3 John 1:2, 21st Century King James Version (KJ21),2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
FIRST: I just want to say we have been in prayer for our family, loved ones and friends who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Living down here in Florida where hurricanes are a more regular occurrence we also have much empathy as well … I know we have and had MUCH to be THANKFUL for this past Thanksgiving and I thank GOD for all of you who regularly join me on this Fast Wednesday endeavor … TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
SECOND: I’m so encouraged by those of you who tell me you have been sharing this with others as well as by some of my friends who acknowledge that they do not have time to read this sometimes but that when they do it has been beneficial! So, next year, keep me in your prayers, I hope to work on continuing to make this useful and pertinent. All input welcome!!!
THIRD: Someone shared with me that next year will be the year of Ruth, the year of the LEKET, year of special treatment … Ruth 2:16 The Message (MSG)15-16 When she got up to go back to work, Boaz ordered his servants: “Let her glean where there’s still plenty of grain on the ground—make it easy for her. Better yet, pull some of the good stuff out and leave it for her to glean. Give her special treatment.”
Psalm 129:2 (NLT) – “From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me, but they have never been able to finish me off.”
I pulled this scripture from a daily devotional I read today called “I am Still Here.” In summary, it talked about how the devil starts attacking us from when we are very young because he knows things that are not revealed to us at birth and, in our ignorance and innocence God still watches over us to help us fulfill His plan for us. Can you hardly remember a time when he has not been trying to alter the plan GOD has for your life?” The author said “when persecution, abuse, or rejection came her way, she ALWAYS decided to do whatever it took to deal with it and resolve it ONCE and for all, otherwise, experiencing it a second time might have weaken her.”
Lets resolve to do the same going forward “today, if you think you will not survive what you are experiencing, if the lack and loss in your life seem unbearable, decide to go through. With the Lord’s help, you will look back and say, “From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me, but they have never been able to finish me off! I have made it, and I will continue to make it, in Jesus’ name.”
Next I read an article called The Soul Clinic — our actions have everything to do with our wellness; how we behave can either weigh us down or bring us spiritual renewal. If you can spot your soul-killing practices, you have a shot at reversing them:
Soul Killer No. 1 – Anxiety (stress and worry) have become daily accessories for many of us. The Rx: Sing! In one study, those who sang in a choir experienced an increase in positive moods!!!
Soul Killer No. 2 – Toxic Relationships. There are two kinds of people in your world: those in your corner and those who frankly aren’t. Take a hard look at the folks you spend most of your time. Are they givers or moochers? Do you feel inspired, passionate and invigorated after you talk with them, or are they secretly envious of you and, thus, find ways to make you feel small? When you surround yourself with toxic people, they suck your spirit dry. The Rx: Find Authentic Friendships. Once you assess whether your current crop of connections is feeding your spirit you might have to do something hard…distance yourself from those who deplete you. But there’s a much more pleasant task in store. SHOP around for some new friends with whom you can build and honest and joyous connection.
Soul Killer No. 3 – Gossip. Words are powerful and carry energy. When we send out negative we can poison other people’s reputations and unwittingly send a message to ourselves and to those with whom we share the gossip. The Rx. Using your words only to uplift. Just as words can hurt, they also can heal. We can choose to offer the kinds of affirmations that leave others standing encouraged. We can build up and inspire rather than belittle and put down.
Soul Killer No. 4 – Resentment. When you refuse to bury the hatchet, you harm yourself, not the person who did you the hurtful deed. You hold your own spirit hostage as you mull over and deepen your own wound. Hostility, anger bitterness – they all keep you steeped in misery, focused on negativity and distracted from the business of creating the life of your dreams. (By the way, take out a sheet of paper and pen or blank page on your computer and write down your 5 WILDEST DREAMS. Then put them away and go back occasionally to revise, update, add or delete. We did this in my women’s bible study group recently and this is what happened to my friend and our leader. One of her wildest dreams was traveling with her family. Long story short: Her family actually WON to be contestants on America’s Funniest Video with an all expense paid trip out to the show, limo, rental car, etc. and then won $3K on the show! Somebody tell the Lord, THANK YOU)! The Rx: Forgive. When a deep injury is done to use, we never recover until we forgive. Give yourself one of the greatest gifts and release any spite you’re holding onto, Not because the other person deserves to be forgiven particularly but because you deserve to be free.
