Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer Update

Dear Friends,
We wanted to send a little update on life in Padova along with current prayer requests.
As you know, I (Margie) was in CA for a few months taking care of my brother.  He has finished all his chemotherapy and radiation treatments for now.  The said they will order a scan in about another month.  We are all praying that the treatments worked and that his cancer is in remission.  Steve was so blessed by those of you who encouraged him along this difficult time.  He loved reading facebook notes and seeing people from all over the world pray for him.  It meant a lot to me too.  Jim was able to visit for a couple weeks to attend Marla’s graduation for her Master’s Degree.  We are so proud of her and all the hard work that went into this accomplishment.  The Lord provided a job rather quickly and a friend offered to have her stay with them until she can save up for a place. 
Here in Padova we are doing well.  Jim is busy trying to figure out building storage areas outside the church as we don’t have much extra space inside.  The place next door recently did some renovating so he was able to get some wood and other materials that should prove useful for his project.  He is teaching through Colossians on Sunday mornings and it has been such a good study.  It’s nice to see some are starting to take notes during the bible study too.  Summers are not very busy here-most people are headed out for their holidays so it’s a good time for us to pray and plan for the Fall. 
We have a wonderful location for our church-the neighborhood houses many of the university students and the main building to register for your residence is across the street from us.  At the end of September we plan to have an outreach to the students.  We will be making up ‘welcome bags’ with some goodies and a flyer for the weekly events at the church.  Jim will plan to teach The Parables Of Jesus starting in October and we will have conversational English club one of the evenings.  We are praying to get some musicians to come help us with an open house to start things off around the end of September.  Students start arriving mid September and most are here by October.

If any of you are musicians and feel called to come over and help out please get in touch with us.  If you have a heart for the unsaved and feel called to the Mission Field, please pray about joining us in Padova.  We have such a need for helpers.  There are so many students, so much ministry that can be done and we just cannot do it alone.  We had a guy that had approached Jim about to coming over to help but he recently let us know he was offered to go somewhere else.  It gets so discouraging after awhile.   We see the churches around us and the benefits of them having other missionaries to help out in different ways and we know in our hearts God wants the same for Padova.  Would you please pray specifically for our church in this area?  There are tens of thousands of just university students in Padova, let alone families and others who need to hear the Gospel message. 
One of the sad things about being in a university town is having to say good-bye to students.  We had a gal from Germany who finished her studies in March and went back home and this past Sunday we said good-bye to such a dear gal, Emily.  Emily found the church the day after she arrived in Padova and has been such a joy.  She and a group of the students would meet each week at the church for bible study and it was such an encouragement to see their desire to walk with the Lord and grow in His Word.  I will meet one last time with her tomorrow along with the gal who led the bible study and hopefully there will be a new group of students in the Fall. 

We are looking forward to our favorite time of year-the annual Missions Conference in August.  It’s always been a place of refuge and encouragement for us.  The teachings, the friendships and of course the meals are all prepared for us.  Please pray for all those who desire to go to be able to have the finances to attend and be refreshed in the Lord.  It really is such a special time for so many of us. 

I forgot to mention in the email-but, Jim will be performing his first Italian wedding at the end of August.  In Italy, as in most of Europe, people have to be legally married by the state.  In Italy, the only church recognized to perform a wedding is the Catholic church.  The couple reside in England but she has Italian roots so they will have the state wedding in England and the Christian wedding here.  We are quite excited and got to meet them via skype the other night.  Please keep this in prayer as many unbeliever will be in attendance and the couple is looking forward to their guests attending a Christian ceremony.   They are quite culturally diverse as he is part American and British and she is Ukranian but moved to Italy as a child and somewhere along the road moved to England and fell in love!  The ceremony will be in English with some Italian and Jim is going to work on saying a few things in Ukranian as well.  We've been invited to join them for the celebration feast afterwards -lots of good food and conversation for sure :)
We thank those of you who stand in the gap with us-who pray fervently for our needs and faithfully support the ministry here.  We say it often, but it is true.  We cannot do what we do without you.  We are truly blessed by your love and support. 
with love and thanksgiving,
Jim and Margie
CC Padova, Italy
Prayer Requests
For people in our city to get saved
Marriages to be rooted in Christ and to be healthy
Wisdom in planning upcoming events-for God to lead and give direction and that we don’t get ahead of Him
Finances for building rent
That people in the church would continue to seek the Lord as to how they can serve in the church and also in the community
Our health-especially Margie’s back
Someone gifted who can do our church website
Missions Conference-travel protection, finances
Laborers to come alongside in ministering to the people in Padova
Please pray also for a young married couple in our church who have had to endure a long distance relationship due to paperwork.  It's been a long process with a lot of headaches and they are just praying for everything to go through so they can be reunited as a family.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Saying Goodbye to 2015

