New Wineskins?

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Luke 5:36 Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

They make wineskins from animal skins which become brittle as they age. New wine actively ferments in the skins, so a new skin will expand with the aging of the wine. If you try to use a wineskin for a second round of new wine, it will not expand with the fermentation, thus explode as the pressure increases.

We are in a new era, a new move of God. The Spirit impresses upon me this newness needs new wineskins. Seeking Him to figure what that looks like, I am reading the prophetic outlook for 2022 from Generals International, compiled by Cindy Jacobs. This evening, I realize these prophecies are part of the new wineskin process. There is a technology revolution beginning that is as great as the industrial revolution in the early 20th century. Many ‘Daniels’ and ‘Josephs’ are being raised up to move in the political and financial realms. We need to get used to AI, AR, crypto currency and similar things.

The church has a record of being wary of new technology, or new ways of doing church. We have spent years demonizing the internet explosion, technology, new ways of doing finance, and new ways to dress and to worship. Not to mention discouraging “Christian” young people from going into the film industry, politics, and other “worldly” professions, such as higher education.

As a new believer; I followed what my new brothers & sisters in the Lord were doing, trying to find rules to follow for living the Christian life. Stumbling along into legalism, one Christmas I got rid of anything to do with Santa when I was told he was evil, even throwing away Christmas books that had been in our family for a long time. I think it was necessary to stop listening to the music I’d grown up with in order to learn the songs of the Lord, but it was not my place to tell others not to listen or fault them for watching shows I would no longer watch. We fear what we can’t understand, what we can’t control. I discouraged my daughter’s interest in star gazing when I learned the Bible teaches against astrology, not being able to differentiate the nuances of Scripture. I was taught things such as men should not have long hair, tattoos were evil, and many other things that put parameters around our lives. Recently, I have found freedom from some of my legalism. I spend more time reading and studying the Bible, the Spirit expanding my understanding of the essence of true biblical law, which is love.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

God wants our hearts filled with His love, and to let Him handle other people’s hearts. Another part of the new wineskin is forgiveness. It is a choice Jesus commands us to make, to forgive others as He has forgiven us.

Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.

Jesus expanded on this with the parable of the unforgiving servant to further illustrate:

Matthew 18:32b ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

I share this link from last Sunday when Brother Len Mitchell preached on forgiveness, which is my word for 2022.

As we head into the near future, let us walk in love and forgiveness, being ready for what the Lord is doing. Help is on the way and changes are coming for our families, churches, neighborhoods and the nations. It will be a difficult, but glorious time! Seek the Lord, read the Word, pray and sing praise as you walk in the Spirit, testing the spirits and not making snap judgements of rejection. Prepare yourself to mentor and disciple new believers and people who have not been in church for many years. This new era requires the entire body of Christ to arise and engage to handle the influx, not just the leaders of the church. Onward Christian Soldiers!

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 1For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

I just finished this Charles Wysocki puzzle “Lost In The Woodies” full of flags & boats.

Give Thanks for Each Person in Your Life!

I have been reading through Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians repeatedly in The Passion Translation Bible since I shared this with you in my mid-January post. I want to share with you what the Spirit hi-lighted in Ephesians chapter 5 in TPT:

Ephesians 5:1 Be imitators of God in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as his beloved sons and daughters. And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for he surrendered his life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration—a sweet healing fragrance.

We must live in the surrender to extravagant love shown in Christ’s sacrifice. In Experiencing Jesus Through Communion by Beni Johnson, I’m on Day 27. Jesus took all the punishment meant for me to give me life, peace, complete healing and restoration to the Father. He has paid this price for each person in my life, even the ones who have hurt me or caused me pain, and remember that He sacrificed for each person, even the ones that offend you. Let us walk in Christ and display that “sweet healing fragrance” in all our relationships.

11 And don’t even associate with the servants of darkness because they have no fruit in them; instead, reveal truth to them. 12 The very things they do in secret are too vile and filthy to even mention. 13 Whatever the revelation-light exposes, it will also correct, and everything that reveals truth is light to the soul. 14 This is why the Scripture says,

“Arise, you sleeper! Rise up from your coffin and the Anointed One will shine his light into you!”

