Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hope and Newness in 2012

Last night Mike and I celebrated the New Year with our friend Sam in town. I made some spinach-artichoke dip cups, and buffalo chicken dip. Let's just say, we had our fill of cream cheese for the evening! It was just so funny because we don't have any TV in our apartment, so in the middle of watching 'Heroes' on DVD (my new addiction), Mike ran and got the champagne out of the fridge and was struggling to get it open. "Watch out, this top could fly!" He warned us. And then the top just dropped to the ground.

I was laughing because it was just so anti-climactic, and then once we had some champagne in our glasses, I just looked at my watch and we started counting down just in time. I couldn't even finish the countdown because I was laughing so hard at how lame we all felt. It was so funny.

So when I finally went to bed (man, who stays up till midnight anymore??) I was just thinking about this new year, and how for so many people the New Year is the only time where they feel they have some sort of hope and a chance to have a fresh start and new beginning. Then I thought, "Wow. As a Christian, we have a hope eternal every second of the year, and we have been given a fresh, clean, white as snow start for the rest of our lives when we made the choice to follow Christ!!!

How incredible is that??!!

What a blessing to know that we don't need to put our hope in ourselves to make resolutions that will never be perfectly kept, because we ourselves aren't perfect!

How amazing to know that this feeling of hope, ABOUNDS in us, and that we are filled with it throughout the rest of our lives, not just on New Years?! Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

How awesome to have that sensation of newness all the time? That God has made us a completely new creation, and what we despise; our sin, all our nastiness, He has forgotten and sent away as far as the east is from the west and remembers no more?! Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away, behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 He has renewed us by the power of the Holy Spirit! And there is no greater sense of renewal than that! He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5

(And let's just make something clear here: It's not about what we do. We aren't saved by our 'righteous deeds' because our deeds are as filthy rags according to God. "And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment..." Isaiah 64:6)

So I fell asleep thinking about that, and then today at church, we turned to that verse in 2 Corinthians 5, and our pastor was talking about the exact same thing I had thought about!

This new year isn't about living simply an 'improved' life, it's about living a new life, in Christ. Don't go back to that old self that is dead. Don't try to live like a caterpillar when God has transformed you into a butterfly.

Live this new year in the NEW life Christ has given you with joy, peace, and incredible hope!

Have a joyful 2012!

oh and ps: black-eyed peas are official disgusting in my book. Just had some for the first time. Yuck! But yay for you if you like them!

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