I don’t normally post things like this, but in this difficult time we are going through, we all need to pull together. Just about all of us know someone who either has Covid, or has died from it. As I said previously in my last post, on Aug. 29th, 2020, I lost my husband and the love of my life, Stacy Keith Stewart, to Covid. This December 23rd would have been our 6th wedding anniversary.
As I have said, we were in the process of trying to form K & F Stewart Ministries when we both became ill with Covid. I have since recovered, but as Keith was immune suppressed, he was unable to recover from the complications that developed from it. We had big dreams for our ministry and I am continuing as best I can, only now, without his income. I will finish what we started, and I still have some great new books planned, but I need your help.
Due to my nature, I am not one to like to have to ask for help, but we all need a little help once in a while. I am currently facing a mountain of medical bills, as well as funeral expenses still owed as a result of his unexpected passing. As it is, when we started our life together, we never anticipated something like this happening so soon, so we did not have life insurance. (I know, who at this age doesn’t have life insurance, right?) Well, we didn’t, and although there were a couple of other policies his dad had on him, one hasn’t been found, and what has been made available is just insufficient to cover the mountain of debt I have been left with, as well as living expenses, including car repairs, due to our car breaking down. It’s basically worn out from all the trips back and forth due to his hereditary kidney disease he suffered from, plus 4 weeks of radiation treatments I had to take for breast cancer.
It has not been easy going on without him, and struggling to make ends meet without his income now. I miss him every day, as I am sure you are no doubt, missing someone who has passed from this dreaded disease as well. So let’s pull together. You help me, and I will be able to continue in the work we started that God has called me to do, so I can write more great books that will help you. If you or someone you know has lost someone, whether to Covid, or any other cause, here is a post I did 3 years ago that you might find encouraging. Here is the link to the Go Fund Me Fundraiser that has been set up if you would like to donate.
You will be making an investment in my continuing in the dreams we had, and more great books coming in the near future, one of which is coming soon, which Keith and I wrote together, titled “LOGAN Chain of Grace”, about a little boy who goes missing and starts a chain reaction of God’s grace that will turn his whole town upside down. Having worked in Corrections, Keith contributed to the Law Enforcement aspects of the story. It’s in the final editing stages now and will be published under our imprint, Rivers of Grace Books. Subscribe via the tab above so you won’t miss it!
If you can help, wonderful, it will be much appreciated by me and our family. If you can’t, that’s okay too. You can help by praying, or even sharing this post to your Facebook or your friends. You can also help by purchasing a copy of my latest book, “CPR for Your Faith from Beyond Death’s Door”, via the link to the right, or the links below…
Your donation or purchase will help me keep moving forward as I work to carry on what Keith and I started together, and it will be appreciated more than you know. More great books are coming, as well as some more free downloads. So, let’s keep praying. Let’s keep pulling together. I’m praying for you, too. ❤
And now, just to say thank you, here’s a little encouragement for us all by Reba McEntire…
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…
…GOD looked into the future and saw you…
Now available from Rivers of Grace Books…
“CPRfor 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…
…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 CPRfor 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…
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! I know 2019’s been a hard year for a lot of us, but I’ve chosen to think of it in terms of what God HAS done in the past year, the storms He has brought us through, and how it’s all made us stronger. When I think of the blessings that did come from this year, despite the storms and trials, it just got me to thinking of all the things NOT to bring into this coming New Year. Then too, I think we do that every year. It’s how well we stick with it that counts, and I think too, that comes with maturity and experience.
Well, here we are…20 years after the big Y2K (Year 2000) Bug scare invited itself to our New Year’s Eve Celebrations of December 31, 1999, and just wouldn’t leave, until well into New Year’s Day, when it became apparent that no major failures had occurred. I’ll leave it for you to do your own research if you want to know more about that. For now, as we sit here, around our living rooms by our fireplaces (or “fake fireplaces” like ours, hey, we like it), dining room tables, or mid-morning coffee or brunch tables, talking with friends, loved ones, or co-workers about what all we don’t want to take into 2020, things we want to change, and New Year’s Resolutions, that will likely fade into oblivion by the 2nd week of January, I couldn’t let this time pass, as a writer, without offering my humble take on it all. So, here, altogether in one list, are some old habits, thought patterns, or other forms of excess baggage that should be thrown off the “ship” of your life well before going into 2020.
