HOPE*ann*FAITH

Learning to Live , Again, On Purpose.


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A Quick Look Back @ 2008


A Quick Reflection

A Quick Reflection

 

I was doing my devotionals today…Oswald Chambers and A New Thing Ministries[ANTM]… and both spoke to me greatly.

Kim Potter from ANTM Devotional noted that 2008 has brought much Growth and Many Blessings to her…well to me as well.

Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest ~ 1939 noted that New Years Eve [then too!] was a time of retrospection…again, for me as well.

Both devotionals speak to a difficult past year, one of growth, loss, success and failure.  This is true for all souls on earth, I am sure. We’ve all had an eventful year.

My journey took me to many places, as anyone who reads this particular blog may know.

Chambers quotes Isaiah 52:12 to begin the new year! I find it a good choice…amazing how something written or said in 1911 – 1917 stands firmly true today! Don’t you? That is God’s Word for You…Always in season.

Isaiah 52:12

12 For you shall not go out with haste,
      Nor go by flight;
      For the LORD will go before you,
      And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

In the translation Chambers used rear guard is referred to as rerewarder meaning:

 noun

Etymology:
Middle English rerewarde, from Anglo-French, from rere, arere behind + warde, gard guard
Date:
14th century
obsolete : rear guard
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Chambers points out:
Security from Yesterday: ” God requireth that which is past”

Ecclesiastes 3:14-16

14 I know that whatever God does,
      It shall be forever.
      Nothing can be added to it,
      And nothing taken from it.
      God does it, that men should fear before Him.
       15 That which is has already been,
      And what is to be has already been;
      And God requires an account of what is past.

We are to look back at what has past in our lives, take account and receive the lessons that are there. We cannot change what has come to pass, however we can learn and take guidance as to how to proceed in the year ahead.

Security for Tomorrow: ” For the Lord will go before you.”

From the beginning scripture We are to understand that God goes before us. That He looks for anything that is in our path to stop us and clears the way…We must rely on Him to go before us in all things!

Security for Today: ” For you shall not go out in haste”

Again, from the original scripture used here…We must rely on God in our lives and endeavors. We must seek Him in all areas of our lives before moving forward. This must  become a lifestyle for each of us, for all believers!

If we seek First the Kingdom, then we give God permission to guide our lives. Permission to go out before us so that we may walk in His will for our lives!

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Now the other devotional speaks to a challenging year. Like stated earlier…we’ve all had an eventful year, I am sure.

This devotional sees 2008 as a year of Growth and Blessings. I must agree.

2008 saw me finding saddness and sorrow in [my] Hopeannfaith’s Emotion well… , for the first times in my memory. I lost my grandson and an uncle. I set very stringent boundaries with my family [parents and siblings]. I have worked in conjunction with God and my sponsor to improve my emotional and spiritual life.

As difficult as all of this was, I look back, on this snowy New Year’s Eve, and realize I have grown. I am nolonger an emotional basketcase. Praise God! I am doing better holding back and controlling my rage…God has done this for me.

And Blessings have abound in my life. This year my husband and I have come into unity in regards to our lives and finances. This is a gift from God. This unity is amazing, it makes all areas of our lives and marriage so much more enjoyable and functional to be honest.

I have learned to be thankful and at peace in all things…not an easy task!

I have grown in my understanding of God’s faithfulness to me and my family. In that understanding I know that I know that I can depend on God and His Word for all things and situations. This understanding comes with awesome peace.

The kind of peace that occurs in the midst of a tornado when you know you are in the eye, yet safe from all harm.

A Challenging year was ’08, I will admit. I will give the glory and praise to God that we have come through it unscathed and, infact, quite comfortably.

So I will do my level best to follow the instructions of Isaiah 52:12.

I will allow God to go before me. I will seek only His will for my life. I will not move in haste, friviously causing failure and undue stress in my life.

I encourage all to do the same.

To quote Oswald Chambers devotional entry of December 31, 19??

” Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.”

Happy New Year everyone!  

Blessings for 2009

Blessings for 2009

 

 

Blessings…See ya in ’09!

 

 


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Awesome use of the Nikon D60! My favorite photos…


My husband’s Christmas gift to me…My favorite 2 Photos…

YOur Home! I'm so Happy...kiss,kiss,kiss......

YOur Home! I'm so Happy...kiss,kiss,kiss......

 

Donald [husband] and Buster [puppy]…

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Serious concentration on the road boys!

Serious concentration on the road boys!

Buster and Don concentrating on the road to Julie and Greg’s for brunch this morning! A Sunday celebration.


