“I just don’t like it!”

newThe first time someone told me about the burger combo that the little lunch spot calls the “Asian Burger” I thought, “Ugh!”  When I go there now, it’s a favorite.  It’s a burger dressed up with peanut butter, pineapple, and jalapeno peppers. Seriously. OK, you have to taste it to believe it. It is good! My kids offered me hummus for a long time, but it looked like mud and did not smell much better.  Then, I finally tasted it. Now a favorite snack is blue corn chips and some roasted red pepper hummus. I just had to get past my assumptions to discover a new treat.

Do you live in a way that rejects anything new, that insists on sticking with the same stuff, hanging tightly to the same attitudes you have had for years? If your answer is ‘yes,’ you are cheating yourself out of a lot of what life has to offer. This is particularly true of our life with the Lord. He is unchanging (theological term – immutable) in His Person and character. Because He is perfect He does not grow or discover like we do. But, He does lead us through change, with a desire that we will know Him better, constantly discovering wonders about Him. But, will we? Or, will we insist on staying  with the same songs, the same few passages of Scripture, avoiding ministry or worship that pushes outside of our comfort zone?

Yes, I know that often situations or people drag us or push us out of our sweet spot in life we can become miserable! I know too many people who gripe incessantly about the changing world, their perspective one of gloom and doom, not necessarily because things are bad, only different.  Some Christians seeing the changes in their church become critics, withdrawing from fellowship, withholding support thinking that their little boycott will somehow arrest progress. It doesn’t.  Life moves on – with us or without us.

I hear some of you asking, “Jerry, so you think everything new is great? You think that things are better than they were 20 years ago?” Not necessarily. There are some changes that are not good. For example, take the sexual revolution that redefined American relationship in the last 50 years. It has devastated the family and we are reaping the consequence of this change. But, I am glad for the openness that this change brought that allows us to talk about things once so taboo that they were never mentioned. Most change brings a mix of blessings and difficulties. The Internet, as an illustration, makes communication so quick and makes the world so much smaller. It also brings pornography into our living room.  So, we have to learn how to use this change, ways to guard against the damaging side effects that it can cause.

Change is the only constant in life.
You can be sure that change will come.
What will you do with it? Will you seek God in it, finding His grace and goodness?

Before you conclude that all is lost, consider that the Lord has new possibilities for you.  The people of God were weeping over the destruction of their land. The Assyrians had taken the best as captives, looted the Temple, and many thought that the future was gone.  It was a terrible time but the Lord was allowing it to drag His people out of their sin and complacency.  Look what Isaiah told them. “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 desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.” (Isaiah 43:18-21, NIV)

On this Monday make it your prayer to be pliable in God’s hand, able to trust Him to lead you through seasons of change.  Yes, it can be hard. (I know this personally after losing my wife last year.) I am not a fatalist. God does give us choice and sometimes the changes that come our way are of our own making. But, be they His plans or our choice, if we will trust Him He will do a new thing, restoring and healing, deepening faith, and revealing Himself in ever greater glory and faithfulness.

Reject the grumbling, griping ways of the ancient Israelites who, when led out of Egypt, yearned for the comfort of the familiar even though they were slaves in it!  Invite Him to lead on, looking for the new day of His grace. Meditate on these words from the Word. As you do, turn your heart toward Jesus and tell Him, “Lead me into the fresh, new place of spiritual wholeness only found in knowing You.” And, He will!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

Be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:23-24, NIV)

” Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3, NIV)

“He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5, NIV)


If We’re Honest

Truth is harder than a lie
The dark seems safer than the light
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide 

I’m a mess and so are you
We’ve built walls nobody can get through
Yeah it may be hard
But the best thing we could ever do ever do

 It would change our lives
It would set us free
It’s what we need to be

  (So) Bring your brokenness and I’ll bring mine
Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy’s waiting on the other side
If we’re honest if we’re honest

 Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not
Living life afraid of getting caught
There is freedom found
When we lay our secrets down at the cross
At the cross

 It would change our lives
It would set us free
It’s what we need to be

 Francesca Battistelli | Jeff Pardo | Molly Reed
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