This week's Bible verse:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" -- 2 Corinthians 5:17
It is a new day! I felt the need to be in my sun porch this morning, so here I am...wrapped up in a blanket with the hood of my sweatshirt pulled up to cover my ears. It is chilly, but the fresh air and songs of the birds are so worth it!
What a great time to start a new devotional book, especially one titled "A New Beginning!" Finding balance in your life, and allowing God to lead you to that balance takes perseverance. If you mess up along the way, acknowledge your mistake, learn a lesson from it that you can remember later, and move on to try again. God is a God of second...third...fourth...many chances. He WANTS us to succeed, but knows how hard it is, so He doesn't give up on us...so we shouldn't give up on ourselves.
What do you think about when you hear the term "born again?" I must admit that I get a picture in my head of a tv evangelist pushing someone on the forehead while they fall backward...healed and yelling about being BORN AGAIN! Television, our culture, and...many times, our own Christian hypocrisy have jaded that term that originally came from the mouth of Jesus.
In John 3:1-3, Jesus is telling Nicodemus how to see the kingdom of God...by being born again. This of course brings confusion to Nicodemus as he says it is not possible for us to enter our mother's womb again. Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit."
I'm sure this sounded very strange to Nicodemus, as it may sound to us. We all sin. We can't help it. God knows we can't help it. But He also can't STAND our sin. Our punishment for that sin should be death. So, He came up with a plan to fix the problem. John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
God LOVED us...and loves us still! He didn't want our sin and the fact that we can't help sinning to keep us from Him! He sent His son Jesus to take our place...to take our punishment...our death. What a gift!
My next statement will probably not go over too well...but I had a revelation while studying these verses this morning. God so loved the WORLD! God so loved...the Jews, the Muslims...the Hindus...the Iraqis...the Pakistanis...the Germans...the crack addicts...the murders...the prostitutes...yes, even the atheists! God loves the WORLD!!! He created them...don't you think He loves them...even if they don't believe in him? That's why we should love them too! John 3:16 DOESN'T say God so loved the Christians! How can we share what we know and believe is God's plan for salvation for the WORLD when we are so busy hating people who don't believe? Doesn't make much sense does it?
This is Holy Week where we get the opportunity to remember and celebrate God's plan and what Jesus willingly did for us. I challenge you to put aside your feelings of dislike, fear, hatred and distain for non- Christians. Show God's love this week to someone new...to someone in need...to someone different. Allow God to shine through you so those who don't believe will be able to see God in you!
My fingers are numb out here...but what a blessing to start out my day this way! I wish you all a wonderful and blessed week!