2018 A Place of New Beginnings

2018 New Beginnings

2018 A Place of New Beginnings

Is 2018 a place of new beginnings?  Can we really achieve such a change in us this year?  Most people like to make “new year’s resolutions” at the beginning of the year.  Most of them never get fulfilled, either due to lack of interest in a few weeks or making a goal too big to even imagine them being fulfilled.  

New beginnings are possible.  In the Word of God, Paul tells us that as we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, our lives are changed. A new person emerges from the ashes of our old life.  What a great “new beginning” that is.  To be able to be changed from a lost and dying person to a new and eternal child of God is such a wonderful gift.  Paul could indeed say this as he was a perfect example of the truth of salvation’s work in his life.  He had been persecuting  and killing Christians all in the name of God.  He met Jesus on the road to Damascus and had a life-changing experience.  He became a man sold out to Jesus, who wrote much of the New Testament and who died a martyr for Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
We can truly have new beginnings every day with the Lord Jesus. Each day is written in the future and anything that can be touched with our 5 senses can be changed.  Our attitudes, lifestyle, health, dreams and hopes can all be renewed and changed as we submit them to the Lord.  He is able to help us become more like him.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glorytoglory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Let us choose to be changed this year.  Choose to accept new beginnings with a knowledge that God wants the best for us, and will work in our lives those things that please Him and bless us.
 January 8, 2018
The Lord showed me how he will  create new beginnings in our lives. If you have ever watched “Texas Flip & Move” tv show, you know they buy old house and repair them and then sell them.  The analogy the Lord gave me from this show is the fact that they will take the house they bought and strip it to the firmest foundation found. Even if it means back to the studs with no walls standing.  The Lord wants us to allow Him to be free to “go back to the studs” if need be in areas in our lives.  They rebuild into a place of beauty in His sight.  We all have areas that have worn and torn structure.  Maybe fear has taken hold where courage used to be.  Perhaps sickness and ill health have burrowed into parts of our bodies.  What ever areas need repairs, He will rebuild and “new beginning” if we allow Him to.  It may mean some pain and discomfort on our part if we have to face those fears, change our eating habits, stop being selfish and “me” motivated.  If we are willing, we will see wonderful changes in our lives this year.  It is a year of restoration.
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Praise and Worship

Praise and Worship…is there a difference?

When  in a Sunday service we sing songs and make declarations of praise and of worship.  Is there a difference, or are they the same?  Let’s look at these two words in light of the Bible.

Praise is a response to what God has done.

Our grateful hearts respond to the things He has done for and to us.  When we pray, cry out for mercy, and make requests, then He answers us and fulfills our needs, we rejoice in praise because of what He did.

Psalm 9:1,2,7-12

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
    I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.

But the Lord reigns forever,
    executing judgment from his throne.
He will judge the world with justice
    and rule the nations with fairness.
The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed,
    a refuge in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.

11 Sing praises to the Lord who reigns in Jerusalem.[a]
    Tell the world about his unforgettable deeds.
12 For he who avenges murder cares for the helpless.
    He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer.

Worship is a response for who He is.

We recognize His Worth-ship, His value and we openly worship Him.  If He never did another thing for us, He is still worthy of our worship.  His whole being is so wonderful and beautiful we can’t help but respond to Him.  That is worship, the acknowledgement of who He is, without any reference to ourselves.  He is still magnificent without anything personal involved, simply by existing.

Psalm 29:1,2

Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings;
    honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
    Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

Psalm 95:6,7

Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
    for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
    the flock under his care.

Both Praise and Worship honor God

We have heard the phrases “worship the ground he walks on”, or “you did such a good job”.  Those simple phrases reflect the difference in worship or praise.  Worship is usually perceived as standing at a distance and having a heart so full of response to the person we have a hard time responding  personally.  Praise on the other hand, is close-up and very personal.  We are responding to an event the other person did for us individually.  Praise reflects the personal relationship we have with the Lord.  It is part of a conversation in a very personal relationship.

Once we get the difference, we can enjoy both.  We can stand in awe of the greatness of God, choosing to honor Him with our worship of who He is.  And we can also get personal and close with thanksgiving with our praise for all He as done for us individually.  Both are true responses of hearts who have been touched by our Father God.

 

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Let’s End The Year Praising Jesus!

“The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
 And with my song I will praise Him.”

As 2017 winds down and we are facing the year 2018 we have some reflection to do.  No matter what the year has brought us, good or bad, we need to keep our eyes on the Master.  He kept us through it all.  He helped us survive the stresses, the ups-and-downs and here we are, still standing.

My heart is filled with thanksgiving for all He has done for our church family.  We lost some members through death which was quite painful for us all, especially the families involved.  We had Hurricane Irma take out our electric system for most of the state of Florida for several days.  Many of us had physical damage to our structures, some still in disarray. Financial systems have been all over the place in the world’s banks.  Health issues, fires, earthquakes…all those things that Jesus told us would be happening in the end times.

