Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Favorite Christmas Songs

The magic of Christmas is new every Yuletide. It is truly the most joyful (enduring and endearing) season and, indeed, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

favorite-christmas-songs

Such is its impact in our lives, our communities, and the world that people around the world often begin preparing for it months in advance.

Christmas trees, lights, decorations, gifts, and music – these all attest to its significance for humanity and to mankind’s desire for the peace and joy that only Jesus can bring.

Christmas isn’t magic, though it is magical. Christmas is a birthday celebrating the miraculous birth of Jesus into the world as a Babe in a manger and also His birth into our lives.

Jesus – Emmanuel (“God with us”), our Savior and Redeemer – was born that, as God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen acknowledges, “man no more may die.”

Christmas music is invariably joyfulJoy to the World – because Jesus was born, sacrificed himself for us, and offers us the incredible gift of inviting us to live with Him forever in Paradise as His brothers and sisters.

Jesus truly is the reason for the season. Two millennia ago, shepherds and angels proclaimed the miracle of our Messiah’s birth. Heaven and nature has been singing ever since. Let us join our voices to that heavenly chorus.

Here are a few of my favorite Christmas songs (a few with multiple versions).

2,000 Decembers Ago Joy Williams https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W8K3OhxVSw
Angels We have Heard on High Laura Story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YyI-hS-Q1k
Breath of Heaven Amy Grant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8_475FKJWQ
Carol of the Bells Barlow Girl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0WXDp2twLw
Do You Hear What I Hear? Carrie Underwood https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ad7KU9bCTAM
For Unto Us Point of Grace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGoyyDRi-_Q
Go Light Your Candle Kathy Troccoli https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9eyUgOFZf0
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Mannheim Steamroller https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXoJoHvho5M
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Nancy Sinatra https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma4lDu1RwOk
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Paige Sisters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCoy7URHuY4
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Pentatonix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku7ohU1IGls
Hallelujah (Light Has Come) Barlow Girl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e_2t4vHugo
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing Amy Grant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1m–UmRngY
How Many Kings Downhere https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF952rzG3Yk
I Believe Natalie Grant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQBDtKC-cQ0
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day Casting Crowns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIqCtigFAXs
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear Kutless https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7aizwAprBA
It’s Christmas Mandisa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG14DXeXD3U
Joy to the World Avalon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-lKAyPYI_I
Joy to the World Mannehim Steamroller https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zX5M9n7vrrg
Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy) Chris Tomlin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC3SwhJsLqU
Joyful Joyful Casting Crowns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfNS0nxHXhc
Light of the World Lauren Daigle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olw5uH_fvuw
Mary, Did You Know? Kathy Mattea https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I597YUXw1E
Mary, Did You Know? Pentatonix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifCWN5pJGIE.
O Come All Ye Faithful Third Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsqNCWOycNw
O Come All Ye Faithful Britt Nicole https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27K59NgWsZo
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Barlow Girl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzW_PmW-LzE
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Celtic Angels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIGSuLlM-R4
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Selah https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q6iesplJRM
O Holy Night Barlow Girl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLYM2WYkxEs
O Holy Night Josh Groban https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Zh-yR0pbmU
O Holy Night Point of Grace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpxrK5ItgG0
O Little Town of Bethlehem Hillsong https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsXJp6A5y9Q
O Little Town of Bethlehem Jeremy Camp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grKx1YSeLr0
Silent Night Kelly Clarkson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE1G-JdeNow
The First Noel Jaci Velaquez https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmAsVGraobU
What Child is This? Carrie Underwood https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWwj5Jatc9Y
What Child is This? Faith Hill https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DUhpP1w6Fc

(Please feel free to add your own to this list.)

Race to the Finish!

“… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith …” – Hebrews 12:1-2

lifelifter19

If you were in the Olympics, would you stand still and just watch or would you strive with all your heart to win?

The apostle Paul encouraged Christians to race for victory as we run for Jesus.

Paul admonishes us to “lay aside every weight” which could cause us to fall.

