Tag Archives: new life

Life In The Desert

In the mid 1990’s, I moved to Cairo, Egypt. As the plane landed, I looked out the window. I was shocked to see that there wasn’t any grass on the medians between the runway. On the drive to my new home, I was overwhelmed by the sea of tan dirt all around me. The Sahara Desert was my first culture shock having lived in a lush green area of East Texas my whole life. However, over time, I grew used to living in the desert and the lack of green vegetation. Then, early the year after I moved there, I decided to take a bus to Israel. We drove for hours through the desert until we came to the border. As I got out to walk across, I saw the strangest thing ever. All along the border there was a line of grass and flowers in the middle of this desert and it extended into Israel. It was an incredible sight to see life growing in the middle of a barren land.

The reason deserts lack life is because they lack water. Over 90% of Egyptians live along the Nile river because that’s the only way they can sustain life. Sure, there are people who live in the desert, but life is better and more easily sustained where there is water. Even along the Nile, I hadn’t seen what I saw at the border that day. Things were thriving at the border. It reminded me that God is able to do the impossible. He can grow life in the middle of nowhere and in the harshest environments. He is able to take our roughest, driest patches in life and spring up new life. He is able to take what looks like an end and create a new beginning. The desert we’re temporarily living in has the potential for life.

In Isaiah 43:18-19 God says, “Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past. Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert” (AMP). I believe God is still speaking to us through these verses. The desert you’ve been in is about to burst forth with life. It starts with us forgetting the things of the past that led us into the desert. We need to focus our attention on what God is doing right now in this dry season. He’s creating a pathway forward for you and bringing a river of life to your situation. What has been a barren time for you is about to be teeming with life. God does not abandon us in the desert and He’s able to make a way where there seems to be no way. Trust in Him, don’t lean on your own understanding, acknowledge what He’s doing and He will direct your path through this time (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Photo by danial Sol on Unsplash

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Going Fishing

For three years the disciples followed Jesus. They witnessed people receive their sight having been born blind. They watched leprous skin clear up right before them. They were standing there when Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb four days after he died. They handed out the five loaves and two fish to the 5,000. They not only saw Jesus walk on water, they saw Him calm the wind and waves. They had countless fireside discussions that you and I will never know about. That’s why I’ve always been baffled by this one thing that happened after the resurrection.

John 21:3 says, “Simon Peter said to the others, ‘I am going fishing.’ ‘We will come with you,’ they told him” (GNT). After all they had seen and done, they went back to their old life. It’s hard for me to comprehend how they could experience everything they did, and then just simply go back to their old life. Had they forgotten that Jesus had told them that from now on they would be fishers of men? How could they go back to being regular fishermen? No matter how perplexing it is, I have to wonder if we are any different.

We may not have seen those miracles as they did, but if we accepted Jesus as our savior, we experienced the power of God in our own life. We felt that initially cleansing feeling and the peace that passes understanding. Yet somehow, many times we go right back to our old way of living. We know we are supposed to be a new creation, but that old life that’s supposed to be dead and buried calls out to us and tempts us to go back. Even though we experienced the power of the resurrection, we sometimes live as though it had no affect on our life.

That life is as fruitless as that night of fishing for the disciples. The great news for us is that Jesus is on the shore calling out to us, “Have you caught anything?” Then He reminds us to cast our nets on the other side. He reminds us to return to Him and to live our life in the power of the resurrection. When we live that way, our nets will be full. Jesus’ words to them that morning were simple: Follow me. That call goes out to us too. Don’t go back to who you once were before you followed Him. If you have “gone fishing” in that old life, you can swim to shore where Jesus is waiting to welcome you back with open arms.

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Spiritual Metamorphosis

When I was a kid, my favorite record was “Bullfrogs and Butterflies” sung by Barry McGuire. We played that record so many times that I’m sure we wore it out. The theme song lyrics said, “Bullfrogs and butterflies we’ve both been born again.” It’s a catchy tune that sticks in your head the rest of your life, but when I was a kid, I didn’t realize how profound that lyric was. When you think of a tadpole or a caterpillar, they undergo a complete change. Tadpoles not only go through a physical change, they go from only being able to breath under water to amphibians. Caterpillars change from having to inch everywhere they go to being able to fly. While their outside changes, their insides remain. I wonder how long it takes to mentally convince themselves they can leave the pond or fly away from the branch.

