Fresh start

Proverbs 24:16 NIV

When we have messed up, been hurt, feel broken beyond repair, or walked away from God, He doesn’t write us off. However we are feeling, and whatever our situation is like, God still offers us a fresh start. God is a God of transformation. He takes the ashes and mess and turns them into something beautiful. He takes our broken pieces and puts us back together again. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we will never make mistakes, take the wrong path, be hurt by others, or struggle with things that make us feel beyond repair. But it does mean that we have the ability to start again. The Bible says, ‘For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.’ With God on our side we can begin again because the power to do it lives within us. It’s the same power that raised Christ from the dead. We are told that, ‘if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you’ (Romans 8:11 NIV). God is redeeming everything that we go through. Every mistake we make can be used to propel us into our purpose. Every hurt we go through can be turned into something good. We might feel that we are beyond God’s redemption, that we can’t start again because we have failed too many times. But the Bible tells us that He is ‘able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us’ (Ephesians 3:20 NIV). So let’s stop writing ourselves off, and trust that God can help us have a fresh start.

Lev 16; Lev 23:26-32; Heb 9:1-14; Heb 13:11-16

Denke deur die Gees gelei

1 Korintiërs 2:16 NLV

Die Bybel sê: ‘…’Wat geen oog gesien het; wat geen oor gehoor het; wat in niemand se hart opgekom het nie – dit het God voorberei vir hulle wat Hom liefhet.’ Maar ons ken hierdie geheim omdat God dit deur sy Gees aan ons bekendgemaak het…’ (1 Korintiërs 2:9-10 NLV). Het jy God lief? As jy het, sal Hy sy gedagtes aan jou bekend maak. Wat ‘n voordeel! Paulus skryf: ‘As ons hierdie dinge aan julle vertel, gebruik ons nie woorde wat hulle oorsprong het in menslike slimmigheid nie, maar wat hulle oorsprong het in die Gees. Ons gebruik woorde wat van die Gees kom om geestelike waarhede te verduidelik’ (vers 13 NLV). Moenie dink dat hierdie ‘geestelike dinge’ net tot gebed, Bybelstudie en kerk aktiwiteite beperk word nie. Hierdie belofte is van toepassing op elke area van jou lewe, insluitend jou familie, finansies, jou loopbaan ens. Die Bybel sê: ‘…ons is ingestel om soos Christus te dink.’ Dit beteken dat wanneer jy voor ‘n probleem te staan kom, jy kan bid: ‘Here, help my om hierdie te sien soos U dit sien.’ Wanneer jy ‘n belangrike besluit moet neem, kan jy bid: ‘Here, openbaar dit wat ek nie weet nie aan my en leer my wat ek nodig het om te weet, sodat my besluit in lyn met u wil en die beste vir almal betrokke sal wees.’ In plaas daarvan om God tot die kerk en sogenaamde ‘geestelike aktiwiteite’ te beperk, vra sy hulp in elke area van jou lewe. Psalm 46:11 sê: ‘Wees stil en weet Ek is God!..’ (NLV). Dit beteken dat jy lank genoeg stil moet wees sodat Hy sy denke in jou gedagtes kan plaas. Wanneer dit gebeur – en dit sal – sal jy nooit enige ander manier wil dink nie.

Sielskos: Num 8-10; Mark 2:1-17; Ps 35; Spr 10:28-29

Reflect: Plans

Proverbs 16:9 NIV

When we think about the future, we can come up with a lot of plans. We start to think we should have a job by a certain age. Get married at a certain age. Make sure we’ve had children by a certain age. And if those plans don’t seem to be coming to anything, we can become despondent, angry, or anxious. But it’s God who has the best plans for our lives. In Isaiah, God says, ‘My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:9 NIV). His plans for us are always going to be better than any we can come up with ourselves. So why do we end up trying to plan everything ourselves? We often like to have control; we don’t like to surrender and let someone else decide things. We want to know what’s going to happen, and when. The unknown is scary. But when we surrender our plans to God, He can help us walk in His plans. The Bible says: ‘In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.’ It’s God who is ultimately in control. He has the best plan for our lives, and He wants to help us walk in it. We need to take time out to think through all the plans we’re making for our lives, and to see whether they’re what God has for us. We can do that by asking Him to guide us, and to show us where we’re following our own desires rather than His. We should get stuck into reading our Bibles, so that we can line up our hearts with God’s and want the same things as Him. We need to surrender our life plans to Him, and let Him work in and through us instead.

Num 4:34-6:27; Mark 1:14-20; Ps 94:1-11; Prov 10:24-26

It takes “heart”

Nehemiah 4:6 AMPC

In San Diego there’s a famous attraction called SeaWorld. If you go there you can see ducks on roller skates. But when you get close to them, you realize that their hearts aren’t in it! You may smile, but a lot of people are like that – just going through the motions. Don’t be one of them! If you want your life to count, find a cause greater than yourself and give your all to it! Do you recall the story of Nehemiah? He risked life and limb in order to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. Even though faced with threats and obstacles, he finished the job in record time. How did it happen? Because “the people had a heart…to work.” An 1828 copy of Webster’s Dictionary defines “courage” as “that quality which enables us to face difficulty and danger…without fear or depression.” Then Webster adds the words of Moses as he transferred leadership of the nation to Joshua. “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid…for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (See Joshua 1:9 NKJV). At age one hundred and twenty, Moses was still telling the people of Israel, “Ya gotta have heart!” Why? Because anything worth having is worth fighting for! It takes “heart” to deal with a child’s willful defiance, or face your own fears, or pick up the pieces of your life and start over. It’s easy to talk about what’s wrong, but it takes “heart” to do something about it. And where does that kind of courage come from? God! So talk to Him today.

Soul food: Ps 118:19-29; Matt 21:1-16