Jesus Paid It All

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

And now complete in Him,
My robe, His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down,
All down at Jesus’ feet.
winter-pa
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

~Elvina M. Hall

*This photo was taken in beautiful Pennsylvania, my childhood home.

A Prayer for the “New Year”

O LORD,
Length of day does not profit me
except the days are passed in thy presence,
in thy service, to thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire to show forth thy praise;
testify thy love,
advance thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son, at my helm,
thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.
Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to teach,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.
May thy fear be my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.

Valley of Vision, pg.112

Ibuki

Mt. Ibuki

Year’s End

Thy goodness has been with me during another year,
     leading me through a twisting wilderness,
     in retreat helping me to advance,
     when beaten back making sure headway.

Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist my sail and draw up anchor,
     with thee as the blessed Pilot of my future as of my past.

~Valley of Vision, pg. 111

winter-pa

*photo taken in beautiful Pennsylvania

 

Christmas Cheer

Life abroad can be challenging at times.  In Japan, Christmas is not a holiday.  New Year’s day is the big event.  The first year we were here, we told the school our children were attending that their winter holiday would begin December 24th.  There were very few Christmas decorations.  Hearing a Christmas song over the loudspeaker was so rare it was shocking.  I remember the first time I heard “He rules the world with truth and grace…” and thinking that the people don’t know know who He is.

Sometimes it’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit.  I know the focus of Christmas is not about the decorations, music, movies and events that all come with the season.  It is about the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  There are several things I am doing to keep my attention on this most important reason for this season. One is reading from Gospel Meditations for Christmas.

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Times are changing as western culture meets eastern culture.  There are lots of Christmas decorations around in the shopping areas. They are definitely making use of the season in that way.  They even had a Black Friday here this year.  What?!?!?!?  How can you have a Black Friday when you don’t have a Thanksgiving??

Although people don’t understand what Christmas is, they know it has something to do with the church.  This is our busiest time of the year for ministry simply because people are interested in Christmas activities.  We have the most visitors this time of the year.  I recently posted about our Friend Party.  Last week we had our Children’s Christmas Party and Sunday the 23rd will be our Christmas program with a huge potluck afterwards.  These are highlights of our year.

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I really scaled down on the decorating this year.  I was in the states until the week before Thanksgiving.  I just didn’t have the energy required to do it all, especially while recovering from jet lag.  It generally takes me at least two weeks to feel like myself again.  I did put up the Christmas tree and the Nativity.  I also displayed some of my Christmas china.  I am enjoying the simplicity this year.  I am starting to think it may be time to slow down and keep things simple every year.

If you are on Instagram, you might enjoy following #12daysofcozy2018.  It is hosted by Whitney of Come Home for Comfort.  I decided to participate this year.  I always enjoy countdowns and this one has been fun.  I’ve also enjoyed seeing everyone else’s posts.  It’s a nice way to spread that Christmas cheer!! Another thing, that I enjoy is Jacquie Lawson’s advent calendar. There is a new video or activity for each day.  There are also some games that I enjoy.  This year you were able to design your own plaid.  What fun!  You can see one of mine on the sofa.

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So as I spend my 4th Christmas in a row without any of my children, I am thankful for the little things that help to make this holiday season a joyous one.  Pray for your missionaries and their families during this season. Technology is a marvelous thing.  It can bring you closer to those you love who are so far away, but it can also cause you to miss them more.  Maybe next year…