Rise up, oh sleeper! Reveal truth to those who are in the death coffin of darkness and evil! Let the revelation-light of Jesus expose the darkness so it can end.

15–16 So be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes. 17 And don’t live foolishly for then you will have discernment to fully understand God’s will.

Let us live in true wisdom, honorably submitted to the will of God in Christ Jesus as Simeon and Anna were. We must seek Him and learn discernment of God’s will. We are not to be side-tracked by the surrounding evil, but keep our focus on Him.

18… be filled continually with the Holy Spirit.19 And your hearts will overflow with a joyful song to the Lord. Keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture, singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit!

We are vessels for the Holy Spirit, meant to be so full of the Spirit that we overflow. When is the last time you let a joyful song to the Lord bubble out of your heart? Can you remember the last time you spoke to others in words of Scripture, Psalms, praise, or spontaneous song?

20 Always give thanks to Father God for every person he brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Are you thankful for the people coming into your life? Did you realize Father God is bringing about these connections? All for His glory! I have been so blessed through those the Lord has connected me with on Mighty Networks with Leslie Leyland Fields’ writing course. Also by those I’m frequently connecting with on LinkedIn and Facebook. Not to mention those people the Lord is bringing into our congregation these days! Having always been shy, I’m now known as an introvert. It was hard when I first came to Jesus to reach out. I didn’t know how to handle my friend that was always coming to give me a hug. Now I’m the one giving out hugs! The Spirit prompted me to walk up to people I don’t know in church and say, “Hi. I’m Heidi. What’s your name?” I also made myself an info card from the Publisher program on my computer because people kept asking for my information, which is a good way to start. I’ve come a long way from where I started thirty-some years ago, and what a blessing all these connections are bringing to my life!

Our church has a Missions Task Force that decides how to spend a tenth of our church budget. One group we sponsor is DavidskidZ International. You can find their website here:

https://www.davidskidz.org/home.htm

I bring this up because I am the newest sponsor of a student in their school program. I already sponsor a Bridge Of Hope student in India through Gospel For Asia and when they gave us an option to sponsor a child through DavidskidZ on a laptop at church, I told them I’d love to, but my husband’s already wondering why I spend money on a student and why would I spend it on another one? That worked to settle my conscience for almost a month, until I finished reading Imagine Heaven by John Burke, a book I shared last week. Considering heaven and eternity, what should I be investing in?

I actually have accrued a good sum of money in my savings over the last year (thanks in part to the Stimulus check) and it keeps building. Contemplating what to do with my money in light of heaven, Davidskidz came to mind immediately! As I clicked on the “Sponsor” page, the bunch of smiling faces were overwhelming. Where do I even start? Finally, I looked for a girl, since I sponsor a boy in India. Then I looked for one the age of one of my granddaughters. I found the last girl on the page is 15, the same age as my eldest granddaughter. There is an option to pay quarterly, $90.00 instead of monthly $30.00. This helped me to go forth in faith, knowing I could take the lump sum out of savings four times a year and not figure how to free it up each month. Grace! I eagerly await getting to know my newly sponsored child begins with my first quarterly payment, February 15.

As Ephesians 5:20 says in TPT, I rejoice and give thanks to my heavenly Father for every new person He brings into my life. All for His kingdom, here on earth as it is in heaven. Amen!

Glimpses of Heaven Connection

Welcome to another session of musings. I am coming to the end of the 21-day fast and have been reading books about heaven, after reading Once Upon A Wardrobe by Patti Callahan and Stories From The Glory by Ruth Carneal with Kevin Zadai. Since the mid-1980s, I have been collecting books about heaven and all this time more people are having NDEs [near-death experiences] and increasingly frequent heaven encounters without a health crisis. As I read Touching Heaven by Dr. Chauncey Crandall, the following Scriptures stood out to me and I’d like to share them with you all.

Psalm 14:2 The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God.

Acts 17:26 He made from one blood all nations who live on the earth. He set the times and places where they should live.

27 “They were to look for God. Then they might feel after Him and find Him because He is not far from each one of us. [NLV Bible]

So, God is looking for us to understand, to seek after Him. Every one of us came from one blood, no matter what nation we come from. He is the one who put us on the earth at the appointed time for our birth, in the place He chose for us to live. God is close to any of us who choose to seek Him. The barrier between heaven and earth realms is minimal these days!

