Reflections on Last Year and Hope for the New Year

Well, it is finally here–the last day of 2018! What a year it was for me, and probably for you! I lost my best friend in March and got a new granddaughter in April. Isn’t that what life is all about? You lose something and get something else. It has never quite seemed to balance out for me, but I do trust the Creator who makes all things right for me. As the year ends, I have chosen a Scripture for the New Year, one that I plan to memorize and use as my mantra for the year.

Of course, I know that the Lord is an everlasting God. At least my mind does. I need to get that truth into my heart. I know that He never is weak or weary, but it’s hard for my mind to comprehend that, especially since I feel weak and tired a lot lately. God understands everything, and yet I sometimes fail to trust in His love and comprehension of all things that are coming at me. He will give me power this year, power to face whatever I have to face and the strength to get through it. That is very significant for me since I am facing surgery, the same kind of surgery that my friend Barbara died from. So, there is it…the face in the mirror is not as strong as I want to be but I am not as weak as I thought because I have God beside me.

Yes, our bodies are dying, as evidenced in the body parts that break or no longer work as they were designed. But our spirits are being renewed. Do you know what that means? I don’t have to worry about not being able to move as quickly or being able to breathe deeply without pain? I don’t have to be concerned with the future, a future that inevitably means that one day I will die. This year? Maybe. No one knows the day of their death, but I do know that I am prepared for it because I have Jesus in my heart and He is renewing His Spirit within my heart daily. His promises are true! He will not leave or change His mind about what He has promised.

This is the secret to a life of power and strength and being renewed daily. Have you acknowledged that Jesus is the Son of God? Have you asked Him to come live in your heart and to forgive you of your sins? That is how God’s Spirit comes and lives in you; the Holy Spirit will bring you the peace, power and strength that you need just when you need it. That is what He has been doing for me and I know that He is no respecter of persons because His Word says exactly that. (Acts 10:34 KJV and Romans 2:11 KJV). God treats rulers and servants exactly the same; He created us all and doesn’t see titles or aristocracy or poverty. He sees each of us as His unique creation, made to worship Him. When problems assail us, we have a God to run to who never gets weak or weary and who always understands.

How will I get through the New Year? The same way that I got through 2018…one step, one day, one breath at a time, knowing that God is there with me and He won’t get tired of supporting me and taking care of me. He will never stop understanding how weak I feel sometimes. He will always love me. And that is the God that I want all of my readers to know. Do you have a Scripture for the New Year? Please share it with me in the comments. God is worthy of praise and honor, so let’s start 2019 by giving Him the glory that He deserves! Blessings to you all, and thank you for being a part of my blog family in 2018!

A Relationship, not a Religion

I have been going to the hospital a lot for medical tests and each time I go, I am asked what my religion is. I have stated matter-of-factly each time that I belong to the Assembly of God. Then, the registration clerk moves to the next question on her computer. What I really wanted to tell her was that I don’t have a religion. What I have is a relationship, a love affair with the God who created me and sent a Savior to save me from my sins.

I was created by God and I say I am His, so I am commanded to follow His example. What did Jesus do? He helped others. He healed others. He prayed for others. Mostly, He showed a lost world what His Father was like and that is what I am commanded to do. My most important task on earth is to show people what God is like by living an example before them. So, when I was waiting for hours for a test to conclude and ended up spending six hours at the hospital instead of the three that the test should have taken, I represented God by still being humble and pleasant and thanking the technicians and nurses for being so kind and helpful to me. My old self would have been exasperated and demanded that I be seen more quickly. Instead, I chose to be patient because that is what Jesus would do. Is there some way in which you have been called to show Jesus to others lately? My guess is that you are called daily to do so; it is just a matter of what choices you make in your life.

Since I am created by God, I am called to praise Him. Do you spend time daily praising God? Just worshipping Him for who He is and then thanking Him for all that He has done for you? I figure my life on earth is just practice for all of the praise and worship that I will be doing in Heaven, so I should do a good job. I remember many years ago I took piano lessons from a nice, elderly lady. I had to practice the piano daily and then go to her house once a week for a new lesson. Well, I was not a very nice child because one day I just told the lady that I wasn’t coming to lessons any more because she wasn’t really teaching me. That was absolutely true. She set the metronome, told me what to practice in my piano book and then she headed to the den to watch her soap opera. So, I didn’t feel that she was actually teaching me and I told her so. God isn’t like that. He doesn’t say to praise Him and then leave us to figure out how and when to do it. He tells us in His Word that there is a huge crowd in Heaven worshipping the Lord and one day we will be part of that crowd, so we need to practice our worship here on earth. Daily, I turn my TV to the Christian music channel and do my devotional, writing in my journal and praising the Lord as I do. How do you praise the Lord? Do you remember that each breath you have is a gift from Him? Each beat of your heart is His gift of life to you.

