Broken Doesn’t Mean Useless

12 07 2016

We’ve all, at one time or another, had a favorite toy. The older we get…the more expensive those toys become. Inevitably, like anything else in this life, those toys break. And when it’s one of our favorites our heart sometimes breaks too. It’s just how we are. We can’t avoid becoming attached to this object that brought hours of entertainment into our life. It provided an avenue for our imagination to roam free and challenges the boundaries of reality.

brokenBut no more…it’s broken. Sometimes the breaking came from something we did. We made a choice that caused this beloved object to suffer its now inoperable fate. We broke it. There are other times, though, that someone else breaks our most favorite, beloved toy. They broke it. Regardless of where we can place the blame one thing remains fact…it’s broken. Nothing can change it. We can no longer derive joy from interacting with our precious ‘whatever it was’.

So what do we do with those broken things? If we act like most people we throw it away. It no longer serves the purpose it was made for. It no longer functions properly. It’s now useless…isn’t it? For the most part this is true. We may be able to superglue it back together or buy a part and repair it but it really isn’t the same. We shelf it to keep the memories (think Toy Story when Woody’s arm tears).

But wait… What do we do if we’re the one that’s broken? What if the thing that needs repair is something deep within us? Do we apply the same logic to life as we do to things? Now we all know the answer to that…it’s a resounding “NO!” But sometimes people act like the same rules apply. They treat us differently and make the broken thing inside us that much more noticeable. And that makes us feel more broken and more useless. It amplifies the problem rather than providing a solution.

Just like with our toys the brokenness comes sometimes from choices we make and sometimes from choices others make. In my opinion…it’s the choices that others make that cause the deeper wounds and make healing more difficult. Those choices also amplify our uselessness in the midst of the brokenness and make us feel like we should just be shelved to preserve the memories. It’s easy to ‘shelve’ our self. It lessens the pain and anguish of the brokenness. But God never intended that for us…did He? No He didn’t.

If anyone could shelve himself I believe it was David. He definitely contributed to some of the situations he found himself in. But there were others that were totally because of what Saul did. He never chose to live in a cave. He never chose to leave his family. He never chose to fight for his life. But yet…here he was doing just that…because of something someone else was doing. And yet he still wrote, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for You are with me… (Psalm 23:4 NIV)” David knew something that we need to know…God is always there. I mean we need to KNOW it. Our head tells us that He’s there…but our heart doesn’t. It’s in the broken times that our head and heart need to synch up so that we can weather the raging storm.

glow stickI’ll leave you with one last thing. Sometimes the breaking brings about something greater in us. Think of it like this…in order for a glow stick to ‘glow’ the interior tube has to break so that the chemical reaction can take place. This produces something that can light your way on the darkest of nights. Maybe…just maybe…God is using the brokenness in us to bring about something that shines through the darkness of this world to light our (and some one else’s) way.

So remember…when something gets broken…it’s not always useless.





As Is – No Warranty

3 05 2016

We recently had the opportunity (if you want to call it that) to look for a ‘new-to-me vehicle’. It became necessary because the transmission in our 12-year-old car started to fail. For many reasons we decided to replace the vehicle rather than fix it. So we were thrown into the not always so pleasant process of purchasing another vehicle. One common item that we saw throughout this process (because of the vehicles we were looking at) is a statement in the window that said, “As Is – No Warranty.”

as is

Now we all know what this statement means. It’s pretty simple really. ‘As Is – No Warranty’ means that there are no promises from the dealer to correct, fix, or otherwise repair any defects that the vehicle may have. You, as the buyer, assume all responsibility for the vehicle. I never did like that statement…As Is. It seems so calloused, so cold. It implies that nothing will be done when problems are encountered. And, let’s face it, when a pre-owned vehicle is in question there’s going to be issues.

As I pondered the meaning of what we were getting ourselves into…God started to impress something on my heart. As Is… It leaves you solely responsible for everything. You’re alone and on the hook for any problem, issue, concern, or anything else that may creep in. The cost of any repairs necessary is placed squarely on the shoulders of the buyer. No one else will come running to your rescue. It’s ‘As Is’ – just how you purchased it. Now…for an extra cost you can purchase an extended warranty. This will cover the vehicle for defects, issues, or whatever – of course depending on the warranty you purchase. The more you want covered…the more the warranty costs.