2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (NLT) When we give our life to Jesus, just like bullfrogs and butterflies, we undergo a change. It’s not physical like theirs, but rather it’s spiritual. This new creation is housed in the old body which creates some problems, but with this new life comes a change in how we think, live and act. We don’t do the things we used to do because they are no conducive to a healthy spiritual life. We were set free from having to remain in the pond of sin and selfishness and are free to breathe in God’s breath of life doing the things His Spirit leads us to do. We become free to live the life we were created to live, but many of us struggle to adapt to our new life.

It can be difficult to reconcile our faith with our public self that everyone knows. The metamorphosis that God does in our life starts on the inside and works it’s way to the outside by how we live. For some people they get an instant change, while most of us spend our lives growing and maturing in our faith step by step. As Jesus moves closer to the center of our life, we will become more like Him in how we think, live and act. Don’t compare your growth and spiritual metamorphosis to someone else’s. Let God do His work in your life as you continue to pray, read the Bible and live in your freedom. Remember that Romans 8:1 reminds us that there is no condemnation for those in Christ. Your new life will continue to be at odds with your old one. Don’t beat yourself up when the old life rears its head. Seek God’s forgiveness and ask Him to continue to help you to become more like Jesus.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

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Your New Life

One of the questions I ask young adults is, “How do you personally define a successful life?” If they struggle with the answer, we fast forward until their 80 and look at their life. Then I ask, “If you had a successful life in your eyes, what would you see?” Many times I hear people say, “Lots of kids or grandkids,” or “A full bank account,” or “Lots of property.” If they know where they want to end up, they can start working towards getting there. Now let’s flip the question, “At the end of your life, how will Jesus know you lived a successful life?”

I don’t mean that question as a Jesus Juke. I want you to think about whether you’re living for yourself or for Him. Do your goals match up with the goals He has for you? 2 Corinthians 5:15 says, “He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them” (NLT). If at the end of your life, you attained your measure of success, but not His, you’ve failed. In Mark 8:36, Jesus said, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”

2 Corinthians 5 goes on to tell us that when we are in Christ, we receive a new life. With a new life comes new purpose. We no longer are to live for ourselves (old life). We are to now live for Christ (new life). This new life produces different fruit than the old one. The definition of success changes because your purpose changes. If you’re still working under your old definition of success in your new life, spend time asking God what His definition of success is for your life. It’s not too late to begin fulfilling your purpose in your new life.

Photo by Gene Chauvin on Instagram

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The Great Exchange


December 26th is the second busiest day for retail stores. It’s second only to Black Friday. This is the day after Christmas, and people flock to the stores to return or exchange the gifts they got the day before. Some people feel like returning and exchanging gifts is being ungrateful and rude. I’ve been in that camp, but if you think about it, wouldn’t you want them to have something they’d actually use? The old gift is going to sit there and be worthless unless they exchange it for something better and more suited for them.

We know that we celebrate the gift of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Because He was born into our world, lived a sinless life, died on a cross for our sins, and rose to life again defeating death, hell, and the grave, you and I can exchange an eternity in Hell for one in Heaven.when we accept Him as our savior, we exchange our old life for a new one. That’s one of the great things about Christianity. You are not stuck with a life you don’t like or an eternity without God.

II Corinthians 5 is all about the exchanges we receive when we accept Christ. Verses 17 and 18 say, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ” (NLT). If you don’t like the life you’re living now, you have the ability to exchange it, and receive the life you were meant to live. You’re not stuck with it. Jesus came to give you a new life and a new way to live.

What’s more is, that same chapter tells us that one day, we will exchange these mortal bodies for spiritual bodies. We will not be stuck for eternity with the flaws and limitations our current body has. Paul said that to be present in this body is to be absent from the Lord, but one day we will take off this corruptible for the incorruptible. God’s desire is that you and I take advantage of the exchange policy He put in place with the birth of Jesus. It’s one exchange that we all need to make. 

