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Summary: Learining the lessons of unconditional love and reconciliation and forgiveness of others.

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God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek and patient. Put up with each other and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together. (Colossians 3:12-14 CEV)

This is a powerful passage of scripture from Colossians. This passage begins and ends with the mention of a very important emotion. It is important to us all. Everyone craves it, we all need it and God supplies it freely to us. That emotion is, Love.

Last Sunday, we ended our Advent season and the subject for that day was Love. We know that God loves each of us unconditionally. We just finished celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who I think you would agree is the greatest testament of God’s love for us. There will never be a stronger act of love than that which Jesus did for us when he came to earth to save us. Love indeed is a blessing, a gift that belongs to us all.

Today is the last day of 2006 and I am sure that we could look back over this year and see many things with which we were blessed. There may also be some things which we wish we could have done differently. I know that this is true for myself. But as we know, we can’t go back in time and undo what has been done. We can only go forward and trust God to lead us and direct us in our paths. Through God’s grace, we can move past our mistakes and look to a brighter future ahead, free of any baggage or anything else that might otherwise hold us down.

What better time than at the beginning of a new year to start over and revitalize ourselves for God’s purpose within our lives? The title of this sermon is Rebirth and Revitalization. The term “rebirth” can also be defined as a new beginning. Each of us, through God’s grace, has the opportunity to have a new beginning.

This opportunity is taken up by literally thousands of Americans every year around this time. This is done through the form of New Year resolutions. I can imagine that some of you might have set a goal for yourself or have made a new year resolution, which you fully intend to keep. I certainly am not excluded from this group as at the beginning of each year, I make a resolution to get more exercise. I get excited about it and do my best to plan a walk within my day. I try not to go overboard with these plans, as I do not go out and buy a home gym or other exercise equipment, which I know will only end up being used as an instrument on which to hang clothes, or as a toy for Sarah. I just generally stick to trying to get in a walk everyday. I figure if I can do that, then I will not only be getting into shape physically, I will be getting into shape emotionally and psychologically because I would be proud of myself for making a goal and sticking to it.

I get inspired by the number of people I see walking around our community each day and I find myself thinking, “you know, I can do that too”.

So I start out at the beginning of the year and things will be going great. I am walking, getting a little exercise and feeling pretty good about myself. But sometimes, I allow other things to take precedent and I do not go for a walk one day. Then, another day comes along and something else comes up and I do not go for a walk that day either. Before I realize it, it has been some time since I have taken a walk and I am a little disappointed in myself for not staying with my original plan.


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