Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Reflection

As a new year dawns tomorrow, I am pondering this post from last January 1.  It focused on overcoming fear with the touchstone of these verses:  Isaiah 41:13:  "For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and  says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.'"

And my favorite:            2 Timothy 1:7:  "For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness;
                               but of power and love and discipline."

I think back over 2014 and consider how I have done in that area.  Last December God was placing a powerful blessing in my hands, and I was scared to death to reach out in faith to grab it and take advantage of it.  I was so scared that I ignored it for the Christmas holidays.  Once New Year's was past, I tentatively reached for it, and I haven't turned back.  There have been ups and downs in this new venture (adventure) He gave me in online tutoring, but each time I faltered, I looked back at those verses and snatched them, not tentatively reaching  as initially, but snatching them for dear life.  He has taught me so much through this compact between us:  faith, trust, and reliance.  It *is* a compact between Him and me.  He set this opportunity on a silver platter before me and said, "Here is an answer to your prayers, Ginger.  Take it, trust Me, and I will help you."  And *that* is exactly what He has done---beyond my wildest dreams.

So, as 2015 dawns, I am setting new goals---boldly---knowing that the same God who guided me and helped me in 2014 will be there to guide me and help me in 2015.  As I reach out my hand, He will continue to say, "For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and  says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you."

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Resolutions: To Make or Not to Make?

We are on the cusp of a new year---2015---and that means the buzz on social media is about resolutions and whether to make them or not.  People tend to pledge to do the normal thing--lose weight, exercise more, etc...

I have never been one for really making resolutions, but this year I am.  And, I am writing them down as a visual reminder.  I got some not-so-great medical news this morning, so it is a necessity that I make some changes to affect that for the positive.  2015 will be a pivotal year for me financially as well as I pay off some big bills.   I have had many challenges in the last few years:  cancer, family illnesses, financial strains, etc..  Through it all, I have relied on one verse to see me through: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  (Philippians 4:13).  Notice the one little word allIt doesn't say "I can do some things.."  It says all.  All means *all*.  Christ equips us to victory through Him.  There are many things we can not do on our own power, and I believe trying to shows arrogance--an "I-don't-need-you" attitude.  I have been guilty in past years of giving up on resolutions before I have really begun---because I tried to do them in my own power.  This year, I resolve to rely on Him as the verse says:  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  If I rely on Him for the biggies, like I did cancer, then why not on the not-so-big things, too?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Ramblings

Christmas, and what it truly means, has been lost in our PC, self-engrossed society.  Several years ago I noticed school districts changed the wording of  "Christmas Break" to "Winter Break," so as not to offend anyone.  That is, except the Christians among us.  Let me give you a news flash:  If not for "CHRISTmas," we would not have a winter break. 

In addition, local municipalities were sued for allowing manger scenes on firehouse grounds.  This was a tradition that reached way back into my childhood and beyond.  Now, they are mostly a thing of the past....all in the name of not "offending."

When I was younger, I suppose I was preoccupied with what was under the tree or what Santa would bring me.  I can even remember as a child opening one end of each package to see what the wording on the box said.  Society has just gotten worse in the last ten years or so.  Worse, as in horribly me-centric.  As an illustration, when my school's NJHS did a food drive at Thanksgiving for needy school families, my homeroom contributed one can of pork and beans.  That's it....and that was after being told to bring in something they would eat for Thanksgiving.  pork and beans?  really?  It is very disheartening when I see where the younger generations are headed.  And, I don't just mean the kids I teach; I mean their parents as well, for everything starts in the home. 

I read certain blogs every day because they are generally uplifting.  There is one who does not put up a Christmas tree because she says it is an "idol."  Well, we can make anything an idol; it doesn't take a Christmas tree to do it.

I chose several years ago to scale back my Christmas traditions to focus on the real meaning of Christmas, and I suppose I did it partially in response to the above-mentioned greed I see all around me.  I *do* put up a tree, but I have cut way back on gift-giving.  My son is grown now, so the toy trappings are a thing of the past.  There is nothing he really needs, either, so he will get a few small things.  I have also curtailed my baking.  I fondly remember past years of having more goodies than we could handle, but we don't need them. 

What I *will* do is this:  I will continue my third year of delivering Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve to my shut-in, and I will add another component this year.  I recently read that fire departments are often inundated with goodies at this time of year, but people often forget the police departments.  So.....I will be making a very simple recipe to deliver to my local police department on Christmas Eve.

I labeled this post "Christmas Ramblings" because I feel they are just that...ramblings of things on my mind.  I am reminded of childhood Christmases where things were much simpler.  I am saddened by the commercialization of Christmas as merely a money-making holiday for merchants.  I suppose that is one reason I have curtailed spending as well.  CHRISTmas is named such for its namesake, Christ.  It is, after all, HIS birthday that we originally celebrated.  The giving of gifts was a nod to the wise men who brought Him gifts in that manger so many centuries ago.  Christmas is a reminder of God's gift to us:  His son who chose to come to earth as a babe and later die for us so that we could have eternal life.  THAT is the reason for the season, and I choose to celebrate it by doing what I feel He would have me do---in my own small way.

Merry Christmas!