Monthly Archives: December 2009

In 2010, Lord Make Me New Again!

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It’s the last day of the 2009 year. I always like to take inventory of my previous year and reflect. I like to look at the areas where I have done well and continue to do well. And then of course, I look at those areas where I fell oh so short! And pray about doing better in the coming year. Stepping it up.

And then I like to dream. I dream of a new year. I like new years. I like new beginnings. I like fresh starts. I think of the scripture found in Lamentations 3:22-23  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his com passions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” New every morning. I like that. Brand new mercies every morning I rise to forgive me of my yesterdays and try it all over again!

We all have areas where we are weak. We all have things we ‘wished’ we had done. We all have something we regret or regret not doing. So instead of wallowing in the many areas where we were weak in 2009, what if we took this new year as God’s fresh start for us? What if we woke up tomorrow and said “today is the first day of my brand new start!”  Today is a chance to do things a little differently. Today is a day of a paradigm shift in my thinking. It’s not about getting ourselves motivated, it’s about God inspiring us to do things with fresh eyes. And I think if we could look at our end results, we will be glad we didn’t give up. Walk with me if you will. It’s the last day of 2010- that’s right, I said it, 2010. Look at your year in a glance. What will we have hoped to accomplish? What personal goals will we have hoped to have met? What do we want our relationships to look like at the end of the year? What areas do we hope to grow in?  Sometimes when we have the end in mind, we have clear eyes to see with. Fresh vision.

And finally- and most importantly, what do we want for our own personal relationship to look like with the Lord? Are we happy with our end results from 2009 or do we see ourselves pursuing Him even more next year? Are we happy with our little religious church services or do we want Him to consume our everyday thoughts and lives? Living a life filled and overflowing with His grace, love, and mercy for others. That’s what I want. I say bring it Lord in 2010. Make me new again. Bring on the adventure that You have created me for! I am Yours and I am willing. And Lord, renew our lives for you and restore hope.

In 2010, Lord, make me new again!

Here’s my scripture and my hearts cry for each of us in 2010

Psalms 51:10-12

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

May your 2010 take you to new places, new adventures, a year of renewing and restoring. As you put Him first, everything else will fall into place. Blessings!

The Gift Of Prayer

She was a young mother. It was in the early 60’s. She was by all means a hippie. Experimented with drugs. Went to Greatful Dead concerts and had the peace symbol around her neck. She already had a two year old son and divorce for her was right around the corner. Her husband was in the army. Now, when she and her husband met, they were very young. Both came from two broken worlds and together tried to make a whole. He was young, built, and serving his country. She was young, slender, long straight hair- and beautiful. They were both passionate and wild. Sometimes toxic. Their lives broken and shattered, were not fit to raise a family.
Then, change began to takes it place in him. He was serving in the army and a chaplain befriended him. The chaplain knew his life was spiraling out of control. He was in need of some good news. The chaplain told him about his Jesus. The man shortly after received his Jesus as his own. And forever changed the course of his life.
Now, the young woman had a decision to make. Her young groom was now different. His heart had changed. Would she follow his Jesus and accept Him as her own? Or would she choose the path that is-although painful- comfortable? There is one more twist in this story. She is now with child. She is by all means at a crucial fork in the road. Will she seek to make a better life for her young son and this unborn child or will she continue in her path of destruction?
She made a decision. One that was filled with heartache and grief. One that I  wonder if she ever regretted. She chose what she knew and it resulted in all that she had ever known. Pain. She couldn’t live with her young soldier and the choice he had made. She wasn’t ready to follow this Jesus. And in her own way- felt he had betrayed her. After all, when they met, they were young and in love and wild- together. She had not changed. But he had. Don’t get me wrong. He was still passionate. Just passionate about other things. He still loved his young bride, but knew he had to choose Jesus. He knew his life was broken and in need of a Savior- but couldn’t seem to reach deep enough to pull her out of her own drowning sea. Jesus could have pulled her out, but she never could quite reach her own hand out to ask for His help.
The young mother made her own path in life. She tried the best she knew how to mend her own broken world and to heal her shattered life. She raised her two children the best that she knew how to. Each of them struggled in their own way, seeking their own personal refuge from a life of pain and confusion.
I would have to tell you that I am thankful for the decision that the young soldier made on that day when he asked Jesus into his heart. You see, that young soldier, although not quite as young anymore, made a  choice that will forever impact my life. He chose Jesus. And he prayed for those two young children. The second of which is me. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God heard his prayers for me and was faithful to answer them. I like my mother, was choosing a life that took me into many dark alleys. But no matter where I turned, there continued to be a light. I am thankful for the gift of prayer that my father gave to me. He and his new family prayed for both my brother and I. And I know that God had a plan for that baby girl. Here I am, thirty five years later. And when I was in my mothers womb, God had already predestined a life and a future for me.

Psalm 139:13-16 For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mothers womb 14- I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15- my frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth 16- Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me where written in your book before one of them came to be.

This year, why not give someone the gift of prayer.
You just might be interceding on behalf of Heaven.

And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive.

