The Wisdom of Fruit Trees: God’s Plan for You in 2021!

Hello, and blessings to you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ! Let me first start out by saying, I hope that you and your family had a wonderful and blessed Christmas and…

Happy New Year!

And I don’t just mean that in the traditional sense. I am speaking it over you and your family in Jesus’ name! The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” 3 John 2, NKJV, also says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” So, I am starting this year off right. I am speaking life! That said…

I know that if you are anything like me, you are probably thinking something like, “well, we tried that last New Year’s Eve, and you see where it got us.” I know. I get it. I lost my precious husband and my dear mother in 2020, my husband due to complications from Covid, as he was immune suppressed, and unable to recover from the damage it did to his lungs, and my mother from strokes. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t suffered some type of tragedy or great loss and hardship in this past year. As a matter of fact, I don’t know too many people who have much of anything positive to say about 2020. In fact, I’m pretty sure many, myself included, have had thoughts of giving up…

But wait!…

Now, let’s just back that up a minute…(insert sound of brakes screeching, like when you didn’t see the stop sign – Go ahead and go YouTube that if it makes you feel better, just be sure to come back. You DON’T wanna miss this Word God gave me this morning for you). What if…WHAT IF…. there is a more positive way to look at all of this? (Seriously, you’re not going to give all these trials this past year threw at us that much power over you, are you?) I know I’m not! I said the rear view mirror of my life was torn off, and I’m not sitting here trying to glue it back on! Take a few minutes to listen to this song…

It ain’t over till GOD says it’s over!!!

The first time I heard this song, it was a home video of a little girl whose mother recorded her singing it and, with permission, shared it on Facebook. It was such a powerful message to me. A couple of nights later, I even dreamed that I was hearing that video being played, and I could hear the little girl singing it. I wrote the mother an encouraging message telling her how much it had touched me and thanking her for sharing it….

Look. I know that if you’re anything like me, you probably have a few choice words you could say to this past year (if only it were a person, let’s face it, some of us watched too many of those old cartoons). I can tell you, my husband and I certainly would not have been welcoming in the year 2020 so joyfully on New Year’s Eve a year ago if we had known what it would bring. But it’s not a person, and well, we can’t turn back time. I think we all can identify with these feelings. I’m pretty sure many of us who suffered significant losses in this past year would agree that in a sense, we kind of woke up on New Year’s Day feeling much like someone in the wake of the damage after a tornado or hurricane, surveying the damage it has left behind. But let’s just turn it around and see if we can’t get a more positive perspective on it all, shall we? (Go ahead and go do that brake screech thing again if you want. Again, just come back, you DON’T wanna miss this! 🙂 )…

I’m sure if we really think about it, we could come up with some good things we did in 2020. Or better yet, ways that God did bless us to make it through – you’re still here, right? Or you wouldn’t be sitting here reading this. The topic for our Women’s Conference at our church a couple of years ago was, “Kept”. Our speakers dove in to the study of the women in the Bible who were “kept women”, kept by God Himself through the various trials they went through. And God left His fingerprints all throughout the pages of time, in that we can learn powerful lessons from their stories. So, what all has God “kept” you through this past year? The best way we can break the enemy’s power to use these trials and heartaches we have endured over us is to give God the praise for the ways He has kept us through these things. What has He kept you through this past year? What is one good thing you have done in 2020? Here’s my list:

  1. I published a powerful book of my testimony of my Near Death Experience in a car accident that will help people who have been through traumatic events and are giving up on their faith – you can check it out here!
  2. I survived Covid. God healed me so that I could be here to encourage you, and bring more fruit in for Christ’s kingdom.
  3. I celebrated a year being healed and delivered from breast cancer.
  4. I finished a new book (fiction) that my dear late husband, Keith, and I worked on together that we both felt will help people see that no life is too hopeless for God to change. It’s still in the editing stages, so it’s coming soon!
  5. I have seen God’s provision in powerful ways in every area of my life since my husband’s passing, the more I put Him first.
  6. I have learned from it all through His grace, and yielded all the broken pieces to Him, so He can use my story to help you too.
  7. I have more great inspirational books coming, and I have accepted His call to yield my life to ministry to others, and I could not be more excited about all He is going to do through me in 2021!

I believe if we think about it, we can all list some ways God has kept us through the storms of this past year, and the good things that did come out of it all, and in so doing, break the enemy’s power to use it to destroy us any further. That is simply “baggage” we are not going to drag into 2021. So, now, I will share with you the Word that God has given me, something I think will help us all. As a matter of fact, I felt His Holy Spirit nudging me earlier as I had my devotions, clearly letting me know, He had given me a Word and that He expected me to share it. So here goes. But first, I’ll give you a little more background information, so it will make more sense…

A LITTLE BACKGROUND INFORMATION: THE GARDEN OF YOUR HEART: A few years ago, as my husband and I found a good church and began to draw closer to God, He showed me a vision one morning that clearly let me know where I stood with Him. I think it will help you too, because I feel most of us can probably identify with this. So I saw what was supposed to be the “garden of my heart”. If you’ll just pick up your Bible and start reading it, you’ll see that Christ, our Lord Himself gave us teachings from this perspective. A good place to start is Matthew, Chapter 13. In this chapter, Jesus gave the Parable of the Sower. He led me to this several times over a period of time, and each time, His challenge was the same: “Which one are you?” For too long, I have been one to let too many of the “stones” the enemy had thrown into my path discourage me. I wasn’t standing on the Word as I should have been. If we keep on like this, those stumbling stones are what the enemy will use to snatch the Word away, so that it can’t be implanted deep into that soil of our heart’s garden. I also went for too long in the earlier years of my life not having the deep “rooting” of God’s Word in my life, so when those trials of life came, I didn’t have the root of that Word to guide me through it. —> (SPECIAL DEVOTIONAL SUGGESTION: I highly recommend sitting down with your family discussing this section of Christ’s teaching in Matthew 13. Don’t point fingers or judge each other. Just read it together, and talk about which of those types of soil characterizes that “garden” in each of your hearts. Then, pray together about it, and ask God to show you all ways to get that deep rooting in His Word that will help you grow stronger and stand together through the trials that may come. Get back together, in, say, a week or two, and talk about ways each of you have grown stronger in these areas. Give thanks as a family for the ways He has helped you grow together.)

