"Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God, For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting in punishment." (Joel 2:12-13)
"Even now.." I always love hearing these words on Ash Wednesday. Today we turn
to God in a New Way. We let go of the past and re-make ourselves, better yet, we
ask our Creator to make us new, to create in us a new heart, a new life.
If ever there was a day to focus on bettering ourselves, today is it. God gives us a fresh start. The purpose of this site, New Way Today, is to remind us that God is always ready to do this for us on any day. It's a truth so close to my heart. Jesus is Mercy. It's all about His Mercy. This scripture tells us what God is like and it tells us what to do. He is forgiving and we need to return to Him. "Even now.." Meaning, No Matter What! God tells us no matter what we have done, no matter how much we have sinned, no matter how many times we screw up our lives and the lives of others, no matter how many stupid
things we do ... He Will Always take us back!
I also love the word "relenting" here. To relent means to soften in feeling, to be compassionate or forgiving, to be less severe. LESS severe. Do we really think of God this way or do we think of Him as wanting to punish us, of looking over our shoulder ready to find fault with us, ready to catch us? Lent is the perfect time to dispel these false impressions of God and come to know Him as He really is. This Mercy is available to us every single moment of every single day, not just today.
But it's worth taking the time on Ash Wednesday to reflect on our lives. Where are we spiritually? What is our heart telling us? What is my conscience saying to me? What can I do to change? How can I grow closer to God? How can I get to know God better? How can I prepare for Easter? Usually we only
ask ourselves what should we give up for Lent and it's important to sacrifice something during this time but it's also important to do something too. Ask God what HE wants you to do this Lent? Listen for the answer. It will come. It's a time to listen to the voice of God within us and hear the longing of our soul
for unconditional love. Something that can truly only be found in union with Jesus Christ - the reason for this day, the reason for every day.
Today is a day to turn the page, to forgive, to let go of anger… to start again. God will help us with this. He does not leave us on this journey alone. It's time to stop resisting Him, to stop pushing away the Love He offers us. It's time to let God's Love into your life and allow Jesus to transform it.
Lent begins and so it’s time to change, to let go of the old self and put on the new self. Make things right in your life, with God, yourself and others. Today is a day to live in a New Way!! This is a time to turn back to God, no matter what your past looks like, no matter how many times you've failed, He waits for you, even now.
I love when the Bible references God as Light. As Christians we know Jesus is our Light. He's the one true Light. There are many scriptures related to this and today I was inspired to reflect on a few of them. There is a need for the Light of Christ in our own lives and in the lives of those we care about and pray
for. The world presents all of us with a false light, disguising what is harmful for us as a "good", and making sin attractive. This light never lasts because it's not real. The world can be a confusing place, but when we follow Jesus and allow His Light to shine on our lives - everything changes!! Life becomes
bright and the Love of God is suddenly revealed. The world's "light" leads us away. God's Light shows us the way. God's Light shines on our goodness and makes all things clearer.This clarity refreshes our souls.The Darkness hates the Light because the Light is more powerful. Let's reject all that does not lead us to the Light of Christ.
I once heard this topic explained this way - picture a dark room, how do you get rid of the darkness in the room? How do you make the darkness go away? Do you struggle with your own effort to get it out - no - you simply turn the light on - and the darkness automatically leaves. Light cancels out darkness. The
same is true in our lives.Jesus is the Light of our Lives, when we let Him into the dark areas of our hearts and minds, the darkness has no choice but to leave, and Healing occurs. Christ is more powerful. Plain and simple. Do not be deceived.Christ, is more powerful.Light is a stronger force.What a wonderful analogy to the power of God.No wonder Jesus used this example so much :) Let's turn to Jesus, now, today, in a New Way. When life is overwhelming and we are struggling and it feels like darkness is all
around - turn on THE Light!
Here are just a few scriptures on Light!
"Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world.Whoever follows me will not walk
in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God.All things came to be through Him, and without Him nothing came to be.What came to be through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."(John 1:1-5)
"For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.Live as children of light, for
light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and Truth.Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness;rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.Therefore, it says: 'Awake, O Sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." (Ephesians 5:8-14)
"No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light... " (Luke 8:16-17)
"Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path." (Psalm 119:105)
"And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.For our
salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;" (Romans 13:11--12)
"The Lord shall be your light forever." (Isaiah 60:20)
"Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you." (Isaiah 60:1)
"Then God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light.God saw how good the light was.God
then separated the light from the darkness..." (Genesis 1:3-4)
I could go on and on.... there are soooo many scriptures portraying God as Light. I've only chosen
a handful. But it's important to reflect on God's Word - and watch our lives become a lot brighter!! Let's remember that Light is ALWAYS more powerful!! Never lose hope.Never get discouraged. We have the Light of Love showing us the way. God Loves us. He can and will set us free from the darkness in our lives. It's what He does. Turn to Jesus, Trust in Jesus and Be a light in someone's life in NEW WAY... TODAY!
