Happy First Monday of the New Year! It has been a while since I posted a Miscellany Monday post- which basically is where my head, which is as busy as the sky on the 4th of July, spills over into this place in cyberspace. But, lucky for you, I’m bursting forth with randoms to share with you today!
First and foremost, I HAVE to share this excellent message preached this past Sunday, by our Assistant Pastor, Randy Curtis.
Some of you know that my #OneWord for this year, is Renewal. Despite not wanting to participate in the One Word Campaign, that so many bloggers enjoy, I discovered God had something for me after all. I thought it was in the scripture only this year. Yet, as I shared with a fellow blogger my numerous reasons why I was not doing the One Word, which can pretty much summed up with this attitude: Life just sucks lately, so why bother. Um, OK, I did not say that, it was more subtle. Like, God does what He wants and I don’t care. I know, not a very spiritual attitude, at all! But, God does know what we need. He did meet me where I was, crappy attitude and all. He led me to Romans 12:1-2. Then, at the time I least expected it, as I read from the English Standard Version, instead of the others, the word just jumped out at me. It was obvious I needed a serious attitude adjustment. So, did God give me my head on a platter? No, he gently, led me to the word Renewal. When I didn’t even want. One. More. Thing. Let alone One Word for the New Year.
It is no small thing that the month before when, sweet Jen @ Finding Heaven asked about our one word thoughts, and I remember replying, if I had to choose what I needed most, it would be “renewed hope”. I promptly forgot about that little conversation, but apparently God was listening. And then He sent an Owl.
But, you must be wondering about thus mentioned AWESOME MESSAGE, right? Well, let me say this. I don’t care where you are in the New Year Resolution thing, but if you are a professing Christian, I believe you NEED (is this a strong enough emphasis?) to listen to the message.
Also, be jealous of MUAH, Yours Truly, because after trying to keep up with the awesomeness coming out of Randy’s mouth via his preparations, gifting to share God’s Word, and the Spirit, my notes had gaps. I just felt that it was worth asking for a fill in the gaps favor, since I can only write so fast. I asked Randy if he could e-mail me his sermon notes. To my joy (only writers get this excited when someone hands them their written, lengthy notes, right?) he handed me his own! Right then, right there. Oh, yeah! OK, why am I so happy? Because now I can re-read until all the message sinks into my thick head. Awesome, yes? Yay, me!
Plus, bonus of bonuses, fireworks were shooting off from (in) my head -surprising that didn’t distract the congregation, because the verses preached fromTitus 2:11-14, well, they are THOSE verses. Like one of a handful of God verses you get in a lifetime that really speak powerfully to you and stick to you. You know, the ones you always highlight FIRST in every new Bible you get, because they are special messages from your Father who loves you…and you just never, ever want to forget. Let’s just say I have a list of scripture that are especially meaningful to me, because God revealed them to me in a way that made them stand out. Personal. Of course, all of God’s word is living, active, powerful and useful, I know, BUT some are just so creatively, uniquely delivered to us in a season that we know He knows. And that is why He is God, peeps and I am glad of that- He is able. Now, stop distracting me, already… Yeesh!
So just one little quote from the message because, as I said, the best gift I can give you, or you can give yourself, is to listen to it and let it minister grace and truth to you concerning your new year. Amen?
“In the year 2014, you don’t need a checklist of things you need to improve. You don’t need a list of things to do. You need to be totally transformed by the power and grace of God. If you are a believer, then that transformation has already taken place. The transformation is continuing to take place. That transformation will one day be totally and perfectly complete. Don’t start your year off thinking about all that you need to do. Start off thinking about all that God has done for you, and before long you will find yourself living in ways you never dreamed possible. “
Seriously, this message was so good, I think it will last all year. I will sit out the rest of my Sundays mediating on this one sermon. Um, no. I am so kidding. But it is so, so, so, good. And I will mediate on it all year. A wonderful new year’s gift.
Linking with Kathy @ Cornerstone Confessions
and Timewarp Wife for their Titus Tuesday communities!
