The Gift of a New Year

2014 gift

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14

Wow, a new year is here. It seems almost unreal that the first day of 2014 is upon us. It seems like yesterday we were preparing for the year 2000. People were running around preparing for the computers to crash. Some were even preparing for the world to end, yet here we are. Where has the time gone?

I love New Year’s Day. I have always enjoyed the start of a new year. Some people do not see much point in bringing in a new year. Many people sleep right through it. My dad use to tell us, “It will come whether I wait up on it or not.” I have always enjoyed “bringing in the new year.” There is something refreshing about saying good-bye to an old year and welcoming a new one. For me it is almost like taking off old tattered clothes and putting on new ones. I have always seen New Year’s Eve as a time to reflect. Some times it was to reflect on good things and some times it was to put away old painful things. Either way, the new year always brings about a new-found hope in my heart.

I sat last night and enjoyed watching the old year come to an end and a new one take its place. As I did I thought about all of the possibilities a new year brings. We never really know what a new year will hold, but I always find comfort in knowing that God does. What I see as a book with empty pages waiting to be filled, God sees as a masterpiece already written by His own hand.

As I thought about what I wanted to write today, the image of a gift came to my mind. I began to think about how a new year is like a present, given to us by God. It is crisp and neatly wrapped, waiting for us to open it and see what is waiting inside.

Here are a few things I imagine you would find if you could open your new year like a gift:

First, I think you would find a journal, beautifully covered, with gold-tipped pages. On the front of this journal would be your name. As you open it, you find crisp, clean pages waiting to be filled. This journal is your life story. Remember, however, you will never be able to write this story alone. No, the only way you will ever fill these pages with anything that makes sense is to place the pen in the hand of your Heavenly Father. Give the control to Him. I promise you, He can write a much better story that you could ever imagine.

Next, I think you would find a Bible. You see, this is God’s road map for your life. If you are wise you will not set it to the side and leave it there, but will take it with you and use it. Allow God to speak to you through it. Share it with those around you. Spread God’s word to everyone you meet.

Then, as you keep looking in the box, I think you would find a clock. This is to remind you that time is precious. Yes, we have been blessed with another year, but honestly we have no idea how much of that year we will see. We all pray that God will grant us the blessing of seeing many years come and go, but we are never even promised tomorrow. Let this clock be a reminder to you to make each moment count. Use your time wisely. Use your time for the Lord.

Finally, as you reach the bottom of the box, I believe that you would find a mirror. What could this possibly be for? No, it is not so you can look at yourself and find all the flaws. It is not even so you point out others’ flaws. This mirror is to be used to reflect God’s love. You see, you do not have the power in yourself to love other people the way that God wants you to. What you can do is allow God’s love to come into your heart, and then with His help you can reflect this love to those around you. Let other people see God’s love shining in you. This is the only way that we can lead others to Him.

So here is my question for you today: What will you do with the gift that you have been given? How will you use the things that God has given you in this gift called 2014? The choice is yours. The box has been opened, a new year has begun. The choice you have to make is what will you do with the contents of the gift? Will you take each piece out and use it as God has asked you to, or will you leave them where they are and wander through this new year alone?

My prayer for each of us today is that we will accept this gift of a new year. I pray that we will take each piece of this gift and allow God to use it in our lives. We have been blessed with a brand new year. The possibilities are endless, the adventures unimaginable. One thing is for sure, there is no way we can make this new year what it is supposed to be on our own. The only hope we have is in Jesus Christ. Let us put our trust in Him. Let us allow Him to lead, guide, and grow us as He sees fit.

Happy New Year, my friend. I pray that God will bless you today and all throughout the year to come.

Life Has Many States: What Will You Do With Them?


Philippians 4:11 KJV

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

I understand that this verse is not talking about physical states, but as I read it, I can’t help but think of our years as a missionary family.

Growing us as a missionary kid I often found myself in many different state, meeting many different people. We met a lot of new people and we also made a lot of great friend.

