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A New Year … Discipline … Determination … Grace …. December 31, 2017

     A new day … a new beginning … a new year … to be lived to the fullest one moment at a time with discipline, determination, and grace. Each moment in time you live only once, and then it becomes history. We should learn from the history of the good and bad moments, for they all have purpose in our future decisions. Hopefully we learn from our mistakes and build upon our successes. We cannot always choose what life deals us, but we can always choose how we deal with each moment. Life is not always fair. I once had a person describe an event which happened to me in my life as, “unfair,” to which I responded, “Welcome to life.” The old adage, “life happens” may be true, but take responsibility for what comes after that moment. Be one who conquers, not a victim to the circumstances of life. There can be many challenges in life when moving forward, and you may not conqueror the world, but God more than likely hasn’t called you to conquer the world, just yourself in Christ Jesus… Romans 8:37

     Have you failed in the past? Your past only defines you if that is where you choose to live.

     Remember, new day… new beginning …. new year…. so live!!

     There are physical and spiritual disciplines that every person needs to acknowledge in life. There is a statement that I heard years ago from a computer programer which I’ve never forgotten, “garbage in, garbage out.” In life, this would apply to one’s body and mind. In essence, we program ourselves for failure or success. There are scriptural principles which apply here to the body and mind. I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12 1-2 ESV  Choosing to live as Jesus instructed us doesn’t come natural for us because of our sinful nature. Christian disciplines can be very difficult and attempting to accomplish them without the working of the Holy Spirit in your life is impossible. Commit to discipline yourself to live for the Lord afresh this coming year. Pray intentionally not casually. Be an example to others in Godly living, and choose to do what is right in the sight of God based upon His word, the Bible.

     Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own, But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV)
     Paul wrote two very important statements above: “forgetting what lies behind” and “press on toward the goal”. We need always to live with the end goal in mind. There are goals which are not accomplished in a day, week, month, or even a year, but without a goal you will tend to just wander through life. A goal will give you a focus, and that focus as a Christian needs to be, “for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Years ago, Bob Dylan wrote a song with these lyrics, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody / Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” You will not serve God by accident; it will be on purpose and for a purpose. If you lose determination in serving God, you will lose direction and purpose in life service to Him. Be as determined as Joshua when he said, “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve ……… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (ESV)

Never Forget GRACE:
     There are times when disciplines fail and determinations wane, but never forget grace. Grace is not an excuse for failure or waning determination, but it is the mercy by which we understand that God saved us and still loves us. God does not wink at sin nor does he condone sin; for when His Son asked if it were possible for the cup of punishment for sin to be accomplished any other way, God was silent. Grace is knowing the consequence of our sin was punished on the cross of Calvary. In short, our discipline or determination will not be enough to meet the requirement for salvation. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)  We strive to live with discipline and determination because of the teaching of Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)… For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, Which God prepared before hand, that we should walk in them. God did not save you to leave you the way you were, but to change you by the work of His Son on Cross and His resurrection.

     May I encourage you this year to develop new disciplines in your Christian walk and be determined to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. When you think you are failing or waining, remember grace. Hopefully this will cause you to love Him even more, and motivate you to look forward and press on and never give up. In the times you feel you’ve lost sight of your goal, Satan will remind you of your past and failures.
     Carman, a Christian singer, said this, “When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.” The Christians future, because of Jesus, is heavenly.
     Have a blessed 2018 in Christ Jesus!!!!!

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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