Saturday, December 20, 2014

First Advent

The scene is heaven with the main character being a less mature angel pondering what is happening.
Where IS he? I can’t find him anywhere. He wasn’t there during worship time this morning, he is not sitting beside his Father….

“Gabriel, Gabriel, where is he? What has happened to him?” I asked with impatience.

And Gabriel reminded me of when he was sent to earth to bring a great revelation to Mary. It was vague but I sort of remember that now. Why would he consider leaving here and going where Lucifer had been banished?

"Why would he, the creator of all want to become one of the creation?" again I asked my wise mentor.

Gabriel told me it was because of the greatest love he had for his creation. I didn’t get it. They were a mess. And to go as a baby with colic, teething, diaper rash – no, this just couldn’t be right.

“So, why did he just disappear?” I puzzled out loud to Gabriel.

Gabriel explained that when this incredible conception took place the life was breathed into Mary’s womb and he had to go and be where he was growing as a human baby, that he couldn’t be here and there too.

“But why, why would he leave this and us to go THERE?” I just didn’t get this at all.

Patiently Gabriel told me of Jesus' incredible love for those created in his image, how he knew if he went as one of them, walking their paths, where he could teach them and relate to them that it would be worth it all. They really needed someone to save them.

I was left with so much to think about and still couldn’t imagine his leaving.

Time passed, to say that we missed him would be the greatest understatement.
Then Gabriel told me that I needed to go with him and find men watching sheep to tell them of this coming birth.

Oh, I would be able to go, see and be part of all of this!

Those men were plain, simple shepherds taking care of the smelly animals. The men were dressed in rags. Why them? They weren’t important leaders or anyone seeming worthy of meeting the King.

The men were trembling when we appeared and told them to go to Bethlehem. They were obedient leaving right away as Gabriel and I followed along unseen.

The air was crisp and those heavenly lights, they looked diamonds made of star that wonderful night.

When we were a ways off I heard a little cry, that of a babe, and I wondered all over again that he had left heaven where he had always been to come and be with the people of his creation.

The shepherds, Gabriel and I got there just in time to see Mary holding him tightly with awe in her eyes. Joseph was kissing those tiny, wonderful fingers as they reached out to Joseph and beyond.

I was still shaking my head but beginning to grasp just a little bit of what was to come.
Could there ever be a more perfect love? Could there ever be a more wonderful gift?

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV)

Hebrews 2:9
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (NIV)
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Changed by the Creator of the Universe

Changed by the Creator of the Universe
How can anyone so powerful possibly be interested in me? How can God who flung the stars in place care about what bugs me or hurts my little person? How would He have time or inclination to give me even a minute? Would it surprise you to know that you were created for friendship and relationship with Him? You were created to worship Him? He knows the numbers of hairs on your head and yes, He is interested in every little specific part of you and your life that makes you, uniquely you. Jesus loves you is not just an old song from your childhood. You are the apple of His eye. He delights in spending time with you! And maybe even now He is whispering to your inner ear:
Child, I would speak to you in your heart. There is no variance or shadow of turning in Jesus your Lord. He is changing you, from glory to glory, into His likeness. Stable, consistent, single minded, it seems good to you because therein lies your wholeness and stability. Rejoice in His discipline, rejoice in His freedom and life changing love. Be obedient unto Him and let Him lift you up. He has set your feet upon His paths. You are walking there upon. Keep on walking and He will bless. Keep yielded as you are. Selah.
My Lord, Jesus
You are something special
Beyond words
To me
My opaque eyes
You have transformed
To ones
That really see!
In James 1:17 the Bible tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variance or shadow of turning. He is ABLE and STABLE, what a promise.
2Corinthians 3”18 tells us that we see the Lord’s glory and are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory (which comes from Him who is Spirit). What a promise. That I might be changed – all those self centered and not so pretty parts of me, to become more and more like Jesus himself.
In 1 Corinthians 15:49 we are promised that as we have borne the likeness of earthly man so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I have no clue how God will accomplish this and it seems like a long, long journey but if He promises it I know it will be done.
Part of that pathway might just include some discipline mentioned in Proverbs 3:11 where we are encouraged not to despise discipline from the Lord and not to resent His rebuke.
Proverbs 12:1mentiones that whoever loves discipline loves knowledge but he who hates correction is stupid. Proverbs sort of lays it on the line, doesn’t it?
Maybe the most famous Proverb regarding discipline is Proverbs 13:24 stating he who spares the rod hates his son but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
In ending this piece I think there could be no better quote than the one found in Deuteronomy 8:6 which encourages us to observe the commands of the Lord your god, walking in His ways and revering him.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Friday, December 12, 2014

