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Archive for the ‘Social Commentary’ Category

Hidden Figures – This video is the remarkable true story of women who crossed racial and gender lines to contribute important work to NASA.

Katherine Goble. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson are some of the many forgotten women, especially black women, who achieved amazing things in spite of the prejudice and road blocks thrown at them. All extremely brilliant women, they were the brains behind the launch of John Glenn into space in the 1960’s space race. Their work helped our country to put a man on the moon.

The movie is great and I hope you will see it. It does a pretty good job of telling what the women went through – early childhood and education, what they suffered in order to be accepted in society, and obstacles they encountered at work. The extras in the special Blu-Ray edition relate more of the many achievements of these incredible women. Here are a few highlights (some of the information obtained through my further research):

Katherine Goble Johnson

Katherine was a math prodigy who graduated from West Virginia State College summa cum laude at only age 18. She married and had three children. Sadly, Mr. Goble died of a brain tumor. Later she remarried.

Katherine was an aerospace technologist. She verified the computer’s numbers for John Glenn’s orbit around the earth in 1962, calculated the historic Apollo 11 trip to the moon, and worked on the calculations that helped bring Apollo 13 safely back to earth after it malfunctioned in 1970.

Dorothy Johnson Vaughan

Dorothy received her training at Wilberforce University in Ohio in 1929. She married Howard Vaughan and they had six children. In 1943, Dorothy went to work at Langley as one of the African-American women who were hired due to President Roosevelt’s executive order forbidding racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination in the defense industry as he sought to fill the jobs needed for the war effort. Dorothy was one of the countless female human “computers” who did the math for the space industry.

Later when IBM introduced digital computers to replace the human computers, Dorothy was smart enough to figure a way to keep her job and the jobs of all of the other women. She taught herself and them the Fortran programming Language for the IBM 704 mainframe computers that NASA was installing. (Just look at that room full of machines in the movie and realize that your cell phone has more computing power than all of that!!)

Mary Jackson

Mary graduated from Hampton Institute with bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and physical science. Frustrated and unhappy about the discrimination against her in the work place, Mary almost resigned. However, her supervisor, Kazimierz Czarnecki encouraged her to train as an engineer. Mary had to fight racial prejudice but she successfully finished the course and was promoted to aerospace engineer in 1958 at the age of 37. She wrote many papers and studied data that helped to improve US planes. Mary achieved the most senior rank in the engineering department, but took a demotion to become a human resources administrator until her retirement in 1985. She spent her time helping other women and minorities to advance their careers.

One of the things that is downplayed a bit in the movies is the tremendous religious faith of these three wonderful women. They all just wanted to succeed and were willing to put up with the prejudice against them. In that era, blacks were often just happy to have a job. Their gratitude for what they had should put those of us who have never encountered their obstacles to shame. They are an inspiration!

It is finally time after 55 years that Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary are recognized for their achievements. Though things have changed a lot since the 1940’s and 50’s, there is still a struggle for full racial and gender equality. The stories of these women will go a long way to erase the idea that women, especially black women are inferior.

Here is a trailer to the movie:

http://www.ign.com/videos/2016/08/15/hidden-f

 

 

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I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.
Dorothy Day

d-d-entertaining-anglesRecently I came across a DVD that does a pretty fair job of telling the story of Dorothy Day’s life.

In our busy world it is often easier to watch a good video than to find time for books. I would still recommend reading the biography of Dorothy Day as well as her own writings. They are very inspiring.

The video is titled: Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story.

It is done by “Paulist Pictures”. You can get the DVD from Amazon or many other religious organizations that sell books and biographies of historical Christians.

I thought that the production of the movie was well-done. The actors, Moira Kelly as Dorothy Day and Martin Sheen as her friend and mentor Peter Maurin were very believable in their parts. Often other movies are ruined by the shallowness of the acting but in this production Moira Kelly and Martin Sheen gave very strong performances.

