A Week Of Firsts

Turning 50

This last week has held two different firsts in my life. The first was that I turned 50. That did not really seem like that much to me. It is just a natural part of life. I have been bald on top since I was 17, so that did not mean much to me. And I have had some grey hair for several years already, nothing new either.

Getting older has never bothered me in any way. I guess having eight wonderful children has kept me young, even though I am getting older and slowing down. I can no longer run as fast, or as long as I used to be able to.

The other first for me this week did have a major impact on me. My oldest daughter got married and I had to be the one to give her away.

I am not one to cry very easy or at every little thing that comes my way. Although there have been movies that have brought tears to my eyes, and I am not ashamed or afraid to cry, when needed.

Over the last few months, since she got engaged, I have been ready for this wedding to happen. I never cried or was sad about it. I was very excited that she was getting married. It never bothered me that she would be leaving the house now, after 23 years.

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However, Saturday, when I began to walk my daughter down the aisle, the emotions started to overwhelm me. It was tears of joy, but tears none-the-less.

One of the things I had to do, as part of the ceremony, was to stand up in front of everyone and pray for her new marriage. She and her husband held hands, the pastor had his hands on them also, and I put my hands on top of hers when I prayed.

I have spoken in front of many people, many times over the years. I have also acted and sang in front of hundreds of people. I have even been the pastor over a wedding and over a funeral. Never once have I been afraid, or unable to speak, till that day.

As I was getting ready to speak, my mind went blank for the first time ever, another first in this past week. What I planned to say completely left me speechless. When I tried to speak, I had to really force the words to come out of my mouth. At that moment, my heart was overwhelmed at what was happening. It was overwhelmed with joy and pride. I also knew the value of the prayer that I was getting ready to pray. It was to be a blessing upon the new marriage.

I knew that the man she was marrying was the one God had for her. If I were to list everything that I would want in a man to marry her, he had it all, and then some. Over the last ten years, I have watched him grow up and become a great man of God. He has a heart to pray for and be a witness to anyone and everyone, anytime and every time. He has a servant’s heart to serve any person in need, no matter the cost to himself. He came from a family that serves God with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths.

My daughter had desired to be married since before she graduated high school. She had continually prayed to God for the one that she was to marry. She constantly asked God where that man was and when would she get him. Although my daughter and her husband had grown up together, for most of that time, they were not together or even considering each other. God, however, was building both of them up to be who each one needed the other to be. They are the perfect helpmates for each other.

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As I prayed that prayer of blessing upon them, I knew that God is going to bless their marriage and ministry together. I am looking forward to the ministry that God will do through them, now that they are together in marriage. Both have great ministries of their own, but now together they will work together building God’s kingdom for His glory and honor.

I did pray a blessing over them. God filled me with His overwhelming peace of His Holy Spirit to say the words I prayed. As I prayed, I also had tears of joy welling up in my eyes. Afterwards, my wife was very surprised, because that is not something normal for me.

While I was watching the wedding, and watching it again on video, because it was recorded, I had the same feelings I had when I married my wife 25 years ago. I knew then that my wife was the one God had for me beyond any shadow of doubt. And I still know that to this day with no doubts. As I knew my wife was the one for me, I knew that this man was the one for my daughter. I also know that they will keep God at the center of their lives and their marriage.

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For those who are still single and want to get married, keep your eyes focused on God. He will bring the right person to you at the right time. Wait on His perfect timing.

For those of you who are married, also keep your eyes focused on God. Keep your marriage centered on pleasing God and He will do great things in and through your marriage.

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Staying in the center of God’s will, will always have many firsts in it, but God will strengthen you to do whatever comes your way or make it through whatever comes your way..

 

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Autumn: A Time Of Change

Autumn house

Autumn or Fall, depending on where you live, is a time of a lot of change. The further north you are, the more you will see the change in the season. The temperature will start to drop and the leaves will begin to turn many colors, other than green. The grass will start to turn brown and slow down on growing. Many plants will begin to die off until spring comes around. Change is occurring.

As the temperature starts to drop, people start bringing out their sweaters or coats. Occasionally one will have to start to turn on the furnace in the house or the heater in the car. Some people will start packing up all their summer clothes and pull out the winter clothing, changing their whole wardrobe out. Change is occurring.

