Greetings and Welcome!

My goal is to share encouragement, grace, and hope from God’s Word, and to brighten your day. Mission trips abroad have enlarged my heart and reminded me once again that regardless of our skin color or location we all need a savior, and His name is Jesus. I pray that my articles will lift your spirits and point you to the One who loves you most.

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This Month's Message

All Things New

By Fran Caffey Sandin

Imagine the excitement of the 1968 World’s HemisFair held in San Antonio, Texas! The event covered about 92 acres on the southeastern edge of downtown and hosted seven million visitors. As my husband, Jim, and I recently strolled through the former fairgrounds, now a park with cascading waterfalls, fountains, and lush landscaping, I could just imagine the fair with the aroma of Texas barbeque, popcorn, and the sounds of children’s laughter. While pavilions and rides were eventually removed, the magnificent Tower of the Americas still houses a glassed-in elevator that glides up 750 feet to a revolving restaurant and observation deck, a beautiful view.

Progress for some local residents meant they moved to accommodate the ’68 Fair. Many older buildings were demolished. One woman had maintained her home for 60 years, and one 70 year-old man gave up his family business. For many who were deeply affected, the changes required great mental, emotional, and physical adjustments. Although they were compensated for their property, it was no longer their “home.” As I contemplated the changes required of those families, I recalled many Scriptures that refer to new life changes.

The apostle, Paul, then Saul, breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, headed for Damascus when suddenly a bright light caused him to fall to the ground. Then he heard a voice asking, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Saul asked, Who are you? And the answer came: “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.”

Although Saul was blinded and his traveling companions were speechless hearing the voice but seeing no one, they led Saul by the hand into Damascus. In Acts, chapter 9, we read that Saul followed the Lord’s directions, regained his sight, was baptized, and began proclaiming “Jesus is the Son of God!” From that moment, Paul’s life completely changed, and he became an instrument in God’s hands for proclaiming salvation through faith in Jesus to both Jews and Gentiles. He suffered persecution for his belief, but persevered. Saul became Paul and all things became new—his attitude, actions, and beliefs.

Not everyone has a miraculous experience like Paul. Sometimes we learn about faith in Jesus from friends or from reading the Bible for ourselves. It may take time to trust Him, but that is the starting point for change. He opens our spiritual eyes to see what needs to change and then gives us the power to do it.

From the book of Colossians we are reminded to “put off and put on.” When we encounter Christ, we become new and are to put aside anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech. We are challenged to put away the old self and put on the new self who is being renewed day by day as one chosen by God. The renewal includes all who are being transformed into the image of Christ. Our goal is to put on love, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Just as the people of San Antonio took away the old to make way for the new, we have an opportunity to invite Jesus to park in our hearts and give us new wisdom for living. Both earthly and heavenly rewards will follow. “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away, behold new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5: 17 NASB).

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you we do not have to be a prisoner of our old habits. Help us to know and grow in Jesus in a personal way and become more like Him. Let your Word, the Bible, lead and guide us. Forgive us when we fail, and restore our fellowship with You because You love us and You care. In Jesus’s powerful name, Amen.