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Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. ~ Isaiah 43:19

When I was much younger, I was always in a hurry. I’d set goal after goal. Then complain to my brother about how hard I tried, yet… still hadn’t succeeded. One day, my brother looked at me and said… “It’s not by your might, or by your power, but by the Spirit of the Lord… that you will accomplish your goals… read Zechariah 4:6”. He encouraged me to continue to work hard, do what’s right, and trust in the Lord’s timing.

I thought about my brother’s words today, as I considered my New Year’s resolutions. Like most… I counted my blessings… gave thanks for family and friends… food and shelter. I looked back on past disappointments… felt a surge of optimism… and embraced the renewal of hope that comes with a new beginning. I welcomed the opportunity for self-improvement… delighted at the possibility to help others… bowed my head in humility and gave praise to the almighty God in Jesus name… for allowing me to see another year.

So, whether your New Year’s resolution in 2018 is to… Attend Church More, Be Happier,  Be Healed, Be Kinder, Buy a Car, Eat Healthier, Eat Less, Fall in Love, Get a Job, Get More Exercise, Get Married, Get Sober, Graduate from School,  Help Others, Join a Choir, Join a Church, Learn to Speak a Second Language, Pray Daily, Remodel Your House, Save More Money, Sell a House, Start a Family, Stay Motivated to Grow in Grace and Favor, Stop Procrastinating, Stop Using Profanity, Teach a Bible Class, Travel Around the World, Visit the Sick, Write a Book, Write a Song… and the list goes on-and-on…!

No matter your New Year’s resolutions… Remember, you can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). But it’s not by your power or your might alone… It’s not just luck, hard work, or intellect either… It’s by the spirit of the Lord that we gain favor, be blessed and increase in prosperity.

Jesus Christ allows you to find your way in a wilderness and drink from rivers in the desert. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Hence, by the grace of God through faith… on this 1st day of 2018, you can start again… and expect to behold a new you… Happy New Year!

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? ~ Luke 12:6

This is my first Christmas without my mom. A day that is bittersweet. A day that I count my blessings and give thanks for my life, family, and friends. A day that is entrenched in joy, sadness, grief, love, gratitude, hope, and serenity. As I prayed this morning, I tried to describe to Jesus how I felt… but, no words seemed adequate to express the bundle of emotions gripping my very soul. Then I realized that Jesus didn’t need my words to understand the desires of my heart. So, I cast my cares upon Him, because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7).

For those struggling with loss, heartache, or despair… God has not forgotten you. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to save you. Psalm 30:5, tells us that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. So, on this Christmas day… remember that the birth of Jesus Christ wasn’t an ordinary birth of an ordinary child. It was the incarnation of God Himself. In other words, God became a man in an act of profound love. Therefore, Jesus is both fully God and fully man (John 1:14). He understands what you are going through. You don’t have to feel abandoned. You’re not alone. If you ask and believe… Jesus Christ will comfort you.

God has made it possible for you to have a personal relationship with Him—which is one of the reasons Jesus Christ was born. Therefore, be encouraged on this Christmas day. Think good thoughts, remember the good times and look forward to better days (Philippians 4:8). Know that God has not forgotten you on this Christmas day. Psalm 8:4, tells us that God is mindful of us and that He cares for us. He sent His son Jesus Christ into this world as proof of his love for us.

Know that nothing happens outside of God’s awareness. He knows if a sparrow falls to the ground… He knows all about you, your hopes, and dreams …even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So, don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:30-31).

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

Fate is a very complex idea. We’re not the sovereign masters of our fate… Only God is sovereign. Even the things that we sometimes call fate is under God’s control. Yet… Scripture doesn’t teach that fate is predetermined and beyond human control. Therefore, we need not feel helpless to change our destiny or fate. We must not take the attitude that… whatever happens, happens… And, we can’t do anything about it. This way of thinking is called fatalism and it’s not biblical.

However, Scripture does teach that we were created with the ability to make moral choices. Even the Fall of Man wasn’t a predetermined incident. Adam and Eve were not held captive by fate. Actually, Adam and his wife had the ability to choose obedience and its connected blessing or disobedience and its resulting curse. They both knew what the result of their decision would be (Genesis 3). When we fail to do what is right, it’s because we chose to. We can’t blame the consequences of our bad choices on fate or God (James 1:13-14).

