JANUARY NEWSLETTER NOTES

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by: Randy Waters

01/06/2022

0

 NEW THINGS

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19; 

Happy New Year! Rejoicing over the merriment and good news of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas ought to fill our cups so full that the overflow spills grace into the new year. Every new year salutation is saturated with good will, peace, and prosperity, but 2022 is especially exciting. There is much to do in 2022! Christmas has reminded us that God loves, has forgiven us and will always be with us. Knowing that will make us put our working britches on and look for something to do for God. Loving God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, will keep us pretty busy. And if we examine our own hearts like we should, we’ll spend so much time sweeping around our own back door that we won’t have time to criticize what’s around our neighbor’s front door. 

To assure the new year is a happy one, maybe we should strive for improvements. No Christian can really be happy unless he or she is doing the best they can with what they have to bring God glory. The angels herald of “Glory to the Highest” at the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, should be the echo of every experience we have on earth. And since we all are a work in progress so to speak, we ought to appreciate the Holy Spirit’s influence and promptings to get better at doing church and following Jesus. Realizing we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb is incentive to raise the bar of religion by letting others know we care and by separating ourselves from this world. We’ll be much happier in 2022 if we stop trying to impress people with what we know and instead let them know we care. Also, we can find our life’s purpose every time simply by obeying God’s Holy Word. That’s because the Word will keep us from sinning, making every day a new beginning. 

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspot- ted from the world.” James 1:27 

Jesus Christ is not only our Lord and Saviour, He also was a working man during His trek on earth. His first recorded words were, “I must be about my Father’s business.” (Luke 2:49), and if we are following Him, we should be looking for work in the Father’s kingdom too. Even though the Lord Jesus finished His work on earth by dying on the cross to pay our sin debt, He even now is our busiest advocate and intercessor between God and us. The death of the Lord Jesus provides a platform for a healthy work ethic, not to be saved, but because we are saved.  

This year is going to require lots of prayer. The challenges, heartbreaks and losses we must face will need a touch from God to get us through. When we’re sitting beside our loved ones in ICU holding their hands, God in Heaven through prayer will be holding ours. Pouting and pounding will only increase our doubt and enhance Satan’s rout. If you’re wondering what you should do in 2022, stop wondering and pray. That way you’ll stop worrying too! 

There is so much to do for God. It’s not that God needs our help to do anything really, it’s just that since He has put eternity in our hearts, He knows how much we enjoy working on eternal projects that give birth to spiritual fruit. Visiting the sick and shut in, reading our Bibles, attending church, serving our neighbors, praying problems through are all wonderful opportunities God gives us to express our love for Him and each other. And since idleness is surely one of the devil’s workshops, staying busy everyday will help keep the devil away.  

Beyond all of the above though, the best thing to do in 2022 is to make all things new! The word new is defined as not existing before, made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time! New can mean already existing but seen, experienced or acquired recently or now for the first time. There is a short story in a book I read recently entitled “Success, One Day At A Time” by John Maturel that says; “A young man from the city
graduated from college with a degree in journalism and got a job at a small-town newspaper. One of his first assignments was to interview an old farmer who lived twenty miles outside of town. As he sat with the grizzled man on his front porch, the young journalist looked at his notepad and started asking his questions. One of the first he asked was, “Sir, what time do you go to work in the morning?” The old farmer chuckled and replied, “Son, I don’t go to work, I’m surrounded by it.” 

We can learn a lesson from the farmer. Opportunities are a lot like his work. They are everywhere. But the problem is that we often don’t have the eyes to see them, the power to engage them, nor a path to negotiate them. 

What we need to desire this year are the eyes to see the need around us, the strength to meet that need, and the route to the right destination. These three new year virtues can only be supplied by God. Do not begin this new year (or a day within it) without this message from God: 

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19  

A new perception - 

When the word “behold” appears in scripture it means, “Look at this, God is about to do something!” The reason we have so much to do in 2022 is that God is the one doing it. We are just the means, the vessels of mercy He will use to do His work. This should greatly encourage us and cause us to look for God in everything that happens. A Divine perception will keep us going in the right direction and assures us of glorifying God in all we do. It is true if anything good gets done in 2022, God will be doing it. If God doesn’t do it, it won’t get done. We all should be most humbled and thankful that the Almighty, Holy Creator of the Universe, wants to use weak and sinful creatures like us to do His work. If we can realize that we are working for God, then our work is not boring nor burdensome. 

