The new year offers opportunity for change. One of the most encouraging things about new years, new weeks and new days is the word “NEW.” It is the chance to “start over, refresh yourself, change directions, begin anew.”

There are some things in our lives that we like to change, and desperately need to. But sometimes, we find ourselves like the flies placed in a glass jar with air hole in the lid. At the start, the flies would frantically bang into the lid trying to find freedom. But if left in the jar long enough, they’ll stop hitting the lid. The flies become so use to circling in the cramped jar that they continue to do so even if the lid is removed. The same thing happens to people battered and burdened by past experiences. They simply give up trying.

As we begin this year, it is fitting to look at a man who made one of the most startling new beginnings in Scriptures. His name is Noah and his story is told in Gen. 6-9. Here was a man qualified by God to start again. In a world of unbelief (Luke 17:26-27) by walking with God and he found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:8-9). What can guarantee us change and not only wishful resolutions?

Before you begin anew, determine where you are. It requires courage to admit where we are and to allow the Lord of beginnings to guide us and show us our heart. We need him for not all change is good. Consider how the pig rejoices that it is taken out of the pigpen and brought to the frying pan. The prophet Jeremiah asks, “can the Ethiopian change his skin or leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil? (Jer. 13:23). The passage shows how impossible it is for anyone to free oneself from the innate
tendency to sin (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:23).

When you think of new beginnings, leave something behind to move forward. To walk with God means to forget the past by no longer allowing it to hinder your coming closer to God. The Lord assures, “And their sins and iniquities I will remember no more” (Heb. 10:17). Not that God loses his memory, but Jesus already paid for the judgment of our sins. Once we accept God in our hearts and openly admit to Jesus our needs, God covers our sins with the blood of Jesus and He forgets. The change is so real that with His Spirit, we too can forget. Noah left whatever was against God’s will. If we really desire to live a truly righteous life that makes an impact for Christ, we have to be willing to leave the old and venture into new territory. The Bible declares, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, He is a new creation, the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17).

To experience a new beginning be willing to risk God’s trustworthiness. Noah showed his willingness to risk God’s trustworthiness by building the ark. “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen…prepared an ark (Heb. 11:7). Today, it is not unusual to build boats and ship but not during his time. There was so much at stake. First, it has never rained on earth. Second, he was 500 miles away from the nearest body of water. Third, the size of the ark was enormous. Fourth, it took 120 years of waiting for the rain to come.

Surely, the people laughed at Noah. But what kept him from wavering? “…. In reverence or Holy fear he prepared an ark” (Heb. 11:7). It means “holding something carefully” like a new born baby in the arms of a mother. That was Noah and God’s will.

We, too, can trust His trustworthiness. When He sent the great flood, His program didn’t change. He promised His only Son and indeed, Jesus came. No matter what happens this year 2019, God’s work shall come to pass and His precious promises will stand true.

As Noah stepped into the new world, his immediate response was to worship the Lord. He had a lot of questions, surely. He didn’t know where he was, but God knew and that was all he needed to know to start over.

The New Year is like wet cement. We can mold it, reshape it and form it. Or we can step on it and just let it pass by. Or we can write our names on it and make history and faith story. It is having the courage to evaluate ourselves and allowing the Lord to empower and change us so that we can be able to risk God’s trustworthiness as we move forward and leave behind the things that hinder our progress.

-Pastor Gideon and Family

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