Praise God for new beginnings

Friday, May 11, 2018

This is the season of graduation — be it for middle school, high school, college, graduate school, trade or technical school, or a new job. It is a time of new beginnings, new possibilities. With it comes uncertainty, and S-t-r-e-s-s.

Stress — one definition is the anxiety one feels when you wonder about the future, yet you don’t have instant answers. Stress is always associated with time. What comes next? How do I prepare? Instead of worrying, why not focus on what, or who, brought you to this point? Consider what the season is all about — Jesus. Jesus is the reason for the season. When you think about the goodness of God, the love shed abroad in our hearts, the gift of God’s son Jesus Christ, how can we not realize what a privilege this time is? We are indeed blessed.

The word “blessed” comes from a German word “bletsian,” meaning “blood.” The blessing is in the blood. The blood that Jesus shed for us on Calvary. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. Salvation, eternal life with God, is the gift we receive.

The Beatitudes, an attitude of blessing, is found in Matthew 5. “Blessed are,” and “Blessed are you when…” resound throughout these verses. There is no “if” or “perhaps.” No. These are promises that we can depend on. For “all of God’s promises are ‘yes’ and ‘Amen’ through Jesus Christ to the honor and glory of God the father” (II Corinthians 1:20).

This season is one of expectancy. So we wait. We wait for the possibilities, the expectation that Jesus Christ will come and do something new in our lives. In this challenging economy, with so many without jobs, family, or friends, is there any reason to hope for things to get better? Jesus said, “I come that you may have life, and life more abundantly” ( John 10:10b).

We wish and hope for something different. Yet, we are afraid, fearful — fearful of newness. We don’t like the past, let alone the present; but we are afraid of the new. When afraid, we often revert back to what is comfortable.

Make room for the new you. Put behind the former things. Let transformation occur. The way to do this is by renewing your mind. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Instead of being afraid or stressed, discover what it means to be blessed and highly favored. It means Emmanuel, God with us. In his presence, we receive the Lord’s favor, we receive his unconditional love. There are endless possibilities. Let’s celebrate and receive all of the Lord’s gifts. Be blessed.

Since it’s better to give than receive, give the gift of yourself. Give your time, presence, prayers and praise. Praise the Lord, for he is good, and his mercy endures forever and ever.

Prayer: Lord, help us to prepare some room in our hearts for the coming of your gift of love, Jesus.