CLERGY CORNER: Experiencing renewal

Posted on 28 January 2016 by LeslieM

Broadcast producers have found a goldmine in reality-based programming. From the network stations to cable, and even Internet channels, reality television is the flavor of the moment. From popular shows like Real Housewives of (pick your city) to Survivor, The Bachelorette, Dancing with the Stars, Biggest Loser and the Amazing Race, there has been an abundance of programming that is relatively unscripted, unrehearsed and reality-based.

One of my favorites is HGTV’s Property Brothers, where twins Jonathan and Drew guide couples through the process of purchasing and renovating fixer-upper homes. The premise is simple: most couples have a limited budget but an unrestricted wish list. They usually can’t afford the homes that meet all their demands and must pick from several homes that are in their reach but need a lot of work. The brothers have become masters at seeing past ugly paint colors, weird interior layouts and outdated kitchen appliances to imagining, and then producing, magazine-worthy homes that leave the new owners in awe.

The truth is that at one time those fixer-uppers were brand new and appealing. Time, use and wear inevitably took a toll on them, however, leaving them in need of refreshing, renewing and updating. Our lives and experiences, over time, can be such that they leave us weary, worn and dilapidated. Once bursting with energy, passion and zeal, we can look around one day to find ourselves weak, overwhelmed and dispirited. But, like those homes that can be re-imagined and repurposed, there is a potential and possibility that can yet be unleashed in us.

The start of a new year often presents an opportunity to review and renew our lives. Most of us make resolutions in an attempt to make improvements and change for the better. Losing weight, saving more money, giving up bad habits and learning something new are some of the more popular goals that people set for themselves at the beginning of each year. The truth is that we can begin new things or make adjustments at any time, but the first month of a new year provides the added benefit of an emotional boost. Everything seems fresh and most people seem to be filled with optimism about themselves and their prospects for the months ahead.

Opportunities are always around us, but sometimes we focus so much on our obstacles that we fail to notice them. Life doesn’t have to be so adverse that we feel trapped and unfulfilled. Like a dilapidated home that is re-imagined and given new life, we, too, can experience renewal and be refreshed.

Believers know that God is constantly calling us to renewal: spiritual, emotional and sometimes physical. His plans for us are far superior to what we can imagine, and, if we look to Him, we can experience His guidance. As Solomon observed in Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

As this year begins to unfold, be encouraged to embrace the opportunities you have to experience renewal, and to make changes for the better. Include God in your planning and discover the good things He has purposed for you. Begin each day by looking to Him for direction and heeding His instruction. The confident assertion of King David, in Psalm 16:11, is “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” That sounds like a good plan to me. Try it, and may your year be filled with renewed joy, pleasure and fulfillment.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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