Soul Killer No. 5 – All work and no play. You may think you’re being super efficient when you multitask from predawn to midnight. But studies show that workers who take breaks regularly actually improve their productivity. Working from home, I work hard at and attempt to take breaks, and they make me so much more productive! The Rx: Intentional Rejuvenation. As children, we had recess, a time to burn off some stress and hang from the monkey bars. As adults, we still need play time. Being grown does not change your need for regularly scheduled doses of joy. Make this the year you’ll finally make time for that.
Getting married? (In honor of my nephew and soon to be niece-in-law, James and Ejah) … Discuss these 7 finanical topics with your partner:
Communication is the first step to financial harmony.
As you’re planning your wedding, take time to plan your financial future as well. Discussing your finances and goals with your partner can help you build a happier, more fulfilling life together.
As with other aspects of marriage, good communication is key. Start your discussions with these seven topics:
1. Attitudes toward money
Some people see savings accounts as security blankets; others see them as ways to pay for trips to Tahiti. If you and your partner view money differently, make sure your financial plans respect both of your financial needs and preferences.
2. Contingency plans
What happens if life takes an unexpected turn? You and your partner should have plans in place for scenarios such as:
- One of you losing a job, or wanting to go back for additional schooling
- One of you wanting to leave his or her job to spend more time with family
- One of you wanting to take a job in another part of the country
- One of you losing your ability to work and earn an income
3. Level of debt
Have an honest discussion about your debts. “Marrying someone with excessive debt can have serious repercussions,” says financial advisor Harry James of Lockton Financial Advisors based in Kansas City, Mo., who notes that a partner’s credit issues may make it more difficult to qualify for a mortgage or other loan. It can also prevent you from contributing the necessary amounts to your savings and retirement accounts.
If debt is an issue, make it a priority to pay your bills, starting with the ones that charge the highest interest.
4. Joint or separate accounts
Some couples merge their finances completely when they marry, while others prefer to keep them separate. If you plan to maintain your own accounts, consider the following approaches:
- Open a joint checking account to cover shared costs, with each person depositing a fixed amount each month.
- Split bill-paying responsibility based on each partner’s income.
5. Realistic budgets
Excessive spending can wreak financial and emotional havoc on a marriage. Avoid this problem by creating a monthly spending plan that:
- Helps you save for retirement by paying yourself first
- Includes short- and long-term goals
- Allocates funds for housing, transportation, debt repayment and miscellaneous items in amounts that are agreeable to both of you
- Allows each of you some independent spending
6. Sticking to your budget
Stick to your budget and update it regularly.
7. Estate Planning
Now is the time to decide how your assets would be distributed should something happen to you or your partner. Take the following steps:
- Review the beneficiary designations of all your accounts, including 401(k) plans.
- Create a will if you don’t have one. If you do, update it.
- Review how much each of you depends on the other’s income, and consider purchasing life insurance that could replace that amount.
These discussions aren’t just about money — they’re about making the most of your life together.
Fast Fact: The average cost of a wedding increased nearly 23 percent in 2010, from $19,581 (2009) to $24,066 (2010), according to The Wedding Report, a research company that tracks and forecasts the number of weddings, spending and consumer trends for the industry.
The Grateful, Girls Trek, challenge just finished for Thanksgiving. As we plan and prepare for various events next year, 2013, make sure you include some physical activities as well on your list. This message is more for myself than anyone else. I actually completed two 5K walks this year and I hope to move to 1/2 marathon type of activity. You choose your “poison” but make an effort. Of all the things I accomplished so far in 2012, these are the most enjoyable and challenging. I have lost a few pounds and made some new friends!
Dear Lord: We thank you today for your amazing Love for us. Love is the key and may we all use that key liberally in our relationships with you and with each other. Amen.
Love, Joy and Peace,
Debra J. Ellis
Reminder AND/OR for those of you just joining us either by contacting me or I personally added you: The purpose of Fast Wednesdays is to draw near to God on this specific day of the week fasting and praying in whatever manner the Holy Spirit is leading you as sisters in Christ…some have fasted from social media, coffee, or observed a traditional fast with no eating from sunrise to sunset with only liquids for the day, no deserts, etc. I know many of us for various reasons participate every week but in different manners. This has still been beneficial and the sisterhood continues to grow!
The key ingredient is that we are doing this together as sisters, of all ages, in the Lord both chronologically and spiritually in accordance to: A God-Filled Life Titus 2:3-5 “Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.”
Note: Please share Fast Wednesdays with your friends and/or send me names to add to the distribution list. For now, I will post in three places: email (email@example.com), Facebook (Debra Fuller Ellis) and blog