Friends

WOW!  Where did 2017 go?  I don’t know about you, but I did not get done several things I had hoped to do.  Was 2017 a good year for you?  Maybe it was, and maybe it wasn't.  Maybe 2017 was a year filled with poor choices or unfortunate circumstances.

I want to challenge you with this one thought: forget 2017 and start right now.

I want to give you several verses to help you, Isaiah 43:18-19 GWT,

“Forget what happened in the past, and do not dwell on events from long ago.  I am going to do something new.  It is already happening.  Don’t you recognize it?  I will clear a way in the desert.  I will make rivers on dry land.”

One of the cool things about a new year is that it gives us an opportunity to evaluate our lives and move forward with a fresh start. 

Life is all about starting over.  Every big life-change usher’s in a time of stress and learning.  The cohesion in all change is having to learn something new.  In these situations, we are faced with a choice.  We can humble ourselves, knowing that we need help and have much to learn, or we can be stubborn and make life harder for ourselves and our loved ones.

Maybe your life up until now has been sad, or bad, or boring.  I don't know.  But I know this.  You have a choice.  You can wallow in the past, living with regret and shame and anger.  Or you can decide that the past is the past and cannot be rewritten. You can determine to start right now for God and see Him work in your life.

Life is a series of restarts.  Ask Joseph, who really did not envision his life ending up in Egypt as a slave or in prison for rape.  Joseph could have given up at each of those unfair moments.  But he did not.  He knew God was with him and he decided to make the best of what God put before him at that time.

The enemy wants you to think that your life is over; that there is nothing redeeming at all, and that you might as well give up and live for yourself.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Nothing at all!

Let me give you something that helps me, Ephesians 4: 22-24 NIV, “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and ... put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness ...”

If you want to have lasting change in your life, you must start with your body, and that includes changing the way you think so that what you let into your mind and the things you think about honor God.

Notice that there is a putting off and a putting on.  Your health really comes down to stopping some stuff you need to stop doing and starting some stuff, you need to start doing.  Stop putting negative, hurtful things in your body, and start putting in things that edify.

Stop putting negative, hurtful things into your mind, and start watching and listening to things that edify and make you more like Christ.  In the renewal of your mind, you have got to put off before you can put on.

Let’s say you go to a department store to look for a new coat (it is cold outside).  You find one and take it into one of those little changing rooms.  If you are wearing a coat already, you don’t go in there and put the new coat on over your old coat.  That would be stupid, because you are not going to know if it fits.  It makes sense to take off the old one before you put on the new one.

You have got to take off the old before you can put on the new.  That’s true spiritually, emotionally and mentally.

If you want to a fresh start, God wants to use His Word to give you a fresh start in life.

James 1:18 Living Bible says, And it was a happy day for him when he gave us our new lives through the truth of his Word,...”

Without God’s Word, we could never be saved.  We would not be headed for heaven.  We would not know about Jesus’ death on the cross.  We would not know about God’s purpose for our lives. 

Without the BIBLE we cannot know God.

God wants to give you all of that — but it starts with His Word.  Through the Bible, God re-creates our lives.  When I feel like I am at the end of my rope, God uses the Bible to give me a fresh start, a do-over.  The Bible calls it being “born again”.

The Bible is often compared to a seed.  Once the Bible takes root in your heart, it begins to sprout and grow and bear fruit.  As God’s Word does that, God changes your life for the better.

Jesus says this in John 6:63 NIV about His Word: “The Spirit gives life... The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.”

God’s Word is not just words on page.  It’s spirit and life.  It’s spiritual power.  His Word can transform society and transform history.  It can do the impossible.  It can change your life.

I love what D.L. Moody, a famous Chicago pastor from 100 years ago, said, “The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge; the Bible was given to change our lives.”

Let me ask you, how do you need your life changed?  What part of your life do you feel powerless to change?  In 2018, try going to the Bible daily, remember the Bible says the Word of God can change things that you cannot change on your own.

Make God’s Word a regular part of your life, and get ready for the impossible!

Make Every Day Count!

Barry