“Period” Art Words: “Begin a New Day”- Part Five

I am reminded that it will be my attitude which determines, at the end of the day, whether it has been a “good” or “bad” day. We all face our share of challenges every day, and it is our attitude toward those “challenges,” more than anything else, which will determine the effect those challenges will have on our day … and, on the way others will view us.

As we’ve written, we don’t spend a lot of time promoting our online store, through any of our “social” outlets, as the purpose is never about us. Our sole intention will continue to be to bless, encourage, and inspire others, through whatever means we have. I feel that this is a great way, a great attitude to have as we face a new day: How can we bless others today? How can we show God’s love to those around us? How can we witness to others … through our actions-and our attitudes today?

We have been blessed to have been allowed to serve so many, and still consider it a privilege to continue to do so. Over the years, we have had close to 1,000 products on our store at one time, but the original “products” we started with, along with our plaques, was the artwork. In fact, the very first order we received was for a work of Christian art, shipping to Antioch, Tennessee. We believe in being loyal to friends … even if we’re in the same business. So, as long as we are in business, and it is still available to us, we’ll feature the Christian Calligraphy Art. In the near future, we will begin the new phase of our business, featuring Art Prints with the writing of Richard. Vincent. Rose. available in framed art. This will be a “New Day” for us … but, we will continue to honor our friend and favorite artist, by featuring her artwork …

Which leads us to the actual artwork entitled “Begin a New Day.” This is where this series began, and it will conclude with the words and art featured on our online store. Great art should always inspire us … and, make us think. In this case, just this one art print has led to five different posts, and several pages of writing. And, a lot of thinking.

We have been so blessed to be allowed to encourage, inspire, bless-and challenge our friends with artwork just like this. I wanted to write about the words themselves, but the words themselves just, simply, speak for themselves. We always say that when it comes to our writing, it is always about the words … and, always will be. It is true, also, in the “artwork” which we are privileged to carry. This is a classic example:
It reminds us that every day is a direct gift from God. A gift, freely given to us. What are we going to do with it? We’ll never get this day back … so, each day carries with it a tremendous price paid for it … will we use it for positive or negative? It speaks again to so many posts we have written, that the best way to start the day … is to go to the One who has given you this gift.

Here are the words to “Begin a New Day”:

“This is the beginning of a new
day. The Lord has given me this day to use
as I will. I can waste it, or I can use it
for good. What I do today is important
because I am exchanging a day of my life
for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be
gone forever, leaving in its place something I have
traded for it. I want it to be gain: not loss … good:
… not evil … success: not failure … in order that I
may not regret the price I paid for it.”

Here’s a look at the way the art print looks:

Begin a new day artwork detail

We are honored and privileged to be allowed to serve others with messages like this one. We greatly appreciate those who tell us they stop by just to read the art, to be encouraged and blessed. That’s what the artwork, that’s what “the business” is all about.

We’ll close with a direct link to this work of art. From that page, you’ll be able to look around at the other artwork which we feature. We have tried to arrange the art by category to make it easier to browse around and find something you are specifically looking for:

“Begin a New Day” from Pastor Appreciation Gifts

“Period” Art Words: “Begin a New Day”- Part Four

Hi Friends:

Well, as I begin Part Four, I am reminded that the original idea was a single post, intended to share with you a particular piece of artwork we feature over at our online store, Pastor Appreciation Gifts, entitled “Begin a New Day.” As with our writing, it will never be about the art … it’s always about the words … and, just thinking about the words to this artwork brought on a series, which we hope has blessed and encouraged you. I never know, when I begin to write that first sentence, what will follow. I mean, I have it all planned out … but, God will intervene, and … “here we go …”

I am reminded that God gave me an idea from the book of Haggai, and, as I began to write … and listen … it turned into an eight-part series. It was only about “Three Words,” but God turned it into several pages, over many, many days. Looks like it will also turn into a new book in the future. I just can’t say enough, how important it is to listen to God, to put yourself into a position to be used by Him, for Him, and through Him.