I am sharing this from a helpful, non-judgmental perspective, and these have not come to me without a lot of trial and error on my part, as well as some intense prayer and fasting in the past few years of my life. Much of it was learned the hard way. So, I hope you will see it this way and be encouraged from it as you and your loved ones and family pray together and anticipate what the year 2020 will bring for you. Together, we can go into this New Year with “20/20 vision”, and “hit the ground running”! So without further ado, here you go…
20 Things NOT to take into 2020…
1. Past Regrets –
In the Old Testament, Lot’s wife disobeyed God and turned to look back at His destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). Jesus also makes reference to this in Luke 17:28-32. We can’t get the past back, and wasting time allowing yourself to be sucked into that old whirlwind of regret will only weigh you down and keep you from moving forward. If you keep allowing yourself to get caught up in all the could have, would have, and should haves of life, it will only continue to allow our enemy, the devil to fill you with sorrow, discouragement, and depression. He will do this to every one of us if we let him. We all have things in our past we regret, things we wish we could change. But if we are going to move forward into 2020 with the renewal and “Holy Boldness” God needs us to have so He can reach others through us and do great things in our lives, this is the first of the excess “baggage” that needs to be thrown overboard. If you have accepted Christ and repented of all your past sins, then He has forgiven all of that. Stop letting the enemy throw it back in your face. Throw that mess overboard and move forward. Besides, a good thorough search of the scriptures will help you see this as the idolatry that it is. Nothing in your past is better than what God has in store for you. We as the Church, as family, and friends, have to help each other move forward. In Galatians 6:2, Paul said, “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”. For some, that may be too heavy a load for them to lift by themselves. If you see someone struggling with past regrets, take time to talk with them about it, pray with them, and help them lift it up to the One Who died to set us free from living a life of regret. Jesus came to set the captives free, and so that we could live a more abundant life in Him (see John 10:10).
2. Grudges/Unforgiveness –
Just as regrets will hold us back, so will old grudges and unforgiveness. Jesus clearly told us that if we cannot forgive others, then our Heavenly Father cannot forgive us: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:14-15. The Bible is clear that no one with unforgiveness toward others will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Eternity is a long, long time to spend in Hell, separated from God, in eternal torment, simply because we could not forgive. Let it go. Ask God to help you if you don’t feel like you can forgive. Take a few minutes to watch this:
There is nothing God can’t do. Don’t carry the heavy burdens of unforgiveness and grudge toward others into 2020. Jesus, the Son of God, took the lowly form of a man and hung on the cross in our place, and paid for our sins with his life. So who are we to hold unforgiveness or grudges toward anyone? If Corrie ten Boom could find the strength and grace of God to forgive, then we all can…through Him. As she said, in and of ourselves, we can’t. But through Him in us, we can. Don’t let the sin of unforgiveness and grudges keep you from God’s best for you in 2020. Most importantly, don’t let it keep you out of Heaven.
3. Old Unproductive Habits –
Hey, I’ve had them, we’ve all had them. One of my main issues, which I will discuss briefly in my book, “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door”, coming soon, is my ability to focus and get organized, as far as using my time wisely. This is mainly due to the head injury I received in the accident. I have my issues, just as we all do. But Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things” (read: ALL things) “work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” In the book, I will give my testimony on how God has helped me to triumph over these setbacks that the enemy wanted to use to get me to give up on life. I could have easily given up and missed out on all that God had for me, but He helped me, just as He will help you. His Word is full of encouraging and powerful scripture that will set you free if you take time to meditate on it and speak it over your life. So speak the truth of His undefeated Word over any unproductive habits you are struggling with and trust Him to help you rise above it and move forward to greater expectations in the coming year! Speak it and believe it, because as Isaiah 55:11 reminds us, His Word will not return to Him void!
4. Procrastination –
There isn’t much I can say about this one other than I am an overcomer, just as we all are, according to His Word. There can be many different reasons we fall into being procrastinators, but we don’t have to let ourselves be defined by it. Romans 8:37 says, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” For any of you who are writers, I did a couple of posts a while back on “Writing for Procrastinators”, which you might find encouraging. Here’s the first one, and here’s the second one. We’ve also been promised that we have “the mind of Christ”, as Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 2:16: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.” Whatever you do, or whatever gifts God has given you to excel in, make the decision to trust Him to help you conquer whatever procrastination or other habits that might be holding you back, and believe that 2020 just might be your year! Procrastination can be a hard old habit to break, but then again, there is nothing we can’t do with Christ’s help. Well has He reminded me many times of what He said in John 15:5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” It took “Ms. Independent” here a long time to get that, but believe me, I get it now. Apart from Him, we can do nothing, but in Him and through His empowering us, we can do anything (see Phil. 4:13), including overcome procrastination.
