.Written by Susan Stedman
I don’t know how many of you have been watching “The Chosen” series about the life of Jesus. I hope everyone is because it is the most wonderful, amazing show I have ever seen. Make sure you have plenty of tissue with you because the tears always flow. From the very first episode where Jesus calls Mary by her real name, which only her father had done in childhood, to the latest episode with the healing of the woman with the twelve-year issue of blood, those two episodes mean so much to me that I can barely share it.
After a year of suffering, I was diagnosed with vertigo in 2012. There are days when all I can do is lie still with my eyes closed, unable to drive or work. Not only have I lived with the disabling dizziness, but with the fear of it coming on at any time. I can say that the fear was just as debilitating as the condition. It would hit most often when I laid down to sleep…a sudden feeling of tilting or rolling. I would shout and grab whatever I could hold onto because I was afraid of falling out of bed. Once it hit, I was down until I could take meds and sleep it off.
Sunday night, January 8, 2023, my husband and I watched the episode “Clean, Part Two.” I sympathized with the lady who had the issue of blood because in 2010, I had that problem so badly that I nearly died and had to have an emergency hysterectomy and nine blood transfusions to save my life. As the episode drew near the end, the woman followed Jesus, trying so desperately to touch the hem of his garment because she had faith that doing that would heal her. Just as in the scriptures, as soon as she touched Him, He felt it and turned. I was crying my heart out because I could feel vertigo coming on as I watched. All I could think was, “If I could just touch Him, I could be healed of this!"
Lovingly, Jesus knelt down to her – I was crying so hard I could barely see the screen – and He told her that it was not the cloth she touched, but it was her faith that healed her. I’m not sure what came over me, but I felt that Jesus was speaking to me directly. I always wavered before, not having enough faith to sustain me, but seeing it played out before me was proof that it really was true, what He said. Not what was on TV, but what the Bible said. I prayed and declared my intention. I was afraid to say anything to anyone – sort of hedging my bets – but I realized it was that doubt that had always held my faith back. On Wednesday morning, I told my husband. By then, I had not had vertigo in three days. It had never stayed away so long. A hint of it washed over me a couple of times like it was trying to reassert itself, but I refused it out loud, reclaiming the healing, and when I resisted it, it went away.
On that Wednesday night, I learned something that blew me away. The Bible doesn’t mention the woman by name, but on the show, they named her. When my mother was pregnant with me, my father wanted to name me Veronica. He loved that name and called me that most of her pregnancy, I am told that my mother did not like it. My father had never finished high school and, although he was a mechanical genius, he was not very literate. Mother said, “If you can spell it, we will name her that.” So, sadly for him, I was named Susan.
I was reading about the episode, and I discovered that the woman was called “Veronica.” To me, it was so much like Mary in the first episode, not being called that name except by her father, living a lie as an unclean person, until her real Father called her by name and said, “I have redeemed you, you are mine.”
Update: One week later, still no vertigo. I can sleep on my right side, which I could not do, and I can roll over onto my back, which I haven’t been able to do in years. AMEN!
Written by Terri Warner
Happy New Year to all who venture to read this!
We traditionally send happy wishes to family and friends during the first few days of January. What do we really mean by our well wishes? What does it really mean to be happy? Have you ever wondered what it would take to make you happy?
Solomon had everything life had to offer, so what did he have to say? There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. God granted Solomon wisdom which was and still is pleasing to God. Solomon submitted to God’s authority and showed honor by prioritizing his life to glorify God. We too are to prioritize our time and all the things we do in our life to the glory of God.
My memory verse for this year is Proverbs 21:21 which says: ”He that follows after righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor.” I do like practical ways to contemplate and plan how I will navigate the new year. I enjoy self-reflection and self-improvement as my new year’s resolutions. Please join me in evaluating the best plan to obtain happiness continuing into 2023.
First, prayer should be the number one priority for every believer. Talking to God about our day and the interactions with the people we encounter is imperative to actively glorify God. I suggest that you take the first moment you wake up in the morning to express thankfulness and gratitude to our Creator. Then, the next thing directed to God should be the question, “Lord, what would you like from me today?” Finally, find a daily devotional or a reading of scripture that speaks best to you. Starting a routine of this will hopefully give you a desire for more daily direction from the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, cultivate new and old relationships continually bringing honor and glory to Jesus. All of us encounter people who are difficult to love, so did Jesus. Think of someone you need to exemplify the Lord’s unconditional love to. It could be a daily challenge to love the unlovely or make time for others. If you need some guidance in dealing with different people and interaction situations, read Tammy Melton’s book on “Refining Relationships.” Also, let’s all keep in communion with one another by encouraging our efforts through our monthly “Whole Life Today” group on Tuesday nights 7-8 pm through Zoom.