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Unexpected Christmas Joy…


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
Our Christmas Tree ~ On a Silent Night...

Our Christmas Tree ~ On a Silent Night...

Nehemiah 8:10

10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

I experience some “God” things this Christmas season. The experiences produced unexpected Joy in my Christmas celebration!

It goes to show you that when, like a child, you cannot fathom a thing God will show it to you. The heart of a child, the bible says, is one of the things God the Father looks for in each of us [don’t know the particular scripture, I’ll have to find it!].  Even the broken heart of the child will be honored, in all of us.

Christmas has been an issue for me for as long as I can remember. Yes, I know that the expectation of negative experiences will produce negative experiences. Heck, even those who believe themselves pagans know that. This year was vastly different.

I misjudged some occurances from a week before the Christmas celebration. In my home group the women confronted me about my issues with my mother and my feelings about her and her mental illness. I was already very uncomfortable with the festive atmosphere. And what felt like confrontation made me angry. I attempted to remain silent and get through the meeting, but they kind of required response. I explained that I had made the efforts to seperate myself from my family due to the harm it does us all. Now I was supposed to cut my mother a break, well my understanding of that felt like stepping back into the frey. I was confused. Anger always brings with it confusion, ever notice that? So I steeled myself and tried to explain that I loved my mom and was doing my best. I just did not see my mother choosing to receive her healing from God.

I know that we choose to believe God and we choose to receive from God. My mother has consistantly insisted that her mental illness made her unique and special. She insisted on remaining  ill. Often times refusing her medication. Well that refusal caused much harm to her children, when they [we] were little.

So back to the JOY…{much more fun!}

My Mother called the Saturday before Christmas…my mother doesn’t call her children, we are horrible children and are expected to contact her to prove our love. Well! She called me…the subject was not a good one but some good things occurred:

She was lucid and as kind as she is able, when she is trying to tell me her feelings were hurt by me. She referred to me in good child terms [a bit too over the top terms], and I was only mildly repulsed by it.

I handled the conversation like a normal person. I only answered the questions I felt were necessary. I am an adult and am allowed to make decisions about the dessemination of my personal things, I reason to myself. I did not get emotional, not even angry. The conversation was held without incident.

What did God show me?  He showed me that He is bigger and can perform miraculous things with people that we [me] in our humanity cannot see happening. My mother was lucid, she called me.

Both the hand of God !!

Seeing Lucid

Seeing Lucid

A blessing really. Although I am ambivalent about the conversations, I am glad that the happened. That is not to say that I desire to speak to my mother on a weekly basis. However, by His hand God has proven bigger than what I can see or fathom! So we will see.

Then there was our Christmas tree. Like I said about the Christmas atmosphere at my home group, I have a real aversion to holiday decorations, especially Christmas decorations.

However, this year, for the first time that I can remember, I did not hate the tree. In fact I think it is pretty, especially at night !

Again a gift from God. I enjoyed the tree this year. I sound like a crazy woman I know!

The best gift this year was for my husband! He always wants the same boring gifts. Handkerchiefs [cloth], thermals, socks and jeans. There is never anything special. Well God took care of that for us!

His son called Christmas, with his sister’s phone number! My husband had not heard from his daughter for three years. This gift was one that could not have been purchased and the only thing that made it better was that it was his son who gave it to him. His, our, older children live in Alaska where their mother lives. So contact is impossible if they choose to avoid it.

God is good and faithful to fulfill the desires of our hearts! And man did He get my husband!

This made Christmas joy…all of these things, and more! I guess this is how normal people enjoy Christmas. I was always just happy that the day had come and gone. This was so much more than that.

Christmas eve was spent at home with the other two boys. No fighting no strife! We enjoyed leftover pizza and White Diamond Hamburgers! A north Jersey treat, unique and loved!

The White Diamond of Clark, NJ...Click and check the link!
The White Diamond of Clark, NJ…Click and check the link!
Famous White Diamond Burger!
Famous White Diamond Burger!

My husband boss brought them from Clark for the lunch on Christmas eve! The guys all reign from the Clark area and only Eddie still lives there…he brought it back for them. A Christmas treat for all!

Then we watched some tv…A Christmas Carol {1938} my husband’s favorite version…we were up until 2 AM…but we were all just hanging out! All the work was complete and we were able to enjoy Christmas Eve together…
Again, a gift from God!
All in all it was a really wonderful Christmas, even for me.
I have to give all the credit and honor to God, for fulfilling the desires of our hearts. Honoring our obedience and knowing the exact things that each of us needed to get through this, the Celebration of His Son’s birthday.
My favorite gift? I got the Nikon D60! I did not ask this, I only dreamed it. I never even really told my husband that I wanted it…just one mention weeks ago that it was a cool camera! I just wrote it off as something I could have…someday…
God is Good! All the time!
Hope all of your Christmas’ were as Joyful!


