31 Dec 2000

Out with the Old, In with the New

Submitted by theshovel
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As I write this it is the last day of Y2K. Tonight - New Year’s Eve - we celebrate the passing of the old year and the bringing in of the new. Year 2000 has become the old man who is about to die, and we will celebrate his passing by evaluating his life.. It is done. It is over. What has happened has happened. As much as we might want to change it, we can only judge it. And that we will do. Just as we have done every year of our lives. But don’t despair, for as the old dies the new is born! It is a fresh start. It is a chance to begin again. Its days are, as of yet, unmarred and without any mistakes or screw-ups. And we look forward with a renewed hope of the wonderful things that could happen. Contrary to all the hype surrounding Y2K, 2001 is the real beginning of the new millennium. Do you know what that means? That’s right, last year was only a TRIAL RUN. We have another chance for a good start!! We stand at the threshold of a new year, a new century, a new millennium. Consider the possibilities! But something inside us has already considered the possibilities, hasn’t it? As much as we look forward to the hopes and dreams of a new beginning we cannot shake the reality that we have been here before and have judged the hopes and dreams of last year’s new start as falling far short. Even the good years have to be graded on a curve as time eventually reveals losses that often far outweigh the gains. We cannot escape the fact that next year’s calendar ends, once again, on December 31. It happens EVERY year without fail. And it reminds us that nothing really becomes new, but that instead, the little baby enters only to end as the old man to be judged as not meeting up to expectations. Maybe that’s why we view the new creation in Christ as being such a failure. Is it possible that we have simply adopted the futile cycle of the world’s new as being the same as God’s new? Is that why we have created a renewable Christian Life that can be started over when messed up? Don’t we know that the new creation has no calendar to mark the passing of its days, neither its beginning nor its end? There is no December 31 for the new creation nor is there a January 1 for that matter. For the one who is born of God is not given a new start, but has been brought into a new LIFE that has Christ as both the beginning and the end. It is as sure as HE is because He is that life. The failure (we cannot help but see) and the need for renewal is all found within the confines of the old cycle. Somehow, we have Christianized that cycle and therefore have insisted that we must continue answering to it and fashioning our lives according to it. But the good news tells us that Jesus put an end to the old life when He was killed on that cross - INCLUDING an end to its cycle. The new in Christ never becomes old for it is removed from the realm of sin and death. It remains as new as the risen life of Christ. How you judge the new creation will determine how you view yourself and your world today. Until next time ….. scoopfully yours, the shovel (aka Jim)
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These comments were all transferred over from the original website

Posted: Jan-01-01 by Neil


This morning's Shoveletter was great. How often as being in Christ do we look back upon our old man's past and not at Christ's past? Is it because we don't realize that the life we live when we are in Christ is not our life but Christ's? And he doesn't just "own" our life -- he IS our life.

When at any time in Christ's past was he an alcoholic? When in Christ's past was he a lecher or a fornicator or an adulturer? When we are in Christ we can safely say that his past is our past. To be looking back and saying "Well, thank God I'm not a pornographer or a smoker anymore" is to say that he took that old man and reconditioned him somehow; that we are just the old man that's been forgiven and cleaned up, recycled.

Jesus isn't in the recycling business. He's in the replacement business: our old life for his new life. When you are born as a baby in the flesh do you consist of parts from some old life you lived with new parts to replace those that quit working? Well, it's the same with our new life in Christ. Totally brand new: His new.

Our old man isn't reworked. It's crucified. Dead. Buried. Our new man IS Christ. True, our new man still does old man-like things because we are yet in this body of flesh that tries to have it's way, but that flesh is no longer the ruler. Christ is. Our flesh did whatever it pleased because our old man was geared towards it, under its control. But our new man isn't tied to the flesh and the things of this world. It's not a citizen of this domain; it's a citizen of heaven and a joint heir with Christ! The trouble is, we keep looking at this flesh as who we really are and not as our spiritual man as the real us.

This is the great confusion that has ruled in the lives of "Christians" ever since the lie as to who Jesus is and who we are in him has been formulated and perpetrated throughout the world. People just can't figure out why they still sin and what must be done about it. As if something HAS to be done about it. Christians don't have that absolute assurance that something ALREADY has been done about it. In their constant saying of "Oh, Jesus, forgive me of my sin" they're admitting that they don't know that Jesus already forgave it with his blood 2000 years ago -- and put it behind him forever AT THAT TIME, never to see it again!

I find myself asking, if Christians don't realize who they are and what Christ has done, then are they really Christians? Or are they -- no matter how good, devout or sincere -- just people going through religious motions? Still dead as a doornail in the uncircumcision of their sinful nature? Have they truly and finally accepted the life of Christ as the replacement for their own? Or is the reason they so what they do a result of not having his life in them at all?

Jesus continues to stand and knock at the door of our lives, wanting to come in and be that life. How much longer will we continue to keep him out? Two thousand years have come and gone and we still stuggle and fight with him. End the fight, people, and let him in!