I really appreciated the introduction to the movie – It showed Dorothy in prison in the early 1960’s for protesting the war in Vietnam. It gave the viewer a glimpse of another facet of her life besides caring for the poor. Dorothy believed in peace and justice and was willing to practice what she preached! She went to prison several times.

The scene in the prison may or may not have been a real event in her life, but it pictures for the viewer just how much Dorothy loved the ‘unlovely’.  She comforts a woman cell mate who is quite agitated, seemingly coming off of drugs. As Dorothy sits with the woman’s head in her lap, the woman vomits on Dorothy whose reaction is only kindness and concern. The woman is moved by Dorothy’s kindness and wants to know “What is the story of your life?”

Dorothy begins a reminiscence. She reflects back to the time that she lived like a bohemian in Greenwich village along with friends who were trying to find answers to poverty in socialism and communism. No one in the crowd believed in God. Dorothy herself was very skeptical.

Over the next few years Dorothy suffered from failed love affairs and had many heartbreaks. But she encounters a wonderful nun who shows her love. The nun is also engaged in helping the poor. Dorothy wonders what the nun gets out of it. Dorothy finds out that just helping others gives you great joy.

I won’t give away any more details. I hope that this has whetted your appetite to see a film about a very courageous woman. A woman who did many things that she regretted in her early life but found forgiveness and love in the Lord Jesus. A woman who did not look back but spent her time helping others more unfortunate than she was.

In our day especially, women can be encouraged that they can do great things for God. Dorothy was a single mother with no money whose legacy includes over 100 “soup kitchens” and other places of charity for the poor. She ministered to the lives of thousands of angels.

And if you have some time, read the books too!!

Following are some pictures of the real Dorothy along with some of her most famous quotes.

quote-the-gospel-takes-away-our-right-forever-to-discriminate-between-the-deserving-and-the-dorothy-day-44-23-97

dorothy-day-poverty

 

 

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149729-religious-new-years-quoteHappy New Year to everyone!

Have you made some New Year’s resolutions? How did you do on last year’s resolutions?

It’s a lot of fun talking with our friends about all of our good intentions for the coming new year. We laugh about the resolutions that did not last long in 2016. I am wondering if some of my resolutions were either too specific or too general. No wonder we get discouraged.

As my husband and I sat at the breakfast table Sunday morning, January 1, we talked about making resolutions for the new year. It’s really good to take time out to evaluate our lives. Even if our good intentions only last a month or two, at least we tried.

Maybe we ought to switch to “New Quarter” resolutions, or even “New Monthly” resolutions. If we didn’t accomplish our goals, we can just make adjustments and keep on going. The point is to not give up at the end of January when we throw in the towel and put off thinking about our decisions and goals until the next new year.

So, I told my husband that I would like to lose 15 pounds, but I will not beat myself up if I don’t. He would like to spend more time reading books. We agreed that we will review at the beginning of each month and see how we are doing.

But what about our more serious resolutions for this year? What should those be?

And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)

When we celebrated Christmas we celebrated the birth of Jesus. Jesus came not only to diechristian-happy-new-year-2014-wishes-images-sms-messages-1 for our sins but to give us new life. Our lives can now be spent for God’s glory. We can now serve Christ with joyful hearts. We can follow in Jesus’ footsteps leading lives that look like His. I would like to do a better job of that this year but how did I do last year?

Our goal is to become more like Christ. Can I honestly say that during 2016 I became more like Christ?

How did I do in my spiritual life?

– Did I take time to study the Word of God in order to be able to “present (my)self approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)?

new-year-2017Thanks to Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection we are able to grow spiritually.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)

All Christians are given the gifts of the Spirit “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:12)

– Did I grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”? (2 Peter 3:18)

– Did I take the apostle Peter’s advice on how to be more spiritually mature? Peter encourages the saints to INCREASE in the following progression of character traits of the spiritually mature.

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in our knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in in your perseverance godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)

– Was I grateful, gracious, and thankful? “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

What did I do when I failed or was discouraged?

– Did I remember that we “have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you and example for you to follow in His steps”? (1 Peter 2:21)

– Did I get up and try again when I came up short of my goal? Paul encourages believers to keep on persevering. “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. … I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 3:12, 14) knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Colossians 3:24).

