January 1, 2018

So today we start the beginning of a new year. The slate on 2017 has been put to rest and we have a new slate to write on for 2018? I don’t know if you noticed or not but the four chapters in today’s bible reading all had to do with new beginnings.

In Genesis 1 it started out > In the beginning God and then with God’s creativity the world as we know it got a fresh start. In Ezra chapter one the Jews got a new beginning. King Cyrus released them after 70 years of captivity to go home and rebuild their temple and then eventually their city. The slate was wiped clean and they would now get a fresh start to serve their God.

In Matthew chapter one all of mankind received a new beginning with the birth of Jesus. The sin slate would be wiped clean for all who believed in Jesus. A new story could now be written. In Acts chapter one a new beginning to living out one’s faith in God would begin. That new way would be empowered by the Holy Spirit who now would live in every believer for the purpose of purity and he would come upon every believer who asked the purpose of power to be witnesses for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Every one of these new beginnings required separation. In Genesis 1 the new beginning happened when light was separated from darkness. In Ezra 1 the new beginning happened when the Jews were separated from those who held them in captivity. In Matthew 1 the new beginning came when Mary and Joseph separated themselves from their will to line up their lives with God’s will. And in Acts 1 the new beginning happened when the believers separated themselves from the daily routine to gather together and pray and wait for the Holy Spirit.

In my first year of college a new pastor came to our church. He had a son the was a year younger then me. We quickly became best friends. Paul was a smoker and I began to pick up this habit from him. So much so that after a few months I became addicted to tobacco. For two years I was a three pack-a-day smoker. I also had a couple of friends in college who smoked.

One day my mother commented that I coughed a lot in my sleep. Up to that point I had been very careful to not let my parents know about my habit. I wanted to quit. I needed a new beginning. However with the friends I hung out with it just wasn’t possible to quit. And then one day after my second year of college was completed all my friends moved out of town to attend different colleges. Here was my chance to quit. I had the separation I needed. And I quit cold turkey and I never smoked again. For me it was a new  beginning. That was back in June of 1969.

We get a new beginning in 2018 because we are now separated from 2017. In your own personal life where do you need a new beginning. Is there some darkness that you need to be separated from so light can shine? Is anything holding you captive that you need separation from? Do you need to separate from your will so you can follow God’s will? Perhaps that separation and new beginning that you long for will come about as you separate yourself to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to work his power into your life.

Bring God in close and let him give you separation so you can truly experience a new beginning; a slate the reads differently then the one from 2017.  The key words to hang on to are the first four words of the Bible > In the beginning God. Each day yield your life to him and let him create a new beginning.

Matthew 19:26 (NLT) — 26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

Luke 18:27 (NLT) — 27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”

The possibilities for 2018 are endless with God:)  Happy New Year!

Be Inspired Hilltop!


  1. Thank you Pastor Dan for your new commitment that you are beginning with us this year. I’m excited and ready to let God create those new beginnings in me! Just settling in to catch up and read the first four chapters after a wonderful day spent with family. Now I’ll have a little insight before I start;)