Matthew 21:22

Twas The Eve Before Christmas

Twas the eve before Christmas and all through the earth
Not a creature was stirring, nor knew of His birth
The hearts were all settled in their beds with their cares
In hopes that Jesus Christ would soon be there
Mankind was unaware of what was ahead
The desperate need for a Savior
Brought many to dread
And me in my bed all snuggled and warm
And daddy laying there, not knowing of the storm
When out from the stable there arose such a clatter
The wise men sprang from their rest
To see what was the matter
Away to the barn I flew like a flash
Tore open the barn doors and lifted up the hatch
The star up above gave a glow to the night
And all of mans heart was at peace at the sight
Wondering eyes but what should appear
But a miniature baby and a mom with a tear
I knew in a moment it must be Jesus Christ
This little one was born to be our sacrifice
More rapid than eagles, his worshippers came
And whistled and shouted and called Him by name
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
For truly God is with us…
Now their hearts were all filled with no greater joy
The promised Messiah was born as a boy
So this Christmas, our gift from above
May we remember a Savior who God sent with His love
To save us all stuck in our sin
This baby made a way that we might worship Him.

Celeste Barnard

The Heart Of Christmas

Christmas Heart : Portrait of a styled professional model: St. Valentine day, angel, love,  Stock Photo

With each present we buy and open, let us always remember to seek your presence

With each gift wrapped, help us to remember to use the gifts you have given us for your glory and to further your kingdom

As we see the Christmas lights illuminating in the darkness, let us remember that it was your light that broke through the darkness in our own hearts

As the stockings are hung, let us be reminded that you hung on the cross for us

As we look at that perfect Christmas tree, let us be reminded of the tree that you shed your blood for us on Calvary

Christmas is all about Jesus. And the next most important thing is whats around your Christmas tree on Christmas morning. No, silly- not the presents. But the presence of the family that the Lord has blessed you with.

Don’t Get Too Attached!

There is a battle within my soul- it rages within me. The cares and the things of this world tug like a game of tug-a-war at my heart. As I sit and listen to Kim Walker’s song  ‘All I Need Is You’, I contemplate if this is truly the cry of my heart. If it is, then why do I choose the things of this world? I love what Paul says in Romans 7:15-“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. “ I think all of us are given choices, daily, that tug at our heart- choices that lead us closer to Him or closer to this world.

I suppose it is because we are in this world everyday. I can compare it to a soldier. We are in battle. Satan is fighting to destroy as many people on his way out as possible. While Jesus, through us, is fighting to save as many souls as possible. We are on enemy lines and the fight is fierce. In a war, when you surrender, it’s because you’ve given up and lost the battle at hand. But in God’s kingdom, surrender takes on a whole different meaning. The world sees surrender as defeat, while we, as Christians, are asked by our Heavenly Father to surrender all- our plans, our ‘things’, our lives unto Him. For followers of Jesus, surrender means strength. It means we are no longer putting our hope and trust in this worlds system, but we are trusting in the One who promises to supply all of our needs. For until we have truly surrendered, we are still trying to hold on to our lives.  What if we let go and something happens? What if I tell the Lord I surrender some…most all? What if I need to be in control?

I must admit, I have given everything to the Lord many times. And taken stuff back many times. Surrender is a daily walk. That’s why I can relate to Paul so much. There is a battle within him. He knows the right thing to do, yet seems to find himself choosing his old ways, habits, or patterns.

The Lord has been speaking to my heart lately. I keep hearing “don’t get too attached”.  What does that mean? The ‘things’ that we work so hard for like houses, cars, clothing, décor, everything perfect, everything in order- well, that’s fine if they don’t have hold of your heart. See, the only things we can take with us when we leave this earth are our relationships and the things that we did out of a pure heart. Everything else will be burnt up on the alter.

Matthew 16:24-25 (NIV)

24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Mark 8:36

36What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

Mark 8:36 (MSG)

What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?

So what is it today that has a hold of your heart?

What are you attached to?

What is fighting for your heart?

Today, would you ask the Lord to reveal who or what has your heart.

And then ask that He would help us to remember that ‘things’ are just that. Things.

No more, no less. God, our family, and His people- now that sounds like a great investment!

Don’t get too attached.

Breakthrough Comes in The Morning

Sunrise at Yumigahama Beach

I can’t tell you how strong I felt it today. God is calling me to rise early. 5:30 am early. I use to get up at 5 and have quickly found myself out of this habit. I really feel strongly that the Lord will bring breakthrough in some areas early, when I start my day off with a sacrifice. I actually set the alarm for 5 but was awake at 4:30. I have to tell you, this is more than a physical battle. This is spiritual. I was mentally awake. I could have gotten up. I didn’t. I even remember the alarm went off at 5am. I was awake. But something inside stayed where it was warm and comfortable. I kept hearing a still small voice and inside I heard “Breakthrough is coming”. I know this is a spiritual battle. I know the Lord is going to use me to write and because of my schedule and work and kids and kids choir, my breakthrough has to come in the morning. I know that’s when I have the sweetest time with Him, before the sun rises, I will choose to fight this battle- no the Lord will fight my battles, but nothing comes without a price. A sacrifice. I need to choose to get out of my comfort zone and do what it takes before my day gets busy and everything else fights for my attention. My breakthroughs will come in the morning.  I am excited about what the Lord will do with this willing heart. I have some big decisions to make and don’t want to take one step without the Lord.

Jesus Example:

Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Luke 21:38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.

John 8:2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

For Our Devotion times:

Psalms 5:3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Psalms 59:16 But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.

Psalms 63:1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

Psalms 88:13 But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

Isaiah 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

So what is it the Lords been asking you to do? Is there something that requires dying to self or crucifying the flesh? I encourage you as we are about to start a brand new year- Ask the Lord what breakthroughs He wants to do in your life. And then ask for His strength to do whatever is required of you. I promise, It will be well worth the sacrifice.

For additional reading, read one of my favorite blogs by Michael Hyatt