Psalm 63:1 O God, You are my God. I will look for You with all my heart and strength. My soul is thirsty for You. My flesh is weak wanting You in a dry and tired land where there is no water. [NLV Bible]

We are all in a time of challenges. What are you looking toward for remedies? Are you trying to get “milk out of a dry cow”?

Psalm 10:14 But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief,
To repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You;
You are the helper of the fatherless.

We are all fatherless if we have not found our true Father, the Lord God almighty!

2 Chronicles 20:12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

The enemy is hitting us all hard with the triple threat of fear, confusion and greed. They surround us on every side with people who “know what’s best” for us. They shook everything around us to the roots.

Luke 18:1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart

Hang on! Help is on the way. God has said, “Enough!” His judgements are sure and He will now shake everything that can be shaken. Where is your hope anchored? Faith is trust in a Father who never lets us go. You can trust Him to provide all you need in Christ Jesus. The Lord shall hold in His hands all who trust Him, far above the chaos. It will save you along with your whole family if you stand in faith during this next phase. Revival married to renewal await us to step into the things God has for us.

On page 55 of Touching Heaven, Dr. Crandall quotes Reinhard Bonnke: Faith is not a mental exercise to believe the impossible… It is not believing in ‘something’ at all [such as a miracle]. Faith is trust in God. It is personal… always about believing [Jesus]. This is when Chauncey had done all that is earthly possible to cure his son’s leukemia.

I leave you with the book I am currently reading, Imagine Heaven by John Burke. Burke uses excerpts of stories I’ve already read, beginning with the first I read about a young soldier during the war who died of pneumonia and found himself with a heavenly encounter. Burke uses a lot of professional people’s stories; those you know must be telling the truth because otherwise, they would suffer ridicule and loss for coming forward. Keep a heavenly mindset as your destination or you will be no earthly good! Shalom dear friends.

God IS Absolutely Good!

There are so many things rattling around in my head today, I’m waiting for it to settle and find out where to begin. First, fasting is going well, due to the grace of the Lord and my choosing to be flexible to what the Spirit is saying and what my husband is saying and trusting the Lord to balance it all out. It isn’t about food/no food, it’s about where my heart is at. Fasting is about denying my flesh so I can hear the Spirit of God more clearly.

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The last week or so, John works steadily, but at a relaxed pace, on the remodel of our extra bedroom and is ice fishing with a friend today, so I endeavor to use my time by myself wisely, an excellent opportunity to work on this post. I have already taken Communion with Experiencing Jesus Through Communion by Beni Johnson. It is Day 13 and I am learning again how Communion proclaims and applies the divine healing and wholeness Jesus bought by His body and blood sacrifice. Beni talks about people who believe healing and miracles ceased when the first apostles died; ‘cessationists’. Beni says:

“People can argue with theology, but your testimony is your most powerful tool… When we take Communion, remembering what Jesus accomplished on the cross, we are repeating the ultimate testimony again and again.” (page 67)

Do you trust that God is absolutely good all the time? Yesterday I began reading Preparations For a Move of God… In Your Life by Sandra G. Kennedy. What she shares are basic tenets of the Christian life. The first chapter “Is Jesus the Son of God?” brings the challenge: If He Is, How Does It Affect Your Life? Get it past your head knowledge and into your heart.

The second chapter “It Takes Faith To Know God” challenge: it’s simple, but do you trust God?

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him,

for he who comes to God must believe that He is,

and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Let us go to “The Lord’s Prayer”

Matthew 6:8 Therefore do not be like them [wondering what you shall eat or wear]. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

So, we must trust that God knows everything we need before we ask. All we need on earth is already in heaven, which is why Jesus taught us to ask God for what we need and to bring things from heaven down to earth. There is nothing lacking in heaven. Because of Jesus Christ, daily sustenance, complete fulfillment of all our needs, divine healing and divine health and well-being are there for us to appropriate, for that is what heaven is like. When we pray in Jesus’ name, Father God sees us through His Son. Ask God to send down what you need, anything that concerns you. Seek Him and wait patiently for Him to do what you have asked, knowing He rewards those who seek Him, as you trust He will answer. When you ask, God sends angels to do what you ask [see Daniel 9 and Luke 1]. Release them to do it.

