Brand New!

When it is best to attempt to ‘patch up’ something in need of repair or restoration and when it is time for ‘brand new?’  That is a real question.

A young friend who loves fixing broken things was talking to me about his love of older cars. He has spent many hours rebuilding his 23 year old Honda. I remarked that in Cuba many of the cars on the streets are old American models of 1950’s vintage. He said, “See, that’s my point. If you just keep on making parts, you can keep them running.” Fair enough and a discussion worth having in our ‘use it up and throw it away’ consumer culture.  Then, we moved on to the issue of corrosion and reached the conclusion that there is a time, especially here in the northern climate, when salt and rust have eaten too much of the car’s structure to make it worth fixing.

Is your Christianity an effort in ‘fixing up’ your life or focused on the faith that allows for a new life?   

God, the Holy Spirit, makes people new

His work is not patchwork on the old. He offers us new life, one formed around eternal values that is far more than just an existence.  Jesus was speaking to some religious leaders who wondered why His followers did not keep their ritual laws. He said “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:21-22, NIV)  

Those men were attempting to make godly people by regulating behavior, attempting to ‘patch up’ the exterior. It did not work then and it will not work for us today.  If we try to patch a little love over a heart full of hate, if we try to do a small act of generosity while we are motivated by greed, if we try to make ourselves feel better about knowing God by stitching a couple of ‘spiritual’ moments into a day full of our own plans – we will find frustration, a life that lacks wholeness and beauty, rather like a coat with a patch sewn over a rip in the fabric.

Ezekiel preached to the people of the Lord who had lost their way, whose rituals were separated from their true devotion. God’s promise was a new heart! “I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27, NLT)  When our heart (the center of our being, our true self) is changed by the Spirit we walk with God, not out of duty or because of fear, but in the delight that is part of love.

A person who is in love does not need to be coaxed to spend time with his beloved. He does not have to be told to prioritize time with that individual. She fills his thoughts and he shapes his days around finding ways to be with her, to show his affection.  So it is with God. IF we receive His grace gift, IF we trust His Son to save us, the Spirit will come to live in us. The result is a change from the inside out.

Jesus told one of those religious leaders who came seeking to know the Truth about this transformation. “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:6-7, NIV)  “Your Mom and Dad made you alive in your body. God, alone, can make you alive in spirit!”  Born! Brand new! Alive to God!  Does this describe you?

John, decades later, amplified Jesus’ thought writing to those early Christians. His words are true for us, today. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:1-4, NIV) On this Monday morning, I want us to be encouraged by remembering that we are not just ‘patched up,’ that God’s work is making us new. If you want a truly changed life don’t focus on some incremental fixes in yourself. Instead, invite the Spirit to make you brand new in love, hope, and purpose. He will!

This is the word from the Word today. Keep it in mind. Meditate on it and find all things new. “Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to 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 4:21-24, NIV)

Video verison of CoffeeBreak at this link.

All Things New

(a great song from Big Daddy Weave)

I’ve heard You can take what’s broken
And make it whole again
Well here’s the pieces of my heart
What can You do with them
‘Cause I can’t hold them all together anymore
So I let them fall surrendered to the floor

You make all things new
You make all things new
God of mercy and love
Do what only You can do
And make all things (new)

Only You can bring such beauty
From the depths of all my pain
Only You can take this shattered heart
And make it beat again
Oh You hold us all together in Your hands
I surrender all I have and all I am

From the ashes from the dust
I will rise up rise up
Out of darkness into the light
I will rise up rise up

All things
You make all things new

David Leonard | Michael Weaver

© 2019 Curb Songs (Admin. by Curb Music Publishing)

Weave Country (Admin. by Curb Music Publishing)

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Integrity’s Alleluia! Music (Admin. by Integrity Music)

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