As I continue this “series” on “Begin a New Day,” I remember that, about 6 months ago, I started a series on “Road Reflections,” about our travels through the South … it has been 6 months now, and I haven’t finished it yet, and, in fact, haven’t written about the “series” in what seems like months … I’m ok with that, as long as I am led by the Spirit about what I write, and when …

One of my favorite stories about President John F. Kennedy is how often he would prepare a specific speech, for a specific time, for a specific audience … and, then … between the time that he would be introduced, and the time he had made his way up to the podium … he would deliver a totally different speech … completely from memory …

I am also reminded of what I have recently researched concerning Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, in Washington, DC, on that day back in 1963. The day before (and days before), Dr. King, yes, prepared the speech that he knew could be the defining moment … and, prepared for the speech … The “I Have a Dream” segment was not part of the preparation … in fact, his closest advisor had strongly advised against using this “I Have a Dream” idea which Dr. King had already presented in speeches in other cities, prior … So, somewhere in the middle of Dr. King’s speech (the one which he was reading directly from, on the podium) … he heard the voice of legendary Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson (who had performed earlier in the program), yelling to him … yelling at him … to talk about “The Dream,” the title of a similar speech she had heard him make in those other cities … So, Dr. King set aside the remainder of his prepared speech … and, spoke, with no notes, the speech which would define his life, and his mission to the world …

I should add that, according to my research, when Dr. King began the “I Have a Dream” portion of the speech, this “closest advisor” was not pleased … I can’t repeat what he said … but, let’s just say that he was not happy with the way the speech had turned … that Dr. King had relied on his heart alone to share his deepest “dreams,” and not what was “prepared” for him to say …

The night before Dr. King gave this speech, he was going over the prepared speech with his advisors, making final preparations, in a meeting room at the hotel. Abruptly, Dr. King left the meeting, to go up to his private room. The reason? Here’s what he said: “I’m going to consult with my Lord.”
You know how many were there to hear Dr. King’s words. They had planned for, maybe … maybe … 100,000. You know that 250,000 came. I have had the honor to speak in front of large crowds, and, it seems, the larger the audience, the larger the preparation. And, I’ll admit, the less the “ad-lib.” And, the more guests are performing/speaking on a program, the more closely you are expected to “stay with the program.” I can’t even imagine standing in front of a quarter-of-a-million people, and then just completely leaving the script behind, and (as we say in education), just “winging it.”

On that hot August day in 1963, there was a world-wide television audience, including President John F. Kennedy, watching from the White House. I have read what he said, as he watched the speech. Let’s just say he was impressed. Greatly impressed. Later that day, as Dr. King and other dignitaries associated with the event were guests at the White House, here are the 4 words with which President Kennedy greeted Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King: “I have a dream.”

I am reminded of a Bible study I attended a few years ago. The Pastor was the speaker, and he began the lesson by describing the impact which a few words he heard, early in his life, had made on him. How a few words, from one speech he had listened to, had affected the way he looked at his life and purpose today, and in the future. How this one speech had affected not only him, but an entire generation of Americans. The speech was President Kennedy’s Inauguration Speech, which he had heard live, as a teenager. The words revolved around the “Ask not what this country can do for you” portion of the speech.

That was 1961. Two years later, came the “Dream” speech. It could be said that, just like Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg (I try to never miss an opportunity!), these speeches’ power and affect would only be realized later … but, they would be realized … the question is always, “How fully?”

You just never know who may be listening to what you say. Or, to what you write.

I think I just realized that I must write a “Part Five.”

I had no idea that I would “go there” with this writing, but I am glad that I did. I want to be obedient to the call. His call. I am reminded, again, that God is not interested in capability … only availability …

Jesus gave the most powerful “speeches” in history … I also think of Paul, standing before kings … I don’t read of any mention of preparation for these speeches … I only read of the time they each spent in prayer … before the speeches … This “Begin a New Day” with prayer, and hearing from God is a powerful concept … and, I’m ok with that …

I am also reminded of the power of words. Your words. My words. Words you say. Words I say. Words you write. Words I write. How much prayer goes into each? If we “Begin a New Day” the “right way,” then I like our chances for the rest of the day.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

The Gettysburg Address

Two Special Videos: Rosa Parks

Hi Friends:
As you know, I enjoy sharing inspirational quotes with you, from all kinds of different sources. I had originally planned, this week, to feature quotes from Rosa Parks, and may yet, at a later time.

