H iGates s
Chr istina Cor bitt
Copyright ÂŠ 2013 by Christina Corbitt. Library of Congress Control Number: ISBN: Hardcover Softcover Ebook
PENDING 978-1-4836-2315-3 978-1-4836-2314-6 978-1-4836-2316-0
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January 1 “I am the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God, “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come, the Almighty One.” —Revelation 1:8, NLT
Happy New Year! It’s a brand-new year with brand-new experiences awaiting us. We’ve made our resolutions, which we may keep for about ten minutes. Last year is gone, long gone. This year can be whatever we strive it to be. There’s no reason to look back. Keep looking forward to new beginnings. Failures are behind us. Second chances are before us. Let us not forget the true beginnings of this life. In the beginning, there was a Father who created. Through the beginning of this creation, He became a love which had no end. In time, sin came alive and began damage we couldn’t control. Though sin had begun, love abounded and mercy began a new era. The damage created by sin was undone by a new beginning. Grace became alive and drowned out the past. Forgiveness came bursting in and drove away yesterday and last year. Hope arose a new beginning. In the beginning, there was love. That love was the beginning for all of us. That love brought the end of separation. He was, is, and always will be the definition of love. Love came down and brought a new beginning. This is the beginning of a brand-new year. Use it wisely. Experience the beginning of a love which can never end.
January 2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. — Genesis 1:1, NLT
The Lord took empty space and created the world we live in. He separated the waters and made land and sky. He placed the stars, moon, and sun in the sky to give us light. He planted vegetation for the creatures He would create. With a simple word, this world came to life. However, we were created in His image. He didn’t speak us into existence. He took a handful of dust and breathed His life into us. Nothing existed until the Lord created it. And there would be no salvation if the Lord hadn’t created the path for us. When we confess our sins, the Lord is quick to forgive us. We no longer live in the year of those sins. The Lord has given us a new beginning. The slate has been wiped clean. It’s like doing laundry. When our clothes get dirty, we put them in the washer with soap and fabric softener. Once they have been cleaned, they are put in the dryer to dry. Now that they are dry, they are no longer dirty and are ready to be worn. When we ask for forgiveness, the Lord washes us until those stains are gone. Then He dries all the tears we’ve cried over our sin. And when He is finished, we are ready to be used again. In the beginning God created forgiveness and second chances. It doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do yesterday. Today is a new day and a new opportunity. Let us not allow our fear or insecurities prevent us from allowing the Lord to use us. Let us use our second chance to reach the lost and hurting. Let us be the hands and feet of Christ. Let us point this world to a Savior who offers forgiveness and salvation. Let us love people the way we have been loved. This year, let us make it our goal to move beyond our past and focus on today. Tomorrow may never come. So let us not waste the opportunities we’ve been given. And let us show this world there is still hope. 2
January 3 Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. —Hebrews 10:24, NLT
Martha chose to plant a garden in her backyard. She chose a level piece of land and tilled the soil. She removed all the rocks in the ground and loosened all of the hard spots. She diligently worked preparing her ground to become a garden. She dug rows for her seeds. She provided fertilizer and plenty of water to get everything started. Each row was labeled for the masterpiece it would produce. She toiled every day in her garden - pulling weeds, spreading the soil, watering, and checking for its overall well-being. She trimmed what needed to be trimmed. She tied up what needed support. Before long her garden began to sprout abundantly. A more beautiful garden could not be found. All of her efforts and hard work had indeed sprung forth a masterpiece. The seeds of love were planted for us so that we may reap a harvest of blessings. Love was poured out as our Savior’s blood was shed. His love had been displayed at the cross as our salvation blossomed through His sacrifice. Salvation could not have sprung forth without love and sacrifice. Sin needed to be weeded out. Grace needed to shine. Mercy needed to water hope. Only love could make it grow. Without sacrifice, we’d still be a weed without hope of becoming a rose. Without love, we’d have no hope at all. When love is applied, hope arises. When hope arises, love blooms. Put garbage in, we get garbage out. When we put encouragement in, we see the hand of God move. From Heaven to the manger to the cross, love was planted and watered. The seed of love was buried and sprung forth a masterpiece. This masterpiece emptied Himself upon us. In doing this, He changed us, who were merely weeds, into masterpieces as well.
January 4 May people all over the earth, know that the Lord is God and that there is no other God. — 1 Kings 8:60, NLT
So many times, we take on responsibilities for which we were never equipped to handle. We look through glasses which were never filled with our prescription. We have a loving Savior who asks to carry our load. He sees differently because the glasses were meant for Him. It is very difficult, but we must learn to truly recognize Him for who He is and what He’s capable of. He not only creates, He not only saves, but He is also God with Us. He was here in the beginning, He’s here with us now, and He’ll be here when this world ceases to exist. He lovingly shaped, He powerfully saves, and He is completely with us. Let Him do what He does best - love. In His love, we’ll never want, never need, never fear, or never ever be apart from Him. What He does best is love us in ways we can never understand. Yet this love is who He is, and it is what He is shaping us to be. Blind as we may tend to be and confused as we mostly are, our Savior is God. In His hands, there is no better or safer place to be. May the whole world realize this.
