“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
2 Corinthians 5:17
“For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
2 Corinthians 6:2
Peace to you and Happy New Year!
Now is naturally a time to reflect on the past year of things that happened in your life and in the world…it may be a time to be thankful for your blessings of the past and hopeful for the coming New Year. For some it will be a time to say “I’m glad that year is over, I hope the next one is better!” What I have learned when I am reflecting on the past or looking towards what lies ahead is my feelings or perspective say quite a bit about my attitude.
If I am ‘I’ focused and only thinking about what happened to ‘Me’ during the year it is easy to get discouraged. As an example, if someone only thinks about ‘I didn’t get that job I really thought would be great for me’ then sure they will not feel good about that…if they think about things that happened in the days and weeks after not getting that job maybe that would be memories of how a friend or family member said or did something great and unexpected to lift them up. Or while discussing the rejection with someone a new opportunity presented itself for a job. It is all about perspective. If we choose to focus our thoughts on what was wrong, bad or frustrating then we are sure to feel that negative energy in everything. If we make an effort to find what was right, good or hopeful about a situation then that renewing energy will go with us.
This is true for any situation…I grant you it is not always easy to do and I battle with it myself. However, we are not meant to do this alone. Every single person has been blessed with gifts and talents and when they choose to use those blessings the way God intended them to be used they will see and feel the good that surrounds their life. I recently read the following analogy…
Every individual is a flashlight…if we try to show our light but do not have batteries inside, if we are empty, then we will not work…if we have our batteries inside but they are not being used correctly we will not work, our light will not shine…only when we are filled with good stuff and we use it correctly will our light shine…we need the love from Jesus in our hearts and when we use that gift to make the world better for even one person then our light will shine as God intended it to.
I pray that we all choose to “Let Our Light Shine” today and all throughout the New Year!
Peace and Happy New Year!
Reflecting on the season and all that goes on in our lives…I have always been a Christmas guy. As a kid I enjoyed the lights, the music and family gatherings and of course the presents. As I and my faith have grown I realize that Christmas was the starting point for me to really deepen my faith. As an adult in mind and a kid at heart I still enjoy the lights, the music and the family gatherings…I now enjoy the giving far more than any receiving of presents. Where we live I enjoy the snow and even the cold. The change of season is natural to me it is God showing us his love using nature. All that was alive in summer has passed on but it will all be reborn in springtime. With the shorten daylight we set up lights to add color to the white world. But most of all it seems to be the one time of year that the most people in the world actually recognizes Jesus Christ and his coming into the world.
At Christmas time I pray you see and feel a sense of…
Hope – God made a promise to you and everyone to love you and to never leave you…believe him and trust him with every area of your life.
Peace – Be content when your basic needs are fulfilled and share with others if you have been blessed with abundance…practice patience.
Joy – Wear a smile more often and make an effort to help others find their smile…focus on the positive in any situation.
Love – Life is more about how you treat others than how they treat you…you can’t control what others will think, say or do so don’t waste time worrying about it…do all that you do with love.
At Christmas time put Christ in the center of your life…with Christ you will know Hope, you will know Peace, you will know Joy and you will know that the Love of Christ in your heart will help you overcome anything this world can throw at you.
May you see and know God’s blessings in your life this Christmas and carry them with you all through the New Year!
When speaking to someone who has experienced a terrible tragedy or is going through a difficult time of trial some will ask, “How are you getting through this?” and from certain people the answer is “by faith” or “by the grace of God” and when this is the response I am sure some askers may be thinking ‘what does that mean?’
Well for me to understand it better I would go to the Guide Book for Life…the Bible.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Faith is based on hope and belief…these my friends are both choices in our life. This is why so many of us struggle with faith while living in this world. We live with in a world expecting immediate satisfaction, convenience and me first…not to mention the constant presence of evil and temptations.
As I have reflected this week on the passing of Nelson Mandela all I can think is ‘Wow now that is truly a man of faith.’ The world treated him horribly for so long but he never gave up his hope or his beliefs that the world could be a better place and he could contribute to that with God’s help. Many organizations are printing quotes from Nelson Mandela in the last few days as we all want to know more about a person who worked for justice in the world…here are a few.
“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
There are many people who will write judgments both positive and negative about Nelson Mandela because of things he did during his life. I believe by faith that he tried to do what he believed God wanted him to do and he didn’t just wake up one day and decide to do it. It happened as a part of his journey…his life journey and his faith journey. He wasn’t perfect, he had his sins just like the rest of us but he also made choices to help others, to be a positive influence and to try and bring justice to other human beings in God’s world.
God has promised many things and it is up to each of us to choose to have hope and to believe in the things we do not see. We will often fail and fall down but we should never quit. If we base our faith on how we feel instead of what Christ did for us we will have a difficult time sustaining a faith that is stable and growing. Faith and life are a journey and we can only live one day at a time on that journey…so I encourage you to embrace each day, thank God for the gift of life and seek what you hope for and what you choose to believe…by faith.
Peace and joy to you this day.