What is Your New Year’s Resolution?

One meaning of the word resolution, in the dictionary, means a formal expression of opinion or intention made.  And I guess that is exactly what we do when we make our New Year’s resolutions.  It is our opinion about what we need to change and what action is required to accomplish this change.  Then we either state it out loud to friends and family or we write it down on a piece of paper for ourselves.

I believe people who resolve to read their bible in a year’s time have under taken a great task.  There are yearly bibles to help you stay on track, and bible studies to help you be accountable.  But I think it can be overwhelming for most, because of the amount of reading and the lack of understanding of the words that are written.  My solution is to go and find books written about each of the books in the bible.  This way it is throughly explained and I can pick which one is interesting to me.  I do not put a time constraint on my ability to understand either.  I finish when I finish without the pressure.  Because who learns anything under pressure and tension?

One resolution could be to find an interesting book explaining a book in the bible and to read it.  If you finish it before the year is up, you can go on to another one.  Set your sights on one thing at a time.  You will find the words “I did it” becoming part of your vocabulary this way.

Now, my resolutions usually have to do with me personally. I already read the informational books.  So, the next step is changing myself from the inside out. Because like God, I know the worst parts of myself.

Another simple resolution could be enjoying life more, loving more, and finding joy in the most awkward circumstances.

Resolutions can be accomplished if we remember to keep them in our own little world at first and as we progress we can venture out.  Like the pebble thrown into the middle of a pond.  The ripples start out right next to where the pebble went in and then they progress outward until they encompass the whole pond.

What about your resolutions?  I would love to read and post them for others to read.  You may enlighten someone’s day or even brighten it with your post!  Send me a comment!

Shout It Out!

This past year, we have been visiting our area churches searching for a new church home.  For twelve years we were a very active part of a Presbyterian church.  Now we are without a church home.  My husband would like for us to return to his church roots and that is Southern Baptist.  I myself was a Southern Methodist.  Since Methodist is closely related to Presbyterian we decided to explore the Baptist first.

Have you ever walked into a sanctuary and wished you could jump up and run out as the sermon started?  We have had a few of these unpleasant experiences.  One church was because they forgot to put the sign on the door that day that said, “No Outsiders Allowed”.  But the others had to do directly with the Pastor’s style of preaching.

When their voices rose to the level of panting and shouting, we found ourselves painfully cringing.  Wanting to put my fingers in my ears, I could not help but think of this as obnoxious.  Now I know the excitement of the Message and how when telling someone you can become overwhelmed with emotions.  But how can your soul absorb these precious, holy words when they are erratically pounding off of the sanctuary walls like a large rubber ball set loose?  I can see the door of my mind closing to prevent harm to itself.

I feel a Pastor who spends a great deal of his weekly time on his knees before God, will show it in his face.  And God will give you a sense of fixation upon such face and tune your ears up to hear what he/she has to say.  Because it would come from God and your soul would joyously bathe in the sermon.  Not an hour on your weekly to do list, but an hour you would not want to end.

The Apostle Paul said, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. …” (1 Corinthians 2:1-8)

So, I tried to figure out, why they feel the need to be overly boisterous during the delivery of their sermon and these are some of my answers.

1. To make sure no one falls asleep during their sermon.

2. Noise pollution is so abundant today that they have adjusted their volume to align with the new level of hearing loss.

3. For those members with heart arrhythmia, it is a great way to shock their heart back into rhythm.

4. They have not been on their knees enough with God, so the message may be more man-inspired than God-inspired.

5. Only the real believers will stay in the sanctuary, and the rest will be frightened away.

Now, I don’t know if any of my answers are true.  And I did Google the web to see if there was preaching instruction in the bible like, “Thou shall shout at the tops of your lungs, and your face will reddened and you will sling your holy sweat across the congregation.” or something along those lines.  Did not find it.

So, as we search for a new church home, please pray for us.  I would like to keep what is left of my hearing and not end up with arrhythmia.

Naughty or Nice List?

Ok, it is now time to fess up and tell the truth.  Which list is your name on this year the naughty or the nice? I find it funny how a list can invoke such power over a child.  Just the mention of the list can destroy a full-blown temper tantrum!  My, what magic.

Somehow, “the list” appears to have a very different affect on us adults.  We utilize it as a tool, during Christmas time, to control our children’s behavior.  And sometimes that is not a bad thing!  However, for an adult to be on the “naughty list” brings about accolades from their peers.

My four-year-old granddaughter is certain her one-year-old sister is on the “naughty list” because she hits, kicks, and falls all over the toys. Big sister does not see the fact that little sister is learning to walk and trying to put those baby muscles into action, as involuntary movement.  She sees the flailing around and objects flying, and knows this is not a way to behave!

I guess we all do some flailing around at different times in our life.  Just like a toddler, we are learning to adapt to our environment and the process can be quite difficult.  We are not born knowing how to live in this world because we have been created for another world.  God’s world.

Therefore, here we are making chaos out of our lives by trying to live the way the world says we should live. Yet, God is still there, picking us up, wiping our snotty noses, kissing our boo boos, and then turning us back around to the right direction.  While whispering in our ear, “I love you”.

