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Having Hope

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Sitting back in my easy chair, I glance out the bay window and see a road that is not yet travelled.   The path is unknown, full of wonder, experiences and hope that will bring new beginnings.  Along the road we cannot predict the weather, when the seasons change, the road bumps that will happen or how long it will take to travel.  The unknown brings anticipation and hope for the future.   There are times in our lives where we wonder how or why, and there are times where we see a glimmer of hope or a miracle that is unseen by the naked eye.  We know our Maker is at work and this restores our hope in the future to come.

We come together over this season in prayer and anticipation of new life.   Looking through the window pane, I see children laughing, people smiling, family and kinship.  The innocence in these moments take my breath away and bring much happiness, contentment and thanksgiving.  We are called to come together and give thanks for the life we have been given to live.   In the times when we endure, we are called to come together and unite.  During these times, we see the face of our Great God, and the mercy He brings us through our trials.  God asks us to rely on Him to direct our paths, and to relinquish control and trust in Him.

Although this road is not yet travelled, we can truly predict that we will be carried by Him along the way, and that the road brings hope and a new phase of life.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ” – NIV Hebrews 11:1

Along our path of life, there is so much opportunity.  There will be road blocks that divert us, but through reliance in Him and togetherness, our hope for a brighter future is restored.   We long for the coming of our Saviour on Christmas day and welcome Him into our hearts, to renew us and bring us hope for our bright future.

The road may be bumpy, attacks may come, but our Saviour brings us a longing for Hope that is indescribable.  Togetherness, unity and reliance in Him through love.  In Him all things are possible.

 “Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” – Proverbs 3:25-26

Hope in Him

He comes to us as a babe,

Innocent, pure, to bring New Life.

He brings freedom, and assures us of a future free of strife.

He brings Hopefulness

Optimism

Peace

Everlasting life.

We trust in Him.

We look to Him to direct our paths.

And in Him we will be renewed and restored.

We are His children, and come together in Hope.

My hope for you is that you see that sparkle in your life, you see the shimmer of light beyond the darkness, and feel the warmth on your face.

A new year begins, enjoy every moment and live in the present!

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Reflection ~ Take some Time for You

untitledOnce we make the time to rest, we begin to realize things we want to change or adjust in our lives.  

I feel like this woman, my life is intertwined like a string of Christmas lights, a bulb burns out, they all go out.  Rest is so important and allows our minds to hear the sweet voice of our Maker, and allows for perfect perspective.  

Can you calm the mind, and get rid full of the lists during this Christmas season? As we read the words coming from John the Baptist we see such a great perspective:

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering their hearts if John might be possibly the Christ.  John answered them all, “I baptize you with water.  But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” Luke 3:7-16 NIV

The first concept in this verse refers to not taking more than you need and giving to others.   Needs vs. wants is an interesting concept in our culture, and especially interesting this time of year.  

I have found myself overwhelmed with what we actually have compared to our two sponsor children…. So fortunate we are, but are we aware?

Have you noticed how many bags people are carrying in the malls during this season?  I often watch and wonder is this all necessary.  Are we getting caught up in the “right” things?

This season, perhaps you have something to give?   Can you give of your time, or items that you may not need?

One concept I really want to teach my two boys, is giving without expecting to receive.

When you reflect on your needs vs. wants do you see abundance? 

If you do, then why not take action and give?  

The action of giving does not need to be in monetary terms, it could be helping out at a soup kitchen, it could be buying a coffee for the individual that is behind you in line, or saying a prayer for those you see in pain, or even smiling at someone that seems down.   To you, this action may be small but to the other it could have made their day, and made the difference.  

I believe the state of contentment comes when one realizes that their needs are fully met and in turn realize we are not in control what happens tomorrow.  The only thing we can control is our actions.   Once we reach this state, we have so much capacity to give.  It is overflowing.   It is through our giving that a ripple effect occurs.  We may not see this effect instantly but it is there.  

Sit back and reflect, what can you do?  Do you have more than you need?

The second part of this verse in the bible refers to the coming of Jesus Christ; our Savior.   As we reflect on this season much of our reflection should be centered on Jesus.  This is what Christmas is about.  He came to bring us salvation, what an amazing gift in Him. 

