Tuesday, January 1, 2019

When You're Handed A Clean Slate

"And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new."
Revelation 21:5
(KJV)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Due to our being without internet for an extended period of time, I didn't get to do a Christmas post this year.  I missed doing that, so I want to take this opportunity to say that I hope all of you dear readers had a blessed and peaceful Christmas season!  Now, it is one week later, and we are all being handed an amazing and precious gift.

It happens every January 1st.
A fresh start.
A chance for a redo.
A time to reflect on what went right and what went wrong in the previous year.
A moment of introspect.
Time to assess where the heart is and where God is leading in this brand-new season of life.

There is just something about knowing the clock has struck 12 on New Year's Eve that feels like the reset button has been pushed.
In that moment, the slate is clean.
So, what do you do when you are handed a clean slate?

If you're anything like me, the slate doesn't stay clean for long.
I can get up in the morning with the very best of intentions, and before I know it, I have messed up in one way or another.  No matter how hard I try, I fall short time after time, and I consistently feel like the Apostle Paul must have felt when he said this,
"For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
Romans 7:15, 18,19,24-25

I am SO thankful God's grace applies not only on New Year's Day, but every new day of the year, aren't you?  How I praise Him for the truths found in Lamentations 3:21-23,
"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him."

This New Years Day reminds me of the beautiful 16 1/2 inches of snow that covered the ground several days ago.  As the day wore on, these are the scenes I saw through the back screen door.

 
Zach built a snow dome that you can barely see in the deep snow.

View from the kitchen window...

And the front porch...

Believe it or not, that is the main road you see winding between the two barns.

 Let it snow, indeed!

As I basked in the beautiful untaintedness of the freshly fallen snow, I knew that far too soon the innocent newness and purity would become sullied by the tire tracks and traffic that comes with daily living.  Then, it occurred to me that this is the very thing that happens in the human heart.  We start the day with Jesus fresh and new, walking away transformed by the sheer experience of being anywhere near His presence, then, life starts happening, things ruffle our feathers and rob our peace, and we find ourselves far removed from that early morning clarity.

Aren't you glad His mercies are new every morning? It is so amazing that He never tires of hearing us pray the words David recorded in Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."

While I wish the "whiteness" of this New Year's Day clean slate could remain so all throughout this new year, I embrace the reality that resolutions will end up being broken and kicked to the curb, my best intentions will end up being overwhelmed by circumstances beyond my control, and the best thing for me to do is accept the unmerited favor Jesus Christ so lavishly bestows to cover all of my shortcomings and failures. It is truly my utmost desire to please Him, to never let Him down, and to live perfectly before Him every moment. Sadly, my track record of failure proves my own insufficiency. My own ability and strongest effort could never be enough, and praise His name, it doesn't have to be.

"For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." Psalm 103:14 (ESV)

"And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Recently, as I sat in an ER waiting room, physically drained, dog-tired, and emotionally weary beyond words, I opened my laptop to find an email from my dear brother. Some of his words to me were these.
"Cheryl,
Just had you on my mind this morning. I just watched the attached video on YouTube and hope it is an inspiration to you as you are going through some tough times.  Love You !! David."

I sat there and cried, as I watched this video, listened to the words of this song, and felt so touched by my brother's words and thoughtfulness.


He Knows My Name - The Rochesters

One of my favorite parts of this song says,
"He knew who I was when He carried my cross
He knew that I would fail Him but He took the loss."
How I love Him for that!

Praise Jesus, He does know my name.
He knows yours, too, my friend.
He loves us with an unchanging, undying, unconditional love.
Though we don't deserve it, He hands us a new, clean slate, time after time.
He stands ready to forgive each time we fail.

"For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee."  Psalm 86:5
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:  and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."  I John 2:1,2
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  I John 1:9

My prayer is that 2019 will hold many special blessings for you, that you will live every moment in abundant health, and that each day will find you at the feet of Jesus.  May you draw closer to Him than ever before this year, and when the year comes to a close, may you look back upon it with much gratitude and many happy memories.

