Happy New Year, 2017!

2017 feels like “Ready or not — here I come!” After watching the ball drop at Times Square in New York City on television and then the Dallas celebration at midnight in my time zone, I went to bed New Year’s Eve with hope for a good 2017.

New Year’s day began on Sunday this year. So far I have a perfect record for being early and not late or just on time for church services. We will see what next week brings. As I listened to the sermon about reflecting and evaluating 2016 and planning for 2017, many thoughts went through my mind. I could identify with the minister’s resolution to complain less and appreciate more. I learned that what separates the highly successful from others is writing down your goals. To prepare for 2017, the minister asked us five questions. They were: 1. Where am I? 2. What do I want? 3. Where is my focus? 4. What’s my reward – or what do I hope to accomplish? and 5. Am I praying? These are great questions and something to ponder. But it was the sermon I heard before the sermon that reminded me of another very important lesson.

As I entered the church building, I greeted and asked an older “sister” how she was doing. Her response was, “Better. I am just taking things one day at a time.” As her words sunk in, I thought that her answer and approach was exactly right. Matthew 6:25-34 tells us not to be anxious about anything because the Lord God loves, values, and will take care of us day by day. In verse 34 of Matthew 6, Jesus specifically says not to worry about tomorrow because each day has enough trouble of its own. For me, 2016 had many days with trouble and struggles. As much as I like to plan, some things just didn’t go “right.” The devil seemed determined to derail and distract me from my plans and goals. Sometimes I think I spend too much time looking too far down the road for what might or could happen. Though I believe I am planning and preparing for all eventualities by looking ahead, I see that worrying about the future can prevent me from being prepared in the moment —for the moment that is here and now.

Have you ever felt like the day began without you? Many times in 2016, it seemed like an emergency or crisis would occur before I could even get up and get dressed. It reminded me of a morning many years ago when I woke up to the constant barking of my three dogs. As I looked out the kitchen window, I had to get my binoculars to clearly see what was happening. A raccoon had lured one of my dogs into our pond and was on top of his head biting him and pushing him under to drown him. I’m sure I was a sight to see running out the front door in my pajamas and house shoes carrying a 20 gauge shotgun. There seemed to be no time to dress before that day began, but that’s another story for another time. The point is that the Bible has something to say about being prepared and about how Christians should prepare for each day.

In Ephesians 6:10 and following, Paul commands the Ephesian Christians to put on the whole armor of God. He says that it helps us stand against the schemes of the devil. A roaring lion, the devil oppresses to steal, kill and destroy. Perhaps you too experienced his roar and disrupting presence. Maybe some of his flaming arrows hit their marks to singe and wound you too. For the Christian, there is a ready defense against the devil. In Ephesians 6:13 Paul repeats himself by saying again, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Some days last year it seemed that all I could say at the end of the day was that I was still standing. There will always be days like that, but we can know that the armor of God is available to protect us and help us stand. Just like the soldier without his armor, we are vulnerable to the devil without the spiritual armor God freely provides to us. The shield of faith is the Christian’s specific defense weapon against the devil. In Ephesians 6:16 Paul says, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” Paul doesn’t say we’ll be able to put out some of the flaming darts, but all of them. What a comfort to know that God provides for our protection if we will simply get dressed for the part we are to play in his plan. So in this new year of 2017, I hope you will purpose with me to pray for God’s will and make plans to accomplish the goals God gives us, and before we begin our days, let’s make sure we get fully dressed with the whole armor of God while taking life – just one day at a time.

Robin House

Announcing My New Book “God From A to Z”

Hello friends! I am happy and proud to announce my first children’s book was released this week.

I was not expecting to write this book. I had other plans and ideas. But like so many things in my life, God had other ideas for the path and direction I would pursue. Like a pregnancy, the past months have been full of changes, growing, and development for me. My days have been consumed with work on this book. Like many pregnancies, the labor was hard and there was not much anesthetic. But like so many births, the trials and pain have given way to joy and accomplishment as my book has come to life and is out for all to see. I am proud, like all new moms, for you to see my work and to appreciate its value in our world today. Like a new babe, my book has a name that I think suits it. Entitled God From A to Z with the subtitle of Describing and Defining the God of the Bible, I have high aspirations for my book. A book for children and adults, God From A to Z, was designed to teach and be a resource for learning about who the God of the Bible is. At 9″ X 9″ my book is easy to hold. A hard cover makes it durable, and at 64 pages, it is twice the size of most children’s books on the market today. Full color on every page makes my book beautiful, supporting the text with metered rhyme and Scripture. Encouraging discussion, God From A to Z, is interactive and helps the readers to grow in their knowledge and understanding of God.

I’d can’t wait for you all to meet my book and turn its pages. Thanks to my daughter, Brittany, and sons, Reuben and Dwight, my book has an online presence and is available to everyone now. My children gave me a wonderful birthday gift this year and purchased the domain, Godfromatoz.com, for my book. They also set up the website and online store there. They did a great job at something that was a big hurdle for me. I hope you will take a look at Godfromatoz.com. I’ll also be at various libraries, bookstores, churches and other venues in the coming months to share the message of God From A to Z. If you have a group or organization that would like to schedule me to come to speak or present about my book or other topics I speak on, contact me at Godfromatoz@gmail.com, and we’ll set it up.

Lastly, I have not forgotten my newsletter, The Good News Gazette. It will be back in 2017 as a blog. Thank you all for reading my articles and the kind words of encouragement over the years. I hope you will follow me on this new adventure of writing books to help and encourage. Once again, I deeply appreciate each and every one of you and thanks for reading. May God bless you today and always.