January 5 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. â€” Genesis 1:4, NASB
In the beginning, there was darkness, and then there was light. There was void, and then there was abundance. In the midst of this abundant light was love. A hand reached out to help, to lead, to heal, and to rescue. When nothing else existed, love was there. Before light came bursting forth, love was there. When that snake slithered into the garden, love was already there. When the religious leaders told Jesus that it was all about rules and the law, Jesus replied that it was all about love. God didnâ€™t give us rules in order to be a dictator. He gave us rules to protect us. On a one-way street, there are signs warning about traveling in the wrong direction. Accidents and harm can occur traveling the wrong way. His intentions were merely to keep us near Him where He can show us love and provide us protection. He wants us to understand that it is good to not be in the Fatherâ€™s shadow, but in His light. We are not under His thumb, but under His love. The light is good because the light is reflected from the Savior. Though there are times we stumble and fear the darkness, the light can never be extinguished. We have been separated from the darkness. Even in our darkest moments and fears, the everlasting light will still shine. Our sins and failures are miles away, sitting in the darkness. The darkness may try to use our insecurities and doubt to devour us, but we abide in the light, His light. God looked around and saw that the light was good.
January 6 As the deer pants for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. —Psalm 42:1, NLT
As I sit working on the computer or studying or whatever else may be going on, I begin to get thirsty. After a while, I feel so parched that I’m faint from thirst. I have a big cup which holds two bottles of water. I fill it with water and ice. Quickly I drink and become refreshed. I continue to drink until my thirst is gone. However, I keep my cup at hand in case I get thirsty again. If my cup is emptied, I simply refill it, and I am once again in good shape. I don’t normally eat regular meals. So I busy myself around the house doing laundry and various chores, my stomach begins to tell me that I haven’t eaten. After a while, my stomach gets angry and begins to growl. Pursuing my tasks, I eventually will end up with a headache, which makes me sick. I can avoid it no longer. I must find something to eat. I have medicine, which makes me sick to my stomach as well. If I do not eat when I take this medicine, I become sick to my stomach. However, after I have consumed a bit of food, my stomach is once again content. If I should become hungry again, there is food available to eat, and I am once again in good shape. This is the way of the world and our lives in it. We find ourselves hungering and thirsting but never satisfied. We look for fulfillment from food, alcohol, activities, money, relationships, and a million other ways. Yet we find something is still missing. If our body is thirsty, we need water. If our body is hungry, we need food. If our soul is hungry or thirsty, we need God. Nothing can fill that void, except Him. We live hungry because we don’t feed on His word. We live thirsty because we don’t drink from His power. We live tired because we don’t rest in His grace. What we’re really longing for is God.
When we were drowning in our sins, what we needed was salvation. The Father didn’t send a fruit basket or a bottle of water. He didn’t send a new bed or a change of clothes. He didn’t write a letter wishing us well. No, He came Himself because that was what we needed the most. He’s still near. His hands are still as strong as they were then, and He’s still capable of holding us securely. His ears haven’t grown deaf, and He is still listening as He was when we first cried out for help. His eyes haven’t dimmed, and He still sees us through eyes of love as He did when He saw us drowning. We may need food and water for our bodies, but He is what we need for our souls.
January 7 Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! — Isaiah 49:15, NLT
The Father is jealous for us. He not only created us, but He also gave everything for us - literally. He laid down His life so that we might live. He moved Heaven and earth to remove all obstacles between us. He walked on water and danced in the flames to get to us. He shed His own blood to save us. He gave us His heart, and He gave us a Savior. He created the star to point the way. Hosts of angels proclaimed the glory of His name. He formed the rainbows to remind us of His promises. Creation was at His fingertips, and the power to create anything He wanted was infinite. Yet He gave us the one thing He couldn’t duplicate, the one thing He only had one of - His Son. There is nothing we can face today that is beyond His control. He never promised there wouldn’t be mountains to climb, but that He would carry the load. He never promised there wouldn’t be paths we must follow, but that we would never walk alone. When we cried out for help, His nailscarred hand reached out and took our hand. In this union, we became His, and He became ours. And as a mother gives birth and becomes forever bound to her child, we are forever bound to Him. No raging sea or fiery furnace can keep us from Him. No distance can keep us apart. No lion can devour us, and no stone can destroy us. We are forever safe in His nail-scarred hand. He couldn’t forget us if He tried. What He can forget, though, is every sin and failure that is not of Him. So since we are of Him, created in His image and redeemed by His blood, there’s no way He could ever forget us. Anyway, how could He? We have His heart.