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Happy New Year!

Image result for Happy New yearWe all have those moments in life where we wish we could be granted a “re-do.” Re-dos are a positive method of discipline that is beneficial for children who have had traumatic backgrounds. It allows a caregiver/parent to demonstrate a desired behavior and then invite the child to re-do the incorrect behavior. When the child gets it correct the good behavior is praised. Sometimes a child might need several re-dos to practice the behavior with the caregiver/parent modeling, encouraging and helping the child reach the desired behavior. As you look back on 2018, do you see more wishful redos in your life or do you see positive spiritual growth and development? Can you say that you have a deeper, more intimate walk with Jesus now than you did a year ago? Maybe you see regression in your walk with Christ. Maybe 2018 held a job loss, set backs, a medical diagnosis, financial trouble, or loss.

Instead of focusing on the past and what we cannot change, let’s look forward to 2019 and all the possibilities it holds. In Philippians 3:14, Paul writes, “Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.” God has plans for each of us in 2019. Some will be blessings beyond what we could think or imagine. Others might be trials that He will use to help learn to depend on Him as they cause us to fully rely on Him. But when we realize that God will work all things out for His good (Romans 8:28), we can know that He is faithful and just to complete what He has started in each one of us (Philippians 1:6).

There is no better reminder of God’s faithfulness to work through the tough times for our good and His glory than in the life of Joseph. You’ll find his story beginning in Genesis, chapter 37. At 17 years old, Joseph laid in the bottom of a pit — thrown there by his jealous brothers. Despite his cries for help, the brothers had no guilt or care. They just sat down to eat a meal. Out of 10 brothers only one had any sort of compassion and stopped the others from murdering him. It was his idea to put Joseph in the pit, but he had planned to come back for him later. Only when he was away the other 9 sold him as a slave. From abandonment by his brothers, Joseph’s life only got worse. He went from enslavement to entrapment, to imprisonment. He was sold out and mistreated. People made him promises only to break them. They offered him gifts only to take them away. Despite all that, we never see Joseph giving up or becoming bitter. Instead in whatever situation he was in, he thrived. An Egyptian official promoted him to chief servant. In prison, the prison warden placed Joseph in charge over all the other prisoners. And Pharaoh made Joseph the highest in command just under him. In all of that, God used every single circumstance to work out His divine plan to save many people, including Joseph’s jealous brothers from a wide-spread famine. Joseph’s favored coat of many colors that was torn by his brothers was traded in for a royal robe. The pit they tossed him in would one day become a palace. God, in His omnipotence, worked through every evil that was intended against Joseph to redeem Joseph’s story and He can do the same for you! So despite what 2018 might have held for you, let’s look ahead in eager anticipation for how God is working through our lives to bring about His master plan.

As we journey into 2019 with you, we are adding two new posts to help encourage you and grow in your passionate relationship with God. You cannot know the God Joseph knew if you do not spend time with Him. You cannot know His plans for you or see Him at work in your life if you do not get to know Him. We get to know God through the pages of His Word, the Bible. We want to encourage you read the entire Bible through in 2019, even if you’ve done this before. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.” Because His Word is alive, every time we read it, we learn something new. As we mature in our walk with God, we learn something deeper. As we apply the truths of the Bible to our lives and live in obedience, we grow spiritually and our relationship with God is strengthened. Each day we will post the passages you need to read for that day to read the Bible through in one year. Each passage will contain a link to BibleGateway’s website with the scripture for that day where you can read it online. However, we encourage you to take the time to read it in your Bible where you can highlight passages where God speaks to you and make notes in the margins of what you learn. If you get behind, you can easily catch up. Just click on the link directly on our home page or go to the menu and click on the One Year Bible Challenge tab to see the daily posts. These posts will appear at 6 am each day and this page of the site will be live on January 1, 2019 with the first 6 am post.

The second post we are adding will be a weekly post. In Psalm 119:11, David wrote, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” We hide God’s word in our heart by memorizing, meditating and applying it to our lives. Every Monday morning we will post a verse that we want to encourage you to memorize and meditate on and ask God how He wants you to apply it to your life. Some may be verses you have already memorized, but take time to refresh them in your heart and mind by meditating on it and see what new way you can apply it to your life right now. We have added a button on our home page to get you to the weekly post easily.

If you have not signed up to receive emails for each new post, do so now so you do not miss the daily Bible reading assignment and the weekly verse to memorize. We’d love to hear how God is speaking to you through these two activities. Be sure to leave us a comment here on our website or on Facebook. You can also connect with Julia on LinkedIn.

Cover_mAs we move into 2019, we hope that you have purchased your copy of Julia’s new book, God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars. This book contains 365 daily activities for couples to do together to help strengthen their marriage and grow their relationship with God. It contains, scripture to memorize together, conversation starters, relationship builders, Biblical concepts about marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. We set up a Facebook page for the book and hope that couples who are using the book will become a community that will help and encourage couples all around the world to develop Godly marriages that honor and glorify Him. On that page, participants can post photos as they do the different activities. We will also make posts that we hope will generate conversations that will encourage and challenge the community. If you don’t have this book yet, you can purchase it directly from Westbow Press here. It is also available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Lastly, if your church has events planned in 2019 for women or marriage events and you are looking for a speaker, Julia is booking for 2019. Book online here to get your event on the calendar while dates are still open. Simply complete the online form and our team will contact you to discuss your event. We are open to small or large events.

We look forward to growing spiritually with you in 2019. May God bless you and may you always remember that God is constantly and faithfully working through every event (good and bad) in your life to bring about His divine and perfect plan for you.

Happy New Year from Wellspring Christian Ministries.

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