So, what I saw, as far as the “garden of my heart” was a barren, desolate place, with dry, hardened, cracked ground. Nothing was growing. There was no “fruit” being produced. Then, I saw the “gate”, and Jesus standing on the other side of it, and what He said to me changed everything for me that day. He said, “I want to help you, but you have to let Me in first.” Did you get that? It is we who have to open that gate and let Him in. You see, for too long, I was, as I talk about in my book, “CPR for Your Faith from Beyond Death’s Door”, a strong-willed, stubborn, hard-headed little Ms. Independent who thought I knew how to handle life on my own. There are a lot of things that can make us that way. For years, I had been made to feel worthless and this eventually led to the mind trap of approval seeking, and way too much allowing my attitude, thoughts, and actions to be controlled by what others thought of me, etc., etc…

Now, I know better. That’s the “old” me. Let’s take a look at what Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:20-24: “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:  that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,  and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (NKJV) Now, let’s look at 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (NKJV)

This means that if we are in Christ, meaning, walking in His promises of His Word, and we have truly opened the gate of that garden of our hearts, then, and only then, He can come in and transform all of that barren, unproductive ground into a beautiful, lush garden, full of trees producing loads of fruit for Him. But He is a gentleman. He will not force Himself on anyone. It is you, and I, who must make that decision to open that gate of our hearts and let Him in. So, I began to get more deeply into prayer with Him, and I opened that gate of my heart as I finally realized I couldn’t do it on my own, and that has made all of the difference.

In the aftermath of all that had transpired in the past year, I will admit that I had, for a time, hardened to the point that I thought I had lost something very precious to me. I didn’t hear God speaking to me in the mornings when I woke up anymore. Truth is, I hadn’t lost it, or Him. He was right there all along, just as He is with each of us who will open that gate of our heart’s garden and let Him in. But when we start to try to handle things on our own again, look out! This is what the enemy wants. Over time, he sows his weeds of doubt, despair, and hopelessness, and even tries to make you think you can’t hear from God anymore. So, as I began to pray more and get back into seeking a closer relationship with the Savior, and put Him first again, and LET HIM HANDLE THINGS, instead of letting the enemy fool me into trying to handle it on my own (see Proverbs 3:5-6), I began to awaken in the mornings hearing my gentle, loving Savior there again, speaking to me, showing me things, and guiding me. What came to me from the Holy Spirit this morning is going to change your perspective on this coming year, just as it has mine. And now, the Word He has given me for you for 2021…

THE WISDOM OF FRUIT TREES: GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU, AND ME, IN 2021: As I awakened this morning, I was seeing a vision, as is often the case. At first, I was seeing what represented the garden of my heart, and I felt as God spoke to my heart that what He was saying applies for all of us. It looked like the aftermath of a tornado or hurricane. I had the feeling, as many of us do right now, of waking up after a terrible storm. I then saw a tall, flourishing fruit tree, and He said to me,

“I am going to take all of the broken pieces of your grief, sadness, sorrows, and broken dreams of this past year and turn it all into the compost that will enrich the fruit trees of the fruit you will bear for Me in this coming year if you will only yield it all to Me. Yield the broken dreams and the shards you have tried to pick up on your own to Me, and you will see what I will do, for I will take what the enemy meant to destroy you and turn it into the rich compost that will nourish the fruit trees of your heart’s garden. So will I take the weeds and the broken pieces of what was meant for your harm and turn it around for your good. I will make the heartaches, disappointments, failures, and broken dreams of 2020 into the powerful, divinely enriched compost of 2021 that will yield a greater harvest than anything you have ever imagined possible if you will only yield it all to Me, for there is nothing that I cannot do.”

Only yield it all to the Master Gardener standing at the gate of your heart’s garden now, and He will turn your chaos into the chorus of His praise, your calamity into renewed confidence, and your tragedies into triumph that will bring glory to His name, if you will only trust Him. He knows what is ahead, and He is well able to do above and beyond all that we can ask or think. We do not know what tomorrow holds, and no doubt, this year will hold challenges of its own, but we can rest assured that if we put our trust in the One Who holds tomorrow in His hand, we will make it through. Jesus said in these latter days, we would have trials and tribulations (Matthew 24), but He also said, “be of good cheer, I have already overcome the world” (John 16:33).

If you are still here, it’s because He still has work you can do for His Kingdom. It’s because He has a reason for you to still be here. You can help bring in the great harvest that will precede Christ’s return. So, as we are all thinking of those New Year’s Resolutions, why not make one to let Him back in the “driver’s seat”? This past Christmas, as we prepared to celebrate the miracle of Christ’s birth and what it means for all of us, I have to say, after all my family and I have endured in 2020, I found myself going through my own personal advent season. As I prayerfully embarked on this journey, it was quite a revealing process as I discovered all that I had been allowing to be placed on the “throne of my heart” before Him.

So, this next time around, let’s not leave Him the “manger”, but may we all accept the challenge to graciously and humbly yield it all back to our Heavenly Father, the One Who created us, and Who sent His Son, our Jesus, to die for us, so that we could have eternal life in Heaven with Him. May we each find that new joy and healing, peace and comfort, encouragement, and renewed faith and vision for greater things that can only come when we finally open that gate to the “garden of our hearts” and let the Master Gardener in. We may not know what tomorrow holds, or which of us will be here next year to celebrate another year, but when we let Him back in, and give Him His place back on the throne of our hearts, we can rest assured that there is nothing that can stop the great things He can and will do in our lives.

Let’s let Him take all of the broken pieces of what the enemy meant to destroy us in 2020, and put it all through the “compost machine” of His power through the matchless and mighty name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and turn it into the compost that His Holy Spirit will use to nourish the fruit trees He has already planted in the gardens of our hearts. Then, and only then, will we see how truly flourishing and beautiful the garden of our hearts can be. Only then, will we see the great and powerful harvest we are truly capable of. May we each bring in a greater fruitful yield for His Kingdom in 2021 than we have ever dreamed possible.

Will your “garden” bring in a great harvest for the Kingdom in 2021? Let Him turn the heartaches of 2020 into the “compost” to enrich the fruit trees for what He will do through you this year!

New Release! My NDE Testimony: CPR for Your Faith from Beyond Death’s Door – Get Your Copy Now!

November 16, 1985 was almost the last day of my life…

As my family watched me being rushed from the ambulance into the emergency room, bleeding from a gaping head wound, and in agony from a fractured pelvis, they didn’t know if I was even going to make it…

Blurred hospital corridor concept emergency case

BUT GOD…

BUT GOD…!!!

…GOD looked into the future and saw you…

Now available from Rivers of Grace Books…

CPR for Your Faith from Beyond Death’s Door” is here!

The book you don’t want to miss has arrived!

Now, at a time when giving up is simply not an option, more people than ever are giving up on their faith. We are the Body of Christ, yet the “pulse” has weakened…

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…and the clock is ticking as we move ever toward the return of Jesus, our Lord, to rapture the Church…

In my powerful and encouraging new book, “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door”, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble from K&F Stewart Ministries, (initials of my husband’s and my first names, Keith & Flossie), under our new imprint, Rivers of Grace Books, I will share my story, along with what I’ve learned on my long road to healing, and what God has given me to share with you about the special kind of “CPR” your faith needs.

If you don’t read another book this coming year, you don’t want to miss this one!

Have you been through a traumatic event?

Felt like giving up?

Does your faith need God’s CPR?

Then you need CPR for Your Faith from Beyond Death’s Door!

