Friday, December 26, 2014

As we approach the new year. we must decide how to approach what it brings.

John 10:9-10King James Version (KJV)

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

2014 is nearly over (can you believe it?). 2015 is nearly here. If you are like the rest of us 2014 has brought with it, it's share of joy and pain, good times and bad times, revelations both good and bad. Every year before this one has done the same.
With New Years day approaching, so many celebrate because, they believe, that somehow "this year will be different." "This will be the year where I finally get things right. This year will be different and I will leave my past behind. This year will give me a clean slate."
The only true hope of a clean slate is through the blood of Jesus. 
But, what about those of us that are born again? Can this year truly be different for us? No....but, yes.
Read the verse above. Jesus came to give us life, and that more abundantly. YEA, we scream! That's what I want! Then, we complain when we get it. Let me explain.
I learned this from a comedian named Mark Lowery. Life is not just good times. It also has bad times. In fact, life is a roller coaster ride that contains times of climbing the hill, times on the top of the hill, times of stressful falling down the hill, some flat valley time, all repeated over and over again. 
So, when we become Christians, guess what? Life's cycles just became more abundant. We have more hills to climb, more mountain tops, more times where life seems to throw us off the mountain, more valleys. Yet, we scream and holler and moan and groan about the abundant life that Jesus has given us.
None of us truly know what 2015 will bring us. Only Jesus does. So, what are we to do. 
The only clean slate we can gain in this new year (besides forgiveness of sins), is our approach to the events that will surely be coming our way. So, instead of whining and complaining, here are some things we can resolve to do that will truly make 2015 better. They may not change what we go through, but they will change our ability to cope with what comes.
1) Let's resolve to spend more time connecting with Jesus.
Time is a premium these days. Many things vie for our attention. Friends, Family, work, school, entertainment, trials, tribulations, etc. Of all the things in life that we must choose to spend valuable time with, Jesus is by far the most important. 
He is our hope. He is our strength. He is our light. He is our safety net. We can gain the whole world, but without Jesus, we will lose our souls. So, lets resolve to spend more time studying his word. 
The answers to all of life's problems can be found in his word, the KJV Bible. As we study to show ourselves approved unto God, he shares with us valuable insights that will guide us through the many pitfalls and mine fields of this life. To ignore his word is to ignore our second most valuable resource, God's road map through life. 
Yes, I said second most important. What is the first? PRAYER!!!!! Bible study is where we discover who he is. Prayer is where we directly interact with him. Bible study will help us to remain doctrinally sound, but prayer is where we build the relationship with the divine that we need to obey what we find in his word. 
2) When good times come our way, praise the Lord for them and enjoy them. Enjoy fellowship. Enjoy times of plenty. Praise Jesus for all the good things in our lives: our families, our spouses, our jobs, our churches, the good things he allows us to be a part of, the blessings he brings our way. 
3) The word says that "all who will live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12) Living with Jesus is awesome. To know that the creator of the universe is our divine daddy is great. But, because we live for him, the world will hate us. Governments give more grace to evil men than they show to Christians. Employers allow ungodliness but come down on us when we stand against it. Even if we quietly try and live our Christian lives in our own little corner and leave others alone, the world notices how we live and tries to stand against us. 
So, our attitude should not be one of surprise and anguish when these trials come. Rather, we should pray for those that spitefully use us. Love our enemies anyway. Pray for them in the face of the persecution they bring. Do not bow our knees to their ungodliness. 
Some of our persecution may come from family and friends. Some of it may come from other Christians who don't yet understand why we live the way we do. 
Love them anyway. Pray for them anyway. But do not sway from what God has told you to do. 
4) Always seek to meet every situation, good or bad, with the grace of God. This will see us through and will help us to keep a good attitude no matter what situation we find ourselves in. 
So, friends, lets change our approach to the new year and resolve to meet everything with Jesus. May the Lord bless you and yours in 2015.