How Can A Word Change Your Life?

“My word for this year is peace,” my friend texted me.

Hmm, I’ve read on social media about many people choosing a “word” for the year, but this hasn’t previously been a habit of mine. I talked last week about how I prayerfully set goals for the year. If you haven’t read it yet, the topic was “5 Ways to A Fresh Start in the New Year.” I also spoke of starting a daily devotional that I had requested for Christmas: The Believer’s Code: 365 Devotions to Unlock the Blessings in God’s Word. Each day’s devotion has a “Code Word,” which is a devotional thought on that day’s Scripture passage. So God had been putting the idea in my mind of a daily word from His Word, but I hadn’t considered a yearly goal word.

As my friend and I texted back and forth, I reflected on last year. God did give me a word for 2017—hope. I wrote a blog about how hope helped me traverse through a difficult health year: I Didn’t See This Coming!

How a Word Can Change Your Life, mine for 2017 was hope.

So after prayer, I decided my word for 2018 would be “calm.” If you know me personally, or have ever heard me speak, you know this will be a huge stretch for me! But hey, I wrote last week that goals shouldn’t be too easy and should cause you to stretch. My husband responded to my word, “That’s going to be a challenge for you!”

I’m a very excitable person. If they used the term ADHD when I was a kid, my mom would’ve used it to describe me! She wouldn’t tell me about fun and exciting things we were going to do because . . . well, she didn’t want me getting so excited! Since childhood, I’ve had the gift of discernment, so the minute I saw her starting to get ready, I knew something was up. Then she had to deal with my overly enthusiastic reaction. I’ve always felt I missed many opportunities to enjoy and savor anticipation.

As a public speaker, audiences tell me they appreciate my passion, enthusiasm, and excitement.

Those are positive qualities in the right context, but I can also use them in a negative way to win a disagreement or prove a point. Or I can become agitated anticipating the future. In my mom’s defense, I was such a conscientious student that I almost had an ulcer at twelve-years old! I also have IBS, which only flares up when I’m in nervous anticipation. When the situation arrives, I’m usually centered; but leading up to it can cause turmoil in my tummy.

My husband is the opposite temperament, as God often does in matching couples! We took a personality test when we were engaged, and you couldn’t get any further apart on paper than our results. And we would both admit that twenty-five years later, I still have to work at tempering my responses and he tries to rise a bit to my level of enthusiasm. He’s the calm one; I’m the whirlwind.

But I have calmed and quieted myself. Psalm 131:2

Of course, right after deciding to stay calm when more appropriate than an outburst, I was tested. The first few times, I did well . . . but then I heard myself losing my cool and I had to determinedly focus on being quiet and calm.

So calm won’t come easy and so it shouldn’t. It will keep me dependent on God to advise me when it’s appropriate to let my natural enthusiastic, passionate personality shine through, and when I need to take a deep breath, say a prayer, and let God shine through with a quiet and gentle spirit . . . something few people would describe me as possessing.

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Peter 3:4 NLT

I will have to pray this Word from God often: He [God] says [Janet], “Be still, [calm] and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Even more important than focusing on a “word” is focusing on The Word of God—the Bible—daily. If we really want our transformation into a new creation in Christ, then we must immerse ourselves in His Word. There is no other way. Often people say they want to get closer to God and His Son, Jesus Christ, but that will never happen without reading His communication to us through His Word.

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
  He existed in the beginning with God. John 1:1-2 NLT

For the word of the Lord is right and true;

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    their starry host by the breath of his mouth. Psalm 33: 4,6

We’re so fortunate to have many ways today to access God’s living Word: online, electronics, kindles, IPads, phones . . . and hard copy in numerous translations available for purchase at bookstores and online. Often something readily available in abundance isn’t properly valued.

  • How many translations of the Bible do you own but seldom open?
  • Do you have a phone app so the Word can be with you always?
  • Have you spent time on websites like Biblegateway.com or Blueletterbible.org where you can read the same passage in numerous translations and research commentaries?
  • How often do you read God’s Word?

If we say God takes priority in our life, shouldn’t we want to talk to Him and hear from Him over all the chatter of the world and of others? I know you know the answer is yes!

So whether or not you arrive at a word for 2018, commit to spending time in God’s Word and you know what will happen . . . you won’t find it so hard to stay true to a specific word, or even need one, because all of God’s Word will guide your life.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

If you want to pick a word as a spiritual discipline this year, in addition to immersing yourself in God’s Word, Tammy Keene’s comment on last week’s blog is a true testimony of how a word from God’s Word can change your life.

Instead of resolutions, I have chosen to focus on specific words for the year. In December 2014, I was challenged to state a word God had given me. With everything that was going on in my life, I knew the word was Trust. In 2015, I trusted God and found myself looking towards 2016 and a new word for the year. My word was Faithful because God was (and is) faithful. My word for 2017 was Able from Ephesians 3:20-21. God has taught me that He is trustworthy, faithful, and able. My word for 2018 is trust His timing. I still struggle with this; however, since I have learned to Trust Him that He is Faithful and Able, I can rest in confidence that His timing is best.

If you have a word for 2018, would you share it with us in the comments? Telling others is a good way to stay accountable.

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5 Ways to a Fresh Start in the New Year

God's grace is how I find 5 ways to a fresh start in the New Year

First, let me extend to each of you a Blessed 2018! We’re only one week into the New Year, and I’ll admit I already want the year to slow down. I always feel that way as I watch January slip away and the exhilaration of starting a fresh new year morph into an overwhelming “there’s so much to do” feeling.

If you’re like me, I relax during the week between Christmas and New Year’s and enjoy a rest from activities leading up to Christmas. I don’t take my decorations or lights down till after the New Year because I still enjoy reflecting on the past year and the warmth of Christmas lights. Every year it seems the month of December just goes a little too fast, even though we put the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving!

Some of you prefer to move past Christmas quickly and take everything down the next day or week. I’ve seen many on social media say that it feels good to have the house back to normal after what can sometimes feel cluttered with the trappings of Christmas. You’re ready for a fresh start in your home and the new year.

I have to admit that while I’m writing this note to you on January 5, I haven’t taken down one decoration yet, and my heart is a little sad and reminiscent as I consider putting it all away tomorrow for another year. Maybe those like me aren’t quite ready to bring closure to 2017’s Christmas memories

We each have our own way of ending one year and moving on to the next; but ready or not, 2018 is here!

Five Ways to a Fresh Start in the New Year!

Aside from taking down Christmas decorations, here are five ways that help me get a fresh start in the New Year. Maybe some of what I do and the reasons why I do them will help you too!

