sister, Jodie, and I talk almost daily. We compare grandkid episodes—her nine grands and seven great-grands and my five grands. One of us grammar fanatics might call the other for no other reason than to share a misplaced modifier she read in the newspaper. Jodie keeps me informed on current events.
We also discuss the Old and New Covenants, Jesus’ healing ministry, predestination and free will. We compare sermon notes—taken 2200 miles apart. We may not always agree, but there’s that desire to dig in and learn more of the old, old story.
Denise rarely talks to me without sharing a word from the Word.
My 99-year-old mother lives with us. When she’s not making New Mexico enchiladas, biscuits or lemon pie, she’s usually sitting on the porch with her nose in her Bible. I can’t walk out to say good morning without her stopping me: “Listen to this. I’ve never noticed this verse before.” Or, “what do you think this means?” She’s one of those who know it best, but she’s still hungering and thirsting for more.
One of these days, we’ll celebrate in glory. We’ll talk about mud pies and Jesus’ love.

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:46-47

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THE MODEL PRAYER

Our Father Who art in heaven….
Yes, You are in heaven, and You’re right here beside me.
Hallowed by thy name….
May I remember that, Lord, about Your name. It’s not a word we throw around to make us sound religious. It’s not a good-luck charm.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done….
Not my will, Lord, but Yours. You’re not a genie in a bottle. You’re the God of the universe Who somehow cares about me.
In earth, as it is in heaven….
It’s Your will I need to search for, long for, desire; not my own; from now until I reach my final home.
Give us this day our daily bread….
Just what we need for today, Lord. May we not worry about tomorrow–because tomorrow you’ll give it all over again.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors….
Why is this forgiveness thing so hard for us mortals? It must be a full-time job for You to keep forgiving us, but yet You gladly do it, over and over again.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil….
Lord, I know you don’t tempt us, but please keep us away from the areas where temptation comes more easily.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever….
And that’s a long time!
Amen….
So be it.

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HOW DO YOU HEAL A BLIND MAN?

“He touched their eyes…and their sight was restored.” (Matthew 9:29-30)
Touching their eyes. That must be the way to heal blind people. That’s not hard. That and a little faith on the blind man’s part and we have it made.
…..
“They brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.” (Matthew 12:22)

…..
“He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’
“He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’
“Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” (Mark 8:22-25)
Oh no, this time he had to take him clear out of town, spit on his eyes and put his hands on him twice. It didn’t even happen all at once.

…..
“He spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go,’ wash in the pool of Siloam.” (John 9:6-7)

Maybe God doesn’t have a formula for healing the blind. Maybe He works one way in your life and another way in mine. Maybe the important lesson is to stay in close touch with Him so we’ll know which way He’s working.
This is not to say there are no absolutes. “Ye must be born again” is an absolute. However, some folks were born again when they walked the aisle of a church. Some, like my husband, received the assurance of eternal life in a cold basement. Some, like me, may have knelt by their bed and said, “Lord, I want to know You.”
The Trinity, the infallibility of the Bible, the reality of heaven and hell—these are absolutes. But how God goes about revealing them to us is up to Him.
Want to help a blind man find his sight? Want to know what God wants from you? Want to live happy? Want to know which way is the right way to do something?
Pore over your Bible. Talk to God, and then listen to Him.
Before you go spitting in someone’s eye, make sure you’ve gotten your orders from the great Healer.
(This devotion was taken from a sermon by Jack Williams)

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DO ALL ROADS LEAD TO GOD?

We’ve all heard the phrase flow like honey from their lips: “All roads lead to God.” I immediately arch my back, ready to strike. Maybe I should not be so hasty. What does the Bible say?

“Every knee will bow before me, every tongue will confess to God.” (Romans 14:11)

In the last book of the Bible, we read of people calling to the mountains and rocks to fall on them. Why would they want that? So they’ll be hidden “from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.” (Rev 6:16)

John also prophesied, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written.

These believe-what-you-want folks may have something. What do you think? Is that how you want to meet God? If you had things worked out between God and you, why would you want the mountains and rocks to fall on you?

Remember sneaking a peek at your report card? We usually knew if we needed to worry. I never wanted to look at my math and science grades. I wanted to hide them under a rock.

As a youngster, I learned what we called the Romans Road:
1. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
2. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (6:23)
3. God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (5:8)
4. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (10:9)

Other verses lead us on this same road of salvation:
The most well-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16, says, “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The jailer asked Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?” Their response was simple, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:30-31).

Jesus said, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” (John 10:9)

And in case you think you can work it off, Isaiah 64:6 says “our righteousness is like filthy rags.”

Be sure you’re on the heaven road, and you won’t have to worry about rocks and mountains falling on you. Instead, the Rock of Ages will shelter you.

Every knee shall bow before me, every tongue confess to God. Romans 14:11

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FINDING OLD MAN PULLIAM’S HORSE–AND CHARITY

“It was written when charity was a virtue and not an organization.” My brother’s take on the King James version of I Corinthians 13, what many call “The Love Chapter.”

How can we keep Paul’s true meaning of charity as a virtue as we shop, worship, bake?  Or search for our neighbors’ lost animals?

Maybe my mom had the right idea over 80 years ago:

“Baby, you know Old Man Pulliam’s saddle horse has been missing for several days. After breakfast, why don’t we fix a lunch to take along, saddle our horses and spend our day riding to see if we can find that horse? I know the Pulliams are away, but he wouldn’t be able to go hunt the horse if he were home.”

This daughter, my now 99-year-old mom, had no tree with gifts piled under it. Her mother had no turkey in the oven.

They lived in a simple homesteader’s shack. The people hoped someday to eke out a decent living from the few cows their land in this barren area of New Mexico would feed.

“We had no modern conveniences—and little communication with the outside world. We did have a post office where we got our mail on Tuesdays and Saturdays if we wanted to ride four miles on horseback.”

I love to hear her tell this story as if it happened yesterday.

“Daddy and I were alone in our little adobe house that night. I guess the average just-out-of-high-school girl would have dreamed of lights inside and out. She would hope for that wool sweater she’d seen in the Sears and Roebuck Catalog. These thoughts didn’t bother me. This Christmas Eve I had chosen to remain at home with Daddy, when my mother and my brother left to go about fifty miles away to spend the night and the holiday at an older brother’s home.”

With lunch on their saddles, they were ready to ride. This wasn’t just any lunch. Only my grandmother’s home-cured ham, homemade bread and plain cake chock full of nuts would do for Christmas day.

“The day was not stormy, but cold enough we appreciated heavy coats. I was proud to ride beside my cowboy father, for who knows how many miles, until we finally found the horse. I was pleased to know that my dad was willing to consider the simple need of an elderly neighbor.”

I wish I’d had the privilege of knowing this grandfather. He knew how to do Christmas–and Charity.

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