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New Beginnings- S.W.A.P.S

Isaiah 43:18-19 “The Lord says, “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.”

A new year has come. It is now 2021. Although 2020 was a difficult year for each of us, in so many ways, we are now starting fresh again, welcoming another year. As I look out my window at the fresh fallen snow, I'm reminded of the verse “Our sins shall become white as snow when we receive Jesus and his forgiveness.” It's time to close the chapter on 2020 and move on.

As we all begin this year with hopes of new beginnings, new resolutions, new looks on life, let's begin by letting go of the things that hold us down. Forgive yourself of your past mistakes, release your grip on the grudges, worry less about what's over the horizon, and start with a clean slate.

This year commit to praying every day, be accountable to someone, start new healthy habits. Take pride in your body, mind, and spirit as they are a gift from God. Look for the opportunities that God has planned for you. Focus on the present and the next step ahead. Search for God in your daily life when facing both good and bad. Above all put your trust in God and you will find him clearing a pathway for you. It has been said that if you want God to open or close doors for you, get your hand off the doorknob. Get yourself out of His way and let Him lead.

The only way to walk in God's pathway is to swap your old self for a new self. Let's see how we can do that in 2021.

· S- Study His truth

· W- Worship with holy gratitude

· A- Accountability to another

· P- Pray daily

· S- Serve others and take care of yourself

We can find a deeper study of this in Ephesians 4:22-32, take some time this week to read the verses more carefully and let the Holy Spirit lead you and what you can learn.

“22 You were taught to leave your old self—to stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self becomes worse, because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do. 23 But you were taught to be made new in your hearts, 24 to become a new person. That new person is made to be like God—made to be truly good and holy. 25 So you must stop telling lies. Tell each other the truth, because we all belong to each other in the same body. 26 When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. 27 Do not give the devil a way to defeat you. 28 Those who are stealing must stop stealing and start working. They should earn an honest living for themselves. Then they will have something to share with those who are poor. 29 When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you. 30 And do not make the Holy Spirit sad. The Spirit is God’s proof that you belong to him. God gave you the Spirit to show that God will make you free when the final day comes. 31 Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. 32 Be kind and loving to each other and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.

2020 was a rough year and I know 2021 won't be easy with what we're in the middle of. But today we can choose to find a new beginning, a new outlook on the things we're facing and a renewed faith and trust in our God who has promised that, even in the midst of troubles, He is by our side helping us through. A God who said, “I am coming, I have made a home in heaven for all who choose Me, and I will fulfill my promise of bringing you here to live with me. These troubles will pass, and a bright future lies ahead of you. Hang on and have hope because you are My child and I love you.”

As you bring in 2021 with all your resolutions and commitments, keep this as your guiding light, Psalm 37:5-6 “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”

Here's to a new year and may God bless you and your family in many good ways. Keep shining, keep praying and keep God first.

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