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Welcome 2012!

Faith and Hope for a ‘New’ Year

JESUS My Lord and Savior  © All Rights Reserved -Anastasia Diamond                                    

How often we celebrate a New Year thinking, and yes, praying…Please let this year be better than the last one.

No matter our beliefs, we all want to let go of the pressures, sorrows, disappointments and stress of the old…in hopes of revival, renewal, refreshment for the new. Though we know there will be challenges, we press forward in renewed hope that the New Year will bring resolve, peace, solutions, reconciliations and new beginnings.

What distinguishes Christian hope from worldly hope?

Christian hope is intricately connected to faith in God and His perfect will in all things. Worldly hope is in people, circumstances, and luck.

My New Year prayer for you, and for me…

May 2012 bring a year of new beginnings in the depth of your hope and faith in God’s promises, purposes, and perfect will for you and your loved ones. May you not be conformed to this world, but choose to be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. May His anointed word truly be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. May He continually sanctify you, making you holy by His  truth and teaching you His word. May grace and peace be multiplied to you. May you wait upon Him with renewed strength; mount up with wings as eagles; run, and not be weary; walk, and not faint. May you always seek His face, and in all things submit to the leadings of His indwelling Holy Spirit, who He placed in your heart. May you grow in purity, understanding, patience and kindness. May you love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your strength. May your New Year be blessed with an overflowing abundance of His  love, wisdom and discernment. May you glorify His Name and praise Him in all things. And…may you finish well dear one.

**Click links below for more NEW YEARS related posts on this blog**

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Be Thankful and Praise HIM in All things

JESUS my Lord and Savior

Anastasia Diamond © Copyright 2011

I have submitted this post to Faithful Bloggers Group Writing Project at  http://faithfulbloggers.com/blogging/group-writing-project/in-every-thing-give-thanks/comment-page-1/#comment-3335

First Thessalonians 5:16 -18 tells us…“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for it is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

You might be thinking…Can that be true? Am I actually supposed to be joyful forever, pray continually, give thanks in everything, and trust that everything is God’s will for me? 

This scripture encourages us to joyfully call-upon and glorify God throughout our life; continually, without stopping or finishing. We are to draw near to God and seek His face in prayer daily…little by little, over and over again. It also reminds us to be thankful in everything because it is God’s will for us who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, in unity with God the Father, through our relationship with Him.

Why would we thank God in the midst of our problems?  James explains it this way, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-4

In 2 Corinthians 7:4 Paul said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation”. He knew, even though he was going through trials, that God was working all things together for his good. –Romans 8:28

Perservance in tribulation brings about the process of sanctification; which consecrates, dedicates, blesses, makes holy, purifies, approves, and sets apart believers due to accepting a relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Is everything concerning me truly the will of God ?

What about the death of my child, my illness, my loved one’s terminal illness, natural disasters, divorce, abandonment, financial debts I can’t pay, job loss, the murder of my loved one, being robbed, being raped, my homelessness, my addiction, imprisonment, unfairness in my life, other’s lies about me, the fright of global turmoil…and on, and on?

What about all those dreadful human conditions we encounter that bring pain, suffering, anxiety, loss, and grief? Can we truly approach God with a thankful heart, mind, and words while deep in the midst of worldly adversity?

It is easy and right to praise God on the good days and for all the good things in our lives and the lives of those we love. We are ever so willing to give Him thanks for our home, good health, happiness, finances to meet our needs, food  to quench our hunger, employment, position, children, and so on.

However, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 appoints us to give thanks in all circumstances that He allows, and to know that everything is His will in Christ Jesus in relation to us.

All is the opposite of nothing; it means every part of every thing.

What about the bad days? What about the days filled with complaints, hissy-fits, deep sorrow, and the ugliest circumstances of our life when it is clearly not easy to praise the Lord? One test of  our faith is learning to praise Him in all things…no matter how difficult the circumstances. That’s a tall order.

Praise Him in the midst of your circumstance. Though He does not promise an earthly life of continual bliss and happiness, He does promise His comfort and perfect peace in the midst of the storm. He wants us to allow our life circumstance to become a sacrifice of praise…all to His glory.

Giving Him thanks in all things leads to believing and understanding that we are to praise Him in all things! We are to glorify Him, worship Him, honor Him, applaud Him, and exalt Him…be truly thankful to Him in all things.

Step out of the boat…take His hand…in trust, faith and thankfulness. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete…not lacking anything.

If we are not thankful and praising Him in the midst of our difficulties, we must ask this profound question: Who is getting the glory in the midst of my storm… if not God?

The answer is difficult…and one we don’t like to consider.