Dear Friends and Loved Ones,

As 2015 comes to an end we would like to say thank you to all of  you who have stood beside us in the past year.  2015 brought us the joy of having a church building for the first time in our seven years here in Padova.  With that, we have been able to host events, English movie nights, Teas, meals, English get-togethers, and of course our church services.

We were blessed with a couple of new students, Emily, from England and Jessie from Germany.  They are both here studying at Padova University.  They have been inviting their fellow students to different events and it’s been a joy having them with us.  The timing was perfect too as Marla’s contract ended in October with the family she was working for in Milano.  She is now back in Padova with us and it is just like the Lord to bring along some gals close to her own age to hang out with.

We also have a few people stationed in Vicenza who have joined the fellowship.  They are such an encouragement and so much fun to have around.  Jim really enjoys his ‘war talks’ with Anton and Tim and it’s nice to see God bring us some seasoned Christian men.

We look forward in the coming year to more outreach with the university students and the people of Padova in general.  One thing we are blessed by is seeing God bring a couple of new people who have also been inviting their friends to come to church.  Do they stay or come back an other time?  To be honest, no, most don’t.  But they have heard the Gospel now and that is what our calling is.  We pray that they would return and the Lord would soften their hearts, but as we have learned in the past, it’s our work to give the message, we can’t force them to accept it.

There are some needs we have-one that is something we have been praying for and asking pray for for many years and that is for a team to join us.  Even if were a couple of people who could lead worship, lead a bible study and have a heart for the unsaved.   We need those who are motivated to go out and hit the streets, led by the Holy Spirit to talk to people, get to know them and share the Lord with them.  The land needs to be plowed and we find there are not many interested in plowing the fields any more.  We do our best in our small fellowship to reach out and invite, but we are few and we know the Lord loves the people here in Padova and we want to see more and more get saved. 

 Our friend Ed from Santa Barbara playing keys for Sunday service
 Marla and Jessie
Giving Thanks

Jim’s right hand man Franco has been such a blessing throughout the year.  He has taught the bible studies when Jim is not there and he and his wife Rosa are our evangelists.  They are always praying and inviting those they know to come and hear about Jesus.  They pray always that God would break the chains of so many of the people here.  They themselves have only been saved about 2 years and they know what it is like to be stuck in your traditions and unable to believe in the finished work on the cross.  Please pray for them to continuously be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit as they share the love of  Christ to those they come in contact with.

Jim is finishing up Romans in the next month and will begin teaching the Parables of Jesus on Sunday mornings. We are excited about this study and the practical teaching and application of each of the parables.  Some who have come to visit actually asked Jim if he would teach some of the ‘stories’.  After praying and seeking the Lord,  we will take a break from verse by verse for a time to see how the Lord teaches us through His parables.  

Jim is looking forward to the Pastor’s conference in Austria later in January.  He will bring Franco again this year and perhaps if the schedules work out, some of the other guys from Padova.  We are also praying that perhaps early summer or Fall of 2016 to have a weekend church retreat at the Castle.   

We thank you for all of your prayers, your encouragement and support in the past year.  We know that we are just a speck in the big picture, but nonetheless, where two or more are gathered, God is in their midst.  God has given us a tremendous amount of love for the people of Padova and though there have been times of discouragement and even despair at times throughout the past year, we have been overjoyed at every work of the Holy Spirit, though small to some, an answer to prayer for us. 

