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Beginnings Are God’s Specialty

January 1st, 2010

A note about next week:

I will be away from the office next week and unable to resume the usual devotional until Monday, January 11. May I suggest you browse the EveryDay Life archive at www.allenrandolph.com. Again, I thank you for the privilege of another year of sharing with you some practical thoughts of God’s powerful Word for everyday life.

As I write on this New Year’s morning, Gayle and I pray for a truly Blessed New Year, prosperous for you and your family, and that your life be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. Let’s begin well and finish strong in the new year and new decade of 2010. Allen Randolph

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“This month shall be your beginning of months.” Exodus 12:2 NKJV

“I wish there were some wonderful place called the Land of Beginning Again.”

My thoughts today are that “beginnings are God’s specialty.”

“Happy New Year” is just not a worthy objective for welcoming a new year. That greeting, however traditional and well intended, suggests that your enjoyment of the year just begun is tied to what happens in the year, and that is something that none of us can actually control. In fact, you know that along with the favorable things that will come your way and the kindnesses that will be shown you by others, you will also face challenges you do not anticipate and difficulties you do not foresee.

Instead, I have chosen to desire for myself and others “a Blessed New Year,” an upcoming season of God’s presence and favor upon all that is done in His Name, whatever any momentary circumstance may be. See 2 Corinthians 4:15-18 NIV. I love the resounding assurance of the psalmist, “You visit the earth . . greatly enrich it . . provide their grain . .  water it . . settle its furrows . . You bless its growth. You crown the year with Your goodness and Your paths drip with abundance.” Psalm 65:9-11 NKJV. Now that is a blessed new year every year! That is the expectation with which I want to live my life every day; and that is also my heart and prayer for you.

Many years ago I learned a portion of a poem that suits this change of calendar, “I wish there were some wonderful place, Called the Land of Beginning Again. Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches, And all of our selfish grief, Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door, And never put on again.” (Louise Fletcher) That is the longing in every heart at each change of the calendar. Wherever in the world that crowds gathered last night with good cheer and optimism, they held one hope: that their life would be better this year – that they would do better; they would be better.

You can experience exactly that – forgiveness for every sin, healing from every hurt, release from every regret, hope in every situation, peace in every turmoil, assurance when uncertain, restoration of relationships, wisdom in every decision, alone but not lonely, and new beginnings every day! That place is at the foot of a cross where the Savior died for your sins long ago, and yet lives today to “crown the year with (His) goodness.” Read also Isaiah 53:4-6 NKJV.

New beginnings are God’s specialty. Who hasn’t needed them? He introduces us to Himself with the simple, yet profound words, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. In preparation for delivering Israel from Egypt’s slavery, God reset their calendar to announce their new beginning, “This month shall be the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” Exodus 12:2 NKJV. Almighty God forever changed Israel’s history, as He can change yours.

Let me be clear, a new beginning does not happen because of the change of a calendar or anything that happens outside of you; a new beginning can only happen for you when grace and spiritual change happens inside of you. Only God can do that! “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for their old life is gone. A new life has begun.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT. God also specializes in finishing well what He begins. See Philippians 1:6 NLT/Hebrews 12:2 NLT/Revelation 22:13 NLT.

My prayer for you today is for a blessed year, crowned with God’s grace and goodness.

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Be Yourself

August 26th, 2009

“I have finished my course.” 2 Timothy 4:7 KJV

Stay on course as God intended; that’s where your reward will be found, in life and eternity.”

My thoughts today are be yourself.”

Do you ever wish for a moment that you could be someone else, or at least be more like someone else? I think everybody probably thinks about that wistfully once in awhile. Who would you want to be more like? Someone with a certain talent you don’t possess, more popular, with athletic prowess that breaks the will of opponents, having more money, less worries, or clearer plans for the future?

What about yourself would you change if you could? When asked most people’s first answer would likely identify something of appearance, or cosmetic – all outward, superficial and ultimately inconsequential. Imagine if you applied yourself to simply be better in who you are and what you can do.

The models the culture incessantly imposes upon you suggest empty promises that you would be better off, happier, more satisfied, or the life of the party if you would be more like the images they project for products you must buy, cars you must drive, homes you must have, and celebrities you could be like. But like too much of what this world sells as “must have,” the promises are hollow. You will always be better off and more confident just being yourself.

Your life is not the product of happenstance. You are not less than you need to be. You are not less than someone else. Besides, who could be better at being you? Why be a second best copy of someone else when you are an original? You are a wonderful creation of God’s own hand and genius. You are a bundle of potential and possibility yet to be realized more fully. You are graced with gifts and abilities that are wonderfully your own, unlike any other’s.

God can only bless what He has created and intended. You are made in His image and likeness, and are to be a unique expression of His nature, unlike any other of His handiwork. Paul describes you in this way, “You are His workmanship” (Read Ephesians 2:10 NIV), a Greek word, poema, that is like our word, poem, a creative work of expressive thought. A secret to a happy life is fulfilling God’s “creative work of expressive thought” in all you do, and all you are.

When I have previously read today’s verse, I seemed to focus on the aspect of finishing the course, but today my thoughts are directed to my individual assignment to be diligent in my course – the singular plan and path that God has thoughtfully chosen just for my life, uniquely different from any other. “For I know the plans that I have for you . . plans for good . . to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT. I cannot walk someone’s else’s path nor best accomplish someone else’s assignment even if I would prefer, try as I might. I am prepared and qualified by God to be best at just being myself, and so are you. Stay on course as God intended; that’s where your reward will be found, in life and eternity.

My prayer for you today is: be a wondrous original that best reveals the Creator’s genius and design in making you who you are.

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