January 2023

A New Year’s Prayer
May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making your path easy,
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you,
But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping your face bright,
even in the shadows;
Not by making your life, always pleasant,
But by showing you
when people and their causes need you most,
and by making you anxious to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope and joy to you
for the year ahead.

www.heartprintsofgod.com

~Anonymous

Praying God’s Blessings & Peace Upon You during 2023!
Love,
Your LOOP Friends

The Great Reset (Getting Ready for Something New) pt.1
All Scripture taken from the New Living Translation

Today we are starting a sermon series titled, “The Great Reset.”

There are often times throughout our lives when we need to start over… Or we could use fresh start in life… A reset!

And that’s the best part about Christianity… About following Jesus… He loves giving us do-overs… He loves helping us reset our lives when needed… When we ask!!

For instance, we get a fresh start the moment we invite Jesus into our lives… This is called salvation… Our salvation experience is a reset… A do-over in life…

The Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians about this…

Ephesians 4:21-24: 21Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, 22throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24Put on your new nature, created to be like God, truly righteous and holy.

When we first hear about Jesus and learn the truth that comes from Him, next there is a process of growth that begins to take place.

The beginning of that growth as a new person in Christ is getting rid of our sinful nature, and allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our thoughts and attitudes…

Which then becomes our new nature… Getting rid of the old self and starting over!! This is a reset for a new adventure in life… A life following Jesus!

But here we are and it’s a new year… As followers of Jesus, how do we initiate a life reset?… How do we get ready from something new to take place?

We start by asking Him to do something new in us… “Jesus, I need You to do something new in me… I need You to help me reset my life!”

And if you’re serious about this, then keep asking Him, don’t just ask one time and expect things to change… Get the dialogue started… And be proactive with Him…

The moment you hear from Him or start sensing the change in your thoughts and attitudes… Then start pressing into that… Follow His lead in your life for that moment!

You see, often people let the past shape who we are… As followers of Jesus, we are no longer products of our past…

Whether it’s the good, the bad, or the ugly that we cannot let go of, God says, let me help you with a second chance… Let me be part of a reset in your life!

When speaking to the Israelites through the prophet Isaiah, God was reminding them of all the good things He’s done for them

Isaiah 43:18-19: “But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. 19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

The only way we can effectively move forward in life is by not dwelling on what’s behind us…

Even the good events from the past can keep us from where we need to be!

And more times than not, we are not where we want to be in life because we are not involving Jesus in the decision making…

We are not asking Him to help with the changes that need to be made…

James 4:2: “…Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.”

In its context James is talking about wanting things others have, and asking God for things without the proper motives…

If we are truly looking for a reset and our hearts are rights with God… Meaning, wea re focused on Him, reading His Word, staying close to Him…

And we are serious about Him being the One we need to follow for the change to happen…

Then we need to begin the dialogue with Him on what and how we want to go about getting ready for something new when it comes to reset in our lives!

What is the area, or areas in your life that you are serious about a change?

Talk to God about it and then listen and look for His guidance…

James 1:5: “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

When involving God in a reset, be specific… And continue seeking Him for guidance!

What is it you are looking for in this new year? A closer relationship with Jesus… Marriage to be in sync… Parenting wisdom… Career… Schooling… Relationships… Finances… Wisdom with prioritizing… Habits… Routines…

Whatever it is be specific and get the dialogue started… Start praying about it… Talking to God about it…

The Dash Poem by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
From the beginning…to the end

He noted that first came the date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
Know what that little line is worth

For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering this special dash
Might only last a little while

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash…
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent YOUR dash?

Psalm 32:8: The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”

The first step to a reset is identifying what needs to take place, and then getting the dialogue started with God…

The second step goes a little deeper… It’s a little more work… It means you are serious about the

reset… Serious about making sure the change happens…

We all need accountability… This could start by joining a small group, we call them life groups… Life Groups are key to helping people in their walk with Christ…

Joining a life group means you are serious about not doing life alone as a follower of Jesus…

It means you have people in your life to help… It means you are allowing others in your life who can see what you cannot see about yourself…

Hebrews 10:24-25: “24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another…”

Getting connected to a family of like-minded believers, and continuing to meet with life groups builds trusting relationships and accountability between people.

When we meet on a regular basis with people we trust, it helps bring down our defenses and allows us to be open with others as to what we are looking to accomplish in both our personal and spiritual lives.

Life groups bring motivation and encouragement… Which can help when seeking a reset in life!

Romans 12:3-5: “3Because of the privilege and authority [measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4Just as our bodies have many parts and each] God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, part has a special function, 5so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.”

We have a family we are born into here on earth… And that is our physical earthly family!

And then, as followers of Jesus we have another family we belong too… The family of God… The body of Christ… And that is our spiritual heavenly family!

We are to be committed to both… And yes, both may fail us at times… It’s family!

But our spiritual heavenly family is a family that should be stronger than any other commitment here on earth…

Our commitment to the body of Christ is more important because it’s the only relationship factor that’s going to last forever! We all function differently in the body of Christ… This helps us function as one body.

When you focus on problems,
you will see more problems…
When you focus on possibilities,
you will see more opportunities.

@RecoveredOnPurpose

As we all play an important role in this church family, and my hope is that we can dial in on those roles more within the confines of membership.

And by doing so this may be a reset for some of us… It may build more friendships!

Something else I’d like to see happen in 2023 is people getting back into the spiritual routines they were committed to prior to the pandemic…

Many people stopped going to church, many stopped going to their life groups… Many stopped investing in the Kingdom…

I’d like to see people getting connected again and re-committing themselves to things that have eternal value…

God is a God of restoration and resets…

All throughout the Old Testament He was constantly battling with the Israelites and their worldly desires… But He never gave up on them…

And He will never give up on us!

Because of their sinful deeds the nation of Israel was about to be conquered and taken into captivity by Babylon…

During these prophecies spoken through Jeremiah God had a message of hope…

Jeremiah 30:10: “So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel,” says the LORD. “For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize them.”

The Israelites did not go unpunished for their wicked deeds…

But how would you like the God of the Universe to say, “You will return to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize you. For I am with you, and I will save you.”

I’ll end today’s message with this…God has always been and will always be a God of restoration… A God of resets!

We may do things that are outside of His will, but He will always call us back to Him…He will always be there to help us…

He will always provide the wisdom and strength needed to reset our lives in a way that brings His protection and restores our honor with Him!

When we call upon Him, He will always respond…

Psalm 91:14-16: “14The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in My name. 15When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

Here’s a free Bible reading plan. May God truly continue to bless you and your loved ones!