CHRISTMAS

christmas-2016

CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas to all my friends and followers around the world. Always remember that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of all history and His birth is the greatest event ever. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. Let’s all of us take that message to the world. Together let’s save the lost and be a part of hastening His Return!

Love,

Carolyn

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STAYING HAPPY

staing-happy

STAYING HAPPY

We’ve all had the experience of being stressed over some future event. We think about it and go over all the possible scenarios and how to react to them, and what we could possibly do to avoid the worst scenario. I call this state of mind, negative anticipation. It happened to me at Christmas a few years back, but God came through with a wonderful and amazing solution on how to stay happy.

 

There’s a woman my family has known for many years. She’s not a pleasant person to be around. My mom has kindly befriended her and every so often they meet for lunch. However, over the past few years this woman has started inviting herself to our family’s Christmas. No one in my family likes it when she comes because traditionally she starts bad-mouthing people right after she walks in the door and says her first “hello.” Last year she started in with, “Wow, you’ve gained weight!” Then she started in on my sister, “Why hasn’t your daughter come over to help me in my yard?!” She would just go from person to person with the derogatory remarks.

 

The Bible says in Luke 6:44 “For every tree is known by his own fruit.” This woman is 90 years old now, but instead of growing sweeter with age, she’s turned out to be very sour grapes. I do feel sorry for her sometimes, because she probably doesn’t realize how distasteful she has become. And she doesn’t have many friends. But just because I feel sorry for her, it certainly doesn’t make me want her to come over on Christmas day. Maybe some other time, but not Christmas.

 

In anticipation of her coming, most everyone tries to ignore her by either getting involved in a board game, or whatever happens to be on TV. The unfortunate one who has not figured it out, or has decided not to get involved in the board game or TV, gets stuck with Edith. Actually I’m usually that person, playing interference so that others can be left free to enjoy the day. I rack my brain and try to come up with as many questions as possible to ask her about the past and letting her talk about herself.

 

My sister and I thought that this year we were going to be free of Edith. She hadn’t talked to my mom in awhile and, as of the third week in December, had not called to invite herself to Christmas. We held our breath. It was about a week before Christmas and I had driven up from Las Vegas. I decided to stop at the local store before going up to mom’s. Guess who I saw at the store? No, not Edith, but my sister. She looked down at the ground and told me the bad news, “Edith’s coming for Christmas.”

 

“Oh no, this is not good,” I thought. “Yet another year where Christmas day was not one of relaxing, but of fending off Edith and her foul mouth.” I started to picture myself getting Edith off in a corner of the room away from others and engaging in conversation. I anticipated the work of coming up with questions and keeping her going as long as possible, and trying to direct the talking toward funny stories and good memories. I was living out the whole dreary scenario in my head. I spent quite a lot of mental and emotional time trying to anticipate how it might be.

 

Then God gave me a revelation and a new thought popped into my mind: “This hasn’t even happened yet. It doesn’t really have to happen at all!” I was anticipating and running through scenarios and living through an event of the future, as if it were certain. It wasn’t. I realized that I was basing my plans totally on what someone else had said about what was to happen. It was an event that was only predicted with words so far, but I had mentally already made it a reality.

 

In an instant, I realized that with God there is no time, so instead of making plans and mental attitudes for something based solely on what others said, I could say something different and my words would have just as much impact on the future as anyone else’s. In fact, concerning this particular event, I knew that my words would have more impact, because God was letting me know that I could do it. I could spiritually stop the event that would bring the devil’s division and confusion to our family Christmas.

 

So I prayed, saying, “I come against those words that said she’s coming and I send out angels to stop her at every turn, in Jesus’ name.”

 

Two days later my sister told me, “Edith’s not coming.”

 

I’m pretty sure all of us have been in situations where we have anticipated how things would be in the future. For instance: “If he says this, then I will say this. Then he will probably say that, and I will say this. Then he’ll get mad, and then I’ll do such and such,” and it goes on. Often we’ve made up not only one scenario but many different ones to handle all the possibilities.

 

What if we stopped doing that?

 

So many anticipated miseries could be avoided, and so much more time could be restored to us, time that we would enjoy thinking about other things, rather than wasting time going over and over things that have not even happened! And the awesome thing is that the anticipated misery may not have to happen at all!

