Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year - No Fear in the New Year

This past Sunday was January 1, 2012. AT NRN we held a family worship service to begin the New Year. I received several encouraging comments about my message and thought I would post some of the text of my message in this first posting of 2012.

No Fear in the New Year
Isaiah 43: 1-7; 18-19
Jeremiah 18:1-6
Ecclesiastes 11:3

A New Year is simply a change on the calendar – but today could serve as a time of change.
How do you respond to change?
Many people are resistant to change – yet every growing organism changes. That includes you and me.

A lot of times, the way we respond to change is what determines the outcome of
that change. I have also found that being prepared for change, and even embracing change is a key to living the abundant life.

Could 2012 be the year that you need to make a change?
Today’s message is unique in that all the scriptures are from the Old
Testament. The children of Israel needed change, but resisted it. In fact, a
study of Israel shows that the people were wandering. Following the Exodus from Egypt – there were times of great obedience, followed by times of total disobedience. God sent prophets to share His message because the people were in need of a change. They needed to move from dependence upon themselves to dependence upon God.

One of those prophets was Isaiah – who prophesied “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be
called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Listen to these words from Isaiah Chapter 43: 1-7

But now, this is what the LORD says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you,
Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your
God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to
the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

You were created for God’s glory! Your life is part of a tapestry of God’s glory.
I know, your part may be a little fuzzy – the colors may not match – but you are
a part of God’s plan to show forth His glory. You are loved by God – and you display God’s glory. God loves you with an everlasting love.

Now, hear from Isaiah 43:18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on
the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive
it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

God brings change that last. That is the message of Christmas – God sent his only Son to save us and change our lives forever. This is the perfect God – molding us into Himself. God loves you – you are his son and daughter.

Is 2012 the year that you need a change? Will you grow in your…
Patience; Love for others; generosity; worry less; be more joyful; stop that bad habit; how you talk to your spouse or other people? Sometimes, change is uncomfortable.

Isaiah’s message was also:
You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the
clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?
Isaiah 29:16

Change is hard – scary – fearful – but I say to you – Fear NOT!

Isaiah also said: Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.Isaiah 64:8

Listen to the account of Jeremiah the prophet (Jeremiah 18:1-6)

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

Do you remember playing with clay or playdoh when you were little? You could mold it and reform to make whatever shape pleased you, until it dried out and got hard. Once it became hard trying to reshape it just caused it to crumble and fall apart. God tries to do the same for us, reshaping us into something pleasing to Him, unless we harden our hearts and make ourselves unable to take on the new shape that He desires. Are you permitting God to use you or mold you into the instrument, device or pottery that will give honor to God?

CLIP: New Year’s Transformation

A few questions:
· What do you need to leave behind?
· What change do you need to make?
· What failures do you need to forget?
· What disciplines do you need to develop?
· What grudge do you need to release?
· What burdens do you need to give back to God?
· Do you need to trust God more in the New Year?
· What does God want you to do?

And - this is my New Year prayer for all my friends:

May God grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers. Psalm 20:4-5