Tis the Season Again!!!

February 21, 2021 at 12:50 pm | Posted in COVID-19, Finances, Forgiveness, Repentance | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

I always dread this time of year!  Not because of the long dark nights.  Not because of the cold and snow.  Every year I have to fill out my tax return.  It is such a chore to gather all my information and sit down and work through Turbo Tax. Thanks to God and modern technology I do not have to do it by hand anymore.  That was an extra pain when I had to do it that way!

As many of you know I used to be an IRS Agent.  After examining other people’s records for several years doing my own tax return was the last thing I wanted to.  It was not because of the paperwork.  It was for many years a source of pain.  No matter what I did somehow, I would owe and not get a refund.  However, after a time refunds became a norm.  Getting refunds did not make it more enjoyable, because it takes time to figure that out. 

In 2020 I had two new income sources a part time job and unemployment.  The part time job ceased because of COVID, but for some reason or another it was hard for the company to take out enough in federal taxes even with use of a W-4.  The unemployment gave me the option to have 10 percent taken out or nothing.  I wanted to have 20 percent taken out but only 10 percent was available.  I knew that 10 percent was not enough.  I paid estimated taxes on my travel commission income earlier in the year. Why I did not do the same for the unemployment I have no idea.  Was hoping that the earlier estimated payment or my tax bracket was low enough to cover since my other income was pension?  I do not know, more likely it was sheer laziness.  All it would have taken was the completion of a 1040ES form to the IRS for another 10 percent of what I was receiving for the unemployment. I had the money to pay it; I just did not. The year of the pandemic was an unusual year, but that is no excuse for me not doing what I should have.  Now because of that for 2020 income taxes I owe $1,900 for federal taxes and $100 for the state.  Thank goodness for the state I had much withheld because of my pension. 

So, I am not happy about this consequence that is totally my fault.  I am thankful that God will enable me to pay IRS before it is due.  In 2021 the plan is to file a 1040ES for the unemployment weeks entitled to and not let this happen again next year.

Thanks to God for second changes to get it right!

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4.

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.

 (NIV)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you choose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

The Perfect Love Story

February 14, 2021 at 2:39 pm | Posted in COVID-19, God is Enough, Marriage, Relationships | 1 Comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

It is Valentine’s Day in the middle of a pandemic. Many are still celebrating with chocolates, flowers, dinners in restaurants, dinners made at home, walks in the parks, exchange of gifts and card, Zoom events and so on. A pandemic is not going to prevent people for expressing the love for significant others, parents, friends, or children.  For some this day can be painful because it reminds them of love lost or the lack of love in their lives.  We are all loved whether we have someone who is physically in our lives or not.  God loves us more than anyone else can or ever will.

No relationship is perfect, not matter how much love there is. Books and movies love to tell stories of couples living happily ever after. The Bible has a slew of love stories and none of them were perfect, easy, or lived happily ever after.

  • Adam and Eve were kicked out of paradise and one of their sons killed the other son. Genesis 3-4.
  • Noah and his wife lived on an ark with their sons, their sons’ wives, and herds of wild animals for more than one hundred and ninety days. Genesis 6-9.
  • Abraham and Sarah lied about their marriage twice and did not wait for God’s promise and used a servant girl to give birth to Abraham’s first child.  Genesis 12-23.
  • Isaac and Rebekah each favored one son over the other resulting in one son wanting to kill the other. Genesis 24-28.
  • Jacob loved Rachel but was tricked into marrying both Leah and Rachel bringing strife between the two sisters. Genesis 29-30
  • King Xerxes and Esther.  Even as queen she could not talk freely to her husband without fear of death.  Esther 1-10.
  • Job and his wife who told him to “curse God and die” after they lost everything. Job 1-2.
  • Hosea and Gomer with his promiscuous wife. Hosea 1-14.
  • Joseph and Mary with an out of wedlock pregnancy and whose son was later crucified. Matthew 1:18-25; 27:32-61; Luke1:26-38; 22:1-33-56; John 18:1-19:42.

Those are just to name a few. 

Walking with God, however, is a marriage between God and the individual.  This is the perfect love story.  God loves us from the moment we are conceived until we live eternally with Him.  His love for us never fails no matter what we think, say, or do.  The pain we cause Him to feel never makes Him want to discard us and find another love.  He loves us anyway and continues to pursue us despite our rejection.

So should our relationships with others be, that perfect love that never fails even when we are rejected, hurt, betrayed, and despised.  May our love for others not be shown only on Valentine’s Day, but every day.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”  I Corinthians 13:4-8a.

