Devotional Week 1, 2020 Friday
Week 1 Friday
January 3, 2020
“Turn Thou us unto Thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.”
Lamentations 5: 21
King James Version
“Living A Transformed Life in 2020” – Part 3
“It belongs to the very life of the people of God that it must accept again and again to have its life renewed by a new confrontation with its Lord and His holy will.”
“Renew” – To make new. To bring into being again.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
Psalm 51: 10
In the New Testament, in a short, rather obscure book, Titus, we find the key word for today – it is “renew.”
David used this word, when after his tumble from a lofty place on the throne of Israel, he fell into a pit of remorse for his adulterous and murderous ways. In psalm 51, David asked God to “renew a right spirit within me.” David didn’t just want to be forgiven, he wanted to walk on the right path. He wanted to stay in God’s will. He wanted his decisions – his spirit – to be in line with what God wanted him to do.
So I ask you, “How do we stay within the will of God? How do we stay on His path for us in 2020?” Frankly, in the world we live in, it is easy to find ourselves pulled in all directions, with voices calling out to us, trying to divert us from the heavenly purpose for which we were created.
The answer to the questions I just asked are found in words of the Apostle Paul when he wrote to one of his associates. Paul called Titus, “mine own son after the common faith” (Titus 1: 4, K.J.V.).
At the end of the third chapter in the book of Titus, Paul reminds Titus that we, (you and I), are not saved or renewed by any “works of righteousness that we have done,” but he tells Titus that it is “according to His (Christ’s) mercy He saved us.” I like how The Message paraphrases the rest of Titus 3: 4. (“God) gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit.” Our wayward spirit, the worldly, woeful spirit that got David into so much trouble, gets replaced with Christ’s Holy Spirit. And what happens? Paul tells Titus exactly what he can expect – and this goes for you and me, too. Here’s how Paul eloquently shares the Good News: “Our Saviour Jesus poured out “New Life” so generously, God’s gift has restored our relationship with Him and given us back our lives” (Titus 3: 5, 6, The Message).
Paul confirms to his son in the faith, Titus, that when God restores us, He doesn’t give us back all dirty and messy as we are or were. No! Absolutely not! Instead, we are renewed – cleaned up – bathed in His Spirit.
The Greek born Archbishop Theophylact of Bulgaria in the second century explained Paul’s words this way; “The Lord is a wrecker of evil in our hearts, but a renewer of the good.” I love this. I can’t wreck evil. I don’t have the strength and sometimes I don’t even have the will! But Christ’s Spirit in me wrecks the evil.
Many years before the Apostle Paul lived, Ezekiel, an Old Testament prophet, brought this heavenly message to the wayward people he was calling to return to God. Here’s what Ezekiel told the people God had promised to do for them, in spite of the detestable and abominable things they had done:
“I will give (you) one heart,
And I will put a new
Spirit within you; and I
Will take the stony heart out.”
Ezekiel 11: 19
God didn’t say, “You have to do this for yourself!” No, He promises to renew a right spirit within us. It’s His gift to us when we say “yes” to His transforming power in our lives.
In The New Being, theologian and author Paul Tillich writes:
“The New Being is not something that simply takes the place of the Old Being. But it is a renewal of the Old, which has been corrupted, distorted, split, and almost destroyed. But not wholly destroyed. Salvation does not destroy creation; but it transforms the Old Creation into a New One; A New state of things has appeared, it still appears, accept it, enter into it, let it grasp you.”
This New Year you and I may have the assurance God sent His Son Jesus to redeem us; to rejuvenate us with New Life; to refresh us every day, to restore us to our original God-given purpose; and to renew our spirits.
No longer do we have divided hearts or stony hearts, we now have Jesus’ heart – a heart that’s renewed and wholly committed to the “One” we love.
Seasons of Your Heart
Tree of Life
Your roots have found me
I am bursting with life
I feel like a brand new bud
singing gratefully to you
I will awaken the world
with the silent song of my being
My voice is not needed
I will preach
the gospel of silence
as I burst forth
into the sacred space
of this new day
knowing full well
this is only a pale glimmer
of the Life I am becoming
SO FULL OF LIFE AM I!”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
The Women Who Met Jesus
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