Monday, March 17, 2014

Growing in Grace

Over the 30 plus years I have served the Lord, I have heard Bible verses, quotes and statements made by many believers about growing in grace. However, recently, this idea came alive to me. I am currently enrolled an a theology class being taught by my Pastor. Over the years I have heard him on multiple occasions give the definition of grace (unmerited favor) and even heard him expound on how grace is not a license to sin. Recently, however, he has repeatedly taught us the difference between mercy and grace. Even though they are in some instances very interchangeable, they are two distinct and different characteristics altogether. In rather simple terms, he defines the difference this way: Mercy is what I need when I fail. Grace is what I need so I won't fail.

In our theology class last night, Pastor mentioned that the more intimately we are acquainted with Christ, the more grace we receive. I meditated on this for quite some time and of course this makes perfect sense. The more I know Him, the greater my understanding is of what pleases and displeases Him. I thought of the perfect example: After work on Friday, I ran several errands and decided to stop at Saladworks for dinner. I purchased my meal and sat down at a table and began eating and was interrupted by a man seated at a nearby table with his girlfriend:

             Man: Excuse me?
             Me: Yes?
             Man: I was wondering if I offended you just now?
             Me: Ummm, no. Why?
             Man: Well, my girlfriend said that she believes you would be offended by my using
                       the "F" word moments ago.
             Me: Oh, well, I didn't hear you.
             Man: Oh, good. I didn't think you were offended.
             Me: Well, if I HAD heard you, I would have been sad because I am a follower of
                    Christ and believe in using words for good and ones that promote peace.
             Man: (Surprised look on his face) Oh, well then I'm glad you didn't hear me.

As Pastor discussed the idea of growing in grace by knowing Christ more intimately, I thought of this encounter. You see, this man did not know me. He did not know me at all. Had, he known me, he would have been well aware that foul language would be offensive to me. In the same way, the greater we know Christ, the better we understand what grieves Him and what pleases Him. We cannot simply assume that He is well pleased with us. Rather, through spending time in the scriptures and prayer, we are afforded the opportunity of seeing His heart and getting to know Him on a level that subdues us from participating in things that would grieve Him and focusing our time and heart on things that bring Him honor. Thus, the process of "growing in grace."

In the same way, I have shared in the past that there is a difference between knowing ABOUT someone and knowing on a level that you have an intimate relationship with them. If I were the leader of Tim Tebow's fan club, I would more than likely know a lot about him, probably more than the average person. I may even know his address, his favorite color, his favorite Bible verse, his birthday and even some childhood stories. Yet, I've never met him.  Even if I have met him, I've never spent time intimately with him. I've never heard him speak from his heart or built a relationship with him. In the same manner, we must be diligent to know and love Christ intimately and not simply know OF him. Even the demons know of Him. I encourage you dear brother, dear sister, grow in the grace of God by becoming more intimately acquainted with Christ and knowing Him in an even greater way. 

"You therefore, beloved, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." 2 Peter 3:17-18

Friday, November 29, 2013

Pin the Tail on the Donkey

I can remember as a child going to birthday parties and playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey. I didn't particularly like this game because I remember feeling very vulnerable with blindfolded eyes and being spun around and losing all my bearings and sense of stability. To fully surrender and completely trust another with your safety as well as point you in the right direction can be very intimidating.
I have been meditating on this thought lately and how many times in my walk with God, I would not fully surrender. I would feel my plans and my thoughts were better for my life than His. Inevitably, I would find myself in a mess and crying out to God for help. I have come to the realization that I'd rather be in the middle of the most uncomfortable situation and feeling helpless if it's the Lord's will than to be heading on a path of my own desires destined for destruction and less than God has planned for me.
We have all suffered broken trust. Some of us more than others and we can allow it to shape the way we trust God or we can decide that in spite of all our disappointments, God is perfect and trusting Him is NEVER in vain. He never fails.
I want to possess the faith and trust of Abraham. The Bible tells us that "By faith, Abraham when called to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, EVEN THOUGH HE DID NOT KNOW WHERE HE WAS GOING." Hebrews 11:8 God blindfolded Abraham, spun him around, placed the "tail" in his hands and said "Go." Feeling dizzy, uneasy, off-balance and completely vulnerable, what did Abraham do? He went!!! He trusted God. He didn't allow his own level of comfort or his own ideas cloud the voice of God. Nothing was keeping Abraham from possessing all God had for him. This is the kind of heart I want. When God says, go, I want to go. When God says, no, I want to say thank you because You know best.
Lord, may my entire life be surrendered fully to You. May I possess an attitude of gratitude no matter what storms may be raging around me. May I continually realize that You are worthy of praise, completely void of and aside from any and all circumstances in my life. When you blindfold me, spin me around and command me to "Go", may I confidently step out and go. Even if I'm feeling dizzy, off-balance and shaky, may I trust you to guide me and secure my journey with your peace. May your Word stabilize my footing and your Holy Spirit strengthen me for the path you have prepared for me.

