Monday, September 20, 2010

The Old Has Gone, the New Has Come

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.  –II Corinthians 5:17  
This past weekend was exhausting, but wonderful.  We had some of our family and friends in town to join us for the annual Rhythm and Roots Reunion right here in Bristol, which in case you didn’t know it, is the true birthplace of country music.  The annual music festival celebrates that rich heritage.  I got in so late Saturday night that I was simply too exhausted to sit down and write a blog for Sunday.  Sorry about that.  My desire is to have a new devotional thought every day, but sometimes a tight schedule makes that difficult.  To all my faithful readers, thanks for your patience and understanding.

Speaking of the music festival, we heard as always some wonderful music from some familiar groups as well as some we had never heard before.  The highlight of the weekend for me, however, was getting to meet Tommy Ramone of the 70’s punk rock band “The Ramones.” He is now “Uncle Monk” and plays bluegrass / folk music.  Who would have thought that, right?  That’s quite a departure from the punk rock he played back in the 1970’s.  I met him as he was exiting the artists’ souvenir building and we had a brief, but nice chat.  He was more than willing to stop for a moment and talk with someone who remembered his former punk rock days.   

For those of you who remember The Ramones, Tommy was the original drummer.  If you saw him today you probably would not recognize him.  Along with being much older, he has traded his black leather jacket for a work shirt and suspenders.  And instead of playing the drums he strums a mandolin.  His bluegrass / folk music style is melodic, soulful, and fit right in with the theme of the Bristol music festival.  “My goodness,” I thought; what an amazing transformation.  

As I ponder this I am brought back to the Scripture which speaks of the transforming power of God in the life of the believer.  That person we used to be has been overshadowed by the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.  When we put our faith in Christ the change that comes about can often leave a person with little resemblance to his or her former self.  The old person with all the bitterness, hatred, bad attitudes, destructive habits, baggage, and negative outlook is replaced with an individual of faith, character, love, compassion, and a new outlook.  As the Scripture says, “The old has gone, the new has come!”  

In Jesus Christ we are not the same; we are far better than we used to be.  Trust the Lord today and let Him make you into that vibrant and hopeful person you can be.  With Christ it can be done. 

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