New Beginnings

January 7, 2015

Happy New Year! It feels good to be in 2015. We are all blessed to have this privilege to start fresh. Each year millions of people began the new year with resolutions and promises that often fall short before January is over. I encourage you this year to simply be the best that you can be. Whether that means, more time with God, more exercise, being a better friend, being a better wife or parent; simply be your best. God will assist you once you make your mind up to do your part. 

I recently read a transcript on a great website "The Christian Working Woman" entitled New Beginnings (The transcript is below!). This transcript was a breath of fresh air for me, and it blessed me immensely, and I pray that it blesses you as well. Be encouraged and remember that you can do anything that you put your mind to. Each new moment is an opportunity to have a new beginning. 


© 2015 The Christian Working Woman January 3, 2015

When I think back over my life, there are many things I would like to change.  I would like to make better choices and decisions, make smarter moves, manage my money better, use my time more wisely—oh, there are many things I could have done so much better.
But mostly, when I think back over my life, I would like to avoid the sins of my past, the times when I wandered far away from God, the things I did in disobedience to him.  I would like to erase those things I did which brought dishonor to his name; those times when I was a poor witness for Jesus Christ and a poor representative of the Kingdom of God.
But of course, there is nothing to be gained by brooding over the past.  Yesterday is gone; tomorrow is only a promise.  The only thing you and I have is today.  So, if we don’t want to have any more regrets to look back on in the future, then we must set our minds and hearts to begin today anew.
How do we do that?  Well, the first and most important thing is to make certain that we’ve been made a new creation in Christ.  That’s where all new beginnings have their start, and without that transformation inside of us, any new beginnings we will attempt will be short-lived and futile.
The Bible says that when you become a new creation in Christ Jesus, the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).  It’s the most wonderful new beginning anyone can ever have.  It’s that moment when you pass from death to life—when you are no longer under God’s condemnation because your sins are forgiven and your eternal destiny is assured.
Maybe you have not yet had that new beginning.  If I could sit down and talk with you personally, could you tell me of the time when you recognized your sinful condition, realized you could do nothing about it yourself, and came to God through Christ in humility to ask for forgiveness of all your past sins?  Do you know that you’ve been born again, because Jesus told us that we must be born again in order to be a part of his Kingdom?
You see, most people today have the wrong idea of what it means to be a Christian.  They think it means trying to be a good person, doing good deeds, going to church, being baptized, doing more good things than bad things, and so forth.  Most people are trying to earn their way to heaven by doing good things and being a good person.
But here’s the truth, as the Bible tells us.  None of us is righteous in ourselves, and not one of us can be good enough to meet God’s requirements for holiness.  Therefore, on our own merit we cannot become a new person; we cannot have this new beginning.
That sounds pretty helpless and hopeless, until you realize what Jesus Christ has done for you in order to rectify your dilemma.  He came as the perfect Son of God, died in order to pay the penalty for your sin, and rose again from the dead, in order to purchase for you and me eternal life.  God’s righteous requirements have been met in Jesus, and we are given the opportunity to accept his payment for our sins.
The Bible says that “God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Jesus took your place and mine as a sacrifice for our sins, so that we could have his righteousness and therefore be acceptable to God.  But this free gift of righteousness has to be accepted and believed.
Have you ever done that?  If not, then that’s the new beginning that you need today.  Nothing else matters as much as making certain that you’ve had this new beginning in Christ, because this determines where you will spend all of eternity—in heaven or in hell.  If you have not yet accepted Jesus as the Savior and Lord of your life, you can do that right now.  There’s no reason to wait.  Just pray right where you are, right now, that God will forgive you of all your sins and give you the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
We’ll be glad to send you more information from God’s Word about this new beginning in Christ which can be yours, but believe me, it is not complicated.  It’s very simple:  Confess your sins, believe in Jesus Christ that he is the only way to God, and you will become a new creation in Christ.
Many of you have done that sometime in your past, but you still feel as though you need a new beginning.  You haven’t walked with the Lord like you should.  Like the old hymn says, you’ve been “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.”  What do you do now?   Can you have a new beginning in your walk with God?  Yes, indeed, and here are my suggestions to help you have that new beginning:
Own up to your past.
Don’t live in denial.  Don’t keep shifting blame.  Don’t try to ignore it.  Don’t make up excuses.  Just get it out in the open—first with God.  Confess it to him.  Then you may need to ask others for forgiveness; in some cases that is necessary and important. But call it what it is—sin—ask for forgiveness, and bring it out into the light.  Until we own up to our part in the wrong decisions of our lives, we can never get past them.
Refuse to live in despair.
You don’t have to live in despair, even over your sinful past.  So:
You married the wrong person.
You had an abortion.
You committed adultery or fornication.
You spent money you should not have spent.
You lied to your boss.
You chose the wrong career.
You went to the wrong school.
You walked away from God and the church.
You bought the wrong house.
You ate the wrong food.
You chose the wrong friend.

I don’t know what is on your list from your past, but I know that God wants to make an example of how he can still be glorified, even though your past has been spoiled.
Many times we give up on ourselves, live in guilt and settle for so much less than God wants to do for us, just because we can’t forgive ourselves.  Don’t you know that your enemy wants to keep you mired down in your past?  Don’t let him win.  You don’t have to live in despair and regret, even if you live with the consequences of past sin in your life.
Start where you are and go forward.
The Bible is full of examples and admonitions for us to believe that God can make good things even out of our messes.
Isaiah 51:3:  The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.  Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
Isaiah 58:11:  The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 61:1-3:  The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
You can be an oak of righteousness, if you will put your past behind you and go forward from where you are.  Yes, even though your past is not what it should be.
I’m here to tell you today that God remembers our frame and knows that we are dust, so it doesn’t surprise him to see how often we wander off.  What must, however, break his heart is to see how we wallow in that sin and allow our past to keep us living in guilt and despair instead of taking our medicine and going forward.  What must break God’s heart is to see how we don’t learn lessons that we need to learn from our past, and we keep making the same mistakes over and over.  It must indeed grieve God to see that we don’t allow him to turn our deserts into gardens and our ashes into beauty.
God can give you the grace to live above your past, even though the effects of your past may last for a lifetime, if you will allow him to do that in your life.  And you will be amazed at how you can find joy and peace and fulfillment and be used of God even though you’ve made some wrong choices and bad decisions.
That’s the kind of God we serve.  He has all power.  He can do anything.  Are you willing to let him take your past and make something good out of it?  Are you willing to stop using your bad choices as excuses for not going forward with God and being a blessing to others?  Are you willing to allow him to put your past behind you so you can be all that God wants you to be? If so, you can find a fresh start today, a new beginning, right here, right now.

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