5. Complacent Disobedience –
This is one of the worst enemies we can have, if we allow it to seep in to our daily lives. It happens for different reasons. I think for me, it was mainly because I had “hardened” in a sense, becoming insensitive to God’s voice, and complacently disobedient at times, because of the things that had happened in my life. But when we have given it to Him, and we fully surrender ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice for His service, He will help us to rise above the things that have hurt us so that it no longer can be used by the enemy to control us. But if we haven’t, the enemy could still be sitting at the controls of your subconscious mind in a sense, using that old stuff to control our thoughts, actions, and even our words. We must make the conscious decision to get into the Word, seek God in prayer, and ask Him to guide us and help us heal from whatever has hurt us. In His time and His way, He will help us rise above it, and we will see the Holy Spirit begin to work in our lives as never before, ordering the enemy to “cease and desist”! Ask Him to show you any ways the enemy might be still “sitting at the control panel” of your subconscious mind. Trust Him to help you stop seeing yourself as a “victim of your past”, and show you how He can turn it into your testimony. Jesus came to set us free, and His plan was for us to be ambassadors to the future, not prisoners of the past!
6. Corrupt/Inappropriate Communication –
This one speaks for itself, and I think it’s safe to say we’ve all had problems with this. We’re human. But as Christians, we don’t have to let it control us any longer. If we have a problem with it, we can ask Him to help us and He will. In Ephesians 4:29-32, Paul says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Colossians 3:8 says, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” The Book of James has much to say about the tongue. In Chapter 3, verse 10, he says, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” The enemy wants us to think we can’t control it, but he is a liar. Don’t let his lies follow you into 2020 and hold you back any longer from what God has in store for you. The Word of God has already rendered his lies null and void (see Jeremiah 29:11)!
7. Judging –
We’ve all done it. But in reality, that is God’s job. As our pastor has often said, “we catch ’em, God cleans ’em”. We are to win them over with Christ’s love, then let God do the cleansing. It’s not our job to “thump the Bible in their face”, but to show them the love of Jesus Christ, pray for them, pray for Him to show us ways to show them His love, let them see His light shining in us, and let Him do the rest. If we all start to do that more, I think we will see a lot more people coming to Him. In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Then too, there is what He said to those about to stone the adulterous woman, “…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7, see John 7:53 – 8:11.) I think if we all concentrate more on how we can improve ourselves, 2020 will be a much better year for all of us.
8. Wasted Talents/Gifts –
Paul talks extensively about the gifts God gives us through the Holy Spirit, and how working together, with each of us using our gifts, we make up the Body of Christ (See Ephesians 4:7-16 and 1 Corinthians 12). The enemy will use our past to derail our future as long as we let him. But through Christ, we don’t have to allow it to follow us into the New Year. If you believe you are a prisoner of your past, you will remain so, but if you are ready to believe that through the truth of God’s Word, through His Son, Jesus Christ, Who sets us free, your time has come, then it has! Go forward, not backward. Stop letting the devil talk you out of your future, and speak the truth of God’s Word, ask Him to show you the gifts He has given you, and believe! In what ways have you allowed yourself to be distracted or discouraged from recognizing and using the gifts and talents God has given you? In what ways are you willing to work to change this in 2020?
9. Poor Decision Making –
We’ve all made poor decisions, but God promises to guide us in all our ways if we only seek Him. We must all fight the human tendency to do things our way. 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”. Did you catch that? “In ALL thy ways, acknowledge him…” Yet, in how many ways have we tended to pick and choose which scriptures we want to obey, which are “convenient for us” to obey, and how much of God we want to allow in our lives? If we truly want His best for us, it has to be all or nothing in 2020. Let Him take the wheel and trust Him to guide you safely into His destiny for you.
10. Lack of Faith –
Lack of faith will rob us of all the blessings God has in store for us if we continue to think in our own limited human understanding instead of trusting in God’s Word and His promises for us. I will talk more about this in the book, but take some time to review the “faith chapter”, Hebrews 11 and discuss it as a family. In what ways have you let lack of faith cheat you out of God’s blessings for you? In what ways can you work together as a family to stop this in 2020 and claim the blessings God has in store for you and the powerful ways He wants to work through you? What type of ministry might God have in store for you and your family, just beyond that mountain you’ve been climbing?
