You will indeed go out with joy
and be peacefully guided;
the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
The scorching Georgia heat radiated off the black tar of the parking lot where I stood waiting to meet my son. He was running late, and I was quickly running out of patience. To make the most of the delay, I pulled out my cell phone to check emails. But as soon as I read the first sentence, the sickening sight of a blank screen and dying battery appeared, and my frustration level escalated.
I felt a slight, welcomed breeze blow through my hair as I looked for a shady place to sit, and I glanced toward the sky to see if a summer storm might be brewing. That’s when I noticed the lone tree topped with limbs forming a perfectly shaped cross. The beautiful scene stopped me in my tracks as I felt God nudging me with a reminder that my day had been so jammed with appointments and to-do lists, I had not taken time out for HIM. He too had been waiting for His child to meet Him…and she was too busy.
“Holy goosebumps” tingled from head to toe as I felt God bending down reminding me to align my priorities appropriately. He paused my schedule right there in the blazing hot parking lot to send me a sign of His love. The tree He destined as my messenger also served as my shade from the scorching sun. I remembered the verse from Isaiah,
“You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Joy and peace were blatantly absent from the hours leading up tho this moment, but my frustration melted into joy while I treasured this heaven-sent gift. I did not schedule this divine appointment, but I am so thankful that He interrupted my chaotic life with a holy meeting.
I pray that God will open your eyes and ears to the sights and sounds of mountains singing and trees clapping their praise to Him…or growing their limbs in the shape of a cross! Make your time with Him a priority, and He will fill you with joy and guide you peacefully through your day.
“Look! I’m making everything new.
Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”
On the first day of a brand New Year, are you looking forward to closing the door on your past and opening the door to your future? Perhaps you are glad for the chance to breathe in the freshness of the new possibilities that the coming year might bring. Are there pages (or entire chapters?) that you would like to delete from your life’s story? “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in.” Ephesians 3:14 – 17 (MSG)
By opening the door of your life to Christ, He promises to bring about a glorious transformation inside of you, and you’ll be renewed from the inside out. There’s no better way to start out the new year than by accepting the gift of a fresh start with God. He alone can erase the pain of your past and the mistakes you’ve made along the way. You don’t have to spruce up for God or clean up your act before turning to Him. He meets you right where you are with His limitless love and grace. By inviting Christ to be the center of your life, He’ll be the compass guiding you along the path to your very best future.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12: 1-2 (MSG)
Now take a deep breath, close the door to your past, open the door to your best future, and step through to a new life with God!
- “In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord. Isaiah 66:9 (NCV)
- Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2(NIV)
“So the impossible is possible with God.”
Luke 1:37 (VOICE)
With God, nothing is impossible! What an encouraging, universal truth. Though the demands you face today may seem insurmountable in light of your own limitations and weaknesses, remind yourself that The God of All Possibilities is right beside you, as an ever-present help. He simply asks that you trust Him and stay connected to His limitless resources through each moment of the day. When anxiety invades your thoughts and you feel overwhelmed, turn your attention away from obstacles and difficulties and focus on His capabilities, rather than your inabilities. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. Remember that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than you could ever imagine or request in your wildest dreams.
If your life’s purposes and actions are directly aligned with God’s will, nothing can derail you. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, every moment of your day. Trust Him to illuminate each step of your journey and to equip you to handle any problems that come your way. It’s through your weaknesses that God displays His infinite strength, so His power working through you is an unstoppable combination!
- “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)
- “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)
- “God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. So why run and hide?” Psalm 46:1 (VOICE)
- “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (NIV)
- “But he said to me, “My grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So I am very happy to brag about how weak I am. Then Christ’s power can rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIRV)
- “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)
“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything
to work toward something good and beautiful
when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.”
Romans 8:28 (VOICE)
Do you know certain individuals who can always take the “lemons” in life and make lemonade ~ those people who can seemingly make the best out of the worst situations? You may wonder how they do it. How can they possibly keep a smile on their face and joy in their heart when their world seems to be falling apart? It’s likely that those individuals have a quiet confidence from within ~ the confidence that their Heavenly Father is orchestrating everything in their lives ~ even the bad things ~ to create a beautiful masterpiece.
Let’s face it, life’s not always perfect. No one is immune to the imperfections of this world. Things happen. Mistakes are made. Accidents occur. Tragedy strikes. Relationships fall apart. Diseases spread. Bad decisions lead to terrible outcomes. But regardless of the situation, the Master Craftsman promises His children that He is able to pick up the broken pieces and fashion them into something good and lovely. He is able to take the problems and difficulties in your life and use them for your benefit. Trust that His wisdom is sufficient to weave every detail of your life (both good and bad) into a beautiful pattern, transforming you more into His likeness. As your trust in Him grows, you will spend less time looking backward, wishing things could be different, and more time looking ahead with hope and anticipation of the future He is preparing for you.
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” Jeremiah 17:7
“Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams,
a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift.
And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great.
The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders.
