Wednesday, December 07, 2016

My Spiritual Journey Continues

1 Cor. 1:9 “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

My Advent Season ~ My Spiritual Journey Continues

My Advent Season has begun with the Max Lucado – Because of Bethlehem series. I adore Max Lucado and his inspirational writing. I take my spiritual journey in life pretty serious and this year is no different than the past seasons of my spiritual journey. I love God, I love the Jesus story and I am dedicated eternally to my Spiritual journey.

You know, we only think of Bethlehem when Christmas time rolls around, but I hope we ALL think of what Bethlehem means to each of us, daily in the name Jesus Christ, Immanuel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords! It is BECAUSE of Bethlehem that we know we have a Savior that was prophetically announced in the Old Testament.

Isaiah 9:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
[15] Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.[16] For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:[2] And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

As I said before, my faith is not based on just mere words that I’ve read over the years, if that was the case I’d probably be a Buddhist monk by now. No, what my faith is based on is my soul, my spirit and His Spirit which fills me with everlasting love and comfort during trying times. It is during these trying times that I feel closest to Him. Such has been my lifelong spiritual journey.

Last year was not a good year all the way around. Three deaths in the family took its toll on me physically, emotionally and yes it scarred my soul but did NOT change where my soul was heading with the Lord front and center. This year as my Spiritual journey continues it’s no different, a death in the family, again I’m not home so it affects me differently than it does the ones back there over a thousand miles away.

I don’t have a family where when one is sick they seek prayers for the strength in getting through a tumultuous heartbreaking time, no, my family is one where when someone is sick they keep it a hidden secret because, “they didn’t bother with me while I was alive, I don’t need them bothering me in death” kind of rhetoric. I’m sure more colorful words were used but you get my meaning. 

Sunday during one of my daily calls to my mother, she informed me that my one brother (who has denied my facebook friend request) told her that he had seen on facebook that “Billy, [my cousin] was put in a hospice and more than likely wouldn’t make it to Christmas, if anybody cared.” < words of my cousins husband.  I tried contacting my cousin’s husband because I ‘thought’ he had been listed as my ‘friend’ but ironically he disappeared. I sent a message but he never responded to it. My mother (who doesn't do internet anything) called my OTHER brother and he told her that he had seen the same message on facebook and knows no more. My so-called ‘family’ is not the communicative type so it didn’t surprise me that my mother didn’t call when she ‘somehow’ found out that my cousin had passed away on Monday, supposedly by a ‘rare blood disease’ caused by drugs and alcohol. I know no more than what I’m told.

While my blood family is a part of my past, sadly they will remain a part of my past. I have a few good memories (like those of my cousin Billy) that I can pull from the dusty closet but I keep the bad memories, filled to the brim, under lock and key. I want no part of that murky past wreaking havoc on my healing Spiritual Journey as I head into everlasting life with my Savior. I don’t know if I will ever see any of those people ever again but trust me, I will be all the better for it as they played their role in my life and now the show is over and I must bow out.

My Spiritual Family is the ones who are in my life now, daily supporting me, always a comfort to me, befriending me and never judging me or expecting anything from me. At least something good DID come out of the dark blanket that tried to shroud me, it called to me to write. Although my blood family does not know that I’m a writer or that for the past thirteen years or so that I’ve been away, I’ve been writing. They don’t know of my disability (they 'heard' about it but could care less) or care to know OF me. Out of sight, out of mind. But my spiritual family knows me sometimes better than I know myself and for that, I’m eternally grateful! My Spiritual Journey continues, praise be to God!

About Isaiah - one of my favorite books of the bible

1 Cor. 1:3 “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. [4] I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;”


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Advent: The Time of Spiritual Renewal

Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV) “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”

* author's note: This is a very worthy repost from Nov. 26, 2014


The season of Advent is upon us and while many believe this is a season for the Catholic faith to celebrate the coming of Jesus’ birth, they are sadly mistaken. While the Catholic Church does celebrate through rites and rituals such as burning a colored candle each week as they focus on the coming of the Lord, many Christians such as myself celebrate Advent as a spiritual renewal.

This was a time in history documented and prophesied about in the Old Testament and came to fruition in the advent of the New Testament. The weeks leading up to Christ being born into this world are a pivotal proclamation to every single Christian. Our faith in Jesus Christ is solid proof, to ME, that the Advent of Christ is true to the biblical word.

Granted I don’t believe December 25th as the exact day He was born. But it is the day that man has chosen to appoint and celebrate as the day of Jesus’ birth. Advent to me is preparing for the coming of the Lord instead of getting all caught up in the commercialization of a sacred Holy Day.

We’re living in a world where people make up their own choices and minds with how to honor the King of Kings. Christians everywhere claim to be Christian but shrug off Lent and Advent and other spiritual expectancies that the very bible they claim to read speaks of and are happy just declaring they’re Christian’s. To me, that’s a mockery of Christ and the Holy Bible.