Over the course of the past couple of years, many times I have felt overwhelmed with what has happened in our lives.  Any one event could have sent someone into a tailspin.  However, in every one of these situations, I came to Jesus and my Lord God.   I presented my requests, fears and anxiousness to Him.   I did this because I knew I could not control what was happening, all I could control is a response.  Don’t get me wrong, there were moments where I stuffed feelings, or where I would sit and just let the tears flow.  But I knew that God would reign,  and He had my best interests at heart.  God does not want to see His children hurting.

Larry Crabb wrote in his book 66 Love Letters that in addition to relying on themselves rather than God, the thing that kept His children out of the Promised Land was not believing God. In God’s voice, Crabb writes:

And they wouldn’t believe that I could overcome every problem, the ones inside them, as well as the difficulties in their circumstances that stood in the way of real joy. So they refused to walk the narrow road of belief that welcomes exposure of failure and conflict, knowing I have a plan to overcome them.

Amazing isn’t it?   What stands in front of real joy for us? Realization that God will always overcome.   The enemy wants us to get caught up in the “things” of this life.  He wants us to live in the “fears”.  When we give into the fears our minds cannot rest, be content, or really present in the moment.    We also are not trusting in God, that He will meet our needs because our minds are filled with lies and fear.  

During this Christmas season, rest, reflect, and take in what Christmas is really about.   Our Saviour came to set an example for us, and to save us from the hurts or the pain.   Be content in this season, and fill your mind with joy, thanksgiving, love and happiness.   Be “present”, because that action in itself makes all the difference.

Share with me your blessings!  I want to hear from you 🙂

Ness

In Need of Rest?

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Rest can be defined as:

Verb:
  1. Cease work or     movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
  2. Remain or be     left in a specified condition: “rest assured”.
Noun:
  1. An instance or     period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity.
  2. The remaining     part of something.

Or one of my favorite verses in the bible that refers to rest:

28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ( Matthew 11: 28-30 NIV)

I feel like this time of year brings change, if we allow it to soak into our souls.   But this time of year for many brings challenge….

Could you imagine actually resting this week?   Or have you been thinking about your “to do” or “to see” lists?  Have you been consumed with thoughts of “how am I going to get this all done”?

Or perhaps you are going through a bit of a bump in the road right now health wise, or financially, and thoughts of “when will this end” come to mind?

We choose how we can respond to this time of year.  We can choose not to race, worry, or get caught up in the small “stuff” this time of year.   I have come to realize that in the moments when we slow down and allow peace and calm to fulfill our souls  – we begin to feel easy and light.

Our minds can get caught up in the crazy busy life, and overwhelmed with the circumstances so easily.   I am sure satan sits back and thinks “Yes! I am winning here.” 

But one thing that we must all remember is that we can create our own mountains to climb, when in all reality it is just a little snow drift that we can just shovel the snow aside.   The snow may be heavy, but eventually it becomes light and you make it through.

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life”.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?” (Matthew 6:25-27 NIV)

The worry affects how we feel, our health and how we react to others.   This statement in the bible paints such a clear picture of the impact of worry.   It can consume and ultimately decrease the time that we have here on this earth.    Yes life can be hard sometimes; it can push us in a variety of directions.   It is how we react in these situations that make all the difference.  We can control how we respond.  We all have choice.  I chose to be light, I chose to have strength in hardship, and I chose joy to cherish every single moment with the ones I love and care about.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

So as we enter this wonderful Christmas season, be blessed.   Slow down and rest.  Rest your weary mind, and allow the peace to settle in.

  • Sip a cup of tea or your favorite latte, and look back on pictures of family or friends.
  • Read a book you have not had a chance to read.
  • Meditate, pray, and enjoy the moments.
  • Take account of 3 things every day that you are thankful for.
  • Spread the happiness, send a little note to a friend or loved one.
  • Tear up the “to do’s” or “task” lists.  And just roll with it.
  • Shift your thinking from having to do, to wanting and enjoying every moment.
  • And finally, but not least, be blessed for who you are and what you have.

So I ask you, can one moment of worry add another day to your life?  Replace that worry with prayer, thanksgiving, and joy as we enter this amazing season.

