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My husband Ray and I have been looking for a new church home for years. I’m excited about the new church that we’ve been attending, Hope City Church of Harrisonville, Missouri. Why? We’re among the 1/3 of people who used to attend church, but now stay away specifically because they “lost trust in God, the church, or Christians.” (According to a 2019 “Unchurched Report” by Billy Graham Center Institute and Lifeway Research, You Found Me, Rich Richardson, p. 47)
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It’s a startling and scary fact that the number of youth (Americans ages 18-29) who have no religious affiliation has nearly quadrupled in the last 30 years, and 59% of millennials raised in a church have dropped out.
There are several reasons that Ray and I and our children were wounded that I won’t go into here, but we’ve had to walk through a LOT of forgiveness. Unfortunately, there are many people in the same boat. My hope is that this new church will be a safe haven for us of God’s agape (unconditional) love, truth, and forgiveness; that we can make new friends; and that we’ll be able to serve in the Body of Christ and use our spiritual gifts, talents, and skills for God’s glory there.
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Yesterday I met with our CPA to file our 2022 taxes. So. Not. Fun!
My husband Ray and I now owe even more taxes than the year before. I’m looking to Jehovah Jireh our Provider.
God provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice to God instead of his beloved, precious son Isaac. God told Abraham to kill Isaac to test Abraham’s faith in Him. When God saw that Abraham was going to obey, not even withholding from God his son who he waited years into his old age to have and who he greatly loved, God stopped Abraham.
“Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.” (Genesis 22:13, NKJV)
I’m also praying for a payment plan with the IRS to pay the taxes that we owe. Now that we’re into the second quarter of 2023, I’m making other goals as well. Are you?
To summarize them, my new goals are hope, health, and happiness.
How is your 2023 going so far? Before the beginning of each year, I reflect on that year and pray about the coming year. God often begins speaking to me a “one word” before the beginning of each year which serves as a theme throughout the year, and He usually also gives me a Scripture or two for the year.
Sometimes He gives me a song to go with the one word. (I stopped making new year’s resolutions years ago because I often broke them within the first month — or the first week!)
My one word for 2023 is “Light.”
The two Scriptures for this one word are John 1:5 and Daniel 12:3.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.’ (Daniel 12:3)
One word 2023: Light
Shine like the stars!
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God never intended for us to hide, but to use our spiritual gifts, talents, and skills to shine like the stars for His glory.
Here are some fun facts about stars (source: Google):