  1. Priority one for me is to pray about how God wants me to commune with Him in a fresh new way. For a number of years, I’ve started January reading the Bible in a year. To keep it new and fresh, I choose a different translation and reading plan each year and even read the Chronological Bible one year. Every time I do this, the Lord reveals new insights and speaks to me through His Word in ways I hadn’t seen before, even in familiar verses. I love how His Word is new every morning.
  2. I start a yearly devotional to accompany my Bible reading program for the year. This year I’m reading Women of the Bible: A One Year Devotional Study by Ann Spangler & Jean E. Syswerda, which also doubles as research for writing my new book Get Your Brave On! I also asked for Christmas The Believer’s Code: 365 Devotions to Unlock the Blessings in God’s Word by O.S. Hawkins. Sometimes I’ll pull one of my previous devotionals off the bookshelf to read again because I see the authors’ thoughts in a new and fresh way depending on what’s happening in my life or maybe what book or article I’m writing.
  3. Yes, I do set goals, rather than resolutions. Goals seem more positive to me, and I like to frame my aspirations as doable. I’m more goal oriented than resolution motivated. According to Wikipedia’s definitions . . .

Resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something.

Goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. The destination of a journey. (I especially like thinking of my goals as a journey to a destination.)

Our wedding anniversary is December 19, a perfect time for us to set new yearly goals for our marriage, and I set personal goals for the upcoming year. I write these in my One Year Walk With God devotional, which I’ve read so many times it’s literally falling apart.

Sometimes previous year’s goals carry over to the next year, and the next year . . . I don’t feel condemnation, just a fresh motivation to achieve them in the upcoming years. It’s important to set achievable realistic goals: not so high we give up, or too easy we don’t stretch.

On Facebook many have asked if anyone sets New Year’s resolutions and often the answer was no because they don’t want to break them or be disappointed. However, I did see a few setting goals. Progress doesn’t happen without a goal and a plan to achieve it. We never succeed at what we don’t try. I hope I’m encouraging you to set some goals for 2018. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

  • Do you set resolutions or goals each year? Why or why not?
  • What’s one goal you kept that changed your life?
  • What area of your life has God asked you to surrender to Him in the new year?

If the Lord does lead you to set new goals, or work on last year’s goals, refer to them regularly during the year and pray asking God’s guidance on where He wants your focus to fulfill His purpose for your life.

  1. Stay in the Moment—this is probably the hardest one for me. We all need a bit of forward thinking and planning, but I tend to let my mind race ahead to all that must be done in the future, which distracts me from what I need to do today. I watch with dread as the days of the month slip by and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished enough. My husband is always reminding me not to worry, but trust God with the details. Can I hear an Amen?!
  2. When plans and goals get sidelined! 2017 was an extremely difficult year for me, as many of you know. Nothing I could have expected or planned to happen. On Christmas day 2016, I fell and started 2017 with staples in my head and a concussion, which left a continual ringing in my ears that God has not chosen to remove. Just as the concussion was subsiding, I had a horrific side effect to a medication and had bladder and kidney surgery that downed me for two months. Then in the fall, I had cataract surgery in both eyes that was supposed to be a “piece of cake!” But I had a reaction to the eye drops, and one of my new lenses has shifted, so I’ll be having another surgery on January 16 to rotate it back in place.

My plans to write the next book were “sidelined.” But in the midst of all the pain and setbacks, God birthed Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness and blessed me with an amazing launch team and caring compassionate editor who understood when I couldn’t meet all the editing deadlines after the kidney surgery.

Then to my surprise and delight, I was offered an opportunity to be on the teaching staff at Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference in March 2018! Mount Hermon is where I learned to write and I’m honored and humbled by this invitation.

My point is that even when the year doesn’t go like you expect or want, trust God to meet His expectations and purpose for you and let Him turn what seems so bad into good. Ask God for forgiveness and grace for last year’s mistakes and blunders, and set a new goal of living for Christ and His ways in the new year. Be sure and give Him all the glory for the things He has done in and through you, no matter how it turns out.

And that’s really how to start fresh and stay fresh every day of every new year: Establish a fresh new perspective on our relationship with God who knows our future and reminds us that our eternity is with Him!

I know I’ve probably left some important things I do off this list, but a fresh start for 2018 is achievable for all of us. Won’t you share in the comments what helps you feel motivated and enthused with the prospect of a new year!? Often the first step is telling someone else.

5 ways to a Fresh Start in the New Year helps focus on what's really important in 2018!

PS I’m still receiving stories of God calling on you to be brave or do something you couldn’t do without Him. Contact me for more information.

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*Opening graphic courtesy of Our Daily Bread which I subscribe to and read daily.

Unity Only Comes Through the Prince of Peace

Jesus the Prince of Peace is the only answer to world peace!

This will be my last Monday Morning Blog for 2017 since Christmas and New Year’s Day falls on Monday this year. I hope you’ll be enjoying those Mondays and not spending time on electronics! So I wanted to close out the year with a Christmas poem I wrote December 2001, three months after 9/11. With all the unrest and fear in our nation today about North Korea and terrorist attacks again, I thought this poem was still appropriate.

Everyone is looking for someone or something to bring lasting unity, peace, and justice to our world, but that will never happen through mere human efforts. Just like one human or one thing doesn’t cause division and injustice in our world.

Sin causes division in people groups, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23 NLT)

Only Jesus can restore unity.

Sing along with Petra in this YouTube video, “When Will the World See That We Need Jesus?

“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” (Ephesians 2:14 NLT)

Remember that true peace is found in only One Person (Luke 2:8-14) and Truth and Justice (John 14:6) is fulfilled in that same Person, the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor,[a] Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NLT)

CHRISTMAS POEM 2001

Never Forget 9-11

 

We call on You in times of trouble,

Some sense to make amongst the rubble.

But as the ashes form a heap,

Normal life is what we seek.

 

‘Oh My God,’ is soon replaced

With don’t put Jesus in our face.

Prayers once heard throughout the land,

Now return to being banned.

 

God displayed on screen and lawn,

Soon will fade into a yawn.

A cycle repeated year after year,

As the final trumpet call draws near.

 

A Babe was born on Christmas day,

So you and I could be saved.

What will it take for all to heed,

Jesus Christ is all we need.

 

Lord, help us gathered in Your sight,

Make a difference in this plight.

Give us boldness to proclaim,

Peace on earth is why You came!

Janet Thompson  12/11

This was the note that went along with the poem my husband and I sent out Christmas 2011. Like the poem, it’s still applicable to our times today!