For now, the quote which comes to mind is something I heard Deepak Chopra say, as part of an introduction, before he conducted an interview with Rosa Parks. He remembered, as a boy, growing up in India, one morning his father burst into the dining room during breakfast, clutching a newspaper. His father’s short, simple statement was something which stayed with him, and I’m sure greatly influenced him: “There’s a new Gandhi! In the United States!” The newspaper carried the story we have all come to know … about quiet strength … resolve … and peaceful demonstration …

I am proud that one of my favorite posts, and still one of the most viewed, is the “Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Quote Collection” we featured back on January 21, 2013. Here’s a link to that post:
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Quote Collection

Our sharing of the book “Martin’s Big Words” (which will be right under the “Quotes” post if you go there) is still our most watched video over on our YouTube Channel.

In researching the Rosa Parks story, as I wanted to do a special lesson at school about Rosa Parks, I read many books, and viewed countless videos. I’d like to share my favorite two of those videos with you today. I also used the moment to teach what a “biography” is. I explained that I love to read biographies because I want to read about great people who have done great things … because it inspires me …encourages me … to try to do great things. I am proud that “my kids” know who Rosa Parks is, and who Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is. What they did … and, why they did it. I think I am just as proud to know that for myself.

The first video is a clip from the movie, “The Rosa Parks Story.” “The Rosa Parks Story” aired on CBS Television on February 24, 2002. Please note this movie is still available for purchase today on Amazon, etc. The script was written by Paris Qualles, and the movie was directed by Julie Dash. Angela Bassett performed a remarkable portrayal of Rosa Parks. You may also recall that Cicely Tyson played Rosa’s mother. This is one of the most dramatic moments I’ve experienced from the screen. I wasn’t sure if I should feature this, “The Arrest Scene,” but I got my answer today. I saw elementary students held, motionless, in awe of what they were watching. They are too young to understand all of the story … but, as the scene developed … I heard children, quietly, gasping … “Get up, Rosa … Rosa, stand up …” Again, all they knew was that they were drawn to this “Rosa Parks,” and, in their innocent, loving way … they didn’t want to see her get into trouble …

In explaining the benefits of a biography, I explained how, when reading (or viewing a biography, as a movie or documentary can also be a biography) we stand in the subject’s shoes, in their place … we find ourselves experiencing what they experienced … we feel what they are feeling … Can you imagine being on that bus … in December, 1955?
Here we are able to “get on that bus” with Rosa Parks, in the “Arrest Scene” from “The Rosa Parks Story”:

Now, here is the second video, and it is a song, with the lead singer doing an excellent job as Rosa Parks singing “I Sat on a Bus.” I just fell in love with the video immediately. Maybe it was because I was still reeling from the dramatic effects of the “Arrest Scene” from the movie, but this video grabbed me, and I found myself laughing out loud, in pure enjoyment. I hope you feel the same way:

“Period” Art Words: “Begin a New Day”-Part Three

Hi Friends:

Here we are, writing again about “Beginning,” and I just realized, after all of this time … that when I write to you … I never include a greeting to open … I don’t know if having a greeting is considered to be proper in cyberspace, but, if I was writing a hand-written letter to friend or family, or even a “business” letter, a greeting is always the mandatory way to start. So, since I really do consider everyone who honors us by “stopping by” and reading our posts a friend, as well as a tremendous blessing to us, I’ll try to always start our writing to you in the personal, “proper” way. I do try to always end with my own, personal standard “closing” of “Blessings,” or “Blessings to you, and your family.” When I am writing business correspondence to customers over at our online business, I always close with “Blessings to you, your Pastor, and your family,” or, “Blessings to you, your family, and your business.”

The reason I do this is because it reinforces our business motto, our business mantra, and our core belief, taken from Genesis 12:3, that God will bless those who bless you.
Period.
I know this to be true.
Period.
We have been so blessed, so privileged to serve customers all over the world, and to hear from readers from every land.

I have been asked why we don’t, very often, make a point to promote our business on our blog, or our Facebook page. So far, that’s the only 2 “social network” type efforts we are involved in. After all, I am questioned, isn’t that the reason a business would have a blog or Facebook page? To promote their business? A purposeful attempt to send potential customers from one place to the other? Etc.