Be blessed.

~Ness

Living for the Moment

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33, NIV).

As I read this today, I paused and realized how very fortunate I have been in my life.   God has granted me a life that is full.   There have been moments that took my breath away, but I believe these moments we are meant to experience fully.  Some moments may not be ideal, but they bring us where we need to be.   The light always overcomes the darkness.

As I drive to work every day, on my ride I am overcome by God’s goodness, His faithfulness, His never-ending love, His forgiveness.  I start my morning ride with a prayer, “be my eyes to see what you want me to see, be my ears to hear the words you want me to hear, be my mouth to speak what you want me to speak….”  I pray this with conviction and ask for God to direct my children and husband in the same way.   I then pause, and cry, my eyes water and I feel full of thankfulness.  “Thank-you God for saving me, and giving me a second chance.”

You see not long ago, 4 years ago (January 2011), life changed in a moment.   The moment felt like forever, seconds seemed like minutes, diving into the pool a whisper said, “You are going to be ok, but brace yourself, this is going to be tough, brace your neck.”  The reassurance I felt to my core, and I knew it was Him.     A few days later I had my halo, a halo brace that weighed 8lbs.  A c1 fracture that not many survive displaced and never healed on paper.   But by the grace of God, I chose to TRUST in him.     He has shown me so much, and His grace has extended beyond my greatest expectations.   

By His grace this is what I am learning:

  • Life is about the moments that take your breath away good and bad.
  • Trusting in Him is the only way.
  • Don’t give up when you feel like you can’t take it any-more, He has overcome the world!
  • Start and end the day with Him, He will help me navigate through the days struggles.
  • Family is what matters, live every moment in Love for family, friends and those close to you.
  • Extend a hand when you feel like you can’t. Whether it is sharing a smile or giving love, support to those in need.  We all are hurting, reach out and touch someone, it will make a difference.
  • Live for today, don’t look back.
  • Don’t judge, everyone has a story and we are all children of His.
  • Forgiveness goes a long way, let it go and give it to Him.
  • Love, love, love, spread the love, it has ripple effects.
  • Be grateful, live a life of gratitude. It’s all in the attitude!
  • God is in control, all we have control of is our response.

Thank-you God for all of your love.  Thank-you for leading me to a place I would never change.   Father, I pray that  my days will be filled with your grace.  I thank-you Father for saving me in so many ways and for the blood of Jesus, that promises us a life where the sun is always shining.  You promises are everlasting and I love you with my whole heart.

As you pause this season, may you take all of the moments in fully.  May you be blessed my friends over this season where we have so much to be thankful for.

~Vanessa

What are you grateful for today?  Live for today and spread the love!

If you have a question or a musing for me would love to hear from you, send me an email at nesschesters@gmail.com

Advent Week 4 – Renewal

imagesOver the past four weeks, I have written about the following themes:

1)    Rest

2)    Reflection

2)    Hope

3)    And now, Renewal

God wanted me to hear the words I was writing, especially in this season.  My heart has been heavy over the past couple of months.   Heavy with burden, heavy because I feel the pain that others are going through.    My heart has been softened by the hand of God, and sometimes I just wish I could take the pain away.   I know that this is not my role, it is God’s.  He is in control, and He will relieve the suffering in His perfect time.

Matthew 11:28-29 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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.

 

Is your heart heavy this time of year, especially when we see such turmoil across the land? 

Or is it light? 

Have you lifted up your thoughts, worries and prayers? 

Have you stopped making lists and allowed the peace, joy and serenity to fill your mind?

May I trust in You, Lord, and do good;

May I dwell in the land and feed from Your faithfulness.

When I delight myself in You,

You will give me the desires of my heart.

I will commit my way to You and trust in You,

And you will bring it to pass.

You will bring forth my righteousness like the light,

And my justice like the noonday.

May I rest in You and wait patiently for You;

I will not fret because of those who prosper in their way,

Because of those who practice evil schemes. (Psalm 37:3-7)

 

We are entering the most wonderful time of the year. This is a time when our Saviour was born to bring us peace, understanding, and freedom from the shackles.    All we have to do is Trust, and give it all to the Divine workings of our Maker.   