In life there are always issues, concerns, hardships and problems that crowd in. Sometimes it seems that just when one problem is corrected another issue surfaces. We were never promised a life without troubles though. Jesus told us just the opposite. “…In this world you will have trouble…(John 16:33).” Skeptics would call that an ‘As Is – No Warranty’ statement. No warranties of any kind are implied. The world we live in is going to bring about trouble, trials, and tribulation; and you’re on your own when facing all of them. Any solutions needed are up to you to find and implement. No one is going to help you out. Anyone left alone to face a trial or hardship can tell you that the one thing they would have liked is some help in the middle of it. If we listen to the skeptics they would continue to tell us that it’s just how the world is. We will always be on our own. “It’s you against the world,” they declare. “You might as well just deal with it.”

As Is – No Warranty.

The problem with this is the skeptics never read the last part of that verse. Jesus may have stated that we’re going to have trouble…but He never implied that He would leave us alone to face it. Look at the rest of that verse. “…But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)” Jesus never stated that we would be alone. He says that there’s trouble coming…but that we don’t have to face it alone. It’s declared all throughout the Scriptures that we’re not by ourselves.surrender

• Deuteronomy 31:6 states that God will not leave us.
• Psalm 23 declares that we will never be in want.
• John 14:27 promises that Jesus will give us His peace.

These are just a few of the many statements that we’re not on our own in life. Life in Christ comes with an irrevocable statement from the Creator of the Universe that we will never be alone. Nothing more is needed. No extended warranties are necessary. All of the benefits of the new life in Christ are available the moment we ‘sign the deal’. In the used car world we will have to deal with As Is – No Warranty…but that’s never the case with life in Christ.





There Is No Skip Button

2 03 2016

skip buttonDVR (digital video recorder) is, in my opinion, one of the greatest inventions of all time. I know that it’s the successor to the VCR but there are so many things that make it better. One of the best things about it is the skip button. This one feature grants the ability to skip small or large portions of the programming without watching at all. Have you already watched the first part of the program? Skip. Don’t care for a particular scene? Skip. Do you hate to watch the commercials? Skip. Do you not care about the Super Bowl but just want to watch the commercials? Skip. It’s convenience at the ultimate level!

Webster’s dictionary defines life as, “the period from birth to death.” This definition implies time and space. Both of which are fixed things. They can’t be changed no matter how much we would like them to (unless, of course, you’re starring in the latest science fiction blockbuster). Because of this fact we have to endure things as they come. No amount of wishing will change the circumstances that have happened or will occur.

Sometimes in life we wish there was a skip button. It would make it so much more convenient. We wouldn’t have to deal with any of the things we don’t like. But, alas, there’s no skip button. We don’t have the convenience of skipping the heartache and pain and going right to the fun and bliss. We don’t have the ability to skip disappointment or hurt. Sometimes we have to dig in and weather the storm that blindsides us. Sometimes we have to deal with a difficult circumstance that we would rather avoid. And at other times we get to experience the joy and blessings that life can bring. It all progresses along as a normal cycle. It comes and goes as time and choices that we make dictate the course of our lives. Each moment is experienced. None of them can be skipped.

nopainNo one is immune from wanting to skip things. Who wouldn’t want a way out of painful situations? Even Jesus wanted out of a looming situation that was going to cause Him great pain. When praying in the Garden of Gethsemane He asked if He could get out of what was coming. “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’ (Matthew 26:39)” Basically Jesus said, “I really don’t want to do this. Is there any way we can skip this part?” The human part of Him didn’t want to suffer the pain, humiliation, and agony He was about to endure. The key in His response is the last part of the verse, “…not as I will, but as you will.” It was a statement of trust in the Father and His ultimate plan.