Don’t’ be discouraged. Make resolutions. Seek God’s help to fulfill your plans.

I hope that by the end of 2016 I had become more like Christ than at the end of 2015. And my prayer is that when the end of 2017 gets here I can look back and say that my New Year’s resolution – my resolution to be more like Christ – will have been accomplished.

lily-of-the-valley

The apostle Paul tells us that we should be, “a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”  (2 Corinthians 2:15) Will I be a fragrance to others this year?

To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen!

 

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It is a wonderful season of the year! We all love theChristmas carols! It almost seems a shame that we only sing some of them at this time of the year. How often do we pay attention to the lyrics? One hymn especially, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, by Charles Wesley, actually contains the true meaning about the coming of Christ.

At Christmas we think of Jesus in the manger. We can picture Mary and Joseph there. The shepherds come. The angels are gathered in the skies singing praise to God! What beautiful pictures of love, peace, and joy.

nativity-angles

But why did God send His Son to earth? Why did Jesus have to be born in a lowly stable? Just what is the real meaning of Christmas?

In 1739, Charles Wesley wrote the lyrics to one of the most popular Christmas carols – “Hark! The Herald Angels sing”. The music was composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1840. Let us take a closer look at the words. Charles Wesley’s hymn contains the true meaning of Christmas.

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;

Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”

The reason that Jesus came was to reconcile sinners to God. Jesus was sent “through the jesus_on_cross_wallpapertender mercy of our God to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death” (Luke 1:78,79). When Jesus “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20), He made peace with God for us so that our sins may be forgiven.

Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King.”

Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem to register for the census. Bethlehem was a small town. Who would have thought that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would be born there? But Jesus showed us how much He loved us by being born in a lowly estate to save us who are not worthy of God’s love on our own. (Luke 1:52, I Corinthians 1:27).

Christ, by highest Heaven adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

In our day there are many other religions that do not recognize Jesus as fully God and fully man. Charles Wesley reminds us that Jesus is “incarnate Deity, pleased with us in flesh to dwell.” When we sing this beautiful song we are singing are affirmation of the basic truth that sets us apart from non-Christians – the full deity and humanity of Christ.

Hail, the heaven-born Prince of peace!
Hail the Son of righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King.”

The most wonderful miracle of all is that God came in the flesh to save His people. Jesus is truly God and truly man. Jesus was found “in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). “Mild, He lays His glory by.” Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to live the life of a servant in order that we may be made right with God. Jesus gave us our example of how we should live also.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving pow’r,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

With the coming of Jesus is a promise that all things will be made new. One day there will be no more tears or pain. But even now, on this earth, Jesus gives us the power to live a holy life. We no longer have to fall to the whiles of the devil. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” (Romans 8:2). Even ruined nature will be restored. What a joyful day to look forward to!!

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

This is our humble prayer as sinful humans. When we pray to Him, Jesus forgives and restores His full fellowship with us. What a wonderful privilege when Jesus restores His love in us and gives us joyful hearts to serve Him. We desire to show more of the image of Jesus and less of the image of “Adam” as we grow in our walk with the Lord. Jesus came not only to reconcile us to God, but to give us a holy life while we are on this earth.

It will really help us to bring back the true meaning of Christmas when we sing the wonderful hymns that God has blessed us with. Let us pay special attention to the words. Try singing and praying them at the same time.

Most of all, let us get back to worshipping Jesus at Christmas time.

holychildtopHark! The Herald angels sing
Glory to the Newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!

Merry Christmas!!

 

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Millions of Christians around the world will sing this beloved hymn “Silent Night” during the Christmas season. This favorite Christmas carol has been translated into just about every language in the world. What a joyous thought to know that so many people will be remembering the real reason for Christmas on the day of Jesus’ birth.
The story of the hymn is beautifully told by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, Joyful Heart Renewal Ministries – joyfulheart.com
Check out the page with the Christmas stories. You will be blessed! If you are looking for good stories to share with your children, you will find many heartwarming stories at this site!