Monday, October 14, 2013


Have you ever felt unimportant? Have you ever felt insignificant? Have you ever felt as if you didn't matter? If you have not, count yourself extremely fortunate. Most of us can so clearly identify with feelings of inadequacy and insufficiency. Contrary to our feelings, God places great value on us. He sacrificed it all just to reconcile us back to Himself. The Bible likens us to a valuable lost coin and so important that everything else ceases until we are found and returned to Him. (Luke 15:8-10) We are also compared to lost sheep (one among many) and the Shepherd leaves the 99 sheep to come after just one of us because we are THAT important to Him. (Luke 15:3-7)

I would be remiss if I did not balance out this encouraging post with a healthy dose of humility. We live in a society filled with narcissism where all the focus is on self. "Do what feels good." "Look out for number one." "I, I, I." "Me, me, me." As a result, we have a generation that wants to know what faith in Christ can do for THEM. How will they benefit?  This is not the importance I am referring to. I am reiterating your value for the Kingdom of God. He did not reach down and rescue us so we could obliviously live our lives with some false sense of heaven-bound security. We are on assignment. Our reasonable act of appreciation to the Lord for His indescribable sacrifice is to offer our lives to Him. (Romans 12:1) Our love and commitment to Him should so overflow from us that our greatest desire is to share it with this hurting, desolate, hopeless world we live in. Otherwise, why wouldn't He just miraculously transport us into heaven once we are redeemed?

Dear one, when feelings of inadequacy, unimportance and insignificance seem to overwhelm you, meditate on His amazing love for you and how He sacrificed it all just to have a relationship with you. Even when you despised Him or ignored Him or didn't even acknowledge His existence, He still sacrificed it all in hopes that one day you would see how great His love is for you. (Romans 5:8) 
Surely you recognize that you would not sacrifice your life for something that has little or no value. How much more the Creator of all things would not waste His time redeeming something of no value. He places great value on us because He desires to know us intimately and He wants us to be in a loving relationship with Him.
The Bible says He fashioned and formed us while we were still in our mother's womb. (Psalm 139:13) You are His masterpiece, one of a kind, formed by His majestic Hands. If you were a painting, you would be exceedingly more valuable than any Van Gogh, Picasso, Rembrandt, da Vinci or Michelangelo because you were inspired and created by the Master Artist, The Maker of all things beautiful and lovely. (Ephesians 2:10)
It is my prayer that today you would have a revelation of how important you are to the Lord. I am asking the Lord to place His Hand upon you today and pour out His amazing love on you so you might know the neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate you from the amazing love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39) Because you are priceless.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I have never proclaimed to be a poet nor the daughter of a poet. In fact, I have never written a poem in my life. However, throughout this week during my quiet time I had phrases and poetic "lines" coming to mind. I began to journal those thoughts and this is what they yielded:

Well acquainted with heartache, calling loneliness her friend
Under the weight of abuse and betrayal she’d bend
Cruelty and violence were visiting kin
While mistreatment and insults clothed her skin

Where could she turn, who would understand?
Is there one who would lovingly offer their hand?
Secrets so plentiful and pain that abounds,
She found it much safer to quietly drown
No solace to be found neither day nor night;
Her memories torment and fill her with fright
Year after year she resolved this was her life,
Convinced she was destined to be companioned to strife

