I hope that joy and peace graced your Christmas. I also hope you have managed to find some rest time, especially if you have a house full of kids.:) Reflecting on this past year, I’ve found myself enjoying lots of our kids’ sporting events. Other highlights from 2018 include:
- Cameron’s high school graduation, (our oldest son). He attends Grand Canyon University and loves it.
- Eric and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary in Coeur d’Alene, ID in June.
- Our family enjoyed a vacation in Whitefish, Montana and visiting Glacier National Park in July. We spent our time hiking, mountain biking, ziplining, and viewing some beautiful scenery.
God has graciously blessed our family in many ways, for which I’m grateful. He has also led me into some new ministry terrain that is challenging and rewarding at the same time.
I am also starting a new business called L&L Abode. So far my products comprise canvas and mugs with pictures that I photograph and/or digitally create. But I plan on adding more products and variety in the near future. (If you’re interested in checking it out, this link will take you to my store: L&L Abode.)
As you reflect on this past year and set your sights on new horizons, I hope and pray that God makes His will clear for you and that you see his hand at work in your life. We can trust God in the year ahead, for he has good plans for our future. The following Bible verses, shared by Mary Fairchild, are grounds for excitement!
NEW BIRTH – A LIVING HOPE
Salvation in Jesus Christ represents new birth — a transformation of who we are. The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the new and living hope we have in this life and in the life to come:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3, NIV)
A NEW CREATION
This passage describes a transformation that will eventually lead to the full enjoyment of eternal life in the new heavens and new earth. Christ’s life, death, and resurrection introduce followers of Jesus Christ to a foretaste of the new world to come.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV)
A NEW HEART
Believers are not merely changed externally, they undergo a radical renewal of heart. This total cleansing and transformation reveal the holiness of God to an unholy world:
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command. (Ezekiel 36:25-27, NLT)
FORGET THE PAST – LEARN FROM MISTAKES
Christians aren’t perfect. The more we grow in Christ, the more we realize how far we have to go. We can learn from our mistakes, but they are in the past and need to stay there. We look forward toward the resurrection. We keep our eyes on the prize. And by maintaining our focus on the goal, we are pulled heavenward.
Both discipline and perseverance are required to accomplish this objective.
No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. (Philippians 3:13-14, NLT)
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:10-11, NIV)
WAIT ON THE LORD – GOD’S TIMING IS PERFECT
We can be content and wait for God’s timing, for it is sure to be the right time. By waiting and trusting patiently, we gain quiet strength:
Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7, NLT)
Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:31, NASB)