It is easy to become distracted, and even consumed, by the things of this world. Those things might even be good and wholesome in their own right, but they can sideline us.

For instance, it would be better to memorize Scripture than song lyrics, sports stats, or trivia.

Beware the peril of remaining stationary. It is easy to forget the race we are in and to simply stand still. Let’s stay awake and keep moving forward in our journey with Jesus.

If it hinders you, get rid of it. We each have our own hindrances. Set them aside. Run your race.

Reject the negative voices within you and from the world and listen to the right voices coming from God and his Word.

Paul warned against “the sin which so easily ensnares us.” That sin is unbelief (Hebrews 11:6). Let us renew our faith by “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”

How do we get back on track?

Believe and look to Jesus!

God did not send us here just to run the race, but also to finish it. Let’s finish it in faith!

Take Jesus to the World

“These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

 Take Jesus to the World

The last two months have been tough for America; we were horrified by the Orlando massacre and the Dallas assassinations. We sense evil amongst us and we can easily fall into despair.

What will happen next? How do we stop the carnage?

When senseless horrors like these occur, we are confronted with the reality that we live in a very imperfect world.

We are all broken people living in a broken world where every community, every profession, and every human system is broken.

But there is a solution to all of the chaos and healing for the brokenness.

That solution does not rely upon fallible human beings but upon our infallible Creator.

How do we mend a human heart? (We don’t. God does.)

No man-made laws (however well-intentioned) can change the human heart. Only Jesus Christ can change our hearts.

Jesus proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

Jesus has overcome the world and he is, moment by moment, person by person, changing hearts and transforming lives.

Even now, Jesus is fixing our broken world by fixing broken hearts one by one. As people are adopted into his kingdom, healing will spring forth into changed hearts, which in turn, will change the world.

Senseless violence will cease to exist when the whole world realizes the truth of who Jesus is and what he can accomplish.

Let us take Jesus to the world for healing and restoration. We can rely on him. He is, after all, the Savior of the world.

Find Freedom in Jesus

“Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.” – Matthew 12:22

LifeLifter15

Isn’t it remarkable?

Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was both blind and mute. Jesus freed him from his imprisonment to demons and darkness.

Jesus can free us, too.

In many ways, we all live inside our own prisons. Some prisons may be of our own making, through sin, addictions, and wrong decisions.

Every bad choice we’ve made locks us up in some form of prison. It can be relational, emotional, financial or something else. As a result, we may experience loss of freedom and despair.

The difference between freedom and confinement is found in our answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?”

The Pharisees claimed Jesus was a charlatan or doing the work of the devil. Others realized that He is the Son of God.

Our answer and response to that question – Who is Jesus? – is the most important decision we will ever make.

Jesus came to set us free.

Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18).

With his sacrifice, Jesus declared us “Not guilty!” and opened our jail cells.

Will we accept the freedom that Jesus offers and walk through those open doors into his open arms? Or will we remain imprisoned by our sins, our addictions and our wrong behaviors?

God has given us freedom to choose. Let us choose wisely.

[Background photo courtesy Sundown First Baptist Church.]

Helping Those in Need

“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8 (NIV)

LifeLifter14

Our Father in heaven wants us to be righteous, compassionate, and humble people. These are characteristics which Jesus and the apostles implored Christians to pursue and attain.

We see all around us people who are in need, destitute, lost, or broken.

Jesus is the ultimate solution in every area of life. As followers and disciples of Christ, we have our part to play.

God’s desire is that we “act justly,” that we promote justice in our lives, our local communities, and our other spheres of influence.

He desires that we “love mercy,” extending compassion and forgiveness to others.

And He desires that we “walk humbly,” knowing we are all equal at the foot of the cross.

We cannot do justice from a distance. We must be engaged, involved in the lives of those around us. That means being part of the community. No man is an island.

Our Father desires that we compassionately stand with those in need: the oppressed, the marginalized, and the invisible.

How? We can be engaged in our communities in a variety of ways, including financially, in prayer, or through volunteer service.