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” 

Ephesians 2:10 

A new perception generates enthusiasm in our lives. Enthusiasm is great eagerness to be involved in a particular activity that you like and enjoy or that you think is important. The word “enthusiasm” comes from two Greek words: “en” meaning “within,” and “Theos” meaning “God.” So the word enthusiasm literally means “God within!” It was used to describe people who possessed God-like abilities or very strong, God- inspired wisdom and convictions. People who are enthusiastic about life are the people who have the Holy Spirit dwelling in their hearts. The genuinely enthusiastic person then is a person whom God has saved by his grace and has quickened into spiritual life. 

One of the characteristics of the miracle of the new birth is that we see the same things in a new way. The drug addict or adulterer we once condemned, we now see as in bondage to sin and Satan. We know that except for the grace and intervention of God, we would be in their shoes. Many of us have been, so we know we are no better than they. Also, the problems we face and the pains we bear are now seen as com- ing from the very hand of God. Instead of criticizing, condemning, and complaining, we see even the most obvious obstacles in a new way. When the spies searched the promised land Canaan in the Old Testament, they all saw pretty much the same things, yet two of them, Joshua and Caleb looked with “new eyes.” They saw the same giants and problems that the other spies saw, but they saw God behind it all. The other ten spies saw the problems and difficulties as greater than God. How big is our God? If He is almighty and powerful, then we ought to have a new perception in 2022. There is absolutely nothing God cannot do in 2022! Now is the time to see God’s fingerprints in this world and appreciate His miracles of enabling us to see trouble and trials in a new way. 

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17 

Every sunrise should  remind us of the importance of having a new perception. The
rising sun takes away the darkness of the night and enables us to see the world around us.
Likewise, the Risen Son of God, The Lord Jesus Christ shines in our hearts and takes away the darkness of sin and separation. Now we wouldn’t need to look directly at the natural sun to see the world around us, when it appears we see everything else. By putting Jesus first in our life in 2022, we’ll be blessed to see everything else with new eyes.  

Don’t start the new year off by looking for old things. After all, most likely you will see what you’re looking for. Sometimes we pay too much attention to the wrong picture and miss the big picture. The expression “Can’t see the forest for the trees” applies when someone is too involved in the details of a problem to look at the situation as a whole. Our God is bigger than any problem we’ll face in 2022. If we are going to see the big picture, we’re going to have to look for God because He is the big picture. Grabbing the wrong end of a stick can be painful. Don’t let what’s wrong with the world keep you from seeing what’s right with God! 

New Power -  

“Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger people. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for power equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.” Phillips Brooks said that and it’s an appropriate new year’s resolution. Prayer is a most powerful tool to fight the fight of faith with. The prayer room has been rightly compared to a war room. Life is a battle, a spiritual warfare and we can expect to be in the heat of the battle this year. I have seen more crosses in front yards, heard the name of Jesus and have noticed more prayer requests in 2021 than I can remember ever being. If we’re going to make it through 2022, we must hunker down in humble prayer to our Heavenly Father from whom all blessings flow, including power. 

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2 

This year we will face new challenges, new problems, new disappointments and new temptations. To rise to the occasion so that victory in Jesus is manifest, we have access to the greatest power in the universe. A story is told of a time when the Lord told a man he had work for him to do. The Lord showed the man a large rock and explained to the man that He wanted him to push against that rock every day with all his might. This he did, day after day. But though he pushed hard every day, all he had to show for it were sore shoulders and arms. He wasn’t moving the rock one inch. The man became so discouraged over time. Even though he wanted to do what the Lord told him to do, he felt he was a total failure. About the time the man was about to give up the pushing, the Lord spoke to him in a dream saying: “My child, when I asked you to serve me and you agreed, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, and you have done that. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your job was to push.  And now you think you have failed me, but you have not. Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back is strengthened and sturdy, your hands are calloused from constant pressure and your legs are powerful and massive. Through opposition, you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have.” Even though the man didn’t move the rock, the rock moved the man. It moved him closer to God and it moved him from weakness to power. The point of that story is that God has commanded us to pray. He has not commanded us to make something happen. That’s His job. Prayer doesn’t always change things but prayer always changes us, for it gives us new power. 