In this powerful book, you will discover…

  • 5 reasons your faith is under attack
  • God’s CPR and the importance of unclogging your “faith arteries”
  • The Great Physician’s recommendations for a healthy Christian heart
  • Throwing off excess baggage and preparing to sail toward God’s plan for you
  • Navigating your course with God’s “GPS”
  • The hidden part of the iceberg the enemy doesn’t want you to see
  • The crucial reasons giving up is absolutely NOT an option
  • How working together, our “pulse” as the Body of Christ can beat strongly again, and more…
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Available on Amazon in paperback and ebook.

Available on Barnes & Noble in hard cover (paperback version should be available soon).

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An imprint of K & F Stewart Ministries…

Know someone who is thinking of giving up? Please share this with them via the buttons below!

What if YOUR story could change someone’s life?

* * * * *

 

34 Years Later – A Celebration: 34 Promises of Our Soon Coming Lion of Judah!

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

34 Years ago today…

Thirty-four years ago today, on the morning of Saturday, November 16, 1985, my family drove to the hospital, and watched anxiously as I was wheeled into the ER on a stretcher, covered in blood from a gaping head wound, a concussion, and a fractured hip. By that time, I had stopped calling out, “What happened…”, etc. As they worked frantically to stabilize me, an IV in each arm, taking my blood pressure something like every 5 minutes, I felt myself fading from this life…for the 2nd time.

Although I have no conscious memory of the accident that almost took my life, I would later watch the entire scene unfold on the screen of my mind through hypnosis and the power of God’s Holy Spirit…only from about 20 feet above the car. Because of my injuries and extensive loss of blood, I had to drop out of nursing school, thus, my career I would have had as a nurse was derailed. I was left without much hope of a future. Diagnosed with PTSD, and other problems that would develop over time, I would eventually reach a point of nearly giving up on God and on life itself.

Now, 34 years later, I have written the book that will tell my story, using my testimony of my near death experience in the accident and my healing journey through the years as a backdrop to what God has given me on resuscitating the broken faith of those who have been through traumatic events and become discouraged to the point of giving up. But I will get more into all of this in the book, which will be published under my own imprint, Rivers of Grace Books. Finally, after years of working on it, in between life as a mother and grandmother, it is almost ready! I am excited! So excited in fact, that I have decided to celebrate by doing something a little different.

Here for you below, are 34 promises straight from the Word of God; one for each of the past 34 years that God’s healing, restoring, and renewing grace has led me on this journey. Oh, there are more, many more, but these are some I felt important to include for you now that I feel will be very helpful for you. This was adapted from a recent Facebook post I did, although I have edited it a bit and added a few more, for a total of 34. Feel free to share this post with anyone you know who might find it useful and encouraging.

Have YOU been through a traumatic event? Have you felt like giving up? Click here for more about the book.

As I will discuss in more detail in the book, I was given a 2nd chance at life, because He saw you and knew the encouragement and healing you would need at this time in your life. Whatever it is that you may have gone through, these promises of God’s undefeated Word have been tested and proven all through time. They will work for you too, just as they have for me.

Most of these are probably New King James Version, although some are KJV. I am pretty sure I mentioned most of these in the book, but here, I have condensed these for you into this handy little list. I hope you find it helpful and that it builds and encourages your faith. So, without further ado, here we go!

34 Promises of God, Celebrating Our Soon Returning King of Kings

1 – PROMISE OF HIS FORGIVENESS, SALVATION! – John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Romans 10:9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

2 – HIS PROMISE OF SALVATION FOR OUR UNSAVED LOVED ONES – Acts 16:30-31 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Isaiah 54:13All your children shall be taught by the LordAnd great shall be the peace of your children.” Acts 2:38-39Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. Acts 10:34 “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:” Romans 2:11 “For there is no respect of persons with God.” – What He has done for one, He will do for another! Romans 8:28 (see number 3) – He is working all things for our good when we choose to serve Him, AND –> “Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

3 – HIS PROMISE TO THOSE WHO SERVE HIM – “All things work together for good to them that love God, that are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

4 – OUR HERITAGE, HIS PROTECTION NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST US SHALL PROSPER! – Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” 

5 – OUR WEAKNESS, SICKNESS, HIS OPPORTUNITY – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 His strength is made perfect in our weakness…”And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

6 – HIS PROMISE OF HEALING, FORGIVENESS – James 5:15 The prayer of faith shall save the sick…”And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” Isaiah 53:5 …by His stripes we are healed.” 

7 – PROMISE OF COURAGE TO HIS SERVANTS – Galatians 6:9 “Be not weary in well doing, for we shall reap in due season if we faint not.”  

8 – PROMISE OF PROTECTION AGAINST EVIL – James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

9 – PROMISE OF HIS PROTECTION, GUIDANCE – Isaiah 43:2 “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” 

10 – PROMISE OF HIS FELLOWSHIP – Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

11 – PROMISE OF NEW BEGINNINGS – Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” 

12 – PROMISE OF HELP, STRENGTH, PROTECTION – Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

13 – PROMISE OF HIS GUIDANCE – Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

14 – PROVISION – Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

15 – HEALING – Psalm 23:2 “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” 

16 – RESTORATION, GUIDANCE – Psalm 23:3 “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” 

17 – PROTECTION FROM EVIL – Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” 

18 – PROVISION, VINDICATION – Psalm 23:5 “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” 

19 – PROVISION, PROTECTION, FAVOR FOR LIFE, ETERNAL REWARD FOR SERVICE TO HIM – Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” 

20 – ENCOURAGEMENT – HE WILL FINISH WHAT HE STARTS IN YOU! – Philippians 1:6 “He that began a good work in you will bring it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.”

21 – WISDOM AND GUIDANCE – James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.  

22 – PROMISE THAT WE ARE FORGIVEN! – 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ.”

23 – HIS HERITAGE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS – Psalm 37:3-6 “Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday.

24 – PROMISE OF COMFORT FOR THE GRIEVING – Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”

25 – HIS CLOSENESS TO THE BROKENHEARTED – Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” 

26 – PROMISE OF VINDICATION – Romans 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

27 – PROMISE OF HIS REWARD FOR HIS FAITHFUL SERVANTS – 1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

28 – HE WILL NOT ALLOW US TO BE TEMPTED BEYOND WHAT WE ARE ABLE TO BEAR – 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

29 – HE WILL NOT ALLOW US TO BE COMPLETELY BROKEN – 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”

30 – STRENGTH IN TIME OF TROUBLE, PEACE, AND HIS INHERITANCE – Psalm 37 – all, click here to read. Psalm 57:1 “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” Psalm 27 – Click here to read.

31 – PROMISE OF HIS PLAN FOR OUR FUTURE – Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

32 – HE HAS PROMISED US THAT HIS PROMISES WILL NOT FAIL! – “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:11

33 – PROMISE OF HIS RETURN FOR HIS SAINTS – Acts 1:11 “Men of Galilee,” they said. “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

HE CAME FIRST AS A HUMBLE LAMB…

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HE’S COMING BACK AS THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH!