During this Christmas Season, renew your mind; allow the peace, joy, understanding to consume your thoughts.    Remove the lists, the running, and enjoy every moment.    Immerse your thoughts in love and joy, and thanksgiving.

As I close before the Christmas season, I am going to give my worries, thoughts and fears to God so that I can concentrate on the “right” things this time of year.   So thankful for you Jesus, thank-you for always being there and coming into this world to save us.

 

My Christmas Note to God

Where are you Christmas?

Why is there so much pain?

I pray for those families who are dealing with loss of a loved one.  I pray for You to bring them solace and peace of mind during this season in their lives.  I know You can –  our wonderful Saviour.

Where are you Christmas?

Why are so many in need?

I pray for You to bring hope to those in need during these difficult times.

I pray for my family, bring them strength during this season in our lives.

I come to you Lord and I must lay down all of these burdens, expectations and requests at your feet..  They are too much for me to carry, I don’t have the answers but I know You do.

I pray for Me Lord God, fill my mind with your peace, understanding and wisdom.  Teach me Lord to walk in your ways and to set an example for others in all I do.   Give me strength when I feel like I have nothing left.

Where is Christmas?

Christmas is here, everywhere I look.

Christmas is inside our hearts, and in the hearts of those we love and care about.

Christmas is that special sparkle in your child’s eyes.

Christmas is in the smile that a loved one or friend gives to you.

Christmas is in the laughter and love.

Christmas is in each one of us.

Thank-you Jesus for coming into this world to bring us love, peace and joy.   I pray for you to fill everyone in this world with your love in their hearts; soften them and let them rest and renew their minds and souls to concentrate on the “right” things.

May you be blessed ~Vanessa

Guest Post by Naomi Fata ~ Stressed or Joyful

untitledSnow falls softly Christmas Eve. The children are tucked into bed.

Mother and Father are busy wrapping last minute gifts, baking cookies and . They remark to each other that soon this busy season will be over. This year has been too stressful. All of December had been filled with holiday parties, school plays, baking and so much more. Once again they had overspent their gift  giving budget and dreaded the thought of the credit card bill which would arrive in a couple weeks.

On the mantle, dwarfed by the largess of the Christmas tree, sits the nativity as a quiet reminder of the first gift of Christmas. The Christ Child; whose birth brought the promise of peace, love and joy to our hearts.

Looking around at the stress-filled holiday season I wonder where is the promised peace. A precious gift given to our hearts, peace would mean stress free.

Snow falls softly. Inside wrapping last minute gifts Mother sighs. It has been a busy season, she’s exhausted. Looking at Father she comments that next year they should try something different. Maybe something different. Something simpler. Year after year it seems the holiday season is filled with more activities, more spending, and less joy.

……….

What are some things that you can do differently this year to reduce Christmas stress and focus more on the true meaning of Christmas?

Rather than worrying about the importance of a big gift can you give gifts of time, memories, and love?

During the advent season let’s all remember that it isn’t just the baking, shopping, and interior decorating that matter most. He has called us to be His light in this world. This is a season His light can shine most brightly if we rest in Him, allowing His joy and peace to fill our hearts and flow out of our lives.

Feel free to stop by our website at http://www.christianresourceministry.com and make use of our printable

Christmas cards downloadable at the bottom of this page http://christianresourceministry.com/the-
first-christmas/

By Naomi Fata

Guest Post ~ The Line to See Jesus by Naomi Fata

This is a guest post from a wonderful lady I have met through blogging Naomi.

Christian Resource Ministry

 
line to see jesus

 

Several years ago my church put on a Christmas pageant. One song from the play which has stuck with me was sung by a young girl, asking her mother “Where is the line to see Jesus?” The girl had observed the lines for Santa, and the lines for shopping, but she had been taught that Jesus was the reason for Christmas, and was wondering why there was no line to see Him.

It is true that during the holidays we are inevitably in a line waiting for something, whether at grocery store checkout stocking up for Christmas dinner, or standing for hours hoping that the store won’t be sold out of that newest piece of technology for our child’s Christmas present or waiting for a parking space at the mall.

In the midst of it all are our hearts in line to see Jesus? Once we get in…

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