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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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JESUS my Lord and Savior Anastasia Diamond

I am a ‘Faithful Blogger’. A couple of weeks ago we started a new group writing project based on 1 Thessalonians 5:18.  Twelve other bloggers and I participated in this project.

Courtney Chowning  complied all the entries into a FREE downloadable Special Report… just in time for your inspirational Thanksgiving  reading…and to offer on your blog or social network as well.

  • Hoping you will enjoy this Special Report as much as we do. If so, please take a moment to visit the Author’s websites and leave them a note telling them you enjoyed their contribution. 
  • If you would like to be notified of future group writing projects and special reports, please visit http://faithfulbloggers.com/ to sign up for the newsletter.
  • May you have many continuing blessings of thankfulness in all things. –Anastasia 

**Just click on the beautiful Ecover below for your FREE download**

Faithful Blogger Contributors:


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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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Get a 'ripped' faith relationship with Jesus!

Jesus my Lord and Savior

Anastasia Diamond – © 2011

          Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin,                      but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.   

Romans 6:11

In this world of extreme exercises for our physical bodies…are you submitting your spiritual health and well being to a rigorous workout?

Are you exercising your faith muscles to get a ‘ripped’ faith relationship with Jesus?

You are a blood-bought body of Jesus Christ; no weapon formed against you shall prosper.

Here is an exercise to get a spiritually healthy six-pack that will reckon you dead to sin.

Believe and confess, at the point of temptation, that you are dead to your specific sin. Believe and declare your faith, at the point of temptation, that you are alive unto God through Jesus Christ.

As with exercising your physical body, repetition is a critical factor.

A ‘rep’ is the number of times you do the same movement in a set: Example: Every push-up is one rep, and 20 push-ups make a set.

You do the reps, while God spots you.

Every rep of ‘I am dead to sin’ confession and every rep of ‘I am alive through Christ’ declaration builds your spiritual muscles.

Every set strengthens you, while building a mind, body and spirit memory connection that will establish a pattern of submission, discipline, praise, faith…and increased endurance to finish well.

You do the reps; Jesus already did the heavy lifting.

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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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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: https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/

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Abstinence

What does ABSTINENCE mean to you?

JESUS my Lord and Savior

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©All Rights Reserved–Anastasia Diamond

Abstinence is one of those words, and subjects, that means many different things to many different people.We have numerous religious, cultural, moral, and societal standards that affect our personal thoughts and judgments about abstinence.


So…what does ABSTINENCE mean to you?


To you, abstinence may mean turning from pieces of your past…to make a new commitment before God for the present or the future.

To you, abstinence may mean only men make this choice.

To you, abstinence may mean only women make this choice.

To you, abstinence may mean…I can do this…but not that.

To you, abstinence may mean practicing a spiritual discipline.

To you, abstinence may mean only those with sexual hangups make this choice.

To you, abstinence may mean only single people make this choice.

To you, abstinence may mean married people can also make this choice.

To you, abstinence may mean abstention from food, such as fasting.

To you, abstinence may mean making a joint commitment of purity with your current boyfriend or girlfriend, but does not apply, if or when, you become engaged.

To you, abstinence may mean making a joint commitment of purity with your future spouse.

To you, abstinence may mean making a singular commitment between you and God..without any prospect of marriage.

To you, abstinence may mean abstention from alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, or food.

To you, abstinence may mean believing true love waits…in purity…until entering a biblical marriage relationship.

To you, abstinence may mean choosing to be holy, as He is holy.

To you, abstinence may mean it is okay to masturbate, but not have sexual relations with another.

To you, abstinence may mean learning to love God more than your passion nature.

To you, abstinence may mean it is a way to avoid having sexual relations with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse.

To you, abstinence may mean it is the safest form of birth control.

To you, abstinence may mean giving up the most important part of your life.

To you, abstinence may mean submitting your passion nature and will to God’s perfect will for your life.

To you, abstinence may mean the only form of protection from sexually transmitted diseases.

To you, abstinence may mean understanding and believing that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

To you, abstinence may mean foolishness in today’s permissive society.


What does Abstinence mean to you?

Please Leave a Comment or send me an
E-mail…

There are so many possible answers…and points of view. I look forward to learning what abstinence means to you.

Many blessings and thank you for visiting.

-Anastasia


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