A True Resolution for Change

“Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” – 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 (NLT)

True change begins when we accept Christ into our hearts and give ourselves fully to His care.  When we live in Him, our identity and direction are no longer constrained by the way the world sees us, but are instead freed to experience the peace and joy He desires for our lives.  Therefore, as we approach this New Year and the world pulls at us to make resolutions for change, all we need do is draw closer within the gentle embrace of our Savior and allow Him to transform us.

Out of Our “Box”

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” – Luke 1:26-38 (ESV)

Although Mary was certainly shaken by the Angel Gabriel’s message and likely fearful of the way her sudden pregnancy would be received by others, she chose to reaffirm her commitment to God’s will and trust.  Some of God’s most powerful works in our lives begin when He calls us to step out of our “box”, and proceed in faith.  As we prepare our hearts to receive God’s Perfect Lamb this Christmas Season, may we do so following Mary’s example of obedience and trust.

That Will Be For All The People

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”” – Luke 2:8-12 (ESV)

To herald the arrival of His Perfect Lamb, God didn’t direct His angels to alert royalty, nor to court the attention of religious leaders; instead they were directed to the company of pious, simple shepherds, alone in a field, tending their flocks.  God’s miracles are not reserved for those of influence or position, but instead are offered freely to all of His beloved children.

Faith Can Move Mountains

“How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.” – Hebrews 11:32-34 (NLT)

When we strive to live lives of faith, choosing to focus not on worldly pursuits but instead on those which glorify God’s grace in our lives, we not only gain victory over death through Christ Jesus but also open ourselves to being instruments of God’s divine intent.

Fighting Over Words…

“Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.” – 2 Timothy 2:14 (NLT)

As Paul entreats Timothy in this impassioned correspondence; as followers of Christ it’s important for us to spend our energies focusing on His divine example and teachings, and not allow our petty differences, disagreements and biases to divert that focus.  In the service of our Lord, we must never miss the Message for the words.

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