PRESS THE RESET BUTTON

The past is a forgotten memory. The present is full of endless possibilities. I am a new man TODAY.

GENESIS 1: 1-2
“In the beginning God CREATED the heavens and earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the SPIRIT of God was MOVING over the face of the waters.”

I am holding on to too many things mentally and spiritually and it is time I let go. I’d like to see the creation story as a lesson or example of how to REFRESH ALL aspects of my life. No more looking back. Since NOW is my BEGINNING, God can CREATE something beautiful out of me out of NOTHING. I am a clean slate. I am a foundation laid down preparing for bigger things to happen. I am not tied down to my past failures or insecurities. It does not matter how I feel. What matters is me making the first steps towards recovery and AWAY from the darkness.
Despite the misdirection (FORMLESS) and emptiness (VOID) of the past, despite the lack of vision (DARKNESS) that makes me stumble. the spirit of God still MOVED within me. I must tap into that Spirit because it is what will transform me into a new man.

My Son is changing as well. He is not the helpless boy I once held in my arms. He is just over a year old now and so full of life. He is walking confidently and doing his best to navigate around our small apartment. A few months earlier I was thrilled when he was finally able to sit up by himself and now he expresses himself in so many different ways. There is meaning in his squeals, shouts, and grunts. The look of recognition he gives me when he says “DADA” warms my heart in ways I can’t express.

Scripture says we are God’s children no matter how old we are and I can see a glimpse of the tenderness God shows us despite our faults. God is so quick to forgive because we are little children. He nurtures us, advices us and guides us into spiritual maturity so that we can stop doing childish things.
My son looks forward to each morning and I must do the same. Nothing is guaranteed and so I must value EVERY MOMENT God gives me. No more excuses, but more importantly no more dwelling on the past. I am a new man.

Genesis 1: 3-4
And God said, “Let there be LIGHT” : and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good: and God SEPARATED the light from the darkness.”

I must speak things into existence and part of my responsibility is to say that I DO NOT WANT DARKNESS IN MY LIFE. Make bold statements not simply as a mantra but a way to make it part of my spritual fabric. Let light be embedded into your skin like blood flowing through your veins. There is a clear distinction between LIGHT and darkness and the ONLY way to keep darkness out is to introduce the LIGHT. Therefore, focus on the things that bring out the light in you. Leave the things that feel good in the moment yet only leave your heart dark and empty.
Summary
⦁ God has the ability to CREATE something out of nothing. The CREATION story is a story of TRANSFORMATION and CHANGE.
⦁ It is no surprise that God created light first. My spiritual eyes must be OPEN/ AWAKENED in order for me to see my transformation.
CREATED LIGHT; separated light from darkness, Day and night
HEAVENS
SEPARATED WATER FROM DRY LAND; Earth

SPIRITUAL MATURITY

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It’s a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Hackettstown. Dare I say, spring has finally sprung and it’s about time too. Then summer will be here in a few weeks and I will complain about how hot it is. Human nature! How fickle we are not to appreciate the simple things in life. Anyway, before I go on and on about the intricacies of the seasons, I’d like to talk about spiritual maturity.

Salvation is a very rewarding experience and the moment I made my decision to dedicate my life to Christ, I realized God really had been looking out for me my whole life especially in the moments I rejected him. It’s one of the more ironic things in Christianity because it implies that you can mess up as many times as you want and God will be there to save you anyway. That is simply not true! Yes, God has given us the power of free will but with that comes great responsibility once you realize HIS gift. Scripture says in

Galatians 5:1

“For FREEDOM Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

The explanation is that once you gain this gift of Salvation you have a CHOICE not to go back to the things that held you back. Value your slavation like the most precious thing you own. You could be struggling with something as big as addiction or as common as procrastination. Whatever it is, you have to realize that you are not battling those things alone in your mind, but you have Christ to guide you along the way. What is the point of going back to things that have no long term benefit to your health or life? Like the verse says, STAND FAST and be BRAVE because you are not a slave to those things anymore.

