’22  A Year to Shine

In 2017, some people thought the savior of the world in office would make things better.  2021 has passed through our hands with a new regime where others thought now the latest mess would be fixed.  Personally, I semi-retired in 2017 to get out of the corporate world and travel stress before it killed me.  But for each of the past five years, 95% of the honest people I know have said, ‘thank God this year is over next year cannot possibly be as bad as the last.’ 

I agree after it took a true miracle to be here writing now on top of a few other unmemorable events in ’21.    Here we sit on January 1, 2022 hoping for the better while the numbers for inflation and covid are at all-time highs again.    Is there hope for a ‘better year?’   I believe, IF your perspective on the inside is running well, then yes 2022 will be A Year to Shine!  And if you grasp insight, you may even say this year will be better than each of the last five, all of which were actually great! 

Many not-so-deep philosophers talk about seeing the glass as half-full instead of half-empty as the secret to a life of peace.  In reality, both statements are absolutely correct and true.  We know that focusing on the negative can be detrimental to one’s health.  People who always see the gloom and doom in every circumstance can pass their thoughts seemingly right into your veins.   So how do we deal with an atmosphere filled with fear, oppression, and depression?

Some people think the only thing I read is the Bible, wrong!  I look for advice and secrets in every corner.  Life indeed throws many curveballs and sometimes fastballs right at our head.   I believe it is important to pull together helpful information from multiple sources and create habits and lists to handle whatever is thrown at us.  One example is from a bookmarked page of mine called Hubspot.com  This article spells out a list of how to shine when surrounded by darkness.  Click on the link for full details or here is the highlighted version:

’10 Creative Ways to Keep a Positive Attitude No Matter What’

  1. Start a gratitude journal.
  2. Treat yourself to some self-care every day.
  3. Start every morning strong.
  4. Avoid spreading gossip.
  5. Crack more jokes.
  6. Take real breaks.
  7. Have something to look forward to after work.
  8. Practice meditation.
  9. Focus on the long-term instead of the short-term.
  10. Listen to music that matches your mood.

I often review and look for new tips to incorporate into my own needs things to help me and help others.  I had been teaching classes on how to overcome anxiety, anger, fear, depression, and basically negativity.  They all are in the same family of thoughts and emotions.   Something negative spewed out at me by the persons involved happened that killed the programs twice this past year.  It created much anxiety for me and the situations undoubtedly contributed to my stroke.   A woman I’ll call Jo, in one of the last classes asked me point blank a question that froze me for a few moments.  She asked ‘Do these thoughts ever stop and does it go away?’ 

I was standing at the time and paused for what seemed like 10 minutes causing me to sit down.  I had a flashback to 2nd grade when I first knew I had a fear of being in front of people.  The teacher had called on me to answer a question and I knew the answer.  As I started to answer she said, you need to stand up and answer the question that is the rule.  It threw me off a bit as I slowly stood up to answer and a heat flash passed through my blood to my face.  A little jerk three seats over yelled out, ‘oh my god look at how red Joey’s face is!’  I looked around and saw everyone pointing and laughing.  Before I knew it, I was passed out on the floor and awoke in the nurse’s office embarrassed to the max. 

I repeated Jo’s question back to her and the audience ‘Do these thoughts ever stop and does it go away?’   I said as I look back over years of working on overcoming negative thoughts, bad memories, worries, I know my brain does not erase them.  I know that someone can walk in this room and create a new PTSD moment and add another scar and wound to my memory cells.  So the answer is no. 

However, and it is a big however Jo, I can tell you I know how to handle them all.  I know when to escape and how to soothe the pain.  I know how to find solace in the worst of situations including the death of others and close calls for me.  I know how to overcome a new stressor or disappointment faster than in the previous times.   Mostly though, I find it rewarding to help others to overcome.  It is why I stand here now trying to help a few that want help.  When I can shine a little light on someone else’s darkness, it makes some of mine disappear.  

So Jo as I speak, yes, they do go away, but you are going to have new stressors show up at times so they do not stop.  Thus, it is so important to always be honest with yourself and practice every technique to make your life brighter and for those around you too.  Some you cannot control so we must always be prepared.  And we have to try hard to not create consequences for ourselves (she was pregnant with baby #5 all with different partners and had a pending jail sentence hanging over her head).   The great news is you can become stronger and better at handling your inner thoughts with help such as applying what you are learning now.  Take them one day at a time, apply, learn, and be thankful when you wake up tomorrow that you have another day to be better than you were yesterday.