There is one other thing about the DVR that I like. It is the ability to slow things down and look at something frame by frame. We are able to look at miniscule movements of characters on the screen and see subtle movements that are sometimes missed in ‘real time’. We need to learn to forget the skip button and search for the ‘slow motion’ button in life. This is the button that lets us stop and see the hand of God in all things. It’s the one that lets us hear the whisper of God when the world is roaring around us. It is the discipline of seeking God no matter what may come. How would it change our outlook if, instead of wanting to skip things, we brought them to God and trusted that He would be faithful to His promises? I’m guessing that it would radically change how we live and view things. When everything is viewed as an opportunity we embrace trouble in our lives rather than wanting to skip it. Then those opportunities can be acted on to enhance and enrich our lives and the lives of others. What we thought was a bad thing can be used as a tool for God’s glory. And it makes the great times that much sweeter.

remote controlUnfortunately life doesn’t come with a remote control. There’s no way to skip the things that we think are useless, painful, depressing…the list can go on and on. Why would we want to remove those things though? They can be moments through which we learn the greatest lessons in life. They’re invaluable opportunities to grow and learn. The ‘skippable’ moments can give us insights that we never dreamed of. So stop looking for the remote because, alas, there is no skip button.





A Safe Place

17 11 2014

One of my absolute favorite set of verses is found in Psalm 91. Pretty much the entire chapter ranks among my all time go Scripture references. But verse two has been bouncing around in my head. In the New Living Translation it reads this way:

“This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”

Now I’ve heard countless sermons on this passage and, to be quite honest, I’m not going to mention any of them. They were all great, eloquent, encouraging, and uplifting. But the thing that I most hear in this verse has not been preached in any of those messages – that I can remember any way.

Safety is something we all take very seriously. We build it into our playgrounds – known as a safety zone. We build it into our schools and church programs – known as a safety protocol. It’s built into cars and trucks – known as safety features. We take safety so seriously in society that when it’s threatened we take action to protect it. We alter our homes to be safer for our family to relax and enjoy life. Safety is, whether we realize it or not, always at the forefront of our mind. The word safe is defined as, “secure from liability to harm, injury, danger, or risk” according to dictionary.com. In fact the example cited is ‘a safe place’. So what do we do when that safe place is not so safe?

At some point our safe place can become threatened and risk of harm is possible. This peril can take many forms from a car accident to a home invasion to a natural disaster. At these times we seek an alternate, more secure place of safety. But what do we do when the threat is not physical? Where do we turn when life is raging around us and our safety and security is threatened? Schools all over the country practice what to do when their safety is threatened. They all have a safe place to run to when peril strikes. The news alerts us to impending storms with tornado watches to help keep us safe. But even with all the preparation there are still those storms that hit us suddenly.

The disciples experienced this very thing. “Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ (Mark 4:36-38 – NIV)” There are no warning sirens or alarms. There are no storm trackers or early alert system. Suddenly, without warning, their safety is threatened.

You know we’ve all seen it. I know I have. It can be anything. The company isn’t doing so well and makes some cuts and suddenly you’re out of work. A child suddenly falls ill and the doctors give a grim outlook. A husband or wife suddenly decides that they’re done and file for divorce. A volunteer makes some accusations and suddenly questions are being asked. Safety is violated and further harm is threatened.

The disciples’ fear must have been overwhelming. They forgot what David knew. “…he is my God, and I trust him. (Psalm 91:2)” To make somewhere your ‘safe place’ you are willing to trust your life to it. Who better to trust your life with than the Creator of life?
Though the storm raged around the disciples they were still in a safe place because God was there. Though the storm rages around us we are safe because He is our safe place. Whatever circumstances we face, though fierce, they cannot threaten our safety. We just need to run to the right place.





The Kingdom From A Child’s Perspective

9 06 2014

We’re all familiar with the verses where Jesus references that we must be like children to enter the Kingdom. Just in case you need a refresher it reads, “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3 – NIV)” the things that intrigues me is that Jesus says we must change and become like kids. What is it about children that Jesus wants us to emulate?

jesusandkids

But wait…I’m getting ahead of myself. We all know that we have to grow up sometime. It’s an inevitable event. Time passes and we all get older. It’s an irrefutable law of the universe. Some children are too eager to grow up and we have to encourage them to enjoy life as it is in the moment.

Growing up is a necessary part of life. It allows us to learn and grow. It offers us experiences to be a successful adult. Just as we grow up physically we should grow up spiritually as well. This process allows us to experience new, fresh things in God. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church stressing how important this is. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. (1 Corinthians 13:11 – NIV)” But doesn’t Jesus tell us that we have to change and become like children? How can we do that if we’re already growing up? Sounds like Nicodemus, huh?