She embraced self-loathing and shame like lovers
And dreamed of the day this life would be over
Greeting her loved ones with no tear in her eye,
She built up walls so no one would pry
The prison she built was comfortable it seemed
‘Til one day she realized gone were her dreams

Finally she pondered of what she once knew,
How He would hold her and kiss her and comfort her too
How she never had to walk alone or afraid,
If only she turned to the One by whom she was made
She fell on her face and sobbed and sobbed,
Lamenting over all she’d been robbed

Then tenderly He embraced her and drew her near,
Reminding her sweetly that she was dear
His touch was tender, compassionate and kind,
She realized so quickly He was renewing her mind
Dear child so weary, broken and worn,
Why do you insist on being torn

I’ve sacrificed utterly to make you complete,
All you need do is sit at My feet
Allow me to strengthen and make you free,
The only fare is surrender to Me

In victory she walks, her head held high
Not prideful or boasting but by His side
She knew more battles were coming one day
But fear didn’t grip her or cause her to stray

She surrendered completely and decided to trust
The One who was flawless and made her from dust
Hand in hand they now journey this life so restored
She was fulfilled and delivered by the One she adored

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Heart Transformation

As Christians we have been taught that if we just put the correct boundaries in place (have a mentor, limit where we go, guard what we watch, be cautious whom we befriend), read the Bible and pray every day, etc. then we will be empowered to live victorious lives, free from choosing sin. But, I disagree with this school of thought. I am not saying these practices are bad, but I have seen in my lifetime many that put these safeguards in place and in spite of it all, still continually fall into deliberate repeated sin. I am convinced; the only way to live life victorious over sin is through a heart transformation. Once our desires align with an unquenchable thirst to please the Lord, then we alter our choices, we walk differently and talk differently. Christianity is not a set of rules and regulations, it’s a relationship with Christ, and just like we do not purposely behave in a way that hurts the hearts of our friends and family whom we love deeply, so too, we do not make choices that grieve the heart of our Savior and the Lover of our Souls. It really is that simple. If we love Him, we strive to please Him in every way possible. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” ~John 14:5

Recently I learned through a very difficult lesson that this is not a one-time commitment. Having a heart that continually thirsts to know God more and to walk in ways that please Him, is a continual process. Each day I awaken, I must examine my heart and spend time with the One who created it to ensure that I am walking, living, and loving the faith to which I ascribe.

Once our heart has been transformed and beats to please the Lord, we find our choices being filtered through a desire to please Him. Then, when moments do arise that we fail, we will immediately be grieved in our hearts and instantly repent before the Lord and surely in our regret, will be careful not to repeat the offense again.

I was reminded of when a patient requires a heart transplant. The patient recognizes the value of the new heart, after all it cost someone else their life. If this patient is truly appreciative of the sacrifice that was made so that they may live, they will care tenderly and responsibly for the heart they have been blessed with. They will honor the person that made the sacrifice for them by caring and behaving responsibly with their new heart. Dear reader, the One that sacrificed His life for you, has given you a new heart. Honor Him today by caring for it in a way that pleases Him and shows how appreciative you are for His sacrifice for you.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." ~Romans 12:1-2