How to Avoid Being Overwhelmed

Things seem to be getting pretty messed up in this old world of ours. Look at the headlines, turn on the computer news, listen to the radio or TV and it is enough to make you quite ill…. Unless you know and understand the end times which are explained in the Bible. None of this current chaos is a surprise to God and He really does have things in His most capable hands. They should not be a huge surprise to a believer either. Listen carefully as He whispers reassurance to your heart:
"My child, I have created the very wind and white clouded sky, flooded in My sunlight to bless you and draw your focus up to Me. Let not the trouble crowd in and overwhelm you. Look to Me, beyond, the author and finisher of your salvation. Like a fine, handcrafted piece you need a little more sanding, buffing and another coat to enrich your glow. Have no fear. I AM the master craftsman skilled in creating a perfect, individual you, so that all your personality, though distinctly you, reflects Jesus Christ, your Lord, in the uniqueness of Jesus in you. Fear not, I Am in control. Yield. Be flexible as I soften you, make you pliable in the molding warmth of My love. My Spirit desired to teach and lead you, to praise Me through your lips and being. Let go, allow Me to be your great I AM. Pure love has no ulterior motives. I hunger for your fellowship. Let me give your nonexistence the meaning I lovingly planned for you. I Am love. I Am yours. Be vulnerable and learn my loving openness as I come in to sup with you."
In John 14:27 the Bible speaks of peace. Jesus is quoted as saying that His peace He leaves with us. This peace is not as the world gives, I can say a big THANK YOU to this one, can’t you? Jesus goes on to say to not let our hearts be troubled, neither to let our hearts be afraid. If you know Jesus you can breathe a huge sigh of relief upon reading this promise. His promises are like gold. He is able and willing, He says it and that should settle it!
In Hebrews we find this encouragement: Hebrews 12:2-3 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. (NKJV)
Proverbs 27:17 speaks of iron sharpening iron and likens that process to a man sharpening the countenance of his friend. I think that is a great analogy. The word picture grabs me and makes clear what can happen between two friends.
1 John 4:18 tells us there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. It goes on saying that he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
Besides realizing that I am not perfect yet (was there any doubt in this one to begin with, nope) I also see that God is love. And what more “perfect love” is there than Jesus. I can then picture Jesus taking charge of any fear I have and casting it out of me!
In Philippians 2:5 we are encouraged to let this mind be in us which is also in Christ Jesus. Now, can you imagine Jesus being worried or fretting or wringing His hands in dismay? Can knowing He has things in order and under control free us up? I hope it can each and every time!
Psalm 32:2 gives a blessing to a man (woman) to whom the Lord doesn’t impute inequity and in whose spirit there is no deceit. How can we fit this description? Keep short lists with the Lord. If we do sin, ask forgiveness and purpose not to do that thing again.
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (NKJV)
Prayer: Dear Lord, what would we do if there was a knock, we answered and You were there to come in and sit at our table? Prepare our hearts! I know You could also take care of the table – since You had no problem with feeding the thousands. What a sumptuous feast it would be – to gaze upon Your face and form and drink of that which You’d chose to share. Prepare our hearts. AMEN
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Creator Came Down

Praises lauded to You
Stable born babe
Universe Creator
Come down
Earth-bound for a time,
A purpose eternal
Perpetual giving Gift,
Freeing, flowing forgiveness
Focused on us
Gratis for the asking
Yet costing You, Jesus
Your very life
So that Living Love
Could fill us,
Overflowing, cleansed
With righteousness of the King.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

1st Song

First Song

My dust-covered legs ached. We had walked miles and miles with the throngs of others. Yet there was definitely more dust than people. Dust in our noses and mouths choking us as we traveled on.

She was in pain. Her right hand clutched to keep her upright. With her left hand, gripping her pregnant self, as if that might help the labor.
He rubbed her shoulders, patting her back as he raised his calloused hand to knock.

“Ah, we need a room, the babe….”

