A Fresh New Start Every Day
Happy New Year everyone!
I am looking forward to a new year, are you? I thought that I was happy with a new year last year, getting past the Covid thing and all. But 2022 just seemed to be as bad a year as 2021. But is this not just how we look at things? Generations of our ancestors have had difficult years. Think of WW1, followed by the Spanish Flu pandemic, followed by the stock market crash, followed by the Great Depression, followed by WW2, followed by the Cold War, and followed by the Korean War. Whew, do you see where I’m heading?
So 2021 was a bad year. So 2022 was a bad year. Did God not bring us through each of these years? Of course, he did. God’s grace was sufficient, his blessings flowed, and his people survived, some of us even prospered. God brought our family members through, he’ll bring us through. But people, we have got to believe!
Could it be that we listen too much to the news, read too much on social media, and know so much about the world, yet read and study too little of God’s Word? Much of our opinions are based on world opinions and not on God’s opinions. If we stayed in God’s Word and in his Spirit, God would continually renew and refresh us. This is how we are to live. This is just what God wants us to do.
The gunk of the world has always been here. There is enough happening in the world around us to depress us for the rest of our lives. But we, as believers, are meant to be different.
As Christians, you and I were created, ARE created to be different from those who are lost and dying and going to hell. We are reflectors of God’s light, carriers of his Good News through Jesus Christ, the messengers of hope to those who don’t realize that there is hope.
So, come on everybody, let’s get out of our Covid stupor, and let’s set an example, let’s love one another, and help people get to heaven. My goal is that I have found a mix of scripture today that can continually help to renew each of us throughout the year, and year to year, as well. But we have to stay in the Word, and prayer, AND IN THE SPIRIT!
So let’s all drop the hangdog daddy look, and with some positive anticipation, jump into some scripture about renewal and a fresh start. Smile, it’s OK to smile. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s and women’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
If you know that you are a Christian, you are either a new creation or at least, on your way to becoming a new creation. Heaven will be your eternal home. The old sinful way of life is gone, the new godly way of life is ours. Unless we are hiding sins.
This will cause us to be depressed, and sad, walking around with a hangdog daddy expression, blessing no one. An ambassador to whiny sadness. We have to continually reconcile our sinful nature with God.
This is what reconciliation, the work of God’s Spirit, is all about. Confession, repentance, forgiveness, renew and move on.
“Father, forgive me for being a whiny hangdog daddy-looking human. Please forgive me. Energize me with your Spirit. Guide me with your Spirit. Help me to be a bright and shiny ambassador for Jesus. Renew my Spirit. In Jesus' name.”
There, do this every day of your life until your Spirit is renewed. It should not take more than 3 days, 72 hours. Humans are incredible creations, we can take a beating and keep on surviving. We can usually bounce back to normal after 72 hours. God made us this way. Add Jesus to the mix, and we become overcomers that not even the gates of hell will intimidate us.
This is who we’re called to be. Stop sinning and live free. Colossians 3:9-11,
“Do not lie to each other (about your sinfulness), since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
We cannot be posers, pretending to be believers in Jesus Christ, and expecting to receive the benefits of being true believers. If you are lying to your brothers and sisters, you are lying to yourself and God himself. How vain and foolish can we be? This is the highway to hell, not to heaven. Liars are fryers. They do go to hell.
It does not matter who we are: race, color, creed, male, female, smart or not, educated or not, nothing matters other than do we know Christ and does his Spirit dwell inside of us?
We can be renewed at any time.
“Father, forgive me, I am a liar. Help me to tell the truth to those that I love, including you. Renew my Spirit with your Holy Spirit. Let me be the best ambassador for Jesus possible. In Jesus' name, thank you.” Isaiah 43:18-19,
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
Do not dwell on your past sinful life. Do not dwell on the guilt or shame from your past sinful life.
You are a new creation. Concentrate on doing the new thing that God is teaching you. If you need renewal, you may be stuck in guilt and shame. As we age, we reflect back on our lives. We can fall back into guilt and shame, grief, or anger.
I have met a very nice recovering alcoholic who is in our housing program. He recovered once from his alcoholism. He had a great job and was healing and restoring personal relationships with family and friends. He fell off the wagon and lost it all again. This time, he may not be able to restore anything. But God can. He has to focus on sobriety and Jesus’ forgiveness. Worrying and fretting about his guilt and shame will drive him back to the bottle. He has to do his own personal recovery work and trust God to deal with everything else.
“Father forgive me for my sins that hurt others. Please take away the guilt and shame. Father, I know you can not only forgive my sins, but also you can forget them. Help me to let go of this guilt and shame, it hurts so bad. In Jesus' name, I pray. Thank you.”
This continual process of confession, repentance, and forgiveness renews us daily. God will reveal sins to you that you did not know you were committing. This strengthens us, cleanses us, and makes us more like Jesus. It also brings us closer to God and his Holy Spirit. Which is just where we want to be as we live in this sin-cursed world.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18,
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Stop focusing on the world. Focus on the Word. Lamentation 3:21-24,
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord Is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”’
Drop the gunk of this world and let God’s Spirit renew you every day, we have much to look forward to. Revelation 21:1-4,
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC