Forget about ‘New Year, New You’ … God loves you just the way you are!

It’s a little like being Cinderella. The moment the clock strikes midnight everything changes. Except that rather than rags to riches we go from feast to famine, and instead of losing a shoe we lose the will to live.

The minute New Year’s Eve turns to New Year’s Day a peculiar change takes hold of the world as we know it. It throttles us until we bend to its will: NEW YEAR, NEW YOU.

Adverts that preached excess and indulgence at Christmas swiftly change their tune to discipline and determination. Bookshops mutilate their gift and humour displays, leaving in their wake dieting and de-cluttering manuals.

It is like falling victim to cultural whiplash. One minute we are festive, family-orientated and telling ourselves to be merry and bright. The next we are told we are nowhere near thin, pretty or talented enough. In the blink of an eye we have become desperately in need of a total lifestyle overhaul.

We fall for it every year, even though it makes us miserable. It’s another sales tactic. We know it, yet our fingers inch towards the self-help pages as if they have a mind of their own. Surely we realise that we aren’t striving for God’s ideal?

God didn’t create the world to breed jealousy, dissatisfaction and self-hatred. Jesus didn’t rise from the dead to sell something. No! He is GIVING us something. Not something we dare ask for because the gift of everlasting life is too great, and certainly not stocked in the John Lewis catalogue.

He gives us GRACE.

Yes, I find it difficult too. In a world where self improvement is an art form, where people have built their livelihoods on making us feel inadequate, where we are defined by our weight, our Facebook friends, Instagram likes and bank balances, it seems implausible that God loves us just the way we are. All he asks for in return is our commitment of obedience, faith and love.

Everywhere we look in the story of our Saviour this message is repeated.

We do not have to be strong: The apostle Paul wrote, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

We are not made whole by great works or achievements: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

We don’t have to transform: “No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” (Acts 15:11)

‘New Year New You’ may be a good tag-line, perhaps an even better sales pitch, but it cannot buy you happiness, hope, or a happily ever after.

Our happily ever after lies not in guilt, or sacrifice, or resolutions, but in the acceptance of grace, to allow our imperfect selves to be loved, just as we are, by our Creator and his Son, who died, that we may live.

Quotes NIV

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Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

With January nearly over how are our resolutions holding up?

While we might be concentrating on getting fit and losing some extra weight, are we taking care of our mind?

“For bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4v8

Keeping our mind healthy and positive can help us when dealing with life’s troubles. It can help us move forward and concentrate on those things which are good and true.

God helps us with this and encourages us to keep our minds fixed on him and the great love that he shows us.

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3v2

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3v5

God teaches us that by not getting ourselves tangled up in this world and all its values we can be transformed.

“Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12v2

If we put our trust in God he will strengthen and help us.

“Casting all your care upon God, for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5v7

“God giveth strength to the weary and to them that have no might he increases strength.” Isaiah 40v29

“The Lord is my strength and shield, my heart trusts in him and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices and with my song I will Praise him.” Psalm 28v7

By having God as our guide we can think on the positive things of life.

“Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praise worthy – think on those things.” Philippians 4v8

Quotes King James Version

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My Hope for 2019!

So now we enter another year. 2018, with all its joys, worries and sorrow, is history. I have never known such a chaotic world. All over the world people are experiencing troubles. Many live in fear of their lives in war torn countries. Many try to start new lives by fleeing their homes and making dangerous journeys to more peaceful areas often to be met with hostility.

Others fear the consequences of climate change. Recently there have been peaceful marches in our country to make us aware of the damage our lifestyle is doing to our world. Sir David Attenborough warns that our lives will become impossible unless governments cooperate to slow down pollution in all its forms.

Many all over the world are starving or suffering from disease.Earthquakes, floods, fires and tsunamis threaten. Selfishness and violence and crime are rife.

I just do not believe that the world’s problems can be solved by humankind. There has never been a time in history when everyone in the world has had peace.

Christians must always try to do what they can to make the lives of those around them better but they know that the human race just won’tever be able to put everything right .The Bible believer knows that the Lord Jesus Christ foretells these chaotic times. In Luke’s Gospel we read, ”Then he (Jesus) said to them(his disciples) “Nation will rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and in various places famines and pestilences……and on the earth distress of nations with perplexity…..people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. (Luke 21 :10-11 & 25-26)

Then Jesus promises that He will come again! “ And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Nowwhen these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads  because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28)

As I prepare, by God’s grace, to enter 2019 I know what resolution I shall make. I shall try to pray every day for the Christ’s coming again. God will make Jesus the King of the earth. He will bring peace and happiness and end all chaos and evil.

God’s Kingdom come.

His will be done on earth as it is in heaven! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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