I encourage you to do each of these things this year...
Enjoy each day.
Cherish each breath of life.
Forgive all.
Let yesterday go.
Exhale the bad.
Love unconditionally.
Give bountifully.
Hug much.
Take care of yourself.
Share your testimonies with all who will listen.
Tell what God has done for you.
Offer hope.
Speak LIFE only.
Look for joy.
Focus on the cross.
Keep Heaven in view.
Don't forget the widows, widowers, fatherless, motherless, cold, hungry, thirsty, and homeless.
Meet every need you possibly can.
Put God first in everything.
Keep the faith.
Do something for someone else every, single day.
Declutter, downsize, minimize, and give away your excess.
Visit HERE for more inspiration.
Defuse tension.
Be a peacemaker.
Love God with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Stand firm for Biblical principles.
Speak the truth unreservedly in the spirit of love.
Encourage others every chance you get.
Be kind.

Make the decision to make the most of 2019!!!
Thank you ever so much for coming here to visit and read what God places upon my heart.
I love and appreciate every reader and am praying for all who will ever read these words.
God bless you all abundantly. 

30 comments:

  1. Happy New Year Cheryl,Oh what a precious message you have written here and the fact He knows my name what a comfort..Many times when you feel all alone what a blessing to know HE is there and He knows Us..I know what you mean about messing up..That is my story not yours..But once I was at the point of death and I was taking to the Kings Place and I will never forget all I saw..One thing I wanted to see was the King and it happened..I knew Him right away and my Question was this..Will Jesus know Me?? Well He looked through all the crowd that was gathered and looked right at me and smiled real big and waved His hand at Me..I shouted because He knew Me..It is one thing to know Jesus but Victory is in Does He know Me.In the word He looked at some who had done a lot for Him in their eyes and Jesus said depart from Me I never knew you..The clean slate of a fresh New Year is a welcome but a fearful one also as no one knows what 2019 will hold but Thank God we know who holds 2019..Your message was awesome and I pray all your year will be blessed for all 3 of you with much glory..Keep up all the good work of the cross..You are a huge blessing to My life..I thank God we met..I NEED lots of prayer as I have been real sick with spells like I am going to pass out and no one knows what is wrong.God's best to all of you..Love Loads,Elaine

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    1. Wow! That is just amazing about you going to the King's Place! Can you imagine? That is so precious that He looked through the crowd and recognized you! Oh, what a comfort that must bring to you! I am SO sorry you are feeling bad and having such health issues. I will surely be praying for you, sweet friend. I love and appreciate you dearly. Happy New Year to you!

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  2. Such inspiration and comfort you have offered us here, Cheryl. Yes, my "resolution" for 2019 is to stay focused on Jesus; I know my now clean slate will become sullied along the way, but I know He will forgive me and gently lead me back to His ways. May your 2019 be filled with joy and blessings, my friend!

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    1. Stay focused on Jesus—yes, my friend, that is surely my desire, too! Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement! I trust God will richly bless you and yours during this brand-new year!

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  3. Thank you for sharing these wise words, Cheryl! Intentions are so high yet life does happen and we fall from our intentions. All we can do is our best and be so thankful for the grace of God in our life! I am so thankful as I fall from doing good so often and do what I don't want to do, just as Paul did.

    Your pictures are so gorgeous! What a beautiful place you have and that barn! Oh my...gorgeous! We had snow here yesterday and it was so pretty.

    I pray that your new year is full of blessings, love, and peace. I am so thankful for your friendship and count that as one of my blessings every day!

    God bless you, dear friend - Julie

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement, my friend! Oh, I do trust Jesus that your new year is full of blessings, too! I am eternally grateful for your precious friendship and surely thank Jesus for allowing paths to cross. You bless me in so many ways, and I just pray God will send many, many blessings your way in this new year!