5 thoughts on “The Post In Which I Set You Free From Your Doomed Resolution List”
Okay, I listened to Pastor Curtis. I enjoyed his sermon, although I found it hard to still my own thoughts, a challenge which has regularly been plaguing me. I think even though we may know we are changed, saved by the grace of God and forgiven our sins, we struggle because although there is forgiveness we are many times living with and trying to manage consequences of poor living or choices. We try to focus on Jesus and turn to God for his grace to instruct us, yet we(I) am over whelmed with the consequences. How do we move forward when still chained to the past, literally.
Thank you for sharing this! Bless you!
Lauree, my response is too long for one post. So it is split in two.I am not sure of your exact circumstances, and neither do I think it is necessarily a good idea to broadcast them publicly on the internet. So you will have to take my comments on the understanding that I am just trying to respond generally.Consequences are suffering we experience in response to wrong choices. If the suffering is not due to our wrong choices, then the suffering is not a consequence – it is just suffering.It can often be difficult to identify something as a consequence. Life is complicated. It is difficult to say with absolutely certainty that a particular circumstance is due entirely to my own choices. Usually there are many interwoven causes. To claim the full responsibility for a particular circumstance is to think that I am the center of the universe.However, we do know from Scripture that God disciplines his children. He brings down the negative consequences, so that we learn not to repeat our wrong choices. Sometimes the connection between our wrong choices and the consequence is undeniably obvious.How are we to respond to such consequences? We need to openly recognize our poor choices. We acknowledge our sin before God. We repent and turn to a better way of living. We “learn our lesson.” We face up to our consequences without bitterness since we know that the consequences are the expected result of our choices. In fact, we know that the consequences are for our benefit and are evidence of God's love for us.When we respond well to consequences, often the consequences will quickly fade. I have seen this in my own life numerous times. Shortly after I have learned my lesson, the painful circumstance ceases. Sometimes the circumstance itself comes to an end, and sometimes even though the circumstance has not changed, I discover that I no longer find the circumstance painful.The real difficulty comes when we believe that we have changed our ways, and yet God has not given us relief from the consequences. The consequences continue, and we continue to find them painful. If God has forgiven me, why am I still feeling the consequences?
Part 2:There are many good reasons why the consequences might continue. For instance, we may think that we have learned our lesson, but maybe God knows that we have not learned it well enough. Furthermore, this is a world that God has set up to follow certain laws. Those laws dictate that actions have consequences. Most of the time, God lets these laws stand. If he did not, the order of this world would unravel into anarchy.The main thing, though, is not to view our continued suffering as some kind of punishment from God. If we have confessed our sin, if we have repented, then God has forgiven us. His forgiveness was already obtained for us by Christ's death on the cross. The forgiveness of God is unconditional, complete, and eternal. God does not require us to suffer in order to earn forgiveness. Jesus has already suffered for us once for all.Since God has forgiven us, the consequence is no longer a consequence in the normal sense. Certainly it began as a result of our wrong choices. God's original purpose was to discipline and instruct, but now that the lesson is learned, God allows it to continue for some other purpose. The consequence is no longer suffering due to our wrong choices. It becomes just plain old suffering. There has been more written on the subject of general suffering than I could hope to read in my lifetime, so there are plenty of places you could go for help.So how do we fight the gnawing parasite that is regret? How do we face a circumstance that is a constant reminder of past mistakes? We turn our thoughts away from dwelling on and wallowing in our miserable circumstances. Instead we focus our minds on God's love as demonstrated on the cross. We look at how Jesus entered into this world of pain and suffered along with us to save us from our suffering. And we look forward to the day that all of this pain, suffering, and misery will be exchanged for glory.See the example of Paul in Philippians 4:12-13; 1 Corinthians 12:7-10; 4:7-11,16-18. Also, I highly recommend Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones for biblical help in overcoming struggles with negative mental thought processes.Thank you for taking the time to listen to my sermon and to read my lengthy response. I pray that God will help us all accept his freely given love as the free gift it is.
Randy, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer this question with depth and sensitivity. There is so much to ponder in this response, it could be another sermon, I'm sure. I really appreciate it, and am sure others will be blessed by this response as well.
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