“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep'. In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Being born on New Years has always had its benefits; celebrating a new age while the World grasps a new outlook for the year helps give a deeper personal reflection! A funny fact, when I was young my parents would trick me into believing that all the fireworks were for my birthday (good enough reason to never throw me a birthday party). Yet, when I look back upon all the years that I have celebrated, this one by far surpasses them all. Don’t get me wrong, I have lived plenty of years of enjoyment, great times of reflection, but none as deep as 2012. This year is the first year in about twenty, (other than being in Iraq) that I didn’t have a bottle of alcohol or a joint in my hand the evening the ball dropped. This past year I was awakened by something so profound that it takes every memory of love and celebration from my past, making me wonder what was so exciting about any of those years.
Two of the greatest events in my life were seeing my sons born, Nathan in ’95 and Preston in ’97. Divorce found me in ’98 and well let’s just say that I have not been the perfect father, not had that blessed relationship that God intends a man to have with his children. The wisest year of decisions in my life would have been 1984 and this was because I came to know Jesus Christ as my Savior, which was the beginning of a promise that would take a long time to be fulfilled. Other than that, my life has been about chasing this dream and that dream, running to God in times of trouble and denying any responsibility when He told me to “Go and do”. I have had years to celebrate progress, promotions, problems-solved and prayers answered. This past year though was profound in that all those prayers, from so many people directed to God on behalf of me, finally were answered. Though years ago, I acknowledged Gods plan and said “Okay I will Go”, well I never really let the walls fall down. Interesting this has been about a 7 year process….Why does God like the number 3,7 and 40 so much??? Anyway, as He has been continually working through me, this past year I finally caved and not in a breakdown as in “I just can’t do it anymore,” but in a much more serene “God, what have I been doing” type of caving. I finally admitted to God that I cannot do it without him, and I should have never denied him as he has never denied me. I allowed him full control, this meant a releasing of inner emotions that have been barricaded, since my youth. I have been given back everything and more than even the land of “Oz” could promise. My mind has been refreshed, my courage has been renewed, talk about excitement when you feel inside of yourself what it is to have a heart and find that perfect peace of love!!! I too was returned home to my Jesus, My savior.
Hopefully there are many more best new years to come, but I just can’t imagine how. I now, have a new hope for tomorrow a honed and focused look into what I am and have been supposed to be doing. I have been being blessed daily with connections to new saints, new friends, just unbelievable people with unspeakable promise. I cannot begin to show my gratitude to everyone who has ever lifted their eyes and hearts towards heaven on my behalf. I assure you though, I am forever grateful, I am forever convicted and I am so looking forward to working the path that our merciful God has laid before me!

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“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep'. In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

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