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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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The Church is the Body of CHRIST
JESUS My Lord and Savior
©All Rights Reserved 2011-Anastasia Diamond

 Do you believe this familiar Laurence J. Peter quote? “Going to church doesn’t make you any more a Christian than going to the garage makes you a car.”

Well, let’s see…on the surface, you might agree, as going to the garage certainly will not make you a car. However, do we become any more of a Christian from going to church? Though it may not necessarily happen…it is more likely it will.

A car is an inanimate object that cannot make the choice to go to the garage…it cannot get there or leave by itself…it must be driven, pushed, or towed. Though someone may take a person to a church building, they have the option to stay, go, or return. However, God Himself can call a person to go to church and become a member of the body of Christ.

Is everyone who goes to church a Christian? 

Unfortunately, no, because all persons who go to church have free will to choose to accept or reject Jesus, and may be in various steps of submission or the process of sanctification.

However, going to church should provide all potential Christians the spiritual setting, scriptural background, knowledge, leadership, and opportunities for increased faith and spiritual growth that will improve the possibility of that happening.

Going to church should also provide the declared Christian a place of worship, fellowship, prayer support, and opportunities for ongoing spiritual growth that will increase the likelihood of them remaining in church, the body of Christ.

A person called to be a Christian answers Jesus’ knocking at the door of their heart…opening the door and inviting Him in.

Not everyone who enters a church enters into a relationship with Jesus. However, it is available to all who choose Him. As much as some people like to give their car a name and personality that reflect them selves, it is impossible for a car to have a relationship with anyone or anything. However, our God invites us to have a relationship with Him.

Christians…we are His church, made to reflect His way, His truth, His life, His light, and His love.

While people cover, guide, protect, direct and love their cars, it is God who covers, guides, protects, directs, and loves His people. Let us not just sit in our church…as a car parked in a garage.

Let us be active members of the body of Christ.

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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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HE Knocks…Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

Jesus my Lord and Savior

©All Rights Reserved -Anastasia Diamond

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What happened at the door to your heart?

Did you not open it the first time He knocked? Did you hide and pretend you were not home? Did you peek out and talk to Him through a half-closed door? Did you open the door widely, invite Him in, and offer a quick ‘ten-cent tour’? Did you say, “Mi casa su casa” (My house is your house)…and allow Him immediate access to every room, closet, and drawer? Did you seat Him in the living room, serve Him there, but not allow Him to wander around, for fear of embarrassment? Or…is He still knocking?

As for me, I opened the door very slowly.

Thankfully, I knew who Jesus was, and that He was there. But, I needed to learn to trust Him, to walk in faith, to build my side of the relationship, and accept that He was not only my Savior, but also my Lord.

Thankfully, He was patient.

Thankfully, He was still there knocking when I chose to open the door and invited Him in.

Thankfully, He accepted me just as I was, sin-filled and broken.

Thankfully, He provided the ongoing process of sanctification, after I invited Him in.

Thankfully, as I grow ever closer to Him…He grows closer to me.

The day to celebrate and proclaim our thankfulness is approaching. We call it Thanksgiving.

Yes, God has blessed me with a loving family and loyal friends, a healthy body and mind, food for my stomach, shelter over my head, and good work for my hands.

Yes, I praise and thank Him for these things daily.

However, I am most thankful for the day I opened the door to His knocking, my relationship with Jesus, and the salvation of my soul.

Thankfully, God does not show partiality.

What He does for one…He will do for another.

Will you fully open the door to your heart today? Let Him in…with no boundaries. Give Him full access to your life, that He can mold you and shape you into the man or woman that He desires you to be.

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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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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