Finally, don’t forget to give the best care you can give to yourself. Remember, there are times that it is very healthy to think of yourself first. You are very important! When you are your best, you can do your best for Christ! So please be very proactive in self-care. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you.
God Bless you as you become the very best person you were created to be, this year of 2023 and beyond!
Written by Clare Chapman
Hi! This is Clare Chapman from Kingdom Writer’s Group. It is 11:41pm on December 31, 2022. I am getting excited about 2023! What does God have in store for me-His beloved daughter? I can’t wait to find out! I pray I will dwell in His presence and be forever aware that He lives inside me because I will need Him every day of 2023! He knows all my thoughts, every hair on my head, when I sleep, and when I wake up. He knows what I need today and in the future. He is preparing me for 2023 and He is preparing me a place forever.
Now to get real! There are people who suffer in this world for their faith in Jesus. We do not need to take our freedoms in Christ or the freedoms we have left in this country for granted. I can go on a diet, plan all my meals, and find all the ingredients I need for every recipe all the time, but that is not the case for everyone on this planet. I have so much to be thankful for!
So what do I do with this year 2023? I think I should make the most of it, appreciate it, and learn during it! I have dreams and you may too. I want to start a YouTube channel and I want to get healthy mentally, physically, spiritually, and financially with God‘s help. I want to be a good friend, sister, daughter, aunt, speaker and writer. I want to follow God‘s will for me in 2023! Can I do any of this without God? I could try but why? God says we can do nothing without him. Jesus says in John 15:4-5 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
We are so blessed that the God who created the universe is mindful of us and wants to hold our hand and walk through life with us! the Bible says in Isaiah 41:13 “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Christ came to earth, died for our sins, rose again, and sent the Holy Spirit so we could have a close intimate relationship with Him. Why do you live without Him? We have such a privilege to know Jesus! Knowing Jesus makes me excited on New Year’s Eve! Even when I am alone, I can feel God‘s presence. I am in a warm house beautifully decorated to my taste. I can take a hot bath, cook a hot meal, and drink a cold or hot drink. I am truly blessed beyond measure! BUT my greatest blessing is Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit!!! if tonight you don’t know Jesus…you can! God wants to hold your hand, live inside you and guide you in 2023. His ways are higher, His ways are best, and His ways bring blessings! I trust Him with my 2023. Can you? The joy and power of God‘s presence will be my biggest blessing in 2023! Let it be yours too.
I pray Ephesians 3:16-18 over you and your family for 2023 “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ”
Written by Donna Butler
Your names declare Your prodigious glory
Your word proclaims Your phenomenal character
Your promises are evidence of Your steadfast love
And, Your answers affirm Your caring devotions toward us
You are unquestionably all that You profess to be
And exponenetially more than we could ever understand You to be
Your plans are infinite arrangements
That the greatest symphony could barely mimic
Your thoughts are as expansive as time
We could not even begin to comprehend, but You graciously explain
Your arms tenderly embrace us, yet engulf us in Your protection
Your written expressions are endearing with healing balm
And just as precise to surgically remove whatever is defiling
You attentively listen and compassionately respond to our prayers, our cries, our songs
You sentimentally inhale the sweet aroma of our humble sacrifices
You warmly look upon us as a Shepherd overseeing His sheep
You are our loving Daddy, yet omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent
You are the great I AM
You are God Almighty
AND, You love little ol’ me!
You are my amazing gift!
Written by Susan Stedman
I have a confession to make. I have not put up a Christmas tree or done much of anything to celebrate that holiday since 2009.
When I was a little girl, Christmas meant so much happiness and peace that I looked forward every year to not just the 25th, but the whole month of December. It wasn’t the presents, even as a child, but it was the way that my family seemed to make an extra effort to get along.
We spent each Christmas at my Mema’s house. She decorated every free surface of her house with red, green, and gold Santas, reindeer, angels, candles, a plastic nativity scene and so many beautiful gifts in colorful wrapping paper. Everything twinkled. My favorite thing to do was to lay on my back underneath the Christmas tree and watch the lights flicker and reflect off the glass ornaments. I could do that for hours. As I think of it now, tears keep blinding me from seeing the computer screen.
It was magical. The whole spirit of Christmas seemed to be alive in every person’s heart so that arguing, disagreements, and bad feelings were put aside, at least for this day. My mom and dad, who fought daily, put aside their animosity so that we could have peace and calmness for this day. When I think back, that was my best gift of all.