God has done all we need through Jesus Christ, our Messiah. As our Father, He wants us to put a demand on Him. God the Father, Son, and Spirit are in close relationship. There is so much love in this trio that they created humans to share that love with. Don’t miss your opportunity to put demands on Him and access what Jesus died to give to us. Going back to Sandra Kennedy’s book, in order to prepare for God to move in your life, you need to get back to basics. I think the most basic thing may be the song we learned as children:

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Jesus Loves Me

  1. Jesus loves me! This I know,
    For the Bible tells me so;
    Little ones to Him belong;
    They are weak, but He is strong.
    • Refrain:
      Yes, Jesus loves me!
      Yes, Jesus loves me!
      Yes, Jesus loves me!
      The Bible tells me so.
  2. Jesus loves me! This I know,
    As He loved so long ago,
    Taking children on His knee,
    Saying, “Let them come to Me.”
  3. Jesus loves me still today,
    Walking with me on my way,
    Wanting as a friend to give
    Light and love to all who live.
  4. Jesus loves me! He who died
    Heaven’s gate to open wide;
    He will wash away my sin,
    Let His little child come in.
  5. Jesus loves me! He will stay
    Close beside me all the way;
    Thou hast bled and died for me,
    I will henceforth live for Thee.

Anna B. Warner, 1860. verse 2-3 by David R. McGuire, ref. by William B. Bradbury 1862 Public Domain

All To Jesus I Surrender!

Forgiveness-2022 Word

Good day to you all, my faithful readers! Today I will share the word for the year that the Spirit impressed on me as well as what I am reading. This is day 7 of the 21-day fast and I am finding grace for the journey. I began with three days of liquids; mostly water, then began a small bowl of porridge in the morning and a small bowl of coleslaw in the evening [I made up a big batch of each so I wouldn’t be preparing food each day]. Last night, I shared some spaghetti squash noodles with homemade tomato sauce with John, but I did not have any meatballs. This morning the Lord prompted me to go back to liquids from now through the weekend. Our church is having a Spiritual Freedom weekend and I am on one of the prayer teams, so I want the best opportunity to deny my flesh and hear the Spirit.

I just watched Michelle Maggio of Michelle May ministries on YouTube and followed her suggestion to get quiet before the Lord and ask Him to give a word to concentrate on in the year 2022. Well, I got quiet and asked and the only word in my mind was forgiveness, so this is my word to concentrate on for this year. This is not surprising, as the Spirit is bringing people to mind that I need to release from my judgement.

I have been reading a lot, starting with The Prophet’s Devotional by Jennifer LeClaire, with forward by Cindy Jacobs. I plan to continue this devotional for all 365 days, Lord willing. If you are at all prophetic, which most Believers are, this is a great primer for what New Testament prophecy is and is not and how to walk in the way.

Last year in this blog, I shared Pastors Bill and Beni Johnson’s revelations on communion. When I saw an offer for this book, I jumped to buy it. I have the pre-made communion cups I bought last year and am taking communion with this devotional at a random time each day. It is excellent food for thought, teaching, and encouragement.

Paperback Stories from the Glory: Glimpses of Eternity Now Book

This is the third book I am working on. Kevin Zadai is letting Sister Ruth Carneal, who traveled for years with Sister Ruth Heflin, share her experiences with the glory of God through the years. Kevin comes in to add relative encouragement/challenge from his own experiences. This is the Scripture that’s been resonating in my spirit:

Isaiah 43:19 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 deser
t.