God is compassion. Jesus desires to forgive us everything, without exceptions. He also calls us to do the same. Forgiveness is an order from Christ. We like to think of it more as a suggestion from Him, but
really it's a command, and it's for our own benefit. It's also one of the hardest things to do. On the bright side, God gives us the grace to do it ... if we only ask Him.
We can say we are justified to stay angry with others but we're not.We can even use scripture to accommodate us, to twist the gospel to suit us, and spin God's teachings in order to make our case and remain a victim... but that doesn't come from God. Forgiveness comes from God.Mercy comes from God. Love comes from God. Revenge Never comes from God.Holding onto anger Never comes from God.A desire to punish others, to give them what you think they deserve Never ever comes from God. These things are contrary to the gospel by their very nature.
We are human, we make mistakes, we sin, we fail, we hurt others and you and I are no exceptions.It's a dangerous scenario to think we are so Christian that these teachings are meant for someone else.No,
they're meant for us, they are meant for the whole world. Jesus was not speaking to only those in front of Him at the time. He was speaking to all, a universal and everlasting Truth. God is Love.God is Mercy.And we are called to be loving and merciful.
We are called to follow Jesus, not to use Him.Too often, we use Christ as a tool to build our own case, to justify our own opinions, to correct everyone else, to point out other's faults rather than to look at our own and obey His command. "Forgive."It's plain, it's simple and it's powerful.Love is more powerful than
fear, Forgiveness is more powerful than anger.The devil would have us think otherwise.He's a liar.Jesus is the Truth. If we have in our hearts a desire to punish others for the injustices they have imposed on us or the injustices we think they have imposed on us, we are NOT followers of Christ, we are followers of ourselves. We are making the rules, and making them based on how we feel as opposed to what
Jesus has taught, commanded, us to do.
I fail at following Jesus every day, we all do.God knows our humanity, He created it.He knows our weaknesses and our wounds.He knows all the things that have shaped us over the course of our lives making us the person we are today. He knows all the hurts, rejections, indifference and punishment we've received at the hands of others and He knows why we behave the way we do. He also knows this about the person/persons we're angry with and all that has shaped them as well.Their hurts, wounds,
rejections, indifference and punishments they've received from others.It's complicated, so Jesus makes it
simple."Forgive. "Let it go completely - no matter what it is.If someone did something wrong, forgive the
wrong.If you do something wrong, seek forgiveness.
It's easier to look at what others do than to look at what you do.It's easier to criticize what others say than to evaluate what you say. Maybe you have hurt others deeply but for some reason you don't think
that matters as much as how they have hurt you. We like to think that when something happens to us it's more significant than when it happens to others. It's not.Your feelings are not more important than somebody else's. These are the sorts of things that leave relationships broken. This may be just
fine with you. But it's not fine with God.
Unforgiveness tears down, destroys, damages and breaks.Christ builds, repairs, restores and heals. The two cannot co-exist. They are opposites.Unforgiveness is the opposite of Jesus. Whether we agree with
forgiveness in all circumstances is irrelevant.We are hypocrites as Christians if we don't. That's not to say it doesn't take time, or work itself out fully in steps, but it's required of us, right now, in this moment. Let's not forget the amount of forgiveness Christ extends to us, how much we need to be forgiven for by
God.Jesus forgives us, so we are not justified in being unforgiving. We are in need of God's Mercy.And other's are too.
Let's pray for the grace to let go of our pride which holds us back from forgiving. Let's ask God for the grace to say those three little words "I was wrong". We are not responsible for the actions of others but we are responsible for our own. We are responsible for living in anger and unforgiveness for so long and we are responsible for living in it for another minute. We are responsible for not trying to make things better.
Let's ask God to show us areas of our lives that need healing.Let's clean out our hearts today, giving Jesus all of our intentions and so called "justifications" for remaining angry.Let Him have them. We trust Jesus with everything right? Trust Him with this. Allow His Light to shine on this darkness, allow His Truth to reveal the lies and resolve to do something about it. Communicate, heal, restore, build up, uplift, forgive, forget and Live the Life God wants.Be free from anger, brokenness and darkness. Live what is
Light and Bright, Clean and Clear, Fresh and New, Right and True! Start living a New Way, Today.
New Way Today
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