This is just a touch on how to handle life’s half-full-half-empty challenges.  If you want to hear the really best way to shine in ’22, keep on reading… 

If you choose not to read further, may 2022 truly be a year that is way better than last and one that shines in every way for you! 

Please don’t go away yet! Hit that red button for more.  If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, every post is written in two parts. You have just read the portion challenging the mind, body, and soul.  In The Portico, I seek to tap into your spiritual side, but only IF YOU DARE.  Tap the Red Line Below to read the Part 2 Spiritual side of the story.  (For an explanation of my madness – read the ‘Do You Dare’ Tab)

If You Dare, Click to Enter Into Joe's Portico (To See Part II of This Story)

-22- Biblical numerology researchers surmise that the number 22 represents Sonship and Light.  Anyone that makes a choice to be a disciple of Christ is considered a son/daughter of His, and we are to be the light of the world.  22 is very significant!   I use several references for numbers definitions; many numbers have multiple meanings and are not to be used as an absolute.   They are worth thinking about and examining.  One of the best sources that examine numbers and evaluates other resources is this one written by Stephen A. Jones.   I go into great detail about all the surrounding data to the number 22 and have more links in a previous post if you would like to expand your numerical and Biblical knowledge in a long heavily researched post titled 22,273 Choices.

Hebrews 12:23 TPT version describes us Sons and Daughters of Light beautifully:  “And as members of the church of the Firstborn all our names have been legally registered as citizens of heaven! And we have come before God who judges all, and who lives among the spirits of the righteous who have been made perfect in his eyes!    What a tremendous joy and honor it is to be a part of God’s Holy family, despite our shortcomings. 

Jesus we know came to earth and lived as a human just like all of us.  He got to experience the joys and feelings of loving people.  He felt and delivered love and good to many people as described in Acts 10:38-39    we know ‘how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.’

We know how it ended with a seemingly half-empty cup scenario.  It is a must-read to fully understand what He went through hanging on a cross for six solid hours.    At the end of the six hours Jesus’ near last words before saying it is finished was the recitation of Psalm 22.

You would think we Christians would pay more attention to the whole of Psalm 22, which is what Jesus was reciting on the cross in whole, not just the 1st sentence of My God My God why hast thou forsaken me.  If we think about the fact that there were no Bibles around but, from scrolls the people heard God’s word, and to retain it they had to memorize the words.  Any devout Jew would recognize Psalm 22 immediately by the first words of the Psalm.  I surmise Jesus recited it repeatedly in His last hour.  They were the words He wanted to say as His last human words in speaking to the Father.  For the knowledgeable, He wanted to seal the importance of Psalm 22 in their minds.   I would surmise it is precisely what He wanted those who were listening to hear.

Psalm 22 spells out the half-empty-cup in the first 21 verses.  Partly it is a prophetic note written by David.  David of Jesus’ blood lineage describes what it was like to die via crucifixion:   14 ‘I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint.  My heart is like wax; It is melted [by anguish] within me.  15  My strength is dried up like a fragment of clay pottery; And my [dry] tongue clings to my jaws;’  Note that historically there was no such thing as death by crucifixion.  It was a prophetically written Psalm.

But in verse 22:22 we see perhaps why Jesus recited Psalm 22.  It was exactly what Jesus did for all of His 33 years living as a human   ‘I will tell of Your name to my countrymen;  In the midst of the congregation I will praise You.     Jesus purpose was to tell the good news about the love and forgiveness of His Holy Father in Heaven.  The ruler of heaven and earth.    As a son of the light, He depicted it is possible to praise God in any and every situation.   I believe Jesus was telling us all to closely examine the praise portion, the half-full-cup portion, in the last ten verses of Psalm 22.  Ten is the number of divine order and completion.  It is not a coincidence the last 10 verses of Psalm 22 are all about living a life of praising God and shining our light.  It is important!   It culminates in verse 31 withIt is finished’ (as the Amp version states)

Mark 15 describes the moment of Jesus’ death and note the reaction of the non-believing Roman centurion:  “But Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed out His last [voluntarily, sovereignly dismissing and releasing His spirit from His body in submission to His Father’s plan]. And the veil [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him, saw the way He breathed His last [being fully in control], he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!””    MARK 15:37-39 AMP

I long have thought about what it must have been like for Jesus hanging on the cross for six full hours after being up the whole night, after already being beaten beyond recognition, and barely alive.