 

When so much of our thought is going into what we’re going to say or do in an anticipated future situation, we aren’t really living to the fullest in the present. We can only think one thought at a time, and how much of the present do we miss by spending so much wasted thought on an anticipated event that may or may not even need to take place at all. By giving energy to it with our thoughts and words, we give it life. We help cause negative events to take place because we allow, anticipate and participate in them mentally—we live them before they exist.

 

We can certainly stop ourselves. Negative anticipation is one of the devil’s best setups. If he can trap us into thinking in the future, he can get us to set up our own negative future events. In my situation, God gave me revelation to let me know that my words would be more powerful than the other words I heard, and that with the assistance of angels (Heb. 1:14) I could put a stop to the devil’s setup.

 

But what about when we can’t stop the actual scenario?

 

My friend Marilyn had this experience when anticipating a miserable Thanksgiving. She didn’t get a revelation to reverse the event, like I did. Instead, the grace of God had a surprise in store for her, and her Thanksgiving ended up being a great one. Read about it in: http://almost-like-real-life.blogspot.com/2010/11.
She had gotten so worked up over the perceived happenings, that it pushed her over the edge. She made the decision to stop caring entirely and just let go. With that decision, she could just drop the negative anticipation and face whatever scenario presented itself at the moment of its manifestation. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:7)

 

Marilyn decided to do what it says in Luke 12: 11-12. “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”

 

Whenever we come into a situation where there’s a chance we may not do the right thing, where we think that we may be judged, or judge ourselves, we need to have enough of a sense of our God-given righteousness and trust in the Holy Spirit to give us the words and actions we need for that particular event. Instead of anticipating negatives, we can expect the help of the Lord to give us total victory. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15: 57).

 

Often we get ourselves into a mess by caring too much about the wrong things. In my situation I could have thought I had to be more caring about Edith’s desire to be with us at Christmas. But that would have been wrong. What about caring more about what God wanted, and about the feelings of my family? The Apostle Paul tells us: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Too often we put unbelievers and others who are outside the household, first. We become more thoughtful and kind to others than we are to ourselves, our spouses and our family members.

 

Caring too much about a situation makes us anxious about it. Matthew 6:34 says: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” The Greek word for “thought” in this verse is the word merimneoo. It means to “be full of anxiety which divides up and distracts the mind.”

 

If we allow ourselves to go with negative anticipation, we get over-anxious and distracted. I also looked up the word “evil” in this verse and it is the Greek word kakia, which means malignity or malice. Malice is “evil intent, active ill will, desire to harm.” And malignity “suggests extreme and virulent malevolence that is relentless in expressing itself.”

 

The devil is called the thief in John 10:10 and he comes “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” If he can get us to “take [over-anxious] thought” about anticipated events, he will be relentless in bringing up dozens of possible scenarios, stealing our mental time, destroying our emotions and killing our soul. The devil would like to take over our every day with his malice.

 

It is our right to take charge of situations for God’s sake, for the sake of the greater good. To do that, we have to believe in our righteousness before God. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24).

 

Philippians 4:6 records: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” The Greek word for “careful” in this verse is the same word (merimneo) as the word for “thought” from Matthew 6:34, meaning over-anxious. God doesn’t want us to anxious about anything.

 

We need to become aware of the times when we get consumed and overly anxious about an anticipated negative situation. We need to stop ourselves from being a victim of the devil’s malignant nature to steal, kill and destroy our thought time, our emotions, our happiness and our futures. We are not “sheep for the slaughter” (Rom. 8:36).

 

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:37-39) [Emphasis mine.]

 

We always have the victory over anticipated negatives when we claim our right to stop them or drop them.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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DELIGHT

My best friend Jane wrote this in a recent letter: “The Bible says that for everything there is a season. There have been so many seasons in my life and they have bridged the gamut from absolute disaster to delight beyond my wildest expectations. But in this season, right now, I am beginning to experience the harvester and the sower passing each other. My prayer requests and heart’s desires are beginning to run and chase me down. This is so new the baby is still crowning on the way out.”