 (NIV)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you choose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Do Not Believe Your Eyes

February 8, 2021 at 4:29 pm | Posted in Convenient Distraction, COVID-19, God's Word | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

Yesterday was Superbowl LV. This was to be another historic event during the COVID-19 pandemic, less crowds.  I could not wait to see what the stands looked like.  Several of the football games I did watch had very few people.  Every location had a different maximum requirement.

When they scanned the audience my mouth almost dropped.  It looked like there was a sizable crowd.  I could see it was not a full house, but there were more people there than I would have been comfortable with if I were in the crowd. Of course, I would not have been there even if there were only 1,000 people.  But this looked like a huge crowd for a pandemic.  Supposedly these were health care providers.  I said, “that’s even crazier; they are front line people, even with the vaccine”.  However, after closer examination it was revealed there were cut out people in all the seats and lots of space between the real people.  From afar those cutouts looked so real.  Other games with cutouts did not look quite as real as these did.  What an allusion.  

This is a perfect example of how we must always be alert and attentive to what we see, hear, feel, smell, and taste to confirm if what we are sensing is true.  These senses are always deceived intentionally through social media, television, print and more.  We are misled into believing in all sorts of truths that are not. Friends, family, and strangers can play a huge role in misdirection and may not know it.  They accept false as truth and pass it on.  Many will pass on social media news without first verifying if the information is correct.  Be always questioning and observing until the truth is known and then respond appropriately. 

Satan loves to use this same deception to lead us into sinful acts that appear to be godly or worthwhile.  Before partaking in a worthwhile thing in the community, speak with God first and find out if that is something, He wants you to do.  Many have allowed themselves to be so overwhelmed with “doing” that they miss the message from God of what they should be doing.  There are so many “good” things to do for others, but be sure that is what you need to be doing before making that commitment.  Staying in God’s Word daily will keep us from being deceived about the life opportunities that lay out there for us.  Those life opportunities are enticing and look lucrative but are not. Allow God be our guide in knowing The Truth.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” I Peter 5:8-9a.

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”  John 8:31-32.

 (NIV)

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AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you choose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

His Provision

February 1, 2021 at 1:20 pm | Posted in COVID-19, Finances, God is Enough | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

It is the first day of February.  God is faithful.  He provides before we ask or know we need help.

I mentioned in several other devotionals such as Time Has Run Out, The Hits Keep Coming! and What Are We Asking For? about my financial situation and how God works.  Now in 2021 I knew walking into the New Year God had my back but not yet the specifics.  I only knew that the January was covered but nothing beyond that.

Starting in April 2020 God provided by creating a government Act that put my student loan in forbearance for a few months. That Act and further Acts have pushed back that forbearance until October 2021.  This meant that I was not required to pay on this student loan but use the money instead for living expenses.  However, if I chose to, I could continue to pay on the loan interest free. For many months because God gave me sufficient monies from other sources I continued to pay on the loan.  This resulted in a principal reduction of $3,600.  Only in a pandemic did I get to see God reduce one of my long-term debts.  Then when unemployment was reduced and later stopped for November, December 2020 and January 2021 I did not pay on the principal and used the money for the other things.  Because the recent Act pushed back the forbearance to October 2021, I have this source of funds for living expenses for nine more months.  Somehow, I am hoping that in 2021 I can pay some more on the principal.

Another Act makes it appear that after February 6, 2021 I may be entitled to more unemployment.  Being on unemployment is because of God in the first place.  In 2020 I worked part time only six weeks at Chick-fil-A and was laid off due to the pandemic dining room closures.  I applied for unemployment but thought I would probably not have enough weeks.  However, due to the pandemic I qualified, I thought.  The pandemic was part of it, but it was because of my self-employment income as a travel agent.  They never told me in the beginning how they calculated what I was being paid weekly.  I found out months later it was due to self-employment income and the pandemic.  If I had not work part time I would never have applied because self-employed people normally do not get unemployment.  So, I love how God enabled that to happen because on my own that income source would have never existed for me.

With eleven months laying out before me in 2021, I am continually assured that He will provide without me knowing the details of how. The comfort of this provision comes only with walking with Him and watching Him work.

“For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.“But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. He provides rain for the earth; he sends water on the countryside. The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. Job 5:6-11.

