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New Year Equals New Opportunities (Beckah Shae~Life)

Prayer of jebez

New Year equals new opportunities, new outlook, and new chances! I love the beginning of a new year as it provides a chance to start over with a clean slate and positive outlook!! Just as each day provides a clean slate, so too does each new year. This year…expect the best, prepare for the worst, love boldly, laugh out loud, cry deeply, hope eternally, and live fully!! You never know when your life or the life of a loved one will be taken for none of us are ever promised tomorrow! Each breath is a gift! Don’t waste this year spending your life in anger, envy, strife, conflict, blame, guilt, shame, anxiety, or bitterness for they take away the joy and beauty of each day and take a physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional toll on the quality of your life.

1. If you are angry, pray for peace and surrender to the Lord your anger.
2. If you are envious, try being thankful for what you DO have, for many others have much less than you.
3. If you are in strife or conflict with someone, apologize and make things right….even if you aren’t the one
who made things wrong (after all God forgives and makes things right with you everyday, even when
He was not the one who sinned or made things wrong!–just saying’).
4. If you are spending time blaming others for where you are and who you have become, decide to take responsibility for yourself and the direction of your life for only you have the power to change it!!
5. If you are stuck in a life filled with guilt and shame, pray, seek counsel, change your ways, and surrender it to God– it was Christ’s sacrifice that has covered ALL your guilt and shame with love, mercy, and grace at the cross!
6. If you are filled with anxiety about whatever you are facing, be it finances, family struggles,
employment, death, health, or anything else out of your control….rest in the arms of God.
Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you (more than you may ever know!!).
7. If you hold bitterness towards someone who has wronged you…let it go!!
It doesn’t hurt the other person, but it destroys you from the inside out!
Forgive and find strength in God to show mercy and grace, just as he has so freely given it to you.

Strive to make this year a GOD centered year, instead of a ME centered year and look forward to all that you will be blessed with! When your focus is love and peace, the world is so much better off….and so are YOU!

All my love ❤

Perfectly Imperfect ~Pretty Lies by Veridia

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may prove what is the good, well pleasing, and perfect will of God. ~ Romans 12:2

As we approach New Years Day, it is common to make New Years resolutions. The only problem is that many, if not all, of the resolutions that are made by the majority of people deal with the external being–Losing weight, eating right, working out, getting outdoors more frequently, etc. These are focusing on the outside…the looks, the appearance, the body image. They are temporary, and who determines when you have lost enough weight, whether you are eating right, or if you are getting outdoors enough? When is enough good enough? Who sets the bar? Resolutions to improve the external shell are wonderful, don’t get me wrong! However, if it is society telling you to lose weight, eat right, exercise more, than your resolutions will not succeed for societal views of perfection can never truly be achieved (hence the reason why resolutions typically fail)! After all, if we were able to be “perfect” then why the need to airbrush/Photoshop ads? Why would we need to starve ourselves or exercise till we break if perfection could be obtained?

Instead of focusing on the outside this year, take some time to devote to the inside…the heart, the mind, the soul. The goal of life it not to be perfect, for we are “perfectly imperfect” beings! The goal of life is to be perfected through the blood of Christ, who was born and died for you! The only way to change the outside, is to first change the inside. You were created by God on purpose for a purpose and your body is not yours…despite how you may feel! It is the Lord’s. If you focus your energy on God, his commands, his love for you, his sacrifice for you, his never-ending grace towards you, and his endless mercy, then you will see that you are perfectly imperfect, which is just how it should be! It is in our imperfections that we are able to see our need for God. If we were perfect we wouldn’t need him!! When you accept that you are imperfect, you can accept who you are, where you are, and how you look and feel about yourself. When God is at the center, the external becomes a part of the journey. However, if the external is at the center, you will never be happy because there is always someone prettier, handsomer, richer, smarter, more athletic, and on and on it goes. You will never find happiness or true joy if you try to reach the illusion of perfection!

Perfectly imperfect 2

So, rather than focusing on the external this year, shift your center to the internal. Find your peace with God and with whom he created you to be. Find peace with all of you–your looks, your job, your family, your life. No matter how imperfect, you are in God’s hands and he will work all things out for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose—that is YOU! Believe me, I know hard times and how hard it is to see yourself as beautiful when life tells you otherwise!! Remember, you are “PERFECTLY IMPERFECT” and that is breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL!!!

