Out With the Old, In With the New
- 2010 4 Jan
Do you ever just want to start over?
I find it comforting that the God of Heaven is a God of fresh starts and new beginnings. He made a world that starts anew every day with sunrise. Every week has a first day to it. There's a first of every month and a New Year's Day to celebrate the birth of every year. God must have known we'd need fresh starts…as often as every 24 hours! In fact, He knew we'd need them even more often than that. So He provided us with ample opportunities for new beginnings. And with each new day we have a reminder that we can try again, get another chance, make a clean start.
This morning I was feeling it was time for a fresh start. Over the past few days I had made bad choices, thought wrong thoughts, done stupid things, said careless words. I woke up thinking Wouldn't it be nice to wipe the slate clean?
It's so good to know there's Someone who has already done just that.
The Bible says: "Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new." (2 Corinthians 5:17, CEV) That doesn't just mean we become "new" when we initially come to Christ and surrender our lives to Him. It means we can have a new beginning every day - every time that we see the need to start over. Every time we want to make it right with Him again.
Because we are human, we still sin. Even when we love God and set out to do what's right, we still mess things up at times. Yet, a new start awaits. It's available for the asking.
"God, make a fresh start in me," David the Psalmist prayed in Psalms 51 after a pretty disastrous series of events that included lusting after a married woman, committing adultery with her, murdering her husband, and then continuing in his deception to save his image as king. Yet, as his sin found him out, this broken man cried out to God:
"Shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life….Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails." (verses 10-12, The Message).
King David asked for a new start after messing up big time. And God, in His mercy, gave him one. When you and I ask God for a fresh start, He gives one to us, too. And He makes everything new. Everything. Your mind- to think pure thoughts. Your body - to live purely once again. Your mouth - to speak words that heal, not wound. Your heart - to seek after a path that is straight and right.
And once we get that fresh start, we can live like a new person or choose to continue to have regrets. Although we all have regrets from time to time, we don't all have to live with them. I encourage you to let them go. David did. Later, in Psalms 103:12 he says God "has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west." (NLT). That's right. He hurled our sins further than the California Coast is to the Jersey shore. From years past into a million years hence. One translation puts it: "As far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins (The Message)." Go ahead. Try to find them. You can't. They're irretrievable. And that's the point.
With regrets in your rear view mirror that you can never return to and retrieve, there's no place else to go but straight ahead - onto a new road, toward a new direction, into a new day, with a fresh new start.
Do you need a new beginning today? Would a fresh start put a fresh wind in your sails? Then pray as David did: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Watch your Heavenly Father renew you, right before your eyes. And leave your regrets far behind - where God has left that sin pile.
Prayer of Reflection:
God, you know every offense I've ever committed, and all that lies in my future as well. Yet your loving kindness and mercy found a way to wipe my slate clean. Thank You for removing all my offenses - all my rebellious acts - as far away from me as I can fathom.
Lord, my prayer this day is that of the Psalmist's:
"Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
Or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
And grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." (Psalms 51:10-12)
January 5, 2010
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and the author of several books including "Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs," "When Women Walk Alone," and "When You're Running on Empty." For more on her books or ministry, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.