11. Roots of Bitterness, Shame, etc. –
These can be rooted deeply, sprouting and growing for years until it grows into a “monster” that blinds you from seeing God’s plan for you. These roots will wrap themselves around you and hold you back from ever seeing or reaching the destiny God has set for you. But the Word of God is your “Weed killer”. So make the decision to stop “feeding the weeds”, no matter how loudly it may yell, “feed meeeeee!!!!!!” (from one of our pastor’s sermons 🙂 ). The Word is our weed killer, but we have to apply it to the root of the problems, and then root ourselves deeply in His Word, and water our faith daily. Then, we will see ourselves bearing more fruit for the Kingdom in 2020!
12. Negativity –
It can be too easy to allow the stress of the times we are living in cause us to sink back into negativity. Then our children and others around us pick up on it. At work, it can start with one person complaining, then by the end of the day, everybody’s complaining and biting each other’s heads off. Let’s make up our minds to encourage each other in the Word, in showing Christ’s love and compassion, and throw the old baggage of negativity overboard for good, so we can sail into the New Year with plenty of room for the new things God is going to do in 2020!
13. Pride –
It takes many forms, and we are all guilty. We simply have to recognize that the key to stopping it from controlling us any longer is to humble ourselves before God and ask Him to show us any places in our lives, our marriages, and our family and work relationships, even in the church, where it has crept in. Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV) says, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” Trust me. This is one lesson too many of us have had to learn the hard way, including myself. Throw this old dead weight overboard too, and decide together that you will not be carrying any more destructive pride forward into your New Year.
14. Self Doubt –
This too, is another trick of the enemy. The key here is to stop letting him trick you into focusing on your can’ts and have nots, and instead, focus on what you CAN do, which is ANYTHING, through Christ, Who strengthens you (Phil. 4:13). Get into the Word and turn that “magnifying glass” he is using to magnify your problems and weaknesses around on him, and let the light of God’s truth burn him out of your territory in 2020! Speak God’s truth over your life, your finances, your marriage, and your family, and watch God work!
15. Lack of Focus –
I touched on this briefly in number 3, but suffice it for me to say, the enemy knows he doesn’t have much time left, and he is working to distract every one of us from reaching others for Christ, and making a difference in our churches, communities, schools, and workplaces. So, put your Jesus “glasses” on and get focused. What’s going into the New Year with you and what’s not? It’s that simple. You have the power, through Him, to decide, speak it, and implement it!
16. Poor Relationship Choices/Negative, Toxic People –
We’ve all been around them, whether it’s a co-worker, a classmate, colleague, or even family. But we can love them to Him and do our best to show His love and forgiveness. We can do our best to love them to Him, but as Paul well said, many will fall away from the faith in the time before Christ’s return. There are some who are just going to be negative and toxic no matter what we do. We must trust God to guide us and show us when it’s time for us to do as Jesus told the 70 when He sent them out, and wipe the dust from our feet and move on. Influence them in whatever ways you can, but if they want to continue to be negative, toxic, and unforgiving, we have to recognize, through His guidance, when it’s time to break negative, toxic connections that are only going to drain us of our energy to help those who WILL receive His message.
17. Distractions/Time Wasters –
I like the way Bishop T.D. Jakes put it in one of his messages: “Start deleting distractions!” It is time for us as the Church, as the Body of Christ, and as families, to start deleting the distractions that have been holding us back and believe that through Christ, and the power of an almighty and undefeated God working through us, 2020 could be our best year yet! Then too, we have to trust His guidance to help us recognize the difference between “distractions” and learning experiences. He is the Teacher. We are the students. Good teachers must first be good students. He knows the distractions the enemy uses, and He can guide us safely through those storms, but only if we allow Him to be the One at the helm.
18. Wallet Drainers: Things that Drain/Waste Your Finances –
We all have them. We’ve called them “holes in our pockets”, when really, it’s all poor decisions on our part. Things that might have seemed like a good investment at the time all of a sudden become the worst mistake we could have made. Then, we’ve ended up in situations that we can’t back out of, and it costs us much more than we had planned. As long as we allow our own limited, weak, human intuition to guide us, we will continue to make these mistakes. These are all ways the enemy works to steal our “seed”, that is, “seed” God has given us for sowing into the Kingdom. Only in trusting God completely and making Him the Head of not only our families and our marriages, but also our finances as well as every other area of our lives, can we expect to begin to reap the harvest that His Son, Jesus, died to give us. Hey, I’m talking about my marriage here as well. Make the decision to stop “devouring your seed” in 2020 and prepare to reap your greatest and biggest “harvest” ever! Make the decision for you and your family to become Kingdom Builders for Christ, and watch your “crops” grow in the coming year like never before! He is “no respecter of persons” (Romans 2:11, Acts 10:34), what He has done for one, He will do for another!