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 

New Path -  

It’s interesting to know that you can drive the same route every day and the effects of the ride are determined by whom you are traveling with. This year, make the same ole, same ole new by walking with God. Really, every step we take is a new step because we’ve never taken that step before. Certainly we all should have goals and virtuous visions for the new year. But if we see New Year’s Eve 2022, it won’t be the successes nor the failures that will stand out in our reflections, it will be the journey, the path and who was with us along the way. 

The trail of trials before us has been mapped by God to keep us close to Him, to trust Him and to depend upon Him. The path is narrow and steep but God has a purpose in every nook and cranny. And even when things are alright and we can catch a breath as we coast down hill, God may station some speed bumps to slow us down so that we don’t get hurt at the intersection up ahead. History has proven that God must always take His people the long way around. There are no shortcuts with God! God intends for us to get where He wants us to go, even though we may not want to go where He wants us to go. His amazing grace and constraining love, along with His path lighting Word, will be all we need to travel the new path God has prepared for us in 2022. 

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10 

Maybe the new path for us this year will really be an old path we walk in a new way. It’s very easy to go down the wrong path in our society today. The path of least resistance is alluring to our human senses, but ends up providing a boring, memorizing, interstate glaze as we try to figure out which interchange to get off on. Someone told me recently that they had witnessed a man being hit by a car while he was chasing his hat which had been blown off his head by the wind. The man died from the injuries sustained by the car. The point is, we can chase nothing and lose everything. God does allow U-turns. Our path back to God will be a new path and a most needful path. The prodigal son’s path back to his father in Luke 15 was a new path and God provided new grace for the trip. 

I remember being in the woods once in an impenetrable thicket of sparkleberry and ty ty bushes. Obviously, I had gotten off the path I needed to be on. Finally, the only way I could move was to crawl. When you are on the wrong path or you don’t even take a path, you don’t worry about what others think of you nor are you ashamed to crawl! As soon as I bowed underneath the brush while on my hands and knees, I found a path. It was only a deer trail but it was a new path for me. Did you not know that you are dear to God? 

Don’t give up when you are waist deep in briars and brambles; humble yourself, get on your knees and crawl if you must. You will find a new path when you do! 

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls...” Jeremiah 6:16 

May the Lord fill your year with new things and renew all of us in all things. 

Brother Randy 


 NEW THINGS

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19; 

Happy New Year! Rejoicing over the merriment and good news of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ at Christmas ought to fill our cups so full that the overflow spills grace into the new year. Every new year salutation is saturated with good will, peace, and prosperity, but 2022 is especially exciting. There is much to do in 2022! Christmas has reminded us that God loves, has forgiven us and will always be with us. Knowing that will make us put our working britches on and look for something to do for God. Loving God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, will keep us pretty busy. And if we examine our own hearts like we should, we’ll spend so much time sweeping around our own back door that we won’t have time to criticize what’s around our neighbor’s front door. 

To assure the new year is a happy one, maybe we should strive for improvements. No Christian can really be happy unless he or she is doing the best they can with what they have to bring God glory. The angels herald of “Glory to the Highest” at the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, should be the echo of every experience we have on earth. And since we all are a work in progress so to speak, we ought to appreciate the Holy Spirit’s influence and promptings to get better at doing church and following Jesus. Realizing we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb is incentive to raise the bar of religion by letting others know we care and by separating ourselves from this world. We’ll be much happier in 2022 if we stop trying to impress people with what we know and instead let them know we care. Also, we can find our life’s purpose every time simply by obeying God’s Holy Word. That’s because the Word will keep us from sinning, making every day a new beginning. 

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspot- ted from the world.” James 1:27 

Jesus Christ is not only our Lord and Saviour, He also was a working man during His trek on earth. His first recorded words were, “I must be about my Father’s business.” (Luke 2:49), and if we are following Him, we should be looking for work in the Father’s kingdom too. Even though the Lord Jesus finished His work on earth by dying on the cross to pay our sin debt, He even now is our busiest advocate and intercessor between God and us. The death of the Lord Jesus provides a platform for a healthy work ethic, not to be saved, but because we are saved.  

This year is going to require lots of prayer. The challenges, heartbreaks and losses we must face will need a touch from God to get us through. When we’re sitting beside our loved ones in ICU holding their hands, God in Heaven through prayer will be holding ours. Pouting and pounding will only increase our doubt and enhance Satan’s rout. If you’re wondering what you should do in 2022, stop wondering and pray. That way you’ll stop worrying too! 

