As it Begins 2019

As it Begins

By Pat Knight

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace
at all times and in every way”

(2 Thessalonians 3:16).

As I sit at my desk, I stare with anticipation at the vast amount of accessible space in the new year’s calendar. With red pen in hand, I am poised to add distinguishing color to the otherwise bland pages making important days easily recognizable during the ensuing year.

In retrospect, I realize that a great deal can happen in a year, not just the daily routines, but the earth-shattering life experiences of birth, death, job promotions, health challenges, and various adventures that inevitably lead to immeasurable personal growth.  I ponder the possibility of exciting encounters during the next 365 days.

In our area of the world, January and February are positioned for a sluggish start to the New Year. Often marooned by snowstorms, our daily activities consist of snow removal, stoking auxiliary wood stoves, and observing the world from under a cloak of darkness by late afternoon each day. And yet, as mundane as those first two months of the year usually are, occasionally some exciting and energizing events have occurred. In January, we celebrate our grandson’s birthday with a party. Former college friends whom we had not seen in twenty years spent some quality time visiting with us in February one year. So now, I must adjust my thinking; anything is possible at any time of year!

When facing an unwritten twelve months, some people are fascinated by the possibilities while others experience apprehension. Enthusiasm and excitement permeate the thoughts of those who believe in God. He promises to care for them and to supply their needs. For unbelievers, there must be real fear associated with unrevealed days ahead. When a physical or an emotional crisis occurs, on whom do they depend for resolution to problems and security against the storms of life? What a risky way to live, without God as their Source of strength and power!

ps56-11-amp

I would prefer to hang on tight to the promises of God’s Word. “In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11). I know that I can trust God to watch over me and design my life perfectly, revealing His plans to me in His precise timing.

What then, distinguishes between the person who relies on his own resources and the Christian who depends upon God for his daily provisions? Peace is not only relegated to world events dealing with international political stability, but peace has the capacity to reside within each heart, enabling relaxation and fulfillment when our external circumstances defy all definitions of harmony.

God is the author of peace. God’s Word reinforces the truth that God and peace are related. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever” (Isaiah 26:3-4a).

Peace and turmoil are contrasting emotions. No one chooses to live in a state of chaos and confusion. As much as possible, we seek peace of mind, of heart, and in our surroundings. Tranquil and serene scenes often evoke thoughts of peace. What happens to one’s vision of peace when the very site producing it has been bulldozed for construction or has been claimed a disaster by a tornado?  Efforts at finding peace are easily frustrated if peace is not sought in the right place.

The truth is, peace is not a place but a person. God is peace. He offers harmony and a sense of well-being, in which there are no conflicts. There is no disorder; quietness prevails; tranquility reigns. In the hush of the early morning hour, when the mist rises above the calm waters, all of nature is harmonious, God speaks to me, “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Peace is an attribute of God and a gift of the Holy Spirit to us.

I have no fear of the unknown, for my future is anchored in Jesus Christ. In Him there is an abundance of victory confidently secured in His never-changing character. Bring on the New Year with all of its uncharted waters carrying unidentified perils. I am not afraid. During the unfamiliar days ahead I am promised Jesus’ constant companionship. He already has knowledge of the purpose and outcome of each day.

ps29-11-amp

As it Begins

2thess-3-16-amp

As it Begins

By Patricia Knight

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace
at all times and in every way”

(2 Thessalonians 3:16).

As I sit at my desk, I stare with anticipation at the vast amount of accessible space in the new year’s calendar. With red pen in hand, I am poised to add distinguishing color to the otherwise bland pages making important days easily recognizable during the ensuing year.

In retrospect, I realize that a great deal can happen in a year, not just the daily routines, but the earth-shattering life experiences of birth, death, job promotions, health challenges, and various adventures that inevitably lead to immeasurable personal growth.  I ponder the possibility of exciting encounters during the next 365 days.

In our area of the world, January and February are positioned for a sluggish start to the New Year. Often marooned by snowstorms, our daily activities consist of snow removal, stoking auxiliary wood stoves, and observing the world from under a cloak of darkness by late afternoon each day. And yet, as mundane as those first two months of the year usually are, occasionally some exciting and energizing events have occurred. In January, we celebrate our grandson’s birthday with a party. Former college friends whom we had not seen in twenty years spent some quality time visiting with us in February one year. So now, I must adjust my thinking; anything is possible at any time of year!

When facing an unwritten twelve months, some people are fascinated by the possibilities while others experience apprehension. Enthusiasm and excitement permeate the thoughts of those who believe in God. He promises to care for them and to supply their needs. For unbelievers, there must be real fear associated with unrevealed days ahead. When a physical or an emotional crisis occurs, on whom do they depend for resolution to problems and security against the storms of life? What a risky way to live, without God as their Source of strength and power!

ps56-11-amp

I would prefer to hang on tight to the promises of God’s Word. “In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11). I know that I can trust God to watch over me and design my life perfectly, revealing His plans to me in His precise timing.

What then, distinguishes between the person who relies on his own resources and the Christian who depends upon God for his daily provisions? Peace is not only relegated to world events dealing with international political stability, but peace has the capacity to reside within each heart, enabling relaxation and fulfillment when our external circumstances defy all definitions of harmony.

God is the author of peace. God’s Word reinforces the truth that God and peace are related. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever” (Isaiah 26:3-4a).

Peace and turmoil are contrasting emotions. No one chooses to live in a state of chaos and confusion. As much as possible, we seek peace of mind, of heart, and in our surroundings. Tranquil and serene scenes often evoke thoughts of peace. What happens to one’s vision of peace when the very site producing it has been bulldozed for construction or has been claimed a disaster by a tornado?  Efforts at finding peace are easily frustrated if peace is not sought in the right place.