Now, I do not mean He will give you great wealth, make every day trouble free, or pluck you from the middle of a disaster.  He will help you in His way, which might have your scratching your head. And you may never understand His way for your life until you are physically in front of Him in heaven.  Nevertheless, God does not keep count of our sins or even a “naughty list”!  What??

Psalm 32:2

“Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”

This does not mean you can knowingly commit sin or be naughty, and get away with it. We acknowledge our sin, ask to be forgiven, and move forward trying to be a better person.  We should want to try to become the soul God made us to be!

So, I thought before the New Year began and while our thoughts are focusing on the “naughty or nice”, that I would offer some suggestions for a nicer you next year.  These are for me too!  I like to write them down and stick the post it on my mirror, so I can read it each morning!

God’s first basic set of rules is the Ten Commandments.

You shall have no other Gods before me.

You shall not worship idols.

You shall not misuse the name of God.

Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.

Honor your father and mother.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not lie.

You shall not covet.

Pray, talk to God about everything and ask Him for wisdom and discernment in all things.  This way He is in control of the situation, guiding you along.  Once you start asking, you will not stop!

Forgive yourself and forgive others.  Our past mistakes are not do-over situations.  They are done, so quit beating yourself down mentally because of them.  Forgiving others can be tough, especially if you have gone through a horrific ordeal at the hands of someone else.  Do it!  The benefit is for you not them.

Because the bible reminds us that if we expect God to give us mercy and grace, we must first be able to give mercy and grace.  I want mercy and grace!  Let God take care of it.  His judgment is much worse than any human judgment.  Have you read about the plagues He laid on Egypt?

Find a church or organization of Believers.  Make sure they follow the complete Holy Bible, the complete writings of God’s words.  Begin to read and study the bible with them.  There is nothing stronger than Christian fellowship to shore up your own life.  Disasters will appear less disastrous and love will ooze from you!

Know that you are loved!

 

My Celebrity Christmas Card!

Yesterday, on the internet, I could not help but notice the talk about celebrity Christmas cards.  As I viewed these cards, I had to press my tongue to the inside of my cheek.

They were impressively imaginative and over the top media representations of their lives.  The surreal world demonstrated made me wonder if these individuals actually believe they live in such a world?  This means a lot of thought, work, and time went into every detail of their card.  Once again, impressive.

Could I create a “celebrity” Christmas card that would cause such a stir among the news media?  Now, removing my tongue from the inside of my cheek. Of course, I don’t have the high-tech photography equipment and I would be reduced to using my Print Artist software and clip art.  But it would be fun to try.

Below is our Celebrity Christmas Card to you.  I don’t know if you recognize my celebrity, for He is not of the pop culture realm.  Yet, He has endured for over 2,000 years and will still be here, long after we are gone.

The first is the outside of the card and the second is the inside of the card.

Front Cover

Christmas Depression…Ho, Ho, Hummm

I know, I know! An article about Christmas Depression on a Monday, what could be worse?  But I promise you that by the end there will be hope, and you may feel a little emotional lift.

Ten years ago we lost my mother to breast cancer.  So, many things have been hard with her passing and much of those were the joyous times which we could no longer share together.  My children’s book, The Tent Maker, was published and her first great grandchild was born, yet the joy seemed a little deflated.  Christmas can be the hardest for me because her birthday was December 24.  Yes, Christmas Eve.

I can feel the cloud of sorrow and longing start to creep up on me around the second week in December.  Fighting to keep the internal rising of feeling sorry for myself, because I know I am way too blessed to act unappreciative, is a struggle.  And the children, grandchildren, along with other family members do not deserve this personal pity party that I want to throw for myself.  Who do I think I am anyway?  Wallowing in grief is something satan would want from me, not God.

But where do you turn?  How do you get out of the much and mire of self disappointment?  My solution is one, that I am sure you have been told to do time and time again. I read and I pray.  You can’t do it for one or two days and be cured; you have to make it a part of your everyday fiber!  (Sorry, but when you are close to fifty, fiber is very important!)

The bible and God are like homeopathic medications.  They work over periods of time in our life.  God is not the synthetic, man-made, solve all pill, like our pharmaceuticals of today.  God is the Only One, the Alpha and the Omega, all natural, all original; I want to be in your life every day through out eternity, medication.  He wants to walk, talk, and shoulder everything in our lives with us.  The catch is that you have to let Him.

Now, all of this free advice is coming from a bona fide control freak.  Yes, I admit it.  Letting go is not something I can do easily. I need help! So, I have a morning devotional called Jesus Calling by Sara Young.  You do not have to get up an extra hour earlier either, fifteen minutes at the most.

I have a prayer list, on a piece of notebook paper, in my bible for my morning prayers.  Forgetting to lift someone or a situation up and having to have an addend on my prayers, like “by the way God” throws me off schedule.  Control freak again.  The list can change from week to week and usually does.

At night I am reading You Want Me To Do What? by Michael Youseef, PhD.  I find that this calms my jumpy mind and then night time prayers.  My night time prayers are more about being thankful and asking forgiveness for my daily trip ups. Nothing elaborate or full of rhetoric, just plain “I need to talk” time.