The point of my whole post today is just a reminder that you are created by a Wonderful Father, redeemed by a beautiful Savior, and all you can do is represent Him on earth and worship Him. That’s all. It all seems very simple. But, first, I suggest that you prepare your heart and then sit before Him, sing a few songs of praise and worship Him. He is worthy! God is the Lord of all the earth and I want to meet all of you one day in Heaven. There, we will praise together! What a glorious day that will be! Until then, be a good ambassador for Him on earth…show others His qualities so that they know that you are different and want the relationship that you have. Not the religion…the relationship!

Hallelujah Chorus

I was privileged to see the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir perform this when I was a student at Youth With a Mission. This rendition by a flash mob has gone viral for years and it still brings tears to my eyes. God reigns! Indeed, He reigns forever!

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It is my great honor to raise my hands and praise the Lord! I am part of the great crowd in Heaven praising His Holy Name. I hope that you will join in the chorus. Hallelujah! Our God reigns forever!

Review of THE GIRLS AT 17 SWANN STREET by Yara Zgheib

This book is both depressing and captivating. It is depressing because the stories of the young women at 17 Sean Street is so sad, with little hope that any of them will fully recover and live the lives that they dream of. It is captivating because I was drawn into the story of Anna Roux, a dancer who hurt her leg, moved from Paris to the United States with he husband, and finds herself spiraling into loneliness, depression and anorexia. When the book opens, we see Anna entering the treatment house at 17 Swann Street. The other woman who lives there have stories also, but it is Anna’s story that is compelling and told in detail. The reader is introduced to Matthias, Anna’s spouse who sincerely wants her to succeed in her recovery. This was a fiction novel but at times it seemed like an entry from Wikipedia with its detailed description of what the women had to go through in their quest for recovery. A most memorable scene for me was when Anna had to complete a menu for the week, with six meals each day. The foods that she used to enjoy and which she no longer eats become evident as she checks off what she is willing to eat daily. This was a realistic look at a very complex problem. The struggles of the women are real, and the author presents Anna’s story with empathy and authenticity. Readers of contemporary fiction will enjoy this book, as will those who want to know more about eating discorders and how it ravages the bodies of those affected and the lives of their loved ones.

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

This haunting novel from a debut author will be available at your local bookseller on February 5, 2019. But put it on your TBR list now and go ahead and pre-order it. You will be glad that you did!

Fearing the Lord

The words “fear the Lord” are found throughout the Scriptures. I have come to believe that this fear is not one like I have of the dark, actually afraid of what or who might pop into the bedroom while I am sleeping. I still sleep with a nightlight to dispel the darkness because of this fear. It is not the same as the fear I have of traffic; I close my eyes and pray as we move with the flow of the other cars because I am so afraid to open my eyes and see all of the cars. No, the fear of God is a healthy respect of Who He is and What He has done, for us and for all of His creation.

Once you fear the Lord, you cannot help but give Him praise for His holiness, His mighty works, His righteousness and all of Who He is. He is the Mighty King who sent His Only Son to earth to rescue mankind from our sin. We need only recognize who we are in relationship to who He is and then we will naturally fear our Creator, with a love and an awe that is like no other.

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God is the Only One in the universe who deserves to be feared. I hope that this Christmas season, you will find Him in your heart and rest at His feet, the ones that are nail-scarred for you and me, the ones that walked the dusty roads of earth to show God to mankind. God bless and be with you during this blessed holiday season!

The Lord is Near

As I have been facing all of these medical tests and challenges lately, God continues to remind me that He is right beside me. This was a Scripture verse that I read this morning. God is not just beside me; He is holding my hand as we walk together through this time of trials. Hallelujah! No matter what happens, I will never be alone.

I praise the Lord daily for Who He is and for What He has done and is continuing to do. I see all of the chaos in the world, caused by men who refuse to acknowledge a higher power and a Savior. But I have read the end of the Book and I know that we win. We win! We are victorious! Over Satan, over sin, over death. We win! So, I choose to join with the chorus in Heaven that is blessing the Name of the Lord forever. I hope that during this blessed season of remembrance of the Christ Child that you will know God’s love for you and receive Him into your life, in a way that will change your life into one of knowing victory. We win! Amen.

Sunshine Blogger Award 2018

Thank you, Stu at stubaby777.wordpress.com for nominating me for this awesome award! I needed something positive to talk about right now, and you provided it. So many thanks for the nomination and for your inspiring scriptural posts.

I will start by listing the rules for the award:

Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.

Answer the 11 questions that were presented to you by your nominator.

Nominate 11 bloggers.

Ask those you nominate 11 questions.

List the rules.

Display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post or blog site.

Here are the questions that Stu asked me:

1. John from Electic Contrarian did a cool tag not too long ago highlighting his top com mentors. Who are the top five commenters on your blog?

