New Strength for the New Year

Theresa RoweBy Theresa Rowe8 Minutes

Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life emerges! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you (2 Corinthians 5:17 MSG).

The past can be an effective tool in our development into mature believers in Jesus Christ. It can just as easily be very destructive if we choose to dwell there. For those living intermittently with Jesus, the past can be a jackhammer, pounding away at their foundation, stifling the abundant life He has planned for them. Maturing believers use the past like a compass, allowing past mistakes to guide them closer to Jesus, while pressing forward to His goals for their life.

Now just because we should not live in the past, that doesn’t mean we should ignore challenges, trials, and comfortable sins in our life. With that being said, we should also remember all the good things God is doing. In other words, it is healthy to glance back and take inventory of the things in our life.

Near the beginning of last year, I experienced labor pains. Yes, butterflies, anxiousness, a healthy fear of the unknown, knowing God’s fullness was birthing something new in Shaped by Faith Ministry. While clueless about what God was planning, from my previous experiences with God, He would be moving and realigning things in my life.

Nine months later, God birthed Shaped by Faith Fitness ministry at a new location. When God is nudging you toward something, keep it between you and God. Pray about it and ask Him to give you insight and direction. He will. One thing for certain, when God is in something, it is all good and nothing but good! Knowing God is in charge takes the pressure off, as He will provide everything necessary for the mission to be accomplished!

Nine months may seem like a long time to wait, but it is just the right amount of time for God to prepare for a new birth!

Which brings me back to my own personal weaknesses, one of which is waiting. I am a “get out of my way there’s work to be done,” kind of person. Waiting is hard for me. Sometimes I even jump ahead of God and that never works out well. For instance, a couple of days after Christmas I decided it was time to restore order to the house. I have placed myself on a pretty tight schedule and knew there would be no better time than now to put things back in place. Keep in mind, my husband had told me he would help move the tree back into the basement on Friday when he was off work and the weather would be nice. That was three days away!

Once again, my weakness is waiting. One by one the decorations were speedily swept back to the basement. The return trip up the stairs efficiently restored the shelf decorations to selected locations. Finally, dismissing my husband’s promise of help, the nine-foot artificial evergreen Christmas tree sat taunting me in the corner.

Did I mention this was not my first rodeo? My previous transit experiences had taught me to wear long-sleeves and gloves when handling this behemoth. Ever so gently, I leaned the tree toward the floor, grabbed it in the middle, and engaged my core for maximum strength. Carefully carrying it through the front door, swaying down the stairs, sliding in the gravel, climbing over the hill, and into the double doors of the basement I went.

It wasn’t that it was heavy, it was heavy and awkward! With every step the tree slapped my legs, punished for my stubbornness. Stoically standing beside the tree on the floor, bruised, scratched on my legs, and frustrated, I decided to let him stand the tree back up in the corner. Later that evening, my husband stood the tree up, shaking his head at me like a grumpy build your bear bobble head.

This year’s stubbornness award goes to me; And my trophy is covered with scratches, bruises, and knee pain. Don’t we all do this at times? Maybe we really don’t believe they will help. Sometimes we can feel that same way about God, “will he really help me”? It has been my experience that He is faithful and true, but waiting means trusting the Lord.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 NLT).

God has spoken to my heart and His Word is “Strength.”

Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power (Ephesians 6:10).

This Word is about His armor of strength and not our own strength.

Sandwiched between yesterday and tomorrow is today, and wouldn’t now be a good time to pray for strength to deal with whoever, or whatever, stands between you and your best relationship with God?

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