Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ten Things I Observed In 2016

Num. 16:30 “But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.”

Ten Things I Observed in 2016

1) Every one of US is judge and jury.
(Think about it, you’re judging that statement right there)

2) Not everyone who says they’re a Christian IS a Christian.
(There is still tons of work to be done)

3) Every church is filled to the brim with sinners.
(As it should be. If all were perfect, there would be no need for a church)

4) Politics can destroy sanity and friendships.
(I see many people differently after this year)

5) Opinions are like an anus, everybody is born with one.
(I tried to be discreet here)

6) Life is filled with more questions than answers.
(Age old question, WHY?)

7) Not EVERYONE has all the RIGHT answers.
(They think they do but they are mere fools.)
Proverbs 18:2 (NIV) “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.”

8) Birds are the most pure in Spirit
(They weather below freezing temps, they know their place, have no opinions, and learned to soar with all that they’re given to survive!)

9) Death is just a transitional phase.
(Those who think otherwise need to do some deep soul searching)

(It’s okay to be sad for others who are hurting. It’s okay to be pained by a loss. It is okay to be sorrowful. There is a time to mourn and a time to move on.)

I’ve come to appreciate every second I’m alive, not just the days I make it through. Life is too short to judge the person sitting next to you whether homosexual or not, black or white, etc., these are your brothers that God wants us to LOVE! Love your neighbor as you love yourself. When you judge someone by their looks or sexual preference, the race, religion or color you are judging all the things that you yourself lack. 

Be wise in the New Year but most of all, BE BLESSED!

"There is more to life than what is in front of your eyes. May 2017 be the year that you embrace what you can't see." ~Joni

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Comforting Words

Heb. 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Comfort in Trying Times

I was going to hang my hat up for the rest of the year of blogging but as many of you already know me so well, I do what God calls me to do and last night it was evidently clear that He wanted me to send out some comforting words to you, who need to hear.

As you know, we have all experienced a year of awe-inspiring deaths; deaths that affected the very core of our soul. Yes, I know everyone dies, and every year we have our shocking deaths of the year that just makes our jaw drop open and hang there in wonder. Last year for me was a blur as I had three deaths in the family and it looks like this year my husband might be losing an aunt. She is in the hospital being kept alive by feeding tubes as I write.  

I’m referring to the current year of celebrity deaths that seemed to touch many generations not just my generation as Prince, Glen Frey, George Michael in the music world, but to the older generations as in Garry Marshall, Gloria DeHaven, Arnold Palmer and the space exploring Astronauts John Glenn and Edgar Mitchell to writer Harper Lee. These deaths touched many generations. The list goes on and on and the year isn’t even over yet. This seems to be the year of icon deaths

When growing up what is magnified in shaping you is what goes into your mind, body, and spirit. While God may have shaped the early years, the television and radio input has also chiseled little pieces of your psyche. As you travel down memory lane December 31st, remember those icons who shaped who you are today. 

The political arena where people fought like pit bulls tossed into a pit with a bunny running in circles overshadowed this dismal year also. Devastating fires and earthquakes in places that rarely receives any media attention carved the year and the disheartening ending. This was a year for the record books from weather, destruction, deaths, politics, wildfires to entitlement. We the people who feel entitled to everything our fingers and minds can grasp are being put into our place for certain. 

We are not entitled! This is not our world to do what we want, this place is on loan and the sooner people realize how close we are to the end and that it is time to pay our dues maybe people can focus deeper on their soul and the continuance of the spirit that will leave the body, leave the beloved family behind to mourn and leave you to cleave only to your own spirit.

I watch as people succumb to their wants and needs. Even if all of their needs are met they seek more; more meds, more money, bigger house, better car, more materials, want, want, want. Their heads are spinning from the confusion instead of calmly looking around at all they have within their grasp and meditating what is right at their fingertips.

Heb. 13:5-6 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."

I have nieces and nephews with small children that have to grow up in this world and this is not the world I want to leave them. I want to leave my mark so that when I go, like the iconic figures that have gone on before me this year, I want to be remembered for my poetic life, the laughter I shared, the smiles I gave, for the joy I bestowed and for the God I loved in life and in death, and His comforting words that I share with you today.

Heb 6:10-12 NIV “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” 

Some of these icons that passed over were either well aged or who had not even begun their life, but take note, they all left their mark on the world. I can only assume that God is ready for His chosen to be lifted and taken to a better place. 

