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Steve's New Year

Good morning all.

It's a new year, and like so many others, filled with promise of what can be.

If you're like me, at some point in the year, you reach a point in which you think-- if I can just get through this year, hopefully, next year will be better. It seems sometimes that each new year is just a continuation of the year before. Same old ..... different day/year/decade/century, etc....

This year I think I'm going to try something different. I have a perspective which has carried over from last year, which appears to have a positive angle to it. As a cancer survivor, coming up on 10 years-- February 10-- I'm feeling a sense of Joy, Hope, and Satisfaction in my life that has long lived just beneath the surface, almost in an attempt to remind me--whose I am. It's percolating to the surface, and it's really nice.

Today's article is on what it is to be a "Christian." I talk with people on other internet mediums, from all around the world, and so many people have an idea on what they think Christianity is, and what it means to be-- Christian.

While the simplest way to describe this is to just tell you-- read the new testament in the bible-- too many come back and start griping about the crimes of the people who claim to love God, and murder, rape, etc... in his name. I'd offer an apology for your bad experiences, but I'd be apologizing for the crimes of others, and not myself. So, if it'll help-- please forgive those who've slighted/offended/wronged (however heinous) you. I can assure you-- based on 1 Peter 4 that "judgment begins in the household of God." I.e., we'll get our clocks cleaned before God gets to you.

Being Christian does not start with being a nice person. Jesus himself said-- I did not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners [Matthew 9:13, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:32].

The first word of importance here, and so often misunderstood is the word-- repent, repentance. In the original language that the new testament was written in-- GReek-- the word that we translate-- repent-- is: Metanoia- meh-tah-noy-ah. It's rather simple really. It means-- to change your mind, resulting in a change of your choices, resulting in a change of your actions.

HAve you seen the new Almond Milk commercial of late? A cartoonish stick-almond-faced figure is talking with a man about how great Almond milk tastes, and the guy keeps giving all these "reasons" why he doesn't want to know, or try it. One by one the almond figure explains, and answers each challenge. Finally, the guy recognizes the point, and agrees to try it. Finding he likes the taste, the commercial comes to an end. This is a really excellent example of what repentance, or Metanoia consists of.

You start with an acknowledgment of the erroneous views/ideas/thinking you have about God, consider what the bible has to say about Him, then you believe what he has said, and live the way he says is true, leaving your old thinking, old ideas, and old choices behind.

Another good example, considering the season, is the movie-- Polar Express. near the end of the movie, we see the 3 new friends and the belligerent boy all caught up at the top of Santa's bag. There are two examples here. The first is when the younger boy is pulled down by some unknown thing (which we quickly learn is the belligerent boy), and as the other two are trying to pull him to safety, they ask him-- let go of the box, I need both your hands. The boy refuses to let go, and is barely brought to safety. The next example is after the elves see them, and one elf asks the youngest boy to give him the bag. The boy is hesitant, but finally trusts the elf, who receives the gift from him.

The idea is one of-- in turning towards something positive, we naturally turn away from that which is negative.

As we turn to God, from our wrong ideas, our wrong choices, and wrong actions, we learn to see God through a new, and different perspective. But these new ideas, new perspectives are not pulled out of the air-- they have a source. That source is the bible.

We are now embarking on a new life. A life of Promise, of Hope, and with a future that is far beyond the very best future you could ever possibly hope to develop for yourself. In 2 Peter, chapter 1, verse 3, we read that God has provided everything that we need to live the life that we're called to.

The next idea in the passage is-- Jesus coming to call sinners, and not the righteous. All too often, people think that Christianity is for good people. It's actually for everyone, but it specifically focuses on those who acknowledge their failures. I.e., in order to experience God-- you must recognize that you are not perfect, and are in need of a savior. What's that old song from the 60's-- no long hairs need apply. Well-- Jesus is expressly for sinners. People of all walks of life who are less than desirable by those "popular" and socially acceptable folks.

I invite you to read more on what it is to be a follower of Jesus, in the Gospel of John. It's 21 pages long, on the following website-- www.bible.com.