2. Do you feel sad, upset, meh, or happy over losing followers?

Honestly, I am not really concentrating on my followers. I am noticing the comments and whether I think that I am following the way that God is leading for that day. If people follow me, I feel blessed. If they leave, I know that there is a reason, so I don’t fret over it.

3. What is your greatest strength?

My greatest strength comes from my relationship with the Lord Jesus.

4. What is your greatest weakness?

I have a problem with self-confidence and positivity.

5. What was your favorite book as a child or teen?

I read and treasured all of the Nancy Drew mysteries. Since I was asthmatic, I was not allowed to go outside and play with others, so I spent a lot of time with books. I also enjoyed Cherry Ames, the Hardy Boys, and the Bobbsey Twins.

6. What is your greatest fear?

Dying without being able to say goodbye to those I love.

7. Are you one of those bubbly morning peeps or a leave me alone til I wake up peep?

Much to my husband’s dismay and surprise, I am a bubbly morning peep. I go to bed early each evening and I’m usually up and ready for my day by 6 a.m. I used to have to get up about 4 when I was working, so 6 is “sleeping in” for me.

8. How has blogging helped you in life’s journey?

I have become more introspective because of blogging. And I am encouraged by all of the commenters and their kind words for me, usually just what and when I need it.

9. What is your goal as a blogger?

I want to glorify the Name of the Lord Jesus when I blog and I want to be an encouragement for others who read it.

10. What bumper sticker has made you laugh so hard you almost had to pull off the road?

“Metaphors Be With You”

11. What is the craziest name for a church you have ever heard?

Original Church of God, Number 2

Here are my nominees:

Christy Istrate

Puzzles of the Soul

Bruce

Equipping

Lisa Blair

Thought for Change

Odd and Bookish

Becoming His Tapestry

Train Today to Reap Tomorrow

Belle’s Moma16

Sim Chen Xing

Here are my questions:

1. What always makes you smile no matter what is happening in your life?

2. Who is the most important person in your life?

3. What is your favorite food that you would hate to ever give up?

4. What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

5. What is your favorite place to vacation?

6. Do you believe that God answers prayers? Can you give a testimony of when He answered one for you?

7. If you watch television, what is your favorite show and why?

8. What is the best book that has influenced your life and made it better?

9. Are you a coffee, tea, or other beverage fan?

10. What is your favorite recipe for fish? (Note that fish is the only thing I am allowed to eat right now, so I have an ulterior motive in asking this question! Thank you in advance for your recipes.).

11. Do you read on an e-reader or do you prefer hard copy books?

Thank you all for reading this blog today. And another testimony as I sign off today: The scheduler from my cardiologist’s office just called and my stress test scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed until next week because the hospital doesn’t have the isotope needed for the test. Hallelujah! I was very unhappy about going all the way to the hospital that is over an hour and a half away from my home. So, now I can go to the hospital that I usually go to (half the distance) and the one at which I had the test last time. Praise God! He is still working on my behalf, on the little and big things. Have a blessed day. And for those whom I nominated, if you can’t participate, no problem! Just have fun with it if you can.

Sharing Testimonies

It is our duty, our sacred responsibility, to share the mighty acts of God with others. God is all-powerful and throughout my current health ordeal, He has shown himself strong on my behalf. Yesterday I went to the cardiologist to get approval for the surgery that I need. He is a very thorough and kind man who explained to me that he could not give me approval until I have a stress test. Well, since I already have an endoscopy scheduled for December 26th, I asked him if I had to wait for the stress test to have that procedure completed. Unfortunately, he told me “yes” but the scheduler would do all she could to get me seen before the 26th for the stress test. I prayed with my husband that God would prepare the way for me. After all, the gastroenterologist told me that I was lucky that they had a cancellation on the 26th since the next available one is the end of January. I would be lying if I did not confess my anxiety with this whole situation. It’s not that I’m eager for the stress test. Not at all! But my surgeon said that I need surgery as soon as possible and has expedited a lot of the appointments and tests in order to reach that goal. So I was dreading having to postpone the endoscopy. It seems that I wasn’t trusting God enough because when the scheduler called, she got me an appointment for this Friday! Never mind that the hospital that I have to go to for the test is over 60 miles away. I’m praising God for continuing to line up things for me. And as the Scriptures say, I’m proclaiming the power and might of God in my life! I pray that God is showing Himself strong in your life, for He loves us all the same.

I would appreciate your prayers for the stress test. I have to do a chemical one and I already had one in 2016, a year after my stroke. It was not a pleasant experience, so I’m not looking forward to a galloping heart with monitors everywhere. But I do know that I’m holding onto the hand of my Creator, the King of the Universe, and He will see me through yet another valley. Blessings!

Praise The Lord!

 

I go to the cardiologist today for a cardiac clearance for my surgery, and praising the Lord has been all that I have been thinking about this morning.  No matter what, He is worthy of praise!

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May the God of all mercy, love and grace put a song in your heart today, just as He has put a song of praise in mine.  Blessings!