Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shiny and New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

Opening the front door, peeking inside, I saw the newness of what awaited me. New carpet. New fixtures and faucets. New, fresh paint. New bulbs. Newness just surrounded me. It was one of the most exciting times of my life, having bought our first home together just two weeks before we were married. I breathed in the new smells and stared at the new sights, and without one single complaint, I reveled in what the Lord had given me. Everything was new.

The days and months passed, and the new walls became scratched and nail pops began to show. The new carpet looked as though it was twenty years old. Those once-new fixtures and faucets were needing plumbing and examining. I look back to just a little over twenty months ago and remember how quickly newness comes to an end.

I find myself wishing we were in a new house again, that our marriage was still new, and that life was altogether new. Unfortunately, none of them are. They might not, in any way, be old, but they aren't brand new any more. I see how things change in front of my very eyes. From my best friend's baby to my grandfather's age, nothing remains new. Addy, at just two months old, has started laughing and rolling. My Pop recalls more often these days what his life was like years ago. See, nothing can stay the same.

That is, except for Jesus Christ. In Revelation, we see just how NEW life in Christ is, as it states, "Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful (Revelation 21:5).” It's hard for us to understand that things can always be new, but with God they are. From the dawning of each new day to His mercies that are new every morning, life with the Lord is NEW!

And exactly how do I know this? Well, let me tell you that my house may not be new, but it is a home. It will be a brand new home for the new baby who will be entering it in this new year. The new year brings forth opportunities for all of us with new jobs and new talents that God has waiting in store. Those new abilities will be used to make new relationships with those new co-workers. Just think, those new friends may not know the new life they can have in Christ. What a New Year that would be!

With the holidays practically over and those new gifts finding scratches, tears, and their own closet space, there is reason to focus our minds on what really matters in this life. It isn't the new house, car, or job we find ourselves in; it is the relationship we have with our Lord, Jesus Christ. Life without Him is old. In this New Year, take the time to realize the newness we have in Jesus, and cherish it more than any new thing you are given.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cleaning Up Or Out... Whichever You Like to Call It.

When I was a kid, the worst chore I was ever given was to clean my room. You would think that I could have figured out that if I'd attempt to keep things clean, dusted and vacuumed, that having that assignment wouldn't be so terrible. BUT, it was... Every single time, I would throw a tantrum at the idea of having to do it.

That phase lasted up until I was in middle school. I continued with the feeling of disgust in cleaning my room. Oh, and in high school too. I would have friends coming over, and at the last minute, I'd be shoving things into my 2 closets and under my bed. It's an awful habit, I must admit.

The scary part is that I STILL hate having to clean. You'd think it would change what with having my own house and getting married and having a child on the way. BUT it hasn't. I could not tell you if you paid me to inform you on all the things under our bed right now. My closet is shameful, and the soon-to-be nursery closet is the most atrocious thing I've ever seen. You seriously CANNOT see the wall, carpet, or ceiling; it's packed that tight.

Life is like that sometimes. We have so many things we like hanging onto rather than getting rid of them or just cleaning them up. We pride ourselves in hiding our dirt. It's sad but painstakingly true. In Psalm 24, it's clear that we need to get busy with cleaning up... "Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart..." I know I'm taking it a bit out of context, but in all seriousness, I think it somewhat applies. How can we live clean lives if not ALL of us is clean? I just don't think it's possible.

I've started cleaning. Maybe it's because I realize I've got a baby on the way and I've GOT to make room for him. Maybe it's because I'm tired of all the junk I've held onto and realize it's time to make the break. Maybe it's because I have learned that THIS WORLD is not my home, and as the old hymn says, "I'm just a-passing through." The less I have here, the better off I'll be when it's my time to go.

It's time to clean out the closets and clean up from underneath the bed. It's time to rid myself of things I don't need. It's time to realize that God's given me more than enough to live on, and there are those who need these things more than me... So, I'm giving in and cleaning up...