Noble Plans

But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand. Isaiah 32 NIV

God gives me the privilege of planning each and every day. This is the beginning of the New Year and there is no better time to revisit my old writing plans and create new ones. As I look toward the future, I want my writing to honor God, as well as others. My plans should include ways to bless others with my writing and things I do. I have been preparing the way by cleaning out emails, unsubscribing from emails, organizing projects and general cleanup. Even these honor God because I am preparing the way to honor Him with my writing by being prepared. Something I am not noted for. However, each morning, I need to pray, allow the Holy Spirit to guide me in following my well-intentioned plans, and by allowing God to lead my way. If I do, God will empower me to do them. That’s the most amazing thing about faith. I have faith in God and He places His faith in me.

God gives you the privilege of planning your life and writing life each day, too. However, He wants that alone time with Him each morning. Remember that “Our God is a jealous God.”.  He wants you to center your plans around His plans. Pray and He will listen. Our actions or inactions show God we are waiting for His lead. He expects us to follow-up our plans with deeds. Having the ideas and not following through is not honoring God or ourselves. No matter what we write, we are responsible for our words and deeds. You have the privilege of creating new and noble plans or plans that won’t withstand God’s desire for us as writers. Follow His lead.

Lord, help us to put You first in our plans and deeds each day. We want to honor You and ourselves in our actions and our words. Listen to our prayers and guide us each day. Amen

7 Ways to Feel More Confident

 

It’s the beginning of a New Year and even if you don’t make resolutions, feeling confident about your physical appearance is something we all struggle with. If you’re like most of us, it starts during the teenage years. This can be very difficult to overcome. We tend to get more confidence as we grow older, this doesn’t always apply to how we feel about the way we look. Here are some things we can all do to improve ourselves. 

     Go to the gym

Not only will you be able to tone up, but you’ll feel better about yourself knowing that you’re working hard to achieve something and actually use your body. Exercise releases endorphins too which will naturally make you feel happier. 

     Make a list of things you like about yourself

You probably already have a mental list of the things you don’t like about your appearance, but what about the things you do like? There’s always at least one thing that people like about themselves, so spend half an hour looking in the mirror and making your list. 

     Change the things you can

Rather than dwelling on the things you don’t like about yourself, recognize the ones you have some control over and start changing them bit by bit. If you bite your fingernails and don’t like the look of your hands, stop biting them and start looking after them more. If you don’t like your hair, look into options for different styles and colors.

    Surround yourself with positive people

Don’t surround yourself with people who talk negatively about themselves or about you and other people. Talking to people who constantly put themselves down can make you feel worse about yourself too.

   Relax

You can feel better about yourself if you take time to relax and look after your body. Take part in meditation classes, go for regular massages, have a bath at the end of a long day or treat yourself to some new cosmetic products.

    Buy a new wardrobe

You can feel bad about the way you look if you’re wearing old clothes or clothes which don’t fit you properly anymore. Go out with a friend one weekend and buy yourself a new wardrobe for the upcoming season.

    Smile more

When you smile more, you will automatically become more attractive, both to yourself when you look in the mirror and to the people around you. This will lead to more compliments which will always boost your self-confidence and make you feel better about yourself. You don’t have to take big steps to change you life in 2018. Start with some of the easy ones and add to them in six months. Sometimes we jump right in expect too much of ourselves. Have a great and peaceful year, while you become a new you.

 

 

Three Kings or Epiphany Day

Tomorrow January 6th is Three Kings Day or The Epiphany. It will be celebrated on Sunday January 7th at mass. The Epiphany is a day or time of celebration for many Christian religions because it is the time that Jesus was showed to the world.

Wise men, shepherds, and others saw the star in the skies and came from faraway lands to worship the baby Jesus. It took many days of travel for them to arrive at Jesus’ birthplace because traveling was done by riding donkeys, camels, or walking.

On the day Jesus was born, not many knew of this glorious event. Several wise men had been sent by King Herod to find the newborn baby Jesus. The wise men “Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (St. Matthew 2:9-11)

The gold offered by one of the wise men acknowledged Jesus’ royal standing as “King of the Jews,” while the frankincense symbolized the divine nature of the baby’s existence, since he is not an earthly king but the Son of God. And finally, the myrrh, often used to embalm the dead, was gifted to the newborn as a symbol of Jesus’ mortality foreshadowing his death as a means to cleanse humanity of its sins. I don’t remember learning the meaning behind the giving of these gifts. I found these facts very enlightening.

In some religions and some countries, Epiphany is a day of celebration and is held on January 6th which is the twelfth day after Christmas. The focus is on the actual mission of Jesus’ arrival on earth which is one of peace and salvation for all people. Jesus offered salvation to all on earth. It was and still is up to each individual to choose the direction for his or her own life. In the end, each will be held accountable for his or her choice.