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It Ain't Gonna Bake Itself

Those of you that know me, know that the Lord very often speaks to me in analogies and illustrations. I find it so endearing that the One who made me would obviously know the most beneficial way to speak to my heart. With that premise, I share what I was meditating on last night and this morning. I envisioned the process for baking a cake. Fetching the recipe. Purchasing all the necessary ingredients.  Gathering all those ingredients and utensils together to begin the process.
There is a chocolate cake that I make very often that most people love. I don't even have to look at the recipe anymore because I have the recipe embedded in my mind. Now, picture this, you've done all the footwork for this delicious cake but you stand and stare at the recipe. You stare at all the ingredients. You think about all the hard work you've already put into making this wonderful cake. You spend hours memorizing the steps and the ingredients.  But you do nothing more. What did it yield? Not only do you NOT have a delicious cake to enjoy, you have nothing to share with others. You had all the knowledge you needed to make the cake. You had all the ingredients, you just didn't apply that knowledge and mix those ingredients together and follow instructions to produce the desired effect. You could have displayed all the zeal and excitement you could muster up and it still would not have produced a cake. You could shout, wish, hope and cheer all the ingredients on. You could praise and exalt the recipe with as much enthusiasm you can manufacture and it STILL will not produce a cake.
Our Savior has paid the penalty for our sin. He has given us His Word as the instruction book for life (recipe) and the Holy Spirit, Who empowers us to live a life that honors Him.  And just like the chocolate cake recipe I have memorized, we can memorize the entire Word of God (and I am a huge proponent of the benefits of Bible memorization) but if we do not apply it to our lives it profits us nothing. James 1:22-24 says "Do what God’s word says. Don’t merely listen to it, or you will fool yourselves.  If someone listens to God’s word but doesn’t do what it says, he is like a person who looks at his face in a mirror, studies his features, goes away, and immediately forgets what he looks like." I remember when my son, Zach was very small, he had his memory verses from school and church each week. He knew so many Bible verses. One day he was talking about how happy he was that he earned $5 from a relative for quoting 26 Bible verses (one beginning with each letter of the alphabet) and I said to him, "Zach, I'd rather you memorize ONE Bible verse and live it out in your life then memorize the entire Word of God and never live one ounce of it."  When we apply God's Word to our lives and consecrate ourselves to Him, not only does it honor Him and cause us to walk in blessing but it speaks volumes to those around us. We can TELL others about the love of Christ and we can TELL them how right living leads to blessing and causes our hearts to be filled in the knowledge that we are pleasing the Lover of our Souls or we can LIVE it so they can see it for themselves. Words only go so far. Knowledge only goes so far. Show me a man/woman that WALKS in the character and integrity of God and I'll show you someone whose reputation will walk before and after them with little or no words at all. Acts 4:13 reads " When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus."
So, dear reader, I encourage you, I encourage myself, let's mix all the ingredients God has given us for a Godly life together and share them with those around us. Let's apply the Word of God daily to our lives and let's take the lessons He shows us along the way and use them to cause us to align our lives in ways that honor Him and cause others around us to know to whom we belong.
Matthew 5:14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." ~The Message

Monday, June 17, 2013

Kingdom Sight

My daughter recently mentioned the importance of maintaining a healthy "balance" when it comes to our Christian walk. We must have a good balance of studying the Word, prayer and fellowship, all of which fall under the umbrella of worship. Our entire lives are symbolic of our worship unto the Lord. All that we do should reflect our worship unto Him.

As I meditated about this concept of balance, I was reminded of a gymnast and how often on the balance beam or before an extended display of acrobatics, the gymnast will focus intently, specifically and deliberately on one visual point. I even remember using this "technique" when delivering my children. I was taught to pick a focal point in the delivery room as I engaged in the labor and delivery facilitation. Once this focal point is selected, the individual can then clear their mind of everything else and prepare for the task ahead.
If we are going to maintain healthy, balanced spiritual lives our focal point, our visual concentration must be centered on our Lord Jesus, blocking out and clearing our minds of all other distractions and temptations. We must be so filled with the Spirit of God that we walk in ways that honor Him. 
I was reminded of some interesting facts I had learned a while back about the bald eagle. Did you know that the bald eagle only closes his eyes to sleep? He has an "inner eyelid" that is translucent just for blinking. So, when the eagle blinks, he can still see through the translucent membrane that is lubricating his eyes. Wow, what an analogy. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5:15 that we ought to always walk circumspectly (or with prudence and good judgment), or as McMillian Dictionary states, "Seriously considering and weighing very heavily before saying or engaging in something." The idea of the eagle always having his eyes alert and focused reminds me of our responsibilities as Christians to be aware that sin lies at the door and waits for us but the Lord has provided for us a way of escape if we look for it.
Dear reader, what is your focus intent on today? That which you dwell on is what you become. The Bible teaches us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Therefore, I encourage you today to meditate and focus on Godly things. Purpose in your heart to please the Lord in all that you do, fill your thoughts with His thoughts and your heart with His Word. Fellowship with Him and commit all your ways to Him. Walk in worship  before Him every moment. In doing so, I promise you will have peace like never before. I didn't say you would have no troubles. I didn't say you would have no problems. I didn't say you would have no hurts or storms. Rather, I assure you, you will have His peace and as you honor Him, you can be sure you will not walk this life in solitude. He will be your constant companion. He will be your confidante and solace. He will comfort you and celebrate with you. He will be enough.
 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." ~Philippians 4:8

