Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A New Beginning.

Even though it's the second week of the New Year, I am still loving the feeling of a clean slate. Each New Year, I take a close look at my life, and I really think about the things I want for the next year. Although I have not figured out exactly what I want for 2008 - I thoroughly enjoy the feeling of "starting over."

At church on Sunday, Pastor Jackson spoke about new beginnings and how God can give us abundant blessings in our life. He spoke about the other side as well - about the "curses" of the Old Testament. However, Jesus redeemed us from those curses by becoming the ultimate sacrifice for us, and those abundant blessings come through Jesus Christ our Savior. Pastor Jackson outlined several inner challenges that keep us from experiencing our blessings - one being the "self talk." He shared a powerful passage in Luke regarding the self talk:

"Then he told them this story. 'The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: 'What can I do? My barn isn't big enough for this harvest.' Then he said, 'Here's what I'll do: I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll gather in all my grain and goods, and I'll say to myself, Self, you've done well! You've got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!' Just then God showed up and said, 'Fool! tonight you die. And your barnful of goods - who gets it?' - Luke 12:16-20 (MSG)

You have no idea the impact of this on me - I have been dealing with messages like this in my life for TOO LONG. I get so caught up in having the nicest house, money to travel, the cutest clothes, and you know what? IT DOESN'T MATTER, LENA! You see, in that passage, the man NEVER praised or thanked God for the rain, the sun, the land - all those things that he had no control over, but were instrumental in bringing a bountiful harvest. How many times have we done this in our own lives?

I have been holding onto so many things in my life lately - things from the past, and I know that I have been punishing myself for those things. Sometimes it feels like if I can make up for a horrible past with a nice car, a nice house, etc., etc., that I can "fool" everyone - including God. This is an inner struggle that has been going on in my life for the past year. It took everything for me not to break down right there and start sobbing. But then, Pastor Jackson read a passage in Romans that lifted my heart:

"With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death." - Romans 8:1-2 (MSG)

Pastor Jackson gave us a list of devotionals, if you will, to do this week. Each day this week, I have looked at this list - and I encourage each of you to look at this list as well - I truly believe that this is going to have a PHENOMENAL impact on my life, and it can on yours, too.

1. What are the messages you hear most frequently in your life?
2. Are they ENTIRELY true?
3. Is it something that has an influence over me? What are the spiritual implications?
4. Is there anything that is apart from God's best? If so, REPENT and RENOUNCE.
5. FORGIVE anyone that you need to forgive.
7. Ask God to begin to help you see yourself from God's perspective.

*As a part of number 6, I plan to share my testimony with you all over the next couple of days. It's not going to be pretty, and I don't plan to sugar coat it, but if I can reach one person through my life story, then it will be worth it. Writing is extremely therapeutic for me, and I know this will work wonders in my life.

I would ask that each of you would pray for me during this week of self-reflection.

1 comment:

  1. My Dear Lena ~ God Bless You! I look forward to hearing your story as you and I "sound" like the same person. I will pray for you during this reflection and during this year! Love, Megan