The Story of “Silent Night” —–silent-night

The phrase repeats itself over and over again in his mind:

Silent night, holy night,
Stille nacht, heilige nacht.

Father Joseph Mohr, Parish Priest

It’s the first line from a poem this young Austrian priest had written two years before. Now he can’t get the phrase out of his mind. “Silent night, holy night.”

Tonight is Christmas Eve and St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, north of Salzburg, will be chock-full of people. Father Joseph Mohr has a homily in mind, a message for his flock on this sacred night, but he needs a carol, something special to cap off the service.

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright…

The words won’t go away. “I need a tune!” he says out loud, shaking his head. “I wonder if Franz can help me. I hope it’s not too late.” Franz Gruber is the schoolteacher in the nearby village of Arnsdorf — a gifted musician, organist at the Arnsdorf church, and occasional substitute organist at St. Nicholas. “Franz will help me!” he says to himself. “He can’t resist a musical challenge.”

Franz Gruber, Schoolteacher and Organist

Quickly now he slings on his heavy coat, dons a fur cap and gloves, and ventures into the brisk December morning. The snow is crunchy underfoot as he makes his way across the churchyard towards Arnsdorf, just a 20 minute walk. “Silent night, holy night … silent night, holy night.” The rhythm of the words echoes with each step.

Elizabeth opens the door at his knock. “Father Mohr, how nice of you to stop by. Franz will be glad to see you.” She takes his coat and ushers him in. Franz is picking something out on his guitar.

“Franz, remember that poem I told you about: ‘Silent Night’?” says Mohr. “I know it’s too late to ask, but could you help put a tune to it? I want to sing it tonight for Christmas Eve.”

Gruber’s face lights up. A challenge. A song. He takes the lyrics from the priest and begins to say them over and over, looking for a cadence. Then he hums a line and scratches it down.

Mohr soon tires of the process and begins to play with the children. But within an hour or so, Gruber seems to have a melody and is working out the chords on his guitar. “Father, how does this sound?” he calls and begins to sing the words:

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm all is bright…

He stops to make a correction in the manuscript, and then continues:

…’Round yon virgin, Mother and Child,
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!

Father Mohr is ecstatic. On the second verse Gruber’s deep voice is joined by Mohr’s rich tenor. Elizabeth, baby on her hip, who has been humming along, now joins them on the last verse. The song fills their home with its gentle words and memorable melody.

Christmas Eve at St. Nicholas Church, Oberndorf, 1818

That night, December 24, 1818, the song fills St. Nicholas Church at Midnight Mass. Mohr sings tenor, Gruber bass, and the church choir joins the refrain of each verse, while Mohr accompanies on the guitar. By the time the last notes die away, the worshipers are a-buzz with joy and wonder at the song. On Christmas Day, the song is being hummed and sung in dozens of homes around Oberndorf. “Silent night, holy night.”

And in Oberndorf, they would sing their beloved carol again and again each Christmas. The song might have stayed right there had it not been for an organ builder named Karl Mauracher, who came to repair the pipe organ at Arnsdorf in 1819 and made several trips to Oberndorf over the next few years, finally building a new organ for St. Nicholas in 1825.

The Song Finds Its Way to Emperors and Kings — and to America

Whether Mauracher found the music and lyrics on the organ or they were given to him by Gruber, we don’t know. But he carried the song to the Ziller Valley east of Innsbruk, where he shared it with two local families of travelling folk singers, the Rainers and the Strassers, who began to sing it as part of their regular repertoire. The following Christmas of 1819, the Rainer Family Singers sang “Stille Nacht” in the village church of Fügen (Zillertal).

Three years later they sang it for royalty. Emperor Francis I of Austria and his ally Czar Alexander I of Russia were staying in the nearby castle of Count Dönhoff (now Bubenberg Castle). The Rainer Family performed the carol and were invited to Russia for a series of concerts.

