New Start in 2015

New Start icon-1Sometimes I can patch the tattered, or duct tape the broken, or re-glue the undone, but other times, I just need to start over. I’m looking toward 2015 and looking for a new start.

Would you like to see some changes in your life? As Christians, God gives us the glorious freedom to see His new mercies every morning. Every day is a do-over, and 2015 can be your do-over year. No matter what you’d like to see change in your life, make holiness – being set apart for God – the center of how God will reshape you.

I’m joining in with a group of Christian bloggers during the month of January to encourage women toward holiness – New Start 15.

Participation in New Start 15 is simple. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

·       Use the New Start 15 Bible Reading Plan in your personal quite time January 5 – 23. (New Start Reading Plan)

·       Like the New Start 15 Facebook group to keep up with daily devotional blog posts, get words of encouragement, and share thoughts from your own journey. (You can also download the New Start 15 bloggers list and schedule.)

·       Follow the New Start 15 “blog hop” January 5-23 (weekdays only) as the New Start 15 team blogs about living the new, holy life in Christ.

·       Check out the New Start 15 Resources List for books, Bible studies, blog posts, printables and more to help you on your journey. (Free Download)

·       Invite your friends to join you in the New Start 15 journey by sending them the link to this post.

Are you ready for a New Start in your relationship with God? Do you want to bring glory to God in your daily life? Join us in January as we peer into the Word of God together.

Please let me know if you’re in for this 2015 inaugural adventure!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 2:17 NIV)

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Sing It Out

“Sing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things.”
(Isaiah 12:5)

Lift your voice to heaven to honor the Lord!

What is your song to the Savior on this Christmas Eve?

Wish I Could Have Been There

I wish I could have been there to see the star of Bethlehem, a guiding light to lead wise men to the Christ Child. Imagine being able to see something that God had specifically placed in the heavens to point people to the Savior!

But wait…I have been able to see such a thing. It was a meadow of flowers, a sunset over the lake, a powerful lightening storm, and I could continuing this list until eternity, because since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20). All of nature is declaring the glory of God, pointing us to our Savior!

I wish I could have been in Bethlehem, but I’m glad I’m here today to see the beauty of Christ in the night sky God has created for me.

Go to the Well

No matter what you’re going through this Christmas or anytime throughout the year, act on this invitation from God:

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (Isaiah 12:3).

I need it. You need it. The living waters from the wells of salvation. Go to the well joyfully and drink. This well will never, ever run dry.

Clodhopper at Christmas

Graceful and refined. I like those two words. But that’s not always me, especially spiritually at Christmas. I’ve got gifts to buy for loved ones, donations to make, charities to purchase toys for, thoughtful things that are appropriate to do at Christmas, events to attend at church…and then I sit still a moment and realize that I’ve been stomping around God’s throne room like a clodhopper. I pull in my feet, sit down, and get quiet before the Lord during this holiest of seasons.

God says, “‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me? …Who has required this from your hand to trample My courts?'” (Isaiah 1:11,12) And then I say, Yes, Lord. You didn’t ask me for busy-ness. You call me to holiness, and joyful ministry, not checking off good deeds like obligations. I worship You, Lord. 

Let us remember why we do what we do at Christmas, and let us do it with worshipful feet.

Tiny Toe, Major Pain

I’ve been limping lately. It all started on Black Friday. I hoped it was just Shoppers Toe (sore foot from too much shopping in cute shoes), but by Cyber Monday I was in major pain. A trip to the doctor revealed that I would need to have a nail removed (please say OUCH with me, because it hurt as badly as you’re imagining!)

That little toe had me writhing in pain. Now imagine what God describes in Isaiah 1, when a sinful nation, the whole “body” is sick: “(the wounds and bruises and putrefying sores) have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment” (1:6). No attending physician, no careful and caring hands.

Our world is writhing in pain, covered in wounds. I can’t heal a nation, but the Lord is the One who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). I will let God use my hands to attend to one little wound at a time as He comforts and heals hurting people. Offer Him your hands.

The Fragrance of Christmas

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

2 Corinthians 2:14-15 NKJV

Christmas is a holiday for each of the five senses. We hear our favorite carols and the jingle of sleigh bells. We see bright reds and greens. We taste the spices of fruitcake and the juiciness of punch at every festive Christmas party. We feel the warmth of the blazing fire over the hearth as we run our fingers over each stocking, thanking God for the name stitched on each one. Our fifth sense typically enjoys the smell of spruce pine or of fresh-baked pies, but add another scent this Christmas: the fragrance of Christ. The beauty of this aroma permeates each space where believers will go, but that precious fragrance has not yet made it into every space on the planet. There are people who haven’t yet been exposed to its beauty and are perishing without the knowledge of the Savior who has come, Jesus Christ. Ask God to give you wisdom and great boldness as you open your heart to His plan for your role in diffusing the fragrance of Christ this Christmas.

What To Give the Children

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”
(Deuteronomy 29:29)

As my children are getting older, finding gifts isn’t as easy, nor is it as much fun. We’ve pretty much outgrown the toy store, and the boys are still too young to get jazzed up about clothing. I try to listen to their personal requests, but it’s hard to get motivated about picking out yet another football to add to their collection, and certainly there’s no holiday cheer in picking out another – oh please, not another – video game. Sigh.

What a beautiful gift that Sovereign God has revealed Himself to us. He has proclaimed the truth and shown us the way through Jesus Christ. Share Christ with your children this Christmas. Lead them to look into the manger, and accept the gift of God that is ours forever!

In the Hustle and Bustle

“Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11-12 NKJV)

As you hustle and bustle about town this month, you will have several encounters with people who need Jesus. From sales clerks and waitresses to great aunts and distant cousins, you will be interacting with people for whom Christ died; have they received the gift of life He is offering to them? When opportunities come to share your faith, reject the feelings of worry and doubt and trust God to give you the words to say. Perhaps the best gift you’ll give this Christmas won’t come wrapped in a bow, but in the powerful and effective words that the Holy Spirit will teach you to say to others as you share about the Savior.

Let It Be Unto Me

Forget the daydreams of a quiet life in Nazareth. Goodbye to plans for the perfect wedding. God had spoken, and His plans were nothing like Mary could’ve imagined. The bridal bliss she had been hoping for since she was a little girl was not going to come together for Mary; or at least, not in the traditional fashion. Unwed Mary was going to have a baby. Her plans, her relationships, her life – everything was about to change.

Mary said, “Let it be to me” (Luke 1:38). What an astonishing relinquishment of control. Mary was fully releasing the reins of her life to God, but not only that, she was telling God that she wanted her life to turn out exactly as God had planned. Her Maker had thrown up a U-turn sign, and Mary was content to let God navigate her life in a new direction.

Think about the peace of whispering to God, “Let it be to me.” Embrace His plan. Release control. Rest in Him.