We ask for your continued prayers for CC Padova, for our fellowship and the people in our city.  Sometimes I am sitting on the train or just walking around and I look at the faces of the hundreds of people around  me and weep inside because though they may look good on the outside, inside there is emptiness-a life without Jesus Christ.   Please pray for an outpouring of the Spirit in our lives so that we can communicate His Truth with the people here.

On the personal side, I need prayer for my health.  It hasn’t been very good as far as my back is concerned-I have for the moment decided not to have the disc surgery.  I researched a lot about it and the results seem to be 50-50.  Those are with healthy people and being that I have pretty bad osteoporosis, the odds of me being able to grow strong bone is not in my favor.  I have peace about it even though the pain can be crippling at times, but I sense the Lord guiding me to this decision-at least for the time being.   They also discovered I  have a lot of gallstones in me.  How, I have no clue but I will have more blood work done in the next week and who knows what after that.  I think they have to come out but again, I am not sure what the doctor will do.

Many of you know that my brother was diagnosed with cancer a couple of months ago.  He is set to have surgery January 15 and I was so blessed to get a ticket to go to CA to be with him and my family during this time.  The prognosis is very promising which is, I believe, an answer to all who were praying for him.   God is a God of miracles and we continue to put our trust in Him for a complete healing.  Steven will have to have some reconstructive surgery on his face simultaneously as the one surgeon is extracting the cancer.  It’s amazing what they can do these days.  I will actually miss the surgery by a couple of days because they moved it up after  I had already purchased my ticket.  Thankfully I will still be there to help out in any way I can.  Looking forward to saying hello to as many of you as time permits!


Our vision for CC Padova in 2016
To strengthen those who are already in the fellowship, to equip them to do the work of the ministry and see them use the gifts God has given them not only in the church but in the community.

That we as a fellowship would be united in the things of the Lord, attentive to the voice of the Spirit, overflowing in our love for one another and sharing that love with others.

To reach out to our community through God’s Word, music, meals and other events with the love and truth of the Gospel. 

To be a place of refuge for those without hope, those looking for answers and those who have nowhere to turn.

Our prayer requests as we enter 2016

Laborers…Pray the Lord of the harvest that He would send workers-young and not so young-those willing to plough the field.

Wisdom in decision making, fresh filling of the Spirit.  Walking in step with the leading of the Lord and seeking His direction and guidance in our outreaches and various ministries.

For the marriages in our fellowship-that we would yield our wills,  have grace and unconditional love for one another.  To encourage an build up each other.

Continued financial provision to enable us to do the things we do in the church and also to enable us to have more outreach events.

Teams from different places to come over for short-term mission trips and help evangelize our city.

Our health, perhaps if anyone knows of a dentist in CA who would donate his/her time to do extensive dentist work on our teeth.

To trust God for the future and not to be afraid.

Jim’s prayer for us as a church -
“My prayer for Calvary Chapel Padova is that each of us knows, teaches and demonstrates the love and truth of the Word of God to our community. I pray that we would reach out to others in accordance to God's Word in love, grace and mercy."

Again, we thank you so very much for your commitment to stand in the gap with us. Without you we would not be able to continue the work that God has sent us to do.  I believe in Heaven you will see, that we could not put in pictures or words, the effect your perseverance had on the lives of many.
May the Lord bless you in the coming year and fill your lives with His grace, mercy and love.

Much love 
Jim and Margie

For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. Philemon 1:7

If you would like to be a part of supporting us financially there are a couple ways you can do so:

Send a check to with a memo stating it's for Jim Stewart CC Padova to:
Calvary Chapel Vista
885 E Vista Way
Vista, CA 92084

OR you can give via online donations at either of the two websites.  Just be sure to scroll to designate for Missions/Jim Stewart
Go to 


All donations are tax deductible

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

12 Songs Of Christmas -An Interlude

Well, I didn't get to the blog as often as I wanted to finish out the series but my daughter and friend Tracey encouraged me to keep going even though it's after Christmas.