 

As it says in Amos 9:13: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine and all the hills shall melt [that is, everything heretofore barren and unfruitful shall overflow with spiritual blessing] [AMP].”

 

This is what God spoke to the Israelites after they’d spent a long time in captivity and struggle. They yearned for deliverance and the blessings they’d once known. I think we all go through times when we yearn for better times, without so many struggles, a purer time of happy days and more delight.

 

The Message Bible puts it this way: “Yes indeed, it won’t be long now. God’s Decree. Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills. I’ll make everything right again for my people: They’ll rebuild their ruined cities. They’ll plant vineyards and drink good wine. They’ll work their gardens and eat fresh vegetables. And I’ll plant them, plant them on their own land. They’ll never again be uprooted from the land I’ve given them. God, your God, says so.”

 

That’s exciting and I believe that’s what’s happening now for God’s people around the world. We can expect restoration. “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed” (Joel 2:25-26).

 

And new things: Isaiah 48: 6-7 says: “From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known. They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’”

 

These new blessings that God and the Lord Jesus have for us are so new we won’t be able to attribute them to anything but the sheer magnitude of God’s love for us. We are going to start getting some prayers answered and new blessings before we even get the requests out of our mouths. I’ve started to see it happen, so I expect it to spread.

 

Get your delight list out. I think it’s going to be a long one!

 

Love, Carolyn

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HONORING GOD AND EACH OTHER

shepherds1

At the Christmas party, I was honored with a special hardhat and a $1000 travel voucher, for ten years of continuous service. I had no idea I was getting it, so the blessing was especially sweet. In the Bible, wise men from the East came to honor Jesus, bringing Him gifts. These men watched and studied the skies and knew from the lineup of the planets and stars, that a great king had been born, a king worthy of honor. “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh” (Matt. 2:11).

 

The shepherds honored the baby Jesus in a different way.  They were “abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). The angel of the Lord came and told them that they were in the right place at the right time and it was to them that this blessing had come.

 

How often are we going about our normal routines, endeavoring to do God’s will the best we can, and all of a sudden we meet someone new who really blesses our lives? Or we’re inspired to get in a certain grocery line and end up blessing a total stranger? We end up in the right place at the right time to either be blessed or be a blessing. Hebrews 13:2 even tells us we should “be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

 

That’s what happened to the shepherds. They were in the hills by Bethlehem and that’s where God wanted them. The angel of God found them and told them the good news. “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2: 9-11).

 

This event brought “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (v.14). The shepherds went down into the city of Bethlehem to witness this for themselves.

 

The Bible doesn’t say anything about them honoring Jesus with physical gifts like the wise men did later on, but the shepherds honored Jesus by telling people what the angel told them and what they actually witnessed themselves. That’s how they honored God—by telling other people about the great things God did and was doing even now.

 

“And when they [the shepherds] had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them” (vv. 17,18 and 20).

 

Gift-giving originated with God. Right after God created Adam, He gave him a gift. “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2: 8-9).

 

The idea of honoring God and others came straight from our creator and has happily invaded all cultures of the world.

This Christmas let’s think about honoring each with our gifts and our respect. And most of all, let’s give some special attention to how we can honor God and our Savior, Christ the Lord.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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“BE IT UNTO ME ACCORDING TO THY WORD”

annunciation

In the story of Christmas, the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she would be having a child by a miracle of the Holy Spirit and this child would be Jesus, the son of God. Mary believed that if people would just stick with what God told them, His Word was always going to come to pass. “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).  She had heard of the miraculous things God did and totally believed that God’s Word was true. She believed that the Red Sea really did open up miraculously to let the Israelites cross over on dry land. She believed the story about the ax head that was lost, but then floated up out of the water, defying the natural laws of gravity (2 Kings 6:5-6). She believed what she heard about the Hebrews just looking at the brass serpent in the wilderness and getting healed of their snake bites (Num. 21:8-9).

 

So when the angel Gabriel told her that she was the one who would miraculously birth the Messiah, the son of God, the promised seed from the Bible, she believed it: “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

 

Peter also was taught to believe the records of the many miracles God did. And he, like Mary, believed beyond what looked impossible by natural laws. Peter literally stepped out of the boat, after hearing and believing just one word from Jesus: “Come” (Matt. 14: 29). Peter saw that Jesus was walking on top of the water, even as the ship was being tossed around by the waves. When Jesus said, “Come,” Peter figured Jesus meant it, so he dared to do it.