Fall coats

Along with all the weather changes, school has started up again. From elementary school, all the way up through college, students are going back to school. In college towns the traffic is picking up, new drivers everywhere. Teachers are working again hard after having a summer off. Change is occurring.

Some people love the change that is happening. Those who live up on the New England states love the beautiful colors of the changing leaves. College students are often excited to be starting a new year, closer to graduation. Students in school are usually excited to see many of their friends who they have not seen all summer.

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While many love the changes that are occurring, there are also many who do not like the change. Many love the flowers that grow during the summer and will miss them as fall happens and winter is coming. Many do not like the cooler weather (though I don’t know why). Some students don’t like the idea of school coming again because of all the tests and projects to be done. And many just do not like change, they like things to stay the same.

Change is something that is supposed to happen. God talks about change. People are supposed to change and become more like Jesus each day.

2 Corinthians 5:17 New International Version (NIV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

If you are a believer in Jesus, you are to change and become a new creation. Your old life is to pass away. The way you used to do things must come to an end. All the sin that you had done, must be thrown away. This is done by the death of Christ upon the cross.

John 12:24 New International Version (NIV)

24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Kernel of wheat

You must die to your old ways of living. The good thing is that if you allow your old self to die, many new things can come out of it. Just like a kernel of wheat that has a seed fall to the ground and die. After a time, the seed will produce a new plant of wheat, which then will produce more seeds and more wheat

One of the hard parts about change is not always knowing how things are going to change. What will they change to? How will it affect you?

Hebrews 13:8 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Jesus has never changed and never will. God is the same today as He was during the time of Abraham and will be forever more the same.

Change in your life is often see in dying to self. Going through that type of change is not always fun or easy. However, when you die to self and begin to show Jesus to others, life will begin to happen. Other people will see the change and want to be a part of it. Others will see the love of Jesus in you and want to have that same love.

As you are going through some change, regardless of what the change is in your life, allow God to use it to build His kingdom. Trust that God knows what He is doing. God is there for you, not against you. He will walk you through the changes in this life.

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Do not fear any change that God may be bringing into your life. God is using all change for your benefit. Ask God to reveal to you how to change and how to use that change for His glory. Make a change in this world by being His witness and bringing another person to Jesus. Be the change that God wants you to be.

Year round God is in the season of change–changing lives from an old one of sin and death, to one of righteousness and life. As you go through this season of autumn, think about the change God is making in your own life.

Jeremiah 30:22 God’s People

“So you will be my people, and I will be your God.” Jeremiah 30:22

As the people of Judah were being sent into exile in Babylon for punishment, many were thinking that God no longer wanted them. The punishment was going to be very severe and God would seemed to have abandoned them altogether. God did not abandon them completely. He stated that after a time He would restore them. He also told them, while this was occurring, that they would be His people and He would be their God.

Going through life can bring some very troubling times. It may often appear as though God has abandoned a person for life, because of the trials that one is going through. Because of choices that were made, there may be times that God will discipline a person to get him back on track. Other times, it will just be the consequences that God allows because of some poor decisions to walk away from Him.

You may have made one of those bad decisions in your life and you may be going through some discipline right now. It can be painful and feel as though God has left you. The devil and this world will try to tell you God has left you. Your mind may be telling you that God has abandoned you and wants nothing to do with you. It is not true. Never forget that God said He would never leave you, nor forsake you.

Even though you may not be an Israelite, you have become one of God’s children when you accepted Jesus and the work He had done for you. God is always right there to be your God and He wants you to be a part of His family, His people. You were grafted into the vine.

God wants to be your God. He wants you to be one of His people. He has great plans for you, if you are willing to follow Him and allow Him to be God. When you allow God to be the master of your life, He will guide every step you take. Everything that occurs will be for your benefit. God will not do anything that will be there to harm you or destroy you.

Are you trusting God to be your God?

Do you know that you are one of God’s people?

I pray today that you will know God as your God; that you will know that you are one of His people; that you will walk the path God has for you; and that you will obey God in every area of your life.