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Escape Hatch


On Sunday morning I found myself running a little behind schedule for church. However, the blouse I wanted to wear had fallen off the hanger in the closet and was a wrinkled ball of mess and needed ironing. As I ironed it I remembered years ago one of my sons telling me as I ironed his shirt that he was in a hurry and I should just iron the front as he was wearing a jacket and the front was all anyone would see. The Lord really spoke to my heart through this as He often does through everyday life and analogies. I simply could not iron only the part of my blouse that would be seen by others because I knew the other areas were a wrinkled mess. It would bother me that the rest of the blouse was not ironed even though others could not see it. Lord, let this be my heart's cry about my inward man as much as it is my outward man. May my heart not be satisfied in sin or in continual struggle even when others cannot see it. May my heart grieve at what grieves Yours.
I am so grateful for a God that allowed His son to be exposed to the same temptations and struggles I am exposed to and tempted by. And now my Blessed Savior sits at the right Hand of our Father and He makes intercession for me and He knows exactly what I'm facing because He too faced the same struggles and temptations. So, He has compassion and mercy on me. At the same time, He is encouraging my heart and reminding me that I can have victory over sin.
The Word of God says, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13 God has given us an escape hatch or an evacuation route but we must choose that way of escape if we want to lay hold of the victory. Often we hear in the news of victims of natural disasters that meet their untimely death for not evacuating when warned to do so. I recently read in a news article that Department of Defense officials have ordered the implementation of improved lighting inside combative tanks so that our soldiers can clearly see the escape hatch and take necessary action when needed to save their lives. In the same way the Holy Spirit inside of us illuminates the way of escape the Lord has provided for us. If the soldier clearly sees his way of escape but does not avail himself of it, he will perish. Much like we are in danger of perishing in our choice for sin over selecting the escape hatch that God has provided for us.
Dear reader, do you have an area in your life that you seem to struggle with and become discouraged for lack of victory? Perhaps it is an unconventional type of temptation such as unforgiveness or bitterness. When temptation knocks on your door, look for your escape hatch. Search for your evacuation route. The Lover of your Soul will meet you there and show you the way. He longs to see you have victory over sin and walk in His glorious freedom and grace. I, too, am asking for His mercy and compassion as I am guilty far too often of not selecting the way of escape He has provided for me.
Father, forgive me for the times that I have chosen the way of temptation and sin over the way of escape. Thank You that when I am weak, You are strong in me and help me remember in my times of temptation and struggle that You have provided a glorious way of escape for me and I can rejoice in choosing that way of escape because it will please You and my greatest desire this side of eternity is to please You my Lord. Help this dear reader as well in clearly selecting the way of escape You have provided.
"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Assembly Required

Recently I was reflecting on how fortunate nature is. I mean think about it. The wind, the waves, they obey the Lord always because they have no free will. The stars, the sun, the moon, they perform on cue. The rocks, the animals and insects, they worship the Lord in unison. How I wished I would obey ALWAYS, worship ALWAYS but then I realized what would I offer the Lord if I had no free will? What sacrifice would I lay at His feet. What gift would I have to offer? I realize, friend, that living out our faith can be a struggle sometimes but we have the wonderful gift of free will and with it we can bless the Lord. We can make Godly choices and give a sacrifice to the Lord that no other creation in heaven or on earth can offer Him. He longs for us to make choices that align with His perfect design. I was counseling a friend the other day that was struggling trusting the Lord in a certain area of her life and I shared with her that sometimes we don't have the whole picture. We don't see like the Lord sees, the beginning from the end. So, it can be difficult to blindly trust especially when trusting causes pain. It's like a huge jigsaw puzzle and you've only managed to assemble a few pieces. How could you possibly see the entire picture when so much is still missing. This is how the life of surrender is. We surrender when things are scary. We surrender when we are filled with uncertainty. We surrender when it doesn't make sense. We surrender when we think we have the best answers. We surrender when we're disappointed and confused. Why? Because, we trust the Master that designed our puzzle. We know that His plans for us are good. Just imagine how ridiculous it would be if we put together that jigsaw puzzle half way and decided to put it on display for others to see. What would they see? They'd see a half finished masterpiece. Not even close to how beautiful it had the potential to be. It's value would be nonexistent. It's beauty unappreciated. It's potential never realized. So after further reflection, I have decided that as beautiful and wonderful all of creation is and how magnificently you can appreciate its worship to the Great Creator, it pales in comparison to the wonderful opportunity He has afforded us to offer our lives through our free will as a reasonable, acceptable sacrifice of worship to His Majesty. Creation, if she had the ability would marvel at how fortunate WE ARE to have such a precious gift.

