Musings on Beginnings

Today is a beginning. It is a day marked off as the start of a New Year. The year 2010 in the Roman calendar has begun. Since it is a beginning, it is a good time to reflect on beginnings. Beginnings are actually constant. We move from one day to next, one minute to next, constantly encountering new beginnings.

In terms of the ultimate beginning, there are only really two options of belief. Either you believe that the ultimate beginning was initiated by a Creator, or your believe that the ultimate beginning just happened by random chance. What you believe about the ultimate beginning shapes your beliefs about the world and the nature of beginnings. Personally, the world of beginning having an initiated beginning makes more sense to this writer. A start point with intent and purpose is entirely different from a starting point based from meaninglessness. Now the view of their being an initiated beginning leads to thoughts about other beginnings.

The first beginning is that of the first sin. The beginning of man moving away from depending on God for instruction and direction is the story of Eve eating from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The eating of such fruit allowed for a turning from God to self-determination. Adam took and ate, both then hid from God and when confronted shifted blame. God spoke and started the consequences of the move away from God. We all know at the beginning of life, start separated from God and depending on self. This led to God implementing several other beginnings in order to implement His plan of reconciliation.

Another beginning that is important and played a role is God’s plan is God beginning the nation of Israel through Abraham. This nation, these people God chose to reflect directly His ways to the world and be the starting point of God’s reconciliation with humanity. God made a promise based on His relationship with Abraham. It was through that beginning that God brought another beginning, the Torah: a revelation of His ways and His self for not only all of Israel but for all of humanity. The Torah is the beginning even of God’s written revelation. The revelation serves to give a measurement of how we fail to live up to God’s holy standards and point ahead and illustrate God’s plan for reconciliation.

Now God’s plan of reconciliation is the beginning point of all of humanity being able to be at peace with God. The reconciliation came by Jesus who is God in the flesh, in order to fulfill the requirements needed to reconcile man and God died in an extreme form of capital punishment as an atoning sacrifice. The innocent standing in place of the guilty as a scapegoat giving each person a point at which reconciliation with God begins. It begins with an intentional act of self, to accept the gift of reconciliation and turn from self. Such a decision is but a beginning of an ongoing relationship with the Creator, the one who initiated all beginnings. So, please take time and begin reconciliation with God by turning in surrender of self and accepting the gift of having the consequences of your own self-dependence redeemed. He initiated it but it takes intentional receiving of the gift in order to establish.

Now one thing about beginnings is that beginnings lead to an end. There is a conclusion and purpose. There is order. God has provided revelation of what the ultimate ending is. We have the final chapter of the story of humanity on earth. The essence of day to day live is getting from the beginning to the end. Each beginning is part of the ongoing process of growing and resolving the story. Ultimately, the beginning and end all reside in Jesus who is both. Take time to begin that relationship. If you already have, find out what is the next step and next beginning in the unfolding story of your life as you push forward toward that which God began. Know that always “He that BEGAN a good work in YOU will be faithful to complete it.” In other words, that which God has initiated and put in motion in His workings in your life will continue until it reaches God’s conclusion. God will always ensure that what He seeks to be complete will occur for those that follow Him. God will always bring His initiated beginnings to His conclusion. So take time and reflect on God’s initiation in your life and your responses. Examine your own beginnings and the ongoing process of moving forward in growth. One last thought, remember that always in comparison with eternity we really are still just beginning.

SPRING MUSING: Time for Renewal and Preparation

    Well, the Spring season is well underway and some thoughts on Spring are well overdue. God did something profoundly amazing in creating the seasons. It is a blessing to live where the full experience of the change of seasons occurs. God has chosen the Spring as the time to enact his plan of salvation and give the gift of the Holy Spirit. When thinking about the season of Spring the words that come to mind are growth, new life, planting, cleaning, green, flowers, Robins, and change. God, being wonderfully creative has placed meaning in the seasons for us to learn personally, that can even help us in our personal and spiritual growth. In terms of personal growth, spring seasons of life are about moving into areas of change and growth. In moving into change and growth there are really two processes that are key elements to change and growth, RENEWAL and PREPARATION.

