Sunday, January 1, 2017

new beginnings

Once upon a time... (always a classic introduction)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
(definitely sets the stage)

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times...
(an iconic journey, for sure)

It was a dark and stormy night... (an ominous but compelling start)

In the beginning...
(ahhhhhh, my favorite!!!)

Don't you love the beginning of a story?
The possibilities that await?
The start of something about to unfold and be revealed?
I sure do.

And I love the concept of someone or something starting fresh and new!

Well, here it is, ladies. We are in the new... the now... the beginning! A New Year has officially begun. And whether you are snoozing or smooching right now at 12:00 a.m. this January 1st, all of us can definitely say that the Lord has blessed us once again with a new year of life. We have lived to see another day, and the opportunities that await us are endless. Yippee!

So, now what?

Healthy resolutions?... Perhaps.
Taking a spiritual inventory?... Always a good idea.
Setting goals for success?... Sure.
But with so much to consider, where should we begin? How to get started? How to stay committed? How to insure that this year will be the NEW year, the NEW day, the NEW beginning that counts?

Take a look at what the scriptures say about beginnings...

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. (Psalm 102:25)

Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD - with the first of them and with the last - I am He. (Isaiah 41:4)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1-2)

In every beginning, there is always Jesus - the Word.
In the beginning, God is always seen first and foremost.
In the beginning, everything (including you and me) was created because of God. All foundations were made to work for His purpose. So, it would be wise to assume that a new beginning on this January 1st is no exception. So, let's begin with our focus on HIM... HIS WAYS... HIS COMMANDS... HIS PURPOSE.

"OK Victoria... don't start getting all religious on me this New Years. Come on already. I hear you talk about God every day, but I really need to set some resolutions that will help me accomplish, achieve, excel, advance this year. Yea, I know God is God... but I can't continue like I have been living... I have to focus on de-stressing and de-cluttering. I need to save money, lose weight, stop hurrying... I need to work on my marriage, spend more time with friends, take care of my family. Sure, I need to fit God in my life more, but that's why I read your daily posts and perhaps go to church from time-to-time. But come on... in reality, God is quietly way, way up there overseeing all life, and I'm down here dealing with my noisy, messy life first hand. Yea yea yea about Him being there in the beginning, but I need to see some tangible results THIS year so my life will be better... so I can find happiness and finally live comfortably."

To this I say... Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? (Isaiah 40:21)

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. (2 Peter 2:20)

Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? (Galatians 3:3)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

Ladies, seeking Jesus first and living His way is not a novelty. It is not a religious denominational prerequisite. It is not something to do when there is nothing else to do. Seeking Jesus first should be a part of every beginning. Seeking Jesus first will expose Satan and the sin in your life so that you can address it and live in Christ's promised peace. Do you believe this truth?  Do you claim it as your own? Are you deliberate and willing to take daily action to seek first God's eternal plan? Can you fathom His headship over your life, or are you instead following your own "common sense" to direct your paths?

Yet there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. (John 6:64)

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)

Scripture is clear... if we do not act out and seek Jesus first in every beginning, every new year, every day, every decision, every goal, every resolution... we are following the enemy. We are lying to ourselves. We are murdering any hope of obtaining a healthy life. But God promises wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to those who patiently seek Him rather than first pridefully plan for themselves.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. (Psalm 111:10)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

So, where do we begin our New Year? Let's start today (and every day) as we were originally created to function... with Jesus first. Let's stop planning everything around how we can live comfortably, achieving self-promoting resolutions and goals. Instead let's lay down our lives first at His feet to do with as He pleases. Let us willingly give ourselves over to our Creator each and every day with our only focus on being near to His sanctuary, seeking His purpose, worshiping His glorious kingdom... then all those other things will be "added unto us". They will be the gravy... added blessings that come as we seek our Savior and the new life He has graciously given us.

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. (Isaiah 46:10)

A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary. (Jeremiah 17:2)

But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. (2 Timothy 1:8-9)

I love the beginning of a story. I love trusting my Savior and focusing on what God is capable of doing with my life... knowing that He has great things planned for me to prosper in His name. There is no resolution that can beat that kind of Agape love and eternal security. All I must do is accept Him, seek Him, trust Him, be with Him and live as He has instructed me to live... HOLY IN JESUS NAME! With Jesus, my future is surely bright. My hope is in the Lord today and forever! I am excited for Him to use me and dazzle me with His magnificence! Praise be the glorious Name of Jesus! He is King and Ruler of my life.

"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." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Ladies, TODAY is indeed a new beginning.  So, as we start this New Year, what will you choose to do first? Who's kingdom will you seek as you assess how you are living? I encourage each of you to remember WHO gave you this NEW DAY... this NEW YEAR... this NEW LIFE IN CHRIST! Remember WHO calls you to live rejoicing because He is God. Remember WHO created all beginnings and all endings and WHO knows the details and complete story of your life down to the very hairs on your head! Remember your Creator, The Lord God Almighty. In the beginning... in every beginning is our good God!

May you have a Happy New Year in Jesus' Holy Name!

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24)

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8)

Blessings and Happy 2017!


© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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