If fate doesn’t seem kind… or things aren’t going in our favor, regardless of our best efforts to do what is right. Remember Matthew 17:20, teaches that through faith the size of a mustard seed… we can move mountains. Then continue to:

  • love God and others (Mark 12:30-31, Luke 10:27, Matthew 22:35–40),
  • believe that God is who Scripture says He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Genesis 5:24, Hebrews 11:5-6, Jude 1:14-15),
  • stay spiritually minded, because it is life and peace (Romans 8:6-8, Acts 2:38, Luke 15:7),
  • reverence and fear God… hope in His mercy (Psalm 147:11, Exodus 20:20, Proverbs 1:7),
  • study and follow the examples of Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher (Matthew 17:5, John 8:29, Matthew 22:16, 24),
  • obey God…  it is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22, Deuteronomy 10:13, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3), and
  • work to do God’s will (Hebrews 13:21, Matthew 5:48, Luke 22:42).

Through free will, God has given us the ability to choose… but our choices do affect our fate. God is still in charge. Even though, we may choose to obey or disobey Him. But, everything that happens in this world is made to work out according to God’s purpose

For, when our ways please God… He can affect our past to change our future. So that in the present moment… we see our faith change our fate.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. ~ Romans 4:21

Years ago, I took a lay theology class. The theologian, who taught the class was fond of saying, “The devil is not creative. He takes what God has given us [to use] for good and finds a way to corrupt it… which leads to sin”. For example; eating is good, but gluttony (Deuteronomy 21:20) is a sin. Love is good, but narcissism (2 Timothy 3:1-9) is not.

Christians don’t have the authority to lift, their earthly good… above their Heavenly Father’s good. We err in the notion of “the greater good” when we do so. For example, when we support moral misconduct, in favor of subscribing to a self-defined, self-serving, “greater good” …we have been deceived. God is not mocked (Galatians 6:7). Christians need not seek, a better advantage or outcome by harming something or someone who is considered less important (Philippians 2:4). The secular gain in the end… doesn’t always justify the means, because the end is not of this world. Scripture affirms that there is an eternity (Romans 14:12).

This world is full of complexities, deceptions, and challenges. Making the best decision, as the right decision isn’t always easy. Since, what looks bad now, may not be bad in the long-term and what looks good now, may not be good in the long-term. That is why we need the wisdom of God, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit every day.

Our perspectives become clear when we embrace the teachings found in Matthew 22:36-40. We remember the promises of God. We stay in constant communication with Him through prayer. And, we always strive to make decisions that lead to the greater good for all.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: ~ Ephesians 2:8

In our… it’s all about me… self-made state of mind. We sometimes remember that we didn’t make ourselves. In humility, we see our smallness in the vast universe. We thank God for feeling the harmony of life. When the rhythms of this world flow in our favor. In the fiercest storm, we see glimmers of hope. These are the times when we feel the grace of God in our lives. It’s in such moments of clarity, we thank God for His amazing grace.

Hebrew 4:16 says, Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. As long as we live… in this world… we need God. We should live each day in awe of His presence. Giving honor to Him… in the name of Jesus for divine favor.

It’s not to say that we don’t make mistakes. But we know that He keeps those in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him because they trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3). We can’t turn lead into gold. Yet, we’re devoted to the One who turned water into wine. We recognize chaos and confusion. But, we know the One… who has it all in control. We work to make this world a better place… as we overcome hardships, experience loss, and sometimes fail.

We may be rich or poor, healthy or ill, popular or shunned, behind bars or free. Others may look at us and wonder, why we sing so loud and praise so hard… Give so much, while asking nothing in return. Pray for those who mistreat us and help those who try to harm us. For we’re not afraid because we know that no weapon formed against us will prosper. Therefore, we boldly do as our Father in Heaven instructs us.

That we may continue in favor… knowing God favors whom He chooses. According to 2 Peter 1:2, grace and peace is multiplied unto those who know God through Jesus Christ. As Christians, we understand… it’s not by our works… or because we’re so good… or by our power… nor by our might that God favors us. We know that it’s by His grace.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.