Happy New Year and abundant life in Christ Jesus!

It is not customary to talk of the end at the beginning, but as this new year dawns, this passage from the Book of Revelation gives us hope and strength to press forward:
And the one sitting on the throne said, Look, I am making everything new. (Revelation 21:5, NLT).
This encouraging word becomes even more empowering when you read the previous verse:
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. (Revelation 21:4, NLT)
While this is talking about the end of time, when all sin and sorrow are wiped away, it is also our hope in every new season. With the end of one year comes a turning of the page and a time of new beginnings.
No matter what you have experienced in the last 12 months, I pray you will experience a fresh touch of God as this new year dawns. May God wipe every tear from your eyes and fill you with hope for the year to come.
God bless you,

Happy New Year and abundant life in Christ Jesus!

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Merry Christmas

One of the most wondrous aspects of Christmas is witnessing the birth of Christ being celebrated all over the world. Joy to the world; the Lord is come. Let earth receive her King.

The words of the beloved hymn “Joy to the World,” written by Isaac Watts, lift triumphant voices to the Heavens every Christmas. And yet they were originally written glorifying the return of Jesus. Still, one can imagine a heavenly chorus proclaiming their joy with those very words the night of His birth.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come;

Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare Him room.

He is the Alpha and Omega. With His birth, we both celebrate the gift God has sent to the world – His only Son – and rest in the hope of His swift return. He is the beginning and the end.

I pray peace and joy will reign in your heart and home throughout this Christmas season. Have a very Merry Christmas. May you know the presence of your Heavenly Father, and may you join with Heaven and earth in singing this joyous proclamation now and in the age to come of the wonders of His love. God loves you and wants to be with you for eternity.

God bless you,

Merry Christmas Devotion

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Remembering God’s Goodness

Joshua3:14-17 , Joshua4:1-17

Have you ever heard a song that you hadn’t listened to in years? It’s amazing how well we can recall lyrics a long time later, and yet we so easily forget God’s goodness to us. Today’s verses offer a good example for us to follow. 

God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and safely through the Red Sea. Then He miraculously provided yet another dry path by stacking the Jordan’s waters in an enormous heap upstream. The people were about to enter Jericho, and by God’s power, they would overcome the city. How compassionate to encourage them with a tangible illustration of His strength before such a battle!

But God also knew how easily they had forgotten Him before. So in His love, He had a plan to help the Israelites remember the miracle at the river. He told them to create an altar of 12 stones, each representing a tribe of Israel that had safely passed through the waters. This way, they would have a tangible reminder of divine rescue. 

Today, we likewise need help recalling God’s involvement in our life. When He works in obvious ways, it’s easy to trust Him. But as time goes on, we tend to forget. 

How can you create reminders of God’s faithfulness? Whether it’s by means of a journal or a note in your phone, make sure to remember the Lord’s goodness to you. 

If You Want to Follow Christ . . .

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Matthew16:24

The cross has become a symbol of many things today. We see it depicted as a religious icon and in ornate jewelry. Yet the real cross of history was the symbol of a very cruel death. For people of the first century, the cross was a hated, despised symbol.

The Romans crucified many people on the roads leading into their cities as a warning to anyone who would dare to defy the powers of Rome.

So, when Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 16:24, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (NKJV), the meaning was not lost on them.

Jesus made this statement at Caesarea Philippi, after He predicted His betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection. At this point, Simon Peter took an authoritarian position and began to rebuke Jesus, saying, Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You! (verse 22 NKJV).

Essentially Peter was saying, Avoid the unpleasant! Avoid the difficulty! Don’t give up anything! Let’s just continue as we have been up to this point.

But Jesus was saying to Peter and the others, Look, if you want to be my disciples, then you, too, will have to deny yourself and take up your cross. Yet as you do that, you will find life as it was meant to be lived.

Sometimes we identify whatever is bothering us or plaguing us as our cross to bear. But that isn’t correct. The cross symbolizes the same thing to every person: it speaks of dying to self, of putting God’s will before our own.

