The Journey Thoughts

January 2, 2017

I pray that you all survived the celebrations at the end of the year, and
you are ready to begin a New Year.  I like the way papers and programs will
use this time of year to look back at the things that happened, were
accomplished;  situations and whatever else the previous year has been to
our journey, walking through it.  And that is alright to do, but now we must
look to the day ahead of us.  We must seek that which God has brought us to
this time and place for.  Although it is interesting to look back to see the
row we have completed plowing, it is more important to keep our focus on the
direction that we head.  So with all the resolutions you plan to undertake,
and all the things you hope to accomplish this new year, I pray that you and
I take a lesson from the Old Testament for starters. I can think of no
better encouragement for the year ahead of us than this:  "Listen, Israel:
The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your
heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am
giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk
about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when
you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let
them be the symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your
house and on your gates."  Deuteronomy 6:4-9  To start with, verses four and
five are what is called the "Shema" in the Hebrew.  Jews were to learn this
and by the very command, were to have them on their minds constantly, using
repetition as a means of teaching and remembering.  Many Jews took this
literal, and bound them to their hands and foreheads, and wrote them on the
doorposts of their homes.  These two are the very verses that Jesus cited
when asked which commandment was the greatest. So today, even though we are
in a state of grace and not works, the heart of the matter is still
appropriate for today.  Do we love the Lord with all our heart, and soul,
and strength? If so, has He become the Lord that we want to teach our
children constantly, so that they learn about Him? We may not have to write
them on our hands or foreheads, but the depth of the verses are not
necessarily for the literal, although if we feel we need to do that to
remember - fine.  Yet, these things are to be on our hearts constantly.  How
much of your day goes by without you thinking of the Lord?  Is He involved
in every conversation?  What I am talking about here, is that the Holy
Spirit has you consciously filled with thoughts of Christ, as you sit, walk,
speak, and do.  There are so many things that compete for our attention
these days, and it takes a constant reminder at times, to include Christ in
all our dealings.  He wants to be included you know. He has given us His
Spirit, so that we can constantly be reminded.  We don't have to tie things
around our foreheads to remember, because we have One greater than things
tied to our forehead, we have the Spirit of the living God within us.  Jesus
reminds us through the word: "I have spoken these things to you while I
remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit - the Father will send
Him in My name - will teach you all things and remind you of everything I
have told you."  John 14:25-26  So let's learn a lesson starting this New
Year: Let's listen to the Holy Spirit as He reminds us of all the things
that Christ has taught and is still teaching, so that we can remind others.
So that we can pass these things on to our children and grandchildren.  So
that we can be living reminders to each other, of the grace and mercy of our
great God, found in the Savior, Jesus.

Pastor Andy

Heavenly Father, Thank You for grace! Thank You for Jesus! Thank You for the
Spirit that resides with us! Thank You for Your great love for us.  I have
much need of You today, as I know that each who read this Journey has of
You. Please speak to our hearts and give us peace and understanding.  Help
us to be reminded constantly about Your mercy.  I pray today for the
Schneider's, who are mourning the loss of Don we have been praying for.  He
has graduated, and is now in the loving hands of the Master.  I continue to
pray for Dwight and Sammi, through their battles. I pray for: Clara, Cathy,
Shannon, Roy, Brent's grandfather, who at 96 has broken his hip.  I pray for
Starla's mother, Lord, You know the need. I lift to you: Michele, Carol,
Gene, Terry, Angie, Isabel, Pam, William, Carrie, Ada, Rheba, Mary,
Veronica, Douglas, Fritz, Dan, Dillon, Tara, Kristena, Kristen, Don,
Carolyn, Jackie Ann, Mike S., Barbara, Candace, Meredith, Abe, Ramona, Ben,
BJ, Ida, JV, Nada, Eva, Kelly and her son, Corbin, Robert, Pat, Ryan, Fred,
Dotty, Scott, April, Tracy, Abraham, Elijah, Japheth, Matt, Liz, Matt,
Bethany, Mike, Megan, Jeff, Laura, Tim, Carmello, Kaitlyn, Alex, Ken,
Lynette, Patrick, Kathy, Jennifer, Montella, Nancy, June, Pastor Berkey,
Harriet, Shelbi, Fisher, Marlaina, Cynthia, Loren, Mike, Pam, Jerry, Gary,
Diane. Lord, may You be constantly on our hearts and in our walk and speech
today and every day from this point on, for I ask it in Jesus name.

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