From the least to the greatest, God has blessed us all in various ways. What will we do with our God-given resources? Will we pursue the passing pleasures of this world or look toward the eternal salvation of others? Will we be caught up in our own cares and concerns or look to those in need? Will we put God’s will first or seek our own?

In helping others through promoting justice, extending compassion, and exercising humility, we are sowing seeds for the kingdom of God. We become involved in something greater than ourselves.

Remember, we will reap what we sow.

Take Heart, My Child

“Take heart, my son, your sins are forgiven.” – Matthew 9: 2

LifeLifter13

Jesus’ heart was revealed when he walked the earth 2,000 years ago. On one occasion, people brought a paralyzed man to him. Jesus astonished the crowd by unexpectedly declaring, “Take heart, my son, your sins are forgiven.”

The Pharisees objected to his words, claiming Jesus blasphemed God. Jesus proved that he could forgive sins by healing the man, who obeyed his instructions: “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

The paralytic was transformed from being completely hopeless to facing unlimited possibilities. That’s what Jesus does.

Jesus healed the man from all that had held him down, freed him from a body and a life that did not work. Jesus offers to do the same for us. Jesus desires to give us freedom from death, from brokenness, and from the hell that lives within us.

The great miracle was not the outward physical healing of the paralytic man but, rather, his inward spiritual healing, which will last forever.

Jesus came to bring eternal forgiveness and to heal us from whatever paralyzes us, from the darkness that pulls us down.

Jesus also tells us to “take heart,” meaning, to have boldness and courage. We can boldly turn to the only One who can save us.

We all have a choice. We can choose to remain paralyzed by all that is wrong in our hearts, our lives, and the world. Or we can choose freedom in Christ.

In a nutshell, we can choose either sin or forgiveness.

Will you celebrate God’s forgiveness and joyfully live a life with God on your journey to heaven, or will you remain hopelessly paralyzed, stuck where you are?

Jesus beckons you, “Come to Me!” (Mt. 11:28)

How to Talk to a Bully (if you must)

The Donald (Trump, that is) is at it again. This time he plays the victim of a Vast Right-Wing Establishment Conspiracy. (What other traits does he share with Hillary?[1])

Bully

Someone should tell Trump that exhibiting a persecution complex[2] is not particularly appealing for a presidential candidate.

Piqued at sarcasm and hyperbole from Fox News, which so humorously lampooned Trump’s self-evident habit of demonizing his foes (always in a yuuuge way!), Trump revealed just how thin-skinned he really is.

Even his staunchest ally, Ann Coulter, has proven that she is little more than a humorless ideologue. Coulter’s forte is her lightning-quick wit, which balances Trump’s more thundering and blunt-force-trauma brand of humor.

But Coulter, who has perfected the Orwellian technique[3] of carpet-bombing “enemies of the moment,” often with hyperbole and sarcasm, now seems oblivious to the very types of rhetoric which she employs so effortlessly.

Fox News Press Release

What prompted such fear and loathing from Trump and his surrogates?

Fox News issued this press release:

“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president – a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”

What was Coulter’s response to “the press release an allegedly professional news organization?”

“So when Fox issued a smart-ass press release yesterday, Trump walked. He decided to do a charity event for veterans instead – which will have a lot more viewers than any debate sans Trump.”[4]

Chiding Fox for “such a sophomoric attack” in its “trivial and self-important press release,” the queen of snippy soundbites decries its “snippy press release.”

Speaking on MSNBC, Coulter complained about this “shocking” press release, claiming, “monopolies can get arrogant and there does seem to be a little bit of arrogance here.[5]

Talking to a Bully

Speaking of arrogance (which Coulter and Trump have in spades!), when did narcissism become a virtue? Or brash pomposity? Why do we listen to nattering narcissists and blustering blowhards?[6]

Humility is a trait neither Trump nor Coulter possess. Both refuse to “back down” under any circumstances. Both have proudly claimed they have no need of repentance. Both demonize their foes. And both claim to be victims in the aftermath of their own self-generated controversies.