We were blessed to be a part of many great experiences of which I have many fond memories. We were able to go deep sea fishing in New Jersey. We got to go to Six Flags over Georgia, and even got to spend some time in the Carolinas. Those are memories that I will hold onto forever.

We also found ourselves in states that were not so enjoyable. These states were not physical states, however they were emotional and mental states. Many times we found ourselves in a state of loneliness as we had to leave loved ones behind in order to do God’s work. At times we found ourselves in a state of exhaustion from the many miles we would travel raising support for our ministry. And finally we found ourselves in a state of helplessness as our family faced a tragedy that we had no idea how to overcome.

I can relate to Paul as he speaks about the different “states” in which he found himself. But, I am also very encouraged by the words that he has for us in Philippians 4:11 as he says, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Looking back over the years, I see how God brought us through each state. Whether physical or mental, God had a plan for each one. He knew just what He was doing as he guided us each step of the way.

I hope as you read this, that you will find some encouragement in this story. I pray that as God takes you through each state of your life, that you will allow Him to speak to you, use you, and speak through you.

My prayer is this: As we share in God’s word together, I want us to make a point to be content wherever God takes us.

Fingerprints on the World

dantaw One day, I was looking at a post on Facebook that a friend had made. There was a picture of  her little boy’s hand print on something and she made the comment that he left his mark everywhere. As she talked about how she was going to miss those moments, I began to think about my Dantaw ( This is the nickname that we called my grandpa) and the fingerprints that he left on our lives.

 When our kids were little, we would take them to visit their M.J.(Our Grandma) and Dantaw and  let them play. In the back of their house was a sliding glass door that the kids loved to play around.  As our kids would play, they would leave tiny fingerprints and hand prints on the door. After we would leave, my M.J. would begin to clean up. One day she began to clean that glass door and my Dantaw stopped her and told her to leave those little finger prints on that glass so he could look at them while we were gone. He said it made him think of the kids and the joy they had brought to him while they were there.

  • dantaw2      My Dantaw has been gone for a few years now, but his fingerprints and hand prints are still here with us everyday. They remind us of the joy that he brought to our lives while he was here. Even though he is greatly missed,I am so thankful for the legacy that he left behind for us.

Now, here is a question for us to Ponder. What kind of fingerprints will we leave behind? What will people remember about us when we are gone? I pray that I leave fingerprints of love, joy, peace, gentleness, and most of all,I pray I leave fingerprints of  God’s love and His message of  forgiveness for all to see.

Pictures courtesy of Cynthia Hill Collier

The Lord Looks at the Heart

wpid-032313121526.jpg“Your not good enough, you can’t do it.” Satan whispers in your ear. “I love you, with me all things are possible.” The Lord whispers to your heart.
My mom sent me a quote that said, ” Satan whispers in our ear and we’re inclined to believe him. God call out to us, yet we say, ‘ I must have imagined that.” As I read that quote, I thought how true this is.
As human beings, we are inclined to believe a lie over the truth more times than not. Satan knows that, and he plays on our insecurities. He will continue to do it too, until we remember that he is the father of all lies.
There are many times in my life that satan whispers lies to me. I know my weakness is fear of the unknown, and so does he. If satan can whisper doubt into my ear he knows he has me. Well, he thinks he has me.
See, I have a weapon he can’t touch, a secret that he forgets about. It’s call Gods Word, and the Holy Spirit. When satan begins to fill your head with lies, remember what God said.
There are so many promises in God’s Word that we can stand upon. My favorite one is Jeremiah 29:11. It says, “For 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.” Now, If the Lord has promised us that, all of Satan’s lies don’t stand a chance.
I have heard it said, “God is not looking at your ability, He is looking for your availability.” In the story of David, when Samuel goes to anoint one of Jesse’s sons, God tells him not to consider their appearance. He says in I Samuel 16:7 ” The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” The Lord knew David’s heart. He didn’t care about his size or his height. God had big plans for David. All he needed was his “availability.” I pray today that we will stop listening to satan’s lies and start trusting God’s promises. God has big plans for you and for me. He just needs us to be available.