January 1st marks the beginning of a new year of life. Businesses will close out the books from the previous year. Regardless of their profits or losses, January 1 signals both a fresh start to their business and a new season filled with new discoveries.
As humans, we realize the significance of a fresh new start in our personal lives. We craft our resolutions for the coming year as we hope to make this New Year different than the last.
We resolve to spend more time with our family, to de-clutter our lives and garages, to make healthy changes and choices to assist in the reduction of stress, and of course one of the top resolutions is to lose weight and get in shape. The new gym memberships roll in during that first week of January, only to slowly watch those new members fall victim to the same bad habits and routines that they maintained during the previous year.
As one who has struggled with weight most of my life, I was one of those who began every year with the theme of losing the weight.
In February of 2014, I found myself being rushed to the hospital with chest pains and a possible heart attack. I found myself at the start of a new year lying in a hospital bed in the Chest Pain wing of the WakeMed Heart Center strapped to all sorts of cables and sensors being monitored for 24 hours. I am happy to report that after a stress test and Nuclear Imaging were performed, I had no heart issues, it was all stress.
In June of 2014, I realized that I needed answers from the Lord and so I decided I would go on a fast to seek direction from God. In prayerful contemplation of how to proceed with this fast, I began to follow the Lords direction. As I turned my face toward heaven asking God for answers and direction, I noticed something different not only from a spiritual perspective but also a weight perspective. I began to lose weight.
As of the time of this letter, I have lost 30 pounds. I have dropped 6 jacket sizes and 8 inches in my waist. I feel good and I feel healthy. What began as a fast actually turned into a change in my lifestyle. I began to see that not only was I hearing the word for 2015, but He was allowing me to live it out to understand it more clearly.
I am a visual learner. God uses pictures or images to speak to me so that I can understand more clearly. After several months with these changes to my eating habits and exercise, I see a different me. I am not the same as I was in July of this past year. I have been in a process of TRANSFORMATION.
As I come in contact with many of my friends, they are amazed at the change that has taken place in my weight and body. They know the struggles that I have experienced over my life. I am not that same person who would eat 1⁄2 of a birthday cake in one day.
I am changed. I am transformed. And because people know my past eating habits, and known my struggle with weight, it now gives them HOPE. HOPE that if I can do it, so can they.
While laying in bed one unable to sleep, I felt as if the Lord said that I am now a visual example of what He wants to occur in the body of Christ during 2015. I believe this is the year that: TRANSFORMATION PRODUCES HOPE
THE TRANSFORMED LIFE MUST HAVE EXPERIENCED A TRANSFORMATION
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.”
When something is transformed, it no longer looks like its original state. It is different; it has been transformed into something different. Yet we hear so much teaching on grace that if we are not careful, our culture will think that when we come into personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it is OK for us to continue living the same life and making the same lifestyle choices. Friend, if we ever truly encounter the presence of God in the way He desires to reveal Himself to us, we cannot help but experience transformation. This verse in Corinthians (the New Testament) clearly states that some things that we did before Christ, we no longer do simply because we have truly encountered Christ the King.
For me, if I go back to doing the same thing that I did in years past, it would not take very long for me to gain back those 30 pounds…..and then some. And to be honest, I do not desire that. I still have another 15-20 pounds that I would like to lose before I hit my goal. Therefore, I must press and pursue and continue making new lifestyle choices if I will truly walk out my transformation. If not, I have merely gone on another diet and never made any changes to my life.
THE TRANSFORMED LIFE WILL CULTIVATE HOPE
If ever our world needed Hope, today is that day. Countless Christians and non- believers fall prey to burnout and hopelessness because we no longer see change as a realistic possibility. When problems or challenges face us, we look for inspiration from somewhere; some small nugget of hope that we can hold on to. It doesn’t have to be monumental; it simply needs to be real, tangible and accessible.
THIS IS HOW GOD DESIRES TO USE THE CHURCH IN 2015
I believe that what the Lord is revealing is that He desires this to be a year where the Body of Christ, the believers, experience such a God-Encounter that is so real and tangible that it will transform their lives. I sense He wants to do that in my life and yours. Things that have become so normal and familiar to us, I believe He wants to
reveal Himself to us in a way that will leave us in total amazement of who He is and what He can do.
I also believe that when the church experiences God in this magnitude, and when we allow God to bring total TRANSFORMATION to our lives, the by-product of what occurs will shine radiantly to unbelievers which will signal the source of all HOPE….Jesus Christ!
The world is actively looking and seeking for the answer. We search for transformation through enlightenment, through education, through wealth, and even through health. However, the only place to find the answer is in a Transformational Encounter with Christ the King.
This will be our Vision and Goal for this ministry in 2015. We will actively look for ways that we can impact individuals and introduce them to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We will continue to create safe places for people to Discover, Explore, Practice and Pursue the Presence of God. We are actively in discussions with IT engineers and attorneys as to how we can utilize technology to help us create these opportunities and remain legally compliant. We are very excited about these opportunities as we know the internet will truly enable us to have a Global Impact when we may not be able to actually take all of our team globally, at least at this moment in history. Yet, we remain focused in our passionate pursuit of His Presence, and we ask that you will continue to stand with us during this year of TRANSFORMATION THAT PRODUCES HOPE!