We had a lovely Christmas with a couple of friends spending the night and even an entire day afterwards where absolutely nothing was done except curl up on couches and chairs in our pj's, wrapped in duvets, watching back to back episodes of Masterchef Junior, followed by the Downton Abbey Christmas special.  (Living in Europe has its perks every now and then).  We pulled out leftovers, pie, and cups of tea to keep us warm.  Jim didn't find that entertaining so he stayed in the other room playing guitar and catching up on the news.

Following the laziness, I mean restfulness, I had lots of stored up energy yesterday and got to work around the house.  First up was spraying one bedroom with bleach due to mold....it's a HUGE problem here in Italy which everyone just seems to take in stride....then onto the kitchen.  Not just washing the dishes, including the ones hidden in the oven for a later day, but stovetop, counters, whatever was in need of washing got washed.  Then onto the floor.  Now, mind you, sweeping the kitchen floor is normally a daily thing but yesterday was intense....throwing the rugs outside, moving all the trashcans (we have 4 since you to recycle here) rugs, etc...and then having the amount of energy I did, I decided not just to mop but to get down on hands and knees and scrub.......well,,,,that was my mistake.  While scrubbing underneath the island I felt something or some things move about inside my stomache.  I screamed so loudly even Jim heard me with his earphones on!

Something, somewhere, spun around inside as if part of my insides were coming out.  It felt like parts of me were twisting about trying to do gymnastics inside.  It was that all too familiar pain of ribs cracking or breaking or moving or whatever in the world they do.  Ouch!!  So, with that, Jim ordered me not to clean anymore.  (at least until next week lol) and I spent the rest of the day on the couch inside a blanket drinking tea and eating panettone.  Wednesday I will probably head out to the ER and get an x-ray.  We figure it is easier and quicker to do that than go to the doctor and wait a couple hours for him to write a paper for me to make an appointment to get an x-ray and see what exactly happened.

Fortunately, the pain is not as bad as in the past.  If I move a certain way you or try to lift something, the pain is horrendous but thankfully it's not as bad as it could be.  I have had some strange bump on that side of my rib for the past year and the doctor has yet to give me the paper to get an x-ray so maybe this is a good thing after all.  At least we may find out what the bump is :)

So, hopefully tomorrow I will be back on track and write about the next song.  I am thankful for my daughter and friend who encouraged me not to give up.  It's so important that we have people in our lives to whisper in our ear to press on no matter what we feel like.  I love the picture of running a race and having people on the sidelines cheering us on.  I used to run track in high school and it was always inspirational to hear your friends cheer you on throughout the race.  I also remember one of the key lessons my coach taught us-never look back!  Keep your eyes on the finish line, always look at what is ahead of you.

My friend, if there is something you have purposed in your heart to do but lost your motivation, maybe people didn't respond as you had hoped, perhaps you are tired or you have been injured and don't have the energy to finish what you started....please don't give up.  Take up your pen, your guitar, your voice, time,  the bible study you used to attend, whatever it may be that you put down for whatever reason and put it to use once again.  Don't let discouragement keep you from enjoying your race.  Confide in a friend and ask them to be your cheerleader if you need one.  Most of all, recommit whatever it is you have stopped doing to the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to help you finish what you started.  Also, look around and see who you can encourage to keep going.   Be the friend that someone needs you to be but perhaps is too afraid to ask for.

Don't be afraid to ask for help.  We don't need to be these mighty women who think that asking for help is a sign of weakness.  It's not.  It just means we realize we cannot run this race alone and quite frankly, we aren't meant to run it alone.  Runners may run alone, but they are often part of a team. They have a coach to train them and bring out their potential and they have team-mates to root for them along the way.

Let's ask the Lord to show us those around us who need cheering on, to help those who are ready to quit the race, to encourage those who may not feel they are part of the team and then to also be those who aren't afraid to ask a team-mate to run alongside of us, reminding us that we are in this together and we can do this!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

12 Songs Of Christmas Day 5

Sometimes you just go through rough patches.  Things beyond your control.  In the midst of the glee and laughter of the season comes those times of sadness, even heartache.  I know so many friends that are going through a really rough season right now.  Whether it is financial, health or knowing they are far away from family at Christmas, whatever it is, they are aching inside.  Some are wondering what is in store for them in the coming year, others are joyfully and sacrificially giving out to others even though they have very little to give to their own family.

