Mississippi Delta Christmas

December 25, 2015

Luke 2:13-14 (NIV)

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.

By Jill Woodliff

‘Emmanuel’ the organ pipes blare.
‘God is love’ is in the air.
The lakes resound God’s good news
As words of praise fill the pews.
Swamps and rivers clap their hand,
In homage to God o’ our land.
Sycamores raise high their arms
As songs of joy fill the farms.
Pine needles join in the dance
As angels ‘cross their boughs do prance.

Glory to God in underground cisterns,
Glory to God in rows and furrows,
Glory to God in cumulus and cirrus,
Glory to God in tractors and harrows,
Glory to God, O Delta land.

Time, and times, and half a time
Gloria Deus rightly chime,
Glory today, Glory tomorrow,
Glory, O ancient days of sorrow,
Christ has come to save!

At Chimham’s Inn in Bethlehem

December 24, 2015

Genesis 8:1
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

Darkness reigned in Palestine.
Souls were wild and fearful.
Herod ruled in Palestine
(Terrorized and tearful).

Caesar ordered through the land
Registration for each man.
David’s lineage to uphold,
Joseph walked toward the untold.

Displaced, weary, tremulous,
Mary carried Jesus mild,
In her womb an unborn child–
Holiness and tenderness.

Rachel’s tomb brought mem’ries fresh
Of Mary’s womb of fragile flesh.
Joseph sought a refuge stay
Like David asked of Barzillai.

As Noah’s ark upon the flood,
The stable rose above the press.
The animals beheld a birth
And Hope was placed in courteous creche.

Multitudes of heavenly hosts,
To David’s son, the newborn king,
“Glory to God Most High!
Peace, good will towards men!” did sing.

Star and rainbow, cov’nants new,
Heavenly portents, angels too,
Give honor, glory, blessing true,
To Him to whom all praise is due.

By Jill Woodliff

Note on the title:  In 2 Samuel 19, King David wants to reward Barzillai the Gileadite for providing the king with food while he was in exile during Absalom’s revolt. David offers to include Barzillai in his court in Jerusalem. Barzillai declines because of his great age, but sends Chimham in his stead.

On his deathbed, David instructs Solomon to show kindness to the sons of Barzillai (1 Kings 2:7).  Four centuries later, reference is made to Chimham’s lodging place in Bethlehem (Jeremiah 41:17).  It has been supposed that, considering the stationary character of Eastern institutions, it was in the stable of this inn that Jesus was born.

From the Lectionary for 2015 12 17

December 17, 2015

I will be off-line for three weeks while I visit with family.

Matthew 25:1-4 (NKJV)
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”
      Holy Spirit, I need your wisdom so that I will be ready when the King comes.

Matthew 25:10 (NKJV)
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
      Father, help me to be ready to go into the wedding feast with your son.

Revelation 4:11 (NKJV)
“You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
      Jesus, help me honor you by word and deed.

Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV)
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.
      LORD of hosts, help me live by your power.

Zechariah 4:10a (JB)
This is a day for small things, who would dare to despise it?
      Jesus, help me rejoice in the small things you do as well as the great.

Psalm 50:3 (NKJV)
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent; A fire shall devour before Him, And it shall be very tempestuous all around Him.
      Jesus, I would rather have the tempest than the stillness of a lukewarm church.

Psalm 50:23 (NKJV)
“Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”
      Holy Spirit, help me order my conduct aright. Thank you.

Word: I gave my life for you; give me your life so that others may live.

Albany Intercessor

From the Lectionary for 2015 12 16

December 16, 2015

Matthew 24:45-46 (NKJV)
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.”
      Holy Spirit, help me be a faithful servant so that when Jesus comes he will find me doing the work he has given me to do.

Revelation 4:8 (NKJV)
The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”
      Holy Trinity, One God, help me join in proclaiming your holiness.

Zechariah 3:3-4 (NKJV)
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
      Lord, as you did with Joshua, remove my filthy garments and clothe me in your righteousness.

