Psalms for the New Year

The Importance of the Psalms

The New Year is here and that means we have some reflection to do. It is our responsibility as good Christians to evolve and become better soul ambassadors, so that our faith and the important things we believe in can make an impact on the world around us. This is the beating heart of New Year’s resolutions; they are about as Christian as they come, as potent as the Crucifix or the prayers we say in our times of need.

What is the trick to becoming a better Christian and by extension, person? It is easy: To dig deeper into our faiths, into scripture, and pluck out something that we are not familiar with, a passage you can really sink your teeth into and take a bite. According to Deborah-Ruth Ferber of the Mennonite World Review, the part of the Bible we should focus on most is the Psalms.

She writes, “Never have we experienced such memorable, diverse and poetic lines in all of Christian Scripture than we find most readily through the Psalms. These lines have inspired poets, artists, writers and hymnodists throughout the centuries to create and re-create pastoral images of comfort, hope and peace.”

Yes, for centuries the Psalms have provided the heart with its backbone. These biblical gems are a bottomless source of inspiration for people from all walks of life, including non-Christians. Simply look at the titles for some of the most beautiful pieces of art and you will realize that those titles are plucked from the Psalms. Whenever you are feeling down or out of options, flip to the Psalms and we guarantee you will feel better, that the inspiration bug will bite you all over. The problem though is that many people do not recognize the importance of the Psalms.

Ferber continues, “Yet, sadly, over the years, the Psalms have decreased in their importance to their life of the Christian church. No longer are they the pillars and cornerstones of jubilation, but they have been relegated to canned expressions of the Christian faith – no more than rote memorization.”

The Psalms are no longer the foundation of the creative Christian’s life, but they should be. Instead, they have creepily evolved into clichés. We have to learn to love the Psalms again, to rekindle the fire inside of them and then let the words burn off the skin of our hearts, to expose the beating matter behind it all. We must use the Psalms to anoint the sick and suffering the same way we use New Hope Anointing Oils, to help a lost and dying world that needs to know the loving spirit of Jesus Christ.

What Is the True Meaning of Christmas?

Anointing OilsChristmas is only two weeks away. Can you believe that? It feels just like yesterday that we were celebrating the Fourth of July, fireworks scrubbing our eyes clean with spongy patriotism, and now we are immersing ourselves in scheduling family gatherings, sending texts to long ago friends hoping for that reconnection, and making space in our calendars to go Christmas shopping. This seems to be routine in the months of November and December. Needless to say, it is tough to feel that holiday cheer when you are so busy, going from one place to the next in a candy cane blur, and sometimes it even feels that you are time traveling. It is that speedy. How exactly can this season be about the birth of Jesus when there is just so much else going on? We must take back the holiday.

As good Christians, we must always keep our eye on the prize, the true meaning behind the festivities, and that is the birth of Jesus. We must turn our eyes and our lips to scripture, to Bible passages that deal with the origins of the Christmas holiday. Our personal favorite is the old standby, Luke 1:26b-33: “God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendent of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Anointing OilsThe meaning of Christmas can be found in that passage and at New Hope Oils, we always try to keep that in mind. Christ’s kingdom will never end and as we get together to celebrate Christmas, that kingdom must reign in our hearts. That is not to say that we should not get gifts for the loved ones in our life; they just should be gifts that inspire the soul and shake the heart, blanketing us in warm feelings of Christ’s love. Such gifts can be found on our site, Newhopeoils.com. We produce “healing oils in the name of Jesus Christ to anoint the sick and suffering. Our biblical oils are used for blessing and sharing the loving spirit of Jesus Christ. These oils are uniquely prepared with high quality Frankincense and Myrrh fragrances.”

Not only do our biblical oils make for great Christmas gifts, they will also the true meaning of Christmas: sharing the loving spirit of Jesus Christ.

Healing the Lonely with Anointing Oils and Conversation

Sad Man on Bench near Beach

Next week is Thanksgiving. Christmas will be here before you know it. Then, as if you hopped into a time machine, that glittery ball will be dropping for New Year’s Eve and you will be hugging your close friends and family, ready to tackle the New Year with wide eyes and open hearts. This is the most wonderful time of the year, coming together to celebrate the birth of Christ and the goodness that is inherent in all of us. However, not everyone feels the same way about the season. For some, this is the loneliest time of the year, and we must do all we can as faithful Christians to help these unfortunate souls through tough times.

As much as we would like to celebrate our faith unencumbered this time of the year, we must keep in mind that it is our responsibility to spread the gospel and speak to those left in the dark. That is also an important part of celebrating our faith. Remember that loneliness is contagious, almost like gangrene, and it is prudent we amputate the unhealthy parts before it spreads to the whole of the body.