I think it is even harder as a Christian when you go through these difficult times because we tend to start to feel guilty for feelings and emotions that arise.  On one hand, we know that it rains on the just and unjust yet we are to have faith.  Faith that God will see us through whatever we are going through.  We are reminded that God takes care of the birds of the air and all the more will He meet our every need, and many times our wants.  But there are those moments when we find ourselves lacking faith and then feel like we blew it because we 'went there'.  We went to that place in our minds that asks all the questions....why, what if, how come now, etc.

With that, I listened to a new song today and decided to use this one rather than one from my list.
It is by Chris Tomlin and the song is Adore.  You can listen to it here:

I love that about the Lord.  He knows His children so well.  He knows what each of us needs to hear and is ever so faithful to whisper to our hearts-'do this, read that, call her, and so on.  That still small voice that is our God.  That loving and gracious Father who doesn't chastise us when we have those moments-rather He tenderly grasps our chin and lifts our head so that we can focus on what is rather than succumb to despair, guilt and shame.

I love worship music and how it lifts my soul.  It takes me from where I may be in my current state of mind and puts my focus back on the Lord.  That is why I like this song so much.  Adore Him.

Tune out everything else that is occupying your mind right now.  Listen to this song and adore your Savior.  Your circumstance may not change, but your focus will no longer be or those things occupying your mind.  Your heart will be full because you have taken time out to adore the One who adores you so very much.  Go to your room, a quiet place if possible and just play the song (repeat if necessary :)  )  I put it on auto replay!

I made this printable to go with today's song (yesterday's also) so just click on them if you want to save and print out to put in a frame.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

12 Songs Of Christmas Day 4

Such a busy day but I wanted to be faithful to this series and put up a post.  Today's song is another one of my favorites.  It is scripture and that put to song is always going to be inspiring and uplifting to our souls.  I have taught on this portion of scripture at a couple of Christmas Teas and each time I am challenged to get back to basics-being reminded what it is to serve the Lord and that everything is about Him and the things I do should be done as unto Him.

"An audience of One" is a phrase I read in Gail MacDonald's book High Call High Privilege.  It's a wonderful book about the call of being a pastor's wife.  In one of the chapters she shares about doing what we do as unto the Lord, pleasing Him and not looking for the praise and adoration from man, being faithful and obedient in whatever we are called to do.

In Luke's Gospel, we ready of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  We catch a small glimpse into her life and though not much is written about her, we are able to glean volumes from her life.

Today's song comes from Luke 1:46-55, known as The Magnicat.  Click below to hear this beautiful song:

I am so intrigued by Mary's life-her simplicity and her obedience. She faced fear of the unknown and probably had many questions about what was to be. Yet, she chose to obey God and to trust Him. She didn't need the story laid out before her and know every detail before she said yes-'behold the maidservant of the Lord, let it be according to Your Word'. Wow, what a response! It caused me to think about how I respond to things when God calls me to do something. Most times, I want to analyze like most of us women do. We tend to want to think it over, weigh the pros and cons, are there benefits, and wondering what the cost might be.

After meditating on these verses in Luke 1:46-55 (the Magnificat) you can really see Mary's heart. How much she loved the Lord, how well she knew her God. It showed me that that is what it comes down to in our lives, at least in my life. How well do I know Him, and how much do I really trust Him. Do I trust Him so much that I can abandon everything to Him, to believe without wavering that He will be faithful, that He will indeed work out every detail of the plan as I leave it to Him to do so. She praised the Lord in these verses from her heart, not just with her lips. Her worship wasn't based on how she felt at the time, or her circumstances. It was true worship from deep within her soul.

Another thing that really stuck with me in studying her life was what didn't happen. Here was Mary, soon to be married to Joseph. One might think that from this point on they would live spectacular lives, perhaps go on tour and share what it was like to 'carry the Son of God, write books, do promotions, etc.  . After all, they would be the earthly parents of the Messiah.