In 1834 the Strasser Family Singers sang “Silent Night” for King Frederick William IV of Prussia. He was so taken with what the Strassers called their “Song of Heaven,” that he commanded it to be sung by his cathedral choir every Christmas Eve. It spread through Europe and in 1839 the Raniers brought the song to America as the “Tyrolean Folk Song.” Since then it has been translated into over 300 languages and dialects.

Various English translations blossomed, but the definitive English version of the song was penned by Rev. John Freeman Young and first published in The Sunday-School Service and Tune Book (1863).

Why Is “Silent Night” So Popular?

Why has “Silent Night” become our most beloved carol? Is it the words — tender, intimate, gentle? Or the tune — so peaceful, so memorable, so easy to play or pick out with one hand on the piano?

It is not a joyous, fast-paced carol like Handel’s “Joy to the World.” Nor theologically-rich like “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” by Charles Wesley. Nor does it have a complex tune like “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

Rather, “Silent Night” is quiet and reflective, calling us to meditate on the scene. It is the ambience conveyed by both the gentle words and melody that create from this carol an oasis of peace.

“All is calm, all is bright.”

It calls us to dwell on the Madonna and Child —

“‘Round yon Virgin, mother and Child,
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace.”

You feel as the “shepherds quake at the sight.” You can imagine as “heavenly hosts sing Alleluia.” And you begin to sing “Alleluia to the King” right along with them.

Rays of backlit brilliance highlight many a religious painting, but here the picture of light is painted in words:

“Glories stream from heaven afar….”
“Son of God, love’s pure light,
Radiant beams from Thy holy face….”

10-silent_night

Just Who is in this manger? What is the significance of this birth? What is Christmas about — really? Perhaps most of all, “Silent Night” is beloved because it reminds us in its simple, but exceedingly clear way, the truth behind it all — the truth that changes everything:

“Christ, the Savior is born!”

Sing it again this Christmas and let its gentle peace wash over you and its bold assertion renew your soul.

“Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!

“Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!”

mohr-and-gruber

—– While the first few paragraphs of this story have been fictionalized, the historical events are true. Joseph Mohr (1792-1848) wrote the words to “Silent Night” in 1816 while priest at Mariapharr. On Christmas Eve 1818, he asked his friend Franz Gruber (1787-1863) to write the tune for Mass that evening at St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf where Mohr had been assigned in 1817. I’ve been careful to rely on recent historical research into the origin of the carol, much of it gathered since 1995, when a manuscript of the carol in Mohr’s hand was found, dated 1820-1825. Some of the most helpful (and accurate) information sources are: Bill Egan’s Silent Night Museum, Egan’s article “Silent Night: The Song Heard ‘Round The World,” “Silent Night, Holy Night — Notes,” Hyde Flippo’s “Silent Night and Christmas,” the Stille Nacht Gesellschaft by Manfred Fischer, director of the Silent Night Museum and Chapel in Oberndorf, Austria.

 

God bless you all this Christmas!!

 

 

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joy-to-the-world

Let’s put aside some of the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and other preparations and think about the love of our Savior Who came to give us peace, hope and joy.

        Joy to the World

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!adoration-of-the-shepherds-jacob-jordaens-1593-1678
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Isaac Watts, who wrote hundreds of hymns, wrote the popular Christmas carol, “Joy to the World”. The lyrics are based Psalm 98:4-9.

 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
With the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.
Let the sea roar and all it contains,
The world and those who dwell in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
Let the mountains sing together for joy
Before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth; ”He will judge the world with
righteousness
And the peoples with equity.           

In comparing the hymn “Joy to the World” to Psalm 98 you will notice that the Psalm does not mention the shepherds or angels or even Joseph and Mary. The angels on the night of Jesus’ birth may possibly have sung Psalm 98 when they worshipped Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem. The heavenly host was praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14). Because of the overwhelming amount of praise in both the psalm and the carol, we can see the reason that “Joy to the World” is a favorite Christmas carol today.

psalmnodyIsaac Watts had not intended for “Joy to the World” to be a Christmas carol. The famous composer had included it in his book “Psalms of David Imitated” published in 1719. “Imitated” meant that Isaac Watts rewrote the Psalms so that the words rhymed and people could sing them. For hundreds of years many congregations sang only the Psalms. Also many congregations used to sing “A Cappella” (meaning using no instruments). The emphasis was intended to be on the beautiful words of praise to the Lord from the Bible.