Reading Chapter 5 of Isaiah inspired this poem. Our small group is [was] doing a Bible study titled “ISAIAH: Trusting God in Troubled Times.”* Amazing how the book of Isaiah in the Bible parallels the world’s happenings today! No one could have forecasted the events of our times more accurately than God, the Creator of our world. We encourage you to read the book of Isaiah.

With so much talk about survival kits and what to do in an emergency, we can tell you from our experience, the only survival kit for anything that will ever happen in your life and our world is all found in one place—the Bible. Is a modern translation on your Christmas list?

Do you know someone who needs a Survival Kit for Christmas? Are you wondering what to get that hard person to buy for on your list? Do them a favor that could save their life—buy them God’s Survival Kit and manual for life—the Holy Bible.

Our prayer is that your Christmas focuses on Christ and relationships more than ever before! That you experience the peace, joy, and hope that comes from personally knowing the Babe in the manger. He’s all grown up now and so in love with you. Celebrate each day of life as a gift from Him, and in return, give Jesus Christ the gift of your life.

Merry Christmas and Happy Blessed New Year, Janet and Dave Thompson

*Isaiah: Trusting God in Troubled Times by Howard Peskett; Inter Varsity Press  A LifeGuide Bible Study

*Picture shared from Church of God of Prophecy

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10 Ideas for Simplifying Christmas

Jesus is God's Best Gift at Christmas and Ten Ways to Simplify Christmas

We’re now in the countdown days to Christmas and many of you might be in panic mode. I remember those days well. I even remember crying to my husband that I just couldn’t do it as our family continued to grow with our four children’s marriages and grandchildren. I needed his help, but he had a bewildered, “I don’t know what to do?” look in his eyes.

I wanted to enjoy Christmas. I was excited about having a large family and grandchildren. When Dave and I married, I went from having one child to four. That was manageable. When the four got married, we doubled. Still doable. Then the precious grandkids started coming and coming and coming, and I was still trying to do all the things I did when we were a small family!

Added to the mix was leading Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, my career, attending seminary for the first few years of our marriage, and writing deadlines!

I was trying too hard to make everything perfect. I was assuming all the responsibility and thinking I could do everything with a family of 21 that I did with a family of two!

As much as I tried to keep my focus on Jesus, the Reason for the Season, I was focusing on:

  • trying to keep the same number of gifts for all the grandkids,
  • getting everyone the perfect gifts,
  • decorating the entire house,
  • sending everyone I knew a Christmas card,
  • making amazing Christmas goodies,
  • hosting Christmas parties,
  • trying new recipes,
  • pulling out all the best dishes . . .

You get the picture because you’ve been there . . . maybe you’re there now.

We also had an annual birthday parties for Jesus, and one year 300 people attended in our 1800 square foot home! I tried parceling out some of the work, but you know how that goes when it’s at your house. I loved it. Everyone loved it and still talks about them. But every year I tried to add a new element to the party and come up with even better party favors and different food than I had the year before.

Looking back, I was competing with myself. Could I top the last party? Could we give the grandkids the best gifts? I worried that we weren’t giving them as many pricey gifts as the other grandparents?!

Then it all came to a screeching halt the year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and started radiation December 17, 2002, two days before our 10th wedding anniversary. Oh yes, did I forget to mention I also planned our wedding on December 19! It seemed like a great idea the first few years, but then adding in an anniversary getaway or celebration in the middle of Christmas preparations added another activity to my already overbooked schedule.

The unexpected breast cancer diagnosis coincided with a kitchen and living room remodel and all the family “coming home for Christmas.” No kitchen counters or sink because they cut the counter tops wrong. The dishwasher was still in its box in the middle of the kitchen! The new hardwood floors were in, but I had no energy to figure out how to protect them with our traditional live Christmas tree. That year changed everything and actually brought sanity to our Christmas.

Here are some changes I made that “radiation Christmas” that might help you too. Don’t think you have to do all of them, but maybe pick a few that give you more time with Jesus and reduces Christmas stress.

  1. We used decorative paper plates, plastic silverware, and paper cups. Everyone loved how easy cleanup was after a meal. (We put a tablecloth over the dishwasher box and the kids joked that I had always wanted an island in the kitchen.)
  2. We set up a small manger scene instead of putting up a Christmas tree. After that year, we switched to a beautiful artificial Christmas tree, but also added a manger scene to emphasize the real meaning of Christmas. The grandkids decorated the tree. To this day, I let the grandkids decorate the Christmas tree. They do a great job!
  3. First grandchildren usually get many presents. You’re so excited to have a grandchild. As more came, we decided on three presents each like the three Wisemen. But as we hit eleven . . . we had to scale down to one nice present each.
  4. Instead of doing the full birthday party for Jesus, which I wrote about last week and in a blog last year, I ordered online children’s costumes for the Christmas story and had the grandchildren play out the manger scene while I read it from a Children’s Bible. Here’s a YOUTube of a live enactment. Then we kept the Birthday Bag for Jesus under the tree and maintained the tradition of having guests fill out a card with a gift they would give Jesus. On Christmas we have a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.
  5. 5. Scale down your Christmas card list or send by email. I love getting Christmas cards, but noticed we received so many with just a signature, nice but not personal. So I had been writing a poem every year for our Christmas card, but our list seemed to double every year.

  6. When we have a dinner party, it’s potluck. When we first moved to Idaho, we had a small dinner for our “neighbors” in the mountains. Then as we met more people, we started inviting neighbors and friends. Soon, I was back to having large groups that didn’t fit into our house! It’s hard to curtail a sanguine. So now we’re back to small, intimate groups.
  7. I mentioned in the blog post Love Your Body: How to Survive Holiday Eating, that I curtailed the baking frenzy. I make something when we’re invited to a party, but now that we’re empty nesters, we don’t need all the goodies sitting around to tempt us.
  8. I still love to decorate the house and have lights. But I don’t feel like I have to bring out every box, every Christmas, and have something in every crook and cranny of our house. Even still, I always get the comments that our house looks Christmassy, warm, and cozy.
  9. Since we now live an hour from town and shopping, we order many gifts online. I say “we” because I include hubby in the shopping. We also wrap presents together, after all, they are for “our” family, and he’s actually a better wrapper than I am. We put something on TV and sit in front of the fireplace by the Christmas tree. Two are definitely better than one!
  10. Start everyday reading a part of the Christmas story or a Christmas devotional. It helps you focus all the day’s activities around the ONLY reason we celebrate Christmas. It reminds us that Jesus doesn’t want us stressed or in a frenzy. He came into the world for one reason, to offer those who believe in Him eternal life, not to add a burden to our life but to lighten our load: “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I’d love to hear how you lighten your burdens and simplify Christmas. Please share with us.