Mary and Joseph didn't become wealthy materialistically. Joseph didn't have the biggest carpentry business in town or business cards made up with a fish on them and try to gain from the call on their life. Nothing was about them. They didn't seek to profit nor did they expect that God would suddenly make their lives easier. There weren't some rich guys in the synagogue running over to build them a house or offer them all kinds of neat things because Jesus was living with them.

It made me think about life as a Christian. Life as a servant of God.  We can think that if we do what we ought, then God will be well pleased with us and He will make life a bit easier, He will suddenly change our financial status, our social status, and other things. I tend to fall in this rut at times. Thinking ok Lord, I am doing this and I know You are in it, I know You called me to this, and so everything is going to work out so well. I realized that this type of thinking can easily lead to bitterness. Bitterness towards the Lord because we had expected something more than He had promised. Bitterness because you said yes and you are struggling in your life and someone else said no and seems to be living the life of Reilly (who's Reilly anyway???)

We need to protect our hearts and minds from thinking that God owes us something just because we obeyed the call. When these thoughts come to mind, I need to run to my Bible and read the accounts of those who said 'yes' and see how easy and pain free their lives were (being sarcastic here) while on this earth.
Mary's obedience cost her much! She would watch her Son be beaten and hung on a cross to die. She would endure listening to the loud, scruffy voices of the soldiers hurling insults at the Son she once cradled in her arms. She would hear a crowd of voices yelling out to crucify the little boy she watched grow into a Man.  No, Mary's life was in no way easy just because she was obedient.

I read this quote from Charles Spurgeon:
"Oh how we ought to rejoice in Him, whatever our union with Him may cost us. Mary did not know what that wondrous visitation would cost her-and it was to cost her much, as Simeon said to her-"Yes, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also," But even though the sword must go through her soul, it mattered not to her, for unto her a Child was to be born, unto her a Son was to be given, who was to be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Might God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."

Oh to live this life with total abandonment to Christ.  To say 'yes, Lord and not worry about things to come, to not live in fear of the future.. Surrendering ourselves to Him without hesitation, to trust Him, to believe that yes, my God has everything under control. And then, not to just accept what He has for me-but to praise Him!  I realized how easy it is to get to that point of acceptance of His will but fail to get to the point of praise.

We do have reason to exalt His Name, to rejoice in our Savior! No matter what the circumstances of our lives are, no matter what or where He calls us to, we can magnify His Name!

How do you respond when the Lord asks the seemingly impossible of you?  I pray for all of us that as we know and trust Him more and more we can respond in praise as Mary did.  We can magnify the Lord rather than magnify what we deem impossible.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

12 Songs Of Christmas Songs Day 3

Today's song is one many are probably not familiar with.  As I look through my Christmas playlist I have a gazillion versions of many of the same songs that have been sung throughout the ages.  As much as I enjoy them and have my favorite versions of the classics, I do appreciate it when someone comes up with a new Christmas song that evokes the spirit of Christmas.

This song makes me think, it makes me wonder, and it often leaves me more in awe of Jesus after listening to it.  The words stir up within me so many different thoughts and makes me glad that someone else thinks the same way as I do.

I love Jesus and everything about Him.  I love that He is the Word and He dwelt among us-He walked and talked with the common person, the sick, the outcast.  I love that he hated hypocrisy and wasn't afraid to call people out when they were prideful and looking their noses down at others.  I love that He was so powerful, so holy, so magnificent and yet He took time to wash the dirty feet of others.  His wondrous love that hung upon a cross so that we would be set free and have the opportunity to live with Him in Eternity.  I absolutely love that He calls us, you and me, the simpletons of this world, His friends.

John writes at the end of his Gospel, in chapter 21, that if everything Jesus did during His time on earth was written down, the world couldn't contain the books they were written in.  How amazing is that!  We get but a glimpse into the life of Jesus.  I wonder in Heaven if we will hear from all the people whose lives He touched.  Those He healed, spoke a Word to that changed their life.  Some He may have only gazed at and it was enough to pierce their very heart.

