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The Christmas Paradox

Renee Ann Smith —  December 12, 2014 — 4 Comments

Chesterton Christmas Quote

Christmas is built upon a beautiful & intentional paradox;
that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.
~G. K. Chesterton~

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In the Bleak Midwinter
by Christina Rosetti

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

You can find my other Christmas/Winter graphics here . . .

Christmas Memories

The Rising Light

The Gift of YES

The Gifts We All Can Give

His Radiance

Swift & Sure

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic of my freshly snow-covered street on Thanksgiving morning, 2014. Of course, PicMonkey, is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link. Continue Reading…

Christmas Memories

Renee Ann Smith —  December 11, 2014 — 5 Comments

Renee Ann Smith Christmas House

Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather & dance. Each beautiful, unique & too soon gone. ~Deborah Whipp~

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The Christmases I can remember were far from perfect.

My early Christmases were filled with wonder. But my teen years found me bored with Christmas—and life in general.

In recent years, it seems that almost as many Christmas seasons as were characterized by bubbly, effervescent  joy, were the ones made poignant by deep grief.

Yet this remains true: My Heavenly Father sent me a Savior before I even knew I needed one.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Love Was When
by Don Wyrtzen & John Walvoord

Love was when God became a Man,
Locked in time and space, without rank or place;
Love was God born of Jewish kin;
Just a carpenter with some fishermen.

Love was when Jesus walked in history,
Lovingly He brought a new life that’s free,
Love was God nailed to bleed and die
To reach and love one such as I.

Love was when God became a Man,
Down where I could see Love that reached to me;
Love was God dying for my sin
And so trapped was I my whole world caved in.

Love was when Jesus met me, now it’s real;
Lovingly He came, I can feel He’s real!
Love was God, only He would try
To reach and love one such as I.

I’ll be posting Christmas quotes & Scriptures every day this week, so I hope to “see” you again soon.

You can find my other Christmas/Winter graphics here . . .

The Rising Light

The Gift of YES

The Gifts We All Can Give

His Radiance

Swift & Sure

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic of my house now that it has its Christmas on! Of course, PicMonkey, is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link. Continue Reading…

The Rising Light

Renee Ann Smith —  December 10, 2014 — 7 Comments

Rising Light 2(Click to Tweet)

~Isaiah 60:1-3~

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

~Revelation 21:22&23, The Message~

The City doesn’t need sun or moon for light.
God’s Glory is its light & the Lamb, its lamp!
The nations will walk in its light
And earth’s kings bring in their splendor.

~Revelation 22:5, The Message~

Never again will there be any night.
No one will need lamplight or sunlight.
The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs.
And they will rule with him age after age after age.

I love this little Nativity set up in a corner of our high school lunch room. Just like in our greater world, this holy scene might be easily overlooked during the daily hustle and bustle. Yet the message of the light that came to dispel darkness is there for all who wish to take notice.

And I love the promise it speaks to my heart—that someday His Light will shine so brightly, no one will be able to miss it!

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

I’ll be posting Christmas quotes & Scriptures every day this week, so I hope to “see” you again soon.

You can find my other Christmas/Winter graphics here . . .

The Gift of YES

The Gifts We All Can Give

His Radiance

Swift & Sure

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic of the little Nativity set up in our school lunch room. Of course, PicMonkey, is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link. Continue Reading…

The Gift of YES

Renee Ann Smith —  December 9, 2014 — 5 Comments

Evergreen Susan May Warren

“Maybe, however, you’re Mary & God is asking you to be willing to say YES to whatever He asks.”

~Susan May Warren, Evergreen~

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~Luke 1:38 & 46-55, The Message~

And Mary said, “YES, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me just as you say.

I’m bursting with God-news;
    I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.

God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
    I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.

His mercy flows in wave after wave

    on those who are in awe before him.

He bared his arm and showed his strength,
    scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
    pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
    the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;

H
e remembered and piled on the mercies,
piled them high.


It’s exactly what he promised,

    beginning with Abraham and right up to now.”

As you can see from the verses above,
Mary enthusiastically embraced God’s plan—
in spite of the censure, ridicule, judgment & emotional pain it would bring.

What a beautiful gift she poured out before the Lord.
May we all seek to trust His heart with that same, resounding YES!

I’ll be posting Christmas quotes & Scriptures every day this week, so I hope to “see” you again soon.

You can find my other Christmas/Winter graphics here . . .

The Gifts We All Can Give

His Radiance

Swift & Sure

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic of my school’s elementary nativity play from years gone by. (It features a dear friend & former student’s daughter, who is growing up so quickly!) Of course, PicMonkey, is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.