Well in reality we need both. Paul wasn’t contradicting Jesus in any way. He was talking about a separate issue. Paul is talking about growing up in God. He talks in other places that the deep things of the Bible are like meat for food. The writer of Hebrews put it this way, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! (Hebrews 5:12 – NIV)”

So…what DO we need to change? I suggest that we need to reclaim some of our ‘childish’ traits. Children have an uncanny capacity for trust. They will believe what a teacher, police officer, or pastor tells them because of who they are. They don’t question it, they don’t argue their point, and they don’t reason it out. Their teacher said it so it’s the truth. As we grow up we lose this quality. We begin to question things and try to reason them out. We have traded our trust in God for insurance and a paycheck. When the money runs out we don’t run to God…we pull out Visa or MasterCard instead.

trust

One of the things that I loved to do when living in southern California was visit Disneyland. It was always best with the kids. Their awe and wonder was inspiring. They were giddy with anticipation of seeing Mickey, Donald, or any of their other favorite characters. They were excited at walking down Main Street and would excitedly point out all the things they saw. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t real. They were there, in the middle of it, and that’s all that mattered. We’re too worried about the monthly budget and the electric bill instead of pointing out the things that amaze us. The wonder of God is lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

When a child draws their parents they always draw a really big head and small body. Their perspective of mom and dad is a direct result of that. They’re more familiar with the face than anything else, thus the bigger head. If we start looking at God with a child’s perspective the same thing can be true for us.

Growing up is a good thing. It’s necessary and it’s going to happen. We need to remember, though to keep a child’s perspective on the Kingdom. If we lost it all we need to do is change some things.





Don’t Disqualify Yourself

19 05 2014
Image Credit: Churchleaders.com

Image Credit: Churchleaders.com

It’s difficult, at times, to do the things we should. It’s way too easy to let life get the better of us. I talked a little about that in a previous post. That’s been on my mind lately as I try to find the time to do the things that I want to (and should be) doing.

It’s so easy to find the excuse that our mind will pay attention to. “I’m so tired…I’ve worked all week.” “I’ll do it later…I’m too busy right now.” Then there’s my standby, “I don’t want to right now.” If we listen to ourself for very long we can be convinced to set anything aside with the intention to do it later. But for many of us later might not come. We become professionals at putting off the things we want to, need to, and should do. For me Drawing From The Well is one of those things. I can’t allow myself to play the excuse game and disqualify myself from the responsibility and privilege of writing what God has placed in me.

Paul put it this way, “Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27 — NIV)” Disqualified? Paul? There’s no way that could happen! He makes it very clear, though, that it could happen if he doesn’t pay attention. He could disqualify himself even though he has done so many good things.

One of the things that I enjoy about martial arts is competing in tournaments. There are two different categories in every tournament — forms and sparring. Both of these categories take time and practice in order to compete effectively. The forms must be practiced over and over. One wrong step can mean not correctly completing the correct steps…resulting in disqualification. To spar effectively you have to work on multiple things. Your stamina and endurance is tested. The timing of attacks has to be polished. Your defensive reaction has to be honed. If any of these are off you risk losing the match. The practice it takes consumes time. That time can be spent doing many different things. But if I’m going to compete at the level I want to I have to invest that time. I can’t disqualify myself by giving into the excuses I feed (or try to feed) myself.

trophyIt’s no different in life. We constantly fight time, energy, and resource issues. There’s only so much that is available to us. Our focus must be on those things that God has laid out for us to accomplish. And we can’t ignore the training it takes to get there. The time we spend with God on a daily basis must be made a top priority if we are to remain in contention for the prize. We have to train our mind and body to listen to the Spirit rather than the other way around. It’s not easy. It will take our entire life to master. The reward, though, is beyond our wildest dreams. So…push yourself. Be like Paul and make your body your slave. Come on…get up. Don’t disqualify yourself. In the end the prize will be “…a crown that will last forever. (1 Corinthians 9:25 — NIV)”





Getting Good at Being You

31 01 2014

This one came from my Grandpa. It’s definitely worth posting. Thanks, Papa.

Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you……. (Jeremiah 1:5 — NCV)
Beginnings are very important. In fact, the place of origin has much to do with the quality of the journey as well as the final destination. My journey – like yours – began in the heart and mind of God. Before I took even one breath, God wanted, loved and planned me. That same truth applies to you, my friend. You are no accident. You and I were created in response to the love of God and according to His plans. God did not “accidentally” create us and then step back in alarm and say, “Oops! I created her. Now what am I going to do with her?” The plan came first.