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A Repurposed Life


One of the things I like about watching HGTV is to see how the repurpose and reuse previously discarded materials. Who knew you could take old, wooden Coca-Cola bottle boxes, screw them together, put legs under them, and put glass on top to create a cool display coffee table? I love how they find new uses for previously thrown out items or give new life to things that are worn out and are thought to be worthless. Their creativity is inspiring.

When I watch that, I can’t help but think, “That’s what God does with us!” He takes our lives that are broken, used up, out dated,and seemingly useless, and repurposes us. He gives us new life and makes us more beautiful than before. He sometimes find us in life’s scrap pile and thinks, “I can find new life and uses for this.” When everyone else sees someone worth discarding, God sees potential. This always gives me hope.

In Isaiah 41, God had strong words for Israel. They had fallen away and were scattered. They were a people who were broken and thought of as trash, but God doesn’t like to leave His children that way. In verse 9 He said, “I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away” (NLT). When others, and often ourselves, don’t see anything of worth in your life and are willing to toss you out with yesterday’s garbage, God sees someone He values highly.

In verse 10, He goes on to say, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Not only does He see your life as valuable and worthy of repurposing, He’s going to give you strength, help, and victory for the transition. It’s not always easy being repurposed, but if we will let God have complete control over our lives, He will make something beautiful and useful.

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Spiritual Heart Transplant (Video)

 Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

Ephesians 4:23-24

If the video does not play, click here.

 

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The Smell Test

Guys are famous for wearing clothes that pass the smell test. To get dressed, they will grab clothes off the floor, or wherever else they’re laying, smell them and then wear them if they don’t stink too badly. The clothes can smell some, just not too much. When clothes get too stinky, they go in another pile. This cycle continues until they either buy new clothes or are forced to do laundry because they’re broke and out of clothes.

To some of you, this sounds sick. But to many guys, this is a way of life. Now imagine if a guy had a closet full of new clothes and started putting on the clothes from the floor that passed the stink test. It’s one thing to be out of clean clothes, but if you had clean clothes and you still put on your old ones, people would start to question you. This is the illustration Paul used in Colossians 3 for Christians who go back to their old way of life.

In verses 9-11, Paul was referring to how you lived before you became a Christian when he said, “It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom made by the Creator, with His label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. (MSG)” You’ve been given a new way of life since you accepted Christ and a new wardrobe. It doesn’t make sense to live like you used to.

We shouldn’t be sniffing around our old way of life to see if it doesn’t stink too badly when we’ve got tailor made clothes freshly made for us hanging in the closet. When we left that old life for the life Christ gives, we need to leave that wardrobe behind. Even if it doesn’t stink too badly, it’s still not the clothes that God made for us to wear. That wardrobe consists of compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength discipline, being even tempered, and quick to forgive according to verses 13-14. With these clothes on, we’ll look and live like disciples of Christ.   

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10 Scriptures On Life

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1. Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it. (Matthew 10:39 GNB)

2. Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. (Proverbs 9:11 NLT)

3. And this is that testimony (that evidence): God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who possesses the Son has that life; he who does not possess the Son of God does not have that life. (1 John 5:11-12 AMP)

4. For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. (John 3:16 GNB)

5. I am the Bread of Life [that gives life–the Living Bread]. (John 6:48 AMP)

6. Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, (1 Peter 1:3 GNB)

7. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:15, 17 NLT)

8. The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life — life in all its fullness. (John 10:10 GNB)

9. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ. (Colossians 3:3-4 MSG)

10. For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. (1 Peter 1:23 NLT)

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10 Scriptures On Being Renewed

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1. Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 GNB)

2. And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], (Ephesians 4:23 AMP)

3. Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 ASV)

4. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. (2 Corinthians 4:16 NLT)

5. But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. (Isaiah 40:31 AMP)

6. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NLT)

7. Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]! (Psalm 103:5 AMP)

8. Restore us, O LORD, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had! (Lamentations 5:21 NLT)

9. And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it. (Colossians 3:10 AMP)

10. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness. (Psalms 119:40 NLT)

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