It is easy to let the past dictate our future… to let situations from our past tell us “who we are” and “what we deserve.” But God sent His Son to earth give us “New Beginnings” every single day.

Any time we choose to do things God’s way, we can start fresh. No matter what we’ve done or what others have done to us, with God’s help, we can be set free to start again.

There is so much to say on this subject and it is so powerful… that there is not room to adequately cover it in one message. But let’s start by looking at what Paul wrote to the Philippian church while he was in prison in Rome.

He was self-evaluating and inspiring others to do the same.

“Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. Philippians 3:12. 

Paul is recognizing that he has not arrived at perfection (or full maturity), but he is committing to press on toward becoming the person God planned for him to become when he was born-again. He is desiring to fulfill His life’s calling and purpose.

When we are born-again we no longer live for ourselves, but we live for Christ and His calling on our life. He has predestined a plan for His children and it is up to each of us to press toward fulfilling that plan and purpose.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (AMP) reminds us what happens when we are born-again. The Holy Spirit moves in. We now have the Spirit of Jesus Christ within us to direct our path. “Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own. You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then honor and bring glory to Him in your body.”

Too often Christians think they still own themselves and have the right to decide what they do and don’t do while claiming salvation–as if salvation and eternal life is an accessory to the life they choose to lead in the flesh. It is true that we have the privilege and responsibility to “make choices,” but if we are born-again, our choices are to be submitted to God and in line with His will for us. We cannot serve ourselves and God.

Let’s go back to Paul’s letter in Philippians and continue reading in verse 13. “I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.” Philippians 3:12-14.

Paul had an eternal perspective. That is the only reason he could endure what he did and count it all blessing. As we walk into a new year in this fallen world–that is controlled by none other than Satan and his evil kingdom–we must recognize that we belong to a different kingdom. We have been rescued from this world and set on high with Christ. We belong and answer to God, not this world. We are subject to God and HIs will for us… not Satan and his evil agenda.

In God’s kingdom, you have inherited precious promises. In God’s kingdom you have inherited eternal life. In God’s kingdom you are subject to God’s laws and principles more than to this world. In God’s kingdom you become a beneficiary of God’s blessings, protection and benefits.

Paul, encourages us with his statement found in Philippians 3:8 (AMP). “…furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One).”

Paul is prioritizing and weighing the the things he had in this world (which were many) against what he has gained in God’s kingdom. He continues sharing his perspective on this in Philippians 3. I highly suggest that you read the full chapter to grasp more of his powerful testimony.

But just as Paul had many tribulations in this world, he also knew Who he served. I have often wondered how Paul could consistently handle the many hardships he suffered without losing his faith. Being shipwrecked, stoned, left for dead, imprisoned 3 times, beaten with rods, whipped with 39 lashes on 5 different occasions, persecuted, and yet still strive to fulfill all that God had ordained for his life? It has challenged me to reconsider my perspective and renew my thinking on many occasions. Only through the power of Christ in him could he see what was true and have the strength to trust in God through it all.

Often we are beaten down and discouraged. And many people blame God. Not because it’s His fault, but because we tend to rationalize that He could do something about it… if He really loved us. So He must not really love us or He just doesn’t care about our suffering. What kind of God is that?

That is a description of the God Satan wants you to believe in–One who will disappoint you. But Satan lies. He deceives. He manipulates.

God IS love. It is only our fallen perspective that does not fully understand God’s perfect plan for our lives. That’s when we need to trust and must renew our thinking by spending more time in God’s word–to know Him better.

Look at Paul, who knew he had been redeemed. He understood that he had been transferred from the kingdom of death in this world, to the kingdom of life and eternity with God. He had to change his earthly perspective to align with God’s.

Just as the early church suffered many persecutions for their faith as they planted the gospel, in the last days we read how the final generation will again be persecuted and tested for their faith… even unto death in some cases.

Many would say this is a depressing message of discouragement and negativity. Who wants to experience persecution and hardship? But if we do not count the cost of serving Christ, we are vulnerable to letting go our our priceless salvation when facing the enemy’s persecution. We know from God’s Word that many “Christians” will “fall away” from the faith in the last days. Prepare now so that you are not one of those tragic losses. Strengthen yourself. Give up love and loyalty for this world and prepare now to being faithful to Christ so that you can endure to the end.

We all like to be encouraged and catered to emotionally. But if we don’t look at the cost of being born-again, we do ourselves an injustice and can be found vulnerable to the enemy.

When Jesus was teaching His disciples about the last days and the end of the age… one of the things He said is, But the one who endures and bears up [under suffering] to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:13 (AMP). 

Not a popular message, is it? But it is one worth repeating on occasion to remind us of the potential cost we may be called upon to pay to be loyal to Jesus Christ… the One Who did suffer death for you. And gave His all our of love.

As we look toward a new year it is a good time to take stock of where we stand. And possibly what we need to do to face whatever lies ahead.

To end this message, let’s consider the options that every person faces.

  1. on a glorious note, for those who place and keep their trust in the Lord. If we pursue Christ and His will for us during our earthly life, as Paul did. We are willing to endure for a time any persecution or suffering we experience to proclaim our allegiance to Jesus. The results of this faithfulness is to enter the Millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ, to reign and rule with Him here on earth at the end of this age. And to be destined to enjoy eternal life in Heaven forever.
  2. Or, we buckle under pressure and let go of our profession of faith and our submission to our Savior, Jesus. We give in to our flesh and deception. We may do this for food, comfort, or perceived freedom. If we sacrifice Jesus to become friends of the world, at the end of our worldly loyalty is eternal death and eternal separation from God.

I have included a few scripture to keep in mind as you enter the new year:

Although there are threats against us in this world, God promises to protect those who are faithful… those who place their trust in Him. “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3.

“You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 97:10

Luke 9:62 (NKJV). “But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV). “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

May you walk faithfully throughout 2022 and be committed to ultimately enter eternity with Jesus Christ whatever the cost.

With God Nothing is Impossible!

Dale and Paula


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