I find comfort in knowing that I have a place to go after this life. While some still struggle to understand the depths of the hereafter, probably because they are too consumed by the here and now and the wants and needs of today, I am comforted in knowing that there IS a hereafter and that this life is a continuum of a path that never really ends for us. 

Heb. 6:17-20 “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”

So as I am saddened by the recent deaths of George Michael, Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds I can rest assure with the fact that the choir of angels amassed in heaven this year alone is going to be its own resounding trumpet. 
To the literalist I say, don’t wait for the brass, to the realist I say see what is real, to the pessimist I say, stop conjuring and to the optimist I say, keep the faith! 

Maybe we should all… be Praying for Time. 

God Bless one and all!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Haunting Christmas Day Storm

4 Ezra 15:38 “And then shall there come great storms from the south, and from the north, and another part from the west.”

Haunting Christmas Storm

I don’t know where you’re located but on Christmas day we here in the Midwest had the weirdest and darkest of storms almost wipe us out. 

Let me start by saying I had the most beautiful blessed day! I woke in the ever peacefulness of the morning, computer humming in the background, hubby already awake. I shuffled to the kitchen to start my morning coffee and allowed Sassy to go outside and do her morning business. 

Besides the wind smacking me in the face the fog wouldn’t allow my eyes to see any further than the road, so I ducked back in the house to see how the coffee was coming along, ahh, nothing like a house filled with the aroma of coffee!

We waited for Adam to make his presence known and then the excitement of gift exchange began. My favorite gift was a Grace VanderWaal CD! My second (or third) favorite gift was a Minion that TALKS! Says 25 different phrases and well, this excited me like any child ripping open presents on Christmas morn. Shut up! I hear you laughing, I was excited! 

They asked what I wanted and I really am not a person of want so anything was fine by me, but I think these people I live with know me too well and made their purchases of love with the knowledge of knowing and understanding my needs. Yes, I needed that Minion to bring a much-needed smile to my face! 

The Grace tape brought tears to my eyes because I didn’t think anyone would remember how much I admire this twelve-year-old prodigy! But hubby remembered! Then there were the adult coloring books! You know coloring books for grown-ups that kids would find boring but I’m using them to keep my fingers exercised; kind of a physical therapy on myself.

I got Pepsi cups, a Pepsi apron (that covers my chest for when I’m slaving over the hot stove!) now I don’t ruin my shirt by that one splatter of sauce. And what else you ask? Well two letters, HP? Any guesses? A new and improved much-needed laptop. WOOHOO!! My old one has been going up for months now and his days were numbered as my days were just writing and going easy on the tired fella. Watching videos was like riding down the bumpy road in frustration waiting for the trip to end. No amount of cleaning was making the old fella work any better and hubby knew that and made sure my Christmas was a MERRY one!

I didn’t get to play with my toys because out here in the Midwestern part of the country, people eat dinner at noonish. Yes, noonish! I was kind of leery after looking into the deep thick fog that made viewing the outside world nearly impossible. It was if God had hung a veiled curtain over the window and was not allowing anyone to see pass the flowing mist.

Anxiously, we went on with our plans and all hopped in the truck and trudged on, falsely thinking that it could only get better out there right? Boy were we ever wrong. The dirt road was already a trembling puddle as the winds were causing the water to shiver as we drove. The drizzle became a downpour quickly as we hit the blacktop part of the road but the fog and rain were only getting worse. I wanted to go back! Home! Safety! 

We pressed on seeing it brighter up ahead but as we lurched ever so slowly as a slug on a slimy road, eerily the sky darkened to almost black as night. The fog had turned into a thick blanket then the rain, the torrential downpour coupled with what felt like a hundred mile an hour winds basically pushing the car off of the road to the side where a ditch was only the next place to go. 

Lightning crashed thunder erupted, and winds pushed. I saw a car pull over and he just sat there waiting for the monsoon-like winds and rain to stop pulsating so that we could eek along on a nearly empty road barely missing hydroplaning our way into a ditch. I felt as if I was in the Twilight Zone special feature and I would surely wake up and all would be sunny and bright after passing through the time warp vortex. 

I wanted to turn around and go back home but I wasn’t the one driving and after all, we had made it this far. I must’ve said ten Our Father’s before reaching his brother's place and yes, we were the first to arrive as the rest of the family was facing the same exact thing that we had just been through. 

All of the family arrived safely, each with their own version of what they had just experienced driving through but like I said we all made it safely to the Family Celebration. Although worries of the turkey not making it, fear of food poisoning hung over the get-together, quickly gone after eating all of the extremely good food that survived. The turkey was fine really but the caution was there for us to decide after the oven had failed early in the morning hours, rendering Tom drying out time in a cooling oven.