We are in a time of testing that is concluding with glorious culmination! The Lord is doing a new thing. Can you see it springing up all around you? The Glory is the Lord, manifest in and through and around those who believe in Jesus and walk with Him in the Spirit. I recall stories from the Azusa Street Revival in California in the early 1900s. They said the glory came down as a cloud and filled the building. The children were running in and out of it playing hide-and-seek! We have entered a new era in God’s plan for the earth. The veil between heaven and earth is thinning, and He is raising up a people who are fearless to do great exploits as the Spirit leads. Mass salvations and healings are manifesting and shall increase. The evil is coming into the light and people are ratting on each other, so justice shall be done. What a great time to be here on this earth and part of this brilliant move of God! I heard the sound of the Shofar this morning; it was a snowmobile in the pastures behind us, going through the new snow that is over a foot deep, but the sound came across as a blast from the ram’s horn and I take it as a sign from God.

Image result for shofar blowing. Size: 258 x 160. Source: www.youtube.com

John has been watching a lot of programs about history and much about developments that could not have happened if certain things had not occurred. One of the shows is exposing lies we’ve believed about history. Many of what John and I have watched covers the second world war, the atrocities, war maneuvers, trials and aftermath. My son gave me the book The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris for Christmas. I finished that and am now reading the sequel, Cilka’s Journey, also by Heather Morris. Cilka is a character you meet in the first book and this second book fills out her character, taken from true stories from the era. Russian soldiers liberated the camp, and because the German officers used Cilka as a sexual toy, they count her as a collaborator and spy. They convicted her with no chance to defend herself, along with others who “aided and abetted” the Nazis, and the Russians transport them to a Siberian work camp.

I reference all of this to connect you with the word the Lord gave me for 2022: forgiveness. Through these portrayals of things that have happened in the past, I am seeing multiple accounts of forgiveness and unforgiveness. This brings me to the last book I will share:

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

God Is Absolutely Good by Robin D. Bullock. I finished this book just as I began the fast. It will truly expand your understanding of the Bible and creation. It may overwhelm your mind as parts of it did for me, but it’s a good overwhelming. I stopped for over a week to ponder something in the middle of the book, which is why it took almost a month to finish. The biggest thing I took away from it is that the three parts of God and the names of God used in the Bible: Elohim, Yahweh, Lord, LORD, God, GOD… stand for unique attributes. YHVH, which we usually spell Yahweh, is the one that creates all things, the justice that governs. All of life revolves around planting seeds and reaping the harvest, as The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world; death that triumphed in life because Jesus was the good seed. Plant good seed, reap good things and life. Plant evil seed, reap bad things and death. At the end of the book, Robin takes the book of Proverbs and delineates the seed and the blessings or curses of that seed. This is a book you can use as a guide to life for the rest of your life! I surely need to train myself to speak words of blessing that lead to life and stop speaking words of cursing that lead to death and this book will help. I end with this Scripture:

Psalm 139:2324

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Photo by Gareth Davies on Pexels.com

Gathering Ends of 2021

If you look back to my February 18, 2021 post titled “Concentration for 2021” you will see the two Scriptures I have concentrated on this year:

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Romans 11:36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

This year has had many challenges, many hallelujah moments and drawn me deeper into the next phase of God’s plan for me. It was the first year since 2016 that John has been here the whole year, now that we no longer own a second house. Things began quietly, since John was recovering from shoulder surgery, going to physical therapy and laid low until spring. We had challenges that were a bit comical; one of us on each side of the snowblower, clearing our driveway. A great lesson in cooperation! You may remember all the puzzles and books I completed during those months.

Spring came with much rain, which made gardening and mowing the lawn challenging. John’s solar project got started about three months later than expected. We planted our garden in time to enjoy a bountiful harvest and to bless many people. I ended up helping spring clean at the neighbor’s motel when I thought I would not be working there this year. The Lord provided, so I was available when Barb had the greatest need and the money I earned went to godly use; besides all the books I ended up buying! Turns out when you belong to writing groups, everyone offers you their new book. I have my shelf in my office double-stacked with books and now I need to follow the Spirit’s leading to know which book to read when. Several are daily readings, so I need to decipher which one to use for 2022.

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Speaking of books, my son Chris got me The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris for Christmas. I finished reading it last evening. What an amazing story this was! Over the years, I have read many accounts of people’s lives during World War II and each is unique. Each gives a different aspect of God’s saving power amid atrocities and deprivation. Many do not recognize God’s hand in their story, but I can clearly see His saving power and ability to make people triumph in the worst possible situations. In this book, the friendships that grew, the favor with authorities, the good deeds done in the face of evil, all shine as you read Lali and Gita’s heart-wrenching/heart-warming story. Lali shared his life story with Heather just after his wife died and she did an excellent job of putting it together and filling in gaps as he shared many deep memories. You will love the postscript written by Lali & Gita’s son.