The evil one is always waiting in the wings…lying, conniving; nay saying; working overtime to convince us that life is terrible, there is nothing to be thankful for, and that God does not care for or love us; if He did, He would not allow the pain, not only in our life, but throughout the world for all time. Part of the evil one’s mission is to plant questions and doubt so we will not praise God and be thankful in the midst of our brokenness, which gives him a toe-hold into our minds, hearts, and body.

However, God has a plan for our lives that is often worked out through adversity. Are we willing to trust God and let Him mold and shape us according to His will? Are we willing to be led; willing to go, to be, to do, and to accept everything God might choose for us?

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 

Oh, that every day would be a Thanksgiving Day; that we would  be thankful, cheerful and glad; praising and exalting Him in the midst of our problems; trusting His perfect will in all things.

Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

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Happy Birthday America!

Jesus my Lord and Savior

© All Rights Reserved 2011 – Anastasia Diamond

The 4th of July is ‘Independence Day’ in the United States.

Happy 235th Birthday and may God bless America! Yes…I am an American. I still get that lump in my throat and catch in my heart at the sight of our flag, or singing our national anthem; The Star Spangled Banner. I love my country and know that I am blessed to live in the land of the free and home of the brave.

Today I also want to talk about a another kind of independence…

Long before America declared independence from England…God, the Creator of all that is, our heavenly Abba Father, gave us the free will to be independent in the thoughts of our mind, words of our mouth, and actions of our body. Though He knew some would stray and some would cleave…He gave us that choice.

However, He also  gave us the opportunity to become His blood-bought children when we repent of our poor choices and accept His Son, Jesus as our Lord and Savior  Additionally, when we realize this is only our temporary earthly home, we can choose to relinquish our passport to worldly things, submit our will to His…and through faith, become more dependent on Him.

Yes, of course we will still make personal choices. However, when we ask for His daily guidance and direction…our choices are tempered by His indwelling Holy Spirit, and the process of sanctification. Therefore, we will have more of Him and less of us in the choices we make.

He enlightens us mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. He teaches us that we cannot go to some of the places we used to go; We cannot look at some of the things we used to look at; We cannot think about some of the things we used to think about; We cannot listen to some of the things we used to listen to; We cannot say some of the things we used to say; We cannot wear some of the things we used to wear…and we cannot do some of the things we used to do.

Then, if or when we do make poor choices, His Holy Spirit lovingly, yet persistently, convicts our heart…teaching and reminding us of who were are in Him; our righteousness in Christ, that we will learn to make better choices…all to His glory.

Is the loss of our spiritual independence a negative?

I don’t think so. Rather, it is an opportunity to partner with our Creator, who has known us since before we were formed in our mother’s womb. It is such an amazing opportunity to live life in agreement with His perfect plan.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

We exchange spiritual aloneness for a precious blood-bought relationship with the only begotten Son of God…and are promised life in eternity with Him.

We receive spiritual wisdom, guidance and discernment from His most Holy Spirit.

We are healed, sealed, and blessed with the anointed blood of Jesus; giving us a covering and protection from the evil one.

Our sins are forgiven and covered with His divine grace and mercy.

Do you find it difficult to trust an unseen God with your life? Yet, you trust man and governments you can see with your life…and they fail you daily.

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: has he said, and shall he not do it? or has he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”  -Numbers 23:19

Declare and celebrate your personal Independence Day. Use your God-given free will…and give it all back to Him! He will take the broken pieces of your life that may have been meant for evil…and use them for good.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

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JESUS my Lord and Savior

Walk in Faith

Anastasia Diamond
©All Rights Reserved
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Fear and faith are like opposite sides of the same coin. God requires our faith, while satan requires our fear.

Faith gives God access to our lives through grace…allowing Him to work in, through, and for us. Fear gives satan access to our lives mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually or financially…allowing him to work against us.

Fear cannot grow where faith is firmly planted on a sound foundation, and faith cannot blossom where fear grows wild and untamed.

Psalm 118:6 says, “The Lord is on my side I will not fear; what can man do to me?” If God is on our side, and helping us, why should we be afraid?

Hebrews 2:15 tells us people are in bondage because of fear of death. The fear of death is possibly the root of all fear…and takes the biggest covering of faith because death is the ultimate unknown.

Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Interestingly, fear also comes by hearing…but hearing by the word of the world. Remember, satan is not a creator. He can only distort and attempt to mimic that which God in heaven created. Therefore, it is important to understand that fear is satan’s primary means of destroying our faith. Every issue of fear that torments our heart has a root that can be covered, destroyed, and renewed with faith.

Fear that we will not have enough allows satan to deprive us of what we need. However, faith in God’s provision allows God to provide for us.

Which one governs your life…fear or faith?

