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      As we’re leaving 2023, I hear so many people saying, I sure hope your 2024 is better than your 2023, and my reply is, “It will be,” simply because, it has no reason not to be. You see I learned many years ago through my addiction that “my worst day ever, could be the best day some people would ever have.” Look around, life is hard but there is always someone somewhere that is worse off than you are. Some people have expressed how hard 2023 was on me but that’s not how I chose to look at it. 2023 was my year of testing as I had 4 pulmonary embolisms (blood clots) each included a stay in the hospital and an opportunity for spiritual growth. God was working on my people skills. He performed an attitude tune-up while I was there and allowed me to meet some dedicated servants who cared for me. They were great! My favorite attitude tune-up came when I was 49 and I was diagnosed with a cracked ankle. I became intolerable, filled with anger, embarrassment, and pain. I was whining and complaining over and over, announcing for all to hear. “I can’t believe I went 49 years without a broken bone, and now this happens. That record is shot!” Finally, an elderly nurse in the corner preparing the ankle wrappings spoke up and said, “I don’t blame you one bit Mr. Loftin, if I had gone 49 years without a broken bone I would be bragging as well. Almost all of the children of today have broken a bone before the age of 6.” She made me feel 3 inches tall as she twisted those words around in my brain like a finely honed knife. She humbled me right into rejoicing and thanksgiving for God’s grace. It’s all part of life, and we have little control over many things that happen, however, we have everything to do with how we receive the unwanted. James 4:14 (NLT), How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

      Granted, we can’t be sure when hard times will come but the uncertainty is assured, “they will come!” As we learn through reading and studying Jesus, not everything (no matter how hard or hurtful it seems at the time) is meant to be bad for us. The intent is for us to grow our spiritual dependence on God and stretch our attitude which helps to dictate the outcome. If we will allow ourselves to cooperate it will be a lesson learned. We so often miss the point of why these lessons are needed and the truth is there is a distance that grows between us and God when everything is peachy. We lose our fear of the uncertainty that’s assured to lie ahead and become ill-prepared to deal with it. Then when the issues come, we are lost. As is written in James 4:5 (NLT), 5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate and that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. This explains that if we are faithful to Him when the assured uncertainty happens, we can be assured that we are ready for it. This is found in James 1:2-3 (NLT), Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 

      God assures us in James 4:7-10 (NLT), 7 Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. His grace is sufficient for you who are weak, 2 Corinthians 12:9.

        Father God, I ask that believers remind believers of James 4:3 (NLT), And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. May we cleanse ourselves of any contaminated worldly wishes so that our prayers may be pleasing to you? Lord let 2024 be the year that believers boldly speak from your writings in Romans 8:38-39 (NLT), And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Abba, please, heal your believers of any unbelief. May their prayers not be wordy and wasted as many are designed to impress men. May we in body and spirit, become the positive healers you designed, and may your healed go forth to heal! We pray because of your grace. Amen





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