Devotional: New Beginnings

This month is to be the beginning of months for you; it is the first month of your year. (Exodus 12:2 HCSB)

FreeImages.com/Jose Assenco

FreeImages.com/Jose Assenco

New Year’s Eve. Last day of the year. So many things happened this year; good and bad. I spent a couple of posts on reflecting on this past year and remembering things to be thankful for. But there comes a time when we must put the past in the past and look to the future. What better time to do that than the last day of a new year?

We talk about New Year’s resolution which isn’t a bad thing even though most people don’t reach the goals they set (myself included). It gives us that chance to push to make changes in our lives, to set good goals and/or change bad habits.

Yet, none of those goals can be reached without God’s help and without His will.

In the Bible, there was a very rich man named Job. He had it all, land, livestock, children, and a wife. None of that was as important to him as his God. In Job 1:1 it says, “He was a man of perfect integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil.” His children would take turns having a party at their house and when it was over, Job would “send for his children and purify them, rising early in the morning to offer burnt offerings for all of them.” (Job 1:5 HCSB) He did this in case his children cursed God while partying too much.

Then God allowed Job to lose everything; first his livestock and children, then he lost his health and was covered in boils. His wife said, “Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9 HCSB) But Job said, “You speak as a foolish woman speaks, should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” (Job 2:10 HCSB) The Bible says that Job held to his integrity and didn’t sin with his words.

Next came his three “friends.” The following chapters in the book of Job are about his, so called, friends telling him that he must have done something to displease God, but Job stood up for himself. He knew he had done nothing wrong and he was right.

Finally, Job says, “If only I had someone to hear my case! Here is my signature; let the Almighty answer me. Let my Opponent compose His indictment.” (Job 31:35 HCSB) Basically, Job wanted God to explain why all these things happened to him when he had done nothing wrong. God appears to him in a whirlwind.

Oh my, I would not have wanted to be a fly on the wall when God confronted Job. God didn’t come as Judge as Job expected but as the Creator of all things. He asked Job where he was when He created the earth and when He decided its size. Had he ever watched a deer give birth or know the months she would be pregnant so he could know the exact time of her birth? Read chapters 38 – 41 to see that God’s knowledge is way beyond our comprehension.

Then God said to Job, “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let him who argues with God give an answer.” (Job 40:2 HCSB) But Job said, “I am so insignificant. How can I answer You? I place my hand over my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not reply; twice, but now I can add nothing.” (Job 40:4-5 HCSB) Then in Job 42:5-6 (HCSB) Job says, I had heard rumors about You, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I take back my words and repent in dust and ashes.”

After this, God restored Job and blessed him more during the second part of his life than the first. He had seven sons and three daughters just as he had before, but now he owned 14,000 sheep when before he owned 7,000 sheep, 6,000 camels and before he had 3,000 camels, 1,000 yokes of oxen and before he had 500, and 1,000 female donkeys when before 500.

I believe with all my heart that if God wants to change our lives he will bring it about. Setting those goals can help us to be more focused on making those changes. He wants the best for us, despite the adversity’s that come our way.

My goal every year has been to be represented by a literary agent and become a published author. Well, if it’s his will, it will happen eventually. But, I must pray for his will and ask for his will and know that it will come in his time.

 

Lord, forgive me for those times I have not been focused on your will for my life. Give me the desires of your heart. Help me to remember that your timing is perfect. Guide me in your perfect plan and help me to stay on it. In all things, I pray for your will to be done.

 

There comes a time when we must put the past in the past and look to the future. What better time than the last day of a new year? Tweet This.

God restored Job and blessed him more during the second part of his life than the first. Tweet This.

Devotional: Room For Christ

IMG_1772 (2)While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough — because there was no room for them at the lodging place. (Luke 2:6-7 HCSB)

When my kids were still toddlers and I was a stay-at-home mom, I was able to get all my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. I liked doing it too because something would always come up and I would have to get one or two last minute gifts.

Then I joined the workforce and I found myself rushing the last two weeks before the kids got out of school trying to get Christmas done.

But, I don’t really want Christmas to be done. What I really mean is; I want to have the presents buying, presents wrapping, tree decorating, and hot chocolate ready so I can sit on the couch, watch a Christmas movie and anticipate my family’s happy faces as they open their presents.

But is that what Christmas really is about? What have I done to ensure that I haven’t left out Christ in Christmas? Where have I made room for Him?

In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Moses told the Israelites that “the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” He goes on to say, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Moses tells them to let these word be on your heart. He told them to repeat those words to their children. He said to talk about it everywhere they went, to write it as a sign on their hand, a symbol on their forehead, and write it on the door frame of their house and on their gates.

Yes, I am almost quoting word for word what the Bible says in those verses because I can’t say it any better. I can only explain what I believe it means. I do believe that Moses was being very literal, but I think some of it can also be taken figuratively.

I believe you should literally talk to kids, your family, friends, and anyone you meet about Jesus Christ. It’s not always easy, but asking God for help can making it a little bit easier.

Figuratively speaking, I think it’s okay to wear jewelry that represents Christ. I say okay, only because I don’t wear a lot of jewelry. I think it’s also good to wear clothes that represent Jesus. As a matter of fact, I find it encouraging when I see a complete stranger with a t-shirt that says something good about Christ. You know, something like “He’s the reason for the Season.”

So, what I’ve tried to do to make room for Christ, is to put up a miniature Christmas tree and a little people manger scene in my classroom. When my kids still believed in Santa, I told them they would get a gift from my husband and me, but Santa was only going to give them three gifts because baby Jesus only received three gifts.

Every year my church does a big Christmas production. Since I sing in the choir, I’ve been involved in it for more years than I can remember. My kids have sung in it when they have been in the children’s choir and youth choir. My youngest was also a wise man’s attendant for three years in a row. This year he is too tall.

I want to encourage you to find ways to make room for Christ. Whether that is to put a Christmas wreath on your door, only put Christ related ornaments on your Christmas tree, or find some way to help in your church’s Christmas production.

What have you done to keep Christ in Christmas?

Lord, thank You for this time of year when we can celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Help us to make room for Him in our lives, but not to just make room for Him, but to have Him there as a part of our lives during this special season and every day of our lives. Forgive us when we have failed in this and show us what we can do to change.

She wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough — because there was no room for them at the lodging place. (Luke 2:7 HCSB). Tweet This.

I want the presents buying, wrapping & decorating done so I can drink hot chocolate, watch a Christmas movie & await my family’s happy faces. Tweet This.

Writing Historical: How to choose a year?

 photo HRM_01_zps7a79319d.jpgWhen starting a new story, you always have to put time into setting. One of my favorite Eras happens to be the Medieval Era. You know; knights in shining armor and all that. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because of the belief that men held themselves to a strict code of conduct. Not that they really did. Perhaps I know they didn’t, but I prefer to look at it through rose-colored glasses anyway.

Discover: Medieval Era lasted about 10 centuries!

It wasn’t actually that hard to find the time of castles and knights. It was deciding on how much history needed to be included into the story to make it accurate.

Learn: Famine, Plagues, and War diminished European population.

For the heroine to find herself in the predicament she is in I had to have a reason. Humm . . . which one should I use?

Write: To find out you’ll have to read my first chapter.

So, this will be something new and dangerous for me. I’m going to put my work up one chapter at a time. I’ll have someone check for misspelled words first, but it will be up to you to tell me if its good or if it stinks.

I’ll need ground rules though. Any suggestions?