I’ll close with a timeless poem I wrote in 2004. You may have read it in previous years, but sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and read it again.

Time To Sit With You”

CHRISTMAS POEM 2004

Lord, so many things to do,             

No time to sit with you.

There’s presents to buy,

And I must bake a pie!

 

 But isn’t it all about Me?

What’s closed your eyes to see.

The purpose of Christmas day,

Isn’t how much you pay?

 

Lord, each year we hear that said,

Yet, still it comes with dread.

Anticipating all to do,

No time to sit with You!

 

This is MY day.

Don’t I have a say

In how you spend your time?

Remember, you are chosen…Mine!

 

But Lord, relatives will soon be here,

And the lawn Santa still needs reindeer!

There is so much to do,

Still no time to sit with You.

 

Relax and enjoy Me this season,

Let your activities have a reason.

This is My Birthday celebration,

And all I want is your attention.

 

Oh, Lord, we’ll make it all about You.

Do You think we should have fondue?

We’ll read the Christmas Story,

And give You all the glory.

 

Sit down and read My Word.

Your craziness is absurd.

Come spend some time with me,

Forget the Christmas tree.

 

Oh, Lord the cookies are all baked,

I have such a headache.

I know I need to pray,

But I’ve had such a day!

 

Lives are waiting to be saved.

Did you hear Me when you prayed?

It is certainly no wonder

Your world is all asunder.

 

No, God, I didn’t hear a word,

I was busy stuffing the bird.

I want to just slow down,

But I feel I’m losing ground.

 

You’ve made it all about you,

And all your parties too.

My message to the lost,

Overshadowed by homemade cranberry sauce.

 

Lord, that’s not true,

You know I do love You.

It’s just I feel a call,

To make this the best Christmas of all!

 

You’re wasting your time.

Do you think you could top Mine?

I had a virgin birth,

As my entrance to earth.

 

Oh, Lord, I’m beginning to see,

How You want to use me.

Telling Your story to all who will listen,

Is the true Christmas mission.

 

Spending time with Me,

Is the only way to flee

The world’s strangling control

On your time and very soul.

 

Oh, Lord, Your music softly plays,

As the candle glow displays,

The beauty of time spent

With our Gift heaven sent.

 

You’ll go against the flow

Taking time to help a lost soul.

But when the day has come to end,

You’ll have the joy of a new friend.

 

Oh, Lord, forgive me please.

Help me put down my car keys.

It really is so true,

There’s ALWAYS time to sit with You.

Our prayer for our friends and family is that you focus your life on only those things that will have Kingdom value. It’s the only legacy worth leaving. Merry Christmas, Janet & Dave

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Why is “Merry Christmas” Controversial?

God's gift at Christmas is Jesus Christ so why is it so controversial to say "Merry Christmas"?

Most of us grew up in a culture that embraced Christmas. We said “Merry Christmas” as a joyful greeting, decorated Christmas trees, made Christmas cookies, sent out Christmas cards, gave Christmas presents, watched Christmas specials, participated in Christmas programs, and sang Christmas carols, not just at church but at school too!

Then subtly and slyly, the way Satan works, the concept of Christmas became culturally and socially controversial, even taboo. Stores and advertisers started removing the word “Christmas,” replacing it with “Holidays.” Sales personnel instructed to say “Happy Holidays,” if anything at all. School Christmas programs called “winter programs.” People sued for publically displaying nativity scenes. And on and on . . . .

What’s wrong with saying “Happy Holidays”? Well nothing, except what are the “Holidays?” On New Year’s, do you say “Happy Holidays” or do you say “Happy New Year.” To our Jewish friends, do we say “Happy Holidays” or “Happy Hanukah”?

Do we send out holiday cards or Christmas cards? Do we buy holiday presents or Christmas presents? Do we put up a holiday tree or a Christmas tree? Does our pastor preach a holiday message or a Christmas message?

A progressive liberal culture has attempted to remove Christ from Christmas and replace it with a generic “holiday”. But that’s impossible! Yes, many nonbelievers celebrate Christmas for secular reasons, which is fine as long as they don’t try to mess with the origin of Christmas.

Christmas is a Christian celebration. Without the birth of Christ, there would be no Christmas.

So what’s the controversy about saying “Merry Christmas”? I believe it’s because the secular world doesn’t want to admit they’re participating in a Christian celebration, so they try to neutralize Christmas to accommodate their nonbelief. Retailers commercialize Christmas to make money and don’t want to “offend” customers, even though those that eliminate Christmas in their advertising, offend every Christian, or at least it should.

The War on Christmas

Many are trying to find fault with President Trump bringing back “Merry Christmas” into the public square. They claim there’s never been a “war on Christmas.” False! There is a war on Christmas, and you’d have to be naïve, manipulative, or deceitful not to acknowledge it.

That’s why many of us started wearing buttons several years ago, “It’s Ok to say Merry Christmas.”

It's OK to say Merry Christmas so say it loud and clear!

The war on Christmas is why the Wash. D.C. transit system banned the Catholic Church’s Christmas Ad even though: “while the Archdiocese of Washington may not be welcome to advertise on public buses, the transit authority is more than happy to promote other enterprises – like gay hookup websites.”

The transit executives stated their reasons: “issue-oriented advertising could provoke community discord, create concern about discriminatory statements, and generate potential threats to safety and security from those who seek to oppose the advertising messages.” Seriously?! The message of Christmas is a threat to security?! (Quotes from Todd Stearns article “DC Transit Ban Catholic Church Christian Ad”)

When Martha MacCallum reported on her Fox News show, “The Story,” about this discrimination of the Catholic Church’s ad, she commented on the double-standard of DC billboards sponsored by atheists that say, “Christmas is a hoax.”

There’s a war against Christmas. There’s a war against the Christian faith.

That’s why when we hear President Trump wishing the nation and the world a Merry Christmas at this year’s national Christmas tree lighting ceremony, noting that the birth of Jesus Christ “forever changed the course of human history,” we should thank God we have a president who isn’t afraid to acknowledge Jesus as the Reason for the season. He went on to say, “There is hardly an aspect of our lives today that his [Jesus’] life has not touched: art, music, culture, law, and our respect for the sacred dignity of every person everywhere in the world.”

President Trump also recalled the 1870 legislation signed by President Ulysses S. Grant making Christmas a federal holiday. He added, “And I sort of feel we’re doing that again. That’s what’s happening.”

 Listen to President Trump live at the  Christmas Tree Lighting.

