Monday, January 12, 2015

New Thing Notes by Kit Leonard

“Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)

This is probably going to be an infrequent blog sharing some ideas, thoughts, art, music and, above all, encouragement.

 “Be glad for all God is planning for you.” (Romans 12:12) 

After I read this the other day, it hit me again that God  has a concrete, amazing plan for me. Not just for eternity but for life here on earth. And he has the same for you. This is because we follow Jesus and we’re now in his grace, and part of his strategy to bless and redeem the world.
In Ephesians 2:10 Paul sums it up:
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT)
This tells me that he has all these really cool (good) things, or events, all staged and ready for me to take part in. But it also says that an even better thing is taking place: I have been, and am always being, created anew, i.e. re-tooled by him. 
                                Do Cool Things
But first, the cool events! They’ll span the entire spectrum from  micro to macro, they’ll be personal, spiritual, professional and creative; they’ll be faith opportunities, blessing opportunities, divine appointments, career advances, God’s power to help make good food and lifestyle choices, good fellowship, deep friendship, romance, encouragements, excellence in our work, more skills, more creative inspiration, more worship and thanksgiving, moving and enlightening cultural events, books to read, travels, missions, entertainment, fun stuff, and, above all, opportunities to show our Christian faith and love to someone who badly needs it. In one word: adventures.

He has all these adventures literally planned for us, this year, and today. If we ask him for it, he'll be faithful to lead us, daily, on those paths. In Isaiah 48:18 he makes it a promise:
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you  what is good and leads you along paths you should follow.” (“Teaches you what is good” can also be translated as “teaches you how to succeed”.)
                                                               Be Cool People

But even more important than these cool events and paths, is the “created anew” part: that is, God’s deep and detailed concern for who we are as we go forward. 

Paul nails it in Galatians 6:15: 
“What counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people.” 
It's no use going on a God-adventure if we're just going to get out there and blow it with a lot of old ideas and attitudes. You know the sorts of things I'm talking about. But do we need to have it together in these departments before stepping out? No way. The Disciples were changed as they actually stumbled on the road after Jesus. They only needed a mustard-seed of faith in him to start with. Same with us. And then, if we stay with him, as the Holy Spirit works in us, we can “finally be all that Christ Jesus saved (us) for and wants (us) to be”. (Philippians 3:12) But in the meantime, we’ll do good things, bear good fruit, and be totally world-changing. Or even just family changing, or work-place changing. 
2015 is a go!
This year I’m asking that all the good things he has planned for me will be fully realized; that I’ll bear much fruit and bless many people, while all the while blessing God and raising his profile in  the world. And that’s my prayer for  you, too.
Other scriptures to check out: Romans 9:28; Psalm 138:8; John 15:4
The paintings are from the Norton Simon museum, Pasadena.