To answer those questions, I must go back to the only reason we started the blog/Facebook page to begin with. Our business was doing well; we were receiving visits and serving customers from every part of the globe. But, the whole idea behind the business was to bless others. Our products would serve as a vehicle to bless others. Period. Our business motto, for Pastor Appreciation Gifts, was “To Honor Those Who Honor Him.” Yes, this all came about, the online business came about, really, because of “Why, Pastor, Why.” We needed an avenue to get “Why, Pastor, Why” into the hands of as many Pastors as God would allow. We had no idea how much work was involved in an online store, nor did we realize how many people the business would attract. You must also realize that, after writing “Why, Pastor, Why,” God gave me, very personally and directly, specific promises regarding the poem, and the future. I have done my best to honor those directions, and the promises behind them.

Yet … the whole idea behind the business was to bless others, to encourage, witness to, and inspire. I just didn’t want people to think we were “in the business” for the “business.” We felt strongly that, yes, a Christian business is great, but … the underlying reason for all of it was to minister to others. How best to do that? So, this is where the blog originated. Then, we decided to “mirror” the blog over to Facebook, because some people like blogs, others liked Facebook. It gave us the opportunity do what the whole idea was to begin with … To encourage, witness to, and inspire. We are able to do more on the blog, with photos, history, and so forth, but we have been blessed by our contacts on Facebook, as well.

That is really the reason we started the blog, and our Facebook ministry. I pray every day, and that’s how I describe them as I pray, as a “ministry,” asking God to bless them both, and to help us minister to, encourage, bless, inspire, and to lead people to Jesus.
Period.

Well … yet again, it looks like we’re not going to be able to get to that artwork of “Begin a New Day” which was the whole idea, and of which I began the first paragraph of what would become “Part One” with the intention of describing … But, that’s ok. I started this writing with the sole intention of going directly to the artwork, but, as is often the case, God led me in a totally different direction. If I can “Begin” everything I do, including each and every day, being totally open to His guidance and direction, I’ll be ok with that.

It also takes a lot of time to fulfill my self-made commitment to write every third day (I do love that “3rd day” idea, though). It really is a commitment which I try to stick to. It is difficult, but a real joy. We are so blessed to have friends all over the world, and we are “blown away” so often by the reach of these online ministries. I could give a story each week, of how faithful God has been to our writing, and reaching out, as we used to call it in radio, “across the airwaves.” Here’s one from just this week: Recently, we shared a video of a commercial that centered on “Friendship,” and featured players involved in Wheelchair Basketball. I just heard from a Wheelchair Basketball League team in Great Britain, south of London, who liked the write-up about the video. What an honor to have made so many friends in England! Great Britain has been so good to us, and we are so grateful!
We have featured stories about the author of certain hymns, which is a favorite subject. Shortly after sharing the history/author of a famous hymn, I heard from the grandson of the author, who, himself, was thrilled by the story about his beloved Grandfather … which someone had shown him, while at church that Sunday morning. There have been so many stories like that.

We also have a “YouTube channel,” where we feature the videos from the blog/Facebook pages, and we are constantly blessed by those who write to us about that. Just this morning, one of my favorite people from the entertainment world, from a very famous “acting family,” wrote to say they enjoyed one of the videos. You just never know … you just keep on … keeping on …

Every letter which we send out will always have the two “by-words” of our ministry:
“Honor” and “Privilege.”
It’s because it is such an honor, and a privilege, to be allowed to serve you, and to share our writing with you.

The “Begin a New Day” was started to go with what we had shared about the “Beginning” of the New Year. In a couple of weeks, it’ll be February … I’ll try to end the series before then …

I hope this explains why we don’t often promote Pastor Appreciation Gifts via this source. It’s not because we’re not proud of what we do over there, but, the ministry must always be first. It must never be about “us.” We are really excited about the future of the business, and what direction it will be taking in the near future. We can’t escape the fact that the business is as much a part of us as the writing, etc. I also notice I haven’t mentioned the book yet. I have also had people ask me why I don’t go all-out to promote the book over here. Well, I do mention it on occasion, only when a particular work from the book is shared. The book is also something, like the future, which is not in my hands.

We will try to write more about the business in the future, perhaps. And, the artwork we feature at Pastor Appreciation Gifts. Especially as we do more. We have been so blessed to hear that some friends visit the website just to read the messages on the artwork, as it blesses and encourages them. Well … that’s what we’re “in business” for.

