In the beginning

Hello. Did you think that I had disappeared? I didn’t. I have just been thinking about this last posting of the 2015 “We Gather Together” holiday season.

Today is the second Monday of the new year. So, how are things going for you? The weather in northwest Florida has gotten chilly (28 degrees) and as we walked through Sears this morning, I noticed only a couple of things in the “Christmas discount” section. The college football season will end after tonight’s game. It looks like 2016 is moving forward with vigor, whether we are ready for it or not. The sparkle and excitement of Christmas morning and of New Years’ Eve have faded as we have gotten back to “normal.”

Would you mind a little chat before we close the page on Christmas?

When John and I started our Bible reading on January 1st, I could not get away from the way that our translation begins, “in the beginning.” It is so simple – “in the beginning.”

When we were kids and we didn’t like the roll of the dice during a game of Monopoly or how we stumbled while jumping rope we would shout “do over.” My little sister and I would spend hours at the local pool practicing stylized leaps into the water, twisting our torsos and putting our hands up into the air. When a jump didn’t go as we had planned, we would immediately pull ourselves out of the pool and say, “I wanna do it again.”   When we were young, we assumed we could always start over and do it better.

Guess what? The same is true today.

Oh, even though it may be that the things you said or did a day or a decade ago are still producing harvests (some good and others bad) today, you can still change your course. You have permission to have a “do over.” Unlike our childhood games, our “do over” today is framed in our past and that’s only fair. But, we can start over. We can claim another “in the beginning.”

Maybe today finds you opening that credit card bill that reminds you what you spent celebrating Christmas. Or, perhaps the weight on the scale isn’t what you had planned on that beautiful chart you created. It could be that the relationships you had hoped would change over the holidays are still challenging. Rest easy. Today is not done. 2016 has just started. You have time today, right now, to change your path. The direction you take is not written in stone.

I have been praying for a young adult who is struggling. This morning I sent to them a text that included the line “Don’t let the struggle of today determine your future.” I pray that for you today. Realize that this is your time to make a difference. To change your course. To start over. To begin a new beginning.

The only true way to start with a clean slate is to daily put your life into God’s hands. This is true for the saint as well as the sinner. Living free means that we put our trust into the only trustworthy one.

John 3:16 says it best “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” We have a future, my friend, we have a Savior!

Thank you for joining me this year in “Gather Together.” I pray that you will continue to draw closer to God, that you will gather yourself within yourself and that you will gather together with others who need you. You have blessed me with your patience and dear words and mercy. Let’s continue to love and pray for and bless each other!


Jill (just one of God’s kids)

Peru group

Poppa, Mom, Me and John in Peru in 2014


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