There is so much to do for God. It’s not that God needs our help to do anything really, it’s just that since He has put eternity in our hearts, He knows how much we enjoy working on eternal projects that give birth to spiritual fruit. Visiting the sick and shut in, reading our Bibles, attending church, serving our neighbors, praying problems through are all wonderful opportunities God gives us to express our love for Him and each other. And since idleness is surely one of the devil’s workshops, staying busy everyday will help keep the devil away.  

Beyond all of the above though, the best thing to do in 2022 is to make all things new! The word new is defined as not existing before, made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time! New can mean already existing but seen, experienced or acquired recently or now for the first time. There is a short story in a book I read recently entitled “Success, One Day At A Time” by John Maturel that says; “A young man from the city
graduated from college with a degree in journalism and got a job at a small-town newspaper. One of his first assignments was to interview an old farmer who lived twenty miles outside of town. As he sat with the grizzled man on his front porch, the young journalist looked at his notepad and started asking his questions. One of the first he asked was, “Sir, what time do you go to work in the morning?” The old farmer chuckled and replied, “Son, I don’t go to work, I’m surrounded by it.” 

We can learn a lesson from the farmer. Opportunities are a lot like his work. They are everywhere. But the problem is that we often don’t have the eyes to see them, the power to engage them, nor a path to negotiate them. 

What we need to desire this year are the eyes to see the need around us, the strength to meet that need, and the route to the right destination. These three new year virtues can only be supplied by God. Do not begin this new year (or a day within it) without this message from God: 

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19  

A new perception - 

When the word “behold” appears in scripture it means, “Look at this, God is about to do something!” The reason we have so much to do in 2022 is that God is the one doing it. We are just the means, the vessels of mercy He will use to do His work. This should greatly encourage us and cause us to look for God in everything that happens. A Divine perception will keep us going in the right direction and assures us of glorifying God in all we do. It is true if anything good gets done in 2022, God will be doing it. If God doesn’t do it, it won’t get done. We all should be most humbled and thankful that the Almighty, Holy Creator of the Universe, wants to use weak and sinful creatures like us to do His work. If we can realize that we are working for God, then our work is not boring nor burdensome. 

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” 

Ephesians 2:10 

A new perception generates enthusiasm in our lives. Enthusiasm is great eagerness to be involved in a particular activity that you like and enjoy or that you think is important. The word “enthusiasm” comes from two Greek words: “en” meaning “within,” and “Theos” meaning “God.” So the word enthusiasm literally means “God within!” It was used to describe people who possessed God-like abilities or very strong, God- inspired wisdom and convictions. People who are enthusiastic about life are the people who have the Holy Spirit dwelling in their hearts. The genuinely enthusiastic person then is a person whom God has saved by his grace and has quickened into spiritual life. 

One of the characteristics of the miracle of the new birth is that we see the same things in a new way. The drug addict or adulterer we once condemned, we now see as in bondage to sin and Satan. We know that except for the grace and intervention of God, we would be in their shoes. Many of us have been, so we know we are no better than they. Also, the problems we face and the pains we bear are now seen as com- ing from the very hand of God. Instead of criticizing, condemning, and complaining, we see even the most obvious obstacles in a new way. When the spies searched the promised land Canaan in the Old Testament, they all saw pretty much the same things, yet two of them, Joshua and Caleb looked with “new eyes.” They saw the same giants and problems that the other spies saw, but they saw God behind it all. The other ten spies saw the problems and difficulties as greater than God. How big is our God? If He is almighty and powerful, then we ought to have a new perception in 2022. There is absolutely nothing God cannot do in 2022! Now is the time to see God’s fingerprints in this world and appreciate His miracles of enabling us to see trouble and trials in a new way. 

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17 

Every sunrise should  remind us of the importance of having a new perception. The
rising sun takes away the darkness of the night and enables us to see the world around us.
Likewise, the Risen Son of God, The Lord Jesus Christ shines in our hearts and takes away the darkness of sin and separation. Now we wouldn’t need to look directly at the natural sun to see the world around us, when it appears we see everything else. By putting Jesus first in our life in 2022, we’ll be blessed to see everything else with new eyes.  