Coulter has claimed to blindly worship her Savior, Donald Trump,[7] and continually extols his courage, love of country, and sense of humor. But Fox’s humor-laden press release is not funny? Perhaps it hit too close to the mark!

Fox News was spot on! If Trump can’t debate conservatives in a conservative-friendly foreign, how can he stand up to tyrants and terrorists at home and abroad? Trump can dish it out but he can’t take it.

The “allegedly professional news organization,” as Coulter put it, said nothing more controversial than Trump has been saying since he announced his candidacy. Trump’s words (like Coulter’s) are designed to provoke. They are provocative for provocation’s sake (and to generate publicity).

Still, Coulter constantly defends herself and Trump, claiming their most outrageous remarks are “just jokes.” For Coulter and Trump, calling people “bimbos” is standard fare.[8]

Mockery is the best way to talk to a bully![9]

Trump – Phony Candidate!

Neither Coulter nor Trump are above lying to achieve their goals: the bogus birther charge is exhibit one.[10]

Trump and Coulter believe that sheer will to powerdevoid of conservative principles – will lead to their victory and America’s salvation. Hubris saves[11] (in their minds)! But America can ill afford yet another big government, crony capitalist RINO.[12]

Coulter credits herself with giving Trump his message[13] and views herself as the Harriet Beecher Stowe to Trump’s Lincoln.[14] But Trump is no Lincoln (or Reagan) and Coulter is no Stowe.

Trump has proven his aversion to Christian character, conduct, and creed. His authoritarian nature, pronouncements, and promises seem devoid of deference to the Constitution that he would have to swear to uphold. (Isn’t one Obama enough?)

Trump’s flawed financial background (how many bankruptcies?) and New York (liberal social and fiscal) Values should give pause to any conservative contemplating a Trump presidency. He is a political opportunist adept at self-promotion.

At best, Trump’s Christian, conservative, and constitutionalist credentials are sparse. Very sparse indeed.

Trump has nothing in common with the Great Emancipator or the Great Communicator.[15] There is no there, there. Accomplished hucksters need not apply!

Update: After his ignominious defeat in Iowa, a chagrined Trump blamed the Iowa voters for his abysmal performance.

Endnotes:

[1]               See “HRC: A Caricature of the Left” at http://wp.me/p4scHf-94.

[2]               See Chapter 6: “I Am Victim, Hear Me Whine,” The Beauty of Conservatism, 2011, available as a free download at www.coulterwatch.com/beauty.pdf.

[3]               See Propaganda: Orwell in the Age of Ann Coulter, 2014, available as a free download at www.coulterwatch.com/propaganda.pdf.

[4]               Ann Coulter, “Trump Is Wise to Walk Out on ‘Trivial,’ ‘Self-Important’ Fox News,” Hollywood Reporter, 1/28/16.

[5]               Ann Coulter, Hardball, MSNBC, 1/27/16.

[6]               See Vanity: Ann Coulter’s Quest for Glory, 2012, available as a free download at www.coulterwatch.com/vanity.pdf.

[7]               See “Meet Ann Coulter’s Savior” at http://wp.me/p4jHFp-bM.

[8]               See “Ann Coulter, Bimbo” at http://wp.me/p4jHFp-bS.

[9]               See “Islamists Fear Cartoons” at http://wp.me/p4scHf-9Z.

[10]             See “Birther Coulter Births More Lies” at http://wp.me/p4jHFp-bI.

[11]             See Vanity: Ann Coulter’s Quest for Glory, 2012, available as a free download at www.coulterwatch.com/vanity.pdf.

[12]             See “Coulter’s Latest RINO Would Give Democrats Victory” at http://wp.me/p4jHFp-8t.

[13]             See “Coulter Trumped Up” at http://wp.me/p4jHFp-7Q.

[14]             See “Coulter’s Know-Nothing American Party” at http://wp.me/p4jHFp-bP.

[15]             See “Remembering Reagan” at http://t.co/GYAescwhYa.