the importance of new beginnings

new beginnings

At the beginning of every New Year, many make resolutions that they aim to keep throughout the year. Decisions to make them healthier, fitter, more organized, etc.

In the classic 80s song New Attitude, Patti LaBelle sings of starting a new beginning with a new attitude “from [her] head to [her] shoes.” Every time I hear that song, it brings to mind a crabby lady in need of a personality overhaul.

But what about a new beginning in Christ?

Paul in the Bible received a new beginning – a “start over”, if you will. A harsh man who made it his life’s goal to persecute Christians, Paul was the furthest thing from one who could be used effectively by God. Wasn’t he?

On the contrary. God used Paul in a mighty way. After Paul’s conversion, he was one of the greatest apostles who ever lived. He endured beatings and spent much time in prison for the sake of the Gospel.

Could you be used for God’s Kingdom?

Probably not if you have a “checkered” past, right? If you’ve done things you’re not proud of, sinned in ways you don’t care to admit, you certainly can’t be used. And definitely, God isn’t going to forgive you for all of those things you did. After all, we’re not talking “minor” sins here.

Again, on the contrary.

God can and will use you.

We serve a  God who is One of second chances, and third chances, and fourth chances. Jesus took all of our sins, past and present, upon Himself when He went to the Cross. Your new beginning means your dry erase board is wiped clean from all of the junk that once cluttered it.

Ezekiel 36 26 a.png

So how can you have a new beginning?

Commit your life to Him. If you have not made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, that is the first step.

After you have made a decision for Christ, you are forgiven. You have a new beginning. You also have eternal life and will spend eternity with Him. Nothing can ever take you from His hand (John 10:28). But it doesn’t stop there. Find a Bible-based church where the pastor digs into the Word and preaches it each week. Find a mature Christian to mentor you in your walk.

Spend time in the Bible. The Old Testament is wonderful, and I would highly recommend reading it, but as a new believer, the best place to start is in the New Testament in the Book of John.

Turn your eyes toward Him. Listen and watch things that aren’t contrary to your new faith.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

This year, spend time in prayer to dedicate your life to a new beginning for Christ. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “the old is gone, the new is here.” And that is definitely something to celebrate!

2 Corinthians 5 17

 

 


 

 

Other posts in the “importance series:”

the importance of relying on God

the importance of gratitude

the importance of honesty

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Guest post and Giveaway with Author Cynthia Simmons!

This week, I am excited to welcome Author Cynthia Simmons to my blog. Cynthia will be discussing anger and how to deal with it from a Godly perspective. She will also be giving away a copy of her Bible Study Struggles and Triumphs: Women in History Who Overcame.  All the details about entering (and it’s super easy!) are explained below. But first, let’s visit with Cynthia…

My husband and I raised five wonderful kids. But being a parent is tough, especially if you homeschool like I did. I’d pass out school assignments and chores to each child. Then I juggled housework while monitoring their progress. By the end of the day, I would be so tired I wanted to stare off into space. It didn’t take much for me to lose my temper at that point. Perhaps the boys would scuffle and knock over one of my orchids. Sometimes the kids would quarrel and call each other names. I’d long to explode, but wanted to please God. So, I couldn’t say or do the things that popped into my head. Here’s what I learned about responding the right way.

In Ephesians 4:26 the Apostle Paul said, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” This verse contains three commands. The first one is to be angry. That’s passive tense, meaning something happens to you. It could be translated ‘allow yourself to be angry.’ Let me explain why. In the Declaration of Independence, our founding fathers wrote “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…These men understood the Ten Commandments and other Old Testament passages teach us respect for people and their property. When a child overturns one of my orchids, he wrongs me, creating a debt. Something needs to be done, and anger supplies the energy surge.

 I learned it’s important to let anger rise, but we can’t stop there. The second command is “do not sin.” Ouch! This part is hard because I wanted to lash out. However, God calls us to rise above our human tendencies. That person bears the images of God, so I must measure my words. Self control comes into play. I think of moving away and looking at the situation from a high mountain to get some perspective. Rather than unload insults, I must treat that individual with respect. I remember talking until I got myself out of a jamb. If my first words were, “How childish,” then I’d say, “But I know you want to grow up to be a godly man. So when you mature, you’ll make better choices.”

Now I’ll tackle the third command. “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” This is a metaphor which means not to harbor anger. When the sun sets we all know a new day is coming and yesterday is left behind. In order to keep anger alive, you must feed it by reliving the event over and over. Just like food left in the refrigerator too long, anger turns to bitterness when stored. Instead, I need to put it aside and choose not to even the score. Ephesians 4: 32 says “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Follow the example Jesus set, and let go of anger.

I wanted to be a good parent and instill godly values in my children. That meant I had to handle anger God’s way when my kids upset me. If I blew up that would hurt them, and that’s not what I wanted.  Instead, I learned to channel the extra energy with God’s help and lots of prayer.

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Wow! I love the Godly wisdom that Cynthia has shared with us. And now, let’s find out a bit about her  Bible Study that deals with that very topic…

What’s wrong with our world? Shouldn’t a God who claims to be all powerful and flawless prevent suffering? How can we continue to believe when storms rage on in our lives? If you’ve ever had tough questions like these Struggles and Triumphs Study Guide is the book for you. Author Cynthia L. Simmons will guide you toward answers with her unique and enlightening approach. Her twelve-week Bible study for ladies comes from stories of real women as told in Struggles and Triumphs: Women in History Who Overcame. As you study, you’ll come to understand God’s perspective on timeless issues that impact your life. The carefully chosen Scriptures combined with interesting historical information will challenge and encourage you.

Watch the trailer at: http://youtu.be/HOP9HY7xTXU

Purchase the book at: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-simmons/struggles-and-triumphs-workbook/paperback/product-20038687.html

About Cynthia: Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She has taught for over twenty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. Active in Christian Authors Guild (CAG), she conducts writing workshops and has served as president, vice president, and conference director. In December 2009 the membership granted her Life Time Membership for her numerous contributions to writers.  “Cindy” is fond of history and writes both historical fiction and nonfiction. Her writing appeared in CAG publications, NATHHAN NEWS, Chattanooga Regional Historical Magazine, Georgia Right to Life Newsletter, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Catholic Exchange, and Christian Devotions.us. Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs, came out in 2008. While promoting her book, she had interviews on radio and TV across the nation and was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the year. She also conducts monthly podcasts called CAG Spotlight in which she interviews authors and VIPs in the writing industry. At present she is completing a twelve week Bible study using the stories in Struggles and Triumphs.

And now, here’s all you have to do to enter! Leave an encouraging comment for Cynthia and yes, anyone can enter, but confirmed subscribers receive two entries, so be sure to sign up to follow this blog, then check your email and confirm your subscription to be added to the subscriber list!) Giveaway ends on May 24, 2012. A winner will be chosen at random.

I will be announcing the winners of the Stephen Bly book and the Starbucks giftcard/choice of one of my books giveaway soon, so stay tuned!