The song for today is by Todd Agnew.  It is titled 'Did You Know?'  It is written sort of as a dialogue between a person and Jesus.  It's almost as if someone went inside my head and wrote out some of questions in my mind and put them to song.  You can listen to it here: (the lyrics are there too)

Have you ever wanted to ask Jesus questions?  I don't mean the why's of events in our lives.  That's a given-we all have things we don't understand and wish He could explain why we go through what we go through.  But, I mean questions about Him and when He was a child.  Do you try to imagine His household as He grew up?  His brothers and sisters and what it must have been like living with the Son of God as your brother???  Wow, I cannot imagine it!

Did He know when He was a baby that He was still God?

Did He go through the 'terrible two's or was He a perfect child?

Did He call Joseph 'Dad'?

Did Joseph have to correct Him when He was young?  Did He ever roll His eyes at His parents like most children do?

How did He interact with His brothers and sisters-knowing they didn't believe who He was until much later?

Did He ever frustrate His parents as kids sometimes do and if so, did Mary and Joseph feel like the could correct Him?

Was He Mary's favorite?  Did the others pick up on that?

When Joseph taught Him the scriptures as a child did He already know them?  And was Joseph nervous that he was teaching Jesus the Word of God?

Ah, so many questions fill my mind as I think of Jesus coming to this earth.  Do these questions matter in the long run?  No, obviously not, but I still think of them-especially in December as we prepare our homes and especially our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Jesus, our King.

Do you ever wonder about Jesus and His growing up years?  Does your mind sometimes work like mine where you think of Him as a child and doing the things children do?  Are you curious if He had buddies in the neighborhood that He might have played baseball or football with (lol...I know they didn't have those games back then) but still, the kids must have played some kind of games.  Was He the best player on the team?  Did He discourage the boys who would say bad things against the girls? Did he run to Mary with tears streaming down His face when someone roughed Him up in a game or maybe even picked on Him?

I wonder just as in this song-since Joseph was a carpenter and we know he taught Jesus how to build things out of wood-did Jesus know as He was handling the nails that they would one day pierce His hands and feet?

When He shaped the wood as a young boy did an image of a cross with His body upon it cause a sudden shrill to flow through His being?

The glorious wonder of our Jesus.  God Incarnate-God who became flesh-who left Heaven to come down to earth for you and me.  We hear and read so many accounts of His power and greatness and yet He came as a baby.  Fully God and fully man.  Wow, just wow!  How I love Him so!  How thankful I am that Jesus is our Savior and that He came to this earth because of His great love for us.
God's gift to us all, wrapped in love.

I would love for you to share your thoughts :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12 Songs Of Christmas Day 2

Today's choice of songs has been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl.  I remember sitting in the living room with my family watching one of the many Christmas specials that came on TV in December.  Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, and many other classics were always fun to look forward to each year but there was one show in particular that always got to me.  I was mesmerized by the storyline and used to think about it so often.  I marveled that there was a little boy who was able to approach Jesus.  How much courage it must have taken him to walk over to gathering and in his little squeaky voice ask if he might join them.  My mind would race and wonder how this could be and what a special boy he must be.  I would try to imagine what it was like for him-all little and probably scared but he was also so brave.  Yes, it is a fictional story with a little boy but sometimes that is all it takes to rouse one's curiosity and being so fascinated that you want to know more.  

If you haven't guessed it yet, well, here is today's song choice.......drum roll....get it :)
The Little Drummer Boy!!

Here is Pentatonix's version of the song:

In the midst of the 20 or so 'pa rum pa pum pum's there is that very first word in the song...'Come'. Only four letters and not even the most used word in the song but it speaks volumes (at least to me it does).  This little lad is given an invitation to come. Come and see!  Isn't that marvelous!