Since the Epiphany is not a public holiday in other parts of the United States, many Christians take part in Epiphany activities such as:

  1. Star processionals on the Sunday closest to January 6 for church services
  2. Parties or get-togethers to clean up homes after the festive season and put away Christmas decorations.
  3. Treasure hunts to find a figure of the Christ child.
  4. Epiphany luncheons, parties and celebrations among churchgoers.
  5. And Sunday school activities for children that focus on Epiphany, such as creating the star that led the wise men to Bethlehem.

In some religions and some countries, the twelve-day period from the birth of Jesus to His revelation is considered a time for the celebration called the Epiphany. The period lasts from the birth of Jesus on December 25th through the day Jesus was revealed on January 6th. The entire period is a time for celebration in various ways. I hope you found this interesting, I know I learned some things I never knew before. Have a blessed Three Kings Day. I will use this day to take down my Christmas tree and think about what Christ was given and what He gave us on this day. I don’t think many of us in the cold, blizzardy, and treacherous weather will be going to Church Services tomorrow, so take the time to share this post with your children. The Kings came after Jesus was born, so this is appropriate. Take your tree down and have a celebration and stay warm wherever you are.

Don’t Be a Fool

 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

When I sit down to write, my inner critic starts nagging right away. You’re not any further than you were years ago. Why don’t you quit? It’s a waste of time. You have so much else to do. Nag, nag, nag. I get frustrated before I start. If I do get started, the minute I have a problem, my mind wanders. I don’t try to find a solution. I’m like my five-year old granddaughter, who gets frustrated because she thinks she should already know how to tie her shoes, put her boots on, or other new things. Instead of practicing or asking for help, she gets angry and cries. I sometimes think that’s how I must look to my parent in heaven, when I give up. I don’t ask for His help right away. I struggle, cry, and complain. If I had remembered to ask for peace in my spirit, enlightenment, and the right attitude, I would have gotten much further.

Do you find yourself in the same predicament, during your writing time? It’s so easy to put ourselves down. You wouldn’t let your children put themselves down. After their outburst you would put your arm around them and encourage them to ask for help when they need it. Don’t fear God or fear of failure keep you from asking for help from your Father. Your Father will put his arm around you and lead you, too. I just wait too long. I can picture Him up there smiling and waiting to reach out his hand and help. I’m not trying to be flowery, when I use these words. It’s just the way I feel and the way the words come out. He wants to be there for us, but we wait so long complaining, instead asking for His wisdom and instruction in our writing. He wants the best for us and will lead us to where we can get the knowledge, wisdom, and instruction for the path He wants us to follow. He will give us just what we need.

Father, help us not to be petulant children. Help us to grow in our relationship with you and ask for Your encouragement and guidance at the beginning of our writing sessions. Show us where to go to get the knowledge, wisdom, and instruction to accomplish all we can in your name. Amen

We are Corrupt Creatures

Fools are persons who have no true wisdom, who follow their own devices, without regard to reason, or reverence for God. Children are reasonable creatures, and when we tell them what they must do, we must tell them why. But they are corrupt and willful, therefore with the instruction there is need of a law. Proverbs 1:7-9

One day my mom asked me why I always explained myself to my children. I told her it was because they needed to know why I wanted them to do something. It was kind of nice to see those words in this Bible verse. I love proverbs and psalms. My mother and I lived under the guidance of, “You do it because I told you to.” I wanted my children to know why I wanted or didn’t want them to do something. She told me many years later how proud she was of how I raised my girls. She didn’t do a bad job herself. I’ve seen and heard my girls using the same guidance in bringing up their children.

The bible and prayers that God has given you and gives us is the foundation, explanation, and  our Father’s guidance. He is guiding me and you with His words in the Bible. Without the comfort of his words, I know I could have been one of the many corrupt and willful children we see running around now. Even with the instruction, sometimes we have to lay down the law with our children. They and we need rules, too. We shouldn’t rely on following our own devices without reverence for God or His words. Ask for His guidance, I do. When I do, I am rewarded with a Bible verse or an unexpected wise word from someone else. Coincidence, I think not. God has raised reasonable creatures, too. When he asks us to do something, he explains why through His word. Watch for His wisdom daily and watch it build in your heart.

Lord let us always remember that Your wisdom is our wisdom. Help us to be reasonable children, who don’t follow a path separate from you. Amen

Hatred

 

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.– Proverbs 10:12 (NIV)

Today’s commentary by Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org

When we are wronged the first reaction can be a desire for revenge—to make the offender pay for the pain they have inflicted upon us. But that only creates more pain and hatred in an ever-increasing circle. Godly love is willing to pay the emotional payment for the wrong done. It is not easy, but in the long run, only love can cover over the deeds and heal the heart.