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

– 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 

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“Behold the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has overcome to open the scroll and its seven seals.” – Revelation 5:5

And, I saved the best for last (but it is certainly not the least!):

34 – HIS REWARD WITH HIM FOR OUR WORK FOR HIM ON EARTH – Revelation 22:12 “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

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My book, “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door” (Resuscitating the Christian Heart, Yes, Your Ship is Coming In!”, is written especially for the broken, discouraged, and those who have been through traumatic events, such as what I went through, and have reached the point of giving up on their faith in God. I expect to have it available very soon! If you or someone you know would be interested in a copy, click here for more information, and be sure to subscribe so you’ll be among the first to know!

Do you have lost, unsaved loved ones who have not received Christ as their Lord and Savior? Are there some in your family, friends, co-workers, etc, who have become discouraged and broken and given up on their faith? I think we all have loved ones in these catagories. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” We have a special kind of unity at our church, a shared burden for the lost, the broken, and those who need God’s restoration, not only in our families, etc, but in our community as well. We pray with each other and lift each other up as we speak God’s Word in agreement over the salvation, restoration, and deliverance that is needed. When one of our church family members’ prayer is answered, the rest of us rejoice with them, knowing that what He has done for one of us, He will do for the rest of us. We need only speak His Word and agree on it together (see Matthew 18:19-20, Hebrews 11:1). Here is a special link to a post I found on scriptures we can pray over them: 14 Bible Verses To Pray For Your Unsaved Family Members.

Know someone who would find this information useful? Share! Hit the buttons below to share with your friends! Let us bear one another’s burdens and work to lift each other up until He comes! Believe and He will bring it to pass!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and may God bless you as you continue in your own journey to finding His wonderful plan for your life!

Life’s “Hiccups”- The Cure That Works #HowtoStopHiccups #TheWaterofLifeisFree

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” – John 4:13-14
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You know, those pesky hiccups can show up without warning, and at the most inopportune times. And when they do, forget even trying to have a conversation! Can you say, “embarrassing”?

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

HICCUPS STOPPING HACK (This works!) –

For all those people like me for whom, nothing, and I mean, NOTHING, works when you get hiccups…
So, I found a way to stop hiccups instantly. So far, I have tried it twice, and it works. One of the neat things about the fact that I know God guides my life and my steps is the joy I feel when He guides me even in the smallest things. It’s knowing that He is never “too busy” to be bothered by our concerns. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
In ALL your ways…did you get that?. and “he SHALL“, not might…
So here you go…(No guarantees here, but just had to share this): If you have a water bottle sitting nearby, and those pesky hiccups start up, here’s what you do:
1. Pick a number (I did 3)…
2. Take 3 (or whatever no. you chose) sips, then STOP
3. Wait and count 5 or 6 seconds, THEN
4. Take 3 more sips.
5. Repeat this like 2 or 3 times.
I have done this twice, as I have had a couple of mornings recently that I actually woke up with hiccups, and both times, it worked, they just stopped instantly, within 2 or 3 repeats of the above steps. Evidently, in processing the sipping, stopping, and counting rhythm, your brain “forgets” to send the signal to keep the hiccups going, and it stops them instantly! Again, no guarantees, and if they keep up, or if you have other issues, you should still follow up with a doctor, but I just thought this was too good not to share. I will be curious to see if it actually works for anyone else. 🙂
…You’re welcome 😀

Life’s  Little  (Or Sometimes Not So Little) “Hiccups”…

Just the same, life can be full of “hiccups”, and just like the physical ones, those “bumps in the road” of life can have a way of uprooting everything. Kind of like that hurricane we just had move through our area, Hurricane Florence. Oh, and if you ever visit North Carolina and you ask one of us older folks about Hurricane Fran, make sure you aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere.
Below are links to some of my recent posts that you or someone you know might find helpful. Think of it as that “drink of water” for whatever “hiccups” you may have encountered on life’s road. Click on each link to open the post in a new tab, then look for the buttons below the post to share them with your friends, or like, tweet, or whatever you do!

So How Do You Stop Life’s “Hiccups”?

With the “Water of Life”, of course.
I’m not talking about water you drink. This kind of water is found only in God’s Word, The Holy Bible He gave us, and we can only come to Him through Jesus Christ, His Son, Who died for our sins, and took our punishment so we could have eternal life with Him. John 14:6 says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
My friend, Jesus has provided that water for you, but He will not force you to “drink” it. But I can truly testify to you that if you are willing to receive it, you will never “thirst” again for the things of this world.
No, we cannot stop life’s “hiccups” from coming. We will face those bumps in the road, those storms that often derail us and leave us wanting to give up. But we can face them knowing we do not face them alone, because He has already gone before us to prepare the way, and if He lives within you, as He does me, then you know you are already a fountain of that water, springing up into the everlasting life He has promised to all who will believe. Come get your drink now. Jesus is waiting for you with open arms.

Do you know someone who has suffered from life’s “hiccups”, who could use a “drink of water”? Know someone who would benefit from this information? Please share via the buttons below to share this post, or visit the individual links above to share those posts.
What if YOUR story could change someone’s life?  – Well, start writing already! That book isn’t going to write itself! You can do it, because Philippians 4:13 says you can!
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The Grand Equation: 5 Steps to Finding Peace – God’s Formula for Balancing Out the Equation of Your Life #5StepstoFindingPeace