The day was drawing to a close. I was getting antsy wanting to play with my new toy at home and briefly the sun shone and pierced the darkened skies just as the Light of the Lord will do for any soul living in the dark. All three of us were ready to part before another predicted storm hit. 

The only thing that hampered the drive home was the winds that had calmed to about 50 mph but we made it home, listened to the howling wind hurl small limbs at the house, shred shingles from the rooftop and pound on the walls like an anxious intruder. Outside tables and chairs were flipped upside down, chimes broke free from the branches where they hung, but we all made it through yet another Christmas day.

Except for the weird wind, strange fog, and thundering lightning the day was perfect. Yet another Pop Singer (one of my faves) died and 2016 will stand out as the most Perfectly Imperfect year to date, for ME!!!! Fittingly, Perfectly Imperfect is Grace VanderWaal’s CD’s name! 

Now onto the days AFTER Christmas… 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Fear of Rejection

Pss, 40:3 "And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD."

Fear of Rejection

Since I was a child, I’ve always had the fear of rejection. It started when I was young being rejected by the first crush I had and every school aged crush thereafter until I finally settled at fifteen for the only guy that showed ANY interest in little old Bony Joni! 

Let me say first and foremost that God has NEVER rejected me from the day I was born until now, He has NEVER rejected me hence the reason for my lifelong dedication and commitment to Him. He has and will NEVER let me down. Not that he hasn’t told me that ‘now is the time to wait, or the time to be patient, or even not now!’ But He has always been my one and only constant in my life that never lets me down or rejects me in anyway.

With that said, I fear rejection. I give my everything to God but that does not stop rejection from happening to me over and over and as a writer fear of rejection should be the norm, it happens to the best of writers! It’s how we deal with it that matters. 

Okay with that said I have to say this too, I miss blogging! Writing my blog is sharing me with you and how I deal with things. If I don’t share, then the words all play scrabble in my brain trying to compartmentalize them and could very possibly keep me awake at night if I stop blogging completely. I’m wondering if that is what insomniacs suffer from, not getting their words OUT so they jumble all that is going on in their day to day life in a brainsoup that keeps them awake at night. 

I’ve never had trouble sleeping so I’m wondering if my writing is what has kept insomnia away from MY doorstep. Dealing with health crisis after health crisis should keep me awake at night but my faith that the Lord will carry me through any fire I walk through settles my mind quite a bit. 

Before I divulge my ‘new’ health scare, let me first say I have no health insurance, I have no money and I HAVE been rejected so many times for Medicaid, health coverage, anything, that I just walk this path day in and day out with the Lord and I’m certain that this is leading up to my next year’s blogging posts, my journey and my survival. Please, do NOT say, “I should do this, or I should do that.” I HAVE exhausted all avenues and here is where I am. My husband applied for medical coverage for me, and it takes time for it to ‘activate’. Yes, it will cost but this was what he wanted to do. January first I can make my first appointment (I think) to see just what is the matter. He’s also applied for medicare disability for me, but I KNOW I will be rejected from that too. I think he took action because 1) he’s seen all of the rejection, 2) he’s smarter than me, and 3) he might be a little scared. 

I waited until after Christmas to post this so I knew you’d all have a Happy Holiday. Not that you’d stress over my health crisis and me but I know some of you might because that is who you are, you love me! Being a woman you’ll relate, you’ll be concerned and you’ll want to see me through this with compassion, love and of course, prayer! And I’m certain I will need all of that to get me through each day.

Just what exactly am I babbling on and on about? Here goes… the ever dreaded lump! Yup, you know that lump you feel during a shower and you think , “Hmm… this is new.” You kind of forget about it and try to wish it away but it is there and it is growing and you then start to think, “Hmm… this isn’t normal at all.” That’s where I’m at. Then, what’s the next thing you do? Google of course because you know, it has all the answers and they’re usually dire and when you get checked out it was not as serious as you thought? 

Well let me tell you, my google search did not bring up anything dire and in some ways it was a comfort knowing but then again it scared me because google is always wrong! Yeah, I laugh and joke during a crisis! Smile with me people!

It doesn’t sound like the ‘C’ word that everyone is afraid of, it sounds more like the ‘c’ word that makes you go, “ewww, I got one of those and it needs draining?” In other words it sounds more like a cyst than it does cancer but it needs to be seen, touched, poked, prodded and looked at by a professional (other than google) to be sure that all is well with my already falling apart body. 

