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My Faith & Transformation Journey

A New Year of Giving

Christmas Day is behind us but the spirit doesn’t need to be gone. After days of watching sappy Christmas movies it hit me–2015 needs to be a year of giving. What would your town or your neighborhood be like if you kept giving long after the Christmas decorations came down? What would your life be like if you kept giving to the less fortunate, feeding the poor, and meeting with the lonely? What if you shared the love and joy Christ came to spread all year long? Can you begin to imagine how our world would change if we deliberately gave of ourselves all year and not just for a few weeks in December?

Santa may not be the real thing but who he represents sure is. The origin of Santa is found in the Greek Bishop Nicholas who devoted his life to the Christ-inspired model of giving to the needy as well as poor children. Jesus said we should love one another (John 13:34-35) and one of the ways to love one another is in the way we give to one another. Jesus said when we do these things it is as if we have done it for him (Matthew 25: 35-40). If we can remember to live out our lives inspired by the example of St. Nichols and in obedience to Jesus, we could really make a difference next year.

What changes can you make in your lifestyle that would allow you to be more giving? Do you have gifts or talents you can use to help someone out? Does someone you know need help fixing up their home? Can you bring the paint or plumbing tools to make their house feel more like a home? Could someone you know use a warm meal to help them get through the month? Is there a single parent who would love to have someone come alongside them in genuine friendship–including them in your family outings? Is there a young family that needs a date night? Can you offer them a dinner out and to watch the children? These are simple tangible ways in which you can begin giving to the people close to you.

What other ways can we give of ourselves in our community? I’m interested in hearing ways you are already participating in your community. Is your church doing something that other churches could replicate? Do you have a vision or dream that God gave you that you haven’t put into action yet? Please leave your suggestions in the comment section below and I will put together a list in a post soon.

In the meantime, I pray that in the year ahead you will be inspired by the spirit of Christmas and motivated into action that will transform the lives of others near you as well as change your life to one of Christ-like compassion.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35New Living Translation (NLT)

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:35-40

Categories
My Faith & Transformation Journey

No Regrets: No Do-overs, No Repeats

I came to the place of a transformed person the hard way. I had a strong Christian heritage but it took a few walks on the wild side to solidify those beliefs for myself. As I write and share the story of my transformation journey, I do it so that others may learn from it. So that others may avoid some of the errors of my ways. So that others who have jumped off the path can get back on. So that those who have never thought they were on the path will see that God does indeed have a path set ahead for you and he is waiting for you to put one foot on and begin the healing.

When I reflect on my life it is easy to get hung up on the regrets. If only my parents had protected me more. If only I hadn’t acted out as a result of my family and sexual abuse. If only I had been less naïve in the financial decisions I made. If only I had _____: fill in the blank. So many times I have asked God to turn the clock back, just this one time so I would not do what I did. He never does. I never get the do-over I would like to have. Truth is, I probably would do something else equally stupid!

I actually have no regrets though. Each of the things that happened to me and that I did to me is part of the fabric of my salvation story. From the moment I personally accepted Jesus and asked the Holy Spirit to become my guide, God has lifted the veil on my behaviors and healed me. Layer by layer; step by step, I have been able to let go of the past and move forward.

It is a moving forward process, this forgiveness thing. God doesn’t want us to remain trapped by our behavior and bad choices. He wants us to learn from them, to grown from them, and to never repeat them. It has been harder to accept God’s forgiveness for some of those things and it has been harder to change some behavior than others. But I had a willingness to change. I was inspired by the lives of others around me. I was motivated to become a different person and slowly it is happening. Happening. I am still growing and changing and God is still revealing and I am learning.

This Sunday morning, leave your regrets at the altar. Pray a prayer of forgiveness. Let go of what you can’t change and ask what you can change today. Commit to not repeating those things which you consider sins or poor behavior. Move forward today. Accept a brighter future.

Have you had to let go of something and have you seen the change in your life? I would love to hear your story. Please leave a comment below that others may grow from your experience.

Blessings,
Maggie

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“These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who lives at the end of the age.” 1 Corinthians 10:11 New Living Translation