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Do you sometimes feel like your life is out of balance, like there’s something missing?
Does it seem that no matter what you do, things just don’t “add up”?
Would you like to know how you can find that balance and peace in your life?
My friend, there is a way. But are you really seeing the greater picture, or just going by what you can see immediately around you, as it applies to you?
Stay with me here, this gets really good. I know it has helped me. I know this because I have lived it, and found out most of it the hard way. I am currently 52 years old, soon to be 53, and I can honestly say, when you reach this pinnacle on the journey through life, you want to share the wisdom you’ve gained (most of it the hard way if you’re like me) with others, and hopefully maybe prevent someone else from taking the same falls in life you have.
Isaiah 40:31 is a powerful verse that has guided me through some of the rockiest, toughest roads of my life. It reminds us to see that greater picture through the eyes of the eagle:
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
We all go through hurt in this life. Most of us can relate to going through these painful times in our life. People you thought you could trust “stab you in the back”, reject you, judge you without getting the facts. Old unforgiven hurts and grudges. People who have written you off a long time ago. So how do you ever find peace despite it all?
1. Look at the Bigger Picture…From the Greater Perspective of Our Creator
The answer is simple. But you must first understand that you need to look at it from the proper perspective. As humans, we only see what is immediately around us. However, the eagle sees all that is on the ground below. If we pray for God to help us “mount up with wings as eagles” as the above scripture promises we can, then we see the picture through the eyes of that eagle, or closer to God’s perspective, seeing the whole picture.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we tend to see ourselves in the middle of our little “circle of life”, envisioning everyone else and everything in life rotating around us. But in reality, we are not seeing the full picture. It is our Heavenly Father, our Creator, Who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us by His grace, which we didn’t even deserve, Who belongs in the middle of that circle. So, the first thing each of us must do is put Him back in the center of our lives, and stop making it about ourselves.
Hey, I am talking to myself here too, friends. I went through years of heartache, dysfunction, and disappointment, because of the bad choices I made early in my life. I’ve also gone through a lot of undue stress and wasted precious time I cannot get back before I could ever get it through my head that it wasn’t all about me.
But what about all those hurtful situations that we find ourselves going through that we feel we didn’t even deserve? How do we forgive those who have hurt us deeply for no good reason, or treated us unfairly?
2. Forgive, Let Go, and Let God…
Well, first, we forgive them with the same grace Christ was willing to forgive us of our own sin. (See Matthew 6:14-15, Mark 11:25, among others).
Romans 12:19 boldly emphasizes this: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
He sees that bigger picture a whole lot better than we do, and He sees the hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him and nothing surprises Him. Besides, we never know that when we show them the love of Christ and forgive, it might just touch their hearts and win them over to Him. When we insist on being angry and getting our own vengeance, we rob Him of that.
Once we see it all from His Grander Perspective and forgive, this closes the door to the enemy being able to further use it to control us, and it opens the door for our loving Heavenly Father to work it to our advantage (see Romans 8:28, Galatians 6:9). Then, we apply a simple formula, which I will share with you here. For that, we’re gonna do some math.
I heard those groans! I know, math was never my best subject either, but this is a simple and time-tested process. I know because I have already been tested on it, so now, I am sharing it with you because I know it will work for you just as it has for me…
I have a chapter in my upcoming book, “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door”, called, “God’s Mathematics”…If the “equation” of your life isn’t “balancing out”, try what He has told me (and it won’t, until you do this, trust me, no better yet, trust Him)…
3. Take yourself OUT of the equation.Hey, I know that’s hard, believe me, it was for me. But like I said, in order for this to work, we each and every one have to get this through our stubborn, human heads…it’s not about us. It’s about Him, and what He did for us. It’s also about what is available to us, if we are only willing to believe, trust Him, and put Him back in control. This means total surrender from all the “I deserve, I shoulda, I coulda, I woulda, I’m gonna…”
Let. It. Go. This is the only way it can work. It represents total surrender to Him, the only One Who can save us…even if it means saving us from ourselves first. Trust me when I say, I went through this one “kicking and screaming” – okay, not literally. 😉
4. Put Him (Jesus, our Lord and Savior) in all the places you’ve been putting yourself.
Then…and only then…will it finally start to balance out. Trust me. It works.
For a long time, I held on to resentment, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, and the longer I held on to it, the longer I kept making it about “what I felt I should have been entitled to”, what I deserved, ya da ya da… I wasted a lot of time trying to figure it all out myself. It wasn’t until I let all of that go, and turned it all over to Him, and did just what He’d told me, that it all began to work out, and I began to finally have peace.
Now, for no. 5…
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5. Put down the pencil. – That’s right, just give Him the “pencil”!
After all, HE ALREADY HAD YOU FIGURED INTO THE EQUATION – long before you or I were even born. We need only turn to His Word for proof of this…
  • Genesis 15:5 – “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.”
  • Galatians 3:8-9 – “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed. So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.”
  • Galatians 3:29 – “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
  • Matthew 10:30 – “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
  • Luke 12:7 – “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
  • Matthew 6:26-27 – “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”
  • Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

And this one, which speaks for itself, as all of God’s Word does…

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  • Psalm 139:13-16 – “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”
The Grand Equation…
Too many times, the hurt, damaged self esteem, and feelings of worthlessness we have suffered at the hands of others leaves us damaged in ways that have left us unable to trust our Heavenly Father, Who only wants the best for us, and created us with His perfect plan in mind for each of us.
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Only He sees the grand equation of the plan He had for our lives, fully balanced out, with all the factors in place, blessings He had originally intended for us, many of which we often forfeit when we insist on being in control and doing things our way. Far too often, we grieve His Spirit when we do this, and we hinder, or delay His ultimate plan for us.
Jeremiah 29:11 “sums” it up best: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – KJV
The New King James Version renders it this way: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
In truth, it is only in finally letting go, releasing it all to Him, turning the “pencil” over to Him, and trusting Him to balance it all out, in His perfect, all-knowing, all-seeing way, as He sees fit, that we will finally begin to see that we are already a part of a far grander equation than we could have ever dreamed possible. We only see one page, of the greater “book” that He sees, the “bestseller” He penned, with you as the main character, long before you were even born. 
If you know someone who needs this word of encouragement, please share via the buttons below! And don’t forget to subscribe to my email, via the tab above so you can receive email notifications of my book, “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door”, coming soon, as well as future book releases. 

The Most Priceless Perfume You Could Ever Wear…

A reflection on 2 Corinthians, 1 & 2, emphasis: chapter 2, verses 14 & 15…This is something God led me to for our devotion this past week, and I thought it was so powerful that I just had to share it!
For those of you who may read my posts regularly, you know as an author, I have, up until now, only written fiction books (see my two currently available books in the side bar, or visit my home page). Currently, I have other projects I am still working on, which I hope to have available soon, but one, for which I am currently looking at publishers, is a non-fiction book, which will be inspirational to those who have suffered traumatic events and/or are giving up on faith in God. It will have my testimony of my near death experience in a horrific automobile accident in November of 1985. Click here to read more on this. Be sure to hit the subscribe tab above if you or someone you know would be interested in a copy when it comes out.

Priceless Perfume?

What do the words “expensive perfume” make you think of? Chances are, you are already naming off a few brand names. What are your favorites? How about “priceless perfume”? Perhaps you are thinking only celebrities could afford it if it was “priceless”. But the type of perfume I am talking about here is much more priceless than any of it…

2 Corinthians, Chapter 1 at a Glance…

In chapter 1, after talking about the “trouble” they ran into in Asia, so that they “despaired even of life” (verse 8), Paul thanks the Corinthians for their prayers for them (verse 11), and reminds them that they do not operate their ministry according to the flesh, or “fleshly wisdom”, but by the grace of God (verse 12). He goes on to remind them of the “yes” of the promises of God. I have read the entire New Testament, and one of the things that really impresses me about Paul’s ministry is, he put his whole heart into it, and didn’t just go one time to preach the Gospel to these people, he made it his life’s purpose to go back and follow up on them. In his writing to them here, he actually gives them the route he had intended to take to come by and see them. If you go back and study Philippians, chapter 4:10-17, he talks about giving, not that he “desires gifts from them”, but that “fruit abounds to their account”. He knew that once they understood this, and gave, either in money or provisions, food, etc, to help in his ministry, they would be “bearing fruit”, and he knew they would then see the ways God would bless them back for it (you can’t out give God! Try it!).

2 Corinthians, Chapter 2, Here’s the Good Stuff!

That’s just a little background info to catch you up to what’s going on in chapter 2. Now, to get into the good stuff! Although it’s not clear (to me) whether Paul is, at this point, in prison or what his exact circumstances at this point were (pastors, teachers, anyone, feel free to comment and elaborate on this), it is fairly clear, at least to me, in verses 3-4, that he very likely wrote these words weeping, in being unable to get to them. He makes it clear here, the love (of Christ) that he so “abundantly” has for them:

And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. (verses 3-4, KJV). 

