Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!

Change Occurs on th Inside
True change occurs on the inside

What happens outwardly in your life is not as important as what happens inside you. I was looking for an image that captures the passion and motivation we all seem to share at the beginning of a new year. I read these words and knew that was what I could sense God wanting to speak to me.

Outward Change is Easy:

Lose weight? Take a pill, join a health club, change your diet; even liposuction is an option. Today, options abound in the area of one’s physical appearance. You can change eye color, the shape of your nose, eliminate that unwanted double chin, increase your breast size, decrease your breast size, or get rid of that extra baggage around your waist.

Outward change can affect how you feel about yourself, but it doesn’t alter the reality of who you are. A liar can get facial reconstruction, but it won’t stop him from lying. A person driven by greed can have their stomach stapled to lose weight, but shrinking one’s body by one hundred pounds will not reduce one’s craving for more.

Inward Change is Difficult:

Changing how I think, believe and behave is far more difficult because I must see myself as God sees me. Think about the rich young man who openly professed his desire to follow Christ by asking:

Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

Jesus told him:

Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.

The bible then says,

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Inward change occurs when there is a change of heart, mind and spirit.

Change of spirit occurs when I see myself the way God sees me. Often we’re like the character in the story of Snow White. Each day she asked the same question:

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?

Although the mirror revealed the truth of what was visible, it never revealed that inside her life was a vain, selfish, evil woman.

I am no different when it comes to God’s word. The bible, unlike a mirror is not simply a reflection of what I want to see, it is a revelation of who I really am.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

Change of mind occurs when I line up my thinking with Christ. Christians are not immune from being judgmental, spiteful, jealous, causing factions, seditions. Like modern day Pharisees, we can place ourselves in the lofty position of being so much better than them. I must continually renew my mind with the truth that I am saved by grace and not by what I’ve accomplished.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…

Do I really show others the forgiveness, love and grace I so often need in my own life?

Change of heart occurs when I commit myself to following Christ in all areas of my life. I can attend church service with regularity, but on Monday, I’m cursing my boss or a co-worker. It’s so easy to judge others behavior, words, or life; but I often give myself a pass.

As the New Year draws closer, I want to ask all my Christian brothers and sisters for some intercessory prayer assistance. Not only do our nation’s political leaders need prayer and guidance, but some in the community of Christ, need to stop complaining and start kneeling.

What kind of spirit has come over us when we openly speak of secession? Where is the unity of the body of Christ in that attitude? I have seen images of the President of the United States morphed into a Hitler-like character. He has been called many things which people feel openly courageous to say, but I shudder to think of some things that are being said in secrecy.

Has God somehow been usurped from His authority? Is He still God or not? Can one man, the Democratic Party or the Republicans overthrow the will and divine purpose of God so easily? Has God been sleeping during the past election?

Like many, I am disturbed with the direction our country appears to be heading, but for far different reasons. This coming 2013 New Year, I will pray more for our leaders, for the people of this nation, and I will seek to be a better Christian man than I have been in 2012. I’ll do this by changing my heart, mind and spirit.

I once heard Edwin Louis Cole say, “Everything is subject to change”, but he also said, “Error is when truth is taken to an extreme”. In our desire to change, I pray we don’t take truth to the habitude of error.

by MTJ

A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who during this past year visited My Thought-filled Journey. You've taken time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog and often shared words of encouragement to me. Whether you leave a comment or choose to just read is not important. What is important, is that you came here. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).


Rozalija said...

Dear MTJ, my heart goes out to you!
I am reading your "Happy New Year 2013!" post having 2012 and few years earlier on my mind. That was a time of my constant arguments with God, because I believed He had abandoned me, left me all alone, so I had right to sin. Since I follow your blog posts,I've realized I left God There were times in my life when things did not make sense. God seemed strangely absent, and it might looked like He was withholding the things I needed.He even took away I had for no apparent reason. But now, I know, God does not operate without intention. Now I let Him, God, my friend and confidant, to take me up, as if on a high mountain so I can see the big picture. I can see that He is always there, especially when I think He is not, and I can see that anything lost is taken away to make room for something greater. Now I know! God is not afraid of my question "Why?" He expects me to ask it. He is delighted when I do for it is an opportunity to reveal His love for me.
Thank you, MTJ, for this inspiring and encouraging entrance to the New Year.

Rozalija said...

And last but not least, let your Thought-filled Journey and your prayers be with us in 2013, we all need them.
Have a good year!

Lill said...

Wow, my sentiments mirror the previous comments almost exactly, although I had no intention of sharing quit so much. What a way to sum up the Grace of God that you have been sharing with us. What else is there to do with Grace except to change in it's presence.I pray not only for you, but also for myself, as I pray for this country of ours.

Charlotte said...

So true. This is a good reminder that God doesn't look on the outward appearance as man does, but He looks on the inside. Thank you for sharing.