I will include a direct link to our YouTube Channel, as we will be doing more with videos in the future, as well.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Link to Our YouTube Channel

“Period” Art Words: “Begin a New Day”-Part Two

Well, since I wrote Part One, we have had overnight low temperatures up here from 15 to 25 below zero. In fact, as I write this on an early evening, it is already below zero. That’s ok: it’s going to be “warmer” tonight than last night (only -10), so we’ll take that as a positive. And … get this … we may actually see 30 degrees (above!) tomorrow … before it’s back to near 20 below in a couple of nights … Last Friday, when I left School, it was 17 degrees (above zero!), and it felt like Spring. I remember that it was 16 degrees on my front deck, and I felt like I should be wearing just a t-shirt. So … it really is just a matter of perspective … how you look at things … your attitude. Since that writing, we’ve had a couple of snowstorms, with another one set to arrive on Sunday … into Monday.

One of the things I had to learn over the last few years up here in the North Country:
Never, ever say, “It’s too cold to snow.”
Now, I can add to that, something else I guess I should never say … something I had let “slip out” a couple of times over the last couple of days:
“Looks like this will be the first “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” where I won’t have to shovel snow.”

Anyway, I remind myself again, that, you just never, ever know what the day will bring. That’s why it’s so important to start your day the right way. We all work with people who seem to always be in a bad mood, and, you take it personally when they turn on you. My stock reaction to these people is this: “They weren’t in a good mood when they got here.”

It is so important to “Begin a New Day” with the correct attitude. And, I believe the only way to achieve that is by going to the One Person who controls the day, who already knows what the day is going to hold … By starting the day with prayer and reading His Word. Why would you not consult with the One who already knows what’s “coming up,” and, most importantly, can give you the advice to get through it, no matter what comes along.

I am reminded of the quote from Mother Teresa, and this is a paraphrase from memory:
“Lord, help me to remember that there is nothing that can happen today, which you and I can’t handle together.”
So, why not get a head start?

Something tells me I’m not going to get to that piece of artwork, which was the original idea …

Often, I mention that people ask me for suggestions about what are the best Scriptures to read during your morning Bible study. First, I think that should be a choice of what you believe God is directing you to read and study. If you aren’t sure, how about starting with one of your favorite passages of Scripture, and allow God to lead you from there. If you will begin, and be sincere, He will lead you into what to read next.

I must say that one of my favorite books to read from, especially first thing in the morning (and the same rule would apply at night), is the Psalms. One of the reasons is that, yes, they are so good, but, most of the chapters are short, allowing you to read an entire chapter in one sitting. I know that time is critical in the morning (even more of a reason to start the day with Him), and being able to read an entire chapter just gives you a boost on its own. Plus, the messages from the Psalms, reading that David faced the same struggles which you are facing, are so encouraging.

Here’s what David wrote about this “Begin the Day” situation:
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” (Psalms 5:3). Look how early in the Psalms this word comes. Notice that it begins with “my voice,” meaning that David is beginning the day with prayer-first. He is confident that God will hear his voice, which is so important. I like the fact that, before David talks to anyone else … friends … family … neighbors … the television … the radio … the stereo … he directs his communication to God. Then, he looks up, which I can see as David, after praying to, speaking to God … he then listens … As important as it is to speak to Him, we must follow that up with listening to Him … I also like the way that David is just as confident, just as certain, that God will hear him … as he is confident, just as certain, that God will speak to him …

Now, let’s see what Jeremiah wrote about this “Begin the Day” situation:
“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” (Lamentations 3:22, 23).
So, God’s mercies are made new-to us-every morning. Hey-That even includes weekends!
Isn’t it great to know that we really can get a fresh start … every morning!
When I read these two verses from Lamentations, I couldn’t help but read the next two verses:
“The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him” (Lamentations 3:24, 25).
How much do I love the fact that God is good to those who seek Him … who hope in Him.

When I think about what makes Christians different from the world, and how those we know, who are “in the world” handle the tough things which life throws at all of us, I think of this verse. It is because, as Christians, we have hope. Hope which the world just doesn’t have. Just knowing that we know the One who holds the future … and, holds us … makes all the difference “in the world.”