Now, that is love! Paul’s joy in his ministry was in being able to go back and see them living the joy of bearing fruit for Christ, basically saying here, “your joy is my joy”. So, what really jumped out at me in reading this chapter was, he stated 4 reasons in his writing to them:

  1. Their joy (in Christ) is his joy, not sorrowing Him, but the joy of seeing the fruit of his labor, thus, his dedication in actually following up on them.
  2. That they would know his dedication and his love for them, in reflecting for them, the love of Christ for them all, which was his affirmation that he had gotten through to them, seeing the fruit of his labor, thus how he was able to rejoice, even in prison, through the tears he wrote them through.
  3. Reminding them of the importance of forgiving and comforting those who did wrong (“caused grief”, verse 5) as Christ forgives us, in His great love for us.
  4. To “put them to the test” as stated in verses 9-11, reminding them that not forgiving, as Christ forgives us, opens the door for the devil, (verse 11b-“…for we are not ignorant of his devices”).

Now, for the really good part! So, what, you may be asking, does all of this have to do with perfume? No doubt, if you really wanted to do some research on this, they did have “perfumes” in those days. Here are some other Bible verses about perfume. In Matthew 2:11, the wise men visited the Christ child and gave Him gifts of what would have been very expensive oils or perfumes in that time:

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” -Matthew 2:11, KJV

And I actually found this! —> Scents of the Bible, click here!

Mark 14:3 tells the story of the woman with the alabaster box. Although the King James version doesn’t mention the word, several other translations refer to the costly perfume it held as “Nard”, which is actually one of the scents above, which is an Amazon page on which you can buy these 3 perfumes.

Now, back to 2 Corinthians, the two verses I especially wanted to emphasize here are verses 14 & 15:

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (King James version)

The New King James version of the Bible renders it this way:

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

In doing the things Paul was so dedicated to teaching us in showing the love and forgiveness of Christ to others, and being a Godly example in our daily actions, we “diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge” wherever we go, we are the “fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing”. For an insightful post I wrote this past Christmas on doing just that for those who “no longer feel the joy of Christmas” click here. 

When we go to dress up for a special occasion, we wouldn’t put on cheap perfume that stinks. Just the same, if we don’t do these things Paul talked about, and conduct any ministry we try to have in the ways Paul reminds us here, and show Christ’s love to others we minister to as he did, then, we “stink”. Plain and simple. We must “diffuse the fragrance of Christ”, everywhere we go, or we stink. And who wants that?

And you know I just had to include this for you. We’ve all felt like that woman at one point or other. So, here you go, enjoy, and go be that “Fragrance of Christ”!

The Light that Still Guides Us: Reaching Out to Those that No Longer Feel the Joy of Christmas

“When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:9-11

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”
Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Three wise men and the star

Well, here it is, Christmas time again, everyone’s favorite time of year…or not…

Unfortunately, with each passing year, more and more people I know have ended up in that second category. For these people and their families, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays no longer hold the joy they once did. They are unable to feel the joy of the season because of the overwhelming feelings of grief and sadness. In many cases, the loss of their loved one has happened unexpectedly, only weeks or days before the beginning of the holiday season. Then too, others are unable to “get into the spirit” because they know they will be spending the holidays alone. Of course, being a “military brat” myself, my Dad having served fourteen years in the U.S. Army, I know first hand, there are many who have a loved one who happens to be deployed at the time of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I also know what it’s like to feel the pangs of grief because of a loved one taken way too soon, and the big hole it leaves in your heart, and your family. For these reasons, I couldn’t let this Christmas go by without at least offering my take on it all. I know that all the pretty words in the world won’t bring a loved one back, but still, a comforting word from one who’s been there can help more than you know.

No matter what reason a family you know might find themselves with an empty chair at their Christmas table this year, we cannot forget the reason we are celebrating Christmas in the first place, and it is because of Him, our Savior, Jesus Christ, God’s gift to us, that was given so that we could receive the gift of eternal life. We cannot forget that if we have that light of hope in our hearts that comes through having a relationship with Him, then we can share that light with others who are less fortunate than ourselves, those who are hurting, and those who are so overcome with sadness and grief, especially when it involves one who was lost way too soon, who had their whole lives ahead of them. I know several classmates (different schools) who have tragically lost a child. I also know from experience, what my family, especially my parents, went through when we lost my brother, Charles, at only 9 years old. The Christmas of ’77 is forever etched in my memory, and at times over the years, it has seemed almost as if I have been unable to move past that point. There were 3 of us kids, I was the oldest, 12 at the time. Our younger brother had just started school. Charlie’s passing left a big hole in our family that nothing can ever fill…that is, except the love and comfort of our Savior, the “peace that passes understanding”. But those who are hurting will never know we care, and that He cares, if we don’t share it with them.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16

For those families, friends, or others we may know who are going through this, it goes without saying that it can be rather painful, to see all of the photos posted on (I’ll just say, “social media”), of the seemingly picture perfect families, and the beautifully set holiday dinner tables. Then too, even for those who still manage to gather together for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or even a New Year’s party, no matter how nicely and festively, or sparsely, their table might be set, it does nothing for the emptiness and pain of grief they feel because of that empty chair, where someone they loved should have been. Whether it’s a family grieving the loss of a loved one, a family facing Christmas without a deployed parent, husband, or wife, or someone spending Christmas alone for the first time, (I’ve been through my share of “Hard Candy Christmases”, too) it can be all too easy to label them a “Scrooge” or a “Grinch” when they post on social media about how they are unable to get into the Christmas spirit, or something to that extent (Okay, so you just thought it, that’s still just as bad, but hey, we’re all guilty on that one). I’ll even go so far as to say that with all that has been going on lately, and having just lost a cousin on my Dad’s side, I will admit I myself have been feeling more like a “Scrooge” at the beginning of the season. But let’s just back this whole thing up a minute…

This morning, my husband and I were led to Matthew, chapter 18. At the beginning of the chapter, Jesus calls a little child to Him, and tells those listening, that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must all become like little children. So, to illustrate my point, I am going to do just that…

My youngest grandson recently spent some time with us during a period of transition with his daycare, and during that time, he wanted to watch “The Grinch that Stole Christmas”, the movie version with Jim Carrey as the Grinch, again and again. So, after awhile, I found myself really thinking about that story. I still remember the cartoon version of it we used to watch as kids. In the story, of course, we all know how the Grinch went to all that trouble to steal all the Christmas gifts, the turkeys and fixings for the Whos’ Christmas dinners, and even the Christmas trees, down to the last ornament, which he snatches up with glee, yet in the end, Christmas still came, without all the boxes, bags, bows, gifts, Christmas trees or decorations.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”

Perhaps, if we really stop and think about it for a moment, we can really begin to see how the moral of this story applies to all of us. Christmas will come, whether or not our tables are decorated with all the fancy fixings, or the least that could be afforded. It will come whether or not our homes are all aglow with lights and decorations, and it will come, no matter what is under the tree, or how many or how few gifts there are. And it will come just the same, to those who have empty chairs at their Christmas dinner table.