Matthew 24:6  “You will hear about wars that are being fought. And you will hear stories about other wars beginning. But don’t be afraid. These things must happen before the end comes.”

None of these things stop us from praising the Lord Jesus Christ.  If we are His people, who love and follow Him, we can praise through all the storms of life.  So as we end the year of 2017, let us praise Him with our whole hearts, knowing He is good and has kept us through it all.

For all the things You have done for us and through us in 2017, Lord Jesus, we thank you and praise your name!  Great are You Lord, and greatly to be praised.

 

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Thankfulness

Psalm 100 (CEV)

The Lord Is God

Shout praises to the Lord,
    everyone on this earth.
Be joyful and sing
as you come in
    to worship the Lord!

You know the Lord is God!
He created us,
    and we belong to him;
    we are his people,
    the sheep in his pasture.

Be thankful and praise the Lord
    as you enter his temple.
The Lord is good!
    His love and faithfulness
    will last forever.

Thankfulness

A thankful heart opens doors that are closed to others.  A thankful person is welcome everywhere.  When we can keep a thankful heart, we keep joy and peace.  Our vision is open to see many usually hidden things.

As we walk with the Lord with a heart of thankfulness,  we are able to see the needs of others more quickly as our hearts are softened to the Lord and he opens our eyes to the world around us.  We are recipients of more of His grace,  abundance and peace.  Why?  Because of our openness to Him and His world,  He responds  quickly.  Our hearts are open to His needs and His heart is open to our needs.

Thankfulness stops complaining and grumbling in our hearts and mouths.  How can we gripe and be thankful at the same time?  We can’t do it.  It is a choice we make daily.  To look for things to be thankful for is fun.  Like, sunsets, sunrises, birds singing or soaring, the clouds forming above our heads, the cool breeze, the warmth of a puppy, flowers in bloom, autumnal trees, the smiles of a friend or stranger; any of these can be portals to thankfulness.  Each of us has a different thankful list.  The top of our list should include the Lord Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit,  our blood and spiritual families and friends who really care about us.  Some of us should add the privilege of free worship in a free nation.  A precious black brother in the Lord used to have a saying, “Thank you Lord for breath, health and strength and that the blood is still running warm in my veins.”  Clarence is gone now, but those simple words still resonate in my heart.

What is on your thankful list?  Why not start making a list and see how long it gets?  Mine would fill a book if I started today and would take a year or so to complete.

Thank You Lord Jesus for all that You are!

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Being One of God’s Sheep

 




Acknowledge that the Lord is God!


He made us, and we are his.


We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.


Psalms 100:3




How are we able to be God’s sheep?


This verse tells us the way to do that.


Acknowledge that He is God!  Fully accept who He is.


Realize we are created by God and the reality that we are His.

   Then we can believe that we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.  

    It is by fully trusting Him we reach a place of safety, peace, provision and relationship with God the Father, His Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

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Witnessing Jesus’ Style

Acts 1:8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Act 10:43  To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

We were taught that witnessing was us doing the action.  We were to go out and tell everyone we meet about the Lord Jesus.  There is truth in that statement, but it is not all the truth.  We are to go to those in need, be available to all those we meet and ready to be used of the Lord to minister His Grace.

The unique thing about these Scriptures is what we are witnesses to.  We are not the ones doing the actions.  We are only the instrument of His Grace.  It is not what we are doing that is the “witness” part.  What really is happening is we are “witnessing” His love in action.  We are at the time of our sharing the Gospel, laying hands on the sick, interceding for troubled souls, bringing light and life to those in darkness—witnessing the Lord moving into all those situations and meet the needs of the people.  That is our part of the witness.  We are there, first hand, on-the-scene witnesses to the love of God being shed abroad on the earth!

What an exciting place to be!  Being led by the Holy Spirit, watching God love his people, heal them, comfort them and indeed save them from their sins.  I love witnessing God in action!

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Truisms-Words to Live By?

“Faithful friends, like diamonds, withstand the test of time.”

Beverly LaHaye

While truisms are wonderfully thought provoking and sometimes funny, sometimes edgy, they are not really words to live by.  Rather they are statements about life experiences.  Those that last prove how many life experiences are share by multitudes of people.  It would be a mistake to make at truism, even one as nice as the one above a philosophy or foundation for our lives.  Truisms are too subjective.  They are interpreted by whoever lives them.

A true and sound foundation is best laid by what our Maker says.  He created us and knows what we need to live by.  His Word, the Holy Bible is filled with life lessons and make a wonderful and sound foundation for living a fulfilled and blessed life.

What are your foundations built on?  Solid rock or shifting sands of opinion and sayings?  While I enjoy those wonderful truisms, I chose to make my foundation solid on the Word of God.

 

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