 

We all have verses that mean a lot to our heart. We can probably name a few right now. Those are the very ones the Lord has been trying to speak to us personally all along. If you’ve not done this before, you can take a slightly new approach to those favorite verses. Focus on the verse then be like Mary: Believe the miraculous and say, “Be it unto me according to thy Word.” And let’s be like Peter, walk out and expect it to work.

 

Love, Carolyn

(painting by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1898)

 

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COUNT TO TEN AND BE MORE CHRIST-LIKE

anger1

I was sitting quietly in Starbucks with my laptop, notebook and Bible, totally engaged in studying on dreams, when up out of my peripheral vision a nightmarish face invaded my space. It startled me and I grabbed ahold of my purse on the empty chair next to me and slid it onto the floor by my feet. I had earplugs in so I couldn’t hear what the grizzly-looking man was mumbling. A few moments passed and I heard Jane’s clear voice from the next table over, “We’re working here. We don’t have time to talk.” The man angrily mumbled something about the Bible and in a matter of minutes he got up and left.

 

Later on, Jane and I talked about it. She told me she was ready to fry the guy with her words the minute she saw him approach me, but she’s been practicing counting to ten before she speaks out of anger. It was amazing. Her quiet, honest words only got one low grumbled complaint before the nightmare man left.

 

I thought about a lesson I’d heard as a child: “When you get angry, count to ten before you speak.” Jane counts “one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, etc.” I learned it as: “one dimension, two dimension, etc.” I think it works with any three-syllable word, but the point is, it does work.

 

My tendency is to sit there and boil on the inside until I can hardly stand it and can’t concentrate anymore. Either that, or I fire off some snide remark out loud or under my breath.

 

Not Jane. She counted to ten and calmly and clearly told the man we didn’t have time for conversation. And it was true. I was studying for an article and she was working on promotions.

 

There are several verses in the Bible that say God is slow to anger. We are to “be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph. 5:1).

 

Nehemiah 9:17 says this: “Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.”

 

Counting to ten is one way to make sure we don’t fly off the handle in rage, but instead, be more like God, slow to anger. By calming ourselves we give the Spirit a chance to work, instead of being led by emotion.

 

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a hot temper (maybe partly my Sicilian background?), but the truth is that no matter where it came from, only God can really change those built-in character bents. Unlike one who “flies off the handle,” the Lord is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy” (Ps. 103:8).

 

Psalm 145:8 tells us: “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” Anyone who knows the old Jane, knows she can cut to the bone and turn a live person to sand (figuratively) with her words. But her answer to the scary man in the coffee shop was full of compassion. She spoke the words calmly and straight forward. After counting to ten, she had no anger, just truth.

 

The wisdom of Solomon on slowing down our wrath, is found in Proverbs 15:18: “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.”

 

And Solomon goes on to say, “Better to be slow to anger than to be a mighty warrior, and one who controls his temper is better than one who captures a city” (Prov. 16:32). These are some very strong words.

 

Is it worth it to count to ten to calm our anger? Definitely! It is God’s will that we do it, as we can see from these scriptures.

 

In Colossians 3:1-3, the Apostle Paul admonishes us as Christians: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God. [We’ll be there soon.] Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For [in reality] ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” He goes on to say in verse 5: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.” Among the things he lists, is anger.

 

If you know any other way to be slow to anger, God bless you. For now, since I’ve seen the amazing true results in Jane, I’m going with “one dimension, two dimension, three dimension, four dimension, five dimension, six dimension . . .  See, you’ve already tired of reading, so can our fiery anger also dissipate as fast? With the Lord’s help, I absolutely believe, YES!

 

A few days ago the same man walked by Jane in the same Starbucks and the demon in him audibly growled at her! But Jane has no fear. I hope to report to you sometime in the future that because of the goodness of God, this same man becomes like the man of the Gadarenes in Mark 5:15: “ And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind.”

 

One dimension, two dimension . . .

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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