A New Year…A New Thing!

The sign said “Under Construction.” I recently passed by an old house…and it was clearly “under construction.”

There were a number of construction trucks and workers surrounding this home. Because my 6 year old son is in love with construction trucks, we stopped and parked alongside the curb and watched for a few moments.

This particular construction site was different than other construction sites we have visited…which usually had a new structure built from ground up on a piece of barren land. This house was evidently being “renovated”…And so in other words, it was being “made new.”

As I watched this house being “made new” …I quickly noticed 2 things that seemed to slow down this “under construction’ process.

First of all…before new walls could be erected, the old walls needed to be torn down. And secondly… as I focused more closely…I also noticed that electricians were hard at work de-tangling and removing old electrical wires before further construction could resume.

Watching this house “under construction”, I began to think about how we as Christians are “under construction’ as well…we are spiritually “under construction”…throughout our entire lives really…aren’t we?

The Bible says that even though we are made “perfect” in Christ…we are not yet “finished.”

Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:28 KJV

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 NLT

FYI…being made “perfect” in Christ means we are made complete…mature. Not the commonly used meaning for “perfect” as pure…flawless. Because really only Christ is and can be “perfect” according to the latter definition. (A difficult concept to accept if you tend to be a perfectionist like me!)

So it’s the beginning of another New Year! …And that means new beginnings…new goals…new outlooks…new hope…new commitments…and how can we forget…new resolutions!

It’s a New Year…and God wants to do a New Thing in our life!

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 42:19 NIV

God wants to do a new thing in our life…but just as this house had a few things that slowed down the “under construction” process…so too it may be as we are spiritually “under construction” as well.

Just like the old walls needed to be torn down in order to build new walls… we too need to tear down…bring down…let go of our past which can enslave us and keep us from moving forward into the new things God has for us.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. Isaiah 42:18 NIV

Just like the old wires needed to be de-tangled and removed…we too need to remove the sin that can entangle us and slow us down from obtaining and accomplishing the new things God has for us.

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…Hebrews 12:1 NIV

Check this out! It certainly isn’t coincidental that the scripture Isaiah 42:18 about forgetting the former things and not dwelling on the past precedes verse 19 when God says that he is doing a new thing!

God wants to do a new thing in our life…but we have a few things to self-examine and do first!

To gain a better perspective of these 2 concepts…check out their definitions.

Enslavement- the state of being strongly influenced and controlled by something; the condition of being under the domination of another person or some habit or influence

Entanglement-the condition of being lured into a compromising act; the state of being ensnared; entrapment

Enslavement and entanglement can slow us down…even hinder us…from seeing God do a new thing in our life.

Have you ever tried to run forward while looking back the entire time? I guarantee that looking back will hinder you from moving forward!

Have you ever tried to run forward while being tangled and twisted up in something? I guarantee that being tangled up in something will slow you down!

Whether we are enslaved to our past….past failures…past mistakes…past hurts…past regrets…old ways…old thoughts…

Whether we are entangled in sin…blatant obvious sins (lying, anger, pride, sexual impurity, etc.)…subtle sins (gossip, unforgiveness, bad attitudes, harsh verbal tone, negative critical thoughts, etc.)…

We have a choice!

A choice to let go…or be enslaved to our past.

A choice to obey…or be entangled by sin.

Are there any areas of enslavement in your life you need to let go of?

Are there any areas of entanglement in your life you need to remove?

Just as the old house is “under construction” and being made new…we are spiritually “under construction” everyday…And by the choices we make …the spiritual construction process can be hindered or can move along more smoothly.

It’s a New Year…and God wants to do a New Thing in your life!

And so whether your New Year’s resolutions include these concepts or not, we have a choice to let go…or not…a choice to obey God…or not. Either way, being spiritually “under construction” cannot be avoided.

We are “under construction” our entire lives as God shapes us…molds us…refines us…and makes us complete. We are “under construction” so that we can look more and more like Christ!

So as we enter the New Year…let’s examine our life as Christians and see what we can do differently or change…let’s purposefully make those changes and remove anything that slows down or hinders our relationship with God…and let’s watch God do a new thing in our life!

I wish you all Happy New Year! I appreciate you all supporting Sweeter Than Honey Blog and look forward to an amazing 2015!

Reflection Points:

  1. Can you see how we are spiritually “under construction” …our entire lives?
  2. Do you understand that even though we are spiritually “under construction” that God wants to do a new thing in our life? Isaiah 42:19
  3. Do you understand what being enslaved to your past and being entangled by sin means? And how these 2 things can slow down and hinder you from obtaining and accomplishing the new things that God wants to do in your life?
  4. Are there any areas of enslavement in your life you need to let go of? Are there any areas of entanglement in your life you need to remove?
  5. What can you do differently or change in your life so that you will not be slowed down or hindered?

Action Points:

  1. We are spiritually “under construction” and will be our entire life because we were created in the image of God and God wants to shape us…mold us…refine us…and makes us complete…so we look more like Him! That’s a good thing!
  2. God wants to do a new thing in your life. Pray and ask God to show you any areas of enslavement or entanglement in your life. Psalm 139:23-24
  3. If you recognize anything you need to let go of in your past…pray and ask God to give you the courage and strength to move forward.
  4. If you recognize any sin that needs to stop and be removed…pray and ask for God’s forgiveness and strength to please Him and be obedient to God’s Word.
  5. Seek out help from other Christian women who can pray with you…support you…and offer encouragement! We weren’t created to live our Christian life alone!
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The Only Way Is Through

Recently, we got hit with a big rainstorm here in Arizona. At my workplace, I usually park under a covered parking space…and so after I parked on this particular day…having the covered parking was great as I stayed dry while gathering all my belongings and then headed into my office.

