Something New

I’d like to invite you think back to the day when you last purchased something new.  Perhaps it was a new car, a new pair of shoes, or even a new bag of potato chips.  Do you remember that “new car smell?”  Or the way your new shoes were so clean and bright?  And it’s always more fun to pull out the first whole potato chip, as opposed to reaching down in the bag for the last few crumbs!

What is it about something new?  It makes us feel happy and at times, it may even bring back fond childhood memories of a new bicycle or a new puppy or kitten to love.  As humans, we are not generally attracted to old, ugly, discarded pieces of merchandise.  While someone once said that “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” we can be assured that there are some pieces of trash that are just that: trash.  Still, we continuously find ourselves trying to sell this “trash” at yard sales, flea markets, and the like.  Or we may determine that something we own simply needs to be placed in the infamous “file 13.”  No matter how they get rid of the “junk,” people usually follow the old adage, “Out with the old and in with the new.”
Every 365 days, we are given something new: a new year.  Every year, we virtually are given the chance to hit the reset button.  We have the chance to live a fuller life, love a lot deeper, and laugh even harder.  A new year brings with it the opportunity to make amends with family or friends or spend more time with your parents, spouse, or children.  Yet, in our rush to get through another day, there are times when we simply stick to our old ways.
Likewise, there are times when we keep driving the same car, even though it’s broken down five times in the last week.  God may have even sent the money for the down payment on a new car, but we keep putting it off until next week.  And those new shoes in the closet never get worn because they’re not “broken in” yet.  So, we continue wearing our ragged pair instead.  Then we can hardly finish our work day because of the pain in our feet from the worn out soles that offer no support.
Similarly, you may already be ignoring the New Year.  Instead of using this fresh start as a reset button, you may be continuing to live as before.  You might be living in fear, feeling unloved, or struggling with no hope in sight.  You may have plans to give God your life next week, next month, or next year.  Your old life is “broken in” and while it has its flaws, a life with God may seem even more uncomfortable, much like a new pair of shoes.  Yet, a life with God will be clean and bright, filled with God’s amazing unconditional love and grace.
God often opens doors for us in our lives.  He may open the door to a better paying job, a new home, or a new family.  He may even open the door to a new life with God at the center.  When God opens a door, He gives us the choice as to whether or not we will walk through it.  If we just stand there on the wrong side of the door, nothing will change.  But if we take that first step across the threshold, everything changes.
God’s Word says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).  This is the 29th day of the year.  Don’t wait any longer to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He will restore your hope, fill you with joy, and mend your broken heart.  Throw out the old, ugly parts of your life and replace them with new, joyous ones.  Take that first step.  Walk through the door.  Embrace this New Year by beginning a new life in Christ.

In Christ’s Love,

Have you ever said, “I’m on cloud nine?”  If you have, it is likely that something wonderful happened in your life at the exact moment you uttered these words.  Perhaps you heard the words, “You’re hired!” or “It’s a Girl (or Boy)!” or “Will you marry me?”  And you likely remember the date, time, and location where this special event in your life took place.  But, what about all of the days, months, and years leading up to this exhilarating moment?  Undoubtedly, you experienced some highs and lows, and maybe even some disappointments along the way.  Still, you eventually arrived at the moment where you reached the destination on your journey – cloud nine.

When I think about the journeys we take in life, I have come to realize that there are many similarities between our day-to-day experiences and those of many reality television show contestants.  Their journey through various challenges is not unlike our journey through life, with its many highs and lows.  At times, contestants may make a mistake or encounter an unexpected detour.  Along their journey, they make good decisions and bad ones.  Yet, one team always prevails and finishes the journey victorious, having made it to their “cloud nine” experience – being proclaimed the winner of the competition.

Our lives bear a striking resemblance to these programs, in that our lives are also a journey.  While we are not striving to win $1,000,000 or the title of sole Survivor, there are many daily challenges that we must face.  For instance, in the business world, everyone wants to get ahead.  Instead of clues, they attend “power lunches” to try to get to the next rung on their way to the top of the ladder of success.  And a mistake may not cost them their lead position in a competition, but it may cost them a promotion, their job, or even their reputation.  But in the end, there will be those who make good decisions and find their way to the “cloud nine” they are searching for, such as a promotion or increase in salary.
Personally, I find that the journey to cloud nine can be quite difficult.  Now, I am not talking about the end of a race, or even recognition in the workplace.  I am talking about this journey we call life.  And no, we’re not truly searching for cloud nine.  But, we are on a journey to eternity.  This journey is very difficult at times.  While we may have joyous times to celebrate, there may be other times when sorrow fills our hearts.  We may hear the words “You’re Fired” or “You’ve had a miscarriage” or “We’re getting a divorce” instead of the words above.  During these times, God will bring you peace.  He will remind you of the cloud nine that you seek.  And He will help you move toward your goal, filling your heart with joy once more.
There are times when it would be easier to just quit.  Or it may be tempting to follow a different path.  God’s Word says, “Enter by the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matthew 7:13 ESV).  It might seem easier to travel down the wide road, at least for a little while.  Inevitably, though, you will find that this road leads to great disappointment.  The decision to travel down this road leads to a dead end – Hell.  If you’re on this road, I want to strongly encourage you to turn around.  It’s not too late.  Put your trust in Jesus Christ.  Ask Him for directions to cloud nine.  Follow His steps and don’t look back.  You will be on a journey like no other, never seen on television.  God can do more than you ever imagined, and I can assure you, His dreams for your life are truly incomprehensible!
Every day, I continually strive to put one foot in front of the other on my journey to cloud nine.  In my life, I have experienced many ups and downs.  Some have been minor, such as the disappointment of a missed visit with a friend, and some have been major, such as the saddening loss of my mom.  Still, I know that God will be with me in every circumstance.  He will give me strength when I am weary, joy when I am sad, and hope when I feel hopeless.  The road I am traveling on may be straight and narrow, but God is leading the charge.  Won’t you join me on this direct route to the ultimate “cloud nine” – Heaven?  The journey to cloud nine may be challenging, but just wait until you see the view from the top!
In Christ’s Love,