Two thousand and fourteen is a brand new year to walk with God. Because of Christ we have a bright prospect for the future. This challenges us to love Him more dearly, to know Him more personally, and to trust Him more fully. Just as in days of old, when we follow Him closely He will bless us richly.
It is the Word of God which is able to form new habits and attitudes, teaching us the way of the happy or blessed life. “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.” Ps 56:13 This verse tells us that we are privileged and happy when we learn to give God praise. Praise results in pushing back darkness and living with Christ’s face always before us. Let us boast about the work of God for all our blessings are by His hand. “It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm and the light of your face, for you love them.” Ps 44:3
So it is that God’s blessings will become our portion as we learn to praise Him for all He does. “In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever.” Ps 44:8 In this new year may we be a boasting people, caught up in acclaiming the faithfulness and majesty of our God. Two thousand and fourteen can be a year of great blessing for you!
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What wonder! What utter amazement that the babe of Bethlehem was destined to be my savior and king. He is the unfolding of the tender mercy of our God. He would shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death. His name was Jesus for He would save his people from their sins. “And the child grew… and the grace of God was upon Him.” Luke 2:40
In manhood the Spirit of God led Him to an old rugged cross where Jesus, innocent of al wrongdoing, died a cruel death. Victorious, His death banished forever the power of sin over our lives. Triumphant from the grave, He secured His rightful place as king upon the throne of our heart’s. So Jesus became the light of the world. The one preparing a dwelling for us where the truest reality of all is a place called Heaven.
In this year of our Lord, 2013, will you join me in kneeling before the manger in awe and worship. Then together, we rise refreshed, ready to faithfully serve with all our loyalty and devotion, the babe from Bethlehem who became our king.
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The one thing people everywhere have in common is that each person experiences suffering. Suffering is universal. Part of embracing life is realizing that suffering is valuable and often necessary. “Suffering accepted and vanquished will give you a serenity which may well prove the most exquisite fruit of your life.” Cardinal Mercier However, we may rightly question how pain, hurt, hardship and distress can produce anything that blesses my life. II Corinthians 1:5 tells us we can know that as we trust Christ in the hard times there is hope and renewal of both body and spirit. “You can be sure that the more we undergo sufferings for Christ, the more he will shower us with his comfort and encouragement.” God cares for us and helps us through each painful experience. He is intimately involved in our every hurt and sorrow. The disciple Peter shares that though suffering often knocks us down and takes us out for a season Jesus is there. “He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place and make you stronger than ever.” 1 Peter 5:10
Suffering is not an enemy but a guide to teach us valuable truth and give us greater inner strength. Suffering well helps us see life as precious and meant to be cherished. “Our present joys are sweeter for past pain…” George Granville Pain can be a deep and lasting sorrow. There is a time to step apart from unbearable memories and welcome life once more. “No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…” Philippians 3:13
As we press on past our suffering we have learned many things. We learn to depend on Christ to bring us through dark days. Prayer becomes much more than a spiritual ritual it becomes a reality, a way of living. And when we cannot pray there is an advocate, a steadfast friend who pleads for us before the Father. “The Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words.” Romans 8:26b Dear friends no one truly knows the depth of the sorrows we each experience. As you look at your brother and sister in Christ remember they need your warmth and generous love. It will go far to ease the struggling days of suffering.
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