A Fresh Start

We have a new year and a new beginning—ushering in thoughts of fresh starts, a chance to do things differently, or even over again. How will we use the New Year our Lord has given us? Even though it’s the middle of winter, my mind skips ahead to springtime when I first observe the daylily leaves in my garden pushing through the soil. Crumpled over at first, the leaves appear fragile. But with exposure to the sun and rain and air they are able to strengthen and flourish, eventually growing into mature plants with numerous beautiful flowers. I want to grow stronger and substantial this year. Will you join me in this endeavor?

What change do you desire in your life this New Year?

  • Strength and maturity in your walk with the Lord
  • Consistent Bible reading and study
  • A deliberate prayer life
  • More time devoted to meaningful relationships
  • A renewed focus on utilizing your spiritual gifts in service to God and His church

Joshua chapter 2 contains the narrative of the prostitute Rahab, and how she sheltered and protected two Israelite spies who Joshua had sent out to investigate the city of Jericho. By aligning herself with the God of Israel, rather than her idolatrous past, she obtained a fresh start when the Israelites spared her life, along with her family, during the destruction of Jericho. Rahab was to tie a scarlet cord, perhaps symbolizing the blood of the Passover lamb, in her window. This act of confessing and obeying God provided her escape from the wicked Canaanite lifestyle to one of grace and provision. God’s grace—a beautiful, true story—provided Rahab with a fresh start. And, His grace can do the same for us.

We all start out with the best of intentions at the onset of a new year, but there’s a lot clamouring for our attention these days. And soon, we may find ourselves discouraged as events hamper our good choices, and behavioural changes don’t often look the way we imagined. Family responsibilities, busyness, traffic, time on the computer, and household chores deplete us, robbing us not only of our time but also of our joy. However, it all comes down to our choices, just as it did in Rahab’s life. Will we put God first as she did, and allow the old lifestyle choices to fall away? Only then will you and I move forward in what He wants us to be about.

Jesus tells the parable, in Matthew 13, of the sower who scatters his seed in different places. Verse 7 tells us some of the seed fell among thorns, and as this seed grew, the thorns choked out the new plants. Verse 22 explains the thorns represent the “worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth” choking out God’s Word and making us unfruitful.

Don’t allow the weeds of life, many planted by the enemy, stifle the best that God wants for us. Rather, let’s choose to be like those daylily leaves springing forth into a mature plant with elegant and pleasing flowers.

Father God, I want 2018 to look different. I desire to spend more time in your Word, praying, and committed to living a life pleasing to you. Please grant me a fresh start as I commit to aligning myself with you and putting you first. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Job 8:7 (NIV): “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.”

Isaiah 43:19 (NIV): “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

Acts 3:19 (NIV): “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

Colossians 1:10-11 (NIV): “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience ….”

© 2018 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

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Rejoice in Our Redeemer

I send Christmas greetings and pray His blessings for all of my beloved readers.

Only by embracing Jesus and asking forgiveness for our sins will we be saved and have communion with God the Father. If you’ve never invited Jesus into your heart, this Christmas season is the perfect time to reflect on your sin and its consequence, which is eternal death, and to ask Jesus to deliver you from that. Faith in Jesus is the ONLY way. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV).

Knowing she was carrying the Christ child, Mary offered up a personal hymn of praise to God. Her song, also known as the Magnificat, begins with, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47, NIV). May we all rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, this Christmas.

© 2017 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

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When God Says: “Yes!”

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, over half of Americans (55%) say they pray daily. Women respond as more likely to pray daily than men do (64% versus 46%). With the majority of us women praying, we can logically conclude that there are many different types of answers we receive to our prayers. A Pearl of Great Value will be exploring a few of these in a seven-part series on prayer entitled, “When God Says ….”

Part 7 of 7

Gathered in the kitchen with our daughter, her husband, and our granddaughter, I was prepping food for dinner. Knowing the troops were hungry, I decided to put out some cheese and crackers to nibble on before our meal. As I set the plate, with a generous portion of brie cheese, down in front of our granddaughter, her eyes became large as saucers and she exclaimed, “Holy moly!” Having a rather advanced palate for her young age, she thought it was all for her! We all chuckled over her exuberance, and I wondered,

What is our response when life gives us so much more than we ever imagined?

Continue reading “When God Says: “Yes!””

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When God Says: “Go”

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, over half of Americans (55%) say they pray daily. Women respond as more likely to pray daily than men do (64% versus 46%). With the majority of us women praying, we can logically conclude that there are many different types of answers we receive to our prayers. A Pearl of Great Value will be exploring a few of these in a seven-part series on prayer entitled, “When God Says ….”

Part 6 of 7

From years ago I remember a Christian song with a tongue-in-cheek chorus which goes:

Please don’t send me to Africa
I don’t think I’ve got what it takes
I’m just a man, I’m not a Tarzan
Don’t like lions, gorillas or snakes
I’ll serve you here in suburbia
In my comfortable middle-class life
But please don’t send me out into the bush
Where the natives are restless at night.

“Please Don’t Send Me to Africa” (McHugh and Brown, 1988).

Those lyrics pretty much summed up how I felt about going on a foreign mission trip. Years later, though, I would find myself in the country of Vietnam doing exactly what I said I never would. Continue reading “When God Says: “Go””

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When God Says: “Slow Down”

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, over half of Americans (55%) say they pray daily. Women respond as more likely to pray daily than men do (64% versus 46%). With the majority of us women praying, we can logically conclude that there are many different types of answers we receive to our prayers. A Pearl of Great Value will be exploring a few of these in a seven-part series on prayer entitled, “When God Says ….”

Part 5 of 7

Many of us know the feeling—insomnia, anxiety, shortness of breath, and perhaps heart palpitations —all physical symptoms of when life is spinning out of control. We’re convinced we’re living life to the fullest, yet with many demands imposed on us we’re staying busy all the time, and neglecting to take some downtime.

Detecting their fatigue after a time of preaching and performing miracles, Jesus admonished his disciples to, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31b, NIV). How often do we apply that advice? It’s difficult to pull back from a go-go mentality or way of life. Even more so if it’s all good stuff we’re doing for church, family, and others. However, as we pray, we may detect God saying, “Slow down.”

God desires our attention and will use any means to slow us down in order to get it.

Continue reading “When God Says: “Slow Down””

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