So…its 20 days into a new year. Supposedly there is something special about being able to start afresh. In the new year we can choose to do things differently, right? We could choose to evoke resolutions that we want to happen in our lives. Let’s just be real, those things never last. Two weeks after I resolve to wake up every morning and run, I stop. If its not a habit, then it probably won’t become one unless I try very hard. I heard on the news that a habit doesn’t fully form until you do it for 6 months consistently. 6 months is a long time!!!! LOL.
So what do I do with it all? All being my life and all of its contents: everything I want to change, every uncomfortable characteristic, every unfulfilled relationship, every heartache, and every deferred hope. How can everything be new if the old still exists?
One thing I am learning about my relationship with Jesus is that He is so willing to wait until I give Him an opportunity to work. I can try, try, try and try until I am blue in the face and black in the feet. But something overwhelmingly breaks like a snapped bungee cord and smashes me down to reality when I stop trying and rest. Jesus says: “Live in me, and I will live in you. A branch cannot produce any fruit by itself. It has to stay attached to the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit unless you live in me.” (John 15:4)
When we live in Him, we give Him space to open doors of limitless possibilities for us.
I am reminded of the scripture that says:
“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Clearly, God is making a point here. He is going to do something new…fresh..lively..invigorating in the lives of His people. Is this the same God I follow? Yeppers. He can do new things for me too! YAY
I’m finding that there are very few times (maybe never) in my walk with God that He is dependent upon me to accomplish something. The only effort I put forth is to trust Him to make and re-make all that pertains to me.
So… this year, He’ll be my resolution.
I resolve to be open to Christ and to allow Him to… do what He does best. Will you?
I remember this time like it was yesterday. The crisp mornings and evenings. The changing leaves. The sun setting sooner. Most memorably, the “double” family gatherings. This is the time to be divided as person because of the decisions that were made long ago.
My parents divorced when I was five. I don’t think I can remember a Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year when my celebrations were not in more than one location. As soon as I learned how to drive, I was always rushing to a different homes during those special days. Fall is definitely a reminder that those days will be here before I know it. Fall is a sobering reality.
Dealing with the slump of the soon to be holidays can be a major hurdle to cross. After 21 years, this routine gets so old. How do I get through it?
Accentuate the positive. Be grateful for the family you have with all the quirks, wrinkles, spots and blemishes. We all have places in which we can grow. Be open and honest about your feelings—they are after all your feelings. Express them in a safe place (with people who can help not hurt). Enjoy this season and the ability to love others. It’s a gift.
I’m not saying anything will change about the past but there will be a new perspective about the future. Let fall be the time to trigger love instead of pain. Let fall be a time of preparation for the new instead of suspicion of the old.
Our great God says, “Behold, I will do a new thing. It springs forth now. Don’t you know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19) Do you believe it?
“I’m just not ready” was her reply.
Have you ever felt like you were really comfortable? I mean comfortable with how your life is going, comfortable with the friends you have, comfortable with your problems, comfortable with you. At some point in life we all have to face this question. What is better being comfortable or being complete?
When I think about my own life, I had to come to a point of total frustration with my way of living in order to see that I needed a better way.
Have you ever gotten to this point? When you were tired of simply existing and wanted more out of life but you didn’t know how to get there?
Well this is where Carle was when I shared the beautiful story of Jesus coming to make her complete. She was tired, she was comfortable, and she was seeking but all of these things did nothing if she was unwilling to make the decision to change. She just wasn’t ready.
Do you know that Jesus is ready whenever you are ready? He says in Revelation 3:20- “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
The question is are you ready? Can you give up being tired, incomplete, comfortable in your way of living and look to the One who can make you complete?
The beauty of all that we receive when we make a decision to follow Christ is not only that our lives began to change because He is making all things new but we also change because He will make us new. Time to start thinking about a new way of living.
How often have you shut everything off: cell, TV, FaceBook, Twitter, computer, game system, etc. to just be quiet? If your answer is rarely, it may be time to take a break.
One thing I am learning is that my frustration, discontentment and overall disposition in life can be measured by the time I quiet down and simply spend time with God. This can mean just being quiet, it can mean praying, and it can even mean doing an activity without speaking like reading, taking a walk or sitting in a park. Its amazing how much one’s perspective changes by shutting out all the noise and worrisome temptations that pull and scream out for attention in a cluttered life.
Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica. This is a city he visited on his second missionary journey. In his first letter to them, Paul counsels them: “to make it your ambition and definitely endeavor to live quietly and peacefully” (1 Thessalonians 4:11a). I think this one of the most important lessons we have to learn especially living in a Western world where everything is at our finger tips in lightning speed. Quietness is equivalent to peace and peace is given by God to handle life’s problems, which you cannot control. Our aim is to seek after that peace and pursue it heavily because this is way we can see Him. It also safegaurds us from getting caught up in all that life throws our way.
Take some time. Be quiet. Pray. Think. Cleanse yourself by seeking Christ. He promises us that His word makes us pure (John 15:3). Make it your goal to listen to Him and I promise your outlook on life will be different.
Paul ends his second letter with this benediction (or prayer/blessing) and I will pray the same for you:
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself grant you His peace (the peace of His Kingdom) at all times and in all ways [under all circumstances and conditions, whatever come]. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
You know, would it be preposterous to think that being in love with Jesus could radically change the way we see ourselves, our families, and our lives in general? This is a very simple concept to intellectually understand but much harder to really grasp in application in our lives.
Ponder this question… If Jesus is truly who He says He is and you know Him, does His Life in you change you?
I’m convinced that many of us (believers in Christ) live lives that show little to no reflection of the powerful God that we are in relationship with in the midst of our problems. I’m speaking to myself as well. How often do we ever look at our circumstances in the light of faith? I don’t very often. It’s more in the light of how much it hurts, how unfair it is or how bad this makes me look, etc.
Ephesians 3:18-19 says, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
We have a spring of wealth available to us in the form of His love. You may think, how can this ever be enough to deal with all I am going through? Well, that is a question that only God can answer for you personally. I invite you to join me in seeking Him for understanding of the dimensions of His love in order that we might be complete.