Don’t start the new year off by looking for old things. After all, most likely you will see what you’re looking for. Sometimes we pay too much attention to the wrong picture and miss the big picture. The expression “Can’t see the forest for the trees” applies when someone is too involved in the details of a problem to look at the situation as a whole. Our God is bigger than any problem we’ll face in 2022. If we are going to see the big picture, we’re going to have to look for God because He is the big picture. Grabbing the wrong end of a stick can be painful. Don’t let what’s wrong with the world keep you from seeing what’s right with God! 

New Power -  

“Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger people. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for power equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle but you shall be a miracle. Every day you shall wonder at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.” Phillips Brooks said that and it’s an appropriate new year’s resolution. Prayer is a most powerful tool to fight the fight of faith with. The prayer room has been rightly compared to a war room. Life is a battle, a spiritual warfare and we can expect to be in the heat of the battle this year. I have seen more crosses in front yards, heard the name of Jesus and have noticed more prayer requests in 2021 than I can remember ever being. If we’re going to make it through 2022, we must hunker down in humble prayer to our Heavenly Father from whom all blessings flow, including power. 

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2 

This year we will face new challenges, new problems, new disappointments and new temptations. To rise to the occasion so that victory in Jesus is manifest, we have access to the greatest power in the universe. A story is told of a time when the Lord told a man he had work for him to do. The Lord showed the man a large rock and explained to the man that He wanted him to push against that rock every day with all his might. This he did, day after day. But though he pushed hard every day, all he had to show for it were sore shoulders and arms. He wasn’t moving the rock one inch. The man became so discouraged over time. Even though he wanted to do what the Lord told him to do, he felt he was a total failure. About the time the man was about to give up the pushing, the Lord spoke to him in a dream saying: “My child, when I asked you to serve me and you agreed, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, and you have done that. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your job was to push.  And now you think you have failed me, but you have not. Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back is strengthened and sturdy, your hands are calloused from constant pressure and your legs are powerful and massive. Through opposition, you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have.” Even though the man didn’t move the rock, the rock moved the man. It moved him closer to God and it moved him from weakness to power. The point of that story is that God has commanded us to pray. He has not commanded us to make something happen. That’s His job. Prayer doesn’t always change things but prayer always changes us, for it gives us new power. 

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 

New Path -  

It’s interesting to know that you can drive the same route every day and the effects of the ride are determined by whom you are traveling with. This year, make the same ole, same ole new by walking with God. Really, every step we take is a new step because we’ve never taken that step before. Certainly we all should have goals and virtuous visions for the new year. But if we see New Year’s Eve 2022, it won’t be the successes nor the failures that will stand out in our reflections, it will be the journey, the path and who was with us along the way. 

The trail of trials before us has been mapped by God to keep us close to Him, to trust Him and to depend upon Him. The path is narrow and steep but God has a purpose in every nook and cranny. And even when things are alright and we can catch a breath as we coast down hill, God may station some speed bumps to slow us down so that we don’t get hurt at the intersection up ahead. History has proven that God must always take His people the long way around. There are no shortcuts with God! God intends for us to get where He wants us to go, even though we may not want to go where He wants us to go. His amazing grace and constraining love, along with His path lighting Word, will be all we need to travel the new path God has prepared for us in 2022. 

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10 

Maybe the new path for us this year will really be an old path we walk in a new way. It’s very easy to go down the wrong path in our society today. The path of least resistance is alluring to our human senses, but ends up providing a boring, memorizing, interstate glaze as we try to figure out which interchange to get off on. Someone told me recently that they had witnessed a man being hit by a car while he was chasing his hat which had been blown off his head by the wind. The man died from the injuries sustained by the car. The point is, we can chase nothing and lose everything. God does allow U-turns. Our path back to God will be a new path and a most needful path. The prodigal son’s path back to his father in Luke 15 was a new path and God provided new grace for the trip. 

I remember being in the woods once in an impenetrable thicket of sparkleberry and ty ty bushes. Obviously, I had gotten off the path I needed to be on. Finally, the only way I could move was to crawl. When you are on the wrong path or you don’t even take a path, you don’t worry about what others think of you nor are you ashamed to crawl! As soon as I bowed underneath the brush while on my hands and knees, I found a path. It was only a deer trail but it was a new path for me. Did you not know that you are dear to God? 

Don’t give up when you are waist deep in briars and brambles; humble yourself, get on your knees and crawl if you must. You will find a new path when you do! 

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls...” Jeremiah 6:16 

May the Lord fill your year with new things and renew all of us in all things. 

Brother Randy 


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