Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Your Best Days are Ahead of You – Part 1 - Success

This week Michael writes that for many of us this statement is not hard to believe as we look back upon the tribulation of the past year. The world teaches that the key to having pleasant surprises in the new year is to begin with low expectations. When we operate in our strengths, this reveals our weaknesses to others. When we're on a team, the team sees our weaknesses. Sometimes the team will tell you that you need a sabbatical. We often need to draw away from the world and back into the presence of God. Renewal is required to repent, to turn around and to begin with a clean slate with a new identity in Christ. A new year allows us to forget that which lies behind and to stretch toward that which lies aheadTherefore I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

A new year gives us a clean slate to walk in the newness of life. It's easy to take stock of the year in retrospect and to understand where we have fallen short as spouses, parents, grandparents, workers, business peers, and stewards of that with which God  has entrusted us.  However, the new year gives us an opportunity to forsake the shortcomings that are behind in the old year. What is the priority in the new year? Paul, who had impeccable worldly credentials, said that all my degrees, all my worldly training, all my awards and accolades I count but garbage to serve Christ. In Philippians 3:8 he writes, "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ."

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, all things have become new." For the best days ahead of us, we need to start with the basics.  We have to turn back to God and remind ourselves of basic truths.  James 2 is about these fundamentals. He brought us into the world, each with a specific purpose. This is the essence of sanctification: to be set apart for God's specific purpose ... His portion, His providence, His allotment for our lives. Faith without works is dead ... For we are His masterpiece, His poem, His great work created in Christ Jesus unto good works which he hath before ordained that we should walk in it. The understanding of God's purpose starts with knowing the price that Jesus Christ paid  on our behalf as the perfect sinless sacrifice for our sins ... for our  having missed the mark of God's righteousness.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.  James 3 says that both blessing and cursing come from the same tongue. To whom do you pledge allegiance? For whom do you strive? Whom do you choose to serve? We must come to the realization that in climbing the ladder of worldly success, the ladder has been leaning against the wrong wall. The secret of an abundant and blessed life is to have low expectations of ourselves and high expectations of our life in Christ. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature.
Let’s continues Michael’s New Year’s message on the next post.

In Christ, Brian

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