New Beginnings

New Beginnings

Getting it Right in 2018

One cool feature about a traditional New Years’ celebration is the custom of pausing to consider the past and making resolves to change; to start again.  Of course the process is doomed if we neglect the key question:  What standard of measure is used to evaluate past performance or to set goals?  The Bible is not vague about what rule of measure God applies.   If we are looking for improvement, for a new beginning – we should attend God’s Words to Abram.  His message for a new beginning was short and to the point:

Key Bible Verse

The Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless
Genesis 17:1

Abram was 99 years old when the Lord spoke this heavily loaded statement.  It stands remarkable not only for its three-part message (which we will soon cover) but for the act itself.  God reaching out in personal connection with His creation; establishing the blueprint for new beginnings for billions of people.

Take Aways

The first thing we learn is from the giving of The Name.  “I am God Almighty”  There is no ambiguity here.  Nothing to talk over; just two powerful outworkings of this startling first statement.

  • First, The Name is spoken to offer an identity to the otherwise Unreachable One.
    • I gift you with the knowledge and use of My Name
    • I reach out to you for connection
  • Secondly, The Name brings with it consequences.
    •  Make no mistake, you are not the boss over you
    • God’s will is irresistable

The key beginning to any new beginning then, is to establish firmly in our minds that God cares for you and desires your fellowship – but not on terms we conceive.  We must stand down and hear what terms He prescribes.   There are two.

Walk before Me.  This declaration is crafted to impact how we live; to dispel private notions of righteousness and make public the standard by which all men must live.  Our climb up to Bible Ground concerning how this “Walk” is achieved uncovered four landmarks, or evidences.

  • Having a clear moral compass.  Just what is guiding you? What voices dominate your internal conversations?  Deuteronomy 32:12
  • Living the Righteousness of God.  The Jesus Path is one of conformance, not independence.  The keystone to remember is Christ died in order for us to live.  His death and resurrection changed the way God views us. 2 Corinthians 5:21  
  • Learn the Way.  How can we walk before God if we’ve no instruction about Him, ourselves and our ultimate destiny in living?  We must outfit ourselves with the Word to protect us from straying off the Jesus Path.  Psalm 119:11
  • Deny Self.  Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the Walk is for us to get over ourselves.  If we wish to be a disciple of Christ, then let’s be one.  We must daily engage in the work of putting ourselves second, and doing what is necessary to put Him first.  Matthew 16:24

Be blameless.  This is then the second command the Lord God imposes to bring traction to our new beginnings.  Our study of the Word offers four insights into gaining this status.  Job 1:1

  • Fear God.  This is something most of us are very poor at.  Moses penned our guidelines to address our deficiencies.  Deuteronomy 30:16     
  • Shun Evil.   Often we are slow to recognize and flee from evil.  Sin is basically fun (or else why would be do it?)  Now of course sin is empty and self-abasing in the end, but its lure is powerful and persistent.   Phillipians 2:15
  • Innocent.  How often do you use that word to describe yourself?  And yet this is how the Almighty views those who are on the Jesus Path.  We must retain that view of ourselves to assist our daily decision-making; to act as guide to our behaviors; to warn of spiritual dangers. 
  • Above reproach.  This, of course, takes public the notion of blamelessness. We are to be alert to the messages we send others regarding our position in Christ.  

We must take this contact with Abram, the new beginning established by a loving God, and use it as our own.  Let’s not neglect the premises offered here.  We must focus our living.  We must be intentional to recognize Who God is and that we are to walk before Him, blameless and true.

2 Comments

  1. Mike and Anna

    Absolutely wonderful message. We’ll replay this often to remind ourselves how to really make it a meaningful new year. Thank you and God bless everyone there.

    Mike and Anna

    • Bob Thornton

      You guys are amazing! I am constantly thinking of you, your love of God and for us folks here at Restart, your family.

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