Yes, loneliness is a serious problem nowadays. Maybe we can point the finger at a rapidly moving world where faith in the Lord is a casualty on our road to the top. Maybe we can point the finger at our use of technology, which claims it brings us together, but in all actuality, seems to tear us apart. To get an idea of just how lonely the world seems nowadays, go to any online search engine and type in loneliness and you will come across dozens of news articles that deal with the subject. For example, a recent The Telegraph article deals with the loneliness epidemic in the UK and the stark new research that shows chances of friendless trebles by late middle age. In other words, 2.5 million men in that country have no close friends.

John Bingham writes, “A study of relationships in the UK found that men’s chances of friendlessness almost treble between their early 20s and late middle age. And married men are also significantly less likely than their single counterparts to say they have friends to turn to outside of the home. The new findings will add weight to warnings of a “crisis of masculinity” in Britain amid evidence of an alarming rise in suicide among men, especially those in middle age.”

This is clearly a big issue, not just in the UK but in the USA as well. It is not so much a crisis in masculinity but a crisis in faith. These men feel they have no one or nowhere to turn to. Their eyes are not on the bigger picture, that light at the end of the tunnel. The situation is so dire that there is even a charity campaign in the UK called “Calm,” which means Campaign Against Living Miserably.” It is a sad state of affairs when “living miserably” is a lifestyle, that there would have to be a campaign against it. Is the hopelessness that severe? Unfortunately, that seems to be the case. Such a situation becomes even more severe during the holiday season as many of the men feel the heavy weight of loneliness on their hearts. The more they hear the world around them caroling, the more they become aware of their misery. They certainly could use a bit of assistance as we move towards the New Year, but what can we do?

Well, we need to turn to the Bible. As Deuteronomy 31:6 points out, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” We must do our very best to remind the people around us that they are indeed not alone. We need to anoint their hearts and minds with gospel oils. A heartfelt conversation with them or a few nice words here and there will go a long way in making them feel a little less alone.

Seeking Salvation through God

Remember, “the use of anointing oils spreads the love and humility of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Anointing with oil and the laying on of hands is a ministry of love and hope, a touch of Jesus through us to another of His Magnificent Love.” We must apply our knowledge of anointing oils to everyday conversation. The holiday season should be about healing, because that is the first step towards celebrating our faith.

 

Developing and Keeping Faith

Each day, we’re faced with challenges to our faith. This comes in many forms, whether it’s the trials and tribulations of a difficult work day or the stresses and battles of raising children. Keeping strong in your faith can be a challenge, but it’s important to recognize that these conflicts only raise us to be stronger in our beliefs.

Cross Faith Autumn

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” – Psalm 37:7

As E.M. Bounds cites in “The Power of Prayer,” faith often requires waiting patiently before God and being prepared to wait for His seeming delays in answering our prayers. Faith does not grow disheartened because a prayer is not immediately answered. It takes God at His word and lets Him choose what time He will fill in the faithful with His purposes and carrying out work.

There are bound to be some delays and long days of waiting for true faith, but faith accepts the conditions. It knows there will be delays in answering prayers, and regards such delays as a time of testing. Your faith should remain ever-strong, privileged to show that you it is built on a sturdy foundation of courage and perseverance.

Even with this knowledge, it can sometimes be difficult to remain constant and patient in trying times. For those frustrated and wrangling with their own stresses and hardships, we offer this prayer:

Dear God, please help me to wait patiently for your answer to my prayers. Thank you that because of my faith in you, I will not grow disheartened. Amen.

New Hope Anointing Oils also offers a range of symbolic healing and anointing oils that can help balance your spirit and your faith. Check out our selection online today.

Importance of Daily Prayer

Daily Prayer

In each person’s daily life, there is much to do – make meals for family, take care of household chores, perform your job duties or perhaps make sure that your children make it to school or afterschool activities. One thing you should always make time for, though, is to reflect in daily prayer.

The Bible teaches us to remain faithful to God in three main expressions: Vocal prayer, meditation and contemplative prayer. The first is spoken aloud, praises and recitations that honor God while associating the physical body with interior prayer. The second, meditation, encourages the faithful to engage in thoughts about their own faith, confronting their own belief and the weight of one’s own emotions, desires and imagination with the realities of their own daily life.

Lastly, contemplative prayer is that most common to each of us. A silent and reverent expression of the mystery of prayer, a person praying contemplatively is affixing their mental gaze on Jesus and God, thinking of their own adherence to the word of the lord and thanking him for his silent and unconditional love. By sharing in this quiet and reflective prayer, each communicant shares in the mystery and light of Jesus and the lord.

Setting aside dedicated time during your day to engage in prayer and reflection is important to keeping your faith strong and centered, and allowing it to help guide your decisions and thoughts in daily life. By keeping that time each day for yourself and your faith, you help strengthen both yourself and your belief.

In the book of “The Power of Prayer” by E.M. Bounds, he says the following based on 2 Corinthians 10:5 and Philippians 3:8

Prayer produces cleanliness of heart and purity of life. It can produce nothing else. Unrighteous behavior is born in the absence of prayer. The two go hand in hand. Prayer and sinning cannot keep company with each other. One or the other must stop. Get people to pray, and they will stop sinning, because prayer crates a distaste for sinning, it lifts the entire nature to a reverent contemplation of high holy things.

