Hebrews 12:15-17 (NLT)
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.
I love the New Year. Every year the day after Christmas rejuvenates me. The buildup is over. Gifts are all opened. When my daughter looked at me last night to confess that this was one of the best Christmas’ that she can remember, I felt like I had just hit the game winning run in the world series. I love my kids from the oldest to the youngest. To make them happy always makes me happy. Lying in bed last night, I began to contemplate the coming of a new year. I wanted to feel the anticipation that my optimism usually provides but for some reason it was absent. The exhilaration of expectation that is my strong suit barely cranking along. I even went so far as to silently pray and asked the Lord to reveal what was wrong with me.
We finished this year strong considered all that it entailed. Our son finished cancer treatment. We fought and won the battle for a bone marrow transplant. He is preparing to go back to school in January. For Pete’s sake, he doesn’t have to wear a mask all the time anymore. Victory for sure! I survived three months of audits and reviews at work as the dishonesty of others sent my work world through the grinder. Our review was good! Thank you Lord! I have been home with my family through the holidays. No chemotherapy appointments. No radiation. No more shopping from the infusion room! Thank you Jesus! We pulled off a grand wedding in the midst of it all deemed “the perfect day” by the bride and her groom. Who would have thought it possible? God did apparently and made it all come to pass. So why? Why do I feel such melancholy when I should be rejoicing?
Could it be that I am afraid? Expectation always leads to change. The changes in my life have all yielded benefits far greater than the risks or even beyond our wildest dreams. But the journey has been a long and difficult one! I want to believe that we will not get another “bad” doctor’s report. I want to think that all the hard times are behind us. I want to believe that the Goodness of God will continue to surround us moving us into His Glory. I want this to be a glorious year, but I am just not sure my heart can endure the change. I now know that I must be broken to be remade. Change is inevitable if we want to live in the Goodness of God and bask in His Glory. I want it, but can I survive it? Probably not!
Romans 3:22-24 (NLT)
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Sin separated us from the Glorious Standard of Living that God prescribed for us when He wrote out each moment of our life. (Psalm 139:16) Jesus Christ provided the Way for us to return to “right standing” or righteousness with God in order to restore our life to that glorious standard which is more than we could think or ask. (Ephesians 3:20) God takes the details of our life and makes good where sin was set on destruction. (Romans 8:28) The Lord promises to perfect that which concerns me. (Psalm 138:8) I have lived in these verses to survive over the past couple of years. When cancer was not a one and done for our family, I had to take refuge in the God’s Promises for our life. The only way that my life is made right with God is by my ability to place my faith in Jesus Christ. Made right is not a disciplinary action but corrective measures restoring my birthright as a Child of God. Everyone has sinned. We all missed the mark set for our life until righteousness is reestablished and maintained. As long as we strive to be right with God, our life begins to change into what He designed it to be. Change is inevitable as a believer. Brokenness creates flexibility to the Will and Way of God because otherwise our sinful nature takes over. We become less so Christ takes up more residence in our heart and life. God freely gives us His Grace so that we are freed from the penalty of sin to enjoy our inheritance as sons and daughters of God. God’s Standard for our life will never change to meet us in our sin. It will never be according to our way. We must change because God will never change for us.
Hebrews 6:17-19 (NLT)
God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.
God never changes His Mind. He does not give a promise or an oath and renege on it. What if we really believed that this was true? Enough to hold our position of faith and confident hope until what God promised came to pass. What if we believed the Lord to be more trustworthy than other people or even our own strength? What then? God does not change. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) We could stop here because none of us fully trust the Lord or our lives would be different. Just saying. But for the sake of pride and argument, let’s just say somebody really did. The next thing we must believe is that God is always good! (James 1:17) I do believe that when I successfully put all my faith, trust and hope in the Lord I have seen good outcomes. Yet I still struggle to live completely abandoned to these three powerhouses. Human nature is fickle. We believe in God one day and run off in another direction the next. If we truly believe that God does not change and is incapable of lying (Numbers 23:19) because He is not like any man or if we truly believed in the power of Jesus Christ as being the same yesterday, today and forever, imagine the changes in our life. Exactly. Change is a part of receiving God’s Glorious Standard of Living. It is the miracle maker in our life. We innately do not like change. God will not change for you, so we must change for Him.
I Peter 1:3-5 (NLT)
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
All of the changes in our life over the last three years, I have left me empty, tired and broken. Nothing is as I ever expected it to be. Yes, we have seen miracles. God has provided mightily for us. We have not experienced great loss. Nevertheless, I am not the same. Rather than charging into the coming year, I timidly sit at the Feet of my Lord today confessing I am not ready. My strength is gone. My legs are tired. My knees are weak. I love the Lord but my arms are so limp from this fight. I don’t know how I will be all that He is calling me to be or do or say or think in such a condition. But then I feel it, His Love, Grace and Mercy are covering me as He holds me close to His Heart whispering, “I finally have gotten you where I want you now I am changing you into who you were supposed to be all along!” God predesigned my life for His Glory. His Glory is not in my brokenness, suffering and surrender. This is how I position myself to have all that His Inheritance says is mine for keeps. It is an inheritance beyond the reach of “change and decay”. Change is the temporary repositioning of my life for His Glory. It is just that temporary. If I will endure these changes, and just hold on – the best is yet to come. It is nothing that I can do but what Christ is doing inside of me. It’s okay to lose my fight because that is when I allow the Lord to fight for me. It is okay to be tired because that is when I find my real rest in Him. It is okay to give up because God’s True Unchangeable Character takes over when I surrender. He is always working His Goodness in my life. When I resist change, I resist His Best.
Matthew 11:27-30 (NLT)
“My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
One of the sweetest worship songs that I know is “Here I Am to Worship” by Chris Tomlin. I hear that playing in the back of my mind as the revelation that although I think I have fallen away from God in my human weakness, the truth is that I have fallen into His Presence. I am right where He wants me entering the New Year. I no longer have the strength to resist the changes that are coming so I must the Lord to make them so. Last year was filled with miracles, I am amazed at the Glory of God that shone in our life. Jesus Christ has been entrusted with every detail of our life. I must surrender ALL of my life to Him as Savior AND Lord to have it. No matter what I do, God and His Son, Jesus, will never change their mind about me even when I completely blow it. When I fall short, the Holy Spirit covers the distance. I don’t know what lies ahead for me and our family. I have no idea what the next scan will show or not show. I don’t know what will be the outcome of all the problems at work. I am not really sure where I will be a year from now the day after Christmas, but God does. I hope that I am exactly where He wants me to be doing everything that He has called me to do. I want His Very Best and will continue to lay my life down to have it. I am trying to embrace change but like every other human being have a slight fear of the unknown that challenges me to keep holding on especially when I have no idea what to expect. So this year, my New Year’s Resolution will not be for one specific thing but a complete effort to remain surrendered to Christ. I must decrease so that He can increase in my life. I don’t like this position but know that in His Grace, Mercy and Love I can nothing but prosper and be successful in all I do to the Glory of God. In exchange for this burden I try to shoulder, Jesus promises to give my peace and rest. I am weary and try too often to carry burdens not my own. As I lay them before the Lord, He picks them up. Change becomes an exchange. All that I am for all that He is! We were made for change!
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NLT)
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.