The Audubon 1,000 piece puzzle that took over a week to finish!

This is the puzzle my son Chris’ family brought me and they helped start it before they left for home the weekend before Christmas. It took a full week through Christmas season to finish it! Looks like the grace of God is upon our trip to Vermont for New Year’s Eve. We are finishing up laundry so we can pack, figuring how to use the food in the fridge that won’t last, and I just packed away the Christmas tree as John checked light strings. Amazing how the newer strands work and curious how the bulbs connect. I have an Action Bible and a young child’s Bible storybook to take to our granddaughters. John just bought a bag of fresh cheese curd to take to Chris, and he deems the deer mount he prepared for Chris’ Christmas present is ready to travel. Did I tell you the five-year-old left her stuffed reindeer with us the weekend before Christmas so we can bring it when we visit? I don’t think she understood it would be with us for Christmas; we thought we made it clear when she left it, but when Christmas came, she wondered where it was.

I am glad I saw new facets of the good work God is continuing to do in my life and being reminded that everything comes from Jesus, through Jesus, and returns to Him. I pray you can plug into the Holy Spirit of God and your relationship with Jesus as we enter 2022. I will seek the Lord to clarify my word for the new year, which I’ll share in my next post.

Our congregation’s annual January fast begins this Saturday, so I may not be actively posting for the next three weeks. If you want some pointers on fasting, what the Bible says about it, and practical tips, I recommend Pastor Josh Gmitter’s sermon from December 26, 2021. You can find it on this link:

Let me know how things are going on your end; you are in my thoughts and prayers, dear readers so let me know if there are specifics!

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photo from clip-art

Christmas Is Coming!

Welcome dear readers! Our family from Vermont is on their way to spend the weekend. The beds are all ready; I made the salad, the extra chairs are at the table and the new placemats look great. Presents are wrapped and under the tree, Christmas cards are all mailed out and extras packed away; but not too far! [in case I think of more to send] What else needs to be cleaned, prepped, put away, gotten out… before they come? Such is the busyness of preparing for hospitality.

Looks like the actual Christmas celebration will be quiet for John and me. We’ll Skype with the family, maybe watch a movie together, share a special meal. We’re looking forward to a trip to Vermont for our New Year’s celebration with our son’s family, and a possible trip to Los Angeles to see our daughter’s family in February. We haven’t been to California in at least three years!

I realize we are in various stages of life and have different holiday traditions. My husband and I are at the grandparent stage, with children scattered, which means visits from them and visits to them and much Skyping. You may have a house full of children, be in a home bursting at the seams with visiting relatives, or be a recent widow/widower, adjusting to life on your own. It may be empty nester syndrome, or newlyweds kindling new traditions from diverse backgrounds. Maybe you are expecting more than one of these situations, or I have not come close to your unique situation.

No matter where you find yourself this Christmas, I hope you remember the meaning of this season of celebration. This Christmas will probably differ from last because of the circumstances in the world, but in honor of our Savior, find things to rejoice in no matter what.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Christmas reminds us that at just the right time in history, God sent His son, Jesus. The light of God came down into darkness to open our eyes to the salvation and reconciliation we all long for. Fully God and fully human, choosing to come humbly as a baby from a human womb, He grew to become the perfect Lamb, slain from the foundations of the world. Only a loving, gracious Father God would think to prepare redemption for humankind before He created anything here on earth. As I shared in my Hanukkah celebration, I’ve had a new revelation of the Light that stepped down into darkness. Now we are at just the right time for our life on this earth, just as Jesus was here at just the right time. I believe the prophecies that the new year, even beginning now, is a time for things long-hoped for coming to pass. Dust off those old prayers, prophecies, dreams and God-given desires. Stand in faith and see the fulfillment of all these things appear!

Philippians 1:2 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy… being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…”

My dear readers, join me in rejoicing as we travel through this Christmas season. Shalom!

Ready To Roll?

