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My New Normal - A Devotion

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Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Welcome to my new normal! I hear this term quite often in the “social” circle of cancer fighters and survivors. It is a love-hate relationship like so many other things in this environment. For example, I hate that our son has to take a multitude of medications right now. I love that there are modalities to address all the risks and pain that he must go through in this journey. I hate that radiation therapy has taken away his saliva among other side effects but I love that with all those other things the tumor was taken, too. This is our new normal. Well, before I go any further I declare and decree in the Name of Jesus Christ that fighting cancer, taking medication and living at the hospital are not and will not ever be normal for our life. This is not God’s Standard of Living for His Children. However, part of the process so that I will secure a new normal in my own life. What is your idea of normal? What do you allow to be the expected outcome in your life? Why is she going there? Today, I am packing up our things at the Lodge preparing to deposit our son back in his apartment to be king of his castle. He will begin an online class next week and go back to living as a somewhat secluded college student while his body recovers from chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation. The Lord has provided everything he will need to do that in the coming months. I will return home and go back to work. Seem like things will be somewhat normal again…not so fast friend. Not for me they won’t. I have decided that I am no longer conforming my behavior and customs to this world because have been given the opportunity to be transformed into a new person with new standards and new customs for my life. I am raising the bar this time. God’s Will for our life is good, pleasing and perfect. The “things” in life that we go through labeled as struggles, difficulties and hard times have the potential to have a profound effect on our expectation. I will be the living and holy sacrifice that He finds acceptable because my expectations are now changing. I desire to be transformed into a new creation, a Child of God who has achieved a higher standard of living.

Ephesians 4:13-15 (NLT)
This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

God did not intend for His Children to be tossed back and forth from problem to hardship to trial to test. But He uses these things as an opportunity to increase our faith and establish hope in Him. Why? Faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ allows us to measure up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Normal means conforming to the common type. It defines what is usual, regular or common in our life. It is the usual or “expected” state, form, amount or degree. Now our normal changed when Adam and Eve sinned (Romans 3:23), we were removed from God’s Standard of Living which means every need was met, no sickness or disease completely cared for by God the Father to rule and reign over the earth. Now, thanks to the Grace, Mercy and Love provided in His Sacrifice, Jesus made it possible for us to raise our standard of living again. Changing our expectations to a new standard of living and expecting God’s Glory rather than random outcomes like the world. I am accepting God’s Standard for my life. A standard is an accepted or approved example of something against which others are judged. We have an acceptable and approved glorious standard given to us by Jesus Christ provided by our covenant with God. It is up to us to accept and approve it as the new normal for our life. God is doing something new each and every day of your life. (Isaiah 43:18-20) He takes every detail working it together for our good even in bad times. (Romans 8:28) I must have faith and believe this is what He is doing to be willing to accept and approve it in my life. The more that I do this the more I will be transformed and thus my idea of normal will continuously change as I increase the boundaries of my submission to God to encompass all that He is doing in my life. What does this mean? Constant change. Security only in the Lord. Peace that passes all understanding. Joy overflowing even when dealing with sorrow.

Romans 8:18-21 (NLT)
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.

Nothing that we will ever go through on this earth compares to the Glory that God has for our life. Nothing. I tell people almost every single day that cancer did not change us but Jesus did. What does that mean? I did not welcome cancer, invite it in to stay, or care for it in anyway. I worked day and night to do whatever humanly possible to move the Hand of God and modern medicine so that He will be cancer-free. In the meantime, I had to decide not to focus on the problem but rather on the Plan of God that says – “His Glory is coming!” All creation is subject to the curse. You are no different than anyone else. No one deserves to get cancer. Nobody should ever expect it no matter how many packs they smoked or the lifestyle they lived. Sickness and disease are not ever and will never be part of our relationship with God. It a consequence of sin. How do we battle sin? Jesus. Battle won! I am learning to turn more and more of my life over to Jesus with that statement. “How do I __________?” Answer: Jesus. I pour over the covenant we have (His Word), find His Promise concerning my problem (haven’t found one not in there), then I begin to bring it to God’s Attention and the enemy as well. I decide in my heart and mind that I will not compromise or conform to this world that accepts much less than God’s Best. I begin stirring up my faith until hope is affected. I hold on tight and WAIT UNTIL HE COMES! The worst part of any process for me personally is waiting. It leads to the failure of most who do not have confidence that the Lord will do what He promised because they have never waited long enough for Him to reveal His Glory. One time and you will be hooked. The new normal is all you will want every day even if it makes change a part of every day because it most certainly will. You know what else? It makes it worth it!

Psalm119:5-7 (NLT)
Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should!

Are you tired of your so-so mediocre life? Do you want a new normal? Compare the life that you are living with the terms of your covenant with God. If they do not measure up, change is coming. What can you do to prepare for God’s New Glorious Standard of Living? My actions must consistently reflect your decrees. The closer we align our heart, mind, attitude and actions with Jesus Christ the greater our expectation becomes. We no longer have to see what life hands us but raise our hands praising the Lord for what is coming. We can actually be happy in our waiting times knowing what He is about to do is more than we could even think to ask for. How do I know this? His Word. What happened? I tried it. And? It worked. You cannot expect God’s Standard of Living until you become a Child of God.

Let’s talk about comparison. Note, we are to compare our life with the Word of God – NOT OTHER PEOPLE. There are many people who live a live. The only consistency in this world is Jesus Christ. He is constant. He is our example. We do what He does. We say what He says. We walk how He walked. Comparison with other people is a faulty scale. (Proverbs 20:10) “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” (Galatians 6:4-5)

Philippians 3:8-9 (NLT)
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

Everything is worthless compared to the value of knowing Jesus Christ. It is to be counted as garbage. Now let’s get real…do you really want a new life? Are you willing to change to have it? What are you holding on today that one might consider a guilty pleasure? It doesn’t have to be a socially unacceptable vice but anything that should be subject to the Blood of Jesus and washed away but yet still held tightly by its owner? You know the thing that when challenged you tightly wrap it in His Grace but refuse to let it go. Some people would rather be a victim and get the world’s sympathy than a victor. Others want all that God has but will not give up the things of this world to have them. Sad but true. We all have them. Until we decide that we want a new normal enough to sacrifice security of the past, and comfort zones of hurt, there will be no difference. We must cast off the weight that holds us back from our process. (Hebrew 12:1-2) God isn’t going to rip it off you and Jesus is not going to wrestle it from you. Surrender is the only way.

I Corinthians 3:18-23 (NLT)
Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” And again, “The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.” So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Let me break it down for you as the Lord has done for me. I belong to Jesus Christ who belongs to God. Everything belongs to God who gave it to Jesus who offers it to me. “Stop deceiving yourselves.” The only one keeping us from a new normal and a better life seems to be me and you. We must become committed to creating an atmosphere in our life that invites change. We must accept and approve God’s Word as our standard of living because His Glory is so much greater than anything we could produce in our own life. Random living is not for God’s Children. You should be blessed, healed, whole and complete. If not, keep lining up your life with His Promise and reminding Him that something is amiss. When He tells you to take out the garbage, do it! Jesus led by example so follow Him. (John 13:14-16) I will no longer settle for life at the world’s discretion but am committed to seeking the Glory of God as my new standard of life anything less will not be tolerated. Welcome to my new normal.

Ephesians 2:6-7 (NLT)
For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

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