As the old saying goes, “I may not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” I can hold onto that hope, my hope, by holding on to Him. When we think of the future, often, we think of things a long way off. I need His help to get through today!

If I can start the day off right … then, I’ve gotten off to the right start … and, I like my chances … As long as I keep Him near me every moment of every day.

Just yesterday morning, after I had a tough “day before,” which would involve me thinking much about the future … As I was praying, speaking to God about the situation, God broke through my prayer, and gave me, spoke to me, quoted to me, a particular verse, from Philippians. The meaning was clear, and I would study the passage for my morning Bible study. It spoke directly to me about the future, and God’s place in it. Immediately, God’s peace flooded my entire being, and, I’m not worried or anxious about this particular situation anymore. In fact, I won’t worry about this particular situation ever again.

This is another example of why it is so important to “Begin the Day” the right way.
By speaking to … listening to … the One who holds today, and all of my tomorrows.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
the lord is my light

Your Day: “End” the Same as You “Begin”

I came across a couple of poems written by Author/Poet Catherine Janssen Irwin, which fit in perfectly with our post on encouragement to “Begin the Day” properly.
I should also add that the best way to end your day is the same as beginning the day:
To pray.
Night and day.

I believe the best time to read is before you go to sleep. It goes deeper than the fact that one of the things that all successful people have in common is that they read before they go to sleep. And, of course, the very best thing to read at “bedtime” is God’s Word. There’s just nothing better, to guarantee a great night’s sleep, than to read the Bible, and pray. There is just something so relaxing, so peaceful to your spirit, than hearing from God before you sleep. It also gives you the ideal opportunity to “review” the day, praising God for His help throughout the day, and gives you the opportunity to ask for help in specific circumstances.

I can guarantee that as you read His Word, the peace that will set in will make you sleepy. And, I can also guarantee that if you’ll just speak with Jesus, talk to Him, you will drift off to the most restful sleep. Your dreams will be much better, too!

So, please be blessed by these two poems, and the hope which they convey.

Boundless Courage

I had to find the courage
To see me through the day,
And so I knelt in silence
And began to softly pray.

I felt his strength come flowing
As my Saviour did his part
To grant me boundless courage
That would live within my heart.
This courage has sustained me
Through trials of pain and sorrow.
And I can trust, believing
He will see me through tomorrow
Catherine Janssen Irwin

He’s standing at the threshold of every bright new day,
waiting to be noticed, as you go your busy way.
He’ll guide you past the rough spots, and His blessings will impart,
just follow where He leads you, as you hold Him to your heart.
When your busy day is over and the shades of night appear,
you can trust that while you’re sleeping,
His love will still be near.
Catherine Janssen Irwin

“Period” Art Words: “Begin a New Day”-Part One

I try to never, ever miss an opportunity to encourage you to start your day-the very first thing, the very first part of your day-with prayer and reading God’s Word. I try to, between hitting the snooze button on the alarm, talk to God, before I even get out of bed. I try to always begin the day, and begin each prayer, with just thanking God, praising God, for His love, His grace, and His mercy, and by reminding myself that “This is the day the Lord has made.”

I need all the help I can get! It’s tough out there! How can I … and, how can I be expected to … face the day alone? Let’s face it … Let’s realize it … And, let’s prepare for it: When you open that door to leave your house, you are stepping out into a lost and dying world. A world that is desperately crying out, in many different ways and forms. A world where so many have lost hope … don’t even know what “hope” is. And … Let’s face it … Let’s realize it … A world which will do everything within its power to make you lose your hope. And … Let’s face it … Let’s realize it … A world which will do everything in its power to influence you. A world which will send people and circumstances after you … to defeat you … to take away, yes, to steal, your joy, your strength, and your Christian testimony.
Period.
And, here’s another really, really, really tough part: A world that is more powerful than you are … on your own.
Period.

In a few, short words, you are stepping out into a world which needs Jesus.
Period.

