What Are Your Plans for the New Year?

WELL, we have almost made it through 2012 without the world coming to an end. AMEN. AMEN. AMEN. What great news. A miracle in itself. A blessing for all of us to start a new year. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THAT NEW YEAR? Does it involve you getting blessed or receiving a miracle?

When I greet Teacher Bobby from Grace River, I always ask how he is doing, and his response is always the same "I'm blessed." He then confides that he would never stray from God because he would "hate to miss the blessing that God has for him."

A blessing, (also used to refer to bestowing of such) is the infusion of something with holiness, spiritual redemption, divine will, or one's hope or approval.

"To be blessed" means "to be favored by God." Blessings therefore are directly associated with God and come from God. Therefore, to express a blessing is like bestowing a wish on someone that he or she will experience the favor of God. For example, "May you have a blessed Christmas", therefore can also be translated as: "May you experience the favor of God during this Christmas period."

As Gloria Copeland writes: For a miracle to get from heaven to earth, a divine connection has to be made.

Miracles aren't magic. They don't just happen—poof!—because God decides to wave His miracle wand one day. No, miracles primarily occur when people put themselves in position to receive them.

Sooner or later, everyone will face a crisis that they cannot manage. There will come a point in your life when the only hope you have left in this world will be a miracle. But, I have good news, our God is still a miracle working God!

So many times, Christians get distracted as to the true source of their healing and miracles. Do not get confused.

Healing and miracles are not found in a church, or a specific preacher or place; They are not found on TV: they are found in the Word of God. The Bible is the source of divine healing and all miracles.

In Mark 13:22 we read:

For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God's chosen ones.

But let us remember, Miracles were and are a response to faith, and its best encouragement. They were never wrought without prayer, felt need, and faith. But when they are real, they are from and blessed by God!!

There are many miracles in the Bible, and of course, one of them in the Birth of Jesus Christ, an intimate gift of God our Father.

Christianity is founded on the greatest of all miracles, the resurrection of our Lord. The most awesome blessing or miracle is the Gift of Salvation through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. When you think about being a parent, can you imagine giving up YOUR very own child for the Gift of Salvation of the World? AWESOME!!!!

Another Miracle is, coincidentally, each one of you.

As heard in the one of the Bible readings this morning [Psalms 139:14-16] from The Psalmist:

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

I need to share a little blessing that happened as a result of a song by Bach at the Christmas Concert right here in our Sanctuary. There was one of our guests at breakfast, a gentleman who probably would not have come to that concert without my invitation. He left halfway through the concert. I was sad, but he said, "He got to me through Bach!" and left. I asked him last week what he meant by "he got to me through Bach." I know this man loves music. He replied in that music of Bach that night he found where he should be and what he should be doing, which was studying, praying and growing." That for me was a blessing because you just never know what you do or say, or even offer to someone, how it will affect them.

We've been talking about finding a place to house some of our homeless, and basically the property that we were looking at has tentatively been sold. I'm sad, very sad, but as another member of our team told me, If God wants it to happen it WILL happen. There will be blessings when it is God's time. And I know that we have to have a "Business Plan". How are we going to do it, where will the corporate financing come from, and HOW MUCH have we have we invested in our time, talents and research to help it come to fruition. I believe God has already provided several people who will help us complete that business plan with what we have already put together. AMEN. A Blessing!!!!

Then I thought, you know what, 2012 was basically out of my hands this year in many respects. I had to rely on doctors, hospitals, professional caregivers, family and friends to get me through three surgeries this year that I had not planned on. But whatever happened I knew that God was going to get me through; and because of my faith in Him I'm standing here today, reconstructed BUT cancer free.

I received many blessings and a miracle.

Now as 2013 approaches, I want to set some goals for myself that are powerful, but realistic. They, of course, involve Bible Reading, Prayer and Study, Finances, Health, and couple of Dreams. But I realized that I need to have a personal business plan. What was I going to invest myself in in this quest; where was the personal financing coming from, who would help me achieve my dreams?

Well, if it's right for me, the one who has been blessing me all my life will be there, My God and My Savior. Wow isn't that exciting!!!! All I need to do is praise, worship and love God, study and pray, spread His love and promise, and He will bless me and all of us.

Richard Shea is still alive and well today with his miracle of healing from God; Lois Stoughton just welcomed a blessing in a new great-granddaughter; Jan Oehrke received the blessing of finding out that she had a gall bladder problem and needed surgery because of a test for something else. This year we are saddened with the loss of spouse, in Ed Roberts, or parent in Nesta Brooks, along with other deaths of family and friends, but know that they are no longer in pain. During prayer time each Sunday we heard needs for prayer and healing, but we also hear triumphs and joys. Praise God for blessing us, Praise God for being there when we cry out for comfort or strength.

Where and when will your blessing or miracle come in 2013? Will you pray, study, praise and share God's word to others? Will you be open and ready to receive at the "right moment" when God chooses to bless you or give you a miracle?

I wish you many blessings in 2013. I wish for us to care for each other in the brotherly/sisterly love that God has taught and expects of us. May we bless others as God blesses us.

The song that will be played in just a moment is called Blessings by Laura Story. It calls us to remember that miracles/blessings are possible even when we are cast into the unknown, questioning why are we in this lowly, lonely, questionable circumstance. After two years of marriage, her husband was stricken with a brain tumor and then surgery.

Laura shares: "A lot of things have gotten better with his health, and a lot of things have not. We pray for God to bless us, but what does it look like when I spend four or so years praying for healing for my husband that never comes? I feel like we've kind of gotten to a place of having to make a choice. Are we going to judge God based on our circumstances that we don't understand, or are we going to choose to judge our circumstances based on what we know to be true about God? Not that I choose the right thing every day, but I'm learning that every morning when I wake up to choose to trust God."

Choose to trust God, the one and only perfect giver of Blessings and Miracles and may you be blessed beyond measure.

Sharyl Lewis
December 2012

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