Prayer believes in and seeks for the very highest religious life set before us in the word of God. When we make our own standards, there is delusion and falsity for our desires, convenience and pleasure form the rule, and is always a fleshly and raw rule.

From it, all the fundamental principles of a Christ-centered religion are left out. When we allow others to set our standard of religion, it is really deficient because valuable virtues may be lost, whilst defects are carried through.

Lord, I pray you would give me your wisdom and understanding in all things. I know wisdom is better than gold and understanding better than silver (Proverbs 16:16), so make me rich in wisdom and wealthy in understanding.

Help feel the love of the lord and strengthen your reverence with New Hope Anointing Oils’ selection of healing oils. Check out our selection online today.

Importance of Prayer and Meditation

Prayer Reflection

Keeping spiritually anchored can be difficult amid the hustle and bustle that surrounds us in the modern world. Setting aside time each day to think and reflect is important to helping keep yourself and your spirit in good shape and to continue to think about the role that God plays in your life and what your relationship with the Lord means to you.

As Christian author Stormie Omartian wrote in her book “The Power of a Praying Woman”:

“We need to pray about every aspect of our life in such a manner that it will keep us spiritually anchored and reminded of what God’s promises are to us. This kind of prayer will keep us focused on who God is and who he made us to be. It will help us live God’s way and not our own.”

With that in mind, prayers should be reflective and embrace every aspect of our lives, allowing you to clear the clutter of the daily grind and your own desires and expose the truth of belief in God as deep and meaningful to your day-to-day life. Faith can help provide clarity, strength and courage to believe in the impossible, even when things in your own life seem bleak or dreary.

The Bible, too, touched on these themes when introducing the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:8-13:

“Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our father, which art in heaven, hallowed be the name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”

It is important to set aside time each day to express your reverence and reflect in prayer, and never forget the depth of God’s meaning to you and the influence of feeling his love in your life.

Pray for THE Nation

Jesus and American Flag

As we direct our thoughts this Fourth of July toward reflecting on our nation and its history, there are two scriptures that come to mind: Jeremiah 6:1619 and Ezekiel 22:30. Stormie Omartian also wrote a prayer on this subject, as follows:

Almighty God, I lift up my nation to You, with all its sin and rebellion, and ask that You would have mercy upon us and help us not to reap the full consequences of what we have sown. I stand in the gap to invoke Your power on our behalf. Do not judge us as we deserve, but rather pour out Your Spirit over this land and bring millions of people You.

There is much to be said about how long our nation has been in existence and how from even the earliest days of the American Revolution, Christian beliefs influenced the thinking of many of our Founding Fathers and in turn, some of the tenets of our democracy. God is now even a part of our daily lives, from our Pledge of Allegiance to his name printed on our currency.

I believe that we are living in our nation with very troubling subject matters and there are lots of troubling things happening that very few people know about. There are many difficult conflicts and strife among our many diverse cultures and backgrounds, and it seems to get worse every day. However, due to our strong faith in our Christian beliefs, we have hope and belief that God will continue to have his hand of guidance and protection on this nation.

In God We Trust. God Bless America.

Mary and Joseph: The Parents of Jesus Christ

Jesus Mary Joseph

Between Mother’s and Father’s days, there is a lot of reflection on the qualities that we admire in our parents.

It might be the sacrifices they made for you, the way they believed in you, or even the funny habit your dad had of falling asleep every time he watches TV. In short, there is a lot we are thankful for in our parents.

It might be time to change up how we celebrate these wonderful holidays. This spring, consider honoring Mary and Joseph as Jesus’ parents. If you think that your parents made sacrifices, think of what Mary and Joseph went through.

When Mary conceived Jesus, she was still a virgin. Joseph, however, wanted to break off the engagement because he thought she had been unfaithful. It wasn’t until an angel visited him in his dream that he knew of baby Jesus. Even then, it was unheard of for a woman to be pregnant out of wedlock. There was a lot of personal suffering for him because of this.

Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger, because there was no room at the inn. Let’s really think about this for a moment. When women today are ready to give birth, they go to the hospital where highly trained doctors surround them and usher them through the process. Mary and Joseph were on their own to deliver God’s Lamb – of all people!

Jesus was able to honor his parents, however. The best example is when Mary hosted the wedding party at Cana. He helped his mother turn a large amount of water into wine when the supply had run out. He was there for his parents, just as they were there for him.

Lastly, we must consider the biggest sacrifice that was made from a parent’s perspective: the crucifixion of Jesus. By this time, Joseph had already passed away, and there are only mentions of Mary being at the crucifixion and later on, at his tomb. No parent wants to bury his or her own child, especially not a child who had been destined to die in such a manner.

This spring, don’t forget to honor Mary and Joseph, the parents of such a perfect child, in your celebrations.

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