Monday, October 20, 2014

NEW {day 20} :: hide and seek

The first recorded incident of 'new gone wrong' took place in a garden.
A man and a woman stood amidst beauty and splendor freshly created.  Every single thing surrounding them was new, never before seen by human eyes.

The world had been purposed, crafted, and offered just for them.  The sun stretched it's warm fingers of light towards them every morning and the dancing stars kept watch over them at night.  Animals, big and small, were under their authority, roaming wild and free alongside them.  Trees heavy with fruit provided flavor and nourishment.  Flowering technicolor shows bloomed for their pleasure.

Everywhere they turned there must have been something else new to discover and yet...
it wasn't enough.

God gave good things in abundance to Adam and Eve.
He gives good things in abundance to you and me.
It is more than enough, until we convince ourselves that it is not.

God warns us that the authority he has given us does not exceed the authority he himself must possess.  There is a chain of command and we are not at the top.  When God sets boundaries for those under his authority there is no room for questioning and certainly no room for disobedience.  The one who created us knows what we need - and what we don't need {no matter how attractive and new and 'necessary' it may appear}.

There in the garden, God set a boundary.  It was small and insignificant compared to the bounty and vast beauty at their fingertips.  One simple boundary.  One simple opportunity to trust and obey.

Rather than set their eyes on the world of 'new' that had been given to them, Adam and Eve had a laser focus on the one thing that was forbidden.  There was one thing they had not yet experienced, one thing they had not yet taken hold of, and their desire for that new thing grew stronger than their love and trust for the One who had given them everything else.

It was just the beginning of the misguided search for new that has been repeated time and again throughout history.  We continue the legacy today, turning our backs on all that we could be enjoying and instead reaching for the things that we were never intended to hold.
     The things that will end up having a hold on us.  

God sets boundaries for us, not because he is a controlling dictator but because he is a loving father.  He wants the best for his children and, as all good parents know, that is just as much about what they should stay away from as what they should be allowed.

The first time new was chosen apart from God the result was not fulfillment or satisfaction.  The result was nakedness, vulnerability, and a deep sense of regret that led Adam and Eve into hiding.
Why?

Because for generations it has remained true - every time we disobey God and choose new things in this world over Him we see ourselves less as belonging to God and more as belonging to this world and ultimately there is no security here.  As lovely as it may appear, there is no love relationship between us and the world.  That is always an illusion.

And yet somehow we keep giving ourselves over to the lies, the empty promises, of this world instead of the truth of God.

They hid.  We do too.
Behind new clothes
new jobs
new friends
new houses
new spouses
new habits...

And we could stay there cowering in the bushes disgusted with ourselves and confused about our futures...maybe even lying to ourselves that the next 'new' thing we acquire will be the thing that restores us.  But, God comes after us.  He doesn't offer the punishment we deserve for turning our back on our Creator.  Instead he turns us back towards him and offers us perfect redemptive love and grace.  He looks for us.  He pursues us.  If we allow him, he restores us, because only he holds the new that is powerful enough to really transform.

In Eden, a perfect world was shattered and it has never been reestablished.  That's the bad news.  This world is still broken and shattered with pain and heartache seeping in through the cracks.  We have been looking for new in the wrong place.

The good news is, although everything out there can not be restored, everything in us can.   Because when you love someone you make a rescue plan to bring them back to you.  To make them new.

God's rescue plan was Jesus.

for all the posts in this series click HERE

Saturday, October 18, 2014

NEW {days 17 &18} :: the movie scene that started it all

Ten years ago in a movie theater in Scottsdale, my hardened heart broke wide open as I wept tears born of gratitude.
And so this 'new' journey began.

I have hesitated to share this with you.  
It's just a movie. 
But the story is true 
and the man is real 
and what he did is a historical fact.

This scene burned itself in my memory in an instant.
When Jesus spoke these words to his mother I could almost feel him holding my weary, shame-filled face in his hands and speaking straight to my soul. If some part of your life seems beyond repair I hope this promise will convince you otherwise. 
I know it to be true...
all things new.
{warning: this scene contains graphic content}
for all posts in this series click HERE

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NEW {day 16} :: better than better


Our God isn’t in the business of better.  He doesn’t do improved.  He specializes in one thing – new.  
We try so hard to get 'better' when God is standing there waiting to make us 'new'.
Isn't 'new' so much better than...well...better?

Has your car ever been totaled?  
Thankfully, mine has not.  
But a couple of years ago a friend of mine was in an accident.  Her car was taken to an auto repair shop where she learned that she could either pay a bunch of money to have the car fixed up and returned to her in 'better' condition or she could file with her insurance and receive almost enough money to completely cover the purchase of a new car.

She was so excited.  
She chose new.
New is better than better.

In this case my friend received new through replacement.  Something old was replaced with something new.  That's really great but God does something different.  God doesn't replace something in order to give us 'new', he transforms it.  He transforms us.
Fairy godmother style.

You may have a pumpkin sitting around your house right now.  It may be fat and orange and lovely at the moment but if you let it sit out for a few months...
it will rot.  
It is probably beginning the process of rotting even now.

Remember Cinderella?
Remember her pumpkin?  
It was a soon-to-be rotten pumpkin too but the Fairy Godmother did something.  She transformed it.

She took a vegetable and turned it into a vehicle.  
What seemed impossible she made possible with the wave of a wand and the words of a song.  Just a little 'bippity boppity boo' and she defied all logic and took something ordinary and made it extraordinary.  

God doesn’t use a magic wand or a catchy song, the sound of his voice is enough to transform our hearts from a vegetative state into a vehicle, a royal carriage that will transport us into his kingdom and into his heart.  We become royalty.  We become new.

Every day that we 
read God's word, 
treasure God's presence, 
share God's love, 
live out God's truth
He brings change.
He brings new.

Unlike that busted up car that was taken to the junkyard and replaced with another model, we don't get thrown out like trash.  By his divine power, God wraps us in his grace and love and transforms our tattered and torn into shiny and new.  
It's still us.  
We haven't been replaced.
And we haven't just gotten better.  
We've been made new.

for the other posts in this series click HERE


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NEW {day 15} :: surgery

{you may like to read part one of this post}
Have you ever clung so tightly to something that it becomes an extension of you?

You may not even realize that letting go is an option.
Then, suddenly, it is taken from you, pried out of your fingers.  You've held it so long that it feels like someone is performing a surgical procedure without anesthesia.  It hurts so terribly bad that you think you might die.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NEW {day 14} :: what i haven't told you

This is the part of our 31 days when I stop my song and dance to sit down across the table from you and look into your eyes.  I have something that can't go unspoken, unqualified, any longer.
Sometimes I tread cautiously around the truth that I have built my life upon.

Monday, October 13, 2014

NEW {day 13} :: the itch

The most important idea in advertising is ‘new’ – it creates an itch and then you put your product on it like calamine lotion.
{Donald Draper, Mad Men}
My 6 year old daughter, Lucy, gets eaten alive by mosquitos.  
It's unbelievable.  
A 10 minute jaunt in the backyard can leave her with a dozen bites up and down her legs.  She comes limping in the back door, bent over, scratching her legs furiously.  Sometimes she scratches so hard she bleeds.  I run her a warm bath with salt and baking soda and she can't get in there fast enough to finally experience relief.  She would do anything to stop the itch.

We will do anything to stop the itch...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

NEW {day 12}

I have this reminder of 'new' hanging in my house.
My talented friend, Arin, painted it.  You can find your own at her True Cotton Art website.