Twice Born

Therefore if anyone belongs to Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold new things have come (2 Cor 5:17).

The term “born again” has been used so flippantly that the depth of these words has been blurred. When we choose a spiritual rebirth through accepting Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as a personal gift from God, the old person has passed away. We become a new creation with new spiritual DNA.

There is a renewal of the mind that urges us to live in accordance with God’s word and will, doing or avoiding things we may have never before even considered. If we choose to disobey, an inner conflict signals a warning.

For some, the change is dramatic. I would think for most the changes are gradual, but in hindsight we can look back and recognize spiritual growth. We can look back even as older believers, and see the gentle guiding hand of our loving Father whose mercy is new every morning.

 

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Wait

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him (Ps 37:7a).

For a while food trends in the U.S. were all about speed—microwaved fast food from freezer to table in five minutes or less. Recently we have realized the value of waiting, starting from the real deal and patiently waiting until it reaches the richness of its intended, wholesome end. I’m not sure if it’s me, women in general, or our culture that finds patience at a minimum.

 I am beginning to realize that God doesn’t always work on my schedule, nor does He always answer my anxious prayers the way that I think will remedy situations. When I think back on some of my prayers, it’s obvious that God loves me, and has always worked things in His way, in His time, for my best interest. Like Garth says, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

I have found, too, in hindsight, that when God isn’t as fast as I think He should be, that He is preparing me. There is usually something lacking, often in my character, which needs to be dealt with first.

Our Father really does know best and I hope someday to learn not to question Him.

Changes

Who but our God is a solid rock? (Ps 18:31b)

Is there anyone who loves change? I’m not just talking about just updating, changing for better, or fun changes, but those parts of life that felt good and worked and are now being replaced by things new, but not necessarily better things.

Sometimes there’s actually a fear of change, maybe because it can be accompanied by a sense of lack of control. But what it all boils down to is in what, or in whom, we put our faith.

Every person, every government, every boss, even our successes are all shifting sands—not a good place to anchor our faith and trust. Many tragedies are precipitated by one of these trusted “idols” falling short, failing to meet expectations.

When all other ground is sinking sand, there is someone in whom we can wholly lean on and trust. Christ, our solid Rock—unchanging through age after age.

Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” (Jer. 29:11)

I have written about this scripture before, but now that I am working a minimum amount in my profession, I have really given much thought to the direction that God wants me to go from this point. Many times in my life He has opened doors that I never imagined. The important thing is not to limit Him. When He has a plan for us He can give us the physical strength, mental ability, stamina, or whatever skill is necessary to complete it.

There are many instances in scripture of people overcoming when all odds were against them (David, Nehemiah, Esther, Gideon…) The doubts come from the enemy who causes us to think that we can’t possibly be of any value to God when in fact, that’s when God works best. In my weakness, the power of Christ can work through me.

Lord, give me the strength to avoid making excuses. Just because I think that I can’t, I know that You can.

 

Self-Examination

Each one should test his own actions then he can take pride in himself alone, without comparing himself to someone else (Gal.6:4).

Since this was written about 60 A.D. I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who compares myself to others. Whether I’m better or worse than anyone else is so very meaningless. Both the vanity or the self-condemnation—totally meaningless.

We are told a number of times in scripture to examine ourselves, not to compare ourselves with others, but to examine ourselves by God’s standards. Where is my heart? What are my motives? Am I seeking to do God’s will? Am I trusting Him? Am I living and moving in the faith in Christ whom I profess?

Should we fall short (not if, but when), we still have the assurance of salvation as a safety net. But also what joy comes at times when we examine ourselves and know that we are on track.

Recognizing God’s Presence

The Lord, your God, goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut 31:6b).

Did you notice that you have more Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in the year than your wedding, birthdays (thank goodness), graduation, and Christmas? Our God is faithful. He promised not to abandon or reject us in the special times, in the joyful times, in the tough times, or in the “beige” times (He’s here, too).

This verse is actually repeated three times in scripture—twice in the Old Testament where we are told to be strong, courageous and unafraid; and once in the New Testament where we are told to be content with what we have because God is here, too.

He promises believers that He will supply all our NEEDS (as defined by Him in His infinite wisdom). So whether we need courage or peace and contentment, His presence will never be withdrawn.

In Due Time

 

Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up (Gal.6:9).

At times the “well-doing” seems so mundane and fruitless. Yet over and over again, I’ve seen both in scripture and in my own experience, that God’s timing is perfect. Sometimes we get to experience the joy of seeing our work rewarded. We may see fruits immediately, decades later, or we may never see the harvest on this side of Heaven. Then we must rely on our continual growing relationship with the Lord and being obedient whenever He nudges us.

One Bible scholar refers this present time as “seed time.” In a grass seed mixture, the one type of seed that takes the longest to grow is the one that is rooted the deepest; it’s the one that endures year after year.

If we don’t get weary, and certainly not give up, we can take God at His word and expect a harvest in due time.