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  4. Oh Cheryl, what a perfect New Year's message...actually, it is for every day but especially as we flip the calendar over to a new year. Your words have resonated in my heart and feel as though I could have written some of them, myself...although I could never put it as well as you did! Your beautiful snow came at the perfect time to accompany this message of truth! Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart as you give so much encouragement to me! He does know my name and I don't have any doubts about that! May your 2019 be richly blessed, dear friend! Much love to you!

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    1. Oh, sweet friend! Thank you ever so much for your dear words! You always encourage me so much and are such a dear blessing. I so look forward to every one of our blogging visits. May the Lord richly and abundantly bless you and yours in this new year!!

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  5. Happy New Year to you my friend and your precious family . Oh yes , His mercies are new every morning and I’m so thankful they are because this old sinner saved by grace would be totally lost ! That snow is beautiful . Wow . Girl, we had to run ac today and spotted some small tiny black mosquitos Crazy . You are precious my friend . Hugs and blessings , Cindy .

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    1. Oh, my friend! What would we do without His saving and keeping grace and mercy? That is amazing about your heat and needing the A/C. My sister lives in FL, too, and she was just telling me today about how hot it is after a brief reprieve from the heat. It's hard to imagine how different the weather can be at the same time in different locations! You are surely precious, too, and I am so thankful to walk this blogging path with you. Many hugs and blessings to you, too! Happy New Year!!

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  6. What a beautifully written post you've shared for the New Year, dear Cheryl. Aren't we thankful to start a clean slate each and everyday? We are also thankful that Jesus understands us since he took on every single sin upon His shoulders? He understands us since He came in divine human form, and we take comfort in that. Your ending message was the BEST! Thank you for that and for sharing your wisdom. Happy 2019 to you and your family. God bless you.
    P. S. I loved your snowy pictures!

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    1. Yes, it is a wonderful thing that God is so faithful to grant us new mercies every morning! I love what you said about Jesus understanding us because He came in divine human form. I am so thankful He does understand and has felt what we feel. Thank you ever so much for your kind words. I trust God will richly bless you in 2019, too, my friend!

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  7. I'm so thankful God gives us a fresh start every time we need it. I know I need it a lot. I'm visiting from the new link-up today. Happy New Year!

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    1. I need it a lot, too. OH, my, how I rely upon Him! So very thankful for your visit and happy to meet you, Valerie! Happy New Year to you, too!

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  8. Dear friend. I watched and listened to the entire video and what a blessing the words and music are. I am so grateful to have "met" you and I have surely been blessed by following your posts. You add a dimension to my life that I dearly need and the reminders you post are awe inspiring. Happy New Year to you and your family!

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    1. Oh, I am so thankful you were able to watch and listen to the entire video. It just blessed me so much, too. I am so thankful God allowed us to meet, too, my dear friend, and your words of encouragement are beyond precious to me. Thank you so very much. May the dear Lord bless you richly in this new year, also!

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  9. Such a heartwarming post, Cheryl! I am also grateful for God's fresh grace daily, and that His mercies are new every single morning. What a gift! Thanks so much for sharing your heart... Happy New Year to you and yours! 😊 Stopping by from #LetsHaveCoffee

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    1. Oh, thank you so much for your kind words and sweet visit, Laura! It was so wonderful to meet you today. May the Lord bless you and yours with a happy new year, too!

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  10. Hi Cheryl. Your blog post is such a blessing. I found it via Betsy’s blog, as I went over to thank her for popping onto my brand new blog and encouraging me there.
    A clean slate. The Lord provides everyday things like the beauty of the whiteness of snow to remind us how wonderful indeed a new day and in 2019 a new year is.. a new start for us to serve Him in His strength. I’ve joined your blog as an encourager and also subscribed to your posts.
    I’ve been burdened to share more of the word this year as guided by Him and one moment of time rest in His wisdom and strength. So today I started a new blog... tis called Wonderful Words of Life.
    It’s my spiritual birthday too I’m 52 in the LORD so it’s agood day to start!
    Hope you might pop over too,
    Prayer hugs,
    Shaz in Oz.x

    {Calligraphy Cards - Shaz in Oz}
    {Wonderful Words Of Life - Shaz in Oz}

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    1. Aw! What a kind comment, Shaz! Thank you ever so much for your visit, kind words, and for following this blog. I appreciate it so very much and look forward to many visits here with you! I will come over and visit you now. :) Happy New Year!