Yes, claiming to be a Christian is all well and good but it is more than just words, you have to put physical and spiritual ACTION behind those words for them to be believed. Even through my computer screen I can tell which friends are spirit-filled and which ones put on a show. When sitting in Church I can physically see who is there just to show people that they’re there. I am not judging people; I am confirming that I have eyes to see.

THIS is why a spiritual rejuvenation is needed throughout the year. THIS is why Advent and Lent are so dear to ME. Yes, I spiritually reflect throughout the year, but these two seasons take on special meaning to my spiritual growth.

I watch as a globe erupts in turmoil; races against races, wars against innocent, death to believers, fear in the loving. Satan is standing at the threshold of corruption, rising in great power throwing swords of fire at the earthbound physically and spiritually weak. The flames have reached every corner of the earth, blades of fire have licked the spirit of all as we sit and watch, waiting, just waiting to understand.

THIS is the season for true Christians to fully understand the biblical elements at work. This is where we gather our spiritual strength and prepare for the coming of Christ. We can’t shrug off what we are called to be; we can’t ignore and draw a blind eye of what is to come. We can’t walk and pretend that we’re doing everything in our power to prayerfully heal a nation in the throes of an uprising while we're too busy to reflect even once on the spiritual growth of our being. We’re not called to ‘just’ believe.

This is not a time to wear a mask and delight in the show of the Christmas spectacle; this is the time to be spiritually awake in the depths of your soul. This is not the time to look around at all you don’t hold in your hands; this is the time to be grateful for every little thing you DO have. This is not the time to walk in confidence knowing you have a faith and belief in God; this is the time to meditate on all you are, all you hold true and all you hope to one day become THROUGH the blood and power of Christ.

THIS, my friends, is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Pss.118:24) 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Spirit of Christmas Gone Wrong (a poem)

1 Cor. 16:14 "Let all your things be done with charity."

Spirit of Christmas

Where has all the loving gone
in the hectic busy throng
of people scurried and buried
in the hustle and bustle gone wrong.

The spirit of Christ left behind
nowhere to find the peace
within my mind as all the souls
entwined by greed are blind.

Empty souls filled with hate  
it's clearly too late as your fate 
is sealed in a tomb with no room
for the saving grace to bloom

The spirit of Christmas shed
dead for the One who bled in 
His word we were led away 
from the dread that bears the dead

From where I stand my life is grand
the world is bland in no man's land
flames all fanned by the hate of man
it is with the love of Christ I stand.

The Spirit of Christmas will thrive
strive as I might to stay alive when
the peace surrounds me that I’ve 
been forced from man to survive.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Feeling Sad

 Writing this, thinking of Christopher I look out the window and see this. 

Col. 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

A Sad Day

I could feel the sadness brewing at the beginning of the week but when Thanksgiving arrived it hit me like a Mack truck running me over, and my body left to lie on the cold concrete as the truck kept going. I always get sad around the holidays missing my family but it hit me harder this year I think because my one and only living son had to work.

I could feel the hustle and bustle coming through my screen as my days are not much more than sitting behind a screen writing my feelings down or cleaning and scrubbing the house to my liking as I prepare for the Christmas season. I just like a clean house so it tends to keep me busy on a daily basis.

It was 34 years ago on Thanksgiving day that I lost my firstborn son. I often think of what my son would be like had he been able to live in this crazy world. Sometimes I’m thankful that he didn’t have to endure years of pain with me as a failing mother and that he resided with his heavenly Father who would shield him from the world's animosity; it doesn’t hurt any less, after all, Christopher was still born!

It’s too long of a story to get into but the gist of it is, the sharp stinging pains started on Thanksgiving Day in 1982, and a doctor visit the next day confirmed my nine-month fetus was lying in a tomb, my body. A week would pass before the dead lifeless baby was delivered and it was one of those changing points in my life that affected me for life. 

Every Thanksgiving Day has been a kind of memorial day for me (no one else) when I think of that day. I don’t cling to the sadness just for that day but the days that followed leading up to Christopher’s birthday, December 2nd. This year was no different as my husband and I sat at an empty table alone, eating our scrumptious dinner that I was ever so grateful to be eating.

I consider myself to be a strong person but there are two days that buckle me to my knees and that is Astri’s birthday and Christopher’s birthday, my two angel babies that didn’t have work to do on earth but had plenty to do in heaven!

So maybe you can sympathize with me as I eagerly made the turkey, the mashed potatoes, yams, and dressing this year but the meal when done, would only fill my husband and my stomach. Tears streamed down my face during prayer as I was missing so much, feeling so empty waiting to be filled. This was Adam’s first Thanksgiving away from the table and I felt the emptiness in the core of my bones.

I watched as family after family rejoiced in spending time with one another. Picture after picture of sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles all gathering around for what was to culminate in a family tradition. Family time together, that is what Thanksgiving is to many people but I do know a few who celebrated alone and maybe no one offered a prayer for them (but me) because they were too busy being thankful for what was in front of them.