There I said it and I feel better already!

Friday, December 23, 2016

A True Christmas Tale - poem by Joni!

 Job 10:12 “Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hate preserved my spirit.”

A True Christmas Tale

 A tale was told one Christmas eve,
Tis' better to give than to receive.
But I have no gift, my pockets bare,
I am but a poet, my poem I'll share.
I rose from my bed on Christmas day,
The sun was peeking down where I lay.
I crept down the stairs so I could see,
Had Santa left gifts under my tree?
I wasn't surprised, left unamazed,
I stood at my empty tree and gazed.
No gifts to give, my heart did ache,
But I would go on for Christmas' sake.
I threw on my clothes, rushed out the door,
Just what is all this excitement for?
I have no gifts to give to thee,
No presents were left beneath my tree.
So how can Christmas be happy and gay?
What is the secret that makes this day?
I swung open the door, to my surprise,
My family was sitting before my eyes.
Greetings exchanged, hugs of embrace,
Smiles that lit the entire place.
"We're glad you're here, accept this gift.
Maybe then your spirits will lift."
I saw in their eyes a special glow,
That sunk my heart, and let me know,
That they were giving with deepest love,
For God had signaled from above.
The spirit of Christmas is a radiant gleam,
That shines through the soul, in a warming beam.
I have felt that warmth throughout the year,
By spreading laughter, joy, and cheer.
But a chosen day was set aside,
For all of our arms to open wide.
So the gift I give has no ribbons or bows,
I'll give you peace that warms and glows.
I'll tell you I love you, I'll make you smile,
I'll see that your visit was worth the while.
I returned to my house, I plugged in my tree,
There sat a star gazing down at me.
I looked at the star with wondrous sight,
For God had appeared that Christmas night.
I was given the secret of Christmas eve,
Tis' better to give, than to receive.

Author’s note: I wrote this when I was 18
But it is still one of my most favorite Christmas
Poems that I wrote! May it go down in His-tor-y!

Merry Christmas to all

And to all a good night! 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Another Year (poem)

Psalms 116:8 “For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.”

Another Year…

Another year has passed us by
We’re told to laugh and never cry
Sometimes our eyes don’t know why
A tear rolls down our cheek.

Another year has come and gone
Often struggle to face the dawn
Too many days I just hold on
A tear leaks from my eye.

Another year with all I’ve lost
My family torn it’s what it cost
Memories of the miles I crossed
The tears they never stop.

Another year with Christmas day
Without you here the price I pay
Our lives enhanced is what I say
The tears begin to stop.

Another year in which I fight
To know if what I did was right
And when I see the star filled night
The tears all wash away.

A note from the author:

For forty years I've written my mother and father birthday and holiday cards. This is one to my mother this Christmas. After my dad passed away last year, the tears flow more easily but I am healing, my mother, not so much, she's lost the love of her life and no words, (not even my poems) can take the pain away. 

Think of people who are alone this Christmas without their lifelong spouses, or lost children. 
Christmas is NOT a MERRY time for ALL. 

God Bless one and all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

That Time Of Year...

Job 17:11 “My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.”

That Time of Year

Well, my friends, it’s that time of year once again. You probably think I’m referring to the merry and joyful time of year with the lighting of the Christmas trees, the sounds of Christmas carols ringing through the air, the aroma of pine scent wafting through the house, children anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus with a little countdown calendar to Christmas hanging on the fridge. If you think that is what I’m referring to, you’d be wrong. 

This is the time of reflection for me, that leads to my New Year in April (Easter is my New Year, for those who don’t know me). Reflection is sometimes one of the hardest things one must do because being faced with truth, direction, and discernment; one is pulled in many directions of an emotional roller-coaster ride.

For nine years I’ve been writing this blog and statistics show more than five of those years two hundred and some odd days a year were spent writing and bringing a Light to your world. You may or may not see it that way but as you scan over the years of posts, you will be hard pressed to find anything negative that I’ve brought to your world.

1 Cor. 14:1 “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”
[12] “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”

I take my faith, God and my gift of writing very serious as many of you know. I’m not judging you and saying you don’t take your God given gift(s) serious, on this blog I am defining me at ALL times and if you see YOU in my words, well then Praise Be, I’ve done my job!