 (NIV)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you choose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Forgotten

January 24, 2021 at 10:06 pm | Posted in Change, COVID-19, God is Enough | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

We searched the darken streets looking for where I parked my car.  I knew I would not have parked too far because this was a dangerous neighborhood.  Then suddenly I remembered, looked in my purse and saw the parking ticket.  The ticket was for the building we had just left.  Duh!  How could I have forget since I paid extra merely to stay in the same building where the event we had left was.  My girlfriend and I laughed and turned back to the building.  Then I woke up.  That was a strange dream.  At that moment I realized it was a continuation of another dream that I did not remembered I had.  The first part of the first dream flooded my memory.  I do not know when I had that first dream.  If it were not for the second dream that first dream would not have been missed.

Supposedly when we are in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep we dream.  This stage of sleep happens about ninety minutes after we fall asleep.  During that time, we are closest to being awake and thus we dream.  Scientists are not sure why we dream, why we remember or do not remember dreams.  All kinds of probably explanations from our biological differences, not enough sleep, too much sleep, mental or physical disorders are just a few reasons why we fail to remember what we dream. Supposedly we all dream, the issue is if we remember what we dream.  Nightmares or being awaken suddenly while in a dream increases our chances of remembering what we experienced.

What always intrigues me about any dreams I do remember is the characters in the dream.  In the dream I know who these people are but when I wake up, I wonder who the heck they were.  There are such details on these people.  It makes me think maybe I saw these faces in a crowd and somehow, they claimed a spot in my dream.  Whose knows.  Many of my dreams have no reason for their existence as far as I am concerned because they do not relate to my real-world situation.  Every now and then I will pray to God to not have any ungodly dreams.  While in this state of sleep our minds are open to whatever Satan might want to toss in there.

What is even more amazing I have had dreams where I knew I was in a dream while in the dream.  They usually happen in the horror ones.  In those dreams I do all kinds of things to make my body outside thrash around so that I can wake myself or my husband to get out of the dream or make my self scream.  That is so crazy, trapped in my mind, trying to get out or away from whatever is trying to get me.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Living in the real world can be like walking in a dream, especially with COVID-19 creeping around.  Life in general, anytime can seem like walking in a dream when there is something happening that is not pleasant.  Sometimes even when things are going too wonderful can also seem like a dream.  When life issues happen, it can be all too easy to deny the reality for a made-up fantasy our minds can come up.  “Oh, he/she is really not that sick they just have a cold.”  “Ah, this is just my usual symptoms of my regular ailment, no need for concern.”  “Gee, the money is tight, but somehow it will work out, so I will buy this item and charge it. I deserve this.”  “The Bible did not really say I should not have a tattoo.  That’s so old school.” “Our family is good, it’s only because we have to be around each other so much that we fight. When this is all over, we will return to normal.” “What’s the big deal it’s like the flu.” “I need all the money I can get now; there is no need for me to withhold taxes.  I am getting a refund anyway.”

Let us be mindful of our physical and spiritual environment.  Let us not be self-deceived about any situation that we do not want to deal with or remove from our thoughts anything bad that is happening as if it is not.  Let us be in tune with what God is showing us.  Let us not ignore the less fortunate.  Let us be joyful despite the negativity surrounding us.  Let us bring God’s light into the darkness.  Let the only thing that is forgotten/forgiven in our lives is our sins that Jesus has washed away.  Let us not ignore the elephant in the room and allow God to help us move it.  Let us remove our rose-colored glasses and see our world and lives as they really are – in need of our Savior to get us through.

“And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:11-14.

 (NIV)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you choose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

The Day After

January 21, 2021 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Change, COVID-19, God is Enough | Leave a comment
Photo by Muhammad Nazir on Pexels.com

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

Yesterday was the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.  The events during the day were unlike any other in history.  My eyes watered at the memorial service of the 400,000 who had died in the pandemic and when the oaths were sworn to service this country.

Every new president and vice president ushers in something different for the country.  All elected officials bring lessons to be given and lessons to be learned for its constituents.  A new era begins with each new president and vice president; the former ones move into the shadow of the past.  I love this imagery of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama when they spoke during the “Celebrating America” inauguration special.  All three stood in the shadow of the past while they gave words of encouragement to President Biden.

God establishes who should be in any governmental office and uses our votes to make that happen.  Our prayers should always be for whoever is in office.  Generally, politics is not something that interest me.  However, the last three Presidents Obama, Trump and Biden piqued my interest and increased my small knowledge of the democratic process.  It has been an unusual twelve plus years. Much has been observed and learned by all. May we never fail to hear and heed what message God gives each of us as we walk from the past, in the present, and into the future.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”  Romans 13:1-7.

