Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year Thoughts

Well, it is the start of another new year and I, like millions of others, wonder what 2013 will bring. There have been a few changes and major events that occured in my life and family circles this past year.  Death claimed a close cousin of mine who was the best man at my wedding and also claimed an aunt who lived to be 102. I have a brother-in-law who has suffered a number of strokes and isn't doing well.

 I just learned two days ago that my best friend in southeast Idaho who has now lived in Houston, Texas the last nearly 26 years, suffered a major heart attack and will likely need a five-way by-pass. It is only by God's hand he is still alive. When we spoke it brought back lots of memories of drinking coffee and ministering the love of Jesus to Catholics and non-Catholics alike in Life in the Spirit seminars we conducted. Please pray for him and his family.

On the plus side of the coin, I got to walk my beautiful daughter down the aisle and perform the wedding ceremony for her and my now son-in-law on an absolutely gorgeous evening last August.  I also got news that my mentally challenged son will be moving into a group home with another fellow with similar challenges in a couple of weeks. That will be a plus for everyone. 

I also published my first book-- a second is in the planning stages revolving around intimate life stories of pain, challenges and victory-- and am pleased to see the reactions so far. The plan for 2013 is to get into the major catalogues which I just missed when the book was published.

Another plus is that I lost 23 pounds since June and plan to lose another 10 to 12 this coming year. Now that I said it and published it, I guess I'll have to carry that through.

What I have learned this past year is God's great mercy and loving kindness in all areas of my life. I formally resigned from my church's worship teams after 25 years of service playing trumpet, Hammond organ and synthesizers and I look forward to what God has in store for both me and  my wonderful wife, Patti, as we minister in other areas in 2013. God has been preparing us the past two years for this transition and we are now moving ahead.

The new year has so many possibilities we would consider "good and positive". It also has some things in store that we might also consider "bad or negative". The question, how do you know what is "bad or good"?  That perception  depends on one's world view.  For me and my house, it centers on knowing what God's written word says.  Two scriptures come to mind that are vitally important to me and my household.  The first is found in Psalms 119:105 which says:

"Your word is a lamp to my feet And a guide to my path." (NKJV)
The seconds is found in Hebrews 4:12 which says:
"The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (NKJV)
God's word gives us what we need to know Him and His will for us in all areas of our life. However,it isn't much good unless you have the Holy Spirit within you to reveal what He is really saying to you. Without the Holy Spirit, the words can be just like any other words on a page.
So how do you get those words to speak to you through this Holy Spirit?
You need to know Jesus personally and invite him into your heart. God's word promises each of us if we do that, we become the very Temple of God and He resides inside of us. It is the Holy Spirit's job to lead us into all truth and he most often uses the written word of God to communicate that truth with us.
If you don't know Jesus. today would be an excellent day to do that and start 2013 off the right way.
You know Jesus by acknowledging you are a sinner just like the rest of us and you need a savior. Jesus is that savior who lived a perfect sinless life and died for your sins and mine and rose from the grave and ascended into heaven that He might bestow the life-giving Holy Spirit to us.
The word of God says in Romans 9:9-10 that:
if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (NKJV)
Pretty simple. Know Jesus and you will know peace and live with Him in heaven for eternity. If you don't know Jesus you really have no peace and will spend eternity in what the Bible calls hell. 
Make the right decision and follow the one who knows what is best for you in every situation you will encounter.
God bless and have a Blessed and Happy New Year.