There have been many times in my life when I doubted my worth and value. I filled every waking moment with activity – good things – thinking that if I did enough good things, I would be good enough. It didn’t work. I can never be good enough to earn the love and favor of God. The good news is that I don’t have to be. My worth and value rest in the fact that I am chosen by God to be His very own child. I am loved, wanted and planned by God Himself. Wow! God Himself supervised our formation. We were created – not to be a puppet – but for an intimate relationship with God.

Psalm 139:14-16 (NCV) “I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.”

When our son, Jered, was four-years-old, we enrolled him in a daycare for two mornings each week. Jered loved to play with other children and always seemed to get along with everyone. I was surprised and upset when his teacher asked me to come in for a conference. My husband said, “Honey, how bad can it be? Jered is only four!” Jered’s teacher met us with a smile and a good report. “Jered is a wonderful little boy,” she began, “but there is one problem. How long has Jered known he was adopted?” I was still clueless about that being a problem, but answered, “Since he began talking. We have told him repeatedly how special he is and that he is a chosen baby.” She smiled and went on to explain that Jered told the other children how he was special because he was adopted. In fact, Jered informed each child that his mom and dad had chosen him – while their parents “got stuck” with them.

Listen, my friend, when you begin to understand and live out the eternal truth that you are loved, planned, wanted and chosen by God, His perfect plan and highest purpose will naturally unfold before you each day. Remember, in His eyes, you are special, and His plan for your life is simply for you to get good at being you.





Right Where I Should Be

13 01 2014

Wow…how this month has flown by. We always talk about time flying by. It has certainly been the truth this past week. In case you didn’t know I have the privilege of starting in a new ministry position. I get to serve as the Children’s Pastor at Cape First Church in Cape Girardeau, MO. It is the first time in 20 years of ministry that I have not had to work bi-vocationally (work a ‘secular’ job along with pastoring). It is an amazing opportunity to get up every day and do what I love to do…minister to God’s people.

I have always wanted to be able to do just what I’m doing right now. The thing that really amazes me about all of this is how God works all things out. Paul put it this way, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 — NIV)” I shouldn’t be surprised about it…but I usually am. God has a way of doing things in us, for, us, and through, us that totally amaze us. This time is no different.

I guess the thing that amazes me the most is that God did for me what He has done for so many people we read about. He put me right where He wanted me…even when I thought it wasn’t possible. We read about Moses and how God repositioned him to lead the Israelite slaves from Egypt after running away as a fugitive. We see that He put Esther in the right place to save her people from genocide as the queen to a foreign king. We read of Elijah’s victory on Mount Carmel. All of these people were put right where God wanted them to be when He wanted them there.

Jesus was always at the right place at the right time. He had to go to Samaria one day to keep an unspoken appointment with a woman. That conversation changed not only her life but the lives of her entire village. He amazed a crowd when he called Lazarus out of his tomb…4 days after He was told Lazarus was sick. I heard someone say it like this, “He’s never early and He’s never late. He’s always right on time.”

Not only was Jesus on time then, He is on time in our lives. How many times has God given you just what you needed right when you needed it? Maybe it was some needed encouragement. Maybe it was an unexpected tax refund. Whatever it was God positioned you for the blessing to touch your life right when you would need it. That’s what He did for me. And that’s what He can do for you.

One of the songs the kids sing on Sunday has this line…”No matter what I’m staying right here!” Will you stay on the path God has you on in order for Him to place you where He wants you? Are you willing to walk through the fire and let Him refine you? Will you walk the path God lays out for you so He can place you? It may not be easy. It may involve some pain. But when you get to the place God wants you it will be nothing short of amazing.





First of Firsts

3 01 2014

Image Credit: forwallpapers.com

It’s the third day of the year…of a new year. Most people are looking at the new year and counting the firsts. News channels are detailing the stories of new year babies. Others are looking at goals for the year. As I thought about this year and all the ‘firsts’ that would be talked about my mind drifted to the past and future firsts that we have all experienced.

The first time our kids cried in the delivery room. The first time they walked. The first time they talked. We remember the first day of school and the pictures that we all took. We recall our first job (whether mowing lawns or babysitting…or whatever it was). We remember the first time we drove with our brand new driver’s license. Maybe we remember the first day of our new job after graduating college. The smell of that not-so-new first car (mine was a Ford Bronco II in case you’re wondering).

