Saturday, March 3, 2018

Lenten Season, 2018: 3rd Sunday (March 4th/18): Rebirth

New Beginnings: See?  I Am Doing a New Thing!—


Here in the Upstate of South Carolina we have been having some unseasonably warm temperatures, which were preceded by many weather fluctuations. These climate changes have had an effect on vegetation, causing spring grasses to emerge, trees to bud and flower, and flowers to emerge a little earlier than usual, (e.g., . daffodils, grape hyacinths, and miniature daffodils in our yard). Certainly, as the weather warms up, we look forward to the season that turns our focus to newness, to rebirth. We long for the days to warm up, the winter clothing to be put away, the return of the birds that migrated south, and the opportunity to create new things—we are just like our Father in that way.  And the Lenten season is the perfect time to see the new thing that God is doing in our lives, the rebirth that comes with His mercies that are new every morning!!

It is no surprise then that the Scriptures are filled with images of rebirth, of new beginnings, that encompass both physical (e.g., the rebirth of nature that we enjoy every spring, Songs of Solomon 2:11-12, or Lazarus being raised from the dead, John 11: 1-44, and spiritual rebirth, John 3:5-6). Spiritual rebirth is the most essential for those whom desire to be members of Jesus’ Kingdom. However, it’s more than just asking Him to forgive our sins, our wrongdoings, so that we can be assured of eternal life (John 3:16). Christ came to show us how to live our lives in a manner that is pleasing and honouring to the Father with the promise of one day living in His presence. But our focus is not to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. In fact, Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” (John 10:10). And this truth forms part of the Good News message that we share with others. Furthermore, we need to understand that spiritual rebirth is more than a onetime event. In other words, we do not receive salvation and then think that we have arrived at our destination. The apostle Paul spoke on this issue when he stated, Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day,”  (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Jesus became like us so that He could make us like Him. This is a life-long process as we learn to emulate Christ. As Paul also admonished, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”, (Romans 12:2). This reminds me of the song from, “Spirit”—a Salvation Army musical of Generals John Larsson (Retired) and John Gowans (Promoted to Glory):  

“To be like Jesus, this hope possesses me.
In every thought and deed this is my aim, my creed.
To be like Jesus, this hope possesses me.
His Spirit helping me, like Him I’ll be.”   Amen.

Suggested Daily Scripture Readings

Sunday John 3: 3-8
Monday Ezekiel 36:26
Tuesday Isaiah 65: 17-19
Wednesday Lamentations 3:23-24
Thursday Ezekiel 11: 18-19
Friday 1 Peter 2: 1-25
Saturday Ephesians 4: 1-5; 22-32

Blessings & Peace

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk

Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor) Canada

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