The truth is, peace is not a place but a person. God is peace. He offers harmony and a sense of well-being, in which there are no conflicts. There is no disorder; quietness prevails; tranquility reigns. In the hush of the early morning hour, when the mist rises above the calm waters, all of nature is harmonious, God speaks to me, “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Peace is an attribute of God and a gift of the Holy Spirit to us.

I have no fear of the unknown, for my future is anchored in Jesus Christ. In Him there is an abundance of victory confidently secured in His never-changing character. Bring on the New Year with all of its uncharted waters carrying unidentified perils. I am not afraid. During the unfamiliar days ahead I am promised Jesus’ constant companionship. He already has knowledge of the purpose and outcome of each day.

ps29-11-amp

Never Changing; Always New

Never Changing; Always New

By Patricia Knight

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Since WWII, the Baby Boomer generation, in particular, has adapted to an incredible surge of scientific discoveries and technological improvements.

For the first time, the speed of airplane travel exceeded the speed of sound, breaking the sound barrier, disrupting our lives with loud, shattering booms from the sky. Space exploration sent manned flights to the moon, with astronauts walking on its surface. Established international space stations remain in operation today, accommodating astronauts and conducting research. Unmanned computer-operated Drones gain intelligence information from our enemies and at times deploy armaments. Nuclear energy has provided a clean, efficient alternative to the use of fossil fuels.

The successful separation of Siamese twins divides and saves the lives of two children at one time, providing individual identity and function, while advancing the field of neurosurgery. Organs are now routinely transplanted from a human donor to a recipient, including the replacement heart of a newborn baby.

Cumbersome personal computers were designed, shrunk to laptop or hand-held proportions, and accessible today in the majority of homes. Most corporate and personal data is stored on computers. A click on the keyboard, the opportunity arises to achieve numerous tasks, including shopping, studying for a college degree, or paying bills.

Video cameras and cell phones provide the ability to record scenes that can be sent around the world via social media sites. Depending on the amount of interest the subject amasses, it may “go viral” in a few hours, traveling internationally among subscribers more swiftly than communicable viral diseases.

One electronic book stores thousands of volumes that can be read anywhere by holding a device smaller than a book in one’s hand.

A steadily expanding number of personal vehicles are now equipped with GPS (Global Positioning System), a navigation system that responds to inquiries for vehicular driving coordinates. A mechanical voice guides the driver until his destination is reached.

Consistently, from the earliest time in the history of the world, God has verbally communicated with His creation. His promises remain the same today as centuries ago. God not only hears our prayers, but He listens precisely to each word and to the intent of our heart. He knows what we will say before we utter a sentence. “For the Father knows what you need before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8).

Matt6-8-PrayingMan-25--AMP

God developed the marvelous method of prayer, permitting us to talk with Him in a two-way conversation, to glorify His name, to intercede for others, or to request our own needs.

Although God maintains foreknowledge of our thoughts, He still desires to communicate with us as any human father casually talks with his children. God wants to hear what is important and urgent to us, and the long-term goals we present for His input. More importantly, God desires our praise, our gratitude, and glory showered upon Him when we pray.

There are no electronic gadgets associated with prayer. Our messages need not bounce among a succession of cell towers before God’s hears us. Prayer delivery is instantaneous. Jesus, who lives in the heart of a believer, is sensitive to His host, aware of what we intend to say before we speak a word.

There is never interruption of prayer service due to a power outage or at times when an internet provider goes down for maintenance. Neither does prayer require financial remuneration. There are no limits to the number of times we can call God each month. We need possess neither address nor password. Our Father easily identifies our voice. Omnipresent, He is everywhere present at one time, capable of hearing and answering an unlimited number of prayers simultaneously, explicitly perceptive to our individual needs.

Prayer need never be uttered aloud. Nor does another person listen to or receive our message in error. Prayer is exclusively between us and our Lord, who has power to act on our behalf.

God is not merely a receptionist who assigns our requests to His angels to handle. We serve a personal, sovereign God who listens to us individually, who delights in each of us (Zephaniah 3:17), who promises to supply all of our needs (Philippians 4:19), and who joyfully lavishes believers with love and grace (Ephesians 3:1).

A computer has no emotions. It is incapable of responding to our most immediate needs. Only God can save and heal, reverse a selfish lost life to a new one of service, transforming us to conform to His command to magnanimously love others.

Prayer need not be formal, verbalized, or read. Free your mind to express your intimate thoughts and questions to God. Silent prayer in which only you and God are involved is preferred. Jesus instructed His disciples how to pray: “Go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

All power resides with God. Because He created each of us, loves and cares for us, He utilizes His omnipotence to order and enhance our lives on earth. He strengthens and enables us with talents, and expects us to worship Him in the splendor of His majesty, commanding patience, obedience, and trust from all Christians who claim to follow His Son, Jesus Christ.

As Thanksgiving season approaches, let us praise God for the joys and blessings He has abundantly granted in our lives. Impatience and fear are inflamed by an instantaneous society, one in which our keyboard fingers, rather than our hearts, control our lives. Take advantage of any opportunity to relax your fast-paced life and silently talk with God, pouring out your heart of love and worship to your magnificent, awesome Lord.

Despite countless innovative discoveries that will enhance our material lives in the future, nothing will ever surpass God’s knowledge, power, or speed in responding to His children with action and love.

“’I the Lord do not change’” (Malachi 3:6).

BlogSL2-smallest