Promises of God's goodness!

Hope, joy, promises, and peace. These four words echo in my mind as I contemplate the beginning of a new year. Sometimes, I wonder if God allowed us western thinkers to come up with idea of new year's resolutions in order for us to repent and start anew. As a new year begins, how many people have re-focused their lives on the Savior?

When I was a kid, I thought being called into ministry made me special and super-spiritual and in many ways I flaunted this. But yearly and daily, I am learning just how human I am.

Reading through the Hebrew Bible I recognize that God called people to follow Him who were already living holy lives, but I also recognize that they weren't perfect. There is a mixed combination of expectation from God as to how we live and the grace of God that allows us to live godly lives. He chooses us and then we choose Him. Both are important in the process, for if I did not choose Him, I would not strive to live my life daily to His honor, but if He didn't choose me, I wouldn't be able to fulfill that commitment to a significant degree to live to honor Him.

As I look forward to 2007 and live in the very first days and weeks of the new year, I am very, very, very hopeful! The faith that I have been asking to have restored, has been restored!

It as if for the past few years I have been living the New Century Version's translation of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 and 16-18, which reads:

"We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated.
We do not know what to do,
but we do not give up the hope of living.
We are persecuted, but God does not leave us.
We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed...
So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming
older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new
every day. We have small troubles for a while now,
but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is
much greater than the troubles. We set our eyes not on
what we see but on what we cannot see..."

Father, forgive me for my discontentment and for my whining and complaining. I am satisfied, actually more than satisfied with the life that you have given me, while at the same time I hold out hope for a better future. Thank you God for hearing my cry and for forgiving me of all of my sins, both those for which I have repented and for those I have left unrepented. For those I know, and for those that you still have to reveal. Thank you for not giving up hope in me and for restoring my hope and trust in You! Amen.

As Max Lucado writes in his book, "He Still Moves Stones":

"Faith is the belief that God is real and that God is good...
It is a choice to believe that the one who made it all
hasn't left it all and that he still sends light into the shadows
and responds to gestures of faith...
Faith is the belief that God will do what is right.
God says that the more hopeless your circumstances, the more likely your salvation.
The greater your cares, the more genuine your prayers.
The darker the room, the greater the need for light.
God's help is near and always available, but it is only given to those who seek it."

Even though I don't agree with all of these words, I must admit I've been dieing for the faith that God is good and the belief that God does what is right and the trust and hope that He will bring light to dark places and hope to situations that seem hopeless. And with this, my faith has been restored in these facts and I pray...

God continue to surprise me with joy!


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