Who doesn't enjoy being invited somewhere?  Ok, I will admit that at certain times of year it may be overwhelming to receive invite after invite requesting your presence at an event.  In December, calendars and planners are filled with school events to attend, cookie exchanges, teas and socials and let's just get together and enjoy some eggnog together {I can't stand eggnog so if you invite me for that I will have to decline ;)}.  But what about when that one invite comes in the mail and you see the return address and can't wait to rip open the envelope and read each and every detail.  You were invited to the 'it' party or THE main social event of the season that everyone would give their right arm to attend.  You start to scream, jump up and down with excitement, call the hairdresser for an appointment closest to the time of the event and rummage through your closet to find the perfect outfit.  

Do you know that you have already received the MOST amazing invitation to 'Come and see'?  In John 1:39 Jesus invites the first two disciples to 'come and see'.  

In John 1:45-46  Phillip is telling Nathaniel that they found Jesus, Nathaniel is skeptical so Phillip invites him to 'come and see for yourself'.  
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

My friends, this is the best invitation you could ever receive.  To come to Jesus!  Wherever you are in life, whatever burdens you may be carrying, whatever your past or even your present situation consists of-you are invited to come and see!!  See for yourself who Jesus is. Don't let media or anything, anyone dissuade you.  Don't make your opinions based on whatever negativity you may have heard from somewhere else....Just as Phillip said to Nathaniel-'come see for yourself'.   How else will you know if you don't see for yourself?!

Imagine receiving an invitation to come and see the Prince and Princess get married or perhaps and invitation to come and see their new born baby.  Oh my gosh, the excitement would surpass all you can think of.  And then, those thrilling moments quickly pass because now you have to think of the perfect gift that is befitting royalty.  Your excitement quickly dulls as you start to realize that there is nothing you can think of that would be good enough to bring this little prince or princess.

Ah, but here in this song, we see this young lad being invited to come-come and see this new born King.  Only a child himself, he wonders what could he possibly give that would honor the King that he was invited to see.  He has his drum and asks to use it to play a song for this new born babe.  And yes, it is a made up song but I really do love how it says 'He smiled at me'.  You know, we don't all have elaborate gifts that we can wrap up in the finest gift wrap and present to royalty.  We don't all have bank accounts that exceed double or triple digits. Not all of us can sing on key, some of us may get physically ill at the thought of speaking before a crowd,  or our culinary skills may only include boiling water without it spilling over.

Guess what?!  That's ok!!!  Yes, it is ok!  You don't need to be Ina or Martha!  Each of us has been given some type of gift and when we use it for the Lord I believe it makes Him smile.  He is well pleased to see us use whatever we have for his glory.  So again, don't decline an invitation to come just because you don't feel you have anything of worth or value to offer.  You do!

There is a Parable in the bible found in Luke 14:15-24  It is a parable about a man having a big banquet.  He sends his servants out to invite the people to come, the banquet is ready. Sadly, one by one the invited guests made an excuse why they couldn't come.  My job, my household, one reason or another why they couldn't come to the banquet.  

Revelation 19:9 speaks about the Marriage Supper Of the Lamb.  Once again, there is an invitation offered.  This invitation is open to all who will come.  Jesus Christ extends this invitation to each and every person ever born.  There are no exclusions.  But just as with any invitation we receive, we have a choice to make.

We can choose to ignore the invitation and throw it away.  We can take the invitation and put it with a pile of other things to sort through at a later date, we can simply RSVP with a 'no' or we can respond by saying 'yes'.  

Like any other invitation, there is usually a deadline as to when you should RSVP.  If you try to do so after the deadline, it's too late and you cannot be included.  The same holds true for the invitation to come to Christ, to join Him and many others at the marriage supper of the Lamb.  We only have while we are alive and breathing on this earth.  Once we die, we are not given another chance.  The choice we made while living is the choice that stays with us for eternity.  No prayer after death said by any one on your behalf can change the reality of your choice on earth.

So today, you have have received this invitation to Come...come to Jesus.  You have been invited to offer what you have to Him-no matter how big or small in anyone else's eyes.  You have been invited to come and the choice is yours.  You have been invited, perhaps once again, to cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you.  To give over your burdens and worries because He wants to carry them for you.  You have been invited to come-just as you are-into the presence of God.

How will you respond?