"Brand new" is a good thing. Brand new baby, brand new friend, brand new car, brand new job, brand new romance. . .an opportunity to start from a fresh perspective, try something different, or be someone different.
When we hang a new calendar on the wall January 1st, most of us feel like this is a new beginning. We begin to look for what we can change or make better in our life. In other words. . .we start a program of self-improvement. We believe there is something in our ourselves,or our life,that needs improving, and we're probably right.
* our attitude - stop being "me-centered", be positive
* addictions that control and confuse our life
* relationships - be more loving and considerate
* financial situation - save some money
* physical fitness - eat better and less, exercise more
* accomplish more - get serious about a study of the Bible,
- write your memoir, read that book, start a ministry -
go someplace you've never been - stretch yourself!
We all have something that is a challenge and needs fixing in our lives, or so we think. Sometimes we experience success, but often, we feel the frustration of failure and give up. God doesn't want us to give up. If our goal is His goal, He will help us achieve it. We think if we want something to take place, this desire came from the Lord. Not always; God isn't obligated to bless our every wish and whim. He wants what is the ultimate best for us.
The Bible is a book of principles and promises. God's promises are true, His timing is perfect, and His presence is always within those who are His children. This presence is in the form of the Holy Spirit and is given to us so that we'll have the power to live the Christian life. Without His Holy Presence, we struggle and fail.
The apostle Paul certainly recognized that even though he wanted to do good, he lacked the power to do so. The Law that we were subject to was good. But, Paul saw that because we have a sinful nature, the law had no power over us. He tells us in Romans 8:3-4, that what the law was powerless to do, God did, by sending His Son as a sin offering.
This is amazing! Don't miss the significance. Because Jesus paid for our sins, we are not under a law, but under grace, and are completely forgiven from all sin, past, present and future. I can approach the throne of God with confidence. I didn't make this up, check out Hebrews 4:6. It's all about God's grace and mercy toward those who are His children. He calls Himself - Our Heavenly Father.
If you are a parent, you understand that you want your children to live a good life. Therefore, you 'exhort' them to do so. As the mother of five children, I did a lot of exhorting, i.e. encouraging them to do the right thing. When they failed, that didn't make them any less my children or interfere with the love I had for them; although, sometimes they may have thought so. They are adults now and I'm still exhorting! I don't want them to make mistakes and suffer. I want them to do the right thing. I don't have all the answers, but I can see the pitfalls they can easily tumble into.
Paul writes in Roman 8:1 that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. If you believe in Jesus as your Savior, you are in Christ. It's hard to grasp this truth; it means you are perfect in God's eyes. Jesus took away all your imperfections; removed them as far as the east is from the west in fact - Psalm 103:12 - God now sees His son in you. Why? Because the old person you were is gone - you are a new creation. I know, you can't always see the new person that you've become, but you can accept this truth by faith.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17.
It doesn't matter if you're a Christian or not, if you live your life according to the principles of the Bible, you will be a much more satisfied, content, successful person. You may even understand what 'joy' is all about. When we who believe truly understand what God has done for us, we desire to become a better person - we want to reflect Christ out of love and gratitude. We are humbled by His wonderful gift of unmerited grace.
In view of this, celebrate the beginning of a new year by rejoicing in God's promises, reflecting on the principles of His Word, and honor the exhortations. When I tell my kids to put on a jacket, or get a flu shot, it's because I don't want them to get sick.
How much more our heavenly Father, our creator, cares about our daily life experience, His word is living and active - Hebrews 4:12. It's useful for today in whatever circumstances you find yourself. When you learn to accept God's free grace instead of trying to earn His favor, you will be blessed. At times you may feel utterly helpless and powerless; remember you are filled with the Holy Spirit - that's God's power working in you - all things are possible, Mark 10:27. Rejoice in the brand new you.
I praise the Lord for men of God like Charles Spurgeon who have written wonderful words of encouragement and wisdom concerning God's grace. I encourage you to read his work.
* In the next blog, I will begin the study of the "Ten Most Important Things I Know About God". . .I hope you'll enjoy it.
Thank you Lord for your grace, unconditional love, a purpose for living, guidance, and everlasting life.
Bobbe Van Hise
- Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.