Posted: Jan-01-01 by Chris Whyte

Greetings From The WhyteHouse:

I realize that the calendar is man made and it is just an illusion about a new year, a new century, a new millennium. I also realized that I need to give up this frustration of trying to please everyone about me. I can not do it. I am me, I have been through the "Melting pot" and "forges" this last year. It has been a hard year Jim, to try and please everyone, and to get through this operation and all and have to give up my dreams of doing something, I mean like going to school and getting a new career etc., to sit here and be isolated, to try and just get through the day without too much pain has been a real chore too. I intend to do something about it, and get in touch with vocational rehabilitation, and hopefully get out of "here" and back to some "normalcy" of life.

God Bless

Posted: Jan-01-01 by Vera

Hi Jim!

I live up here in Fort Wayne, Indiana -- we've got lots of snow and the temperature has been down to single digits, but today the sun is shining and the last time I looked it was 24 deg. Now that's almost warm! The way I've been handling it is to stay out of it! I'm a senior 73 yrs. and I can do that!

I just started reading your letter and I really enjoy it -- been checking out your web site too, and I've been learning some stuff. Just keep it up and I'll keep reading!!

God Bless!

Posted: Jan-01-01 by Jamic

How about a game of snowshoe tag? that'll keep ya warm in the winter, ....or snowshoe dodge ball? hey, ya gotta laugh or ya would cry!!! actually, not talking about it...helps..When you hear the weather forcast....put your fingers in your ears and say laaaaaa !! I cant hear you !!!..If this keeps up ...we will have to start support groups......to deal with it.......12 steps to dealing with deep snow and bitter cold.....First step......admit you are powerless over it.....akkkk! We got our gas bill...sticker shock....300.00 for one month! " Greetings from the frozen tundra.......of Northern Minnesota....." But hey......lets compare scenery....roadside....in say.....May through October...cant beat my view...I know Florida.....we lived there for 2 years in the mid seventies......gotta say our Key West nights were great......we had a l973 dodge challenger convertible......ahhh, now that was two winters that were heaven...later gater...

Posted: Jan-01-01 by Paul

Wow! I really enjoyed this one. Excellent message! And the new copy on the homepage is SLAMIN. God has filled you and gifted you with his own Spirit and words.

I have judged last year's man and he has come far short of my hopes for him. Looking forward to New Life this year!

Posted: Jan-01-01 by Sydney

Hi Jim, Just wanted to let you know that it has snowed nearly every day since thanksgiving, here in upstate NY. We are now experiencing what is called a Noreaster, I think thats how you spell it. It's been snowing nonstop for 24 hours now. And it's very very cold, brrrrrrrrrr.. I try not to know exactly the temp. then it doesn't seem to bother you as much. The roads have been terrible, so we have been stuck at home mostly! six kids home on christmas vacation with no place to go!!! I truly know who my strength is! and the abundance of Grace that is ours!! Just so you know, snow is very pretty sometimes, and building snowforts and sliding down hill, can be a real hoot! Happy New Year to you and yours! I would say, God Bless you, but I know that He IS!

Posted: Jan-01-01 by David

~~~~~|||||) Don't we know that the new creation has no calendar to mark the passing of its days, neither its beginning nor its end? There is no December 31 for the new creation nor is there a January 1 for that matter. For the one who is born of God is not given a new start, but has been brought into a new LIFE that has Christ as both the beginning and the end. It is as sure as HE is because He is that life. (|||||~~~~~

Wow! Wow! Wow! Woooohooooooo! Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!

I needed that!


Posted: Dec-28-03 by Bill


What an awesome reminder that Grace never grows old, never grows stale, never runs out.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is the faithfulness of the Lord.

Life lives on and on, like an Energizer Bunny; it keeps going and going and going and....


Posted: Dec-29-03 by John

Your shoveletter reminds me of a floater in my eye. Actually, I guess it's that blindspot that everyone has. It constantly moves and when you try to look straight at it, it will slide off to the side so that you can never really get a good look straight at it. When I was a boy, I used to try to follow it and look at it straight on. Many times I would ALMOST get it and then it would float away. Sometimes, Jim, when I read your letters and/or study various related Scriptures, I almost feel like I'm already there to that place where I experience NOTHING but the NEW. That place where reality is not clouded by the death of this world. That place where we will finally totally "get it." Then . . . It just kind of floats away. One day, it won't float away anymore and I'll be able to look straight at it and see it exactly as it is--because in reality, the NEW is Jesus Himself and ONLY HIM. Because of Him I am pure even as He is pure.

Carry on my Brother!
One Life to Live, john

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Random Shovelquote: Hide-Bound (view all shovelquotes)

I’m afraid many Christians have grown so hide-bound that their very thoughts of God and of salvation in Christ are word-oriented rather than life-oriented. Could that be why we think in terms of intellectual-based learning when it comes to the Bible?source