Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Thursday

A New Beginning
by M. J. Knight
During the course of the past year, many of us have faced some sort of trial, test, setback, or disappointment. Some of us have even experienced failure. But in spite of all of that, God has prepared this year, this moment in time for you to have a new beginning.

The enemy's objective is to keep you locked in yesterday, the place where the pain originates from. God has a different plan for your life. He knows all about the things that have gone wrong. He's not surprised at some of the questionable decisions that you have made. He's knows that you have let Him down. He is not shocked at all.

The good news is that He also knows your future. "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away and all things have become new" (2 Cor. 5:17)

When you have life in Christ, you have the ability to experience new possibilities in life.There is a season of new opportunities that await you and you must be willing to pursue it. Victory in this new year takes some understanding.

You were not created by accident. You were made by God himself. God is the creator of the heavens and the earth. He designed you to live for a unique reason. When He made you, He pulled out all the stops. You are His prized creation.

You were made to overcome obstacles. You were made for victory. He didn't create you to blend in with the scenery. Out of over six billion people in the world, there is only one like you. So, don't be shut off or boxed in by traditions or customs. Don't be held back by someone else's expectations. You were created for brilliance and excellence. You were made for success.

Before planting seeds, the ground must first be prepared. The ground must first be dug up and turned over in order to receive seeds. In the same way, we must cultivate our lives so that we will be able to yield a successful harvest. We must do some work in order for our lives to be ready for a new beginning. We have to make choices and not yield to the power of sin. As we choose God's way, the Holy Spirit will strengthen us even more.

There are some spiritual disciplines that we must develop to cultivate our lives:

* Prayer--Not just asking God for things but communing with Him.

* Giving--We must change our perspective on our possessions.

* Studying the Word--We must take in His promises daily.

* Serving--We should always look for ways to improve someone else's life.

There is a lot of noise in this world. There are people shouting from every angle, trying to get your attention. To be able to distinguish between the voices, you need to be able to listen very closely. God is always speaking; we just have to listen for Him. The time is come to get your hearing in order. The alarm has sounded.

What is the sign that you are waiting for? The light has already turned green and you are clear to begin your journey. Step away from the crowd. Separate yourself from the average people who don't want anything other than what they have always had. You have been called out to make a difference. You have been called out reclaim territory for God and live out your destiny.

It's time for your New Beginning.

Daily Smile:
One day, Bill and Tom went to a restaurant for dinner. As soon as the waiter took out two steaks, Bill quickly picked out the bigger steak for himself.

Tom wasn't happy about that: "When are you going to learn to be polite?"

Bill: "If you had the chance to pick first, which one would you pick?"

Tom: "The smaller piece, of course."

Bill: "What are you whining about then? The smaller piece is what you want, right?"

In The News:

Egypt's Morsi Declares State of Emergency Amid Protests
Two years after the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's Islamist president Mohammed Morsi is facing a wave of protests against him and his government, CBN News reports. Over the weekend, Morsi declared a state of emergency in the cities of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia and imposed a 30-day curfew after clashes between anti-government protesters and Morsi's security forces left at least 33 dead. For the fourth consecutive day, tens of thousands of protesters clashed with police in Cairo's Tahrir Square, and demonstrations also took place in the cities of Alexandria, Menouf and Shibeen el-Koum, where protesters disrupted train service to and from Cairo. Opposition leader Hamdeen Sabahi said Egyptians are saying no to an Islamic state, and protesters want to convey their anger toward the Muslim Brotherhood's attempt to take over the government. "A big part of the population hates [Morsi] now," said protester Tarik Salama. "It's too late for him to turn around and say, 'Hey guys, I love you.' He's in the same place as Mubarak was two years ago."

Boy Scouts of America Considering Ending Ban on Gay Members
The Boy Scouts of America is considering dropping a longtime ban on gay members and discussing whether to allow local organizations to decide their own policy, Fox News reports. Spokesman Deron Smith said Monday: "The BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation. This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, but that the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization's mission, principles or religious beliefs." Smith added that the organization has been in contact with families to determine its best interests. "BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families," he said.

Andy Stanley Explains 'Pastor in Chief' Quote
Last week, Atlanta pastor Andy Stanley preached at President Barack Obama's pre-inaugural church service at St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., during which he said the president should be called "pastor in chief" for his leadership following the Newtown shooting. After Stanley's remarks caused a whirlwind of criticism, he responded in an interview with Christianity Today, saying his comments were taken out of context. "[At the pre-inaugural service] I knew that I didn't want to get up and just launch into a sermon," Stanley said. "When you're in an environment where you have no personal connection with anyone in the room -- and I certainly didn't -- as  a speaker, you want to find a personal connection. I thought, 'Well, here is something that I felt deeply and here we have all these clergy on this stage.' So I said something like, 'Mr. President, I don't know the first thing about being president, but I know a bit about being a pastor. And during the Newtown vigil on December 16 after we heard what you did -- I just want to say on behalf of all of us as clergy, thank you.' And I added, 'I turned to [my wife] Sandra that night and said, "Tonight he's the pastor in chief."' So that's the context. I wasn't making a declaration that he's our pastor in chief. But I can understand how that got reported."

Muslim Group Threatens Egypt's Coptic Christians, Tells Them to 'Pay Tribute'
An armed Islamic movement calling itself the "Brigade of Muslims" released a statement on Saturday threatening Egypt's Coptic Christians and asking them to pay tribute, the Christian Post reports. "Egypt is an Islamic country and will be ruled according to sharia," the statement said. The movement threatened all Egyptian media professionals who "mock religion and Islamic rule," warning that their persistence in mocking would result in the "shedding of their blood in the ugliest way." The movement said it was established because of the strife being plotted against the country and the plans of enemies of Islam, both at home and abroad. It noted its approach was jihad, and that it would fight the Egyptian army and Interior Ministry if they did not stand up to "Copts and their helpers."

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