This hymn was sung to various tunes for many years. Then in 1839 the melody and lyrics were arranged by Lowell Mason into the song that we sing today. The tune is attributed to George Frederick Handel who wrote the famous Messiah. Parts of the tune to “Joy to the World” do remind us of the great oratorio, Messiah.

Isaac Watts wrote over 600 hymns. He is considered to be the father of Christian hymnody.  His hymns include such favorites as “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed, I Sing the Mighty Power of God, and “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”  But the most loved of all is “Joy to the World”.

It is not known exactly when this song began to be sung as a Christmas carol. But the words seem to apply to Christmas, when we celebrate the coming of Jesus.

Psalm 98 also reminds us of Christ’s second return. That will be the time when “the Savior reigns” and when “He rules the world with truth and grace.” Jesus will judge the whole earth “with righteousness and all the peoples with equity.”

Though we sing this song at Christmas time, we could sing it any time during the year. We can always praise God who “makes His blessings flow far as the curse is found.” We can praise Him for the “wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

 God bless you all this Christmas.

 

 

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He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?  (Micah 6:8)

This is the time that we pause and reflect on the old year and make our resolutions for the new year. My Pro-life friends and Inew-year-baby have resolved to redouble our efforts to make this a better world for those who are unjustly oppressed and no one is more egregiously oppressed than helpless unborn babies.

We have been mortified that so many tiny human beings, made in the image of God, are treated as if they don’t have any value. Let us work hard to end the slaughter.

For many years now women of courage such as Lila Rose, Abby Johnson, and Marjorie Dannenfelser have fought to protect life each on a different front of the battle for life.

They have reported many exciting accomplishments in 2015 and my prayer is that Pro-life men and women will build on that in 2016. Here are some of the top stories of 2015:

Lila Rose – Live Action News:

lila roseOne of the most important things that occurred in 2015 was the exposure of Planned Parenthood as an organization whose main purpose is to profit from the killing of the unborn. Americans are so outraged that there was even legislation passed in both houses of Congress to stop funding this abortion giant.

Here is a summary of an article explaining why American opinion is changing and there is hope to finally end the killing of the unborn.

From an article on their website – liveactionnews.org – December 26, 2015:

“5 terrible things Americans learned about Planned Parenthood in 2015” –

  1. Planned Parenthood, who receives $1.5 million PER DAY, wants abortion to be plentiful. Their slogan of “safe, legal, and rare” is a sham.
  2. Planned Parenthood knows that abortion takes the life of a baby. Vice President of of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Savita Ginde said on tape, “It’s a baby.”It's a baby
  3. Planned Parenthood actually does abort babies who could survive outside the womb. Live Action News investigated PP’s own clinic websites and found at least 6 PP clinics that do in fact perform abortions after viability (the time when a baby could survive on its own outside the womb). Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood flat out lied when she said, “We don’t provide abortions after, um, viability.”
  4. Planned Parenthood has been harvesting baby body parts and organs. 2015 brought one of the strongest modern indictments against Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry:  the undercover work of The Center for Medical Progress. CMP’s string of stunning videos showed PP executive after PP executive haggling, negotiating, and laughing over the body parts of aborted babies. Here is just one quote from Dr. Savita Ginde, “We’re doing procedures at 17 weeks, so we have fairly large identifiable parts. … And we’re planning on going to from 18 to 20 weeks by the end of the year.”
  5. Planned Parenthood lies. And lies. And lies and lies and lies. In one single interview given by Cecile Richards eleven bold-faced lies were told. Just one example will suffice: Planned Parenthood tells women that the baby does not have a heartbeat until around 17 weeks of pregnancy. Actually the baby’s heart can be heard beating by three weeks after conception.

