Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 12 Blog Posts of 2012 on A New Day Café

It’s time to wrap up 2012—to review the past year and celebrate the new one that’s just around the corner. So here are the top 12 blog posts of 2012 that you, my readers, chose as the most read:

5. Holy Tenacity: Hope When Life Is Hard

And, the #1 most read blog post of all time on A New Day Café?


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year 2013! Will This Year Be Different?

New Year's Eve is upon us and soon it will be 2013. Sure, many people make--and then break--their New Year's resolutions, so this year I am going to call them "Things I Want to Do Differently in 2013." 

By not calling them resolutions, I think I have a better chance of making real and lasting changes in the next 12 months.

How about you? It doesn't have to be hard or complicated, but take some time to think about how you want the next year to be better. Pray and talk to God about what you want to GET RID OF and what you want to ADD and what you want to KEEP.

Get rid of
Like, I want to get rid of some pounds. So I will set a specific number and ask God to help me to do what I cannot seem to do on my own--lose this weight once and for all. Maybe you want to get rid of a bad habit or finally clean that closet that's been bothering you for months. Whatever it is, it's time! Out with the old, in with the new!

OK, so you want to shed some things in your life. Now what do you want to add to your life to make it better? Do you want to have more joy? A better attitude? Increased income? Or, maybe closer friendships or a life partner? Once you know what you want, you can list some specific steps you can take to get there. We do our part and God does His part--He empowers us, gives us the strength and willpower (or won't-power) to accomplish things we never thought we could do.

Seriously. Prayer is the biggest thing to add to your life in 2013. Without God's help, we often remain stuck in our old ways. And that's not what we want for this new year. Nope! We want things to be different, better, happier, and more abundant! At least, I do.

Finally, ask yourself what you want to keep on doing or being in 2013. What's working well and should continue? Like, you want to keep being nice to people even when they treat you poorly (again, that's where prayer comes in!) You want to keep on serving the poor or opening doors for others or supporting worthy causes or...You fill in the blank for what's on your list.

I think 2013 is gonna be a good year. With positive expectation and hope, I will pray this prayer for myself and all my readers:

Prayer for 2013
"Lord, we come before you at the start of a brand new year---we are hopeful and expectant. Will you show us all that you have for us in 2013? I ask for blessings and favor, peace and abundance. Bless us Lord, so we can be a blessing to others! I ask for healing and good health, and wisdom to make right choices. I ask for open doors and new opportunities that a good and exciting--and the energy to accomplish them. I ask for love, connection and community with friends, family and those I have yet to meet. May this new year be better than I expected--for me and for my readers--so next year at this time we can share our praises with joyful thanks to You! I ask believing. In Jesus' name. Amen."


Happy New Year to You! Many blessings!

Jackie M. Johnson 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Single at Christmas: Help When You Feel Alone

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” So says the popular Christmas carol. But for many singles, the holiday season can be one of the loneliest times of the year.

If you are not in a relationship, you may long for someone’s hand to hold as you shop, ice skate, look at Christmas decorations or sit by a cozy fire. Or, you may live far from family and friends, and can’t afford to fly home this year. Most of your friends have already left to visit their families, and here you are.


Sure, there may be people bustling around you at the stores or coffee house. It’s some comfort to see others at holiday parties or church events. But something inside is still amiss. You long to have a deeper connection, positive and loving with someone of the opposite sex.

And yet, here it is: another Christmas alone.

Our mood can change when we change our perspective, and start feeding it words of truth and hope. I love the fact that we celebrate “God WITH us” which is what Emmanuel means. So in reality, you are never alone. The One that loves you most, The One who created you, God Almighty, is with you…right now…wherever you are reading this on the planet today.

You may be in France or Finland, Brazil or Boston, USA, but wherever you live, you are never out of the reach of God’s love for you. He cares about you; he is your protector and provider. He listens. When you talk to him in prayer, like you would speak with a friend, he hears it all—and sees your needs.

This Christmas, give God the desires of your heart. Tell Him how you feel and what you need. Ask God to fill your loneliness with a heart of joy as you…

Seek to help others. Service brings your heart joy! Find one small thing you can do to help someone in need. Lucy’s advice to Charlie Brown still hold true today: help someone else and you feel good too.

Adopt a pet. Many homeless dogs and cats need love and attention.

Call a friend or family member. Be the one to reach out and connect—you may just be surprised.

Get out of the house. Sometimes you simply need to be around other people and not just “virtual” connections on social media. We need face time with others!

