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Anticipation

January 5th, 2018

Anticipate Grace and Goodness.

“You crown the year with Your goodness.”

Psalm 65:11 NKJV.

My comments today encourage you to, “Anticipate Grace.”

Years earlier, I read a poem that I occasionally recall, especially at the start of a new year.

I wish that there were some wonderful place, In the Land of Beginning Again. Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches, And all of our poor selfish grief, Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door, and never put on again.

I wish we could come on it all unaware, Like the hunter who finds a lost trail; And I wish that the one whom our blindness had done, The greatest injustice of all, Could be there at the gates, like an old friend that waits, For the comrade he’s gladdest to hail.

We would find all the things we intended to do, But forgot, and remembered too late, Little praises unspoken, little promises broken, And all the thousand and one, Little duties neglected that might have perfected, The day for one less fortunate.

It wouldn’t be possible not to be kind, In the Land of Beginning Again, And the ones we misjudged, and the ones whom we grudged, their moments of victory here, Would find in the grasp of our loving hand-clasp, More than penitent lips could explain.

So I wish that there were some wonderful place, Called the Land of Beginning Again, Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches, And all of our poor selfish grief, Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door, And never put on again.

Louisa Fletcher 1878-1957, “The Land of Beginning Again”

Regrets. We all have them. Grace. We are all offered that. Any year can end with uncompleted plans, unachieved goals, and lingering uncertainty about the road ahead. Along the way, we seem to accumulate spiritual and emotional baggage from regrets, hurts, disappointments in ourselves or others, and unfinished business. Wouldn’t you like to not drag those into another year? Against the backdrop of such things, we should remember God’s promise, “’I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11-12 NIV. Hope without a future is meaningless, as is a future without hope.

In this new year, anticipate God’s grace and goodness, expressed in fresh beginnings unencumbered by the weight of past mistakes and regrets. “My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:5-6 NLT. For you, God offers a fresh opportunity overflowing with certainty that your past is settled in grace, and abounding with confidence that the present is secure in His providence, and brimming with courage that all which is now unknown is securely held in God’s hands.

And of this, you can affirm about our God, “You crown the year with a bountiful harvest: even your hard pathways overflow with abundance.” Read Psalm 65:11 NLT. Every path ahead may not be easy, but every path where He leads will be graced by His loving presence and ample provision.

This is among my favorite promises from God’s Word. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, Who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NKJV. In Jesus Christ, always awaiting you is, “a land of new beginnings.” Don’t drag the old year into the new; allow the new year to redeem the old. Anticipate grace and goodness.

Today, I pray for you to know you are graced by God and crowned with His goodness.

Christian Communications 2018

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Sufficiency

April 2nd, 2014

“In all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV.

Sufficiency is more about access to ample resources than possession of assets.

My thoughts and comments today are about “sufficiency.”

Most people are not trying to acquire and accumulate as much stuff as they can. People just want enough to have confidence that they will have what is adequate, if and when they need it. At some point, everyone has felt the fear that their limited means would be insufficient in an emergency. Your inadequacy is true, but His sufficiency is more true. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient . .” 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 NKJV.

The difference among people is not that their needs differ; we all have similar basic needs. Some assume what they have is all they have. You will find security in the conviction and trust that all God has is what you will have, as needed. The first results in anxiety; the latter produces assurance. “You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance. Psalm 65:11 NKJV.

Sufficiency is more about access to ample resources than one’s possession of assets. After Jesus’ lengthy discourse about daily needs, needless worry, and ample provision, He defines God’s providence, “Your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and He will give you all you need from day to day – if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Matthew 6:31-33 NLT. When God and His Kingdom become your first priority, you become His primary responsibility.

A life of sufficiency results from a lifestyle of generosity. Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously . . God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 NIV. Let these words dwell in your heart, “In all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound . .” That is the description of providential sufficiency.

A promise is only as good as the intention, character, and resources of the one promising. Paul considered the intention of God as indisputable: “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32 NIV.

Paul believed the character of God was unchangeable. “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now glory be to God our Father forever and ever.” Philippians 4:19-20 NLT.

Paul measured the providential resources of God as sufficient. “Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV. Our Father has not only the ability and ample resources to do as He says but also possesses a compelling love to provide for His own.

“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent . . for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:10-11 NKJV. Sufficiency from above is your blessing now and forever.

My prayer for you today is that you trust God for His daily provision, temporal and eternal.

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Crowned with Goodness

December 30th, 2013

“You crown the year with Your goodness.” Psalm 65:11 NKJV.

In every situation and season of life, you should expect the goodness of God.

My thoughts and comments today are about “crowned with goodness.”