First, let’s examine the process of RENEWAL. In terms of this process there are really two key elements, Re-invigoration and Purification. Regarding Re-invigoration, it is really describes what happens in the spring. Things go from being dormant to bustling with new life. Trees bud, animals come out of hibernation, birds return from migration, flowers bloom, and things turn from brown to green. Two words really describe this coming to life of spring re-invigoration and that is being revived and inspired.

    Revival is a word used a lot but really catches the essence of the re-invigoration that comes with spring. Revival is about reawakening what has lied dormant. In our personal and spiritual life, we can reach a point where recognize that the talents and gifts we have were not being utilized. Perhaps there has been a period of quietness and withdrawal and areas that once seemed dull becomes quickened and renewed. The revival of spring is something that happens in the due course of time, it is not about going anywhere to stir up what has been quiet, rather it is about reawakening. Now with any period of revival, while that which is dormant becomes animated, there is also that which is new that springs to life.

The newness springing to life is really the essence of inspiration. In terms our personal and spiritual life, what often happens that while skills, gifts, and talents that have been unused become quickened back to use, often the ways that they are used can take on a different flavor or shade. Perhaps even new gifts, talents, or skills are discovered. Ideas and thoughts can come about where to go. Dreams, goals and visions are readily brought forth with the inspiration of spring. It is important to note that no real re-invigoration can be complete without the second element of renewal.

The second element of renewal really goes hand in hand with re-invigoration and in terms of our spiritual and personal development can even lead to moving into a spring phase of growth. Purification is really a key process that occurs within the spring. We even have a term for this purification: SPRING CLEANING. The purification process really has three actions involved: removal of debris, refurbishing the broken, and refining the dirty. Removal of debris is a key action because there is often things dealt with in other seasons still have remnants that need to be dealt with and eliminated. Spring is also a time when things that have been broken can be fixed and rebuilt. Spring also is a time for simply refining areas of life that need more work and polish to the point where there true essence and beauty shine. Unfortunately when we think of purification, we think of the garbage in our lives that need to be changed, the things we need to repent from, and certainly those actions and choices are key components but also is necessary to bring areas of our life into proper alignment and honed to their best condition.

The process of Renewal does not happen in a vacuum for at the same time the process of PREPARATION begins. Renewal really has to do with your own life and the changes happening within, whereas, Preparation is all about what is needed to be fruitful and productive. It is a time certainly where ideas, plans, and goals can be set. In other words, a direction for the activities related to the production of summer season and the harvest of falls season need to take place. The first action of preparation really related to “tilling the soil.” This action is all about identifying the potential areas for growth and doing work to prepare for planting of seeds. In other words, once a direction is picked the tasks that need to happen need to be identified and engaged in before you can even think about attempting to move in any direction. If there is not the early work done in terms of making sure you are headed in the right direction. Forms of tilling the ground really include prayer and time seeking God’s word and even the advice of others. The actions really describe the breaking of soil and spreading of fertilizer that is part and parcel to tilling the soil. If you head in a direction without any of those elements, the ground really will not be properly prepared to allow for full production and the optimum harvest.

Once proper tilling has been done then the time comes to plant the seeds. Planting the seeds is all about exploring the possibilities and trying varied directions to see what be the direction to bring forth the appropriate harvest. This phase of preparation even involves really thinking out the steps needed to allow the seeds to come to fruition after being planted. In our lives, it may seem that the planting of seeds really is what the spring season is about, but it is really the last action to be taken. Yet, even though it is the last action, it is also vitally important. There is no harvest if no seeds are planted. In our spiritual and personal life, if we are not active and intentional in choosing the proper course we can be less then productive.

Granted, God can and does bring about fruitful harvests regardless of our efficacy in terms of the spring, yet if we hold back at all we can miss out on things God has in store for us, if we but follow the direction He leads. The real success of Renewal and Preparation comes when we seek not our own efforts and plans but work on and through the areas God leads us toward, rather than our own thoughts.

In closing, please take time to consider what season of growth you are in and ask God to direct your steps. If you are in a spring period of growth with newness on the horizon and filled with much hope, submit this season to God and ask for direction as to what steps of Renewal and Preparation God is asking of you. If you don’t know what season your life is in, ask God to reveal it to you. If you are feeling like you have been through a long winter and wondering when spring will really come, start by seeking God and asking God to bring you renewal and prepare you for what He has ahead for you.