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I Heard The Bells on Christmas Music Video by Casting Crowns


I Heard The Bells on Christmas Music Video by Casting Crowns.

 

Peace on Earth. Merry Christmas!


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Merry Christmas!!! ??????????


The Christmas of fear...

The Christmas of fear...

I am no fan of the Christmas season. I don’t enjoy the decorations, the music or the shopping. To be fair to Christmas, I do not like or enjoy any shopping of any kind. Also, the other Christmas dislikes are residual from a very…well just a very. Childhood.

I spend this season diligently avoiding letting my family feel my discomfort.

 

However, I am appalled at this seasons issues. The economy has all of America walking in paralyzing fear. I was out shopping last night, granted it was a Sunday evening…but it was also the last shopping weekend before Christmas! No one was out…at 6 pm the local Home Depot was closed! This was really odd. Home Depot here where I live is open until 10 pm every evening (night) and until 7 pm on Sundays. I cannot get over that it was closed!

But also very evident…No one was out shopping. Christmas shopping here is usually horrendous. Crazy people parking ON the grass islands with the light poles! Having to park in East Jabip at any given time of day during this Festive Shopping Season!!! I am not exaggerating, either!

Wake up fokes!! Are things really this bad in middle economic America?

I’m all for a Classic Christmas that is about the family and the celebration of the Birth of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus! I am all for the tradition of making the present and gift giving smaller and the love and affection giving larger. But out of fear?!!!

economic fear

economic fear

My husband, wise gentleman that he is, said as we walked into Kohls last night…

” Well, the news programs have done their jobs well, haven’t they.” He said

“Huh?” I said, I was not thinking at all, I was entering the dreaded Kohls!

He answered, ” There is no one shopping. The news has everyone running in terror. They’ve succeeded in causing mass terror.”

I had to agree as I looked back at the parking lot that was not even close to a third of the way full. We were able to park right in front of the doors at about 6:30 pm. That doesn’t happen in mid October, let alone 4 days before Christmas!

” Yes they have!” I said

My gentleman husband holds open the door for me and says, ” Aren’t you glad we aren’t in that fear?”

I smiled as I walked into this store [Yukkkkkk], and agreed.

You see, I am not receiving a paycheck right now, at my job. My oldest son is layed off of his job. My youngest is unemployed and we are surviving on my husbands paycheck and the oldest son’s unemployment, if we need it. We have not needed it!

Our mortgage is paid! Our bills are paid…on one paycheck!!!

I have to admit, this is all about God! Coming into the unity as a family in the realization that God is our ultimate source of survival has given us the edge. We do not fear the economy, because we know God has it in hand. We do not fear the things that the world at large are fearing, God is our source.

So, I understand if you believe us insane. That would be natural for anyone looking in. However, we are not. We do not spend crazily. We are doing without the luxuries, no eating out, we watch movies at home. Our entertainment is home, friend and family based. We are falling in love with the simple things in life! And, each other.

Christmas has had a limit for many years now. We do not force ourselves to endure ugly family get togethers. If we are having issues with others we do not  go. We have Christmas day at home! No travel! Finally! We visit my Grandma on Christmas eve, after the Candle Light service at church. I make a small Christmas dinner [traditional] and invite my Dad.

Christmas needs to be about what it is about!

The birth of our Savior!!   

A Savior is Born!

A Savior is Born!

It needs to be about family and being together.

My suggestion??? Take the time to revisit your Faith. Go to a local church for the Christmas Eve service…seek the God of your understanding. He will avert your fears, he will take on your burdens.

He will not leave or forsake you or me! Christmas is about remembering that God sent his son to save a world bent on destruction…this was taken care of !

Here read this and allow it to put your hearts at rest and your fears to bed.

Deuteronomy 31:6

6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Luke 2:10-12 

10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And why was a Savior born that day? Why do we celebrate His birth each year?

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

I wish you all a very Merry and Fearless Christmas!

Blessings.


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Jeremiah 10:2-4…


Interesting...

Interesting...

Due to my love of Christmas trees [sarcasm], I decided to look at pictures of them. Just to see if I could find a preference.
Surprisingly I do have a preference…its Christmas trees still in the ground and decorated by God.
Found this interesting picture and scripture…just a thought.
Jeremiah 10: 2-4

2 Thus says the LORD:

      “ Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
      Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
      For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
       3 For the customs of the peoples are futile;
      For one cuts a tree from the forest,
      The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
       4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
      They fasten it with nails and hammers
      So that it will not topple.
      