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~ Ephesians 2:10

For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

And we know that God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

May you pray more, dive into scriptural truths, and spend some time listening to God’s still small voice midst the noisy chaos of life! I assure you that when you do, you will find true joy in who you are, no matter the circumstances.

All my love and blessings for a wonderful, fabulous, enriching new year! ❤

New Year, New Creation–let go and let God!

Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.
The old things have passed away.
Behold, all things have become new.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 ~

With a New Year comes the promise of a fresh start, and for that matter with the dawning of each new morning comes the chance to start with a clean slate! What better time to cast off the past and cling to a hope filled future. Put away the bitterness, anger, and strife, exchanging it for forgiveness, joy and peace. Let go of the grievous sins that hold you back from fulfilling your God created destiny, and jump into God’s plan for your life. Today, with the promise of a New Year ahead of you…..let go and let God.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and future.
~ Jeremiah 29:11 ~

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined
according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will
~ Ephesians 1:11 ~

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son,
so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
and these whom He predestined, He also called;
and these whom He called, He also justified;
and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
~ Romans 8:28-30

Don’t fret or fear the unknown, which lies ahead when you surrender and take the leap of faith to fulfill God’s plan for your life this year. Instead rest in the promise that he will never leave you nor forsake you! The path may not be easy, as a matter of fact I can guarantee it will be filled with trials and tribulations, but know with unwavering faith that God is with you through it all and can provide the strength you need to make it through. The past can hold you down, bury your heart in darkness and shame, even keep you mentally locked into depression and suicidal thoughts, but take heart….God will be there when you open the door to let him in. All you need do is let go and let God.

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the LORD your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel,
“Be strong and courageous,
for you shall go with this people into the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them,
and you shall give it to them as an inheritance.
“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you.
He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
~ Deuteronomy 31:6-8 ~

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations,
knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
and perseverance, proven character;
and proven character, hope;
and hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
~ Romans 5:3-4 ~

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
~ Philippians 4:13 ~

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;
we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not despairing;
persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed
~ 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 ~

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works within us,
to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
~ Ephesians 3:20-21 ~

There truly is no better time to cast off the old burdensome ways, and press on toward hope, renewal, grace, joy, peace, and blessings beyond imagination. No matter what your choice this year (keep the old ways or adopt something new in Christ) you will always have trials and persecution. What better way to go through them than with the power of God! After all he did sacrifice all he had to reconnect with you, and provide you a future filled with hope and promise. Ask, seek, and knock at the door of your heart and soul, and I can guarantee God will answer and fill you with all he has to offer if you simply…..let go and let God.

For God so loved the world,
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish,
but have eternal life.
For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world,
but that the world should be saved through him.
~ John 3:16-17

All my love and may you drink deeply of the promises of God this year, finding hope and grace beyond measure, and resting in the one true love that will keep you going for years to come, no matter the stormy trials you encounter. Blessings my friends ❤

Related Readings:

The “What If” Factor – Dangerous Mind 
Trust the Lord! – The Christian Gazette
Beautiful Forever – Flourish
Faith Child, You won’t Escape Adversity – ChristianBlessings
Is Your Cup Filled with Hope – My Spiritual Breakfast

Growing Pains

As another crazy, yet blessed year comes to a close, I find myself glancing back at what I have accomplished, how far I have come, and how much I have grown. I think it is truly amazing how God uses all things to bring growth and glory in my life, and in the lives of all his children (including you!).

This past year, like so many before it, has seen its share of pain and anguish: the death of my father, my uncle, and a close friend, family chaos and fighting (which often sadly occurs when death comes), broken relationship and a shattered heart, an unexpected move, and financial strain. Yet, oddly enough, this year brought beauty, healing, love, and provision through it all.

You see, despite the pain and suffering, God was in it all, working his will, his plan, his glory through all of it. Pain and suffering is a normal part of life and an integral part of spiritual growth.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

Hebrews 5:5-8 So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”; just as He says also in another passage, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.” In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

Jesus Christ Himself was not exempt from the pain and suffering of this world. Pain and suffering in your life is one way that God prunes you, building you up and making you stronger. Much like a great work out at the gym, there is often pain afterward (even during the workout as you push yourself), but the results are wonderful in the long run if you keep working out and building up muscles that increase your strength. Another example is the olive tree. A farmer must cut (or prune) the branches back in order for the tree to produce a more abundant crop the next season. If it is not pruned, it grows unkempt, producing less fruit, and therefore yielding less profit for the farmer.