***And, YES, Susan May Warren’s novella Evergreen is a great Christmas gift idea! My high school students loved it! Order the book here.

Here’s another version of the same quote, where I went for a Christmas card look . . .

Advent Susan May Warren(Click to Tweet)

Continue Reading…

 

Christmas Gift SuggestionsChristmas Gift Suggestions

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

~Oren Arnold~

(Click to Tweet)

~Proverbs 3:27-28~
“Do not withhold good
From those to whom it is due,
When it is in your power to act.”

Or as it says in The Message . . .
“Never walk away from someone who deserves help.
Your hand is God’s hand for that person.
Don’t tell your neighbor ‘Maybe some other time’
Or ‘Try me tomorrow.’”

These words remind me that the most important gifts
we can share with each other can’t be wrapped & placed under a tree.
Let’s not be stingy but give freely from our hearts—at Christmas time and all the year through.

I’ll be posting Christmas quotes & Scriptures every day this week, so I hope to “see” you again soon.

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic last year using resources from PicMonkey, my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.

Continue Reading…

Scripture graphics

He is the radiance of the glory of God & the exact imprint of His nature. ~Hebrews 1:3~

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This seemed a fitting Scripture for the first day of Advent, the season where we celebrate God sending us His beautiful Son!

Here’s how Hebrews 1 sounds from The Message:

By his Son, God created the world in the beginning,
And it will all belong to the Son at the end.
This Son perfectly mirrors God,
  And is stamped with God’s nature.
He holds everything together by what He says—
Powerful words!

And I love these words from the folks at Desiring God about His Radiance:

“The glory of God is the holiness of God put on display. That is, it is the infinite worth of God made manifest.

When the holiness of God fills the earth for people to see, it is called glory. God’s glory is the radiance of his holiness.

It is the out-streaming of his infinite value. And when it streams out, it is seen as beautiful and great.

It separates God from all that is common—like the rarest and most perfect diamond in the world.”

What can I add to those words but —Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I snapped this iPhone pic on my way to work Friday. I love how it captures our first snow here in upstate New York. Of course, PicMonkey is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.

Continue Reading…

Swift & Sure

Renee Ann Smith —  November 17, 2014 — 20 Comments

snow God's promises paslm 147(Click to Tweet)

He launches His promises earthward.
How swift & sure they come!
He spreads snow like a fleece.
~Psalm 147:15&16~

Silently, like thoughts that come & go,
The snowflakes fall,
Each one a gem.
~William H. Gibson~

When snow falls,
Nature listens.
~Antoinette van Kleeff~

I just had to snap an iPhone pic of our first snow! I love this verse that makes me imagine God’s promises falling to earth as swiftly & surely as those lovely flakes.

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I snapped this iPhone pic on my way to work Friday. I love how it captures our first snow here in upstate New York. Of course, PicMonkey is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Let me know in the comments how to find you in the Tweet-world Continue Reading…

Never Let Go

Renee Ann Smith —  November 10, 2014 — 18 Comments

As a high school English teacher, I love figurative language, imagery, metaphors . . .

Any word pictures that open my eyes to see a truth in a new way and help me move beyond head knowledge to heart knowing.

Here’s one of my favorites from Hebrews 6: 19&20 . . .
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us.”

I learned from the book One Minute After You Die by Irwin Lutzer that
“In ancient times, the forerunner was a sailor who helped a vessel enter the harbor safely.
He would jump from the ship, wade to land, and fasten the strong rope of the ship to a rock along the shore. Then, he’d use a winch to bring the ship in.”

So death is like a sailing ship being anchored to shore by a trustworthy forerunner.

Isn’t that a beautiful picture? I can just imagine it . . .

Those 1st century sailors, fearing for their lives on a storm-tossed sea. Their ship nears a harbor.

They choose their strongest man and send him over the side.

Trembling, they watch and fear and pray as their man battles the waves.

Finally, he reaches shallow water and steps out on dry land. He finds the surest rock and ties off the ship.

The sailors rejoice.

Because though they remain at sea—buffeted by winds and waves for a time—they know their salvation is sure.

Their forerunner has made it safely to the other side.

And so will they.

And very soon they’ll be with him on shore. Safe. Secure. Victims of life’s storms no more.

I love how verse 19 sounds in The Message: “We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.”

Never Let Go Ultimate Christian Living Bundle

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May we encourage each other to place our hands in His, never look back & never let go!

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic of the beach in Destin, Florida, taken during last year’s Deep Thinker’s Writing Retreat. Of course, PicMonkey is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Let me know in the comments how to find you in the Tweet-world Continue Reading…