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” Luke 12:32

©-Anastasia Diamond

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JESUS my Lord and Savior

© All Rights Reserved

Anastasia Diamond

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Waiting for just about anything, even answer to prayer, is often not an acceptable option in an instant gratification society filled with poor impulse control and lack of will power.

The thought of waiting until God grants a prayer request, when and if it is in accord with HIS will, is challenging at best…and absolutely unacceptable to those who use prayer and scripture like a magic genie: I want what I want, and I want it now…in the name of Jesus!

Praying in Jesus’ name is not a hocus-pocus guarantee of instant spiritual gratification that forces God to grant our requests.

It means to pray in the divine, anointed nature of Jesus, to pray in the character and temperament of the Son of God. This concept is often missed; and clearly illustrated when people quickly slur over HIS holy name, or use it as a command at the end of their prayer.

Sadly, many well-intentioned Christians sound like they are attempting to manipulate God into serving their will, instead of honoring HIM.

Many forget to ask in accord with the assurance of HIS goodness and promises… trusting that HIS perfect will be done in HIS time and in HIS way.


Though we proclaim God’s ways are not our ways, when it comes to answering prayers, many tend to expect only immediate results.

However, our heavenly Abba Father functions from the perspective of eternity. Therefore, though He sometimes does answer ‘Yes’ and gratification is instantaneous, we must not become disappointed when HIS answer is ‘No’ or ‘Not right now’.

After all…HE is God…we are not.

HIS perfect plan for us continues, and is bigger than we can possibly know. We must learn to trust HIM…in patience and hope.


There can be a variety of reasons why we must wait…

The timing may not be right yet; we may need to fulfill specific prerequisite conditions; we may need to grow mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually; we may need to develop right motives, or we must meet other needs first.

None-the-less, we are to persist in our prayers…ask, seek, and knock… always remembering to praise HIM in all things.

Including the dark times when HIS answers are not instantly gratifying. If we are not praising HIM in the midst of our storms…who will receive the glory?


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© Anastasia Diamond – All Rights Reserved

“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11


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An Unwanted Dog and the Woman She Rescued

Written by Kim Meeder and Laurie Sacher

JESUS my Lord and Savior ©-Anastasia Diamond

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Authors, Kim Meeder and Laurie Sacher tell an inspiring, yet true, heart stirring story of friendship, companionship, compassion, bonding, growth, healing, faith, trust, love…and hope.

You will meander the trails of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, while enjoying delightful and profound word pictures that will have you chuckling and prayerfully reflecting throughout this fast-moving book.

Mia will wag her tail into your heart. You will fall in love with this forlorn dog rescued from certain death, who teaches her new master Godly principles coupled with the deeper meanings of love, joy and loyalty.

All of us may have places of mental, emotional, physical or spiritual blindness. BLIND HOPE offers healing wrapped in a story of hope.

After reading BLIND HOPE, you may want to run to the nearest shelter in search of your own rescue dog. Even if that is not possible…you will most certainly gain a deeper insight and appreciation of our unique relationship with animals and our Creator’s unique relationship with us.

Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes


Kim Meeder is the cofounder and director of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, an organization that rescues abused and dying horses and pairs them with children in need. Kim’s first book, Hope Rising, propelled the ranch to win the national Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award and launched her extensive public/motivational speaking schedule at schools, churches, and governmental conferences across the United States. She and her husband, Troy, have been married for twenty-five years and live in Central Oregon. The size of their family fluctuates each year with the number of horses and kids that they rescue.

Laurie Sacher is a team leader at Crystal Peaks Youth. Laurie graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2003 and taught English as Second Language in Spain before returning to her native California roots to pursue her passion for kids and animals. When she isn’t working at the ranch, Laurie enjoys running with her dog, snowboarding, hiking, horseback riding, and spending time in coffee shops with friends.

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The Unfolding Seasons of Life; Birth, Death…and Renewal

Come…Walk Through the Valley with Me

JESUS My Lord and Savior

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© All Rights Reserved 2010 -Anastasia Diamond

Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me. -Psalm 23:4

Come; walk through the valley

…and fear no evil.

Fear is such a powerful four-letter word. However, the accepted acronym for FEAR is False Expectations Appearing Real, which really takes the biting teeth out of the word.

Do you have false expectations appearing real?  Most of us are afraid of something. Fear of heights, the dark, commitment, abandonment, failure, needles, intimacy, crowds, flying, falling, dogs, driving, snakes, spiders, clowns, thunder, change, public speaking; the list goes on and on - fear of the unknown…

Ah, yes – the greatest fear…of the grandest unknown: Death and dying.

