PDT Staff Writer
I was up late the other night putting together a sermon for this coming Sunday. As I wrote it, it occurred to me that part of it might make a nice column. I want to begin with a disclaimer. This column is, unlike most of my columns, aimed at a certain segment of our community. At the same time, I will apologize to those of you who don’t fit into that category. I ask your indulgence for just this one column.
Isaiah 43:18-21 – “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.”
If you have made a decision to serve God, he has a place reserved for you in his kingdom. He has not allowed you to lose that place. In fact, have you ever had to get out of line, and someone who loves you stood in your place in line to hold that place? Well, God has held your place in line. It is still yours. He has a plan for you.
Here is the good news, the new year, no matter how artificial it is on the surface, often can be a springboard toward turning your life around. You can actually turn to attempt to have a fresh start in life, a new beginning. I’m not talking about a new years resolution. I’m talking about putting things behind you that you need to put behind you, then aiming for a new beginning.
I told the congregation a while back, “If you haven’t forgiven someone you are allowing that person to live in your brain rent free.” The first step to take toward a new beginning in the new year is to forgive. Forgiveness is not dependent upon someone asking for forgiveness. In fact the entire purpose for forgiveness has very little to do with the other person, but a lot to do with your own mental state. Forgiveness is not for them. It is for you.
The next step is to step away from habits that have not been productive in your life. Ever notice how many of us just keep being drawn to destructive relationships? If you have had many relationships that have failed, it is time to change the type of person your align yourself with. “Fool me once, shame on you … fool me twice, shame on me.” Destructive relationships are a product of our own poor judgment. Make a list of personality traits of people who have cause you pain, then steer clear of people who exhibit any of those traits. It is also a good time to look at your own personality, and try to deal with each flaw. Believe me, we all have them.
Thirdly, begin to put more of your energy into spiritual rather than physical endeavors. I have told my class many times, if you are living for yourself, you are missing life. I recently got involved in a day of packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, and I noticed something. The people who were busy packing those boxes were all smiling. One of the great forms of therapy is serving others. My pastor, Mike Gifford, is a prime example of someone who spends every waking hour looking for ways to make people’s lives better. he hasn’t laid up treasures on earth. In fact, quite the contrary. He knows that laying up treasures in heaven pays huge spirtual dividends. There is nothing like giving. You will never miss what you give away.
Make it a point to study the bible more and pray more in the coming year. Those things change your life like nothing else. My favorite time is spent reading scripture. I have worn out more than one bible in my lifetime, and I haven’t regretted a minute of it.
So, in conclusion, it is absolutely possible to have a new beginning in 2014 if your priorities are in order. So go ahead. put those old things behind you and move forward. Remember - wherever you are going - God is already there.
Jeremiah 29:11-12 — “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.