O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.


O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.


O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.


O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.


O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.


O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.


O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.


This is one of my favorite hymns. I hate that we only get to sing it in church during the Christmas season. I love the plea for Jesus to come quickly to save Israel (us) from the ways of the world. Those of us who long to be righteous and pure know the hopelessness and futility that comes with living in a fallen world. Try as we might, we can never be good enough to merit God’s favor. Our salvation comes, not through works or being good enough, but through the grace that Jesus alone can offer. It’s that grace that this hymn begs for. Come Jesus, and free us from the unrighteous pull of this world.

For more of the story on this hymn (my absolute favorite), please click here.

We Three Kings

We Three Kings

We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.


O star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.


Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, voices raising,
Worshipping God on high.


Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.


Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Sounds through the earth and skies.


We Three Kings was written by John H. Hopkins, Jr., who penned both the music and the lyrics as part of a Christmas pageant for his nieces and nephews at General Theological Seminary in New York. Reverend Hopkins was a clergyman and hymn writer. We Three Kings is widely cosidered to be his best known hymn. He also delivered the eulogy for president Ulysses Grant.

For more of the stoy on We Three Kings, please click here.

Joy To The World

Joy to the World

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
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.

This beloved carol was written by Isaac Watts, who is considered to be the “Father of English Hymnody”. Watts penned over 750 hymns in his lifetime, but was also a theologian and logician. Watts lived from 1674 until 1748, so his work has been preserved for over 300 years. There is a memorial to Isaac Watts at Westminster Abbey.

For further information on this beloved Christmas carol, please click here.

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

I love to know the stories behind the songs we sing in worship. Often times it helps us to understand and appreciate even more the message of the song. During Advent, I will devote Fridays to telling the stories of some of my favorite Christmas hymns in hope that you will experience the love of God more fully this year.

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

This hymn was written by Charles Wesley who, along with his brother John Wesley, are considered the founders of the Methodist church. While John was predominately a teacher and evangelist, Charles was both a preacher and song writer/poet. In his lifetime, Charles wrote over 7000 hymns, many of which are still being sung today in churches all over the world.

For more of this amazing hymn’s story, please click here.


I’m still reading through Stormie Omartian’s Power of a Praying Wife. In fact, I just started my fourth reading of it. I’m still discovering new jewels every time I pick it up. Today’s lesson was no different. Here’s my favorite…

“(God’s power) is a gentle tool of restoration appropriated through the prayers of someone who longs to do right more than be right, and to give life more than get even.”

In how many situations would it be more godly (albeit not socially desirable) to speak a word of healing instead of a word of frustration!?! Frustration and anger come from the flesh, while healing and restoration come from our spirit, which has been remade to reflect the Spirit of God. How often do we pick up the mantle of self-righteousness instead of the humility it requires to allow love to cover over an offense?

Can we just die to self today, and pick up the cross of Christ? I encourage you to do that today. And everyday after that.

Names of God

Today’s homeschool lesson included an assignment on writing as many names of God as you can think of. Mary Anneliese’s list:

Mighty Fortres
Hidding Place
Name abouve all other names
Holy Father

Amen to that, Sweet Sister!

“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise…” (Psalm 8:2)

Porn and Its Effect on the Christian Family

I’m sure that title got your attention, didn’t it? It should have, and this topic is something that our church has been studying lately. Here’s a quick link to an unbelievably informative and challenging seminar our church held on the topic of pornography and sex, with special attention given to how it affects our children. You will not believe some of the statistics given by Scott Gurosky. Keep in mind that as you are listening to them, they were from a survey of OUR CHURCH’S YOUTH GROUP. Most of these kids attend Vestavia High, Hoover High, Briarwood Christian Academy, or Homewood High School. The speakers are Scott Gurosky (youth Sunday school at Shades Mountain Baptist Church for over 10 years), Lynn and Mark Garnett (youth Sunday school teachers, parents of teenagers, and parents featured in a BBC documentary about the most strict parents in the US), and Rick Burgess (host of the Rick and Bubba radio show and father of teenagers).

Do yourself a favor and LISTEN!!!!


Deuteronomy 11:18-21

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and your gates, so that your days and the days of your childrenmay be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

A Word from Isaiah

I came across these words from Isaiah 61 this morning, and I pray they will minister to you…

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

God’s Expectation: That We Be Fruitful

As I flipped through my Bible this morning, I came across my sermon notes from a few weeks ago. The notes were from a message preached by our pastor, Dr. Danny Wood. I really felt led to share the message with you this morning, in hopes that it will minister to you in some way.

The text is from Isaiah 5:1-7 and Luke 13:6-9. The main point of the message was that God expects us to be fruitful people. Period. No excuses. No “yeah, but”s. No “maybe later”s. He expects fruitfulness, and He expects it now. Now, by “fruitful”, He can mean many different things, but He expects it nonetheless. “Fruitfulness” will look different depending on our situation, season of life, and family dynamics, but we are to be as fruitful as possible at whatever time we find ourselves. Allow me to give you the text…

Isaiah 5: (1) I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard; My loved one has a vineyard on a fertile hillside. (2) He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest of vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. The he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. (3) “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.(4) What more could have been done for my vineyard than what I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? (5) Now I will tell you what I am going to do with my vineyard; I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. (6) I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated. And briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.” (7) The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel (That’s us, Christians), and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

We see in verses 1-2a that God generously provides for a fruitful people. He gives us everything we need to be fruitful. He put the vineyard on a fertile hillside, the best location. He tediously prepared the land by digging it up, clearing it of stones and planting the choicest of vines. He has given us everything we need to be fruitful, as well.

In verse 2b, we see that God expectantly waits for a fruitful people. He built a watchtower and looked for a crop of good grapes. Once He had made the vineyard ready and given it everything it needed to thrive, He sat and waited and watched for the fruit to come in. I picture God doing this in our lives today. He has given us what we need to thrive and produce fruit, and now He sits waiting to see what kind of fruit we will produce. He is expecting an abundant harvest. What are we giving Him?

Verses 5-7 show how God responds to a people who don’t bear fruit with the tools He has been so gracious to provide. We see that He removes the protective hedge and wall He has placed around them and ignores pruning and cultivation. Now, we certainly need God’s protective hedge around us. And anyone who knows anything about gardening can tell you that if you don’t prune, your plants will NOT bear fruit. Those branches that do not bear fruit need to be pruned away so that those branches that do bear fruit can bear more fruit. We need that in our lives as well. We need Him to prune away those things on which we are wasting time, so that we can focus on the things which are fruitful.

Lest you should worry or fear that you will be “cut off” from God without mercy, let’s couple the passage from Isaiah with the one from Luke 13. (6) Then he (Jesus) told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but he did not find any. (7) So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ (8) “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. (9) If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'”

We have our ever-faithful intercessor at the right hand of God interceding for us at all times. Jesus will intercede with the Father for us! However, even Jesus knows that we can’t go on in fruitlessness forever. He will work with us, but He will not turn a blind eye if we continue on in fruitlessness.

How are you being fruitful? How am I being fruitful?