Today is January 1, 2017 and yesterday was so last year. I stayed awake to ring in the new year with my husband. Normally I get sleepy by 9:30pm and find myself crawling in bed by 10:00pm. Because I stayed awake, I, along with millions of other people, either in New York Times Square or sitting comfortably in our homes in front of a television or other electronic device, were witness to Mariah Carey’s train-wreck of a show minutes before the ball drop. Much to her chagrin, her reputation needs repair. I can only guess what her New Year’s Resolution is for 2017. However, a big round of applause goes to her backup dancers as they did a great job!
On February 12 my husband, and I, said good-bye to our little girl, Bean. She was the sweetest Grey Tiger-striped kitty who we adopted from a local no-kill cat shelter years ago. My husband picked her out and the first day in our house, she owned it. She sat up on the couch and took a nap, all while our other cats were sniffing her acquaintance. On December 5, my niece passed away. She was an awesome mom to her children and had a huge heart for helping people. We are blessed to know how many lives she touched in her short 31 years of life. My summation for 2016 is that the good die young.
This past year was heart-breaking, to say the least, but knowing that God is close to the broken-hearted brings me peace. That means He is near to me, my husband, my family, and Jill’s friends, holding us close as we mourn.
Isaiah 43:18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” But our minds hit replay on many episodes of days gone by, conversations that happened or didn’t happen, loved ones who were called home to eternity, or the voice of the doctor delivering news of a grave illness just discovered. God is close to the broken-hearted and he offers His outstretched hand for us to walk into 2017 with Him. Yes, God can even help restore Mariah Carey’s reputation if she reaches out to Him.
Isaiah 41:10 So Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
May God Bless you in 2017.
My Bible is old, a bit tattered and worn. Some pages at the very beginning have pulled away from the binding, but remain in their original space. Pages are dog-eared, sticky notes are stuck and bookmarks of all shapes and sizes lie in waiting within.
Aspects I love about my Bible are the previous yellow highlights. What God spoke to me in the past has been so important, I wanted to be sure not to miss it in the future.
A yellow highlight that jumps out at me from my time alone with God this weekend is from John 1:12-13 which says: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children not born of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
Membership in God’s family is by Grace alone–the gift of God.
An elderly woman turns her house upside down searching for two lost coins. Frantic to find them she is relieved when she does; these two coins are all she has to live on. She goes to church and puts them both in the offering plate.
Newly divorced, single woman lives in a tiny apartment furnished with lawn chairs and a donated kitchen table. She receives a bonus of $500 from her employer. This money is needed to make ends meet. She goes to church on Sunday and puts $50 in the collection plate.
A shop-aholic goes to her favorite boutique and finds a dress perfect for a party. It is on the sale rack for ten percent off the price. She does the math in her head and feels that ten percent isn’t much, but at least she can tell her husband she got it on sale, and she makes a purchase.
Out of the three scenarios, who would you guess to be the biggest loser? Let’s break this down.
Scenario 1, it was not uncommon for the elderly woman to give all she had. God blessed her by meeting her needs and she was never without food, clothing or shelter. She lived by faith.
Scenario 2, the newly divorced, single woman went shopping after church. She found a great deal on a new television and had half of the bonus money left over.
Scenario 3, the shop-aholic spied a must-have accessory. It was the ten percent difference she was saving on the dress. The dress ripped and the accessory was lost somewhere between the car and the party.
Scenario 3 comes in as the biggest loser. Selfish motives produce no blessings.
What’s in your wallet? God only asks for ten percent and he promises a great return on your investment.
Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. (Deuteronomy 15:10 NIV)
A hand to hold (in lonely times).
A spine (during times of weakness).
Empathy (as a shoulder to lean on).
A voice (for truth).
A smile (to cheer).
Non-judgment (to erase perfection).
Faith (in doubt).
Hope (when all is lost).
Peace (amidst storms).
Direction (when air is still).
Unconditional love (because of sin).
Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.