 (NIV)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you choose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Branding

January 17, 2021 at 4:32 pm | Posted in Change, COVID-19, Goals/Dreams, God is Enough, Reputation | Leave a comment
Photo by Kartikey Das on Pexels.com

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

Before the first word was published Juel’s Creations, LLC was created for legal and tax purposes.  I love to write, and I wanted to make sure any published writings were under its own separate entity.  At that time, my goal was just to write.  How the writings would be published were not yet firmed up.  Taking only one step at a time my focus was “write it”.

As the first book was drawing close to completion then I had to start thinking about how it was going to be published.  After much research, lectures, exposure to other authors and publishers, self-publishing emerged for “Lives of a Gem! God’s Treasured Possession”.  This involved me doing all the work of determining everything from size of the book, book cover, quality of the pages, color of the pages, printer and distributor.  During a pandemic this was perfect.  I had nothing but time!  The book was published and is available at numerous online retailers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Then it was time to move into my next book project.  The Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and showed me an alternate vision.  No longer was I just writing it, I was in the business of writing and publishing it.  That meant something different than writing it.  I was used to writing a blog, posting it and moving on to next week’s post, easy peasy.

Being in the business meant knowing what my brand is.  A website was developed soon after the book was published, and a logo is in the development stages.  I thought I was good and needed nothing else.  But I learned I needed more to branding – what was the company about.  I had to develop taglines for the company.  I had to develop something that enables customers who visit the website, contact me, read my books etc. to see, feel, and experience the image that I want them to.  Seriously?  I just want to write.

What is our branding in our walk with God?  What image do others see, feel and experience in their encounters with us?  Do they see God’s glory in us in everything we do and speak?  Do they feel the love of God simply because we are in the room?  Do they experience God’s peace because of us?  What brand are we wearing every day, one that is godly or one that is worldly?

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.”  I Timothy 6:6-16.

(NIV)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you choose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

The Painful Truth

January 10, 2021 at 7:35 pm | Posted in God is Enough, God's Schedule, Health | 3 Comments

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

Photo by Efigie lima Marcos on Pexels.com

The thing about pain you begin to learn when/where it hurts less.  My knees are in constant pain now.  Anytime I rise from a chair, couch, bed, or toilet or sit on any of these the knees cry out for relief.

Sitting in my office in my comfortable chair, the pain is less but not gone.  In fact, the pain is a constant reminder I have knees while I type, read, check email, do business, or talk on the phone.  Despite the “comfort” I cannot sit there too long because of the lightning pain when it is time to rise.  Lying in bed is probably the second less painful spot until I must leave the bed or get into the bed.  The couch is the worst spot unless I can somehow keep my knees from being bent too long.  So, staying in my office is my sanctuary and where I spend my time with God.

The knee pain started almost two weeks ago. It started as a faint twinge and has built into a throb when still and sharp when in motion.  Yet I can remain focused on walking 30 minutes a day five days a week along with stretches afterwards. This week blood work showed my Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Factor is higher than normal.  Yet the test to show I have RA is negative.  Next month I see a RA doctor to determine if I have an autoimmune situation. 

I am allergic to nonsteroid anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s).  So, I must pay close attend what type of ointment I place on the knees.  I just started a new one today; I am praying for some reprieve while I wait the final determination.  At the same time, this week I start taking allergy shots for my other allergies and soon biologics for my eosinophilia asthma.  I am hoping my knee issues are tied to what I am already dealing with as opposed to yet a third thing.  None of these ailments are fun, yet it is how God wants me to walk during this season for my good and the good of others.

Let us not let the distractions of life divert our eyes from Jesus.  Regardless of how high the waves are in the storm, we can walk hand in hand with our Lord on the waters in peace.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

 (NIV)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you choose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Dream Come True!

January 3, 2021 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Change, Goals/Dreams, God is Enough, God's Schedule | 1 Comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

As a small child God gave me a dream to publish a book that has my name on it.  That dream was fulfilled in July 2020.  It took two years of writing, editing, and transforming the manuscript into a printable form.  On God’s time clock and method, it happened.

Besides marketing this book, where do I go from here?  The Dream God gave me is more than I have ever imagined.  Yeah, as I kid, I wanted to be this famous writer traveling the world.  As a child my creations were purely fictional.  My imagination was vivid and my pen in consistent motion. 