In these days of astounding medical and technological advances, the fear of death still plagues the depth of the human soul. Perhaps, even more now than ever before. While the world population is rapidly aging…society promotes youth, vitality, strength, beauty, health and vigor. While baby-boomers are fighting for 60 to be the new 30…society encourages us to hide the frail and dying from view; progressively training us to warehouse our sick, elderly, and terminally ill loved ones.

Death comes in all sizes, shapes, styles, colors, ages and stages. Death is the guaranteed equal opportunity end to all life.

Those, who in years past, were honored and cared for by family, friends, ministers and neighbors…have lost much of that personal care and contact. With their daily care often given over to overworked, under appreciated nursing staff or care providers…more often than not…family, friends, ministers and neighbors are now visitors in a foreign and sterile world of white sheets and rules.

Society tells us our loved ones are better off dying in hospitals and retirement homes, than at home. Well, these places certainly do have their value, time and purpose…and provide necessary medical treatment and care when needed. However, ideally, when death is imminent, those who are dying should be surrounded by familiar and gentle things…and people.

Caring for a loved one at home is an opportunity to face your fears of death. I realize my proposal is at times impossible, difficult at best, and that life adjustments must always be made to accommodate the dying at home. But, I none-the-less urge you to bring them home if you can!

The death process is as much a natural and expected part of living as birth. One takes a breath in…the other is letting it go. The pre-death experience often includes a pending-death awareness that heralds life’s waning and ending much in the way birth pangs announce an impending new life.

I have witnessed the resplendent echo of my children’s and grandchildren’s first cries…as well as the awe and tenuous gasps of my loved one’s last breaths.

Though we celebrate one, and mourn the other…both are equal in their beauty and spiritual significance.

The struggle is similar; one is letting go of the familiar cocoon of the womb to enter earthly life. The other is letting go of the familiar earthly life to step into life eternal.

Approaching death awareness is an awe-inspiring piece of the pre-death process.

Travelers on this road often express a need to prepare for a journey; they know they are going somewhere. They may talk of driving, taking a bus, a plane, a train…needing to go. Those who have become ‘bed-ridden’ may attempt to get up in their quest to get where they are going. They may describe their destination, with awe and joy. They may talk about seeing others who have already passed over, who they may or may not know. They may ignore your presence; preferring to talk with ‘others’ who are present.

They may even tell us the date or time of their own death.  As they approach death awareness, they may actually control the circumstances and time of their death; delaying the final moments until a request is met, a promise fulfilled, a fear dismissed, or reconciliation accomplished.

What an honor to be present and partake in these pieces of spiritually precious moments at the end of a life’s journey.

Education and faith are the keys to dispelling the fear of death…and of those who are dying.

I encourage you to educate yourself, and others. I encourage you to allow God to minister to your heart, and increase your faith in Him and His designed death process. I encourage you to prepare for this excursion into the unknown called death, with at least as much thought and preparation as you gave your last vacation. I encourage you to regain a child-like faith in an Abba Father who loves you into eternity. I encourage you to accept death as a perfectly designed step in the ever unfolding seasons of life.

Death is a journey that we, and all of our loved ones, shall take…

We have all seen or heard of those who complete heroic deeds in war, only to come home to die in an auto accident. Those who live through major drama, trauma and chaos, only to die from a brief and simple illness. Then, there are those who survive, when all around them have perished. And, those who the doctors say are medical miracles who should not have survived.

Being in danger does not mean you will die. It only means you have lived.

There are a limited number of ways any of us can leave this earthly existence:  ‘natural causes’, illness, disease, accident, murder, suicide…or being translated; known as the rapture…when end-time believers will be taken up to meet Jesus.

Interestingly, when asked, most people want to die in their sleep; not consciously knowing what is happening to them. However, those who believe in heaven or the coming rapture, often want to fully experience this journey into eternity.

Most people say they are not afraid to die, they just don’t want a lingering death, or one preceded by extreme pain or disfigurement. Most people who have not accepted the promise of heaven are fearful of death…and prefer a life lingering on earth indefinitely, to a death with an uncertain destination.

Those who have a hope in life after death are usually less fearful…more ready and willing to consciously take that step into eternity. They trust, through faith, that to be absent from the body…is to be present with the Lord.

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

-2 Corinthians 5:8

Let us honor death as a natural part of  living. Let us not turn away from opportunities to draw closer to accepting God’s purposes in life…and in death.

I urge you to reach out and touch the face of your fear of death.

Your life and the life of those you love and care for will be forever changed, blessed and enriched when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death…and fear no evil.

All Rights Reserved ©2009-2010…”JESUS my Lord and Savior-ANASTASIA DIAMOND’S Prayerful Reflections…and Photographs on a Spiritual Journey from Darkness into HIS Light” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Anastasia Diamond is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full and clear credit is given author/photographer and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content at: http://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/

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