New things in Christ

Ready for something new?

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:18-19

There is nothing worse than being in a rut – stuck in a pattern of life that keeps taking you places you don’t want to go. It may be a negative attitude, a destructive habit pattern, a toxic relationship, a dead end job, you name it. Bottom line, you know what a rut is? It is a grave with the ends kicked out. Or at least that is how it can feel.

The promise of a “new thing” quoted above is one of the greatest rutbuster verses in the Bible. Originally it was spoken by God to a sinful and rut-bound Israel promising their deliverance through the coming of the Messiah. But it continues to shine forth as a beacon of hope to all those whose lives are rut bound. And the promised deliverer is still that self-same Messiah, Jesus Christ.

The challenge is that those to whom God seeks to reveal His “new thing” often fail to recognize it. Sadly it is no different today than when God first sent His son Jesus to earth. We read of Jesus that “He came to His own, but His own people did not receive Him.” (John 1:11) Is that perplexing and frustrating or what? There was God, His new thing springing up right under their noses and yet they failed to recognize it. Has that ever happened to you? Maybe, just maybe, it is happening to you right now.

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Hope for New Years Resolutions

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? In just days we mark the beginning of a New Year – 2011. It is an opportunity to script a new beginning and turn over a new leaf.

When I did a quick survey of a number of websites touting popular New Year’s resolutions I discovered they all fall into one of the following categories, listed here in no particular order . . .

One of the great theological treatises on the pitfalls and perils of new beginnings is the 1991 movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray. It is the story of an arrogant, self-centered man named Phil who finds himself trapped in living the same day over and over and over again. Despite numerous resolutions, no matter how hard he tries he cannot turn over a new leaf on the calendar. Every morning Phil wakes up to the same song on the radio, meets the same people, faces the same problems and is confronted with the same decisions. Essentially he is sentenced to reliving the day until he finally has a change of heart that enables him to get it right.

The deep theological truth embedded in this movie is that an internal change is required for an external change to truly take effect.

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