I posted this Tree Lighting message on Facebook and was amazed at how controversial it became. Some saying this was a political stunt. Really? Christians don’t make up the majority of the electorate. In today’s secular culture there were probably more offended than thanked God for his message. President Trump boldly stated the truth, refreshing in DC.

Those worrying about “political correctness” and inclusiveness on a clearly Christian “holiday” are the ones pulling the political stunts. And sadly, it’s worked. That’s why Christians find themselves today fighting not only to keep Christ in Christmas, but also to hold on to our religious freedoms.

What’s Our Role as Christians at Christmas?

Last Christmas, after President Trump’s election, I saw a dramatic change during the Christmas season. Clerks were saying Merry Christmas again. They didn’t look shocked when I told them Merry Christmas, or whisper it back fearfully looking over their shoulder. Christians need to use this time of Christian favor in the Trump administration to win back the ground we’ve lost.

Here are some ways:

Remind the world that every time they write 2017, or soon 2018, they acknowledge the birth of Jesus.

When someone tells you “Happy Holidays,” kindly and lovingly respond with “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”

Have a Birthday Party for Jesus and invite your neighbors and friends, especially nonbelievers. (I wrote a blog on how to do this Celebrate CHRISTmas with a Birthday Party for Jesus)

Put a birthday bag under your Christmas tree and when someone asks whose birthday, proudly say, “It’s Jesus’ birthday.”

Put a Birthday bag for Jesus under your Christmas tree.

Greet everyone you meet, and in all your correspondence, with “Merry Christmas.”

Use every opportunity to share the true meaning of Christmas and the story of Jesus’ birth.

Speak up when schools and communities try to remove the word Christmas and Christmas celebrations. We must not be silent. Voice your opinion. Be willing to take a bold stand for Jesus. Don’t let apathy or fear snuff out the light of Jesus.

When I asked my husband why Merry Christmas has become so controversial, he said, “Because the other side speaks louder than we do!” Sadly, that’s true.

Jesus was controversial when He walked the earth. They crucified Him for daring to say He was the Son of God who came to earth to save mankind from their sins. He told us that we too would not have it easy sharing our faith and the Gospel, but He also said whoever denies Him on earth, He will deny in Heaven.

32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.

34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:32-34 NLT)

One year, as a single working mom before I rededicated my life to the Lord, I was hurriedly trying to get out my Christmas Cards. I signed all the cards “Merry Xmas.” Only one friend boldly admonished me in her Christmas card that I had left “Christ” out of Christmas. I still remember that.

Will you join me and other Christians in making sure the world remembers that Christmas has only One reason: celebrating and giving thanks for Jesus Christ, coming down to earth as a lowly baby born in a manger to die on a cross at Easter and rise again three days later to offer eternal salvation to those who believe in Him.

Merry CHRISTmas

You’ll find more ideas in how to be bold about your faith at Christmas, and every day, in Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten.

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness would make a great Christmas present to help mentor each other in how to be a Christian in today’s culture. It’s also a perfect time to take advantage of the publishers offer of 50% off on orders of five or more. This offer is only good until December 31. Contact me for the coupon.

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Love Your Body: How to Survive Holiday Eating

Love Your Body: and Survive the Holidays by eating healthy

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

No escaping it, the Holidays are upon us and with that comes all the temptations and frustrations of trying to maintain a healthy diet.

The downward slope starts with Halloween and the candy. Then comes fall recipes using yummy pumpkin that always includes lots of sugar. Just as the last of the candy wrappers disappear in the trash . . . along comes Thanksgiving: the day we thank God for His provision by feasting.

Only a few days later, it’s December 1st. Christmas parties start with cookies, candy, fudge, punch, cakes, pies, and lots of calorie ridden, fat laden food! It’s easy to lose heart—literally and figuratively—and decide you’ll just throw caution to the wind and get back to that healthy eating January 1.

But hey, then you have all the nibbles watching the New Year’s parade and football, and it’s too cold to go outside and exercise so those extra few pounds over the holidays can quickly morph to a couple of new dress sizes. Then it’s Super Bowl parties, Valentine’s Day and the cycle just continues.

What’s a Body to Do?

There really is a way to stay in control of your health and still enjoy the holidays. I do it every year and you can too, but you have to have a plan in place. Pray about how you’re going to deal with all the tempting food you’ll soon be encountering before you encounter it. Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment on what to eat, how much to eat, what to cook, how to cook it, and what to avoid.

Our usual tactic is to promise ourselves we’ll be good, and then when we get to the party throw caution to the wind…and then beat ourselves up the next day when we get on the scales. So here are some tips I’ve found helpful over the years. Please share any you have too:

  1. I do get on the scales every day so I can keep a handle on my weight. If you wait until you notice it in your clothes, chances are you’re going to have a tough time getting it off. If I see I’ve gained a few pounds, I take that seriously and layoff desserts and eat smaller portions until I lose the extra weight.
  2. If you have an exercise regime don’t stop. If you don’t have one, start! Even though the holidays can be crazy, do this for you! Give yourself the gift that keeps on giving. Exercise helps with stress, gets the endorphins pumping, and burns calories. Find a way to fit it in. In bad weather, take laps around a mall, or I’ve done laps inside a church. Get some girlfriends to join you.
  3. Take a green salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing to a potluck or party. That way you know there’s something healthy for you to eat. As you go down the buffet line, take only a spoonful of things you really love and be especially mindful of Jell-O salads usually loaded with sugar and fat. Don’t go back for seconds.
  4. When there’s a selection of desserts, have a small piece of the one you love the most. Or take tiny servings of several. If you bite into one and it isn’t as good as you thought it would be, don’t finish it!
  5. Let your stomach guide you. Most of us feel uncomfortable when we overeat, so when you start to feel the belt or waistband tighten around your middle, STOP eating.
  6. If you love bread, let yourself have a small piece, but don’t use butter. If it’s store bought dinner rolls, skip them.
  7. If you’re out to dinner, make a visual line down the middle of your plate and only eat half of the meal. Ask for a to-go box for a tasty lunch tomorrow.
  8. Drink water! Avoid punches, juices, soft drinks, and alcohol.
  9. Enjoy stuffing or mashed potatoes without gravy. They’re delicious on their own. Also avoid “sauces.”
  10. If you’re on a special diet like I was this year, take a side dish you can eat. You might find others giving it a try. At Thanksgiving this year, I made mashed cauliflower for those like me who couldn’t eat mashed potatoes. Here’s a simple recipe I learned from an employee at Trader Joe’s. BTW they also have frozen mashed and riced cauliflower at TJ’s, but they were out of the mashed when I was shopping so I made my own.