Part of your responsibility is not just to yourself but to others as well. If you are saved, are you living by example for others to see Christ working through you?

Galatians 5:13

“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be SERVANTS of one another.”

If the point of salvation was to shut myself up in a room somewhere and sing “Kum ba ya” all day then I’d be missing the point. This thing called life forces us to be around people. Some of whom we might not like but once you see them through the eyes of God, it makes their faults a lot easier to bear. It does not mean you have to be a punching bag but it means you now have the self control to see beyond what people do to you.

Ultimately you are answerable to God. One of the most misquoted scriptures of my generation is “Only God can judge me.” True. But that does not mean he is exactly happy with what you are doing. Some people misunderstand JUDGMENT with CORRECTION. When my mother told me not to stick a metal knife into a socket she was simply warning me. I refused to listen, waited for her to leave the room, did it anyway and got electrocuted. Lessson learned! All that could have been avoided because there was that voice in my head saying , “Mom, stop judging me. It’s my choice to stick the knife in.” Yes, it was my choice but maybe if I listened to her WISDOM and not my own feelings I would have avoided a more serious outcome.

Scripture says in

Galatians 6:7-8

“Do not be deceived; God is NOT MOCKED, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 Sow to the flesh and reap corruption. Sow to the spirit and reap eternal life.”

So are you measuring your righteousness in the eyes of men or God? Promote love, peace, unity. Extend your grace and forgivness to people who may not even deserve it and that’s how to slowly gain spiritual maturity. Let Christ work through you and let your actions speak for themselves.

Steve.

Paintings by Aisosa.

Know your enemy

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The devil! There is none more charming and ruthless than you yet I choose not to believe your lies. Your smooth talking and coaxing will never convince me from staying true to the God I serve. When I realized it was my mind that you wanted I declared war on you to never give in to your ways. They say your greatest trick was convincing people that you are not real. That even if you existed, you were the stereotypical caricature with the red face, horns and pitchfork. You were reduced to a simple cartoon but I have grown deeper in the word to know your subtle tricks. No longer am I a victim of your perverse ways but I am now an heir to the throne of God. You may have come to plunder my spirit with your lies, deceipt and murderous ways but even in my lowest of lows my God has lifted me up from the depths of despair.

EPHESIANS 6:12 RSV

“For we are not contending/wrestling against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

I finally know my enemy and with Jesus by my side I will defeat Satan with every fiber of my being.

A FRIEND IN NEED…

Unexpected friendships are the best.

I once had a friend called Brian. He joined my school in sixth grade and like any new student he did his best to adapt to his new surroundings. The only thing Brian struggled with most was reading aloud infront of the class. You see Brian would stutter. He’d pause silently for about 5 seconds before he spoke and in his mind that five seconds was probably an eternity. He was teased relentlessly for this and I did not find it funny at all. I’m not sure how our friendship exactly started but we became quite close. We would hang out often and I noticed something very interesting about Brian over the next few weeks. He would not stutter whenever he spoke to me. He would stutter in the company of other people but it would never happen when it was just the two of us. Around me he felt most comfortable. He cherished my advice and he knew I would not make fun of him either.

He is one person in my life I would definitely call a best friend because we shared a kinship that no one else could come between.

After Angel Gabriel spoke to Mary, she went to visit Elizabeth for three months and during that period their shared experience made their friendship stronger. They were both mothers to miracle babies and they had to advise each other, encourage each other and help each other emotionally.

LUKE 1:41 RSV

‘And when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the babe leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.’

Their bond was so strong, so deep that even Elizabeth’s unborn child leaped for joy. It is the spirit of God that connects and directs friendships. My wife and I have a supporting church family and our prayer is that as our marriage grows beyond that circle we will find friends we can connect with on a deeper spiritual level.

The term ‘best friend’ is said quite loosely today but who in your life would you consider a true best friend? Would you look out for them as much as they look out for you?

God bless you all and have a good night.