His name? His name we’ll know in many ways—
He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing,
Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6 (VOICE)
What an amazing birth announcement this beautiful passage describes ~
A child is born. Sweet breathed, living gift to the world. Hope of all hopes. Dream of our dreams. Even with his tiny features and dewy hair…He is Great.
His name? He will be known by many names: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Christ the Lord, Dear Father Everlasting, Ever-present Never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace, Messiah, Son of God…Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.
The good news about Jesus is that He came for ALL…even the least of the least ~ the plain, the ordinary, the sinners, the misfits, the outcasts. He came for YOU! Jesus is your gift from God. As we celebrate the birth of our precious Savior, thank God for His living gift to the world!
- “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:9 – 12 (NIV)
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)
“No matter what happens, always be thankful ~
For this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (TLB)
It’s easy to have a grateful heart when life is moving in a positive direction, when there is smooth sailing ahead, when showers of blessings are raining down upon your head, when everything is “right” in your world. But it’s not so easy to be thankful when you face adversities, illness, financial pressures, relationship problems, or other trials. Yet grateful people seem to have an inner feeling of contentment, a supernatural sense of joy that can only come out of a thankful heart. They find ways to be thankful, even in the deepest valleys of life. Ungrateful people are grumpy, constantly complaining, and find it difficult to be happy in life. They haven’t realized that the “secret” to happiness is simply having an attitude of gratitude…no matter what happens.
If you are continually focused on the things you don’t have, you can never be grateful for the blessings you do have! God wants you to be thankful…no matter what. He knows exactly what you are going through, and when you thank Him in those tough times, your focus turns to Him instead of your problems. It’s amazing how the simple act of acknowledging His presence in your life makes Him seem larger and your problems seem smaller. Trusting that He works everything out for your good is one key to being thankful in ALL circumstances.
Take time today to focus on being thankful. Express your gratitude to God for His constant presence in your life and His never-ending love and mercy toward you.
“And serve each other according to the gift each person has received,
as good managers of God’s diverse gifts.”
1 Peter 4: 10 CEB
Just think what a difference we could make in our community, our state, our nation…or throughout the world..if we ALL gave just a little bit of time, money, or talent for serving others? A few dollars out of your pocket, a few cans of food out of your pantry, or a few minutes out of your day, may not mean much to you, but to others it can mean everything.
So take a moment and think about the blessings in your life, and consider what one thing you can do today to serve others. If we all did our part, the result would be like the ever-expanding ripple effect from dropping a small pebble into a body of water. The sphere of influence of our combined actions could increase incrementally and spread throughout the world. The little things do matter!
“Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything.” 1 Peter 4:10 (MSG)
- “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
- ” Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24
- “Whoever speaks should do so as those who speak God’s word. Whoever serves should do so from the strength that God furnishes. Do this so that in everything God may be honored through Jesus Christ. To him be honor and power forever and always. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11 (CEB)
- Realize that the purpose of money is to strengthen friendships, to provide opportunities for being generous and kind. Eventually money will be useless to you—but if you use it generously to serve others, you will be welcomed joyfully into your eternal destination. Luke 16:9 (VOICE)
- “In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.” 2 Timothy 2: 20 – 21 (MSG)
“Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
Great is Your Faithfulness!”
Lamentations 3:21 – 23
Every sunrise serves as a shining ray of hope, reminding God’s children about His inexhaustible supply of love and mercy ~ they are new every morning.
To fully comprehend this continually renewable resource of divine mercy, here are a few ways to define it:
- kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation
- a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion
- kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly
- compassionate treatment of those in distress
So if you’re in a desperate situation in need of a “second chance,” be encouraged to know that the Father of mercy compassionately dispenses daily acts of divine favor, and there will never be a shortage of His kindness and forgiveness. As constant as the waves rolling into the seashore, His mercies are new every morning, and they won’t ever come to an end. The situation is never hopeless when you place your hope in the Great Faithfulness of your compassionate and gracious Heavenly Father.
“And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” Exodus 34:6
“The Lord within her is righteous; He does no wrong. Morning by morning He dispenses his justice, and every new day He does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame.” Zephaniah 3:5
“Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.”
Our finite human minds cannot begin to comprehend the infinite wisdom of God. We try to understand and explain God using our limited knowledge and language based on our earthly experiences, but the scope of God’s almighty and all-powerful attributes is beyond human comprehension. And probably the most difficult thing for us to grasp is that the Creator of all the earth ~ Who never grows weak or weary ~ cares for each of us personally. He is readily available 24/7 to hear our prayers and provide help, healing, comfort, provision, strength, courage or safety for His children.
Is there something you are dealing with that seems overwhelming – like you don’t have the power or wisdom to face it on your own? Turn to the God of Limitless Possibilities and ask Him for help. He cares about every intimate detail of your life. Nothing is impossible ~ or too wonderful ~ for Him.
“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
“And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27
“Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too hard or too wonderful for You— ” Jeremiah 32:17 (AMP)