How can we step out there without Him? Without checking with Him first? He wants so desperately to hear from you … to begin the process … in order for you to be able to hear from Him.
I try to pray every day to think the right thing … to do the right thing … to say the right thing. My “bottom-line” prayer for the day is that others will see Jesus in me. That’s it. Period.
Guess what? So often, I fail miserably. So often, I don’t think the right thing. I don’t do the right thing. And, Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! I don’t say the right thing. So many days, I’ve “got it down,” I am having a great day … hitting on all cylinders … when, from out of the blue … someone will cross my path, I’ll run into someone, and it seems like all of the dominoes have fallen down.

This is where forgiveness comes in. To have the faith and courage to “get back out there” and go again! That’s what “another day” is for. God gives us another day to “work at it.” But, I can’t begin to “work at it,” I can’t begin to improve, to get better … unless I “begin” with Him. He is my Help … my everything. Why would I not begin this new day without checking in with Him first?
Remember this: He knows what the day holds. You don’t.
To get through it, you are going to need Him. The great thing is that He wants to help you! He wants to listen to you! He wants to speak to you!
Every moment of every day.
But, it must start by “Starting” with Him.
Time with Him.
Talking to Him.
Listening to Him.

Sad … Unfortunate … Yet, true … There are so many which don’t have what you have. They don’t have the help that you have. They may not even know that such a “Help” exists.
Well … that’s where you come in … to truly fulfill your purpose … your mission … What you are really here for, to “Begin” with … To show forth His glory, His love, to a lost and dying world. How will they know unless someone tells them … shares with them … “makes known the reason for our hope” …

My intention was to share with you one of the works of Christian art which we feature over at our online store, entitled “Begin a New Day,” but I must put that aside, in order to share this message instead. God loves you so much … He sent His only Son, Jesus, and Jesus, because of His love for you … agreed to come! He agreed to step down from His throne in Glory, and take human form … knowing that He would die a cruel, vicious death … but, He was willing to do this, to die, in order that we could live …. Live victoriously, and not just in this world, but to live with Him, forever, in Heaven … He made sure of this by rising from the dead, thereby gaining victory, for all time, over sin and death … Jesus suffered with the same things we suffered (including that “being betrayed by those closest to Him” thing), and He was tempted by everything that we are tempted by! However … He was able to do all this without sin … to do it “perfectly,” because He was perfect. So … why would we not “pull Him aside” and ask for His help and advice before we go out that door??? Why would we not “follow His lead” instead of what the world is trying to get us to follow???

Why would we not do what He did? How did He start each day? He prayed. Yes, sometimes, He would pray for hours … He had a habit (to use a “human understanding” term) of going off by Himself alone … alone, by Himself … away from all of life’s distractions … and, He would pray … just talk to His Heavenly Father. He would talk … and, He would listen. That’s an example!

Back to the sad part … yet, we must really come to terms with this: Yes, we must be the best example of Jesus we can be. Yet, despite our best efforts, we still can’t control someone else’s actions. You can only control your actions.
And, you can’t do that without God’s help.
So, ask Him for his help. Every day.
No, you still can’t make someone listen to you. You can’t make someone hear your message. When you chose to follow God’s leading … it was just that-a choice.
They have the same choice you did.
And, both choices come with their own consequences. And, you can’t change that, either.
Your job is to speak the Word. If you do this by example, people will come to you. God will make sure of that. You still can’t make them accept what has changed you, what has made you “so different from everyone else they know,” but it is still their choice.

I don’t know about you, but the worst things which ever happened to me … came as a result of someone else’s influence over me. And, it wasn’t always a “person.” Yet, the only way to say this is this: Don’t let someone else’s wrong actions influence your actions. If it is wrong for them, it’s wrong for you. If they suffer as a result of their action, you will suffer, too.

One thing more we must address:
We can’t change the events of yesterday. One of the great things about going to God first thing in the morning is this: We can ask for, and receive forgiveness. We can, at least between God and us (and, isn’t that the most important thing to straighten out?), get things straightened out, to talk about “what went wrong” yesterday … and, to get that help for today … That just sounds so simple, yet so awesome … And, it is both … Start the day with thankfulness to a great, loving God, who has given you-yes, given you-another day, to “get it right.”

You just can’t “get it right” until you “get it right” with Him … first.
So, maybe we can’t change the events of yesterday. Or, someone else’s actions. But, we can change our actions, our thoughts, and our words. Not without His help, but there won’t be any hesitation on His side.

What a gift today is.
Why not start it off, “begin the day” right?

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.