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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 - A NEW YEAR - NEW HOPE - NEW CHALLENGES

It’s time to say ‘farewell’ to 2011 and welcome in the New Year.  There is something special about a new beginning.  Is that why, at the stroke of midnight, when a brand new year begins, we feel a surge of optimism and hope that this year will be especially good?  Yes, I think so.  This is the year that our health will be better, business will pick up, we’ll read more books, lose some weight, exercise more, spend less money, give more to the poor, rescue a pet, be more loving to those we love and more tolerant to those we can barely tolerate…you know the drill. 

My last official holiday dinner is in the oven, the men are gathered around the TV watching all the football bowl games which seem to increase in number every year.  The day started off so busy I didn’t get to sit down with a cup of coffee and watch the spectacular Rose Parade.  We’ve recorded it and will watch it tonight as we attempt to finish up some of the Christmas goodies that have gone un-devoured.  Over a 120 years ago the city of Pasadena, hosts of the parade every New Year’s Day, made the decision that whenever this day fell on a Sunday, the parade festivities would be held the next day, never on Sunday!  This is the reason – it would make it too difficult for the people of Pasadena to get to church with all the extra traffic and people in their quaint little town at the foot of picturesque California mountains. 

You mean they valued honoring God more than celebrating New Year’s Day?  Yup, they sure did!  And what is even more amazing is that no one complained, no one threatened them with a law suit claiming they weren’t being fair to atheists and not even the ACLU wrote the city officials a nasty letter!  How about that? Of course there wasn’t an ACLU at that time. 

I'm going to change the subject. We women have an uncanny way of connecting to other women in a most intimate way, in all sorts of places and different circumstances.  I was standing in a Fossil outlet store near our home a few weeks ago and started talking to another woman.  We bemoaned the fact that there wasn’t such a thing as a ‘perfect’ purse or a ‘perfect’ bra.  Within five minutes of meeting, we knew each other’s bra sizes and I learned the best place to buy one.  I was in the market earlier today and noticed that egg plant was on a good sale, so I bought one.  Then I saw a woman who had at least ten of them in her basket.  I couldn’t resist asking how she was going to prepare them.  Within minutes she gave me several good suggestions that I really appreciated. 

As I prepared to check-out my groceries, I noticed the young woman in front of me had a ten pound bag of carrots.  “What are you going to do with all those carrots?” I asked.  I’m just naturally curious about most things.  “We juice,” she said.  “My husband just finished a round of chemo therapy and we’re interested in eating right”.  My heart sank; she was so young, and I’m sure her husband is too.   I told her my husband had cancer several years ago and we’d watched an interesting film called, Crazy, Sexy Cancer.  It is a compelling story about a young woman who ‘beat the odds’ and surprised her doctors by coming up with her own food therapy.  I’m sure she’ll seek out that DVD and be encouraged.  Her husband has a very curable type cancer, but cancer of any kind is scary. 
My point is this….God has us in the right place at the right time to encourage, get advice or just interact with a person who needs to be noticed.  You can be sure I’ll be praying for the young man, and I’ve never met him, but because of all those carrots, I was prompted to ask questions. 

Many of us wonder what challenges will come our way in the coming year.  Often, we’re taken by surprise and have to deal with something that never would have occurred to us.  A few days ago we began to realize that our little dog, Tiny Tim, wasn’t feeling very well.  He was losing weight, drinking so much water – something was wrong.  We discovered that he has diabetes.  Poor little guy has been on a special diet for several months as he’s also suffering from pancreatitis.  Now he needs insulin shots twice a day.  My first thought was, ‘I can’t do this,’ but I’m doing it! 
I started out by mentioning some common ‘I’m going to shape myself up and do better’ type goals, but we who are Christians also have spiritual goals.  As I write today, sitting beside me is a Christmas gift from my husband – a copy of The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.  I think it weighs as much as I do! I pray that the Lord will direct me to information He wants me to share with you who read this blog.  Without His direction, I’d be lost among the tangle of data, so I’ll be counting on the One Himself who has all wisdom and knowledge!  We reach out for what is often illusive and unobtainable – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  These are gifts from God called the ‘fruit of the Spirit.’  Galatians 5:16 – 26 explains that we as believers no longer have a sinful nature.  Do you know that our sin, all of it, died on the cross (was crucified) with Jesus Christ?  I don’t know how that happened, but the Bible said it did, and I’ve been given the faith to believe it.  Jesus came to take away our sin.  In God's eyes, it's gone!

If you carefully read this passage you’ll see the Lord through isHHmmmm  His apostle Paul shows us that we don’t need to live in sin, we’re free from it.  But, we have this body we live in, a body of flesh.  And flesh sins!  Have you noticed?  We see it every day and wonder how to change.  The truth is, we can’t change ourselves, but God can and will in His own time and in His own way.  Here is the secret to be learned; as we begin to act like the person we really are, the outside, our flesh, will begin to match the inside which is filled with God’s Holy Spirit!  We will never attain human perfection this side of eternity, but we’ll eventually see a difference and we’ll know who to praise, the Lord Himself!

This is our hope and also our challenge.  Just knowing how God sees His children should make us glow from the inside out like a winter sun setting over the Pacific Ocean.  Whether you’re on a sunny beach or buried in fluffy white snow, breathe in the beauty of this world God has created for us.  Best of all, it’s going to get even better because Jesus entered heaven itself to appear for us in God’s presence – Hebrews 9:24.   We are more than conquerors and nothing will separate us from the love of God – Romans 8: 37-39.  JESUS – the perfect expression of God’s love for us.

I am gratified that so many are enjoying my book, 'Blogging Gods Word' by Roberta Van Hise. If you're interested, it's available on Crossbooks.com, Amazon.com, also an E Book.

We thank you Lord for what you have done for us and what you do through us.  Help us daily to get the outside to match the inside and be a living testimony to Your love and faithfulness.