Psalm 49:5-9 (NKJV)
Why should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity at my heels surrounds me? Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him — for the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever — that he should continue to live eternally, and not see the Pit.
      Lord, teach this to the political candidates.

Psalm 53:6 (NKJV)
Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When God brings back the captivity of His people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.
      Come soon, Lord Jesus; come soon!

Word: I AM with you in the times of trouble and turmoil. Keep looking to me for deliverance.

Albany Intercessor

From the Lectionary for 2015 12 15

December 15, 2015

Matthew 24:43-44 (NKJV)
“But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
      Holy Spirit, give us hearts that are ready for the return of the Son of Man, Jesus, and are at the work he has given us to do.

Revelation 3:14-16 (NKJV)
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
      Jesus, let the fire of your Holy Spirit fall upon all those who are lukewarm and set them on fire for you.

Revelation 3:17 (NKJV)
“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’–and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”
      Holy Spirit, help us know our true condition.

Revelation 3:18 (NKJV)
“I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”
      Lord Jesus, refine us with the fire of your Holy Spirit.

Revelation 3:19 (NKJV)
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”
      Jesus, help me accept your rebukes and chastening and take them to heart. Help me be zealous in repenting.

Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)
“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.”
      Holy Spirit, help me open the door of my heart to Jesus.

Zechariah 2:10 (NKJV)
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the LORD.”
      LORD, come and dwell among us so that we may sing and rejoice with you.

Psalm 47:7 (NKJV)
For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding.
      Holy Father, give me understanding so that I may sing your praises.

Psalm 48:12-14 (NKJV)
Walk about Zion, And go all around her. Count her towers; Mark well her bulwarks; Consider her palaces; That you may tell it to the generation following. For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide Even to death.
      O God, help me tell the next generation how you have guided me.

Word: Pray for my praise to fill your heart and your mind.

Albany Intercessor

From the Lectionary for 2015 12 14

December 14, 2015

Matthew 24:31 (NKJV)
And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
      Jesus, gather me in as well!

Revelation 3:10 (NKJV)
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
      Lord, please help me keep your commandments and persevere through all the trials of this life.

Zechariah 1:17 (NKJV)
“Again proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; The LORD will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem.” ‘ ”
      “Father, I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
      May they prosper that love you.
      Peace be within your city walls and prosperity within your palaces.
      And for the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say,
      ‘Peace be with you.’
      Because of the house of the LORD our God,
      I will seek to do you good.”
      [From Psalm 122]

Psalm 44:3 (NKJV)
For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them.
      Father, help me stand in your favor.

Psalm 44:26 (NKJV)
Arise for our help, and redeem us for Your mercies’ sake.
      Thank you, Jesus, for redeeming me.

Word: Be prepared to share what I have done for you.
      Holy Spirit, show me how to prepare for this.

Albany Intercessor

From the Lectionary for 2015 12 13

December 13, 2015

Luke 3:8 (NKJV)
Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
      Holy Spirit, help me bear fruits worthy of repentance and claim nothing but the the cross, blood and resurrection of Jesus as my hope.

Luke 3:10 (NKJV)
So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”
Acts 2:37 (NKJV)
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
      Jesus, move the hearts of this people to ask, “What shall we do then?” and move their hearts to works of conversion, mercy and charity.

Luke 3:16 (NKJV)
John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
      Jesus, baptize me afresh with your Holy Spirit and with fire.

Philippians 4:4-7 (NKJV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
      Jesus, help me rejoice in you and be gentle with others. Help me give you my anxieties and pray with thanksgiving and receive your peace into my heart and mind.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)
The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
      Jesus, quiet me with your love. Help me hear you singing in times of distress and sorrow.

Psalm 85:1-2 (NKJV)
Lord, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob. You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah
      LORD, be favorable to you people and bring them out of captivity to the worldly culture that ensnares them.

Psalm 85:13 (NKJV)
Righteousness will go before Him, And shall make His footsteps our pathway.
      Jesus, help me walk in your footsteps.

Word: Wait on me. Do not be afraid; the victory is mine.

Albany Intercessor

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