Friday, December 31, 2010

Before the Throne of God Above...New Years 2011...

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea:
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise the One,
Risen Son of God!

Behold him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I am,
The King of glory and of grace!

One in himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by his blood
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God
With Christ, my Savior and my God

May you be able to sing these lyrics with your whole heart, both now and on that Great Day of His Appearing...blessings, grace and peace to you and yours.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Carol from Paul

---By David R. Stokes

Christmas is more than a day in December -- it is a season. Reminders of this are all around us -- the weather, the gatherings, the music on the radio. It is not unusual for savvy media outlets to saturate their formats with all things Yuletide for a few weeks at the end of the year. It puts us "in the mood" -- not to mention puts money in their accounts.

What's your favorite Christmas song? Some like to hear about chestnuts roasting on an open fire -- others love to think about bells jingling. Yet others tear up (with good reason) thinking about a Holy Night so long ago. They may even want to fall on their knees.

A case can be made that the greatest Christmas song ever written is one with no familiar music. The tune is no longer available to us. But the lyrics -- ah, those lyrics -- well, they're actually inspired. As the Apostle Paul was writing to young Pastor Timothy about everything from order in the church to the dangers of greed, he gave us an easily overlooked but enduring Christmas nugget.

It may be not be a toe-tapper like I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus -- but it completely captures the essence of Christmas. That essence is incarnation. This means that God became one of us so that He could reach those of us willing to surrender to Him.

As the Apostle winds up a series of thoughts about the church and those who serve and lead, he pauses to reflect on a larger issue. Strategies and structure are not ends in themselves. They are secondary to powerful ideas. While he may have felt the need to give Timothy some practical advice about how to do his important job, he never lost sight of the why in all of it -- nor should we. There can be many controversies in life -- macro and micro. All of them require attention. Some of them require systems and structure. No doubt, this was something with which Timothy wrestled. Therefore, his wise mentor, Paul, offered his advice.

Things that tend to polarize people often have little to with objective truth. Instead, subjective experience is allowed to play too large a role in our lives and passions. When this happens, Paul's writings suggest that we need to stop and sing. And we should sing something very specific -- the most beautiful of all Christmas carols -- though it is highly unlikely that we'll hear the words blended with any seasonal music.

We are not told the style of music, nor are we told the instrument or instruments used to express it (if any). We are given just the words. They are inspired -- and they have endured. They are ancient words, yet ever new.

The first Christmas Carol is introduced in scripture this way: "Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great..." (I Timothy 3:16 NIV).

Communities of faith throughout history have wrestled with many things. But Paul reminds us all these centuries later that there are some no-brainers for the faithful. First and foremost is that most powerful of all ideas is that God has come to the earth -- the Word has been made flesh.

So, this season, let us reach back for one of the forgotten "oldies" -- a first-century worship favorite. They likely sang it in places like Ephesus, Thyatira, and Philippi. There were no ornate cathedrals or padded pews, no multimedia presentations to tantalize the eyes -- just words, powerful and profound. Go ahead and make up your own music -- but don't mess with the words. They are from God. They are a Christmas gift from the one who gave us the reason for the season.

And, one...two...three...

"He appeared in a body,

Was vindicated by the Spirit,

Was seen by angels,

Was preached among the nations,

Was believed on in the world,

Was taken up in glory."

- I Timothy 3:16 (New International Version)

Merry Christmas!

David R. Stokes is a minister, author, columnist, and broadcaster.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to my readers...

It has been an eye opening year for us, from moving to another state to a new job that has me going into areas I'd normally avoid...may you trust it all into His Hands and to His Glory as we have had to.

Blessings, grace and peace, Br'er Shaygetz

Thursday, December 23, 2010

O, Come Emmanuel...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Halfway through the stress... observation.

I know and understand why some of my brethren and sisteren have a problem with some of the pagan elements incorporated in the celebration of Christmas. Some folks honestly, genuinely believe that it's wrong to celebrate Christmas. However...after having toured a place this week, parts of which included looking over a bullet riddled car and viewing the site of someone's recent murder, I have a small request...

...if you're moved to tell me about it...don't.

My day is filled with walking, breathing examples of folks on the threshold of an eternity of which they have no clue and/or regard for what comes after.

I will always...ALWAYS...rejoice for that 6 week respite this time of year, when radio stations, store loudspeakers and the occasional flash mob proclaim the Gospel in its simplest form, in between Frosty and Rudolph, every day, all day through the lyrics of familiar carols written by faithful ministers and laymen of times past. The rest of the trappings of this holiday season don't phase me a bit in the light of that truth.

Next week promises more of the same for me. I can assure the folks who have a problem with Christmas, Santa Claus, Rudolph and Saturnalia, that the last thing on my mind when I look into the eyes of an abused wife or local candy man will be the mindless drivel that passes for righteous debate nowadays.

For those who have been praying for me and my family...thank you. I greatly covet those prayers and can tell you in full confidence that they were directly answered at one point this week, details of which I may post at another time.

For those who really have a problem with the you're also required to give me that same slack (Colossians 2) in my lack of a problem with it.

As for the Jeremiah 10 crowd...I have a playpen in the corner, I can fill it full of nice theological treatises with really big words in them for you to fondle and coo the world burns around you.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

...I am undone...

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.---Isaiah 6:5

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some time off...


...the next couple of weeks have taken a turn and presented some unanticipated stresses that have nothing to do with the holidays and that require my full attention. I'll be coming back online after the first of the year.

Blessings to you and yours...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


A little tip on adding "snow" to your model work...

I found that baking soda sifted carefully onto the scene, makes the best snow. It has a subtle sparkle to it and it vacuums up easily if you watch the humidity. It does seem to have an adverse affect on Mini-Metals chrome. Not long after this shot, the chrome plating disappeared slowly...hubcaps, bumpers and all..., until there wasn't a trace left. Hummm...?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Luke 1:26-40

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Oy! Gevalt...

I forgot to wish a Happy Hanukkah to my mishpochas...



...imagine that.

I was given two ancient HO scale freight kits by a friend. The interior bag is marked;

FINCO Consumers Co-operative
Made by Co-operative Trading Assn. Inc.
Wholesale and Retail Bakers
4301 Eighth Ave.
Brooklyn, N.Y.


The lack of a zip code puts this prior to 1967 but it's obviously much older than that. Water damage is minimal, the mildew rubbed right off and that was the only affected kit. Any help finding out who made these and when would be greatly appreciated...

UPDATE: These are from the Comet line of car kits and date back to 1939...dude, that's an old HO kit. Retail price back then? 35 cents...

Oh, and yes...I should've looked at the instructions first. They told me who the manufacturer was...sigh...

Animated Christmas Village...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Night Lights...

The great....

...and the not so great...