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Eight is the number of 'new beginnings': How to have new beginnings in August

New wine in old wineskin
New wine in old wineskin

The number eight symbolizes resurrection and a new beginning. Noah's ark passed through the waters symbolizing death, but it was resurrected and rested on Mt. Ararat and eight people emerged to a new beginning. God commanded Abraham to circumcise his son Isaac when he was eight days old to seal the covenant with God. This tradition is continued with Jewish male babies to this day for that reason.

In order for you to have a new beginning in August is to not put new wine in old wineskin as Jesus taught in Matthew 9:17. This simply means you must stop doing the same things you have been doing in the past and do something new. You cannot have a new beginning if you are doing the same things you have always been doing. Remember the expression, "Insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting new results." You definitely cannot do the same old things and get new results.

Besides, to put fresh wine into an old wineskin, is asking for big trouble. The old wineskin has assumed a definite shape and is no longer pliable. It is fixed and somewhat brittle. The new wine will stress it beyond its ability to yield. And so both the wine and the skin are lost. You can't put new ideas into old mindsets. You can't get new results with old behaviors.

So how you open your life up to new beginning? Invite new beginning into your life by using three verbs that start with the letter "R." Those three strong verbs are "Repent, Replace, and Relax."

The core of Jesus' message is found in Mark 1:15: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." Repent, as used here, means so much more than being conscience-stricken or contrite. To repent means to undergo a fundamental change in one's mind or character. Simply put, to repent in this context is to change one's thinking. It means to shift paradigms.

Paul understood this well. To his friends in Rome, he said, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds" (Rom. 12:2). And to those in Philippi, "Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5).

The essence of repentance is letting go of old, limited ideas and investing our belief in new, expansive ideas. If you want a new beginning, you must understand and live as the new wineskin. You must begin to see things a different way. Your old paradigm says, " I'll believe it when I see it!" Your new paradigm says, "I'll see it when I believe it!"

Now that you have repented, you must replace. You replace the old mindset, concept or behavior with a new one. You construct meaningful affirmations that keep your conscious mind interested and entertained and then you practice them repetitively so that your subconscious mind is impressed with the change. Repeat affirmations to keep you conscious of your goal.

Repentance takes on visibility through replacement. As you replace old patterns with new ones and use them, not as temporary measures but as permanent changes, you become transformed.

After repenting and replacing, then you need to relax. Relaxing means not worrying or straining for results. It means letting the process work. It means just letting old concepts and behaviors go. They have served their purpose of bringing you to this present moment. Relax and know that God is in charge.

Talk to your body and give it instructions to relax, beginning with the toes and working upward or with the scalp and working down. The sequence doesn't really matter, just as long as you relax. Pray during your time of relaxing.

You can have a new beginning by changing your thinking whether you do it in the month of August or at other times. When you repent, replace and relax, your life can go from the old to new, from impossible to possible, from limited to unlimited.

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