Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Hello everyone. I realize that it has been a few days since I was last on, and I know you are all missing the “Jesus Letters.” This verse is all about change. Whether we realize it or not, none of us is the same person we were when we were younger. We all change and morph into someone else, whether good or bad. I can only speak from my own personal experiences

As a kid, I was backward and shy. I did not like to be in the spotlight for any reason. I was the kid that sat in the back of the class and hoped the teacher could not see me. All I wanted to do was to blend in and go unnoticed. And I did just that for many years. That is a story for a different blog subject.

Change can come in many forms when we talk about people. We change our hair color or style. We change interests and hobbies. We change jobs and lifestyles, to name just a few. Change can be a scary thing, especially when change is not expected. Change can make you anxious and nervous. It is completely normal to have those emotions about change.

From my personal experience, I am looking at some changes that lay ahead. After 27 years of serving in the career that I have loved, I am looking at retirement in the very near future. I am excited about retirement as I have worked most of my life looking forward to that day. I am also quite scared. Change can have a domino effect in your life. I will have extra time on my hands upon retirement, so what to do? I need to be thinking of a new way to earn money and fill my time. You know the old saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” There have also been changes in my health, some good and some bad. With the new diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease, I cannot eat like I used to, and I cannot eat the things I used to. On the good side, I have been able to lose some weight, and my blood sugar is coming down into a much more normal range.

Time to get out of the “Rabbit hole.” Near the age of 30, after my wonderful wife took me to church kicking and screaming, I took those first scary steps to the altar and professed Christ Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. Talk about change! The verse above says that we are “A new creation.” That is no lie. I went from drinking regularly to barely drinking to not drinking at all. This was not of my doing because, left to my own will, I could not have done it. All the good changes in my life are works of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ words:

“Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 1:4-5 NLT

To wrap this up, you must be willing to let the Holy Spirit work in your life. This can be very frightening! Just as I was called into ministry and worked on my Fire Chaplain 5 years ago, I went to college as a 50-year-old student with no college experience. To leading a fallen brother’s funeral and speak in front of hundreds of other brothers and sisters of many agencies. Was I scared? Yes! The difference between then and now; I have the Holy Spirit dwelling within, and I know that God is at my side.

Going from an ordinary everyday sinner to being a believer In Jesus Christ is a significant change, but you won’t go through it alone. When you find a body of believers, you will grow and mature as a Christian. Is it hard to leave that old life behind? Yes! It still calls to me every day, but you must learn to pray and follow the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit. That is why the Holy Spirit is there. Will you be perfect upon becoming a believer? NO! And trust me, it’s not easy, but it’s very much worth the work to put into it. Ministry work is not easy, but as the saying goes, “The retirement is out of this world.”

God Bless,

Chaplain Howie

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