Well, it seems we are still here..."shoot!"
I remember waking up last year on January 1st and all I wanted was the earth to open up and swallow me. Let's just get it over with! But this year, I woke up with a vision. The vision was of a new stem growing out of one of my rosebushes. And instantly the thought of new life came to mind.
As I was pondering on this during my morning coffee with the Lord, I sensed in my spirit that He was saying to me..."red pill or blue pill?" I realize that in this day that there are others who may not like my chirpy disposition this morning. I know what it feels like when you are miserable and just so depressed that someone else's happy disposition just irritates the "hibby jibbies" out of you. You don't feel like being happy and you just want them to go away and be happy somewhere else...just not on your doorstep.
But as life would have it, even not choosing is a choice. Every year Father gives me a Word for the year. FOCUS was the word for 2020...and that word followed me everywhere. This year...NEW LIFE. A somewhat bizarre thing to say considering the year of doom we are entering in. Even those who are not Christians know that something has changed drastically, even if they can't quite put their finger on it. He gave me three other words as well yesterday. CALAMITY, DESTRUCTION AND PAIN. That's it! Not much to look forward to in that. This makes me think of Jesus in Gethsemané where He said, "Not my will be done, but Your will be done". We are prone to believe that at that moment of agony in the garden He chose the death of the cross. But the reailty is that the cross was the way to NEW LIFE. He chose LIFE, but it meant the cross.
This year, like in Deuteronomy 28, He will be standing before each of us at different intervals and ask us to choose between LIFE OR DEATH. He hopes that we will be wise in this decision. There will be times that we will feel that the price is just too high. Personal Gethsemanés will come our way and we will have to choose in spite of our circumstances to side with LIFE. And just like it was not easy for Him that night in the garden, so it will not be easy for us. The reality is that in another garden almost 6000 years ago a choice was made for death, but He chose LIFE in Gethsemané. Every day we will be faced with this choice whether in our homes when everything seems to fall apart, whether in the marketplace, and especially when we are forced by society to conform to the new "normal". And we all know that it is not about to become easier.
The only way we will make it, is to constantly remind ourselves that when we choose life, even if it means a cruel cross, He who is the RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE will cause this NEW LIFE to flow through us in spite of what we are going through. This resurrection life is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it transcends this life, as we walk by the Spirit and purposely choose not to follow the dictates of our flesh. And the harsh truth is that for Resurrection life to come forth, there has to be death. You will have to choose to die to whatever He shows you, but just as He was true to resurrect His Son, so He will be faithful to do exactly that in you. Can you believe Him to do this in you? It is not just eternal life in the sense of time, but quality of life. And this life is to know the Father. Jesus said, "This is eternal life, to know the Father and the one He sent." (John 17) The NEW LIFE He so graciously extends to us is His LIFE. It is not a happy disposition whilst living in denial of reality, but it is His LIFE burning all the dross away in our hearts and causing us to shine brighter every time we say..."I choose LIFE!". When you do, you are saying...I CHOOSE JESUS. It was an agony for Jesus to choose life that night. And so it will be at times for us too. And just as His choice of choosing LIFE pruduced hope and life in us, so us choosing LIFE will produce hope and life in others when they need it the most.
May you choose JESUS in 2021, especially when the going gets tough. May you choose LIFE in spite of what is going on around you and experience this NEW LIFE that He is even now at the beginning of this year extending to you. May you know that as this NEW LIFE starts to germinate in you, your roots will grow deeper into His love. And love bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things and endures all things. We need His love to make it. Love to help us endure, and love for our enemies. Faith worketh by love. As you choose this NEW LIFE, He will strengthen your inner man with might and you will be able to stand in the day of testing.
As I start the New Year with communion, I am reminded of the red pill when I drink the grape juice resembling His blood. Life is in the blood. Jesus said to His disciples that His hour has come, the hour of testing and that satan has no part in Him. Then we read in John 6 that He told those who were following Him that unless they eat of His flesh and drink His blood they will have no part in Him. In John 6:66 (666) all except His disciples turned away. The hour of testing is upon us now...will we turn away? Peter said to Him, "Lord, where can we go, only You have the words of LIFE".
I believe that in 2021 some hard choices will indeed be made by both the saved and unsaved. It will affect their "now" and eternity. And how we choose in this year will have eternal consequences. If we become narrow minded in only seeing the "now" that screams so loudly, we will become victims of our circumstances and loose sight of the big picture. I may be saying all this in the comfort of my home and that makes it easier. But what will I choose when my life is threatened or my child's life? What will I choose then? The only way we will be able to make the ultimate decision for LIFE, is when we have been consistent with our daily choice of choosing LIFE. For in that ultimate moment our choosing of LIFE in the face of death, will be the summation of all our choosing. With boldness by His Spirit we will be able to say, "Oh death, where is thou sting!" I ask myself, "Is it possible that He gave me this word of NEW LIFE, because He knows that we will see so much death?" May we follow in the steps of our forerunner, Jesus Christ...the Finisher and Author of our faith.