Now while I worked throughout the morning I can hear the down pour of rain on the roof of the building. I had no idea how much it had rained until I headed back to my car at the end of the day. The rain had slowed down… thank goodness…but I noticed that the parking lot had flooded around my car. There was about 8-10 inches of water surrounding my vehicle! Seriously right now?!

I began to contemplate my situation. How could I get into my car…let alone get to it without getting my feet totally drenched?

I realized quickly that I couldn’t get around the flood on either side of the car…I couldn’t get on top of my car and somehow crawl to the door and get in…clearly there was no way under the situation. The only way to my car was through…through the 8-10 inches of water!

So I took off my shoes and rolled my jeans up to my knees (FYI…not an easy task with skinny jeans!) and I walked through the nasty water to the back car door…the back door and not the front door because the water got deeper and nastier the further I went!

And yes! I made it into the back seat and climbed over to the driver’s seat…backed the car out to dryer land…loaded up…and headed home…so looking forward to a shower!

Just as the only way to my car was through the flood…So it is when we face the challenging floods of life…so it is with the downpours of life’s difficult circumstances. As hard as we may try to jump over our situation…duck under our situation…go around our situation…many times the only way is through!

I know what you are probably thinking…You don’t like “through”. Well, I don’t like “through” either! Why?

“Through” can be tough…through can be hard…through can be heartbreaking…through can be challenging…through can be tiresome…through can be draining…through can be flat out lonely.

And that’s why we tend to look at ways to jump…duck…or go around it! But unfortunately, many times the only way is through. We must just go through it.

God is asking us to go through. God has a plan for us through our circumstances.

“Through” is defined as “from one end or side to the other; from beginning to end; over the total distance; all the way; to completion, conclusion, or accomplishment.”

God wants us to push “through”…push from side to the other…push over the total distance…push all the way…push to completion…push from beginning to end…not giving up…pushing to completion!

Furthermore, the Bible says that God is the Alpha and the Omega. God is the beginning and the end! That means He knows the beginning and the end of our circumstance. And not only does He know the beginning and the end…He is with us from beginning to end…and everywhere in between!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One.” Revelation 1:8 NLT

And what is so awesome is that God is all about completion and so He is with us in the “through”…to see us through!

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 ESV

We may not like “through” or always understand “through” but God knows what is on the other side of “through”.

As we get ready to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this Christmas, we can see clearly what is on the other side of “through”

The road to Jesus’ birth was certainly not easy for both Mary and Joseph. They could have clearly questioned their situation…tried to jump over…duck under…or go around it…but they trusted God and went through a challenging circumstance that lead to the birth of Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-24, Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-20)

Mary was a virgin and engaged to Joseph when an angel appeared to her stating that she was chosen to carry and give birth to a son…God’s son… named Jesus. And because Mary became pregnant and wasn’t married…she could have easily been brought to court…found guilty of breaking the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)…and stoned to death! Talk about having to go through a tough time!

And then there is Joseph! We don’t always give Joseph enough credit!

When Joseph finds out that his fiancé Mary is pregnant, he decides to break off the engagement but was determined to do it in such a way that it would not cause public shame to Mary. After all…even as much respect that Joseph had for Mary…how can anyone accept and wrap their mind around the fact that the child’s father was God!

Then an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream confirming Mary’s story and asking Joseph to still wed Mary. Joseph obeyed God…married Mary…and honored her virginity until the baby was born.

Because Mary and Joseph trusted God…chose to accept God’s plan for their lives…and go through their challenging circumstance…a new life began…Jesus Immanuel was born!

And because Jesus…33 years later…accepted God’s plan of redemption and went through the most painful and tortuous death…many new lives can begin today…we can be reborn…we can have eternal life through Jesus Christ!

Imagine if Mary and Joseph and Jesus all dodged their situations and figured out a way to avoid going through what they had to go through?

God planned for them each to go through what they went through because He knows what’s on the other side of “through”.

God has a plan for whatever you are going through today and will go through. Trust him and instead of trying to jump over it…duck under it…or go around it…accept that more often than not…the only way is through!

Because God has a plan and a purpose in and through every situation you face in life…a plan and a purpose that goes even beyond you.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, let’s reflect on what God has done “through” His son’s birth and death…and be thankful for an eternal present that has been given to each of us…His presence from now to eternity!

I pray you all have a Christmas full of love…joy…peace…and hope…rejoicing in the birth of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. I wish you all a safe and Merry Christmas!

Reflection Points:

  1. When facing a difficult circumstance in life, do you try to jump over it…duck under it…go around it…do everything you can possibly do to avoid it? Or do you accept that the only way may just be through it?
  2. As much as going through something can be tough… hard… heartbreaking… challenging…tiresome…draining…and lonely…do you still trust God? Or give up?
  3. Do you understand that God has a plan for you in the “through” and He knows what is on the other side of “through”…even if you don’t?
  4. How can you stay focused on God as you push through difficult circumstances in life?

Action Points:

  1. As hard as it is, many times the only way past our difficult circumstance is through it. Instead of questioning God, getting angry at God, and trying to figure out God…we need to understand that God has a plan through our circumstance…that goes way beyond us.
  2. God wants us to push through…with Him! We aren’t alone! He is with us from beginning to end and every step in between our situation.
  3. Trusting and relying on God is key in getting through difficult circumstances in life. We may not always understand why we are going through what we are going through but God does. And He knows what is on the other side of “through”. He has a great plan for you and for me. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  4. You can stay focused on God through your difficult circumstances by praying and spending time reading the Bible. Difficult circumstances in life draw us closer to God…and that’s one reason God allows you to face challenges. He wants you to spend more time with Him…trust Him…and rely on Him more than ever!