The meaning of life, the purpose of life, is to know God. The best life to live is the Christian life. And to live it the most effectively, we must take up our cross and follow Jesus Christ

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This is not a new thing to believe in, for God has proven Himself faithful by fulfilling all His promises from the Old Testament to the New Testament. God wants you to have a firm grip on Him and you will not be disappointed

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

God always demands a response from us whenever He is about to do something great. When Joshua was promised that he would be able to lead the Israelites to the promised land, his response was great courage. God through Moses told him to be courageous and be not afraid because God demands a faithful, trusting response from us. This verse tells us to hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering for the sake of the things we hoped and prayed for in life. This is how we respond to God’s faithfulness. This is not a new thing to believe in, for God has proven Himself faithful by fulfilling all His promises from the Old Testament to the New Testament. God wants you to have a firm grip on Him and you will not be disappointed

The Price for Rejecting God

1 John 5:11-13

Many people believe they’ll go to heaven because they tried to live a good life, but the only way to spend eternity with God is to receive Jesus Christ’s gift of salvation. Whoever refuses the gift will be separated from the Him for all eternity.

For a person to be saved, he must first recognize that on his own, he is not good enough to deserve anything from God. His sin is rebellion that alienates him from his Creator. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t avoid sinning again because it’s his nature. However, if he turns to Christ in faith, all his sins are forgiven. He’s pronounced not guilty and is given a brand-new nature.

But if someone rejects the truth that salvation comes only through the atoning death of Jesus Christ, that person has nowhere else to turn. His good works aren’t enough to get him into heaven, because his transgressions remain unforgiven.

These words are not meant to scare you; they’re a warning about what the future holds if you reject the Lord’s offer of salvation. God has set before you a choice between eternal life and death. What will you choose?

Shalom

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When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.”—John 19:30

At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
MATTHEW 27:46
Although heartbreaking and brutal, the death of Jesus is hands down the most beautiful act of love this world has ever seen. And while the Scriptures paint a beautifully epic timeline of this event, there is one part that has always seemed to create curiosity within my heart — the time of God’s silence while Jesus was on the cross.

“When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.”—John 19:30

Why was God silent? Where did he Go? Why did he forsake Jesus?

At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”—Matthew 27:46

These words that Jesus cried out as he was hanging on the Cross have been the source of much debate among Christians throughout the years.

Regardless of why…God’s voice was absent.

I write this because I feel like many people today struggle with knowing God’s voice, curious as to whether or not God is hearing their cries. Regardless of why Jesus thought God to be silent upon the cross, I believe that even in God’s silence there is power. We may not always understand what God is doing in the moment, but we must trust that God will provide for those who are in need and bring support for those who need it — in his timing, not ours.

There have been many times in my life where I felt God to was silent but later realized that “silence” was actually God doing a mighty work within me — I just failed to realize it. What we perceive as God being silent isn’t always the reality, and we must trust that God knows what he is doing when it comes to taking care of the children he created.

Whether you have financial burdens, relationship problems or even health issues, trust that God is always present, even amidst what you perceive as silence. He’s still there. He’s still taking care of you. He’s still God.

Dear God, please remind me daily that your silence never signifies your lack of love or presence in my life. Thank you for being my provider, protector, and comforter even amidst the silence. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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The Day God Gave Me More Than I Ca Handle
During some of the toughest times in my life I’ve been told that God wouldn’t give me more than I could handle. And I hate to break it to you guys. But we’re wrong. We are all getting it SO wrong.

Value What You Have

A man once robbed a bank in Ottawa, Canada, stealing $6,000. But the interesting part of the story is this: When they arrested him and took him to jail, they discovered he’d used a 1918 Colt revolver to commit that crime. Now, anyone who knows anything about guns already understands the point of this story. This gun was valued at more than $100,000, yet this man robbed a bank for only $6,000. He could have simply sold the gun and walked away with more than ten times what he got in the robbery. But he didn’t sell the gun because he didn’t know the worth of what he held in his hand.

Similarly, if you ever discover all that you have in your relationship with God and your faith walk with Him, you’ll understand that you don’t have to settle for cheap substitutes. You don’t have to spend your time stuck in a prison of bitterness, resentment, regret, hopelessness or blame. Rather, if you just look at the value of what you already have in God by faith and how it can be used to bring about a greater good and God’s glory, then you, too, will experience the fullness of His promises made manifest in your life.

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