The centurion, who had witnessed many other crucifixions, saw Jesus die, causing him to remark ‘truly this man was the Son of God’.  Could it be that what the centurion saw (aside from the earth-shaking) was Jesus’ remarkable spirit-filled display of praising God during those last 3 hours of suffering as the differentiator?    Psalm 22 pre-described the torture and scene of His crucifixion, but it is also known as the Praise Psalm.  Could Jesus have been reciting the whole of Psalm 22 throughout the 3-hour period while singing praises similar to Paul in prison in Acts 16?   Could He be as Daniel was in the Lion’s den or like David after having his family taken and his town burned down?  Or like Stephen while he was being stoned to death as described in Acts 7:51-60?     

Imho, I think Jesus suffered thru and absorbed all of the sins of the world, bearing tremendous pain,  on the cross.  Yet He was able to never sin Himself or break fellowship with the Father prior to bearing all the sins of the world that day.  The Amplified version says ‘When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him, saw the way He breathed His last [being fully in control], he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!’   Jesus not only went through the worst torture known to man but set an example for us to see and read about.  He proved that no matter what happens to us on earth, we can not only get through it, but we can do so (via the supernatural power that lives within us as provided by God) while praising, giving glory to, and honoring God.   Few want to talk about the life of sonship this way.  We’d rather sing about blessings and fluffy-voiced-favor, which is good at times, but we also must understand we are in a spiritual battle.

How did He do it?  To Jo, back in the class I was teaching I explained (she would have clicked the red portico button);  –  Because God’s gift, in return for our choice to praise Him, is returning our praise with overwhelming joy and peace beyond comprehension.  (Psalm 22:23, 26 and Phil 4:4-7)  We had often talked about a magical wand we need to fulfill Phil. 4 where it tells us to ‘Be anxious for nothing.   Paul tells us we can experience peace beyond comprehension in any circumstance.  He fills our shaky cup with what we need to overcome difficult situations.  He tells us about His deep love and brings joy and healing  The old saying that God never gives us more than we can handle is not true.  As we become more mature as Christians and the deeper, we go in spreading Psalm 22:22, there will be things we cannot handle.   Thus, we absolutely MUST rely on God to get us through it.

For some, this seems so difficult to understand, but it is crucial as times in the future may become more difficult for Christians in the good old USA.  We are oblivious to the persecution that has happened in history (hello 11/12 Apostles and Paul’s crew all died as martyrs) and are happening across the world.  If you want to know reality check out The voice of the martyrs here.   

In order to handle any adversity, we must be ones who understand and practice being in the presence of our Father.   Paul said to pray without ceasing, meaning always be in Spirit mode.  While practically speaking that may be difficult our life of worship, Psalm 22-like-praise, and prayer must be a way of life.  It is what helps us get past the half-cup-empty thinking. It is what helps us get through any situation. 

I invite you to deeply examine Psalm 22 verses 23 and 26.  Understanding the fear of God and making a choice to put ourselves under God is the first key.  That turns into perhaps repenting or asking for forgiveness for the latest thing we have messed up.  It is giving thanks for those blessings and that favor that the always-positive prophets talk about.  But too often, they leave out the part of fearing the Holy God. They too often leave out the necessity of making sure we have cleansed our heart  before taking communion  and being thankful for the negative things that happen in our lives as well as the positive.   No doubt, Jesus was in a constant state of honoring the Father although saying aloud line 1 of Psalm 22 may seem to some as being differential.  

The next part is so crucial.  I expound on this in great deal in a post titled ‘How to Worship at Home.‘    Praising God is a choice in parts and in others as a movement from the Holy Spirit.  Worshipping comes through the application and generates feelings and emotions.   Psalm 22:26 tells us once in this stage our ‘hearts will live forever‘  ‘or our hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.’  

Understand that is impossible solely in the natural.    I believe what these last words being recited by Jesus are saying is – in worship, in oneness with God, in entanglement at our Lord’s feet; something beyond our comprehension takes over.  It is like our heartbeat becomes in rhythm with the Lord.  The ‘peace of‘ or is it ‘the peace from‘ God is delivered to us. Elijah ate angel food in the cave after the death threats from Jezebel, perhaps Jesus was being fed is what vs 26 references; ‘the afflicted will eat and be satisfied.’   God allows us whether in a previous poor position or like Jesus’ in a persecuted position to be fed.  He returns our posture of emptying out our muck and being thankful for any circumstance by filling that empty or half-empty cup to the brim.  In fact, it may lead to overflowing to allow us to do things we never could do on our own.  It helps us to overcome the worst anxiety, depression, or even sickness.  

