Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year challenge

Goodbye 2012 ~ Hello 2013!
 
I can't believe it's already been a year. It really has flown by. The first 8 or so months of 2012 were really hard because of my treatment, but it's been looking up the past few months. God definitely used 2012 to teach me a lot. He is still working on me for sure, but it has been really cool to see how He has used everything including Lyme Disease to teach me a few things. Although it has been an interesting, challenging year, I'm excited for 2013.
 
2012 ended with an awesome Murder Mystery New Year's Eve party with a high school homecoming dance theme, in which I was the Student Council Secretary also known as Clerical Katie. I got to dress up in a formal dress with a corsage and release my inner actress. Then shortly after the clock struck Midnight, I told one of my best friend's, "This is gonna by MY year...I can already feel it" and then I choked on my drink. Hmmm...I hope that's not an omen haha.
 
I almost said yesterday that 2013 is going to be a year to remember, but then I realized that 2012 is a year to remember too. In fact, every year is a year to remember, right? We may look back on our year and wish it had never happened, but God doesn't let a year go wasted. Yes, this year has not been the easiest. I've felt anger, denial, pain, confusion, exhaustion, doubt, but I know God didn't leave me during that time. He was there and had a plan the whole time. Maybe you've had a similar year. You're relieved that the year is over and hope that your suffering doesn't continue in 2013.
Today, I just finished a book called, "Tortured for Christ." It is an autobiography of Richard Wurmbrand explaining his life as an evangelical minister in communistic Romania during 1945-1964. He faced many years of suffering, as well as many Christians. He was tortured in prison for 14 years because of sharing the love of God with others. After brutal beatings and multiple imprisonments, Wurmbrand was granted amnesty. It is an absolute miracle that he survived and it made my suffering look nonexistent. The book introduced me to the many lives that were affected by the Underground Church and showed me the true joy that suffering can produce. Crazy to think that suffering can produce joy, huh? That just proves how amazing God is.
 
The book included letters from a nineteen year old girl who was brainwashed by the atheistic Communistic goverment but later converted because of the boldness of a Christ follower who shared the gospel with her. However, three months after this young girl's conversion, she was imprisoned because of her proclamation of her love for Christ.
 
She writes explaining her time in prison and the beatings and starvation in which she endured, but followed with this...
"My heart praises and thanks God that, through you, He showed me the way to salvation. Now, being on this way , my life has a purpose and I know where to go and for whom I suffer. I feel the desire to tell and witness to everybody about the great joy of salvation that I have in my heart. Who can separate us from the love of God in Christ? Nobody and nothing. Neither in prison nor suffering. The sufferings that God sends us only strengthen us more and more in the faith in Him. My heart is so full that the grace of God overflows. At work, they curse and punish me, giving me extra work because I cannot be silent. I must tell everyone what the Lord has done for me. He has made me a new being, a new creation, of me who has on the way of perdition. Can I be silent after this? No, never! As long as my lips can speak, I will witness to every one about His great love."
 
Her next and last letter of her life (while still in prison) ended with this...
"Since the Lord revealed to me the deep mystery of His holy love, I consider myself to be the happiest in the world. The persecutions that I have to endure I consider to as a special grace. I am glad that the Lord gave me from the first days of my faith the great happiness to suffer for Him. Pray for me that I may remain faithful to the Lord to the end."
 
Just like apostle Paul suffered for Christ, there are still people suffering just like he did. They aren't suffering with anger towards God, but with joy.
James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trails, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
 Amazing and convicting.
 
Yesterday I saw something Ben Stein wrote in regards to how America has taken God out of the equation. He wrote, "Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.
Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.


Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us."

 
I think he's right. It just doesn't make sense to me that here in America we are free to share our faith with others, but often we don't in fear of not being accepted. However, on the other side of the world, people are sharing their faith openly with others despite it being illegal. They are thrown into prison, beaten and persecuted, yet they still share the gospel with joy, while we don't speak up even though we have the luxury and freedom to do so without the fear of imprisonment.
Pretty sad, if you ask me.
 
