Monday, December 29, 2008

More New Beginnings

Friends, with 2009 fast approaching, the topic of New Beginnings is so appropriate. The following article reminds us to Lean on God when our "new beginnings" aren't as we expected.

A New Beginning Written by Carol Van Atta

A woman gives birth … to twins. An alcoholic pours his bottle of booze down the drain. An abused wife chooses to seek help. A convict is released from jail. A worker becomes the supervisor. A daughter loses her mother to a car accident. A mother survives cancer and chooses a new, healthier lifestyle.

New beginnings can happen any day at any time. A new beginning always involves leaving one thing behind and embracing something new and different. However, sometimes, new beginnings may not be of our own choosing or liking. Maybe the worker didn’t expect or want the promotion; yet, a new beginning has been thrust upon her. The alcoholic, on the other hand, has clearly made a choice to try a different path evidenced by the dumping of his precious liquor. Both have entered a time of new beginnings. And although the birth of a child and the death of a loved one appear very different, they both have two things in common: an end and a beginning.

It can be excruciatingly difficult to walk through the doorway of a new season in life. How do we effectively live in the midst of a new beginning that we didn’t expect, or even want?
What can we do to give God glory when our circumstances are not only new, but also extremely painful? Anytime we let go of something old there is discomfort, even pain. Anytime we lose something or someone of great importance we experience a great sense of loss, even hopelessness. Yet it’s comforting to remember that the seemingly greatest loss of all, the murder of Jesus Christ on a filthy Roman cross, resulted in the best New Beginning ever — a resurrected Christ.

His New Beginning and New Life allow us to live our lives to the fullest regardless of what we’ve lost or let go of. For in Christ, we are never alone. We are always loved. We can always expect the best from God. He sees far beyond our pain and suffering and has a way of making every new beginning beneficial to us and to those around us — if we’ll let Him. How can we thrive and even discover peace and joy during the process of letting go? There is a way…God’s Way!

The following acronym has reminded me that the best way to experience a New Beginning is to Lean On God.

L: Live in the truth
Whether you’re battling a tempting addiction, or grieving an untimely loss, a key to embracing any new beginning is to stay grounded in the truth — God’s Truth — God’s Word. Without a foundation of truth, we are prone to fall prey to lies, lies that increase our pain and keep us from growing and moving forward.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” - John 8:32 NIV

E: Enlist others for support
New Beginning times are best faced in the safety net of a group of caring and competent Christian friends. God is relational. Jesus was not a lone ranger. He was surrounded by His inner circle of disciples. We, too, will find support, encouragement, and help from others who have experienced similar circumstances, if we are open their aid.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 NIV

A: Approach God boldly
With Jesus at the right hand of God we have the amazing opportunity to approach our Heavenly King with boldness and confidence. In the Psalms, David gave us the perfect example of how to cry out to God in every conceivable manner. Even in our anger, our anguish, and our anxiety. We need not face anything without God’s help. Go to Him boldly, after all, He tells us we can.

“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Ephesians 3:12 NIV

N: Never give up
Never give up! Remember no matter what our present circumstance may look like, no matter how difficult letting go might be, with God, we win in the end. It may appear that we are loosing, but, ultimately, goodness and glory can grow in the midst of a new beginning. We must keep our eyes focused on our Leader, and remember to keep putting one foot in front of the other until we cross the finish line.

“…I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14 NIV

O: Overcome obstacles
When we’re in the midst of letting go we can find ourselves burdened by a barrage of obstacles — things on our path that can keep us from walking through the door of a better tomorrow. Certainly feelings of grief and heartache can be part of the new beginning process. Lingering negative feelings and thoughts can become obstacles that keep us stuck. With God’s help and the support of others, we can continue forward, getting rid of whatever holds us back.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

N: Neutralize the enemy
The Bible is very clear that we, as Christians, have an enemy. This enemy of our souls would like to destroy us and keep us from accepting God’s plan for our lives. We can disarm this devil by utilizing the armor our Commander and King so generously provides. Put on the armor daily.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes. You may be able to stand your ground…” Ephesians 6:13a

G: Go forward with God
This is much like “don’t give up.” New beginnings can be scary and we can find ourselves paralyzed, afraid to take another step. We don’t need to continue by our own power. In fact, our limited human power won’t be enough, but with God, all things are possible. Allow Him to lead, as you lean on Him.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength”-Philippians 4:13 NIV

O: Open your eyes
Take a look around at the beauty surrounding you on your journey. As you embrace your new beginning, you will discover (if you open your eyes) the wondrous ways God is working in and around you. From a bubbling brook to the salty surf God is present. Even in your darkest hour if you look you can see His light.

“Ah, Sovereign Lord , you have made the heavens and earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17

D: Decide to worship
Praising God in the midst of any situation brings blessings far beyond our greatest expectations. When freedom from a bondage or addiction is your new beginning it is only natural to praise your Deliverer. When a new beginning is the result of loss, worship may seem at first out of place, but consider Paul, praising God from within his prison chamber. Worship touches the very heart to God, and in turn He will touch yours. Worship God and expect the best.

Lean on God and expect one glorious new beginning after another. Each new day we can be filled afresh with the power of the Holy Spirit who will help us in our new beginnings. Won’t you invite Him to fill you afresh right now?

Father in Heaven,
I am so grateful that You sent Your Holy Spirit to be our helper as we walk the Christian life here on this Earth. Thank you for the power He brings as He fills us up and gives us strength and courage beyond ourselves to face the new beginnings in our lives. Today I ask You to create in me a clean heart. I ask You to fill me a fresh with the power of Your Spirit. Help me to be aware of each step I take and to do it with your help. In Jesus’ powerful name I pray, amen.

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