Mashed Cauliflower

Wash and cut a head of cauliflower into florets

Put in a saucepan with Organic Bone Chicken Broth to cover about an inch up the pan

Add a few peeled garlic gloves

Cook until the cauliflower is soft. Don’t drain!

Season to taste, add a little butter if you choose, and mash the cauliflower with the bone broth in the pan with a hand blender or masher until desired consistency. Delicious!!

  1. Instead of feeling left out for dessert, again bring something you can eat. I brought a keto pecan pie. I have to admit I was the only one who wanted to eat it, but when the pies came out after turkey dinner, I did not feel deprived. Can you guess which one is my keto pecan pie?Keto pecan pie looks like the real thing!

Cooking for the Holidays

I used to bring out all my recipes for my childhood holiday favorites and spend a day or two in the kitchen making cookies and candy. Then I realized I was the one eating most of it! So now, I pick a favorite or two, and that’s it. Here are some ideas for making your recipes healthier:

  1. Never use shortening in anything! Substitute coconut oil.
  2. When a recipe calls for “vegetable” oil, again use coconut oil (you can melt it) or applesauce.
  3. Cut the amount of sugar in half and substitute Stevia or Swerve for the other half or use all Stevia or Swerve, or stick with just half the sugar.
  4. Use 2% milk, almond or coconut milk.
  5. Substitute whole-wheat flour for some of the white flour.
  6. If you’re gluten-free or low carb, follow the recipes for the flours you use.
  7. Avoid recipes that are pure sugar. They’re not good for anyone.
  8. If you’re making cookies with the grandkids, send the goodies home!

Remember that these holidays are not about food! When you gather together, it’s about the fellowship as you thank God for all His blessings and remember the greatest gift of all, His Son Jesus Christ.

I’m thankful for each of you and appreciate your following on my blog and your desire to live the best life you can for the Lord and to love His gift of your precious body.

PS My publisher for Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness is offering a Cyber Monday discount of 40% off any purchase. Use the promo code: blackfridaycybermonday2017 to redeem your discount! Find us at. https://leafwoodpublishers.com/

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My Thanksgiving Prayer from Philippians

Count your blessings this Thanksgiving and Pray like Paul did in Philippians 1

Many of you read my blog regularly, though we’ve never met, and others I know quite well or we’ve had the opportunity to meet and fellowship together. But I want you to know that when I write this Monday Morning Blog,  my monthly newsletter, or any of my books, you are on my mind. I’m wondering what you’re thinking about world events and how I can encourage you with the Word of God.

Often you tell me that a particular blog or book was just what you needed at the time, and we both know that it was God using me as His messenger. To God be the glory!

As I read Paul’s letter to the Philippians, I noticed that Chapter 1:3-11, 27-28 in the NIV translation has the heading: Thanksgiving and Prayer. I thought how appropriate to personalize this passage as my Thanksgiving prayer for all of you.

Adapted from Paul’s letter to the Philippians Chapter 1

Thanksgiving Prayer (Adapted from Philippians 1:3-11)

I thank my God every time I remember my family, friends, peeps, church family, readers, blog/newsletter followers, brothers and sisters in Christ, fellow authors and speakers . . . . In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy for those who partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in and through you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart whether I am chained to the computer writing the next book, blog, or newsletter . . .  or defending and confirming the gospel and mentoring . . . all of you share in God’s grace and ministry with me spiritually, and sometimes physically, through prayer, communication, and social networking. God can testify how I think of all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best for you and those you love and cherish, and you will remain pure and blameless for the day of Christ. That you will lead, guide, encourage, parent, serve, and mentor others and be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Living a Life Worthy of the Gospel (Adapted from Philippians 1:27-28)

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I know you, or never meet you but only hear about your great work, I will know that we stand firm in one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose us. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that we will be saved—and that by God.

From Janet

This Thanksgiving, and every day, go and represent Christ to a depraved and fallen world, so that because of your witness and sharing the Good News of Jesus, more will be saved than lost (“destroyed”) when Christ returns.

I thank God in remembrance of each of you.

About His Work with you,

Janet

You can sign up for my monthly online newsletter or weekly blog on my website.

For more on what I’m grateful for this year read the November 2017 issue of About His Work Ministries Newsletter

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*Picture from clipart.org.

Stop the Politicization of Prayer!

 

Stop the politization of prayer, couples who pray together stay together.

I’m back from cataract surgery. Well partially back, so this will be short but wanted to let you know that I’m seeing so much better. Still working on close up vision, but it will come. Every day is an improvement. Thank you whoever prayed for these two surgeries. I felt those prayers! Speaking of prayers . . . .

The Attack on Prayer

The attack on prayer is what God told me to discuss today. Yes, God talks to me, and if you’re a believer He talks to you too, just like you talk to Him . . . in prayer. As I prayed about the topic for my first blog back, I woke up this morning with a definite word from the Lord: Write about the return to politicization of prayer. “Return” because it was politics that removed prayer from schools. Politics removed mentioning God and Jesus in schools. Politics has removed God from the public square and replaced the ways of God with the ways of Satan.

That’s right, it’s not God’s culture today, it’s Satan’s culture. Jesus talked a great deal about the ways of the “world” and reminded his disciples and followers that Christians—us— are not of this world, we’re only in the world. We aren’t to conform to the world, but change the world.

I [Jesus] am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[a] the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:13-121

Mentoring Can Change the World: Starting with Our Children and Grandchildren

Right now, a federal appeals court has banned prayer at the opening of town council meetings. Because the commissioners said Christian prayers, which they have done for years, the angry atheists and the ACLU filed a lawsuit to ban the prayers, but the ACLJ is fighting back at the Supreme Court. Pray for the SCOTUS to uphold the right to pray before these meetings.

Our President and Vice President called for prayer after the horrific massacre in the small First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX. As prayer vigils were held in that tiny town, the media, entertainers (I use that term loosely), and liberal politicians began criticizing prayer.

Which brings me to the world’s view of prayer:

They don’t understand prayer . . . because they don’t understand God.

They don’t believe in prayer . . . so they don’t believe in God.

They don’t think prayer is “enough” . . . they think action is enough.

They don’t want God’s laws . . . they want culture’s laws.

They mock prayer as weak . . . while they remain arrogant, prideful, and ignorant.

They don’t recognize the power of prayer . . . only the power of man.

They are lost souls without prayer!

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:16-18

Listen to Pastor Paul Buford, who pastors River Oaks Church two miles from Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church, when A MSNBC Anchor Asks Texas Pastor if Prayers Are ‘Enough’ After Church Shooting — His Answer Is On-Point

Thoughts and Prayers

Here’s my opinion on the phrase “thoughts and prayers.” Unbelievers say, “My thoughts are with you.” I even heard a member of a media talk panel clarify that he only supported “thoughts, not prayers!”