For those of us who have the Savior, our Lord, Jesus Christ living in our hearts, it is that same light that lit up the night sky those years ago as the bright, shining star that the wise men followed until they came to where the Christ child lay, that is still guiding us. (And by the way, as far as I have been able to see, the Bible does not actually say there were “three” wise men. It doesn’t even mention how many there were, or if they actually rode camels. In fact, although most pictures we’ve seen depict three wise men on camels following the star, and the “stable” in the distance, the Bible actually seems to indicate that it was probably sometime later before they arrived to see Him. Note that in verse 11 of Matthew 2, above, it says, “and when they had come into the house…”, not a stable. Click here to read more on this.)

So what I am saying is…if we truly have His light shining in us, then it goes without saying that we will be looking around us and taking note of those who can no longer feel the joy of Christmas. We will be His hands reaching out to help them in whatever way we can, whether it’s through sending a card, providing some needed food supplies, or a meal. We will be His mouth speaking a comforting word, and His feet walking to do whatever we can to show them we care, for if that light is truly shining within us, then and only then, will they see and feel the true, healing, and comforting joy and peace of Christmas.

That light is still guiding us, for the same Christ that the wise men worshipped that night, is the One Who lives inside of each of us, and “Christmas” is already inside of us. It is that light that they’re looking for, not what’s under the tree or on the table. So, think of this, next time you wish someone a Merry Christmas. And if we can’t show that love of Christ to others in need, whether they are friends, family, or people we don’t even know, then perhaps we’re the ones being a “Grinch” or a “Scrooge”. Besides, if we take even a moment to look at Christmas through the eyes of little “Cindy Lou Who”, perhaps it is then, that it will all make a bit more sense.

If the light of His love, the light of God’s hope that lit that star up those years ago, is truly shining through us, then every day is Christmas! Why wait for that one time of year to actually reach out and show His love to others? With that said, thanks for stopping by, feel free to share this with anyone who could use it! I hope you and your family have a truly wonderful Christmas, and a blessed New Year!

I Almost Died…Coming Soon – My NDE Testimony & God’s CPR For Your Faith!

(UPDATE: I now have my own imprint, which the book will be published under, so stay tuned, more info coming soon! Subscribe so you don’t miss it!) 

November 16, 1985 was almost the last day of my life…

Blurred hospital corridor concept emergency case

Have you been through a traumatic event? 

I’ve often said, God can take the “lemons” life has handed you and turn it into some of the best “lemonade” you’ve ever “tasted”. But you have to give Him the lemons! Whatever it is the devil intended to use to destroy you, God wants to take it and turn it into your testimony, just as He has done for me! He can and He will!

On Saturday, November 16, 1985, I was in a horrific auto accident that derailed my nursing career and changed my life forever. Only later, through the divine power of the Holy Spirit revealing it to me, along with the help of my psychiatrist, would I come to learn that I had gone through a Near Death Experience, and very possibly passed through death’s door.

Have you felt like giving up? 

Although I was left with a fractured hip, a terrible head injury, a speech problem I still suffer from although it isn’t immediately obvious, and other problems due to the traumatic brain injury (specifically, right temporal and frontal lobe damage, my head actually dented the dashboard, and I was unconscious), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and psychological scars that would last long after the physical ones had healed, through Christ and His healing power in my life, I have triumphed over it all and gone on to write “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door” (tentative title), which should be available soon. (I’ll keep you posted!)

Does your faith need God’s CPR? 

Now, in my book coming soon, I will share my story, along with what I’ve learned on my long road to healing, and the special kind of “CPR” your faith needs. I will also explain why giving up is simply not an option in these last days as we work to build the Kingdom for our Lord Jesus Christ as we await His soon return. In sharing my story, it is my hope that just as He has done for me, your faith will be renewed, and you will be on your way to discovering His plan to take whatever has happened in your life and turn it into a powerful testimony to help others! So don’t give up until you read my book!

We ARE living in the last days! Giving up is NOT an option!

I believe without a doubt, we are living in the last days before our Lord’s soon return. We must work harder than ever before to “bring in the harvest”, and God has a plan for you to be a part of it! He wants to take whatever it is you’ve been through and turn it into a powerful testimony that will help win others to Him while there is still time.

“But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” – Matthew 24:13 (KJV)

I have my own imprint for the book, and it is in the finishing stages, so I will hopefully have a release date sometime in the near future. So, if this is you, run, don’t walk, and hit the “Subscribe to my email” tab and subscribe so when it does come out, you’ll be one of the first to know! If you know someone who has been through a traumatic event and could use some “CPR” for their faith, please feel free to share this to your Facebook, Twitter, etc, using the buttons below.

And thanks for stopping by!

Remembering 9/11: Where Were You? #911Tributes

(Photo Credit: John Skelson, at bottom right of photo)

“Five years from the date of the attack that changed our world, we’ve come back to remember the valor of those we lost—those who innocently went to work that day and the brave souls who went in after them. We have also come to be ever mindful of the courage of those who grieve for them, and the light that still lives in their hearts.”
—New York City mayor ­Rudolph Giuliani at the World Trade Center site in 2006

September 11, 2001. One of the darkest days in American history. According to Wikipedia, 2,996 people were killed immediately, including those on the four planes, the World Trade Center and surrounding area, and the Pentagon. Many more have since died, due to their injuries, or cancer from inhaling the toxic dust. Of course, this number varies, depending on what source you read it from, and when it was written. One thing is for certain: it was a terrible, dark day for all of us, especially those who lost loved ones that day. We must never forget, but continue to reach out to one another, to pray for the families who lost their loved ones, and, to hold the light of hope in our hearts as we remember those  we lost that day. And lest we forget, here is just my little contribution, a little of where I was when “the world stopped turning” on that terrible “September day”…

I was less that 2 months from turning 36. My children were 15, 13, and 9. A lot has happened since then. I have since been reunited with the one I should have never walked away from 30 plus years ago. You could say he was my high school sweetheart, although let’s just say there was a lot we didn’t know then (and thought we knew it all) and leave it at that. We were married December 23, 2014 in Gatlinburg, TN. I am at peace with my life now, and as a writer, with 2 books currently on Amazon and more to come, I had it in my heart to share my own experience of that day. I guess you could say it’s kind of like, if each of us shares a little of our story, maybe it’s kind of like all of us lighting a “candle” in memory of those who were lost that day, as well as those who have died since from their injuries or sickness caused by the toxic dust and fumes from the disaster, etc. Perhaps, even if but a small flicker of hope arises from one of us sharing our story, it becomes the eternal flame of hope that will light someone else’s way. To me, it is like saying, I am only one person, but I am here, and I care, because to me, each precious life that was lost that day was an American citizen, a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter, and the list goes on…

I was working at Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse in Clayton, NC, at what we around here call the Hwy 40/42 area (where NC Hwy 42 intersects with I-40, which goes into Raleigh, NC). I was just about to turn onto I-40, going to work, when I heard something on the radio about a “plane crash”. Of course, mostly concentrating on my driving, at that point, I had no idea of the seriousness of what I was hearing. At work, around the store, the atmosphere was somber. There was just a strange quietness. As my customers all kept talking about it throughout the day, it was only then that I began to realize just how serious it was. I went home and for the next couple of days, all I could do was sit in front of the TV, my eyes glued to the screen, and my mouth open, in a state of shock. As the days and weeks passed, I remember I was literally scared. I was scared to death, especially in the first few days after the attacks, as I think no doubt, everyone was. Were they going to come here and attack us next? Would there be more attacks?