19. Marriage/FamilyRelationshipDrainers –
This is a biggie and can be a sensitive subject for us to discuss sometimes, but if we invite God to the table, and His Son, Jesus Christ as our “attorney” (the “fee” has already been paid!), He will work all things for our good. He wants the best for your marriage and your family. So invite Him to the table in 2020 and see what a huge difference it will make for you. For marriages, if Christ is the Head of it, it provides that 3 stranded cord that will not be easily broken. This provides the unity that will keep the family strong and undivided, and working together. For our children, just remember, as they grow older, they sometimes need our guidance as to their choices of “friends”, as well as in other areas of their lives. Your loving but firm, Bible-based guidance will keep them from making unwise relationship (and other) decisions, and your Christ-centered discipline and love will help them recover from bad decisions they’ve already made, and help them learn from the consequences. If done correctly, it will help them grow stronger, into responsible and productive Christian adults. I can’t say I have always been the best parent I could be, and neither can my husband, but we have surrendered it all to our Heavenly Father, and we have learned from it. Pray together, love together, and forgive together for a stronger marriage and family in 2020!
20. A Lukewarm Relationship/Prayer Life with God –
Revelation 3:16 warns us about being “lukewarm” in our relationship with God and our service to Him. I am just as guilty of this as anyone, but now, because I have finally reached a point in my life that I was able to humble myself in prayer to God and admit it to Him, rather than “sweeping it under the rug” for as long as I did, I am now seeing big changes. You will too if you only realize that to admit our faults to our Heavenly Father is to welcome Him to help us so that we can finally learn from it and move on. Just as in the story of the Prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), our Heavenly Father will welcome us with open arms when we are finally ready to “come home”. In what ways have you been like that Prodigal son (or daughter, points at self)? What ways can you let Him help you change that? “Come home” and let your Heavenly Father receive you into His “family”. There’s a place for you at the table in 2020!
He is Bigger than Any Storm…
This past year has had its storms, and I would be lying if I said there haven’t been times I wanted to give up, at times even on life itself. But, as I will discuss in my book, “CPR For Your Faith From Beyond Death’s Door” (mentioned earlier), which will have my testimony of my NDE in a car accident in Nov. of ’85, I know that if our Savior, the Lord, Jesus Christ, is the “Captain” of your “ship”, and you make the decision to go into 2020 with His hands at the helm, then you can trust that whatever storms the coming year may bring, He will guide you safely through them. There will be storms, that is inevitable, but you can trust that your Captain will not allow the enemy to do anymore than He allows him to, and what He does allow, He will use it to make us stronger if we only yield it to Him and trust Him.
So, I am counting my blessings, thanking Him for what He has helped me learn from the storms, throwing the excess baggage of the past overboard, and sailing into 2020 ready to “hit the ground running”. I am ready for new beginnings and looking forward to all God is doing and getting ready to do. You can too, regardless of what the enemy has tried to use to destroy you. So, throw that mess overboard, let Him be the Captain of your “ship”, and trust that He is BIGGER than any storm the coming year may bring.
That said, it is ultimately up to you, what you choose to carry into the New Year with you and what is old baggage that it’s time to throw overboard. So, in a sense, 2020 is a book, the pen in your hand. What kind of book will you write? Better yet, put the pen in God’s hand. He’s already planned the perfect story for you. You have only to trust Him and turn the page.
“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.
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 54:13 “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children.” Acts 2:38-39 “Then 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 10:13No 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…
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
“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.”
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!
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, butwhoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give himwill 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”?
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!
WANT TO KNOW ABOUT A LOVE STRONGER THAN ANY STORM? – Click here for my recent post about how God reminded my husband and me that even in the midst of the worst storms, when we’d lost our electricity, and even the use of our phones, and even if we were to lose everything, NOTHING can separate us from His love for us!
BEEN THROUGH A TRAUMATIC EVENT? FELT LIKE GIVING UP?– Don’t miss my book coming soon, if you or someone you know has been through a traumatic event, or just plain felt like giving up. If you’d like to be among the first to know when it comes out, hit the subscribe tab, above. Could your story help someone? You might also find this post helpful. Here is another insightful post, a study on the Book of Job.
ARE YOU OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE DEPRESSED DURING THE HOLIDAYS?– The time of celebrating our blessings at Thanksgiving and the joys of our Savior’s birth at Christmas should be a joyful time. But more and more people are finding this time of year depressing, unable to feel the peace and joy of the season. Are we looking for them as Christ wants us to? Do you know someone who needs the message of His love for them? This post may be the “drink of water” they need.
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.
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…
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…
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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”!
“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!
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!
(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…
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.
(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?