After ten years of writing weekly spiritual devotionals in a blog called “Heart Emissions” nonfiction appears to have taken on what I prefer to write.  Two other blogs are also nonfiction in nature.  My love of travel comes through at: “Juel’s Travel Beacon”. God gave me an opportunity to walk 1,500 miles for Him to raise money for HOPE worldwide appears in “Walking For God Challenge”.

However, thirteen years ago, God enabled me to start a fiction.  This fiction about adultery has thirteen chapters completed.  God told me in 2017 to put the fiction aside for a time and write “Lives of a Gem! God’s Treasured Possession”, a memoir instead.  This was published July 2020.  God never starts a work in us and not finish it.  Now it is time to return to the fiction and publish it. 

In late 2020 the Holy Spirit made it clear that the direction in my writing has changed.  The weekly devotionals and other two blogs will remain, but now He has launched me into the business of writing, publishing, and selling books.  Three new books are on the horizon, the fiction, a devotional, and a book that is a spiritual God-help type book by 2022.

He has provided me with the foundation I will need for this journey.  He has provided me with His business plan to enable His purpose to be fulfilled.  Through the creation of “Lives of a Gem! God’s Treasured Possession, He has shown me this is more than my desire to see my name in print, but to see Him in print and how it affects others.  Through this first book, He has already shown me how many have been spiritually impacted.  One recently tugged at my heart and reminded me why I allow God to use my fingers to put words on a page.  This person told me that because of this book, she has recommitted herself to God’s church.  Comments like that keep me writing, and keep me praying.

2021 lays before me for God’s power to complete the tasks He needs for me to do.  It will be life to the full, but that is why we exist to live fully for God and His purpose.  May we all know what dreams God has put on our hearts and hear the details of how He wants you to proceed.  May we be moldable to change.  May we be open to the journey even when it gets rough. May we keep our eyes focused on His directions and not the distractions that Satan will send our way. May we rejoice at our journey’s end. 

Let us not allow Satan tell us it is too late.  My first book was published when I was sixty-four years old.  It is never too late to fulfill our dreams God has given us.  It is only too late when we say yes to Satan and turn our backs on God.  Whatever dream God has given us always points towards His glory. Let’s be glory pointers for Him.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mathew 28:19-20.

 (NIV)

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©2021 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you choose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

2020 Christmas

December 27, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Posted in Change, Christmas, COVID-19, God is Enough | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

How is it that Christmas is now in the past and 2021 is four days away?  I was planning to do a devotional on Christmas, but time slipped away from me.  Now we are into the last week of the year.

Christmas was like none other.  Normally our children, grandchildren, my dad, and maybe other siblings or friends will come to our house for dinner.  We exchange gifts with our children, grandchildren, and dad.  We hang stockings above the fireplace for us, our children, and grandchildren.  Hubby and I are empty nesters, but we still hang stockings and fill them with eatable goodies and a small gift.  We decorate a Christmas tree along with the outside of our house with all kinds of lit figures and blowup characters.  The family is then together for hours, eating, laughing, and talking.

This year was different.  My husband and I were the only attendees.  The Christmas tree was there but on Christmas Eve only the gifts for the two of us were under the tree.  We delivered gifts to my daughters’ family on Christmas Eve.  No stockings hung above the fireplace.  The outside of the house was not decorated.  My husband was planning to decorate in a small way; but a heavy, wet, and icy snowstorm prevented that.  By the time it was melted enough to decorate it was too close to Christmas to spend time doing that.  So, the Christmas tree was our only source of illumination to the outside world. 

From the Friday after Thanksgiving, we watched Christmas movies every day. For Christmas Day we saved our favorite movie “Scrooge” with Albert Finney.  Also, on Christmas before watching “Scrooge” we watched the annual Christmas Program presented by my dad’s church on YouTube. Our dinner was nothing special just an ordinary meal.  Dad was scheduled to come over Christmas to pick up his meal and gift and leave.  However, because of another bad snowstorm forecast to come in, we prepared that meal on Christmas Eve. Dad came Christmas Eve for the meal and gift pick up instead.  Thanks only to God this happened because on Christmas Day we were snowed in. Zoom was our way to gather with our children, grandchildren, and dad. This Christmas Day was more focused on Jesus without the fanfare of company, gifts, entertainment, food, and drink.

I am hoping that next year we will be able to gather again as we keep our focus on Jesus for Christmas.  Even during this time of six feet distancing and separation, the celebration of Jesus’ birth remains.  Not even a pandemic can keep Him away from all who love Him.

“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:9-14.

 (NIV)

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©2020 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you choose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

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