(This blog was originally shared as a Lenten Breakfast message on 3-4-20 at Hope UMC)
When I heard the theme for this year’s Lenten breakfasts, I thought, “Wow, that’s a lot to cover.” But as I’ve contemplated what to share, I began to realize that it kind of all fits together. In my thinking, God uses each piece to lead us to “a new creation”.
Three scriptures have come to mind as I thought about being made new.
2 Corinthians 5: 17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old has passed away: behold, the new has come.”
Psalm 139: 14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And That my soul knows very well.”
Ephesians 2: 10 “God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. This is why he sent Christ to make us what we are.” In other words, we are God’s masterpiece-a New creation.
From my own life experiences, I think that becoming a new creation is a life long process. As a child I went to Sunday School, attended worship, went through confirmation and it changed me – a little bit.
When I was a young wife and a new mom struggling, I joined a mom’s group and began to “try out” prayer and it changed me a little bit more.
With God along side me, I faced my father’s death, my mother’s death and the struggled to face my brother’s death. I felt God’s presence on a whole new level and it changed me even more.
My husband and I faced our boys’ health issues (one son experienced seizures and the other had lung problems) and our trust in God grew to a new level. I began to see how I might be able to share my faith stories about our experiences and how God was present in my life during the difficult times and the good times.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer and faced the “uncertainties” with God’s help. I faced my mortality which was out of my hands. Cancer made me rely on God and His will in my life and I began to realize that I’m not the one in charge, God is. Cancer helped create in me a different attitude towards life and to place it in God’s hands. That doesn’t mean I don’t still find myself trying to do things on my own, I do.
Our family faced our grandson’s premature birth, his rapid heart beat, his digestive problems and his repeated stays in the hospital. From this, God created in me a deep desire to stop, to pray and to give my worries over to Him. Sometimes I was silent and waited. Other times I cried and yelled. Through each prayer, God led me to be more patient, to hand everything over to Him, and to wait for His perfect timing. Thankfully God’s answer came during a 4 hour surgery when our grandson was two years old. That miracle changed his life… and mine forever.
All these experiences have led me here today, to share how God has been at work in my life. A couple of years ago I made the decision to follow God’s “push” or maybe it was a “kick” to become a Lay Servant, to take a step in faith, to trust God’s voice and to follow Him. I must have hovered over the “send button” for at least 10 minutes when I was trying to make the decision about whether to sign up for my first class or not, hoping I might not be hearing God’s voice correctly!
God has been shaping me into a new creation, through these life experiences, and also through small groups, through prayer, through worship, through songs, and through my daily time with God. I am a work in progress and always will be.
I know God has made me new. I am not the person I was 50 years ago, or even 5 days ago. I am hungry to learn more, to be more, to follow more. I yearn to know Christ more clearly.
So back to our Lenten Theme …
God gathers us together with others so that we might share our faith, encourage each other and develop a closer relationship with Him.
God redeems us. We are forgiven because of the Cross. Lent is a time of preparation and reflection, a time to align our hearts with God, and claim God’s promise of forgiveness. We are redeemed not because of anything we did but because of everything God did. I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around God’s forgiveness and abundant love.
God anoints us. God reminds us that we are a His children. Not only are we children of God, but we are chosen. We are called by God, anointed by the Holy Spirit to serve Him as disciples, following the road He chooses.
Jesus leads us on a rich path everyday. And Each day is an opportunity to commune with Him, to learn to follow Him, and to allow Jesus to create in us a new heart.
Would you join me in prayer…..
Heavenly Father, You have gathered us today. You have redeemed us through your love and mercy. You have anointed us as Your children and empowered us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Continue to shape us into new creations and walk with us during the remaining days of Lent and the un-lived days of our lives. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.