As the years passed, and my kids grew up, things changed, people moved on, and yet, every year at this time, I cannot help but think of the sadness this day always brings, especially to those who lost family members or friends in this horrible, cowardly attack on the American people. After all, they were not lost to just their families or friends; they were lost to all of us. So wherever you are, if you can tell your story, or light a candle, or just say a prayer for the families and friends of each one of the people who were lost that day, then the light of hope will start to flicker, then burn brightly, into an eternal flame of hope. It is the hope that unites the American people. Because when you mess with any of our people, you are messing with all of us. Jesus told us that in the last days, these tribulations would come…

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:3-14

…But we must remain strong, encourage one another, pray for one another, and share our story, however little or great it might be, and we must begin to link hands all across this once great nation, and form a chain of prayer, and let the light of hope flicker, becoming the eternal flame of that hope that unites us all, and stand strong. It is that hope that will help us “endure to the end”, and perhaps relight the candle of hope, for those who have lost it.

In loving memory of all those who were lost in the September 11, 2001 tragedies, you are gone, but you are not forgotten. We will never forget.

I do not drink, nor endorse it in any way, but I have always thought this was a truly touching tribute to 9/11. May we never forget…

Where were you that September day? What will you do to help light someone else’s candle of hope today?

 

Book Writing for Procrastinators, Part 2: Overcoming Distractions & Mind Blocks #WhatsYourStory #WritersHelpingWriters

Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.  – Ray Bradbury

“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.” —Robert Benchley

cropped-cropped-kimg15561.jpgHi again, everyone! I hope everyone’s enjoying this lovely Saturday – and yes, I do plan to get out with my husband and enjoy it a little myself in a little bit. But first, I wanted to share with all of you other writers out there, (or would  be writers, hey what are you waiting for?) my second installment of “Book Writing for Procrastinators, Overcoming Distractions & Mind Blocks”. I also have a little surprise I want to share with you, a podcast on this very subject I happened to stumble across. But before I get into all of that, I would like to suggest that if you haven’t read my first post on this subject, take a moment to go here and read it.  It’s loaded with tips on what has helped me, and 8 ways to learn from the pros, and get started writing that book, along with some links to resources from some more experienced writers who have been some of my greatest teachers, so be sure and check that out for some good advice on how to quit procrastinating, get started, and write that best seller! Hey, I know I’m not quite there yet, but we’re all writers helping writers, right? So without further ado, let’s dig in to what I have for you today!

How Procrastination is Born: Overcoming Mind Blocks…

In the last post, I mentioned that I have PTSD from a terrible car accident years ago. That’s just it, I have it, it doesn’t have me! As I mentioned in that last post, for years I struggled with lack of confidence and other issues, which mainly stemmed from the PTSD. Of course, I am doing much better now than I was a few years ago. Now, through my faith in a God that will never leave us nor forsake us, and the love of my wonderful, sweet husband, who is also my high school sweetheart, whom God recently reunited me with after all these years, I am doing much better. You can read some of our story here! Here is a sneak preview of my book on faith that is coming out soon, which will have my story of my near death experience and what I’ve learned on my road to healing. So, with 2 books now under my belt, I want to share with you what has helped me…

Mind Blocks: Finding the Root Cause of Procrastination…

My point here is, you just wouldn’t believe how much things like this can affect you. I know it did me, for a long time. Besides that, for years, I suffered from low self esteem, in large part due to the fact that I worried too much about what other people thought about me, among other things. What I didn’t realize was, over time, all of this just kind of conglomerated into a mind block. This, together with the bouts of depression that come from going through “the change” (I am a grandma now), along with my tendencies to become easily distracted, caused me to develop a mind block that nearly derailed my ever getting much of anything done, that is, until I decided enough was enough. I prayed about it, and I talked it over with my husband. Then, I came across a powerful podcast from Kary Oberbrunner. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s a very influential author, coach, and speaker working to “help other writers, people, and others just like you and me to discover who we are, why we are here, and how to become souls on fire so we can share our message with the world.”  Visit him and check out his website and some of the resources he has available here.

So, Check This Out…

Over time, this stuff can really “clog your mind up”, just like an old, nasty air condition filter in your home that needs replacing. You pull it out to replace it and say, “Wow, I didn’t know all of that was in there!” Well, that’s how our minds get sometimes, and eventually, it causes you to form a mind block, like I did. That lack of confidence in yourself can spill over into an addiction to social media and email, etc, which is what Kary Oberbrunner talks about in this podcast, which I found to be very helpful. So, I will just share the link here with you, and you can go check it out for yourself. So, since he explains it better than I can, here you go, head on over and just listen to this. I know it helped me.

How to overcome an addiction to email and social media, by Kary Oberbrunner 

For me, as well as the rest of us in the undiagnosed generation of people who likely suffer from an adult form of ADD – or Attention Deficit Disorder, it can be a challenge to get things done that others find so easy to just breeze right through. After listening to Kary’s podcast, I began to realize that it was my own lack of confidence in myself, among other things, that led to my eventually letting things like email, social media, and other things provide that “sense of accomplishment” he refers to here. Now that I understand a little better what the root of my problem was, I, like others who read this, can begin to become friends with myself again, and work to cut out the “time wasters” that have distracted me. I can work to put myself on a schedule that will be effective for me, just like I do my young grandsons when they come to stay with “Mamaw”, and I can finally believe in myself enough to overcome procrastination and get those books written, and I think you can too!

You Can Do This!

It is in exploring the root cause of procrastination, that we will finally begin to understand it better, and thus, overcome it, and the mind blocks that come with it, and eventually replace it with a focused plan and a schedule. It is in doing so, that we will finally understand who we are, why we are here, and what our message is that we have been put here to share with the rest of the world. That is where the renewed confidence in ourselves will come in, and we will become a powerful and unstoppable force, moving forward to the prize before us.

Well?…

WritingPic

Okay, so I snitched this pic from Facebook. So what’s your story? And why aren’t you writing? Let me know when your book comes out! Until next time, happy writing! Now, if you will excuse me, I have some writing to do, and I think you do too!

Thanks for reading, hope this helps someone! If it’s helped you, then please feel free to share it with someone! Then, get to writing!

Click here to read Part 1: Book Writing for Procrastinators… 8 Ways to Learn from the Pros, Get Started, and Write that Best Seller!