I think in some way I shaped my own family tradition of loneliness on Thanksgiving Day and not really understanding or comprehending what Family Tradition is all about. My family back home celebrated in their own non-traditional way. My brother invited my mother to his house, my other brother went to his families home, while my other two brothers and sister all ate alone, like me. (My one brother is homeless, the other alone in Tennessee, my sister's kids all ate at their friend's house, I guess, because tradition is not the norm for my blood family)

It’s pretty sad when you miss family because of a death and they’re no longer with you to celebrate, or you live too far away to get together for the turkey day celebration, but it is quite downright pathetic when you have a big uncaring family and you’re left alone on the holiday even without a simple holiday greeting of Happy Thanksgiving! Just so you know, *I* DID make the effort to extend a greeting to those blood family members who are my ‘friends’ on facebook. A huge family and two replies, wow that made my day.

Now my virtual family all replies when you say Happy Thanksgiving to make you feel like some part of their family and celebration; that takes the sting off of feeling depressed during the holiday. Had it not been for them, I would have probably spent the day puddled in tears, feeling hurt and throwing myself a pity party.

My writing break is not over yet but I just had to get this off of my chest and writing is my only healing spot. Thank you all for reading but most off all THANK YOU for allowing me to see traditions through your eyes and letting me know that families DO exist in the world today! Thank you for sharing you with me!

See it or not, this cross was for me. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Just A Meme To Me


Just a Meme to Me

I learn who you are through memes
The new world order so it seems
I don’t understand
The image is bland
Lies in disguise as one deems.

I often am left to wonder
Why people choose to plunder
What once was great
is it now too late
to dig out what has put us under.

I’d love to learn from word
What actually you heard.
Lines so discreet
The lies of deceit
The image you paint is so blurred

I learn who you are through memes
Intruding through the seams
You’re foreign to me
No words do I see
You’re rendered in picturesque themes.

Pss. 33:4 “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.”

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Poetry Sunday ~ My Father and Servant

Col. 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

~My Father~
He strives to walk along the sand
With all his might he takes a stand
Raises up one swift hand
He smites the sea; he smites the land
He cowers not to you or me
Behold his love! Behold his glory!
Turn the page of inner fury
He rises up above the waves
Thrashing down the light that saves
Scanning all the open shore
The beacon shines forevermore
He is my Father strong and pure
The light that sits; awaits his call
Amid the storm to rise and fall
The lighthouse stands strong and tall
To guide one home through it all!

~The Servant ~

Be like children of marvelous wonder,
rise up and hear His call.
Be not fooled by raging thunder,
God has blessed us one and all.

Bow down your ear to hear His word.
Lift your voice in praise
Allow His truth in you be stirred
Put off corrupted lustful ways.

Rejoice in Him who saved your soul
To fellowship be kind
Unity becomes your goal
Then TRUTH is what you’ll find.

copyright © Joni Zipp

* a repost from November 23, 2008

The Season begins where we need to be thankful for all that we have, and thank the One who made it all possible. God Bless ~ Joni

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Quotation Saturday ~ Thanksgiving

Pss. 100:4 “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

CHANGE

“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away... and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast.... be happy about your growth, in which of course you can't take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don't torment them with your doubts and don't frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn't be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn't necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust.... and don't expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” 
― Paulo Coelho

“We can't be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don't have something better.” 
― C. JoyBell C.

INSPIRATION

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” 
― Kurt Vonnegut

“It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.” 
― Lou Holtz

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control.” 
― Elizabeth Gilbert

“And still, after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
"You owe Me."

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.” 
― Hafez

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” 
― Marcus Aurelius

SPIRIT-FILLED

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty -- it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There's a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” 
― Mother Teresa

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” 
― Francis of Assisi

“How hurtful it can be to deny one's true self and live a life of lies just to appease others.” 
― June Ahern

“What you are is God's gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.” 
― Hans Urs von Balthasar

THANKSGIVING

“Because thankfulness is the tonic that always cures the cancers of greed, envy and jealousy, it should be taken in liberal doses daily.” 
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” 
― W.T. Purkiser

“I pray for you, that all your misgivings will be melted to thanksgivings. Remember that the shadow a thing casts often far exceeds the size of the thing itself (especially if the light be low on the horizon) and though some future fear may strut brave darkness as you approach, the thing itself will be but a speck when seen from beyond. Oh, that He would restore us often with that 'aspect from beyond,' to see a thing as He sees it, to remember that He dealeth with us as with sons.” 
― Jim Elliot

“The Christian who walks with the Lord and keeps constant communion with Him will see many reason for rejoicing and thanksgiving all day long.” 
― Warren W. Wiersbe

May the Spirit of Thanksgiving dwell in you today and always, God Bless!
~ Joni

Col. 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

Sunshine Award

Sunshine award