Sunday, about the time we went to bed, it started raining. It was very windy, and we heard a thousand people in the area lost power for about an hour in the middle of the night. The temperature hovered just above freezing, so we had no snow.

When I awoke, it was still raining steadily and windy. I had an eye doctor appointment at 9:05, so we both packed up a traveling breakfast because John wanted to stop at the lab and get his fasting bloodwork done for next week’s appointment. He also planned to go home that way from my appointment so he could get a haircut. We left the house at 7:30, which should have been enough time to get across the city to my appointment. When John walked into the building for the lab, he found a line of people waiting. He realized he would not get done in time, so we headed right to the eye doctor’s office and sat in the parking lot to eat breakfast.

About fifteen minutes early, I headed through the rain to the appointment. The assistant and doctor kept me busy with multiple examinations and I lost track of time. When they finished, I had an excellent report, an appointment for eleven months later to repeat the vision field test, and another for twelve months to do the yearly testing. Heading back into the rain, I found my way to our vehicle. John had been sitting for over an hour and had a revelation: scrap plans for his haircut, head out of town the other way, deposit my check, eat at Cracker Barrel, and Christmas shop.

What grace Father God showered on us! We noticed the rain, but it didn’t hinder. John usually gets completely undone by the end of Christmas shopping, but his good mood hardly wavered. As we cruised several stores, he kept saying, “It’s alright, we’re not in a rush and I’m with my honey.” I want to remind you all, the Bible says, “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it unto the day of Christ Jesus”. [Philippians 1:6]

Image result for photos of electric company bucket trucks

As we pulled into the Walmart parking lot, we saw fleets of electrical bucket trucks amassed. John said National Grid was setting up to send them where needed because they expect many wire problems with the wind and rain; possibly turning into an ice storm. Our area previously dealt with a couple of major ice storms and has learned from those experiences.

As in the natural realm, so in the spiritual, the saying goes. National Grid and our weather people are preparing for a major catastrophic event. The prophets have been speaking about a major event likely coming from the power grid being damaged. I believe the power of our spiritual enemies also has impending damage. Also, the rain and wind, which turned to sleet in the wee hours of the night, stopped after about twenty four hours. I’m reminded that God promises in Psalms that weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

The time is ripe for a move of God. Are you ready to roll with the punches and come out victorious? God’s plans are good and this time of tribulation shall come to an end soon! We will see the victory if we do not faint before the end. I ask for and receive grace from Father God each day. It keeps me in His peace in Christ Jesus. I hope you can grab on to His strong anchor and hold on. If your job is to be the “bucket trucks” with boots on the ground, step up to it. If your job is to be the one on your knees, drop down and pray in power. If it’s your part to write encouragement, then get to it. Man the positions God has planned for you since before you were born! We’re going to see the victory if we stand firm and do the good works before us.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Hanukkah!

Welcome to another celebration to share! Last evening, November 28, was the first day of Hanukkah. I bought this menorah on Amazon last winter, just after Christmas. I chose it because of its compact size and the fact it uses birthday candles, which is easier for me than a full-sized menorah. This metal angel tray works well for it. As a Christian, people ask why I would celebrate Hanukkah. First, I had a Jewish grandma who had a wonderful menorah and we would watch her light it sometimes if we visited her home at the right time. Second, I appreciate the symbolism of how Christ came into this dark world to shine the light of God. Third, it reminds me our God is a God of miraculous provision, making one day’s lamp oil last for eight nights. Here is the menorah I’m speaking about.

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish festival commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and subsequent rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BCE. from Wikipedia

I do not believe Christians are obligated to celebrate Jewish feasts and festivals, known collectively in Hebrew as the Moadim [appointed times], but we get to if we choose to. It can bring more meaning to the Jewish celebrations when we know the Word of God because all the festivals point to Christ Jesus, the Messiah, and He has fulfilled most of them and will complete them on His triumphal return. For example: the Passover seder is an interactive way to teach God’s care for His people and His great power, bringing the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land with a mighty hand. So, each celebration of a Moadim illustrates what God is like and brings a clearer understanding of the Bible. As believers in Jesus Christ, He is the oil that keeps the light that shines in this dark world burning in and through us. Also, the Maccabees not only burned oil in the lampstand, they first cleansed the temple from the idols and desecration. We also cleanse our temple when we apply the blood of Jesus to our souls.

Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.

1 John 3 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

My menorah set to light for the second evening at nightfall tonight.

As a child, I never had the full celebration of Hanukkah with my grandmother, but at Christmas we would get a mesh bag of chocolate gelt; gold foil- wrapped chocolate coins- in our Christmas stockings. Children have a game where they spin a dreidel, a top with four sides, a Hebrew letter on each. I am not familiar with the game, but know gelt coins are prizes for winning.These days, Hanukkah is competing with Christmas celebrations. They celebrate eight nights with gifts and feasting. We celebrate Christmas Eve & Christmas day, some still celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas or the four weeks of Advent. There are many other treats associated with this celebration. Here are a few I found:

Sufganiyah is a deep-fried donut, filled with jam or custard and topped with powdered sugar. A Hanukkah-themed advent calendar filled with candy will also satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth over the eight nights of this holiday. Also, potato pancakes called latkes topped with applesauce are a staple for celebrating Hanukkah. I found this info and much more for your friends who celebrate Hanukkah at:

http://www.gwhatchet.com/2019/11/25/gift-guide-for-every-night-of-hanukkah/#:~:text=Gift guide for every night of Hanukkah 1,their name. … 8 Eighth night%3A Journals.%20

Photo by Geraud pfeiffer on Pexels.com

John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Friends, let us shine our lights brightly as we walk in the love of God in Christ Jesus. May the Holy Spirit fire ignite your spirit and soul to go forth and do great exploits for His kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. Until we meet again, Shalom to you all.

Giving Thanks Together

Lunar Eclipse

Did you catch the lunar eclipse on November 19th? My husband got outside just in time to catch the moon beginning to come out of the eclipse. Apparently, this has not happened since King Henry the 8th. Do you think God is giving us spectacular signs in the sky for such a time as this?

Give thanks with a grateful heart to the Holy One, who keeps us through all trials and tribulations. Thinking back to the beginning of the COVID debacle, it began with a spirit of fear falling on people, escalated to a spirit of confusion, then added the spirit of greed. Now we have a lingering spirit of COVID and spirit of infirmity lingering. We need to bind these spirits in Jesus’ name and command the spirit of peace, true Shalom to replace all of this. Let us obey Jesus’ command to pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest.

Matthew 9:37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

This brings me to the fact that each of us here on earth who belongs to Jesus is part of those laborers. We must prepare ourselves to be vessels for the Holy Spirit to pour out of, learning to listen to the Lord’s voice and walking in love and obedience. What is hindering you? I’ve been doing a bit of floundering and need to tighten up my daily use of time to make room for unhindered rhythms of grace to flow through me.

The following video made a huge impression on me. This is the first time Heidi Baker has done a conference in eighteen months. She shares that God let her know there was a wilderness ahead. From her home in Mozambique, she immediately contacted her ministry and told them to send two containers full of food to her. As we know, “all hell has broken loose” in the last two years, but she shares how God is being glorified and the gospel is advancing. Churches being burned? Where two or three are gathered, the Lord is in the midst. The food made an opening for the love of God to be manifest in Mozambique and the church is awakening and thriving even without buildings! Remember: what the enemy means for evil, God uses for His good. His plans will come together; even in our own lives! NOTE: if you’re not familiar with how the Spirit of God works, on this video Heidi is drunk in the Spirit, overcome with the love of God. As with the priests of old when the glory filled the temple, she was having a hard time standing in the Presence! That Presence coming through my TV brought me to my knees and into holy laughter for the first time in quite a while. I pray we all have time to experience being so humbled and wrecked by the great love of God as Heidi Baker has been!

I hope you have time to hear her full testimony and you are encouraged to press on and press in by her exhortation from Scripture.

On this week of Thanksgiving in the USA, I leave you with the Doxology we used to sing in the Presbyterian church after the offering. May it fill your heart with praise and thanksgiving not just this week, but throughout each day of your life.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

https://www.beliefnet.com/prayers/catholic/praise/the-doxology.aspx