Heb. 2:4 “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”

I know some of you don’t see writing and not getting paid as a ‘real’ job, but let me tell you, it is the most richly rewarding ‘job’ of my life, and personally I don’t see it as a job unless you understand that all I do, I do for Him! This is why when I make a decision on something, I take it to Him and see what HE has to say about my decisions. It sounds crazy, I know, but it is my way of life and the way I’ve been since I can remember.

Last year the three deaths in my family hit me pretty hard, and a recent death of my too young to die, cousin. I know, all deaths take a certain toll on each individual but they hit me like I had not expected, scarring my heart and allowing a mountain of emotions and flashbacks to remain unmoved; an aunt, an uncle and my father all taken away from this earth. People say, “They’re angels in heaven now,” but you don’t know that for a fact and not even I can be certain that is where their souls drifted off to, thus leading me to a reflective and contemplative year, this one, 2016. (Please, this is not a debate on heaven and hell or a weakening or strengthening of faith, it is ME seeing to it that this mountain is MOVED! With God’s help of course.)

Hence my decision to shut this blog down, I did not just pull this decision out of my hat, I have been contemplating since the New Year began but the political infestation of negativity kept me writing to bring you LIGHT in an extremely darkened world. I’m sure you all know everyone was a victim of this political disastrous negative year. I watched as what I deemed pillars of strength in the ‘Christian’ community crumble and buckle to the negative impact of the role politics played in their lives. They were hurtful, hate-filled, anger driven, they stood on a higher than though pedestal, sweeping their voice around the social platform waving words as truth but realizing as they scraped themselves off the floor by years end, they were just victims of satan’s very cunning lure.

I don’t know if the people held any shame in their actions but I myself stood strong in the face of satan and spit in his face and walked with my Lord. There are repercussions with taking that stance just so you know. I AM NOT being judgmental here, lest I am judging myself, but the past two years have really given rise to ME and where I need to go. While my gifts of the Lord will continue to grow and soar, it might mean that writing for YOU may not be in the cards for the coming year, I don’t know yet.

Pss. 100:3 “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

My Spiritual Family, I do not label you as left or right, nor does God; you have stood firmly behind me on my journey all of these years, some new to my world, some who have been here for the long haul, you know who you are, and God has BLESSED me with each and every one of you! I don’t take our friendship lightly and I take into consideration your sage advice always.

I have another health crisis biting me in the face and this coming year will be a challenging one as I face it with faith but I’ll need your prayer always as I endure, it’s what keeps me going. Will I blog in the New Year? Will I close this down? I go with God and what HE tells me to do because He knows that I have utilized my gift and done everything for Him. I will never change that and I don’t care how much satan’s minions attack me, my God is greater than him and THIS I am CERTAIN of!

While this isn’t the merriest of Christmas’, I must say first, God is still making His presence known in my life whether it is the lost packages we ordered being FOUND, one on my neighbor's back lawn where I would have NEVER looked but my stray dog Riley led me to it via her dragging off her water bowl and me searching for it and finding the Lost Box! All the way to the parcel my mother sent arriving on my doorstep as we watched A Christmas Carol, and right as the ghost of Christmas past surfaced so did Riley’s wagging tail hitting the door alerting me to the gift on my front steps at 7:00 in the evening. Many memories of the past were in that box! I thank God He sent me Riley, a stray dog who has a heart of gold. 

God is Good, God is ever present and life in the coming year will be welcomed. I thank you all for being a part of God’s plan for my journey and may all of our New Year be blessed! 

Pss. 95:7 “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,”

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good life! 

Deut. 4:32 “For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?”

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Poetry Sunday ~ No Heaven In Hell

Image by Elaine DeBoucher

Pss. 139:8 “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.”

No Heaven in Hell

There is no heaven in hell
Only a place for sin to dwell
The liars charred in flaming fire
When hell becomes their one desire.

There is no hell in heaven
Souls transform like leaven
To rise above the earthly skies
Heaven gives home to the wise.

There is no heaven in hell
The hypocrites home a shell
Tears will be shed for the dead
Who dare not cling to the Bread.

There is no hell in Heaven
Unclean souls to beckon
Roaming through the stardust light
Bid the cosmos a sweeping g’nite.

There is no heaven in hell
The party’s over it's time to quell
Thirst you crave throughout the day
Allow our Lord to Light the way!

~ ~ ~ * * * ~ ~ ~

Isa. 35: 8-10 And a highway will be there;
    it will be called the Way of Holiness;
    it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
    wicked fools will not go about on it.
 No lion will be there,
    nor any ravenous beast;
    they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
     and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
    everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
    and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

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)