(Lord) Everything remains today in keeping with Your laws, for all things exist to serve You. ~ Psalm 119:91 (The Voice Bible)
The Story of the Song “Oh Holy Night”
Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure (1808 to 1877) was a wine merchant who lived in a small French town in the 19th century.
He enjoyed writing poetry and had developed a local reputation for his poems.
In the year 1847, the local Parish priest asked Placide if he would write a Christmas poem for the Church’s Midnight Mass Celebration of Christ’s Birth.
Although not known as a god fearing man, or as one who attended church regularly, Placide must have been honored by such a request, for he agreed to write the poem.
Once he’d finished “Contique Noel” he asked his friend, the composer Adolphe Charles Adams, who was well known for composing ballets, to create music for it so that it could be sung by the congregation.
Although neither Placide nor Adolphe were Christians (Adolphe was of Jewish ancestry), these two men somehow created and composed one of the most beautiful Christmas Carols of the Christian Faith; one that especially brings great glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ…
*To Read the rest of this fascinating story, please follow the link to my music website.
I once had a doll named “Pitiful Pearl” when I was a small child. In all my memories of her she has a tiny tear attached to her homely little face. Whether the tear was an original part of the doll or I drew it on her, I’m not sure. I only remember one of her big eyes had a tiny tear affixed to it which made her look perpetually sad, even though she wore a faint painted on smile. Her clothes were all bedraggled giving her the appearance of a poor abandoned orphan.
I wanted this doll from the moment I saw her advertised. I don’t remember whether she was a Christmas or birthday gift, but my mom and dad always bought me the dolls I requested without asking any questions. They never failed to encourage me to be myself and to play with the toys that spoke to my heart.
They were wonderful parents for they always nurtured me in the gifts and talents that God had given me.
I loved my little Pearl. I pretended she was the “Little Match Girl” in Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tale and poor Cinderella and every other victim in many another fairy tale. She was a great doll! And if I felt sad in any way I would identify with her.
Like the time my imaginary friend Dinky called my little sister a “Stinker” – a notoriously bad word in those days- and I got in trouble for it!!
But then came the day when my oldest brother went on a rampage and decided to pretend to have a war raid. He had been inspired by old west movies and TV shows.
My dolls became the hapless victims of his vivid imagination. He kidnapped my Chatty Cathy and my Pitiful Pearl and buried them in the vast no man’s land we called “the Lot” outside far beyond the garage somewhere and then refused to tell me where he’d buried my precious dolls.
I was inconsolable… till I discovered the Barbie, Ken, and Midge dolls… 🙂
That Pitiful Pearl doll has lived in my memory more than any other doll I had as a child. Maybe it’s because of its sad little tear and incongruous smile despite its raggedness.
The Bible says in Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
God cherishes each of us. He came to us in the form of a man, as Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. Jesus told the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders of His day, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” -Luke 5:31-32
The Bible says in the book of Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Jesus Christ came to save all people. For God’s word says in Romans 3:10-11: “.. as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.”
We all need Jesus. But not all see this truth. Jesus said in His sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
In God’s sight, we all, like my Pitiful Pearl doll, have a tiny tear in our eye. That tear is sin, a hopelessness, that only He can wipe away. Jesus has made a way to wash this tear away, through His spotless blood that He shed for all of us on His cross when He suffered and died for our sins over 2000 years ago.
He says in Romans 10:9-11, 13 “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” …For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will besaved.”
Though we may die and be buried like my Pitiful Pearl doll, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)
Pitiful Pearl still lives on in my heart though she’s been buried in the lot of the house where I grew up for many years now. Her memory has never left me.
Even so, those who love Jesus will live forever in the heart of God, only in a more beautiful way which is far beyond anything we could ever dream or imagine.
God’s word says in 1 Corinthians 2:9 “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him…”—
And as for all our tears, God promises to wipe away every tear, every sorrow, and all death forever someday.
Revelation 21:4 says, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
These are beautiful truths to ponder and be thankful for as we gather with our loved ones and friends over the Thanksgiving Holidays. May each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving with your loved ones and friends. God bless you all with rivers of peace, hope, health, and joy, in Jesus name, amen.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the assurance that You are always in control of all things. Thy word says in Psalm 103:19, “The Lord has prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom rules over all,” and in Hebrews 1:3 that You “uphold all things by the word of Your power.”Romans 8:8 assures me that every detail of my life is being orchestrated by You into something grand and beautiful and for my ultimate good because You care very much about each one of us. Psalm 138:8 promises that You will “fulfill Your plans for my life.” So I don’t need to worry about whether or not I am going to accomplish Your will for me. You will get me on the path I need to be on. And all I need to do is Trust You.
Lord, though this is often so hard to do, please help each of us to trust You when we cannot see past the bend in the road, when we cannot fathom Your purposes for us on the path You have chosen for us. Help us to trust You when nothing makes sense. Help us to keep our eyes on You anyway; to know that You are in control and that You cherish each of us beyond what we can imagine.
May the sense of Your abiding presence sustain every person praying this prayer. May they feel You with them as they never have before. May You renew their faith, fill them with new hope, and give them joy.
Thank You, dear Lord, I love You, In Jesus’ name. Amen.