I love Christmas, yet I loved it even more when our grandchildren were young. I loved their gifts, inexpensive and wrapped as only a child does, but given with excitement and generosity. In my memory and heart, I can still hear their eager voices, “Poppa, Poppa, open my present.” Children best exemplify Jesus’ teaching, “Remember the words of our Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35b NKJV. Hardly able to wait for your unwrapping, a child brings a gift you receive with joy, not because of the nature of the gift, but because of their delight in giving it. I think this New Year should be received from God like that.

I am expectant of the goodness awaiting me and our family – and you and your family – in the New Year because God is enthusiastic about all He intends to provide. God’s character and intent is confirmed by the Psalmist, “The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11 NKJV. Whatever seemed withheld previously was only out of His kindness, superior wisdom, and sovereign purpose for your greater good. What a great promise in which to give thanks to conclude this year and with which to begin a new one.

The annual change of calendar calls for appropriate reflection and preparation of heart. Too easily, the facts of His blessings and provision of the preceding year may be taken for granted and your faith for the approaching year diminished. James, the brother of Jesus, affirmed, “Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, Who . . never changes. In His goodness He chose to make us His own children by giving us His true Word. And we out of all creation became His choice possession.” James 1:17-18 NLT. Tracing every good thing in your life this last year leads to one source alone, God’s goodness.

In the context of an agricultural nation, David sang of Jehovah, “You crown the year with Your goodness, and your paths drip with abundance.” Psalm 65:11 NKJV. David declared God’s favor in all the nation’s seasons: planting, growing, and harvesting. His song describes, “The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered with grain; they shout for joy, they also sing.” Read Vs. 9-13. Whatever season you are now in, God is sovereign and faithful, and you can see His goodness there.

In this industrial and technological society, your expectation should be the same as it was for David and Israel. The same timeless and eternal God will crown your year with His goodness. In every situation and season of life, you can and should expect and proclaim the goodness of God over your health, marriage, family, finances, occupation, relationships, and Godly pursuits. See Psalm 27:13 NKJV.

David responds with jubilant praise, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul. And forget not all His benefits . . Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfies your mouth with good things.” Psalm 103:1-5 Psalm 103:1-5NKJV. Four times in Psalm 107, David’s heart overflows, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.” Psalm 107:8 NKJV. And I say, “Amen!”

My prayer for you today is that you expect and receive a new season of God’s goodness.

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Thankfulness

February 8th, 2013

“Oh, that men would give thanks to God for His goodness.” Psalm 107:8 NKJV.

Even the misfortune of circumstance or mistreatment of others is redeemed in God’s hands.

Much more good fills one’s life than bad, though it doesn’t always feel that way in a particular moment. Occasionally, the good can be overshadowed by the other, if not overlooked altogether. Much of life results from your focus and choice. You will see what you’re looking for, whether the best or worst. I suggest you should always look for what you hope to find. Choosing to look for the good, you will not focus on the other.

You may be surprised how often you will find good around you, as well as in yourself and others. Read Psalm 33:5 NKJV. You will be happier, while lesser things will seem increasingly extraneous or mere distractions. “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! . . He fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:8-9 NKJV. Goodness is both God’s character and His specialty. David’s admonition becomes a recurring refrain in this Psalm. (See Vs. 8/15/21/31). Such clear repetition is a spiritual emphasis not to overlook.

This Psalm is King David’s joyful rehearsal of God’s love, and David’s thankfulness for, “[God’s] goodness and wonderful works.” Read the Psalm deliberately; meditate on God’s faithfulness; rehearse your history in a better light; see and celebrate the goodness of God in every circumstance. David was also certain of this: “You crown the year with goodness; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.” Psalm 65:11 NKJV/NLT. It is still early enough in this New Year to choose faith for goodness to crown yourself, family, and finances.

Your pain, as well as your own plans, can blind you to the sovereign goodness of God over your life. You cannot give thanks for goodness you fail to recognize as such. Learn to see the benevolence of God in situations. Who could have struggled more with unfairness and subsequent suffering than Old Testament Joseph? Joseph suffered his brothers’ jealousy, imposed slavery, years of separation, false accusation, unjust imprisonment, then overlooked by those he helped – yet Joseph could still see the goodness of God upon his life.

In his later years, Joseph summed up his appraisal of life this way, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 NIV. Man’s best or worst intentions neither pre-empt nor prevent the benevolent intentions of your God. Read Psalm 34:8 NLT/1 Peter 2:3 NIV.

Even the misfortune of circumstance and the mischief or mistreatment of others can be redeemed in God’s love and purpose. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them . . to become like his Son.” Romans 8:28-29 NLT. Love God with all your heart; trust Him in all times. You will experience difficult situations along the way; everyone does. Read Psalm 27:13-14 NKJV.

In such moments, God has not changed. His nature and character are steadfast. God is good all the time. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 RSV. Thankfulness is appreciation for goodness today and anticipation for tomorrow. Be thankful! Thankfulness is the appropriate response of one’s heart to the goodness of God.

My prayer for you today is that you will live assured that God is good, all the time.

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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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