But Christians often say, “My thoughts and prayers are with you.”  What good are thoughts? Thoughts are how the situation makes us feel and may cause us to do something kind for the person suffering . . . but thoughts aren’t transmitted tangibly, mentally, or spiritually to the sufferer.

“Thoughts” however can prompt us to pray for the person or situation. Every time we “think” about them, the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray. I think a better witness to the unbelieving world criticizing “thoughts and prayers” . . . and a more sincere comfort to those suffering . . . would be, “Every time the Holy Spirit brings you to mind, I pray for you!”

I see social media full of “praying” and prayer emoji’s comments, but we must not write that unless we’re actually praying. It’s often a sentimental response, but we’re lying if we don’t follow through and actually pray for that person or situation. They’re counting on those prayers.

Forsaken God?

If you haven’t read my book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I encourage you to read it now! Here is a comment from an Amazon reader who said the book reminded her of the importance of every believer keeping God in the forefront of his or her life, and how we can impact our failing culture.

This is a very thoughtful and timely book. We watch even now, as our society pushes God out of the picture and yet Janet reminds us through scripture as well as personal stories of how much God wants to be in our lives and His goodness toward us. When we remove Him from our lives and our culture, we are the ones who pay the price as we forsake Him. I love the practical application steps at the end of the chapters. They are easy to do and follow and a reminder of the blessings that are available to us when we simply recognize and walk in the goodness of God.

Read Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten today!

I also want to encourage you to watch a new Fox News program, The Ingraham Angle, 10 ET weeknights. We DVR it. Some jealous media critics have labeled Laura Ingraham “The church lady” because she always wears a cross necklace, is bold about her faith on the program, and confronts assaults on religion. I’m impressed with her reporting style and conservative platform. Here is her coverage of “Are Thoughts and Prayers Now Political?”

My Surgery Prayer Witness

I guess I just can’t write a short blog. I’ve missed all of you, so I’ll close with a “prayer story” from my second eye surgery. When everyone left the room after the pre-surgery prep, like the first time, my husband took my hands, we closed our eyes, bowed our heads, and Dave prayed for my surgery. When we lifted our heads and opened our eyes, surgery nurse Martha was waiting with the wheelchair to wheel me into the surgery suite. The room was just as cold as before, and as they positioned me on the table, I began to tremble . . . like the last time. Maybe nerves, maybe the freezing temperature!

Nurse Martha calmly said, “You have nothing to worry about, you’re all prayed up!” I knew then she had seen us praying and waited quietly at the door until we finished.

She was right. I then told her how Jesus had reminded me that morning that He would be watching over the surgery. Then I added, “Of course Jesus is always with me. And so many people are praying for me, they’re praying for the doctor, and for all of you too.”

Don’t let prayer become political. Don’t let prayer become controversial. Never be ashamed of a conversation with your precious Lord and Savior. Stand firm in the power of prayer.

Pray continually! 1 Thessalonians 5:17

See also my blog The Miracle of Steve Scalise: A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, is available at all Christian bookstores, online book stores, Amazon, Kindle, and signed by Janet at her website store

Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten is available at all Christian bookstores, online book stores, Amazon, Kindle and signed by Janet at her website store.

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Touching Another Generation (TAG) by Tammy Keene

If you receive my blog by email on Monday mornings, you may have noticed it didn’t come the past three weeks. I did have cataract surgery, but also had some amazing guests each Monday and just discovered there was a glitch in WordPress. Thanks to my amazing web designer Holly Smith at Crown Laid Down Designs, who diagnosed the problem, we’re coming to you this morning with guest Tammy Keene. Here are the blogs you missed:

Hope For All Seasons by Renee Fisher

The Lasting Fruit of Mentoring by Pam Farrel

Could Mentoring Have Protected Young Actresses by me, Janet Thompson

I met Mentoring Ministry leader Tammy Keene when she ordered Woman to Woman Mentoring Resources from our website for the mentoring ministry at her church. We developed a friendship as we began to chat through email. I asked Tammy to share with you today how God led her to start the TAG mentoring ministry at her church, First Baptist Church Riverview in Florida, and why she’s so passionate about mentoring.

Touching Another Generation

By Tammy Keene

“When you’re not the same person you used to be, you have no business going where you used to go.” Priscilla Shirer

I love Facebook memories! I love looking at pictures of when my kids where younger and fun memories with friends, but I especially love seeing memories about Bible studies I’ve completed. It’s great to look back at memories and reflect on the lessons I’ve learned, but also the distance I’ve traveled since then.

I resonate with Priscilla’s statement: You’re not the same person….you have no business going where you used to go. This is truth. This is a process that’s easier when you have a trusted Christian woman walking along side you as you travel this journey called life.

Tammy’s Mentoring Story

When I share my mentoring story, I always begin at 2013, but I realize that my mentoring story really began much earlier.

Mentoring relationships at different seasons of my life have blessed and encouraged me. I lived in a Christian home with a godly Mom, who led me to Christ at an early age. As a teenager, a woman of faith at our church came alongside me. She was intentional in our interactions and I always knew I could count on her. As a young adult (and again as a young mom), an Air Force wife spoke into my life! Since moving to Florida in 2004, several women have encouraged me and walked alongside me.

What is the common thread among all of these relationships? Simply, godly women have walked beside me experiencing life together. I’m the woman I am today because of their influence.

I stepped out in faith to launch a mentoring ministry because these women spoke into my life and believed in me!

In a recent sermon, our pastor spoke of the importance of confessing to a trusted friend.

How do you find that trusted someone?

Ask someone to be your mentor. If you’re not sure what that looks like, get Janet Thompson’s new book Mentoring for all Seasons.

This book is a great resource for women. Not only is it the “how to” for finding a mentor or mentee, it’s also a great guide for the different seasons of life. There are testimonies from mentors and mentees who have experienced seasons of life and share how God sustained them through each one.

Saying NO to say YES to God

During Priscilla Shirer’s Bible study, “Discerning the Voice of God,” I learned how to listen for God’s voice. During the “Breathe” Bible study, I found the importance of the word “No.” Priscilla Shirer’s dedication to Kay Arthur and Beth Moore in her “Breathe” Bible study still speaks to me about the importance of No:

For teaching me to say “No.” For inspiring me to put first things first. For showing me by your example the importance of margin and Sabbath. For reminding me that doing everything is not the same as doing the best things.  Thank you. You have taught me that life is better when it has room to breathe.

