A Fresh Start

The heavens declare the glory of God

Psalms 19:1, NKJV


It is a brand new day. As I look out my window, a brilliant red sky is lighting up the sky as if to herald the coming of this new day. On days like this it seems that nothing is impossible. We can change what needs to be changed and we can devote ourselves to the things of true importance. It's not the sunrise, though, that I want to tell you about today, but a day that occurred when I was a young man nearly 40 years ago.


It was on that day that my life changed. It was a pretty ordinary day for a young real estate appraiser. As I recall, it was a rather slow time of year and I was looking for something to do. We recently had a guest speaker at the church I attended, and he was a gifted speaker. It wasn't that he had flowery speech or a dramatic oratory style, he just preached the truth in love. At this particular meeting, he encouraged us to begin reading the Bible every day. He indicated that it would change our lives if we did, and I thought I would give it a try.


So on that day, in an empty office, I sat down on a couch and just opened the Bible at random. As it turned out it opened at the book of Zephaniah, and I began to read. I got caught up in the word and read the next short book as well, and then next one and then another. Before I knew it I was reading in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew. After a while, I put up the Bible and went back to work, but something changed within me that day. I realized that though I had been a Christian for nearly ten years, I was like so many others who had just adopted the faith of their parents. If I was honest with myself I would have had to admit that I really wasn't all that serious about God and Christ.


I made a commitment that day to become a daily Bible reader. Not so that I could boast to others that I had done so, for this was not what motivated me. If anything, I kept this new habit to myself, sharing it with no one at the time except my wife. Not long after making that new commitment, I can remember going to bed after a particularly long day, only to have my eyes snap open at the realization that I had not yet read my Bible. I turned on the light and read a verse or two, and then turned it off again and went to sleep. No big deal, perhaps, and I'm sure I didn't get much from my reading that day, but I had begun a new habit that I didn't want to break.


And those simple events in my early years changed my life!


The more I read the more I found the things that God wanted me to know that I didn't. My wife started the practice shortly thereafter, and she found the same. It took a while, but our lives began to change. We stopped going to movies that we knew really weren't all that wholesome, and we turned off our television or switched the channel when something came on that we would not be comfortable with God knowing that we were watching. I put away books with bad language and bad content. We continued to worship with the church, but now we had something worthwhile to add to the Bible classes, for we were slowly gaining a knowledge from the Word, rather than from our own thoughts. We both taught Bible classes, and I started to fill in preaching when it was needed.


Time marched on, like it always does, We had three children, moved 700 miles away and changed professions during that time. But the one thing we never changed was our habit of reading and studying the Word each day. I even became a preacher (much to the amazement of friends from my earlier days) and have done my best to simply encourage people to read the Bible and to do the things that God commands within His Word. 


I know this is not a dramatic, earth-shaking story, but it is my story and I want you to know that my life has changed. I had a fresh start that day, some forty years ago. And though I did not know (nor could I have known) how that simple opening of the Bible would change my life and the lives of my family and friends, it did change it in a remarkable way. I know that I am going to heaven if I will just do the simple and pleasant things that God has for me to do. I am not going to heaven because of my own goodness - I know that. But, because of God's grace and Christ's sacrifice for me on the cross, I have the opportunity to serve Them, and the deal They have offered is eternal life if I will just do my small part.


I have found that small part within the pages of the Bible, and you will too if you will just give it a chance. You may feel as if you are drowning right now with the pressures of life that go hand in hand with this hectic world. You may be "good enough" in your own eyes, but that is not enough, and you can see that it is not enough when you slow down and honestly assess where you are in life. If you are feeling overwhelmed on this day, welcome to the club! But don't wallow in self-pity: Do something about it!


A new day is dawning for those who will meet the challenges that God has in store for them. You can have a fresh start. You can have your own faith - the very faith that God wants you to have. The instructions for these incredible changes are contained within the pages of God's holy Word. Why not open them up and embrace the blessings of this wonderful life that you have been missing out on for the simple fact that you have never started really started your search.


In a few days, we will be starting the 30 Day Challenge to read through the New Testament. It is a simple thing, but it has the power to change the direction of your life and the lives of those you love. I hope you will join us! I pray that you will, for it will give you the fresh start that you need to live the abundant life that God has in store for all those who will serve Him according to His Word. 


It's a brand new day! Why not commit to start a brand new life?