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New Beginnings

"For I know the plans I have for you,? says the Lord. ?They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.?  Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

Photo coutesy of morguefile and singhajay.My very first experience in ministry was starting a little church called “New Beginnings” in my hometown. The impact of that first church plant has impacted my life and ministry throughout the years—the significance revealed in little ways as I pursued greater things. Reflecting back, I know the fruit of wisdom comes from the new beginning birthed from that experience.

I was twenty-seven years old when I started this chapter in my life. My wife and I had two young children. The church was a sacrifice from the beginning. We were living entirely off the income from the church, which was very new. Our income was up and down the first year. I was excited to begin this new chapter, but I began to think I had made a mistake in my decision.

New beginnings are not always the rosy picture we paint in our minds. I often compare this experience to child birth.  The process is painful, full of fear and excitement. Oftentimes it harbors ugly, unexpected conditions. The end result is a new mother holding her child while forgetting the pain it took to bring that life into the world. Our new beginnings can be painful processes that produce great upheaval in our lives. They bring uncertainty and fears to the surface, but God has a plan through the process.

I was scared to fail—afraid the church would fold under my leadership. It was very young and fragile, just like a new born baby. I grew in strength and confidence through that first year just as a mother grows in confidence and strength through her first year of motherhood. Just as a child grows up, so fear and insecurity will eventually fade as we grow through our fears.

The Lord will not simply take away our fears without faith. He wants to create stability in us. New beginnings are not always what we picture. God sees beyond our fleshly desires for short-term pleasure. When we call to the Lord for help in our distress, He cradles our fears with His perfect love—the perfect love that overcomes fear. Still we must first face the fear in His love to see beyond our mental block.

I overcame my insecurity in that first year of ministry. The church is strong today and a permanent reminder of God’s love and faithfulness. New beginnings are not neat and free from obstacles. New chapters release us into a great future, but we must first overcome the fear of the unknown. We must push through the pain while putting our destiny in God’s arms.

Stand strong in this New Year and expect great things for the future. Remember, your future is always guaranteed in the Lord and in His faithfulness!   

(Photo courtesy of morguefile and singhajay.)

(For more devotions, visit us at www.christiandevotions.us.)

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Josh Clevenger

Josh Clevenger is the pastor of Cory Zion Church in Cory, Indiana. He is a husband, father, pastor, author, and evangelist. Josh has numerous books in publication, along with an active outreach ministry. He wants people to feel connected to God’s grace and experience the comfort of His mercies. Follow Josh Clevenger Ministries to get daily encouragement from the Lord.   


  1. Exactly what I needed to read this morning!