A New Year

January 1, 2017   Isaiah 43:14 – 21   Something New 

 

    I think God is into new things.   Isaiah 42: See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you."   Isaiah 65:17 behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered nor will they come to mind.  Lamentations 3 because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.   They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.    Zephaniah 3 5 The Lord within her is righteous; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame.    1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying This cup is a new covenant in my blood do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.   We have a new covenant in Jesus blood.  What was the old covenant?   How was it established? 

    Revelation 21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.    I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.   And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.   They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.    He will wipe every tear from their eyes.   There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."     He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."  Before you know it we will be in heaven.  Are you ready? 

     People are into new things also.   We like new things.   If we can’t afford that new appliance or car we pray that God will get us through with what we have.   But more than that people often would like something new.   We want to experience something different.  Sometimes when we ask someone how things are going and they same old stuff.   People also often want to put away the past sins, failures.  Sometimes it may be the desire to move past a painful experience, a financial situation, or a difficult health issue that we have struggled with.    Sometimes we have to bite the bullet and put things behind us.  We can choose not to think about the past. 

    I think God would say today for some people do not dwell on the past things.   Don’t be consumed with the past.   Do not be burdened with the past.    I would say do not bring unforgiveness into 2017.   Do you have any unforgiveness?  If you have any unforgiveness you should deal with it.   It is like a big barnacle or heavy weight around your neck and it chokes you.   We may not be aware of it but it pulls us down.  Make sure you do not have the spirit – any spirit of unforgiveness.   Are you free from your past?   Are things good between you and your spouse?   Is the past under the blood washed and clean?  As you move ahead you do not want the past pulling you back and pulling you down.   

   Ask God to forgive your past sins and failures.  In Christ you are not a slave to your past.   We have freedom in Jesus.   We have been redeemed so that we can worship God and live in newness of life.   Romans 6 tell us that sin shall not have dominion over you.   We can be victorious over sin.   Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.   We cannot change the past and we cannot live on yesterday’s faith.   Some need to forgive others and put aside old hurts.  God does not want us to feed on trash.   If your mind and your hands are full of the past how then can we navigate the future?    Ask God to heal those old hurts and wounds and be at peace with the past and with others.  Some people feel sorry for themselves and that is not the way to go forward. 

      It has been said "Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every year find you a better person"    I think that it is very important for some of us to put the past behind us.  There was a couple who were sitting with a marriage counselor for their first session and the good doctor asked them to identify what seemed to be the root of their problems. The wife responded, "It all started when we thought it would be cute to think up each other’s New Year’s resolutions" (Houston Post, 12/31/91).     This couple focused on the past and on the negative.  Because of Jesus dying on the cross and paying for our sins God offers you and I forgiveness.   He offers us a second chance or 3rd chance etc.   If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   Let’s turn the page on 2016 and look forward to 2017.   

      Today is a new day and today starts a new year. Paul said I forget those things from the past and Paul pressed into the future.   Paul says I am looking ahead to what God has for me.  I am looking to see who I can minister to.  I am focused Paul is saying.  I am not feelings sorry for myself.  I am not making excuses for myself.  Paul is saying I am looking ahead and not back.    If God is doing new things we do not want to gage the future from what we have experienced in the past.   Do not think about this church in light of what we have seen in the past.   God has some new things for us.    II Corinthians 5:17 tells us therefore if anyone is in Christ the old has passed away behold all things are new.   Can we see everything as new?   Can we change our attitude so that we see each day as a new day?   God has something me for me today.     

    As we approach this New Year there will opportunities for us.   God has open doors for you and I and we do not want to miss what God has for us.   Some of us may be very forward thinking.   Maybe God has put something in your heart.    I was talking with someone lately about Fred Smith.  This is a story about his Yale professor who missed it.  Fred wrote a paper about overnight delivery of packages and the professor wrote on Fred’s paper, "The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ’C,’ the idea must be feasible." --A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)     I wonder how that professor feels today about that grade if he is still alive.  I wonder if Fred ever contacted him after he started Fed Ex?  

   Here is another illustration.  Monty Roberts was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who worked hard training horses at many farms, stables, and ranches.  His high school career was continually interrupted because of this work schedule.  As a senior he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up.  Monty wrote a lengthy paper describing his goal of someday owning a magnificent horse ranch.  He drew a diagram of the 200 acre dream ranch, detailing the location of buildings, stables, track, and 4,000 square foot house.   

    A few days later Monty received the paper back from his teacher with a large red F.  Upon being asked the reason for the F the teacher responded, this is an unrealistic dream for a boy like you.   You have no resources or money.  You have to buy the land breeding stock, and pay stud fees among other things.  There is no way you could ever do it.  The teacher then added if you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I’ll reconsider your grade. 

    Monty thought about it long and hard for a week.  Finally he turned in the same paper making no changes at all and informed his dream stealing teacher you keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.  Years later his dream became a reality.   He now lives on a 200 acre ranch and etc. and his high school paper is framed over the fire place.  That is from Dutch Sheets book titled Dream page 42.    We do not think too highly of that teacher but maybe that was the best thing she could do for Monty.  I think he dug in and said I am going to realize my dream.  I am going for it and nothing is going to stop me.  I like that kind of commitment.  God likes that kind of commitment when it is for Him.  Are you committed to God? 

    What are you going to aim for in this New Year?   Do you have a God given dream?   Do you want a God given dream?   We need to seek that open door that God has for us and go in and possess the land so to speak.   We can with God’s help take some precious souls from Satan’s camp and point them to Jesus.   I hope God puts something tough on your plate this year.  We need a good challenge.