God’s New Beginning for Us


I live in an area surrounded by mountains and this time of year, with all of the snow and rain and alternating cold and warm temperatures, the avalanche danger is very high. If you are boarding, skiing, snowshoeing or snowmobiling in the back country, there is a serious risk that you could be buried by a mountain of snow tumbling down upon you.
And something much like an avalanche happens every day in the lives of people all over the world. Perhaps it is an avalanche of grief and loss that buries us when we lose someone who is very precious to us. Maybe it is an avalanche of guilt or shame that overwhelms us. Maybe something bad has happened as a result of what we have said or done and we feel awful inside. Or maybe the avalanche tumbling down towards us is death itself. And whatever avalanche overtakes us, we can become buried so deeply by it that we cannot dig ourselves out and our buddies cannot dig us out either.
But there is someone who can rescue us from what threatens to overwhelm us. Last month we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. And the significance of Christmas does not lie in the presents and the decorations and the festive meals. The real significance of Christmas is that God has come into this world to rescue us from our own avalanche of sin, brokenness and death and to give us a life with him that will last forever.
The baby in the manger became the Saviour of the world by living a perfect human life for us, suffering on the cross to pay for the sins of the whole world, and dying one death for all of humanity. And on the third day after he was buried, Jesus rose again from the dead. His rising from the dead is a proclamation to anyone who will listen that everything has now changed. The whole order of things is now different. In the past, human beings did not rise from the dead. But this one did. And through him a whole new order of existence, a new creation, has now opened up for all people through Jesus. That new creation begins with Jesus and it carries on into the future forever. It will not end when this world comes to an end. When that time comes, God has another new beginning for us. The Message puts it this way:
I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.” (Revelation 21:1-5 The Message)
And the most beautiful part of all this is that Jesus invites us into the New Creation. He invites us to trust him to raise us from the dead like he was raised from the dead so we live without fear of death as a result. Jesus invites us to trust in him for forgiveness and to live without guilt and shame as a result. He invites us to trust in our heavenly Father to provide what we need and to live without worry or fear as a result. He invites us to trust in the Holy Spirit for the strength and encouragement that we will need both today and in the future and to live with confidence as a result. This new creation is not just about the future. Because of Jesus we can live in that New Creation right now. And Jesus gives it all to us as a free gift because he loves us.
The question for you and for me is this: How are we going to respond to what Jesus has done for us? How will we live now that Jesus has given us this new beginning? You see our challenge, as individuals, is to live as though we really believe this new beginning is true. What would it be like if we didn’t worry? What would it be like if we weren’t plagued by guilt or shame? What would it be like if we had no fear, even of death? I think that most of us would say, myself included, that that would be a far different existence than what I am living now. And yet, that is what Jesus is offering to us. Those things are his Christmas gift to us. Why don’t we all make a New Year’s Resolution that says “In 2009, I will, with God’s help, trust in Jesus in every aspect of my life and live in his New Creation.”
The stakes are too high for us to go into this year without a clear idea of what we intend to achieve. When a snow avalanche threatens to overwhelm someone, it is a matter of life and death. When a spiritual avalanche threatens to overwhelm someone, it is a matter of eternal life and eternal death. And Jesus is the only one who can dig us out. So let us trust in him. He will not let us down.  Amen.

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About James Paulgaard

Living in the in between, becoming, but not quite there yet, old and new mixed together, hanging on with all my might to the One who is holding onto me.
This entry was posted in Devotional reflections and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to God’s New Beginning for Us

  1. Carol Carter says:

    Well said, and beautiful blog photo!

    Avalanche insights: There are mini avalanches that look like nothing to onlookers, but at ski resorts, even snow falling from a roof can bury someone in a cement-like pile they cannot escape and critical intervention is needed FAST! (You should see what these roof avalanches can do to a car!)

    In the ski patrol we prepare for the worst and hope for the best, but nothing prepares you for the hopelessness of the avalanche recovery process, where a tedious step-by-step probing process is followed. Much like CPR, we know the odds are against success, but we do as we’re trained, hoping against all hope to save a life.

    Thank God for sending Jesus! With Jesus, there’s a 100% survival rate. His rescue process will never fail. His plans are infinitely better than our own. He knows precisely how to pluck us from imminent death and destruction to a safe path we never knew existed and a life we could never have imagined.

    Thank you for your blog … and your Sunday messages!

    All God’s blessings to you and your family!
    -Carol Carter-

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you.

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