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  11. What a beautiful post!!!

    Your warm words amidst the cold weather warms my soul, sister. You have such a gift for that.

    I love the analogy of the fresh fallen snow and how it's only temporary beauty in this fallen world, like us.

    The grace that washes us whiter than snow. The old hymn is playing in my mind.

    May you have a blessed year, sister, you and yours. I'm praying them on you from Above.

    Thanks for the encouraging and heart stirring words!

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    1. You will never know how much your encouragement means, brother. I love that old song that speaks of grace that washes whiter than snow, too. I heard a minister talk about that one time, and he said he wondered why the songwriter said "whiter than snow" because snow looks so pure and white. Why would the songwriter say "whiter" than snow? So, he took some snow and put it in a pan and heated it, and when he did, he found that there were impurities and specks in it that made it less than pure. He said he realized then why the songwriter used that choice of words. So thankful for Jesus' blood that can make us totally clean and pure in God's sight! I appreciate your prayers for us more than I could ever say and thank you for every time you have encouraged us by stopping here and at your wonderful blog. May the Lord bless you and yours with your best year yet in 2019!

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  12. Hi Sweet Friend!! It's so good to be back and having time to read your posts again!

    I loved reading about your snow day and wow! what a snow day it was! We live in New England and still haven't had snow. lol. It looks like beautiful country where you were. I love barns and pastureland.

    Thank you so much for sharing your testimony of the "God who sees" and while you were in that emergency room, to receive such a precious gift from a friend. The lyrics to the song are so comforting and encouraging. Thanks for sharing the video.

    God's grace is indeed sooo amazing! For we already have an eternal clean slate through Jesus Christ's shed blood. Praise God!

    As always, I leave here blessed and encouraged. Sending you much love and gratitude.

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    1. And, it is so good to have you back, sweet friend! Wow, I can't believe you haven't had snow yet! We enjoyed it so much. I am so grateful for your sweet visit and kind words! God bless you abundantly!

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  13. Cheryl you have such a gift for opening up the Word and making it come alive with your visual imagery and illustrations! Those pictures of that deep, heavy, clean snow are stunning. I love the picture of the road between the barns. YES, so thankful that even though we, like the fresh snow become "dirtied" just about as soon as the day begins and yet, He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness for His name's sake! Amen Sister!

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    1. Oh, Lauren! How sweet you are, my friend! Thank you for your kind words. I love that picture, too...it is hard to imagine that the road was so thickly covered that day. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support. You are such a blessing to me! God bless you and dear little Hudson!! :)

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  14. Your encouragements reminded me of one my pastor often says, "Be a non-anxious presence in a chronically anxious world."
    Hugs,
    Laura

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    1. Great advice from your pastor! God, help us to bring a sense of peace to the chaotic world around us. Hugs back to you, Laura!

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  15. Cheryl, what a blessing to read this post! How comforting to know that He know my name and every small detail, and that He still loves me. Wow that is a lot of snow, we rarely see it in Alabama. I am so sorry to be so late reading, just trying to catch up. Your writing is always an inspiration and you have a God-given gift to communicate. Happy New Year to you and your precious family!

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  16. Oh those pictures of the snow! How excited you must have been to enjoy such a lovely day of snow! And such an incredible picture indeed of just how beautiful we are when we are washed whiter than snow in His blood, and while indeed it seems the snow gets dirtied easily enough, thankfully His grace is able to cover us! I loved your analogy about starting the year with a clean slate. How sweet of your brother to send you the video to encourage you while you were in the ER. We continue to keep your precious family in our prayers and thoughts, and believe that the Lord will continue to undertake and intervene in all the situations you face, and provide you with all the grace, strength, wisdom, peace and healing that you need! Much love and hugs to you sweet friend :)

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