Monthly Archives: January 2016

My 2016 Blessing Jar ~ quite a work this year

 

IMG_1850In the middle of last year I went blessing jar minimalist. I wanted to get the all mighty me out of the way. I took a pickle jar that struck my fancy and simplified the entire blessing jar phenomena. Slapped a label on it and took my list out of the old jar and rehoused it.

2016 is the third year I’m involved with a blessing jar. I say ‘involved with’ because to me a blessing jar is so much more than creating a jar reflecting one’s essence, or mood, or with ribbon in one’s favorite color.

A blessing jar is a spiritual adventure. The past two years, they have been my spiritual vision for the year in lieu of new years resolutions.

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This year it went further than that. I knew something was taking hold of me but didn’t quite know what. So, I went to Michael’s and bought some glass painting pens and painted a few flowers on my jar while I ruminated. I’m no artist but I think it’s kinda cute.

 

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Then the real deal took hold of me and I began writing out what would be inside my blessing jar. This year it was far more than a list of spiritual goals for the new year. It became a prayer of petition as I’d never done one before. You see, I had just come across Jerry Savelle’s teaching on The Prayer of Petition as a formal, written out spiritual document according to God’s will. So, I prayed about God’s will for me and sited Scripture for each point in the petition. This took the better part of January. Then I sewed a financial seed toward it, signed it, and took communion over it.

IMG_1866Like in past years, I folded it up and put it in my blessing jar. In past years it had been one sheet of paper with a list on it. This year it became a letter to God with a petition attached… three sheets, on both sides, because I sited Scripture for the points listed in my prayer…as to how my petition was according to God’s Word.

I’ve always kept my blessing jar near my computer and referred to it throughout the year. The document I write at the beginning of the year deals with my life for the upcoming year and my hopes and dreams for my loved ones. However, during the year, as I pray for others, I often write their names and the prayer down on a piece of paper, date it, and stick it in the blessing jar. Then from time-to-time I’ll open my blessing jar, refer to what I’ve written inside, and thank the Lord for everything He’s doing in my life and for the people I’m praying for.

Habakkuk 2: 2-4 [NASB] ~ Then the Lord answered me and said,“Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run. “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.

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Blizzard of 2016 ~ NYC up and running in 24-hours

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Avenue S, Brooklyn ~ 24-hours after blizzard

 

With over two-feet of snow (Central Park measured 25.1 inches), you’d think New York City would be stopped in its tracks. Not so. The city was up and running the very next day. This is due to pre-planning and snow removal crews that know what they’re doing.

The city-wide 24-hour travel ban helped in the clean up. I had to laugh having read a piece calling the police hauling away 25 drivers who disregarded the ban evidence of a “nanny-state”. I’m pretty conservative politically. Yes, there are a few of us in New York City. Let me tell you, the travel ban is not evidence of tyranny. Seriously, we must use some common sense. Eight million people live in New York, with over 6,000 miles of the world’s busiest streets, 840 miles of subway tracks (much of it above ground in the outer boroughs) , not to mention railway tracks anchored to Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station.

The 25 drivers who ignored the travel ban should be ticketed and fined. The Sanitation department had the Herculean task of plowing and salting not only the major avenues (some of them four lanes), but also the side streets and dead end streets. This they did in 24-hours. Plows and sanders shouldn’t be slowed down by selfish drivers on the road, or have to go around those vehicles.  With freezing temperature and winds whipping snowfall sideways at speeds up to 40 mph, police had to deal with the homless who were in crisis during this blizzard.  The gas and electric companies had to come to the aid of buildings that had lost heat. The travel ban was for the public good and of public safety. By Sunday, the next morning, anyone who had to report to work, could. Residents could get to local stores, if need be. It wasn’t business as usual, but it was on its way back to normal.

With a city the size of New York, the only way to deal effectively with a blizzard or hurricane is to have a travel ban during the worst of the storm. That’s the how essential city services get out in front of it. However, just to keep things in perspective, this wasn’t the worst NYC blizzard on record. February 11-12, 2006 recorded a record 26.9 inches of snow; and December 26-27, 1947 recorded 25.8 inches.

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When the ‘Strong Ones’ Come to the End of Self ~ and let Jesus take over

Wonder Woman Doll

I think often its Christians who see themselves as the ‘strong ones’ who have the biggest problem surrendering totally to Jesus, and I include myself in that group. It’s not that we don’t believe, we do. It’s not that we don’t honor Him, we do. It’s not that we don’t see Him as Savior and Lord, we do. It’s that we have a human history of taking care of everyone’s mess that gets in the way of us giving it all to Him.

Here we are saved, in some cases saved for years, and the mess around us is getting worse and worse. Family members not only are not saved, they’ve had numerous sexual partners, are having abortions, getting arrested, drinking excessively or taking drugs. Our spouse just asked for a divorce. We have aging parents with encroaching dementia and since we’ve always been the ‘strong one’, the siblings have abdicated all responsibility…and we’re now at the point where our knees are bending under the weight. Or, we support not only ourselves, but also an out-of-work sibling and now we’ve had a job loss and the fear the bank will soon foreclose.

The so-called ‘strong ones’ have been running from pillar-to-post picking up the pieces, holding it all together, but now, after years of this, are literally shaking apart. We might even be developing mental health symptoms. We think, how can that be? I’ve been saved for years. As we sink to our knees in utter defeat, I kinda think God says, “Finally, you’re handing it to Me. I couldn’t do anything with what you were holding on to.”

I think sometimes we have a secret sin (missing the mark), which involves shame…shame for things we could not control. We could not control our mother’s or sister’s or daughter’s promiscuity. We could not handle, heal, or successfully hide our father’s, brother’s, son’s alcoholism or drug abuse. We could not have prevented our own sexual abuse as a child. Yet we are dying inside from shame. Literally dying. We developed agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some of us have cleaned and recleaned our homes until they sparkle. We’ve literally been on the verge of losing our minds. But how could that be when we are saved? And not only saved, we’ve always been the ‘strong ones’.

And Jesus says, “I’ve been waiting for you to hand it all to Me. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” When we come to the end of our own strength and admit we do not in fact have the stamina or the wherewithal to fix everything, we can finally surrender to Him and begin to heal.


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