Now, I know about time constraints and have heard all of the excuses about not liking to read, or knowing how to pray.  So let’s break down the excuses and get you moving forward. Time is what you make of it!  If you want a day with peace and joy along with the greatest warrior to fight your battles, then you can find fifteen to thirty minutes a day for God.  I am sure you find time to gab on the phone, update your face book page, and surf the web every day.  Usually those are mindless and time waste activities, another way to dull you into being a part of this world.  By the way, you are not of this world.  And reading should never be an issue for anyone because there are audio books.  No money involved either because you don’t have to spend a dime with the internet available; there are plenty of free bibles on line.

Two down and one to go!

Prayer can be such a stumbling block, because we are made to believe there is a certain formula for getting it right.  Wrong, God asks that we only talk to Him.  So, go to your favorite comfy chair.  Put a chair in front of your chair and have a seat.  Close your eyes and stretch out your hands.  Now imagine, God is in the chair across from you and He takes your small hands into His large, warm loving hands.  He gently strokes them while listening to your day.  God nods in understanding and squeezes the purest love back into your palms.  If you need to, lay your head upon His lap and give it all to Him.  Hand Him the good, the very bad, and the very ugly parts of your soul.  He will give you back forgiveness, peace, and the ultimate love!

Now, we have removed the basic stumbling blocks and it is your turn to get moving! Don’t wait another day! Let this holiday season be your chance for a better life!  Remember nothing will happen over night and sometimes life just stinks, but with God we can endure and come out better than before.  What are you waiting for?

Below is different scripture, which may help you.  Sometimes, I will tape scripture to my mirror to say every day.  It is my spiritual pep talk with myself.

Prayer

“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

“Yahweh is close to all who call on Him—to all who call on Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him: He will hear their cry and save them.” (Psalm 145:18-19)

Faith

“Yahweh is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble: He knows those who take refuge in Him.” (Nahum 1:7)

Sin

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Come to Me, all you who are weary and weighed down with heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in spirit. Indeed, you will surely find rest in Me! My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Hanging in There During Tough Times

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God (Yahweh), the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint; and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but those who wait for Yahweh shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

“Those who sow in tears will reap a harvest of joy; for though they may weep while going forth to plant their seed, if they persevere, they will undoubtedly return rejoicing—bringing their sheaves with them.” (Psalms 126:5-6)

I have told you these things so that you would find comfort in Me. In this world, you will suffer; but be courageous, for I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to enable them to fulfill the purpose for which they are called.” (Romans 8:28)

Sickness and Healing

Psalm 41:3 “The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.”

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 58:8 “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”

Jeremiah 17:14 “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”

Death and Loss

Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 7:15-17 “And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Isaiah 57:2 “Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”

Isaiah 25:8 “He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.”

My Prayer for You…Heavenly Father:

I pray for those who read this blog and are in great need of You.  I lift up their sorrows, their sicknesses, and their burdens that You may heal and renew them.  I pray for You to instill Your hope deep within their souls and Your love deep within their hearts.  Let them know with You all is taken care of and show them how to commit the rest of their life’s journey to You and Your Glory!

I pray for this to be a holiday of new beginnings for all!  I pray for peace, love, and joy!

In Jesus Name I Pray. Amen.

There Are No Cool Frogs In My World!

This week I was with my four-year-old granddaughter. We were outside and she was playing in a patch of clover. I told her I thought some frogs might be living in the clover because it was cool and moist. Without blinking an eye, she looked at me and said… “There are no cool frogs in my world.”

Now the phrase “in my world” has been among her vocabulary for quite some time. We have started using it to describe things we want to do or have, and things we do not want to do or have.

Now, the phrase is a perfect explanation for how we live and view our own lives, and others’ lives around us. I believe a four-year-old world, should be full of love, innocence, imagination, and pure fun! And we, adults, could be enlightened at how easily children mingle their world with other children’s worlds. It is almost a secret community of acceptance and love.

But when adults, organizations, religions, and other countries try to mingle their worlds, the results can be disastrous. The process usually means someone else has to be kinder, give-in, and forgiving.  Today “giving-in” is seen as a weakness.  Jesus did not and does not see it as a weakness, and best describes it in his Sermon on the Mount.

The beatitudes are found at Matthew 5: 3-12

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

This perfectly describes how our attitudes should be, but when dealing in others’ worlds they seem to be forgotten. Instead our attitudes resemble a head on collision between two vehicles. Parts are flying in the air, smoke, and gas spilling onto the road and smashed- up bodies dangling from the windows.

Did you know that one day there will be only one world?  I believe it will resemble a child’s world of acceptance and love.

It will not be the earth we know, because our earth will be annihilated. John describes the new world to us in Revelation 21:1…

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” 

Why would there be no sea on this new earth?  In Revelations we are told that the sea is going to be the source for the Beast.  Good plan! We do not know where this new earth will be or even what it will look like, but we do know it will be forever.  God promised Isaiah.  We also know God and his followers will be there.  I want to be there, do you?

I still have to wonder; if there will be cool frogs, in God’s new world?