This month, we cleaned out a storeroom that we had ignored for years. In my effort to forget Christmas, I gave away every one of the decorations I had held onto, some from my childhood, in the hopes that one day I would want to celebrate again.
Tonight, I popped onto YouTube. Tomorrow is December 1 so I should have expected Christmas videos. This one featured Christmas commercials from the 60s and 70s, the years when my best Christmas memories originated. I started to cry immediately. Others had commented about having the same feelings.
I thought about my grandparents – my Grandaddy has been gone for more than a decade now - but my Mema is ninety-one and she has decorated her whole house just like every year. A beautiful white tree with red ornaments, snowmen everywhere, and her best Christmas china placed on her huge dining room table, just waiting for her family to come see her on Christmas Day. She felt that our gift to her was a day without loneliness. I was ashamed again. I told her just a few days ago that I didn’t care about celebrating Christmas. It wasn’t the same. I didn’t want to walk through her house and look at all the decorations she took pains to place.
I must write her a letter now to tell her how wrong I was; she can’t hear me when we talk on the phone anymore. I need to apologize to my daughter for stealing Christmas from her. It has nothing to do with our society or a dysfunctional family. It is because I forgot what Christmas was truly all about. The greatest gift in the history of history was given to our world on this night when God sent His Son as a tiny, innocent baby to grow up and spread love and peace to all, and then to die for our sins so we don’t have to, if we only believe. That is the true meaning of Christmas. Not about what you see with your eyes, but what you feel and believe in your heart. Susan Stedman 11/30/22
Written by Donna Butler
The art of giving thanks has been lost at times. We forget to appreciate the little things and complain when it doesn’t fit what or how we think it should be. We say thank you sometimes just out of obligation without genuinely appreciating the time someone took to do a kind deed for us. We also take grace, be it from God or people, for granted and feel like we don’t have to say thank you because it is “owed” to us. If we actually got what we “deserved”, would we be thankful then? Gratitude just takes thinking outside of yourself. Remember…THANKS!
Think Humility Appreciate Name Kindness Savor
Think about the time, expense, thought, and cost/sacrifice of the gift or action done specifically for you. Remember, the person did not have to, they chose to.
Philippians 4:8 NET “…whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.”
Humility is a modest or low view of one's own importance. You are not God. We don’t deserve all the praise and glory. We need to remember that and be humble.
Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Appreciate means to recognize the full worth of… It is a verb which means there needs to be an action behind it.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Name, say the person’s name and the item or deed that was done in your thank you. Make it specific and meaningful.
Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Kindness is a character trait. Enough said.
Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
Savor is a characteristic of taste, flavor, or smell, especially a pleasant one. Whatever we get is a blessing. So take time to savor the little things.
Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Whatever the case, being thankful has to be intentional…Just take time to give thanks.
Written by Melvina Jordan
For every sacrificial cranberry, jellied or whole.
For warm butter & dinner glasses clinked in unison.
For every late cousin, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew & friend.
For every child told to “stop running” or “sit down.”
For every inedible rejected new potato salad recipe.
For every leftover that filled lunch boxes for weeks on end.
For every angry neighbor whose parking spots were taken.
For every ball game & lost bet placed under a table.
For every last minute run for cinnamon, nutmeg or milk.
For every vacant place at every table where grandmas, grandpas & loved ones used to sit.
For every rehearsed & spontaneous prayer before we carved.
Lord, I'm grateful... for Thanksgiving.
Nothing missing, nothing broken in our hearts.
Lord, we remember.
Written by Lori Henson
"....giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of Light…"
Oh to give thanks- it is so necessary this time of year. When we live a life of thankfulness in the Lord, what will that do in our lives?
Thankfulness provides a definitive trust to our heart. This means we can walk in the authority of what God can do. That kind of confidence in turn brings health to us and affirms who we are in Christ. Is this not nourishment to our souls which is our mind, will, and emotions? The Lord is kind to all and this kindness pours out through us to others. Finally, living a life of thankfulness plants the roots of stability of the Lord into our hearts. Therefore, let's make this time of year a meaningful time with family and friends. May we realize the necessity of giving thanks this season and beyond.
About Rays of Light:
Whereas most blogs are from one writer, these posts are from a variety of authors and styles. These scribes all attend our Kingdom Writers group. We pray our passion to share God's love through writing will encourage you today!
Our writers group meets every 4th Tuesday Night at 7PM in person and/or via zoom. Let us know if you would like to join us.