Sunday, December 24, 2006

Hear, O Shepherd of Israel!

Some quiet prayers for Christmas Eve

Psalm 80

Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock;
shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh,
stir up your strength and come to help us.
Restore us, O God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance
and we shall be saved.
O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angered
despite the prayers of your people?

Restore us, O God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance
and we shall be saved.
You have brought a vine out of Egypt;
you cast out the nations and planted it.
You prepared the ground for it;
it took root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered by its shadow
and the towering cedar trees by its boughs.
You stretched out its tendrils to the Sea
and its branches to the River…

Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven;
behold and tend this vine;
preserve what your right hand has planted.
They burn it with fire like rubbish;
at the rebuke of your countenance let them perish.
Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand,
the son of man you have made so strong for yourself.
And so will we never turn away from you;
give us life, that we may call upon your name.
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance
and we shall be saved!

Psalm 85

You have been gracious to your land, O Lord,
you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.
You have forgiven the iniquity of your people
and blotted out all their sins.
You have withdrawn all your fury
and turned yourself from your wrathful indignation.
Restore us then, O God our Savior;
let your anger depart from us…

Show us your mercy, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
I will listen to what the Lord God is saying,
for He is speaking peace to His faithful people
and to those who turn their hearts to Him.
Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear Him,
that His glory may dwell in our land.

Mercy and truth have met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Truth shall spring up from the earth,
and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed grant prosperity,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness shall go before Him,
and peace shall be a pathway for His feet!

A Song of the Spirit (Revelation 22:12-14,16,17)


Behold, I am coming soon', says the Lord,
and bringing my reward with me,
to give to everyone according to their deeds.

'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last,
the beginning and the end.'

Blessed are those who do God's commandments,
that they may have the right to the tree of life,
and may enter into the city through the gates.

'I, Jesus, have sent my angel to you,
with this testimony for all the churches.

'I am the root and the offspring of David,
I am the bright morning star.'

'Come!' say the Spirit and the Bride;
'Come!' let each hearer reply!

Come forward, you who are thirsty,
let those who desire take the water of life as a gift.

Psalm 117

Alleluia!
Praise the Lord, all you nations;
laud Him, all you peoples.
For His loving-kindness towards us is great,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.
Alleluia!

Isaiah 32:1ff

See, a king will reign in righteousness,
and princes will rule with justice.
Each will be like a hiding-place from the wind,
a covert from the tempest,
like streams of water in a dry place,
like the shade of a great rock in a weary land!

Love came down at Christmas

Words: Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), 1885
Tune: Hermitage

Love came down at Christmas,
love all lovely, love divine;
love was born at Christmas:
star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
love incarnate, love divine;
worship we our Jesus,
but wherewith the sacred sign?

Love shall be our token;
love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
love for plea and gift and sign.

Luke 1:67-79

Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke
this prophecy:

'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for He has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David,
as He spoke through the mouth of His holy prophets from of old,
that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who
hate us.

Thus He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered His holy covenant,
the oath that He swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness
before Him all our days.

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to His people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace!'

Selah.

2 comments:

Micky said...

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staffs were very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be With You
Micky

Loy said...

thank you so much, Micky! I really appreciate your story... thank you so much for sharing your testimony of faith.

God often helps others through the witness of a life -- and your story is an awesome story of grace! never hold back on sharing it, ok?

Many blessings to you this day!

in Christ's awesome grace,

Loy