Friday, January 1, 2021

New Year - New Opportunities!

 Just like Groundhog Day - it's a replay from the year before. The New Year and all the anticipation that it brings hangs in the balance...

But this past year was different. Our lives were turned upside down. We had to adjust to things that were not of our choosing or in our control...

We make resolutions, we start diets & exercise, we begin healthy habits and quit things that we've decided not to do anymore, all in an attempt to start afresh with a clean slate...

So - why do we feel like all the effort never pays off?  What can we do differently THIS YEAR to make our goals and dreams a reality?

Remember, you are in control of your own spiritual destiny with God.  It is a personal relationship between you and your Creator. Your mind, will, and emotions play an important part. Your volitional level involves your will (or willingness).  Your emotions and intellect carry out your desire. Make sure you aim for success by making the decision to follow through with your plans.  Here are a few tips to get you started...

First of all ---  Don't stress out!  God's Word declares His mercy and compassion are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).  When we fail (and we will) we know He is a God of fresh beginnings and second chances.  These are two of my favorites verses for encouragement:

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, go give you a future and a hope."

Secondly ---  Map out your overall strategy for the year ahead. Start out with small steps towards your goal. Keep reminding yourself that you're doing better than the previous year. Stay focused on the "big picture" and not on your failures. You will have setbacks and disappointments, so be ready for bumps in the road.  Thank God for your progress and ask Him to help you in your spiritual journey.




Thirdly ---  Keep on keeping on! Don't give up or let the enemy of your soul taunt you. Every day that you set your mind and affection on Jesus Christ is a winning day!  Bask in His Word, keep on praying, and stay in fellowship with other believers. Isolation is one of Satan's greatest weapons. Encourage yourself daily in the Lord.  Ask Him to help you succeed by producing good fruit in your spiritual life (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).


As we walk day by day through the year 2021, let us be comforted by this great hymn.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

   Leaning, leaning,
   Safe and secure from all alarms;
   Leaning, leaning,
   Leaning on the everlasting arms.

O, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O, how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

(Elisha Albright Hoffman)


In this New Year resolve to make forward progress with Christ:

As the Apostle Paul states in Philippians verse 13-14, “but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  

Enjoy two more of my favorite New Year's Eve posts from years past:








Deborah is the author of a Christian non-fiction book titled “Mission Possible”. It was written for women who love the Lord Jesus, but their spouse doesn’t share their passion.  It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together. Visit  http://www.spirituallyunevenmarriage.com
If you have been encouraged by this post - please take time to share it with others.

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Friday, December 4, 2020

Holiday Expectations - Keeping It Real

 It’s that time of year when expectations run high… but they often don’t quite measure-up to reality. 

This holiday season is different for sure... Travel is being discouraged, gathering to share a meal with multi generations is frowned upon, and many do not have the additional resources to spare for lavish presents and overindulgences. 

We all have unmet expectations when it comes to Christmas.  

Now might be a good time to reevaluate what is really important this Christmas.  Faith, family and charity are my favorite things to focus on during this time of year. Here is my take on each of them:Christmas. 

FAITH -   Jesus is certainly the Reason for the Season. The babe in the manger born in Bethlehem came into this world to fulfill prophesy foretold long ago of a Savior – Christ the Lord.  He is our Prince of Peace during times of turmoil and uncertainty.  Jesus is the “indescribable gift” from the Father above.
(II Corinthians 9:15).

FAMILY -   Now there is a “loaded” subject.  We all have them, but sometimes we don't like them very much.  Often during family gatherings tensions arise between siblings, parents and children, and spouses.  Every family has their danger zone when it comes to relationship pitfalls.  Placing unrealistic expectations on your family can cause depression, anxiety, and anger.  Be sure bathe your holidays in prayer.  Extend grace where needed and use self-control liberally.

CHARITY -  Nothing makes you feel better than meeting a need and helping someone less fortunate than yourself.  Giving emulates the character of Jesus.  This is the season for gift giving and donating your time, energy and finances to worthy causes.  Share with others what the Lord has blessed you with. Remember, it is not the size of your gift – but the heart motive that matters.

Oftentimes family gatherings are a flashpoint for tensions.  



First of all - we likely don't have a perfect family - who does?  It might be stressful to deal with an ex-spouse or ex-in-laws.  Many people deal with new dynamics in a blended family. Things don’t always go as planned, so be sure to stay flexible and non-confrontational if possible.  Extend grace to others.  Don’t assume wrong motives.  Allow extra time for yourself in order to avoid a melt-down in the middle of cooking, cleaning and socializing with your extended family.  Ask others to help with food preparation, gift-wrapping, decorating and cleanup.

Give yourself permission to “let something go” that was on your to-do list without the guilt. Every year isn’t going to be a Norman Rockwell Christmas – and that is OKAY.   Recognize that not everyone is going to want to do what you want to do at Christmastime.  Give and take is essential with a large family as much as it is with a small one.  Feelings will get hurt and toes will get stepped on.  It’s OKAY.  Focus on the major things and don’t fret over the minor things.  Making memories that will last is honorable – but not at the expense of your sanity or your relationships.

Enjoy the journey. Keep your sanity by maintaining some boundaries.  Get plenty of rest, eat right, and exercise to keep yourself healthy and mentally balanced. Slow down...

Remember – JESUS is the Reason for the Season.  Everything else is just filler...





Deborah is the author of a Christian non-fiction book titled “Mission Possible”. It was written for women who love the Lord Jesus, but their spouse doesn’t share their passion.  It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together.   Visit  http://www.spirituallyunevenmarriage.com

 If you have been encouraged by this post - please take time to share it with others.


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