I'm not sure if you're into making New Year's resolutions, but one of the many  goals I have for 2013 is to proudly speak of my faith with others.
Will you share that goal with me? Will you embrace the fact that suffering and difficulties can produce joy if you trust in God's plan for you? Will you realize that this world needs you to share God's love?
 
How are you going to share God's love with others this year? What are ways to overcome fear and replace it with boldness?
 
Happy New Year, friends!
 
Today's scripture reading for read-your-Bible-in-a-year plan is the book of James.
Thursday-book of 1 Peter
Friday-book of 2 Peter
Saturday-book of 1 John
 
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14 comments:

  1. Sounds like a really fun party!! :)

    It saddens my heart that people are ashamed of Jesus and won't/don't speak of His awesome love. The quotes you provided are sadly true. I'm in my friend! I will be bold for Christ and speak up for my Savior.

    Happy, happy New Year!!
    Xoxo

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    1. Oh my goodness- it was so much fun!!

      It really is sad and it just doesn't make sense that we are so free to share, yet we don't. Yay! I'm so glad you're in! Accountability partners ;)

      Happy New Year with many blessings!! <3

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  2. I really enjoy your blog, Thank you for sharing! Blessings, April
    filledwithgodslove.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks April! Happy New Year with many blessings!! :)

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  3. hi, i just started my fb page. please help me promote it by clicking "like" it would really made my new year happy! Thanks
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sunnydaysarelove/456717444391357

    btw, am a new follower!...hope u can visit mine too http://sunnydaysarelove.blogspot.com

    .....and follow back :)))))))

    It's nice to visit a very lovely blog of yours!

    -CHI

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    1. Thanks Chi! I'm heading your way right now!!
      Many blessings :)

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  4. Stay believe in God if there is a healing. And hopefully in the new year, you are more blessed in abundance.

    Happy new year 2013, and have a great year, Chelsea.

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    1. Thank you!! May you have a happy new year with many, many blessings too :)

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  5. Beautiful post as always! I don't really like to read books (never really have) but that book does sound interesting! And when I do read a book I like true stories and Life stories etc.
    Happy New year!!!!

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    1. Aw thanks Cat!! Always so sweet :) I used to never like to read until I read Karen Kingsbury books. I call it my "gateway book" lol. Now I love to read! I meant to include the website in my post, but I forgot...anyway, you can go to this website and get the book for free. It's a short, easy read and extremely informative! http://torturedforchrist.com/

      May you have a happy, happy new year filled with many blessings ;)

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  6. Chelsea, I love this challenge and I want to do it too!! Let's pray for an even better year to come. I have been praying about being more open with sharing my faith as well. It's not the easiest thing to do, especially face to face with someone I don't know well but I feel led to do so. God bless you in your year ahead!! :)

    I hope you're having a great week and a Happy New Year!

    Thank you so much for linking up to last week's Aloha Friday Blog Hop!! I'm following you.

    If you have time, we'd love to have you come and link up to the Aloha Friday Blog Hop if you haven't already! (Thank you so very much if you've already linked up, I truly appreciate it!!)

    Come and link up and celebrate the coming weekend with us!

    Aloha,

    Jean {What Jean Likes}

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    1. I'm so glad you're up for the challenge, Jean! It really is hard to do, but God has blessed us with experiences and stories so that we can be messengers for Him. What a blessing & honor! Praying for a wonderful year for you :)

      I'm on my way to linking up! Have a wonderful weekend :)

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  7. Hey there - new follower from the blog hop! Love the blog & can't wait to read more! Hope you have a great day! :)
    Rachel
    http://sugar-stripes.blogspot.com/

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  8. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting I followed back! Looking forward to getting to know you and reading your blog!!

    Summer x

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I'm so glad you stopped by! I can't wait to hear your thoughts. Be blessed :)