Dear brother, dear sister, don't give up halfway through the assembling of the beautiful puzzle your life is designed to be. Allow the Master free reign, surrender all for His glory and trust that when He has finished your life will be the masterpiece He so designed it to be.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." Romans 12:1

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Who Doesn't Love New

With recent innovation of electronic devices such as "Nooks, E-Readers" etc. I was talking with a friend the other day and we were agreeing, as I'm sure many others would, that there's just something about reading a BOOK, the feel of the pages, picturing where a particular passage that "hit" you is positioned on the page, the durability, mobility and flexibility of an actual book. After all, when reading a book, one is not dependent on "signal" or "battery charge".

My Pastor's wife hit the nail on the head one time when she mentioned how much she loves her Bible. Yes, you can download the Bible on your I-Phone or Droid and look up passages in any version imaginable on electronic devices but it's just not the same. I agree with her 100%.  This line of thought got me to remembering how a new book has a certain smell that a reader loves and old books are treasures,works of art that have a mysterious beauty about them. As we embark on another year (and my, how they seem to fly by), I began pondering the idea of newness. The Bible is filled with verses reminding us that when we accept Jesus as Savior we are new. We have a "clean slate". It's a new life, waiting to be written.

I remember when I was a kid. I used to love to get new notebooks for school. I couldn't wait to make all my entries clean and neat. However, often mid-way through the first semester one could notice a distinct change in the accuracy and attention to detail in my notes. I became lazy or tired or just plain complacent. Isn't that often the way our walk with the Lord becomes? We allow it to become more like routine or mundane. We lose our first love and become lax in our zeal and study of the Word. 

Webster's dictionary defines "New" this way: New: "Having recently come into existence; Made or become fresh; awakened." When we come to the Lord, we "come into existence" the Bible says we are "born again". Unlike an old, comfortable pair of shoes or broken-in jeans, there comes a certain amount of uncertainty about this "new" life. Questions arise, "How can all the horrible things in my life be wiped out, just like that?", "What will this cost me and what will be required of me?", "Can I do this?" However, once we learn more about the glorious gift of salvation and draw close to the lover of our soul, we realize that everything we've been searching for can be found in Him. The big, fat hole in our heart can be filled with His amazing acceptance, comfort, hope, and love. As we grow in Him we have a stronger desire to become more like Him and to make decisions that will please His heart.

I remember the first time I bought a new car. What a difference from the old, very used cars I had been used to. I treated my new car completely different than the old ones. I wanted to preserve the newness as long as possible. I valued the new more because it cost more and was worth more. This is how our lives are when we come to Christ. Our salvation was paid for at a great price by our Savior. He is trusting us to care for our lives in a more responsible way and to be mindful that we now carry His Name. We are Christians (followers of Christ). 

So, in this new year, I am very conscious of the amazing gift God has given me to be brand new. I want to preserve that newness and continually examine my heart to make sure I am striving with all that is in me to live the life I'm called to live. After walking with the Lord for 31+ years, He's taught me how to deal with the old so I can walk in the new. I encourage you, my brothers and sisters, take advantage of the new slate the Lord has given you. Work through all the old and see how the Lord can use that as you walk in the new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"