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As we draw to the close of another year, I like many, have been reflecting on the past year and making plans for the next. As I look back there are areas that I am pleased with and some places that I am not so much. Some areas where I regressed and still more that there have been improvements. I see room to grow. I see how I stunted my growth with bad habits. I see changes that need to be made. I see an opportunity to make a change, to be a new creature.

I read the scripture this morning in 2 Corinthians 5:17,

Therefore is any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Many times we liken this change from old to new at first salvation. There is a crisis moment, Jesus comes down, and a change is made. It is used to encourage someone that had experienced much sin and because of God’s grace, Jesus sacrifice, they no longer have to partake in the same activities.

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But today, as I was reflecting on the new year, I saw it as an opportunity. Even as saints of God, we can become a new creature. If we aren’t satisfied with our service to God, our health, our habits, our attitudes, our outreach, our kindness, our relationships, our “fill in the blank”, we can make the change.

We can have a crisis moment in the middle of our salvation. Salvation isn’t stagnate,  it is an evolving status. We can draw closer to God. We can make better choices for our health. We can change our habits and attitudes. We can be more kind and loving. We can forgive. We can improve our relationships… We can change.

This year, starting today, I vow to myself and to God, changes will be made. I am not looking at an easy road ahead. I have some habits to break and new ones to make. I have some flesh to crucify. I am some time to give. I have some reaching out to do. I have some inconvenient love to show. I have some early nights to bed and some early mornings to rise. I have better eating choices to make. I have some physical activity to be endured. I have some better house keeping practices to instill. I have some listening to do. I have some purging of clutter. I have some better time management skills to work on. I have some ground to conquer. I have some victory to gain.

This isn’t just a New Year’s Resolution that is forgotten and unfulfilled, it is a promise. These are goals. I have written many down. And as more come to me, more changes that need to be made, I will write those down to. I am a work in progress, allowing God to mold and shape me into the person he wants me to be.

Lately there has been a lot of turmoil in my life. A lot of changes, dreams being put on hold, and future plans accelerated. There has been confusion, grief, and worry all about what will happen in the future.  The business that I worked for went out of business. While this has been happening all over the place, it hit a little harder than just loosing my job, it was a family business. Not only did I lose my job, but 4 of my siblings and my parents all lost income at the same time. At first it was like an earthquake and it seamed that the world was falling around us.

But through the whole ordeal (we aren’t out of it yet) God has been there. Yes in the human there was worry, but in the spirit there was faith in God knowing that he had it all under control. It is so comforting to have someone to lean on in troubling times. It is God that gave peace and reassurance that he has a plan even in this.

During this time I had been reading in Psalms and a couple of scriptures stood out to me. One would assume that in this kind of situation, there would be depression, anger, and great sadness. I am not saying that there isn’t any of that, but there has been a joy and a happiness through it all also. This happiness comes from accepting God’s will for our lives and not holding on to temporal things. Things that we have in this world are on loan to us from God, he provides for our needs and blesses us abundantly. But they are all his, and not that he would want us to suffer, but he could take them at any time for a purpose. If we become so attached to things that our joy escapes us when they are no longer for us to use, our happiness is in the wrong things.

Psalms 144:15 says “Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” and 146:5 tells us “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:”

If our happiness is placed in God, no matter what we face we will be able to have a deep joy in our souls that will help carry us through.

We can have happiness even though…

I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail. He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old. He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer. He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked. He was unto me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places. He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate. He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins. I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day. He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes. And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity.

 And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.  The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. – Lamentations 3:1-32

 

Great is Thy Faithfulness – William M. Runyan

“Great is thy faithfulness,” O God my Father, There is no shawdow of turning with Thee; thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not; as thou hast been thou forever wilt be.

Summer and winter and spring time and harvest, sun, moon and stars in their courses above, join with all nature in manifold witness, to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide; strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath povided, Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

 

Lam 3:22-23It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: Great is thy faithfulness.

 

 I am thankful that don’t have to rely on yesterdays mercy and compassion, we get a new dose every morning to help us through that day. Let’s take advantage of this gift and use it all up.

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