* Special Note: This poem is about what happened to me when I was nineteen years old. My roommate was at work and I was home alone. I had been doing a Bible Study Group and was reading my Bible in bed. I must have dozed off when something startled me back awake just as my Bible was slipping from my fingers. As I grasped it firmly, the sliding doors to my closet at the foot of my bed began to open and I saw three of the most hideous creatures you could ever imagine coming right at me. The evilness and hatred that emanated from them is something that I will never forget in my entire life. There are no words adequate enough to describe this experience, any more so than when the Light came to me in my near-death experience 27 years later, but it will give you a feel for what it was like.
** Image source: google.com/images
A New Year
by Kevin Litchfield
Can you believe it? Having just celebrated Christmas Day, we look to the end of our past year and the beginning of a new year. This morning , as we reflect upon this new year, I would to share with you once again a message entitled A New Year. It is my hope that this year’s resolutions will remember Christ and our personal relationship and worship with Him. As the year draws to a close, what kind of year has it been for you? Has it been a year to cherish or a year to quickly forget? Whatever the year’s tone for us, this week fills us with hope. A hope that a new year will bring a change for us. A chance for a fresh new start- a new beginning. And with that many of us make new year resolutions- pledges or promises to yourself or to God that you will personally be different this year. This morning I want to focus upon some new year’s resolutions that each of should consider for ourselves, but before we delve into our topic, I thought you might enjoy a few stories of failed resolutions: A story is told that At the beginning of a new year, a high school principal decided to post his teachers’ new year’s resolutions on the bulletin board. As the teachers gathered around the bulletin board, a great commotion started. One of the teachers was complaining. “Why weren’t my resolutions posted?” She was throwing such a temper tantrum that the principal hurried to his office to see if he had overlooked her resolutions. Sure enough, he had mislaid them on his desk. As he read her resolutions he was astounded. This teacher’s first resolution was not to let little things upset her in the New Year. Or how bout this one…A son called his parents to wish them a happy new year and when his Dad answered the phone, He asked his dad,” well Dad, what’s your new year’s resolution? His dad replied, To make “To make your mother as happy as I can all year,” When his mom got on the phone he asked. her the same question. His mom replied my resolution is “To see that your dad keeps his New Year’s resolution.”
Or some of you may have given up on resolutions taking the same attitude as the characters in the cartoon Calvin and Hobbes: The cartoon character Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes once said, “God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I’m so far behind I’ll never die.”
Regardless of past successes or failures… I want you to give a new year resolution one more try but this time realize that keeping this promise is a team effort. Invite the Holy Spirit to join you this year…
The disciples were faced with a new day. Their master Jesus had died. Their hopes were crushed. Their dreams shattered. As per Jesus instructions, they assembled in an upper room knowing what needed to be done but lacking both the power and the desire to carry it out. It was here in their doubt that the Holy Spirit entered the picture. Turn with to Acts chapter 2 beginning in verse 1. The Holy Spirit powerfully entered their lives and they became bold preachers of the Gospel. Jesus spoke of this same Holy Spirit in John chapter 14 verse 26 when he said: But when the father sends the Counselor as my representative- and by the counselor I mean the Holy Spirit- He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you. As we contemplate a new year’s resolution, we must do so realizing that we can not be successful in keeping it apart from God. John 15:5 b says… Apart from me you can do nothing. And the me is clearly God. So you are not alone. With these thought in mind, I would like to offer to you some good resolutions for you to consider.
First, Find time for God- Build that Personal relationship with Christ
In the course of each day make time to creatively spend with God. You know I have a saying that if you want something to happen write it down, put into an active calendar, and guess what the odds of it happening just increased. Look at your day… where in that day can you make an appointment to spend with Jesus. Then write under that time slot in your calendar Jesus. Invite Jesus to meet you. In this time you can read your bible, read a inspirational magazine or book, pray, sing, walk, journal, etc. How boring are our friendships where we say and do the same things every time we are together. Also start with short amounts of time… Us the exercise principles, If you spend a hour exercising in the beginning, you will be too sore to exercise at all the next day. I remember in College I found this place called a weight room come to think of it was probably a result of a new year’s resolution to be a muscle man. I go into the gym and I see a tiny girl pumping the iron machines… I infer if she can do it so can I… I did realize that she had been working out like this for years… I was so sore the next day that I did go back there for a year… Pace yourself. Jesus would rather meet with you for one minute a day that 20 minutes one day a year. As you build that relationship, you will learn to hear the voice of God through the Holy Spirit, and The Holy Spirit will then personally convict ,guide, rebuke, teach, counsel, comfort, you name each of us. And when that happens our relationship will deepen and we will grow.
Second, Stay or become active in a local church’s worship and Bible Studies
If not this one, find one that you can become involved in. But if it is this one, don’t just come on Sunday morning or once a month or year and expect to personally grow. I strongly believe that in order to become all that we can be we need each other and even more than the fellowship we need to be with each other in a small group bible study that can be Sunday school or a weekday Bible study. But choose to study God’s word within a group. Listen to a letter a pastor got from a church member:
You often stress attendance at worship as being very important for a Christian, but I think a person has a right to miss now and then. I think every person ought to be excused for the following reasons and the number of times indicated.