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First Fruits…The Truth.


How much does God want you to have?

The Truth

The Truth

John 10:10

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

This is what God wants you and me to have…Everything…Abundance!

The bible says bring all the tithes and offering into the store house and he will open the heavens for us. So why is it that those of us who tithe faithfully with offerings on top still seem to be struggling? If the first fruits of our earnings [gross earnings, mind you] is 10% and we are faithful to this, what’s the problem?

It seems that either God is a liar or we are missing it…well the bible says that God is not a man that He should lie. It also says that God never, that is NEVER fails or forsakes us.

Numbers 23:19
“God is not a man, that He should lie,Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

You see there is scriptural order for walking under that Open Heaven! And it is all wrapped up in the truth behind First Fruit Tithing…

1. Tithe 1st – before any other bill is paid.

Leviticus 27:30 & 32

all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or the fruit of the tree is the LORD’S; it is holy to the LORD.

The First Fruits Tithe is HOLY to the LORD !!!!

[a little info: when the word LORD is used in the Bible spelled in all capitals the word refers to God; spelled Lord, proper, the word refers to Jesus.]

The tithe, as said before is 10% of our earnings. The number 10 is the number of new beginnings, biblically. Going from Glory to Glory.

Tithe is different from the offering. They are two different things. The offering is 10% of the tithe. So if you’ve made $100.00 before taxes your tithe is $10.00; your reasonable offering is $1.00 on top of the $10.00.

The offering is a tenth of the first tenth ~ A Sacrifice.

Numbers 18:25 [ a tithe of the tithe]

 The Tithe of the Levites

   
25 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 26 “Speak thus to the Levites, and say to them: ‘When you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to the LORD, a tenth of the tithe. 27 And your heave offering shall be reckoned to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor and as the fullness of the winepress.

So what must we do to operate under an open heaven?    Do Not Rob God.

Malachi 3: 8- 10a

Do Not Rob God

    8 “ Will a man rob God?
      Yet you have robbed Me!
      But you say,

      ‘ In what way have we robbed You?’
      In tithes and offerings.
       9 You are cursed with a curse,
      For you have robbed Me,
      Even this whole nation.
       10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
      That there may be food in My house,
      And try Me now in this,”
      Says the LORD of hosts, 

 

If we do this First Fruits thing, then what??? Take a good look at this!!

Malachi 3: 10b-12

      “ If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
      And pour out for you such blessing
      That there will not be room enough to receive it.
       11 “ And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
      So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
      Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
      Says the LORD of hosts;
       12 And all nations will call you blessed,
      For you will be a delightful land,”
      Says the LORD of hosts.

God will open up heaven and pour prosperity onto us….and there is more, as if that is not enough! God will deal with the enemy [satan] for us, protecting the fruit of our lands, and all of our fruit of the trees will prosper. That is in every field we work in…and yet there is more still!!

God will cause nations to call us blessed. The world will desire what we have and want to  be like us and where we are!!

All we need to do is trust God and tithe the First Fruit Tithe in every field inwhich we earn.

This simply means that I tithe the 100% + the 10% + the 10% on each first paycheck  of   each job.

For my family that means:

First Fruits on my husbands regular paycheck.

First Fruits on my husbands first weeks sales on his online business.

First Fruits on my regular paycheck.

First Fruits on my first months pay from freelance online writing.

First Fruits on my first Artists sale of  2009.

Yes! First Fruit Tithe in each field [job that causes me increase]. The result is total favor because we have given our unquestionable trust to God, alone.

Yes! I agree this is a very daunting prospect for anyone, including my family! For anyone! But I know people who have honored this Old Testament rule and have had prosperity!

So as for me and my house we will stick with the Word of God on this…we will…

Proverbs 3:5

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
      And lean not on your own understanding;

And just for more Old Testament for todays economy try standing on this Word of The LORD…

Deuteronomy 1: 11

11 May the LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times more numerous than you are, and bless you as He has promised you!

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Another supporting scripture for First Fruit Tithing:

Nehemiah 12:44

 

Temple Responsibilities

   
44 And at the same time some were appointed over the rooms of the storehouse for the offerings, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them from the fields of the cities the portions specified by the Law for the priests and Levites; for Judah rejoiced over the priests and Levites who ministered. 

 

and more….Nehemiah 10:35

Ezekiel 48:14

1 Corinthians 15: 20, 23; 16:15

I’ll let you know how things go! Keep in touch!

Blessings All !!