No is a simple word when used appropriately. For such a small word, I really struggled with it. During our church’s new member orientation, I learned that one of my spiritual gifts was “helps.” I thought this meant I should help with every ministry opportunity. This could not be further from the truth.

As I was obedient to say “No” to new opportunities and began stepping away from other ministries, I felt a great peace. The ministries I was involved in weren’t bad, but they were taking me away from home and pulling my attention away from the lesson God was trying to teach me.

God taught me how to hear His Voice – in a song, a post on Facebook, a sermon at church, and most importantly, His voice heard in time spent in God’s Word.

He taught me that sometimes the right answer really is “No.” As I passed on the leadership for the three Bible studies I was leading, God called two leaders for each one. Two is better than one!

Janet Thompson heard the call to “Feed My Sheep,” which prompted her first mentoring opportunity. During a sermon, I could hear the Holy Spirit speak to me about the importance of a mentoring ministry for our church. Even as I heard the message, I began arguing that God could not possibly want me to start a mentoring ministry.

God confirmed this new ministry in many ways. Within a very short time, God orchestrated mentoring training, the support of the church leadership, and a ministry team ready to begin work launching the new ministry. When I was faithful to let others have the blessing of leading ministries I loved, I was able to prepare for this new ministry. 

If I had not been obedient to God’s desire for me to step away, I would not have launched the mentoring ministry, “Touching Another Generation” (TAG). 

Touching Another Generation (TAG) should be the theme of every mentoring ministry

God taught me that His timing is best. Waiting is hard, but being out of the will of God is even harder. He taught me that walking with a Sister-in-Christ is something we all need, even me.

As we were preparing for the launch of TAG 2016, I was also preparing to return to school to complete my bachelor’s degree. Another benefit of saying No was having the time to devote to school. I still cannot explain how there are enough hours in the week for all God allows me to accomplish, so I won’t try. I’ll just give God the glory.

Tammy’s Passion for Mentoring

Why am I so passionate about mentoring? I’ve been richly blessed by amazing women God has placed in my life!

Mentoring brings the generations together.

Tammy (upper left corner) and her mentor Kathy

A mentor can help you discern the importance of a simple No.

Mentors don’t have to be Bible scholars, just possess a willingness to invest time in the life of another woman. It may become a source of your greatest blessings.

Looking back, I see that God taught me some very important lessons He meant for me to share with others.

A mentor can also help you evaluate the events from your past to help you see the lessons God is teaching you now.

God created women with a desire to share life with one another. Life isn’t a solitary expedition.

In some area of your life, you’re a role model – a person of influence—and another woman needs to hear your story.

Finally, I leave you with Touching Another Generation’s (TAG’s) key verse: Psalm 145:4 “One generation shall praise your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts.”

Mentoring for All Seasons is a book that helps women live out mentoring in all seasons and generations.

Tammy has Mentoring for All Seasons and the Woman to Woman Mentoring DVD packet on display as her church prepares for their TAG gathering. Mentoring for All Seasons and The Woman to Woman Mentoring resources are available at our website shop, always signed by me.
Mentoring for All Seasons is available at Amazon, all online and Christian bookstores, and also in Kindle format.

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HOPE FOR ALL SEASONS

Today’s guest post is from Renee Fisher. Renee and I met when she submitted a story for Mentoring for All Seasons, which you’ll find on page 265. You’ll enjoy Renee’s reflection on . . .

Hope for All Seasons

By Renee Fisher

Seasons change. I never realized the spiritual significance of the changing of seasons until I learned how to cultivate a life of my dreams.

Jesus is quoted twice in the Gospels talking about spiritual seasons in Matthew 16:2-3 (NIV) and Luke 12:54-56 (NIV):

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times”

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?”

It doesn’t take much effort to walk outside and determine if it’s going to rain that day. It does, however, take time to learn how to pray and read the Word to determine which spiritual season you are in.

Your ability to praise the Lord despite your circumstances has the power to awaken your dreams, including the dreams of future generations.

Dreams, like seasons, change often.

If you are unsure how to cultivate a life of your dreams, ask yourself these four questions to determine how to move forward.

  1. Summer: My dreams are ripe. Even in the heat of summer, we can relax and take a much-needed vacation. We can taste and see that the Lord is good (see: Psalm 34:8).
  2. Fall: My dreams are harvested. We can mature and save up for the winter season knowing that we are rooted and grounded in love (see: Ephesians 3:17). We can choose not to be moved away from the hope of the gospel (see: Colossians 1:23).
  3. Winter: My dreams are not dead. Winter brings a much-needed break, although it might feel like coming to a screeching halt. We may feel uncomfortable with the process of solitude and silence, but it will help us uncover what’s in our hearts. To admit, like Elijah, the answer to the question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (see: 1 Kings 19:9, 13).
  4. Spring: My dreams are newly planted. We may not understand, at first, that the storms and rain are actually a blessing to drive that tiny seed deeper and further under the soil to die so that it can come back to life. We can plant in tears knowing we will harvest with shouts of joy in a future season (see: Psalm 126:5).

Spiritual seasons can be tricky. It took me almost an entire year to realize I was in a winter season last year, and to acknowledge that my dreams were not dead—just waiting for spring.

This spring, I thought that my dreams were coming back to life, only to have a mound of dirt piled on top of me so these baby dreams can grow for a later harvest in a future season. It’s so complicated that I sometimes feel like giving up. Will my desires ever be met? But, if I’m honestly asking myself that question—I already know the answer. Of course they will! God has been faithful before and He will again.

I don’t know what season you are in, but don’t quit! Don’t run away! You can bloom where you’re planted.

“There will always be flowers for those who want to see them.

There will always be dreams for those who want to live them!

QUESTION: How do you mentor a woman who’s in a different season than you?

*1 Quote from Henry Matisse

In Hope for All Seasons, Renee Fisher tells us not to give up whatever season you're in right now.

 

Renee Fisher is a spirited speaker, coach, consultant and author, who published her first nine books in under eight years. A self-proclaimed “Dream Defender,” Renee is passionate about calling dreams to life in others. A graduate of Biola University, she lives in Austin, Texas with her handsome husband and their fur child named “Star.” Connect with Renee Fisher on Facebook, Instagram, and her Website.

*Excerpt from Unloved: Finding Freedom by Embracing Your Inner Critic, a short but powerful eBook that empowers women to find freedom by embracing their inner critic. You can purchase on Amazon for $2.99 here: http://bit.ly/UnlovedBook

Hope for all Seasons is an excerpt from Renee Fisher's book Unloved.