“Sorry, this is my best season and we have been out of rooms for awhile now… census you know…..”

And we joined the dust-covered legs yet again moving to another door. He tried again “Sir, I beg of you a place, the babe is almost here and my wife can hardly sit anymore”

“No, we have no rooms”

“But sir, she can’t have the baby sitting on a donkey. Please, isn’t there some place?”

“Well, even the sheep have their shed; you can go out back with her.”

And we walked a little farther on in time to see several wooly-bahs (I think he called them “sheep”). It was only minutes before the baby arrived and was tight-wrapped. I gave him my manger-crib for a bed.

As I ate the hay which fell down on the ground, I watched those tiny toes wiggle and knew I would never have another dinner this sweet. Then the wooly-bahs and I heard the most incredible song. We were directed by God’s hand to join in. I sang bass; the wooly-bahs sang tenor and the angels….. Oh, my. Could you even call it singing? They were singing three dimensional notes that had a life of their own.

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill towards men” (NKJV) The praise, the tangible joy, the anthem never before sung and never to be repeated. We took part in lauding this infant creator of the universe and King! I with my ey-haw, ey-haw and the bah, bah, bahs joining in. What a wonderful honor and night to remember!

Surely they would come to worship Him, those he had been created to liberate and set free. Several of them came, awe struck humans with crooked sticks, who took care of many wooly-bahs. Our unique chorus swelled. But where were the rest? Didn’t they know? Did they have eyes of stone and hearts that couldn’t see?

Years later I related this night and our part in it to my donkey grandson. He wanted to see this God-man, this Savior of humankind and worship Him. It was not a surprise to him at all when they came and led him away from his mom to be ridden by the Master. This time maybe the humans would see and know!

Many, many came shouting; “Hosana! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” (NKJV)

My donkey grandson was the one He chose saying “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”

We knew. The Mankind Liberator would be known now and we were part of this incredible history again.

Some did know. They came to the Liberator-God to be set free from their sin. But many of that multitude just days later had eyes of stone and hearts which couldn’t see and cried “away with Him, crucify Him”. (NKJV)

He died with most not understanding, He didn’t come to take on Rome but to liberate humans from sin. It was terrible for three days with much mourning and crying out for those humans who loved Him.

Resurrection! Then, we all saw Him again. He walked and talked with many, and some actually had seeing eyes and hearts! But not so many called out.

Couldn’t they know He was God sent to earth to be one of the humans? He came to pay their sin penalty and liberate them if they would but ask? We just did not understand.

So I would ask you today, do you have eyes of stone and a heart that cannot see or will you ask and receive the most incredible Christmas gift ever to be given? You don’t even have to wait for Christmas, you know! He is listening. He is waiting. He wants only to hear your request for forgiveness to give you your new song to sing.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.



Christmas 2014

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Remembering the GREATEST gift ever given as we celebrate the season of His birth.
Sending our love to all of you and wishing we could spend some time together! Lately we have been in awe of the glorious sunrises and sunsets.... see attached for an example from this morning.
God had been so good to us... this quarter our business is very busy and Mick is enjoying helping his clients with pretty good sized remodeling projects. He really loves having this business. As his office manager, I might have to break down and learn Quick Books Pro this coming year.
My publisher has sold Stonebridge to a young couple (editor and graphic designer) who have been with the business since it started. I am looking forward to working with Rob and Laura Trahan in their new capacity as owners of the company!
We have had some health issues but the Lord is giving wisdom and help. Even at our ages we are still climbing around in the mountains and enjoying life in Colorado a lot. I have recently found out, the hard way, that several of my meds can and do cause ulcers...
Our church has been studying the Townsend and Cloud book "Boundaries" - the classes have been most incredible with even the "shy" once sharing deeply from their hearts. We are all learning and growing in the Lord as we see how God has boundaries and will help us to realize what we are responsible for in our own lives, and what we are not responsible for in the lives of those we love. Great book and study I can recommend.
Our weather has been wonderful... highest this summer was 78 degrees with many other days in the 60s. We have had maybe one snow, so far, of 2 inches. Lately it has been WINDY but today we are supposed to get to 56!
Sending our best to you and may you be blessed with a wonderful Christmas full of friends and family and times of peace and rest!
With Love,
Marijo and Mick