John 15:1-3 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

You and I are the branches on the tree of life, and if we are not pruned, we tend to not bear the fruit of righteousness, purity, or holiness. We become weak, wild, and unkempt, losing sight of what we are here for–to produce fruit that brings honor and glory to the Lord, bringing others into his kingdom, showing the light of God for all to see.

Pain and suffering in this life are also motivators for growth. When you get stuck in the mundane routines of life–work, family, home, friends, etc., it is easy to get comfortable and not change or stretch outside of your comfort zone. Going back to the workout example, if you keep doing the same exercise routine day in and day out, you will see results, but eventually they will plateau and your workout routine will be only for maintaining, rather than continued strengthening. Even weight loss will fade if the workout routine stays the same. You have to change things up to see continued results, to build more muscle mass, to thin out more, and to tone consistently.

Spiritual growth is similar. If church and scripture become mundane routines, the same thing day in and day out, you will get stuck, your spiritual growth will plateau. God wants your spiritual growth to excel, to continue to grow each and every day. This means that you have to be forced out of your comfort zone sometimes, and often the only way to get you to do that is through pain and suffering. When life is grand, going smoothly, and you have no worries or stress, God tends to be put on the back seat. Ever notice that your prayer life and devotional time picks up a great deal when there is pain, suffering, trials, or tribulations in your life. That is because during those times, your reliance on God is stronger and more evident. You can’t fix things, make them better, or change them, and thus you seek God, seek His will, His discernment and wisdom to handle all that you are facing. You may even reach out to others in your community–church, work, home, neighborhood–for help and guidance.

Often during the most painful times in our lives, we are forced to take responsibility for our failures and learn how to adapt and change so as to not make the same mistakes next time. Other times, we are confronted with requests that take us out of our cushy comfortable place to become a witness and light for God. It may be that you are asked to forgive someone who has hurt or betrayed you. Perhaps you are being called to share your pain with someone in order to show the glory of God as he brings you through it. Maybe the pain in your life is building perseverance, patience, or other spiritual fruits in your own life. Whatever it may by, God is using the pain and suffering to motivate change and growth in your life.

James 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 5:11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Romans 5:3-5 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ

Though I faced my share of pain and suffering in 2014, I can look back on each and every moment and see God’s mighty hand at work through the entire event. Through the deaths that came into my life, I was able to find courage and strength to do what was right midst the chaos and family fighting. Though my heart was broken and a relationship ruined, I was given comfort and wisdom midst the storm, making a few of the toughest decisions of my life, which ultimately brought peace to me and my son. Even through the financial difficulties, God changed my view of budgeting, helping me save more than I have before. In the moments of pain and suffering, I didn’t always see his mighty hand at work, but looking back on the year, it is evident he was with me, guiding, building, refining, and growing me into the woman of God he designed.

So, my friends, fret not when you are facing pain, trials, tribulations, or suffering, for in time, God will produce an abundance of fruit, helping you change the old patterns of life, enabling you to grow spiritually! With that said, I look forward to another year and what may come–the good, the bad, and the ugly! Bring it on, for with God, we can all rest assured that good will come, hope will be renewed, and the future will be bright.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God bless and keep you in the coming year and always! May you rejoice midst the pain and suffering, knowing that God is working all things for your good! He is with you always and forever, and will never leave you nor forsake you, providing all you need to face all that comes your way.

In Christ’s Love ❤

New Beginnings–Live life to the fullest this year!

journeyofredemption.com

journeyofredemption.com

With the new year comes the opportunity to leave the old behind, and focus on the future and the things to come.  Now is not the time to regret what you have done, or where you have been, but it is the time to repent, forgive, and press on for the eternal glory of God.

Live life to the fullest this year, and love the life you have.  It may not be perfect.  It may not be easy.  In fact your life may be complicated, difficult, or you may be going through grief and loss.  However, even amidst the pain, there is hope.  In the midst of complications, there is peace, and in the difficult times there is wisdom and endurance.  All these things are at your fingertips; only a prayer away.  Ask God into your heart, claim the beauty, grace, mercy, and peace of Christ for yourself.  Surrender your circumstances to the One and Only Lord of all Creation for He is bigger than all that you face!

Find the beauty in life, even when in the center of life’s storms!!  Remember, where there is rain, a rainbow comes.  Where there are fires, new life grows.  Where there is snow and ice, the buds of spring come forth.  You are more blessed than you realize.  Just breath, seek, and find the glory of God that satisfies!

Now is the time to begin again!

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  ~ Philippians 3:13-14