Christmas Holidays (the Sunday before & after) 2
New Years (the party lasted too long) 1
Easter (get away for the holidays) 2
July 4th (national holidays) 1
Labor Day (need to get away) 2
Memorial Day (visit hometown folk) 1
School closing (kids need a break) 1
School reopens (one last fling) 1
Family reunions (mine & wife’s) 3
Sleep late (stayed up too long Saturday night) 9
Deaths in family 2
Anniversary (second honeymoon) 1
Sickness (one per family member) 5
Business trip (a must) 1
Vacation (three to four weeks) 6
Bad weather (ice, snow, rain, clouds) 2
Ball games 2
Unexpected company (can’t walk out) 2
Time changes (spring & fall) 2
Special on TV (superbowl, etc) 3
Pastor, that leaves two Sundays per year. So, you can count on us to be in church on the 4th Sunday in February and the 3rd Sunday in August unless we are providentially hindered. Sincerely, A Faithful Member Guys, it is you that miss out by not risking getting involved.
Third, Choose to become a regular tither this year
There are very few times in the Bible will God dares you to test Him, but This is one of them. Listen to MalachI 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so that there will be enough food in my temple, If you do, says the Lord Almighty, I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great that you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you. Beginning in the new year at the first paycheck give God the first fruits of that check. Before a single bill is paid give God his 10 percent. Trusting that God will provide if we obey his word. I truly believe that we miss a blessing because we don’t trust God with our money. It ‘s all God’s anyway. God could demand 100 percent but he only asks for ten percent. By not obeying and tithing we are disobeying God and we are sinning against the very God that we say we love. This year try it test God and obey Him by tithing you personal money. What would happen if everyone that attend this church obeyed and tithed what more could happen for God’s kingdom here and abroad. You can’t expect to receive to have a close relationship with god and experience His abundant blessing if you keep sin in your heart and life. Today say in this year I or my family will be a tither. I will test God. I will try it.
A fourth resolution is simply to put any undesirable habit, addiction, sin, you name it into the hands of God.
Too many of us start here with our resolutions, we try to treat a symptom without addressing the root cause. Unless you abide with Christ and choose to invite the Holy Spirit into your life and into your problem there is no hope. You will always try to quit and you will most always fail.
I have got to know most of you enough to know where you are hurting and where your difficulties are. Where hidden pains or sins are. It is time to break the cycle. You can’t change by yourself. You need the powerful presence of God. If you want to change start by building that personal relationship with Christ and let God begin to cause you to hunger for change to thirst for righteousness.
This new year that quickly comes. Make it a year where you place it all into the ever capable hands of our God.
As we close listen to this poem entitled The New Year
I am the new year. I am an unspoiled page in your book of time. I am your next chance at the art of living. I am your opportunity to practice what you have learned about life during the last twelve months. All that you sought and didn’t find is hidden in me, waiting for you to search it but with more determination. All the good that you tried for and didn’t achieve is mine to grant when you have fewer conflicting desires. All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do, all that you hoped but did not will, all the faith that you claimed but did not have — these slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened by the touch of a strong purpose. I am your opportunity to renew you allegiance to Him who said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
As on the porch I sit
with my little kitty-kit
That’s what my parents say
so I do them every day
But I’d rather go play!
When I am all grown
and the truth be kown
Having done it I’ll be glad
and think it wasn’t so bad
But here and now today
don’t care what they say
‘Cause I’d rather go play!
Teresa Marie 8/26/11
Lesson 4 from the series
Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind
By Eric Elder
Speaking Request Form
Since the Holy Spirit lives
inside of you and me,
to us His presence gives
eyes that we may see,
The sinful nature that we keep,
we’re born with from the start,
what we have hidden down deep
from which we must depart.
He gives us strength in weakness,
helps us stand our ground.
When we live in meekness,
all grace does then abound.
He picks us up also
those times that we do fall,
though reaping what we sow
He answers when we call.
Great wisdom does He impart
with every word that’s said,
listen closely with your heart
then follow where you’re lead.
The Holy Spirit is a gift
that’s give from heaven above.
Your spirit He does lift
while filling you with love.
From the Father and Son
if you would only ask,
but when you’ve once begun
be up to the task.
The Spirit guides the way
to the truth you seek
if you practice every day
listening for Him to speak.
From the Word you read
many lessons you will learn,
getting the answers you need
with every page you turn.
There is so very much more
than what I have written here,
will you open your heart’s door
for Jesus to draw you near?
Teresa Marie 3/25/09
My heart bleeds and I weep
With sympathy for Your pain
I am forever Yours to keep
And in You I will remain
Though my trials may run deep
I pray that I not complain
When nothing compares to the shame
This world has put You through
Yet You never lay the blame
On the ones who crucified You
For us You sacrificed Your name
To pay the debt not Your due
I find if hard to tolerate
All the wickedness of today
My anger grows as they debate
How exactly it got this way
When we took the devil’s bait
And put it on display
Showing contempt for God’s law
Has ruled the daily news
Unlike anything that I ever saw
But to repent they just refuse
Their excuses rub me raw
And it’s us that they accuse
They say it’s their job to tell
What the public wants to know
But the lies they do sell
Makes the realm of evil grow
As the demons dance in hell
Waiting for their conquered foe
Who are to spend eternity there
In the fire of Satan‘s pit
Hear the cries of their despair
When reality of it all does hit
Knowing that suffering beyond compare
Awaits them to never quit
When all they had to do
Was just go the other way
Take up their cross, follow You
And in Your footprints stay
Then their hearts would beat anew
For it’s in You that salvation lay!
Teresa Marie 3/14/09