The Best New Year’s Resolution

 Guaranteed Success!

Happy New Years!

Happy New Year!

As we look forward to a brand new year, there’s no lack of information focusing on what we should do to guarantee success in various areas of our lives. Newspaper articles, TV and social media ads, etc. promise everything from weight loss to financial success, happiness and prosperity if only we purchase their product, follow their advice, etc, etc. etc.

Many people make New Year’s Resolutions, hoping to change their lives for the better in the coming year. However, according to research, while as many as 45 percent of Americans make these resolutions, only 8 percent are successful in achieving their goals. The problem is that success or failure usually rests on self-will and self-discipline which tends not to get us very far.

New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions






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Asking God Those “How” Questions

The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896

While I wrote this post last Christmas, I wanted to share it again because the  contrast between Mary’s question and Zachariah’s question always challenges my faith.

Have you every asked God “how”something He has said to you would ever come to pass? Two biblical characters, both of whom received angelic visitations before the birth of Christ, asked that same question. And God’s totally opposite response to both “how” questions may surprise you.

Zachariah’s story is found in Luke 1:5-25. His wife Elizabeth was barren and both had prayed many years for a child. One day when Zacharias was serving on duty at the temple, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him that God had heard his prayers and that his wife would bear a son who would be named John.

Zachariah should have been ecstatic. His prayer had been heard and was finally going to be answered after all these years. But Zachariah’s response to the angel was: “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Even though Zachariah had prayed, the wait time had been long and perhaps he had begun to doubt. And maybe that doubt was even tinged with a little bitterness.

The angel’s response showed God’s displeasure with Zachariah. “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”

Jump forward six months when the angel Gabriel was sent to a virgin named Mary with a similar announcement: “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus . . . .” (Luke 1:26-38)

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” Zachariah and Mary both asked the angel the “how” question, but one received God’s judgment, while the other received His favor. What was the difference?

Zachariah’s “how” question was asked in doubt, demanding proof. Mary’s “how” was asked in wonder and faith trusting that what God said would come to pass in spite of her lack of understanding. Her response to Gabriel’s announcement revealed her trust and submission: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

God doesn’t mind our “how”  questions when we ask in faith, trusting that He will fulfill His Word spoken to us. It’s the attitude of our heart that makes the difference. This Christmas season ask God to give you a heart like Mary’s—one that will believe and trust in spite of your “how” questions.

The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896 The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896

Have you every asked God how something He has said to you would ever come to pass? Two biblical characters, both of whom received angelic visitations before the birth of Christ, asked that same question. And God’s totally opposite response to both how questions may surprise you.

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How to Survive the Holidays

Focus on Being more thankful


More and more our Thanksgiving holiday has been eclipsed by the commercial focus on the upcoming Christmas season. By October, merchants line their shelves with Christmas goods, and TV and newspaper ads remind us that Black Friday and Christmas are just around the corner.

The distractions of the season are ever present, but one way we can focus on what is really important is to increase our “thankfulness.” I’m challenging myself to purposely begin my prayer time each day with thanksgiving for all the blessings God has given me. Continue reading

Satan Loves to Run Interference

old-tvjpegIf you’re part of the older generation, you will probably remember as a kid when your black and white TV would go all fuzzy and get those zigzag lines all across the screen blocking out your favorite TV show. While most TVs today don’t get that kind of interference, we are still distracted with a plethora of ads interrupting our show just at a critical moment!

And what about browsing the internet on our tablet or iPhone–it’s maddening at how many pop-ups and banner ads we get. Right there smack dab in your face–covering up what you want to read! And it’s like a giant maze just trying to finish reading the article to the end, avoiding all the ads and links diverting you away from the original article. Often, I mistakenly click on the wrong arrow and am led somewhere totally different.

Chasing a rabbit down the rabbit hole

Chasing a rabbit down the rabbit hole

It’s just the same in our spiritual lives–especially when we try to pray. How many times have you begun to pray and you’re interrupted by thoughts to do this or do that, or just check your e-mail, etc.  And before you know it,  you find yourself chasing the rabbit down the rabbit hole. I know, because it’s a daily challenge for me. Sometimes I dig back out of that hole, but other days I don’t and my prayer time falls by the wayside.

Satan loves to run interference to keep us from connecting with God through prayer. Below are some basic steps we can take to help us stay focused:

  1. Ask the Holy Spirit to come and direct your prayer time and help you focus.
  2. If you are distracted by them, put your tablets & phones in another room. You may even need to give up using the Bible online and go to a printed version.

  3. Keep a notebook nearby and when thoughts of things you need to do interrupt, jot them down and follow-up later.

  4. Take a walk where there is nothing to distract you. I find walking helps me stay centered and focused in prayer.

What have you found that helps you escape the Enemy’s interference? Share your thoughts in the Comment box.


“Fight the Good Fight of Faith”

What exactly Does it Mean?

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

Fight the Good Fight of Faith


1 Timothy 6:12 says we are to “fight the good fight of faith,” but what does that look like practically in our everyday lives? I was recently reading a devotional by Joyce Meyer who said we are to: “Think aggressively; plan and calculate, like a general preparing for battle.” As I read this I thought—YES—but how do we do it in our everyday lives?

First, we must know our weaknesses—where has the enemy attacked us in the past with doubt, fear, temptation, unforgiveness? His attacks start either in our minds or emotions. We begin thinking thoughts that are not in line with God’s Word, or our emotions are on edge with fear, disappointment or temptation.

Plan of attack: Make a list of the areas where Satan has attacked you in the past. Then be alert when you start thinking some of the same thoughts or begin to experience some of the same negative feelings. Write out scriptures that deal specifically with the attack you are facing. Read them aloud; better yet, memorize them!

Second, Satan will make us think we are all alone in our doubts, fears and temptations. He always tries to isolate us from God and from others.

Plan of Attack: We all need one or two close friends with whom we can be totally honest and real and who will encourage us with God’s truth. Sometimes we just want someone who will agree with us and have a pity party with us, but what we really need is a sister and friend who will speak the truth in love to us, even if it hurts. 1 Thess. 5:11 says we are to encourage one another and build each other up. Make a coffee or lunch date to share and pray together.

Third, pray! Don’t believe Satan’s lies that you are not good enough; that you’ve sinned one too many time; that you’ll never win the battle.

Plan of Attack: Pray honest prayers. Be real with God. Read the Psalms. David, who is called “a man after God’s own heart” bared his soul before God, telling him just how he felt—the good, the bad, the ugly! And God accepted him and heard his prayers. How much more will He hear our prayers because we are in Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to come and help you pray. Romans 8:26 tells us that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness for we don’t know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us.” And remember, God has given us all the spiritual armor we need to defeat the enemy.

(Originally published by Sandra Chambers on blogsite.)