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Born Again

As we wave goodbye and say “good riddance” to 2020 we look ahead to 2021 with hope. You may be thinking about career opportunities, housing arrangements, or travel plans, but the most important consideration is to do some self-examination of where we are spiritually (II Corinthians 13:5). I’m pretty sure I’m not the Lone Ranger, needing to refocus and rededicate myself to following Jesus with a renewed and refreshed spirit.

The apostle Paul lovingly encourages Christians to be in a continuous state of renewal. “…in reference to your former way of life, you are to rid yourselves of the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:22-24). Be renewed is an ongoing process as God works in our lives. In other words, we don’t willpower ourselves to renewal but the Holy Spirit helps us change as we submit our lives to Jesus as Lord. Plus, it is NOT a one-time event (like baptism) but it is a daily rededication of our lives to follow Jesus and keep maturing to become more like Him. Additionally, it does NOT mean we are perfect but we are a work in progress.

The beginning of a new year is a really good time to “be renewed” in our walk with the Lord from here to heaven. The best news is the amazing manifestation of God’s love because He is the God of second chances. God allows do-overs in life. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and need to be born again. Many people would shut us out but not our heavenly Father. He actually specializes in mercy, grace, forgiveness, and patience. The key is to take advantage of God’s loving forgiveness and turn our lives completely over to Jesus as Savior and Lord. In Luke 15 the prodigal son offended and hurt his father deeply and left his father’s home; however, when he hit the bottom of the barrel and came back home his father ran to embrace him. That son is you and me, and the father is God. We all have sinned against a holy God but His love is so great that He allows us to be born again and come back to Him. And, we keep repenting and growing every day. I suggest all of us make 2021 a great year of spiritual renewal.

Read Hebrews 2:1-3; 4:11-13; 12:1-3. Then listen to Born Again by Third Day.

PS – Speaking of Hebrews: beginning January 3 (8:30-9:15 a.m.) we will begin an in-depth bible study of Hebrews on Zoom. You are welcome to join us. Contact me @ homer@whchurchofchrist.org to join in the study of this amazing book.

Hebrews 2:1-3

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every violation and act of disobedience received a just punishment, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard,

Hebrews 4:11-13

Therefore let’s make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must answer.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

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