Lila Rose and Live Action plan to “keep educating America on the truth that Planned Parenthood fails to tell: every single baby is a precious human being, deserving of a chance at life.” Please join her organization and help her.

Abby Johnson – And Then There Were None:

Another champion of life for babies is Abby Johnson. Abby thought that she was helping women when she went to work at aAbby_Johnson_high_quality_810_500_55_s_c1 Planned Parenthood clinic as a young woman. Everything changed when she actually witnessed an abortion in 2009. She watched in horror as a 13-week baby fought, and ultimately lost, its life at the hand of the abortionist. Now Abby travels around the globe to share her story and to expose Planned Parenthood. She has started a ministry, And Then There Were None, to help abortion workers get out of the abortion clinics. To this date Abby has helped nearly 200 workers leave the abortion industry.

Recently in an article in LifeSiteNews.com, Abby had this good news to share for 2015:

“6% of abortion workers have left industry in last four years – nearly 200 people”

Abby reported: 197 people have left the industry through its outreach and education efforts.

Now, says Abby, “the majority of workers come to us because they have heard about our ministry from sidewalk advocates. We owe much of our success to those who go to the clinics to spread a message of hope to all who enter the facility.”

“We have found that most of the workers contact us because there has been a moment of clarity for them in regards to the humanity of the unborn. It may be something in their own personal lives, like the birth of a baby or a miscarriage. More often, it involves a child who was killed by abortion.”

While thousands of people still work in the shrinking abortion industry, Abby says her group is making a difference. “We estimate that there are approximately 3200 individuals who work in abortion facilities. We have been able to assist more than 6% of the industry’s workers in their conversion. That 6% has the power to turn the abortion industry upside down.”

“Also, out of the 197 workers who have left, 6 of them are abortionists who permanently put down their life destroying instruments and now fight to save lives! We firmly believe that our vision is a key component in ending the culture of death. If we can make the abortion industry so unattractive to health care providers, they will be forced to close because of limited or no staff. We have already seen that happen in multiple locations because of the workers who have come through ATTWN.”

In addition to helping people leave the abortion industry, ATTWN helps former workers find new jobs. “For those who are licensed healthcare providers, such as doctors, nurses, medical assistants, they will almost always stay in the medical field,” she explains. “Some of the workers who have come through our ministry now work in prolife pregnancy centers or medical clinics. It is such a beautiful vision of transformation and redemption.” This is wonderful news! Please join Abby and help in this effort.

We praise God for Abby and pray that many more workers will quit their jobs in abortion clinics. This ultimately cuts down on the number of deaths of unborn babies.

Marjorie Dannenfelser – Susan B. Anthony List

majorieA true soldier of Christ on the legislative front of the battle is Marjorie Dannenfelser. While Lila is busy exposing the Planned Parenthood groups for the frauds that they are, and Abby is helping abortion workers to leave the clinics, Marjorie is battling to get people put into office who can help change the laws that are allowing the baby killing to go on or in passing legislation that will end the holocaust.

Marjorie’s good news for 2015 is that many groups have put before Congress a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. This bill has passed both houses, but of course the paid puppet of Planned Parenthood, Barack Obama, is expected to veto it. Please be in prayer this year that sane and compassionate voices will override the president’s veto.

My New Year’s resolution is to be even more supportive of these three women and their organizations. Lila Rose and Live Action News are leading the charge into the abortion industry itself reporting on what is really going on. The truth about the abortion industry is being exposed; Americans are waking up; babies’ lives are being saved. Abby Johnson with her organization, And Then There Were None, is compassionately working with abortion workers bringing them truth and healing. Many are turning around and joining the fight to protect the unborn. Marjorie Dannenfelser with the Susan B. Anthony List is working tirelessly to get people elected who will change the laws that are promoting the killing of the unborn. Part of my resolution is to pray for these women more constantly. The other part is to send them a donation.

I pray the many others will do the same. Consider making this one of your New Year’s resolutions too! May this be a Happy and Safe Year for the unborn!

 

 

 

 

 

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