Pray. Talk to God. You don’t have to use big words or long sentences. Just talk in a real way, in a heartfelt way….and He will listen. God always answers prayers. We just don’t know how or when. The answer may be yes, no or wait. But know that God wants the best for you!

So, to all my readers—single or married, young or seasoned, around the block or across the globe…

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and new hope for this bright new year!

Jackie M. Johnson

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The True Meaning of Christmas?


 What is Christmas?

To some it is Santa and snowmen and toys,

To some it’s the shopping, bright wrappings and noise,

To others it’s family and everyone’s home,

To me, it’s much more. Let me share in this poem…


Christmas is where it all began,

  An infant child who became a man.

Eternity came down so we could understand,

  The child of Creator, the true Son of Man.


He was not unexpected, for the prophets foretold

    The events that had happened would surely unfold.

Four hundred years later the miracle came,

  The star over Bethlehem shone where He lay.


They came to attend Him from near and from far,

  The shepherds and wise men who followed the star.

  All were rejoicing that first Christmas night

At the child of a virgin, a humbling sight.


So what is the meaning of that first Christmas night?

  Simply, He came to make everything right.

  For the Child had a purpose in coming to Earth.

He came as a light and to give us new birth.


He gave us forgiveness and paid with His life.

  What kind of love would pay such a price?

For death could not hold Him; He rose from that grave.

And freedom and life were the gifts that He gave.


No longer divided, no longer alone,

  Because of His love the wall had come down.

  Live free forever! O, what a gift!

Both now here on earth and forever with Him.


Wise men and angels followed Him then.

  Wise men still seek Him, again and again.


                                                  -- Jackie M. Johnson

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prayer for the Tragic School Shooting in Connecticut

Yesterday was a sad day in America. 27 lives lost. 20 children. 7 adults. Even one life lost by violence is one life too many.

We grieve for the families in the tragic shooting at the grade school in Newtown, Connecticut. We pray for comfort and healing, and one day, new hope. Children are so innocent and many will need years of counseling and help to recover.

We wonder what drives a young man to commit such a horrific crime. And we remember that in this world of good and evil, evil is right in front of us on a level so black we can barely comprehend it.

Many talk about gun control. And yet, no matter what your viewpoint on that topic, it's not the gun that kills. It's the person behind the gun. They make choices. And we need to pray for people to have a moral compass--a deep sense of right and wrong and to value life.

And we pray....

"Lord, we pray for the victims (children) and their families in the shooting in Connecticut. Our hearts break for this tragedy. Comfort them and heal this broken land. Help us, as a nation, to return to our moral compasses and live with love, not hate; with healing, not brokenness. Help us, Lord."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lesson from a Snow-Flocked Pine Tree


Snowfall on tall pines,
Sunrise and stirring
Of quiet and big dreams
As a new year awakens.

Dark-covered winter with
Dormant believing
Leads joyfully into
Spring’s hope-filled returning,
When flowers and faith
Resurrect from earth’s slumber
Alive and reminded
Of God’s faithful goodness.
                     -Jackie M. Johnson

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Breakup Book - Healing the Hurt After a Breakup

Going through a relationship breakup? Know someone who is? "When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty" can bring comfort and healing to the dark time of a breakup or divorce. You'll discover how to process the pain, deal with your greif and loss, and learn ways to make better choices in what you want (and don't want) in a relationship next time.
Share the hope with someone who's hurting. Here's a brief excerpt from the book:
          And then the day come comes when you don't think about him every day, and the mention of his name doesn't pierce your heart like a verbal arrow, a barb straight into your heart. You can drive past your special place it no longer has a hold on you. It’s just a place. You know who you are and what you want and it's okay. You know God loves you. And that makes all the difference.
The sun sets, the heart breaks, but the light of God’s brilliant and illuminating truth shines on. You come to realize that endings are a part of life, and so are new beginnings.
And you learn that God redeems your loss and pain, and heals the heart to love again. And one day everything really will be okay.  Maybe not today, but some day. 
As the tears pour out you discover that everything happens for a reason, even when you don’t understand or like it.  Bleary-eyed, you look up and smile as it begins to settle in your heart that God really is in control; He knows what He’s doing, He cares and He is working all things together for the good whether the relationship door slammed shut or gently closed behind you.
A door closes, a window opens, and a fresh breeze blows into the stale mourning stillness that lingers your heart. In the midst of your mess, God surprises you, and things begin to change…
What time is it in your life?  The edge of evening is approaching; it’s time to get the comfort and support you need to begin the heart healing process. The rest of your life is waiting.