All of these things are great to remember. And I believe that it’s important to look at the year ahead of us and make goals. We can’t, however, forget the first of firsts while we do this. Just in case you haven’t figured out what I’m talking about let me share this verse. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 — NIV)” We can’t forget that the Creator of all of our firsts is still there, in the beginning of this new year. He was always there…when we took our first step or when we laughed for the first time. He was there during our first heartbreak. He was there on our first difficult school test. He was always there…because He created you.

He is there in the tragic firsts. Like April 10, 1997. That was the day my first daughter stepped into Jesus’ arms. He is there in the joyous firsts. Like January 6, 2014 (this coming Monday). I have the privilege of changing jobs. I get to start full-time ministry for the first time in 20 years (first time ever…really).

trophyAs we look at the past and future firsts we can’t forget their purpose (because they really have one). Paul wrote to the Romans that, “..in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 — NIV)” Some of our firsts are difficult and some of them are not. Whatever the circumstance we can rest assured that God is in the middle of them. He has a vested interest in all of them since He uses them to mold and shape us for His glory.

Some of the firsts I would rather avoid. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like pain. It hurts. But if I avoided the pain I wouldn’t have seen God in the same way that I do now. So if that means that I have to experience some firsts that I don’t like the so be it. I’m willing to if it means God gets the recognition.

As we stand on breaking of this new year I challenge you to look for the firsts. They will teach you something about yourself and God as you walk through them. Remember and cherish the past firsts and the lessons that they taught you. Finally…always remember the First of firsts, God Almighty, is walking through each one of these with you. How do I know that? Well, He promised He would. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8 — NIV)”





It’s All New For All Of Us

30 12 2013

Image Credit: play.google.com

Well here we are again. It’s the end of another year. We see countless end of the year reviews. We see the year in pictures and hear interviews of the most interesting people of this past year. There is an anticipation of what is to come. An excitement of the new things that the next year will bring. At least for most people it’s this way.

There may be some who are reading this that are in anguish, hurt, or pain because of events this past year. The prospect of another year just means that they must work though more of that hurt and pain. Some of my friends are walking though circumstances right now that resemble this. For those individuals a new year is not exciting. There is apprehension and a longing simply to survive. They most likely won’t be celebrating on December 31.

It is to both of these groups that this post is directed. No matter our circumstances we all stand on the brink of one year ending and another one beginning. Whether the past year was filled with pain and heartache or full of excitement and adventure it is now passing. The next year is upon us. It is and will be what we make it to be.

Paul, when writing to the Corinthian church, said this, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17 — NIV)” Now I realize that this verse is talking about living life in Christ. Isn’t life lived inside of time though? Since we all know it is we can apply this verse (the last half of it) to this part of time in our life.

The old year is gone. It’s over. It’s spent. It no longer exists except in our memories. We can’t change anything about it. Sure it held some pain and hurt. If we look closely there were some good times (maybe even great times) too. But all of them are in the past. They’re gone. We have no way of living them over. I know I’m starting to sound like a scratched CD (or corrupted .mp3 or broken record…depending on your generation). I believe, however, that many times we hinder the growth that God wants to bring about in us because we fail to realize that the old is gone. We can remember the lessons the difficulties taught us and cherish the memories…but none of them can be changed. The milk is spilled.

Although the above is true (we can’t change the past) there is something that can be done about the future. We stand on the brink of an entirely new year. It’s fresh. It’s new. It’s the same for every person on the planet. The Pope will wake up in 2014 with the same number of days in it you do. “…the new is here!”

Image credit: creativemama.com

Now…I’m not so sheltered to think that we could have hardships that follow us into the new year. We will all have trouble (John 16:33). I’m simply saying that we have a choice how this new year will be lived. We can look back and anchor ourselves to the past. Alternatively we can walk into the new year free to live life as it comes…enjoying the good and conquering the bad.

This coming year is new for all of us. None of us has seen it before. No one knows what it will bring. We all have the same opportunity ahead of us. 2014 is coming whether we want it to or not. It will march into each life the same way and it brings everyone the same thing…a fresh, clean start. How you greet it is up to you.








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