Examine the variations of these verses; let them infiltrate your heart.  Let them bring your heart in sync with the Father.

Variations of Psalm 22:23,26

23Praise the Lord, all you who fear him!
    Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob!
    Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied.
    All who seek the Lord will praise him.
    Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. NLT

“You who fear the Lord [with awe-inspired reverence], praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him.
Fear Him [with submissive wonder], all you descendants of Israel.

The afflicted will eat and be satisfied;
Those who [diligently] seek Him and require Him [as their greatest need] will praise the
May your hearts live forever!”  AMP

“Here’s the story I’ll tell my friends when they come to worship, and punctuate it with Hallelujahs: Shout Hallelujah, you God-worshipers; give glory, you sons of Jacob; adore him, you daughters of Israel. He has never let you down, never looked the other way when you were being kicked around. He has never wandered off to do his own thing; he has been right there, listening.

Here in this great gathering for worship    I have discovered this praise-life.
And I’ll do what I promised right here  in front of the God-worshipers.
Down-and-outers sit at
God‘s table     and eat their fill.
Everyone on the hunt for God    is here, praising him.
“Live it up, from head to toe.     Don’t ever quit!” MSG

“You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!

The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the
Let your heart live forever! ”  NKJV

“Lovers of Yahweh, praise him!
Let all the true seed of Jacob glorify him with your praises.
Stand in awe of him, all you princely people,
the offspring of Israel!

I will invite the poor and broken,
and they will come and eat until satisfied.
Bring Yahweh praise and you will find him.
Your hearts will overflow with life forever!” 


“You who revere the Eternal, praise Him—
    descendants of Jacob, worship Him;
    be struck with wonder before Him, all you children of Israel. 

Those who are suffering will eat and be nourished;
    those who seek Him will praise the Eternal.
    May your hearts beat strong forever!”  

Perfect worship setting listening to Laura C’s ‘Entangled’ on the Ipad, candles, hot fire, and tea

The outside writers top ten list in part 1 of this post suggests Listening to Music.  Although not a necessity (a time alone walk, sitting by a brook works too) music is a great helper to entering the presence of God.  I have created multiple playlists one song at a time, which has all captured moments to relieve stress, anxiety and difficult times or to just fill my empty cup.   I share them for free, this one with 158 long play videos I title as Soaking in God’s Presence   This one titled ‘Entangled with Him‘  will probably chase off a few people who will say I’ve flipped to a new ager.  Not the case.  A neurologist introduced me to brain wave music for speeding up the plasticity needed to rewire my brain post the damage wrought on millions of brain cells that were damaged by the stroke I suffered.   Oddly YouTube suggested the small group of artists on this list, perhaps it may enhance your worship at home times as it has mine.

As stated ’22 is recognized by some as meaning ‘Sonship and Light.’  Sonship has its privileges and indeed, we receive favor from the Father.  We indeed are to be thankful for God’s provisions and should notice and tell about it when things like getting a free first class upgrade on a flight for a mission trip occur.    But understand also, as sons and daughters of the King we will face some of the difficulties of being the Father’s son/daughter.

There is an immense spiritual battle that is a constant.  Spiritual battles are not won with merely taking our vitamins and employing positive Bible-based thinking techniques; although they are necessary entities in the whole picture.  Being in the royal family and sitting at the dinner table is fantastic and an honor.  But, when the dinner is interrupted by an attack from the evil army it means we put on the armor and fight with our Lord, as we should.    We had better be prepared to recognize God’s voice in our life, as the glass will at times be empty or even be smashed in front of our eyes.  We will need to call on His help and be able to respond to what He is telling us to do in crucial moments in our times of warfare.  It could be a life or death situation either for you or for someone you have been summoned to minister too.  Are you ready?

2022 might be marked by predictions of prophets’ words of encouragement coming true.  Anyone can say ‘something great will happen this year’ and then when it does take credit as a prophet.  I know some blessings will come this year for you.  I can also warn you some difficult times will also come.   It does not take a prophet to make such a prediction, it both rains and the sun shines on everyone.

I will assure you though, as you get in a continuous pattern of spending time in God’s word, in prayer, in communion, and in worship and praise –  God will fill you to overflowing!  He will help you with all that you can handle and more so with what is beyond your capability. 

Let the significance of ’22 and Psalm 22 lead you to a year filled with worship and praise to our God.  His glory and praise is deserving. 

Let 2022 for God’s Sonship, the remnant, be a year dominated by our worship of Him. 

Let 2022 be A YEAR TO SHINE our light.

Happy New Year!


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