*If you would like to listen to the Instrumental Music for my Prayer Song “Savior of My Soul” please follow the link to my Music Website where you will find the song at the top of the playlist in the music player at the bottom of the page.
http://www.peacefulprayersongs.com “Savior of My Soul” is one of the first instrumental pieces of music the Lord gave me for the piano and on my music blog I have written a message about my recording entitled “Not Perfect.” 🙂 I pray the music and my message will bless and inspire you~God bless! love and blessings, Suzanne 🙂
Ezekiel was one of the captives of Judah who had been taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. His name means “God Strengthens.”
He was the son of a priest and was himself a priest. But since he was exiled from his homeland, he was jobless, for in Babylon he had no temple to take care of.
Yet God still had a job for Ezekiel to do. Though it was not what he’d trained all his life to do for the Lord, nevertheless, it was what God had created him to do. He called Ezekiel to be His prophet to speak to a nation that had broken faith with Him. The Lord wanted to use Ezekiel to vindicate the “holiness of His great name.”
When Ezekiel was around thirty years old, as he sat with the other captives by the Kebar river, he wrote, “The heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.” (Ezekiel 1:1)
If you are a highly visual person like me and read Ezekiel’s visions you may long for an illustrated bible because they are quite surreal. But even if we have a literal picture of these visions right before us we soon realize that just like a website without the correct password is impossible to enter, so is a vision without the right interpretation.
God has a very good reason for everything He does. He chooses to speak to us in certain ways based on what He is going to do in our lives and how He wants to use us for the work He is calling us to carry out for Him. He chose to speak to Ezekiel in visions. In fact, they play a very prominent role throughout his book.
Typically, visions from God are not meant to be taken literally. They are visual metaphors illustrating spiritual realities. They are a kind of picture language from God sent to tell us something very important or to reflect obliquely future glories that await us to encourage our faith.
When Paul, who had been taken in a vision up into what he called “the third heaven” wrote about spiritual things He said, ”For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
If we try to understand Ezekiel’s vision literally we may as well knock our heads together. Jesus said to those who would try to understand spiritual things in a literal way, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)
God gave Ezekiel this amazing inaugural vision to prepare him for a very difficult calling. When we read the succeeding chapters of his book we understand just how challenging his work for God would be.
Ezekiel was asked to shut himself inside his house, isolate himself from his community, he would be bound with cords; was afflicted by God so that he could not speak temporarily, he had to lie on one side for 390 days and then the other for 40 more days and cook his food over a dung pile.
How many of us would think it was God’s voice we were hearing if the Lord asked us to cook our food over a pile of feces every day for 390 days? Uh huh..I am confessing right now that I would probably rebuke “that voice“ in Jesus’ name. Alas. I just wonder sometimes how many times a day the Lord gets rebuked in His own name because we just don’t recognize His voice as we should. And I wonder how often He gets exasperated with His own sheep who are supposed to know their Good Shepherd’s voice!
You might think to yourself, “Well, that was in the bible days, God would never ask us to do anything like that in this day and age!”
Don’t ever think that God is any different now than He was in Ezekiel’s day because His word says, “For I am the Lord, I do not change…” (Malachi 3:6)
And Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
It often occurs to me after studying the bible that God does not usually ask His servants to do what is convenient, comfortable, or easy. In fact, Jesus said we must be willing to take up our cross and follow Him.
I believe God spoke to Ezekiel in visions, (symbolic language) because He was going to make Ezekiel’s life a living metaphor to communicate His Truth to His people. Everything God asked Ezekiel to do was like a living illustration to His people, a picture of His message to go along with the words the prophet was asked to communicate.
I have studied and prayed over Ezekiel’s vision and made it into a prayer in the hopes that the Lord will use it somehow to transform my life the way He did Ezekiel’s into a person who could fearlessly communicate His truths to our world without complaining about the cost. (And when I do fuss about the cross the Lord has asked me to bear, I pray He will remind me that at least He has never asked me to cook my food over a dung pile and to help me to be thankful!)
My Ezekiel Prayer
(Inspired by Ezekiel’s Vision & Matthew Henry’s Interpretation)
Heavenly Father, I pray for divine wisdom and understanding,
To excel in strength and boldness like that of a lion, even as the angels who serve You and who are never afraid;
I ask that You help me to excel in diligence and patience like an ox, and to be unwearied in the discharge of the work You give me to do for You, even as those angels are who serve In Your holy court.
I ask for quick and piercing insight, like that of an eagle’s sight, to soar high even as the angels who serve You soar, spiritually close to You, quick to hear Your voice in my heart, quick to respond obediently to do all You ask of me without complaining; and always thankful, always humble.
I ask for willing hands and feet to do Your will, to walk Your paths wherever You call me to go, whatever You ask me to do.
Help me go straight forward like Your angels who serve in Your holy courts, with one heart, one soul, one mind, one purpose: to love You with ALL MY HEART, ALL MY SOUL, ALL MY MIND, ALL MY BEING.
Lord, like Your angels, let me turn not back, nor aside from serving You. Help me keep my eyes focused firmly on You. Let me not turn from my work to trifle with what is not Your will for me.
Help me go wherever Your Holy Spirit would have me go, to accomplish whatever You have chosen for me to do.
Oh dearest Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, though I am no angel, please fill my heart with a burning zeal to serve You as those angels at Your court must have. Fill my heart with a burning love, a holy passion that grows only more intense for You like a flame that is eternal and grows deeper and higher and hotter day by day.
Let my love for You be like the eternal flame in the lamps of the temple of old Jerusalem; may it never wane, may it never die, but grow stronger and brighter each moment day by day by the power of Your Holy Spirit, in Jesus name, thank You, I love You, Lord,