 

 

 

Untrained Servants

I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. II Corinthians 11:6 NIV

Paul and the other apostles made it clear that Paul was untrained as a speaker. When he spoke it was of his personal knowledge and relationship with Jesus. I speak of my personal relationship with Jesus through my writing. I don’t have the first hand and physical knowledge Paul had of Jesus. Paul and the other apostles were plain everyday people passing the message on the best way they could. That is what they were led to do. Now days, people who look plain, ordinary and even boring are looked over. We miss the knowledge and love that lies in their hearts. Paul would have been overlooked by our modern standards for spiritual leaders. People look for talent to entertain, instead of content to touch their souls.You know the preachers that can yell the loudest and have the biggest cathedrals. By commingling my knowledge and understanding, I pray I am successful in my small endeavors. For me that means I would like some spiritual nugget I possess to grow into a boulder for someone else and be passed onto others.

Through your writing or speaking you can only hope and pray that someone’s heart is touched. Whether we are children’s writers, spiritual writers, anthology writers ,we all want to speak to or touch someone’s heart. That’s what writing is all about. We are untrained servants too and no matter what we intend to pass onto others,we need to do this with some knowledge in our genre. If we are intimidated by our lack of knowledge, we should keep searching and learning. I know this keeps me searching and learning in my spirituality and writing endeavors. Just like Paul, our way of communicating may not always be the most eloquent, but if it’s coming through with love and discernment, people’s hearts will be touched.

Lord help us to always to communicate our knowledge to the best of our ability. Help us to communicate and touch people’s hearts and spirits through prayer and love. Amen

Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.– Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

I’m finding it more difficult to find perfect peace, when so much terror and catastrophes are happening around me. I have gotten riled up because of politics on Facebook, about people on the news being displaced from their homes and livelihoods, and terrorists roaming among us. I always have felt protected in the US, but it’s getting more difficult to bring my Christian values into sync with worrying about my family’s future. Are you left feeling confused, angry, and constantly riled up by others opinions? Will we ever feel peaceful  again?

Looking at this verse it shows us that we can find peace from God, not in our mind. We need to trust in His love and care. Our minds are whirling with all kinds confusion. However, peace is God’s response to us, when we look to Him. God’s presence is in all of our circumstances. I  know my mind is prone to project the worst circumstances that can happen. If our mind is steadfast on God we are confronted with the fact that God is in control. Renewing our minds with this reality brings trust, and that trust opens our hearts to peace. Only God knows where our lives are moving. Not being in controls is difficult for all of us. We cannot live in the past or fear the future. We need to reach for God’s comfort and protection, whenever our peace is disrupted.

Lord give us an internal and eternal peace in your loving care for us. These are hard and fearful times and we need be assured of peace through it all. Amen

NATIONAL CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL DAY

National Chicken Soup - November 12

 

Today is National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day. Every year it is observed on November 12. Chicken Soup for the Soul is a publisher and consumer goods company founded in 1993 with its headquarters in Cos Cob, Connecticut. The first book and other titles in the series, were true stories written by ordinary people about their own lives. Their first book and many others soon became best-sellers. If you are a writer and have never submitted to this anthology, get writing. It took me many years to finally be accepted for their anthology. I have had two stories published. One in Devotionals for Wives and Thank You Mom. I submitted recently, but apparently wasn’t accepted. I will be working on a new submission next week.

National  Chicken Soup for the Soul Day is a celebration about us! It’s about our life stories and how to celebrate ourselves. As they say everyone has a story. Some are funny, some are sad, and some exciting. Whatever yours is, write it down and send it in. You never know. You may be pleasantly surprised, I was. Today, use #ChickenSoupForTheSoulDay to post on twitter, Facebook, and any  other social media that you nay use.

King David’s Strength

In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.– Psalm 11:1-2 (NIVIt is easy for me to lose perspective when I feel threatened. So many unseen forces are threatening our country and world today.  At certain moments, I have trouble remembering that God is in charge. In these scary times what the world needs to see are a people who look danger in the face and proclaim that God is over all that is happening. I am getting better at squashing those feelings without losing the knowledge I have to be vigil.  This scripture shows me how even though those around King David told him that he was easy prey and should run for the hills, David responded that God was his refuge. This is what being a witness of Christ is all about. I can only pray I will always place my trust in God. God doesn’t want people whose hearts melt at the first thought of danger. Do you fall apart every time a news alert comes across the TV? I don’t know about you, but I get immediately frightened for those going through the horrors perpetrated and the anguish of their families. However, King David is right God is our refuge. There is no place to flee, except to God. Almost every country is under attack from evil terrorists. Moving won’t do any good. Moving closer to our faith and prayer is the only place we have to go. Be like King David and say “In the Lord I take refuge. Lord, be our Refuge and strength. Like you were David’s refuge and strength, give that to our leaders. Remind us and them to turn to you in prayer. Calm our hearts in times of  fear and uncertainty. Thank you for being there for us. AMEN