Monday, January 03, 2011

New Beginnings

"[Trained by Saving Grace] For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,"  Titus 2:11-12

Happy New Year my dear friends!  I've missed this blogging during my week away, but it's been a good week, and it was a good decision.  I just kind of came to the point where I was blogging because I HAD to blog, not because I wanted to- and not necessarily as a result of digging in my Bible looking for treasure.   There's nothing wrong with randomly opening your Bible and seeing what it has to say, but to do it over and over, and to view it as a chore... that's where things go wrong.  And while nothing really went wrong here, my attitude needed adjusting, and I think my time away took care of that. I feel good. :) And I feel like God's going to have all kinds of wonderful things to say in the year to come, and I'm ready to hear Him. And I can't wait to share those things either.

I like these verses I posted above today because it says the grace of God is for all men.  His grace is for every single one of us, and part of that grace, I think, is the fact that every 365 days we get a chance to begin again.  A new year is new opportunities, and fresh perspective, and a whole new chance to start over and get serious about the things that are important in life. I know that for us, the last two weeks have been extremely full of grace- in a word, they were wonderful.  We had no obligations, and were literally able to just spend time as a family.  I think it recharged us, and we reconnected and I realize that it was such a gift from God, that when the world says we have to be busy, busy, busy, we weren't.  We really weren't, and of course that makes it bittersweet that today is today.  Because today we get back to normal.  School starts back up in just a few minutes, we have dance classes later today, and Andy is off doing work himself. 

And yet, it's a new day. :)  It's full of grace, and because it is a new day, it's a new opportunity to say "okay God, I'll live for you today, what would you have me do?"  I wonder how much better our lives would be if we began each and every day with something simple like that rolling off our lips.   What if, instead of grumbling when we throw the blankets off, we turned our thoughts to Him, thanked Him for a new day and then asked Him for His guidance throughout the day.  The verses above tell us we need to deny ungodliness and worldly lust, which can be incredibly hard to do.  And yet, we get a new shot at it every single day.  That's grace.

I wanted to look at verse twelve in the Amplified version, to see how it expanded on the verse:

"It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world,"  Titus 2:12 (AMP)

Rejecting worldly desires can be easy sometimes.  It's easy to say that we don't really want that too-big urban house when we know we can't possibly afford it.  But perhaps in the back of our minds we're thinking that maybe someday we'll be able to have that great big mansion while we're saying that.  Rejecting an idea, at least for the time is easy, but what about renouncing that idea?  What about not only rejecting, but discarding that idea forever? We really do live in a material world, every day we are bombarded with thousands of advertisements telling us we need all these things! Telling us our life is not worth living if we don't have the latest and the greatest.  The world tells us every day that in order to feel happy and fulfilled, we need material possessions- new cars, video game systems, large houses, vacation homes, etc. 

But those of us who have invited Christ into our hearts and lives can have it a  better way!  Grace brought us salvation, and grace will get us through each and every day.  By the grace of God, we get another chance at living righteously every single morning, and if we begin each day with the thoughts of God, that very same grace will help us to be satisfied on God alone.

"For He satisfies the longing soul,And fills the hungry soul with goodness."  Psalm 107:9

When we can learn to satisfy ourselves with just Him, we will be on the right path.  There may be days we fail completely, but when all is said and done, at some point, we will rest our heads on a pillow, go to sleep, and then wake again with a whole new world of possibilities.

Our soul's very desire, each and every day, is to get in His presence.  To spend time with God, our father.  And you know, I can see that very thing in my children.  Sometimes a day will come along where they don't see their daddy at all.  Andy will have left in the morning before they wake, and won't come home until they are sound asleep in bed.  Or he will be out of town for work and will be gone for a few days.  And you know what?  My kids really miss their daddy when he's gone.  Yet, there are days where we are all home together, and they won't even spend much time with him, they are so busy with their day.  But do you know what they do have?  His presence.  He is there, he is here in the home somewhere with them, and some days, that's all they need to have a wonderful day- knowing their daddy is around should they desire to talk to him or spend time with him.

God is not like an earthly daddy.  He really  is always there for us.  Somedays we just may be too busy to spend that time with Him, but you know, He is always there, always willing to spend time with us when we call His Name.  God loves us even more than an earthly father, and wants that time with us.  He wants us to crawl up on his lap for a snuggle and tell Him we love Him.  And then He will tell us He loves us too, and will wrap us up in the most secure arms ever.

Every day we have a new opportunity to embrace Him and give Him all we've got.  Maybe the best New Year's resolution one can come up with is simply to wake each morning and give Him the new day ahead of us before it's even begun.

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