When we take that first step of faith to follow Jesus and receive Him as our Lord, the Bible says we experience a spiritual birth – we become “born again”. This new birth isn’t physical, it’s spiritual. We come alive and awakened to a whole new world. The power of sin is broken over us and we experience forgiveness along with a new-found freedom and sense that God loves us and has great purpose for our lives.
Throughout the Bible we see God calling unlikely people to do big things for Him. A significant reason for this is because if they could do it on their own, then there would be no need for God to help them, and instead of bringing glory to God, the credit would stay with the person who was called. God wants His people to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7); they were created to bring Him glory (1 Corinthians 10:31)!
When faced with pain and suffering it’s natural to ask what the purpose of it all is. Paul tells us that we can be absolutely sure that God is working in our lives through it: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
How should we deal with uncertainty? One of the greatest examples in the Bible of someone who was secure in the face of uncertainty is Abraham. He was a successful businessman in one of the most prosperous cities of his day. God would ask him to leave the comfort and security of his home and travel to another land, not knowing much about the place or even the exact location. Abraham had plenty to be uncertain about.
There is no shortage of opinions on how to prepare yourself for the upcoming year. Information on how to prepare yourself health-wise. Information on how to prepare yourself financially. But how do we prepare ourselves spiritually? The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches can distract us from preparing the most crucial component for a successful year and that is our heart.
The truth is, being busy is often rewarded in our world, because it somehow translates to being productive, successful, and better. And while this may be true at times, it’s not always the case. Busyness can lead to making mistakes, being unsafe, or missing good opportunities. In Pastor Dave and Pastor Cheryl’s message this past weekend titled, “How God Wraps a Present”, they mentioned how we can be wrapped up in our busyness, to the extent that we become “insensitive to what God is doing”. If busyness has been your daily reality and you’re wanting to break this pattern in your life, it’s time to reprioritize, slow down, and develop new patterns.
Those who are of God love what God loves. God loves His children and Apostle John in his letter directs Christians to do the same, to love one another. God is delighted when His children obey and live according to His will as revealed in His commandments. Believers do not see God’s commandments as heavy and vexatious. We are a new creation in Christ and therefore we love to follow our master’s decrees. However, we also recognize that loving others or loving what God loves is not an easy task and it requires our daily surrender and dependence upon God. We need the power of God’s Spirit working within us and our daily intentional meditation and application of His Word.
It is the Christian privilege that they are called the children of God. There is something in a name. The custom of the old testament was to name children with a great name, a name that had a great story which belonged to an earlier hero. The name gave him or her a standard to live up to, an inspiration for living. No-one would usually use a weak or insipid name for their child – that in itself could be so discouraging. So the Christian has the privilege of being called the children of God.