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?

At any time of the year?

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, no matter what you have done or who you have been.

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 real

 


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the importance of gratitude

the importance of influence

the importance of avoiding the gossip trap

11 verses about God’s unfailing love

Movie Monday: Where Love Found Me

11 ways to be kinder in 2021

the top 11 curriculum choices for high school students

For such a time as this: finding stability in an unstable world

As a kid, I remember after a long day of playing outside, I came in and turned on the TV. Flipping through our three channels, I came across a black-and-white re-run of The Twilight Zone. Intrigued, I watched it for a few minutes. While it never became my “cup of tea” to watch continuously due to the fact I’m not a sci-fi/fantasy fan (although 3 out of 4 Zellers are) and I watch, read, and write only stories with happy endings, the show stuck with me.

All these years later, it feels as though we have stepped into the Twilight Zone. Things are just bizarre. It leaves me wanting to change the channel.

Things are scary right now. Our nation is in turmoil, a crisis that leaves (if we’re honest) even the most faithful with a moment or two of uncertainty.  When we return our focus to Him, we are reminded of a few key things:

God is bigger than all of this. Bigger than nefarious evildoers, communism, socialism, hatefulness, division, wars, diseases, illnesses, viruses, and all the other truly frightening things in this world. And He always walks with us through those daunting times.

He was not caught off guard. God wasn’t asleep or having afternoon tea on the patio when these frightening events began to unfold. To the contrary, He knows all that has occurred and will occur throughout history.

We are here for such a time as this. Just as Esther was placed in her role to help her people, we are placed in our role at this precise time in history. Sure. I think it might be neat to have lived in the late 1800s/early 1900s, or another time period, but that’s not where God has placed me. Or you. We are here through Divine appointment. He never makes a mistake or bemoans the fact that He allowed us to be born when we were born, rather than 10 years, 100 years, or even 1,000 years earlier.

Jesus gave His life for us. Time may be short, or He may tarry for another 400 years. No one knows except God. But before He returns, we have our work cut out for us in the here and now. To tell others about the saving faith found only in Jesus Christ and the eternal life they can have when they put their faith and trust in Him. To love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Yes, even those challenging “neighbors”.

We need to be an encouragement to each other. In the past couple of weeks, I have seen some discouraging folks out and about bringing others down, rather than building them up. Instead of spewing hateful rhetoric or division, let’s rally around each other and support each other. And never, ever forget how important fellowship is (Hebrews 10:25).

He is our Protector and our Refuge. Seek Him and rest in Him.

There is a happy ending. For those of us in Christ, it ends well. I’m personally not keen on what may be an arduous and troublesome journey between here and the end when I see my Savior face-to-face, but as Christians, He promises to go before us, be with us through the journey, and to carry us safely home when our time on this earth is done. Hopefully, that’s decades away for all of us, but we do have that reassurance that this story has a happy ending.

So, my friends, hang in there. Keep your focus on Christ and know that if He is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?


Before you go, check out these other posts!

13 verses to comfort the weary soul

13 ways to help someone going through a rough time

10 ways to help your kids choose good role models

who are you behind the screen?

the importance of gratitude

Movie Monday: Indivisible

the importance of Christmas

The importance of Christmas

One of my favorite modern Christmas songs is This is Christmas by Kutless.  The words in the chorus are thought-provoking and profound:

What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger
What is Christmas without Christ?

Indeed. What if a Baby, who would grow to be the Savior of mankind, was never born?

nativity scene 2.jpg

For one, we would definitely not have the Christmas holiday. There would be nothing to celebrate.

I, for one, love the whole idea of Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving, my husband gets a calorie-burning workout hauling the numerous bins of decorations from our Christmas closet up the stairs. He then heads outside to set up “Wally and Eva,” our two laser light devices that shine brightly all over the front of our house and garage.

There is joy in shopping for presents for my family and mailing packages to my extended family in several different states. The delight my daughters and I find in baking delicious goodies for our neighbors and close friends and delivering them a few weeks in advance is an event we look forward to each year.

Christmas chex 2 (2).png

And don’t even get me started on Christmas music. Let’s just say my Christmas playlist somehow mysteriously (or not so mysteriously) found its way into playing two days before Thanksgiving. Nope, I just couldn’t wait. And I seemed to run even farther and faster on the treadmill while listening to that Christmas playlist.

All of those things in and of themselves are fine. It’s when we replace the real meaning of Christmas with temporary things – and put our focus solely on those things – that we find ourselves in error.

Anything can become an idol – anything that we make more important than God. Can Christmas presents, decorations, food, tinsel, and laser lights become idols?

Absolutely.

Especially presents.

Or add in the busyness of this time of year. The pressure to live up to expectations to create the holiday a certain way for others, as well as ourselves, can become a stress-fest.

Or the debt that we manage to accumulate while finding all those perfect presents for everyone on our gift list.

Do we even remember – and take time to realize – that the perfect present is right before us? The gift of eternal life. Something that will far outlast anything in our temporary world.

So I’m reminding myself this year that it is all about the Savior that was born in the manger. It is all about that Baby that was born on earth and grew to be a man who would give His life for all mankind. A brutal death with the sins of the world on His back, Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice.

For me.

For you.

For us all.

backlit-black-cross-161089.jpg

This holiday season, let’s make Christ the ultimate reason we celebrate.  Let’s place Him in His rightful place of importance. Ahead of the trees, the food, the presents, the Christmas music, and the laser lights.

And let’s do more than celebrate Him. Let’s show our gratitude for what He has done for us. Not just on December 25, but on every day of the year.


Other blog posts on this blog you may be interested in reading:

8 great Christmas gift ideas for wives

Thankful for the small things…

All Things Christmas: Favorite Movies of the Season

All things Christmas: favorite songs of the season

14 things for girls to consider before dating

15 verses for strength in challenging times

the importance of respectful disagreement

the importance of new beginnings

importance of 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?

At any time of the year?

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, no matter what you have done or who you have been.

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 real

 


 

Before you go, check out these other posts:

the importance of gratitude

the importance of influence

the importance of avoiding the gossip trap

11 verses about God’s unfailing love

Movie Monday: Where Love Found Me

11 ways to be kinder in 2021

the top 11 curriculum choices for high school students