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Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Beginnings

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  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.”  Isaiah 43:18-19
 “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’  Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’.  He said to me: ‘It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.  He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be My son.’”  Revelation 21:5
“A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35
A few years ago, my husband and I attended a wonderful Christmas Pageant at a large church near Houston, Texas.   A modern day version of the Prodigal Son, this drama production was a powerful story of faith in God, unconditional love, and unrestricted forgiveness.
In spite of their busyness during the Christmas season, and even though they were surrounded by others, the husband and wife in the play were missing one family member.  Having chosen a life of sin and rebellion, their oldest son, Michael had left home five years earlier.  Living inside a homeless shelter, and with no hope of being reunited with his family again, Michael felt extremely lost and alone.
Of course, back home there was a different outlook on the situation.  Michael’s Christian parents and other family members longed for him to come home.  The entire family had prayed for his return, and their only desire was to welcome Michael home and make up for the time that had been lost by his absence.
As the story ended, Michael did come home to his family.   With God at the center of their lives, Michael’s family members were able to give him the unconditional love and forgiveness that he needed.  This act of mercy from his family now enabled Michael to have the new beginning that he so desperately needed and wanted.
Because we are human, all of us have needed new beginnings in our lives at some point in time.  We have all needed unconditional love and forgiveness from God and others; and we have also needed to extend that same love and forgiveness to someone else.  
As we begin this New Year of 2012, I pray that each of us will seek whatever new beginning we might need in our own life.  Without reservation, may we also be willing to show others the same love and forgiveness that Jesus has shown to us. At this moment you may know someone who needs a new beginning.  With God's guidance, won't you act in love and mercy as you show support for that person through the change that is needed.  You could very well be the conduit that God will use to turn a person's life around.  I can think of nothing more eternally valuable and humbling than knowing that God has used you for some great purpose.
Happy New Year, friends!  May each of you be blessed with God’s love, peace, and joy. Thank you for your support in reading my blog articles in 2011.  With God's help, I will continue sharing those words that burn in my heart for my family and friends.  I am humbled by those of you who have connected with my blog from many countries around the world.  Please know that I believe God has a word of encouragement for you.  I am praying for you and will continue to do so. 
Prayer:  Dear God.  In love, grace, and mercy You have watched after us for another year.  Thank You for walking beside us this past year.  Thank You for Your presence in our lives through the good times and during times that have been more difficult.  We are humbled by Your desire to give us new beginnings.  If it were not for Your mercy and grace, we would still be stuck in the muck and mire of our own failures and sins.  Thank You for unconditional love and forgiveness, so that in turn we might show the same to others.  We are all in need of Your touch on our lives each day.  Bless each person who reads these words.  Please give them faith, strength, and the desire to trust You for each of their needs.  Through You, may 2012 be a year of hope and peace for all of us.  We pray this in Jesus name.  Amen.
All verses of scripture are taken from the New International Version of the Bible.  To read the biblical account of the prodigal son, you may find it in Luke 15:11-32.

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