A New Day is Dawning
by Bro Terry Fernando 'Christ to the World' Australasia
Between now and the day we come face to face with Our Father, more people can come to Christ than in all recorded History. Let us all be part of this hour of opportunity.
The Christian's goal in life is to be a perfect image of Jesus, as Jesus is the perfect image of the Father. The beloved features of the master are ever imprinted upon the Christian mind. The words of the master burn in his heart, while the Holy Spirit forms the character of Jesus in his feeble life.
He looks at Jesus in his strength and tries to be strong. He sees Jesus gentle to the crowds and he controls his anger. He admires the mercy of Jesus and he forgives seventy times seven. He feels the compassion of Jesus and he becomes sensitive to the needs of others. He is humble by the humility of Jesus and he conquers his pride. He sees Jesus heroic, courageous and unafraid and he is assured. He watches Jesus as he answers his enemies in a serene tone of voice - truthful, without human respect, with perfect self-control and he tries to be like him. He imitates the master's sense of loyalty, zeal, simplicity, nobility, and loving qualities to the best of his ability.
This becomes a way of life for a Christian, for he is not satisfied with giving his ability. This becomes a way of life for a Christian, for his not satisfied with giving his God thanksgiving, he desires to give him perfect praise by imitation. Most of all, he imitates the masters way of loving - without counting the cost - even unto death.
Yours for ever
Conversion doesn't wear off. It was God's miracle, not your achievement. Certainly you had a part in it: with your heart, mind and will you respond to God's love and His offer of new life. But God's activity at that first encounter was more impressive by far, and what He did in your life at that moment was permanent and irreversible. You may not understand it, there's certainly no way you deserve it, but it's the foundation for an absolute, unshakable assurance that, even at the bleakest of times, you're still His.
According to scripture, when you became a Christian: God created in you something brand new 'therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come!' (2 Cor 5:17). You were born again. Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, no one sees the kingdom of God unless he is born again' (John 3:3). What a shame the media have latched on to that phrase 'born again' as though it describes some way out of the eccentric category of Christians. Not so! According to Jesus, no rebirth - no Christian life for anybody!
You receive the Holy Spirit - a new power
Jesus said, 'And I will ask the father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you for ever - the spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, but you know Him for He lives with you and will be in you' (John 14:16) 'Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's spirit lives in you?' (1 Cor 3:16).
You joined a new Family
'Yet to all who receive Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent...but born of God' (John 1:12) 'But when the time had fully come, God sent His son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because we are God's sons, God sent the spirit of His son into our hearts, the spirit who calls out "Abba, Father". So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir' (Gal 4:4-7).
Now it would take someone far wiser and more of an expert than me to explain what all those verses mean, but the one message that comes through loud and clear to me is that as far as God is concerned, He did something permanent and lasting when I made that commitment back in the 1970's. A new creation, a new birth, a new power and a new family. How daft to think miracles like that might 'wear off', be revised or even withdrawn. God never has second thoughts. And if I, in some amazing way, have been given a new life and am part of a new spiritual family with God as my Father, then those are for keeps.
Think for a minute of the prodigal son - and 'prodigal' by the way, simply means wasteful or reckless. When he was living it up in some foreign land and couldn't care less for his family at home, did he disqualify himself from being a son? Of course not! Although he had stupidly and selfishly separated himself from his family, he wasn't divorced from it and, when he came to his senses and went home, he discovered that the bond he had with his father was as secure and firm as it had ever been.
So what goes wrong? If there is this marvelous permanency about our relationship with God, why so many ups and downs? If we are new creatures why do we think and behave like the old ones? First of all, take heart - because you're in good company. In Romans 7:18-19 Paul owned up exactly the same frustrations. 'For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out', he wrote, 'For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I don't want to do, this I keep on doing'.
Now this, remember, was Christ's great ambassador and apostle, Paul. If he struggled to do what was right, no wonder we go through a few problems of are own from time to time.
What helped me a great deal was understanding that, although Christians are given a new nature at their conversion, this new nature is constantly at war with the old nature, which is spoilt by sin and responsible for all the selfishness and ugliness that we hate in ourselves. Our new Christ - like nature has fantastic unlimited potential and can produce fruit in our lives which we would never believe possible. Some of those fruits are listed in Galatians 5:22-23 - love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Some characteristics! - and hardly surprising that a torrid battle is constantly waging between the 'old Adam' versus the new. Here, I must remind myself of the assurance of Jesus - 'My strength is enough for you' and again 'with me you can do all things and without me you can do nothing' that's why I begin my day each morning with these words 'Lord there is nothing that's going to happen to me today that 'you' and 'I' together cannot handle.
God's healing power
In the 1970's, I was dying of brain cancer and pituitary gland removal. During the same year, I lost my voice with thyroid cancer - but regained voice with God's healing power. Now I'm living on weekly injections and lifetime medications. I am eternally grateful to God and continue to live the rest of my life in service.