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Posts Tagged ‘blessings’

This is the time of year that we’re reminiscent of the year before, and ponder what the new year will bring.

Events from the previous year, that God used to shape and mold us, are clearly realized. We are not the same people we were a year ago as we embark upon a new year of life. We celebrate the good times. Our Facebook pages are filled with photos of the moments we wish could last forever. A multitude of smiles cover our walls with vacation spots and sporting events in the background. Life certainly has been good!

However, mingled with all that joy, we’ve suffered tragedy as well. Couldn’t God shape and mold us more gently? Must we suffer unbearable heartache to grow? Why doesn’t God erase bad memories from our minds? Doesn’t he want us to be happy? Why does my sin affect the lives of those around me and devastate the innocent? Is that fair? 

We’ve sat on the sidelines and watched loved ones torn apart by unforeseen circumstances of life. We’ve attended too many funerals, watched too many marriages fall apart, and cried too many tears.

But I know joy comes in the morning. Even when life is unfair, painful, and doesn’t make sense any longer, my Redeemer lives. He is still on His throne, and is crazy about me. Sometimes we live our lives into a corner. We don’t know which way to turn, and hit a wall each time we try. We don’t know how we wandered so far from God, and the way home seems impossible. Our lives are so out of control that we are hopeless beyond words to describe it. May we fall on our knees before God and ask him to take the reins, rein us in, and rein in our hearts once more and forever more.

The new year may bring more suffering, but God has promised not to put more on us than we can bear, because we have no idea of what he bore for us. I’m looking forward to and fully expecting more blessings, more laughter, and a deeper faith for the new year. Come what may, I know God can turn tragedy into blessing, evil into good, and disgrace into honor. Let’s go forth in life with an eagerness, liveliness, and dependence on Jesus Christ. He is our creator, sustainer, and the lover of our souls.  Buckle up! It’s going to be a great year.

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by Aggi Stevenson

I get emails from God all the time. I would dare say,  probably on a daily basis. Don’t you?  Sometimes the email will boast of angels watching my every move and rooting for me to make the right decision to forward. To forward or not to forward? That is the question. I was recently voted the friend less likely to forward. Thanks. I appreciate that. Even though I know it was not an honor of any sort, I choose to take it that way.

Some of the  beautiful emails are filled with the most gorgeous photography known to man. I am amazed at the scenes and enjoy the religious message very much. Until. I get to the end. Then I am faced with a presentation of guilt to assure my forwarding this beautiful email to at least ten people in a few seconds or I will miss a blessing or prove that I don’t love God. If I was a TRUE Christian, I would forward it to everyone in my address book quickly. Do it for God. Feel good about it. Prove your love for God. Be among the small percentage of people who will show their love for God by forwarding this beautiful email. Or, be struck dead, be in an accident, or suffer an assortment of losses. My failure to forward, shows I do not love God and worse than that, I am ashamed of Him.

Some of the emails promise a long-awaited blessing, if I will just forward the email in a few seconds or minutes. After I hit the send button, I will receive that miracle I have been praying for. Or, some totally unexpected happening will occur (in so many hours) that will bring me great joy. It may be something I had wanted for so long but have given up on. However, I must forward to at least a specific number of people in the alloted time or the blessing is null and void. So to brag about my belief in God and expectancy of a grand gift in my life, I must forward the I GOT MY TEN…NOW YOU GET YOURS!

Searching from whence these things come, I check the email list and am sad to see so many good people, pastors and well-meaning Christians that actually forward these emails.

The friendship emails are much tougher than the “Godly” ones. If you are a TRUE friend, you will send this to all your other friends (at least ten) and back to me too. You know. To prove I am really their friend. I guess our time together is not enough. I must be faking. If they could just get a forward back from me declaring I am their true friend…all would be hunky dory in buddy land.

I have a confession to make. I rarely forward emails. The friendship ones, that says if you are a TRUE friend you will send this to ten people and back to me too, I forward it back to that friend only. Just a couple of times (that should be enough for a lifetime) and then they go on my list of kooky friends that send out such emails. Afterwards, I delete them as soon as they pop up on my screen. Why? The email is not to me…it is at me. Big difference.

Let me explain: I don’t think anyone has the power to promise blessings or curses. Nobody should try to put a guilt trip on another person to coerce them to forward an email. I have lived a life time overcoming guilt. Our God is not the Father of guilt. But there is another that is. Before we hit the SEND button,we should ask ourselves if we are only forwarding to rid ourselfves of guilt or fear of something bad happening to us. Do you really think God gives those sending out these emails that kind of power? Isn’t that God’s job? Are these emails from Him? If not, be careful what you forward. These preaching to the choir emails do little to edify the saints and no, I will not send them to my unsaved friends. They need us. Not some glorious religious email that will then guilt them or curse them into sending it to someone else. That is not TRUE Christianity.

Don’t get me wrong. I love humorous and patriotic emails. I don’t need to be told to forward anything. I am intelligent enough to make those decisions on my own. One thing for sure, if the email has a hint of guilt or coercion in it, it won’t be forwarded by me. I have members in my address book that I sit up and take notice if I get a forward from them because they just don’t forward. It is always a good forward. It contains information I am glad to receive and I will most likely pass it along. These are rare.

Then there are those that use forwards as a means of keeping in touch when they really don’t have anything to say. Never a personal word of friendship, edification or humor. Never a note of encouragement or an invitation to lunch. Just forwards. They don’t have time to write or spend time with me but they fill my mailbox with forwards. Probably guilted  into it…

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       The leaves are still orange, red and yellow but will soon give into the dominantly brown shade of color all around. I am blessed to look out my office window and still see bright colors reflected in the pond. Thanksgiving will be here soon. It is a time of reflecting on the blessings God has bestowed upon us. His blessings are too many to count and if we listed them all, we would be writing into eternity.

     Along with the many blessings, come a great deal of heartache, strife and sickness. Sometimes these things have a way of crowding out the blessings if we focus on the negative or hurtful things in our lives. It’s hard not to. Afterall, these things scream for attention from deep within us.

     But really, Thanksgiving is upon every day of our lives. We have God, shelter, food and family. What more could a person want? Well…maybe the best for America.

     I pray we will always be a God-fearing and free country. That our leaders will look to God for guidance. That the laws of this country won’t be changed to enslave us all to the government. The election process will be free of tampering and fraud. That our school children will not be pawns of propaganda. Our military will be given the respect and support they deserve. Small businesses won’t be so laden with new tax burdens that they have to close their doors. Churches will stand and not coward behind tax exempt status. That America will remain strong and great instead of weak and defeated. That she will not be in debt to the point of becoming a slave to her debtors. That the flag will always stand for freedom and liberty. And that we will not take those things for granted.

     It is time to stand up for America. She will crumble if she continues on the path she is on. May we get on our knees and cry out to God to help her remain a light on the hill. The country that is fair-minded and a help in time of need to the nations of the world. A country that loves God and refuses to turn her back on his love and teachings. She will refuse to prostitute herself for the ideology of this world. She will remain victorious in her endeavor to do the right and Godly thing in all circumstances.

     God Bless America!

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