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~ Today’s mini Bible study and 2023 printable Christian Calendar are designed to help you find spiritual renewal like David did in the Psalms. ~
It’s renewal time! Yes, it’s that time of year when we all start to think about renewing our calendars and planners for next year. And as usual, we’ve got you covered!
But even better than introducing our new 2023 printable Christian Calendar with a Psalms theme, I want to introduce you to my sweet friend Rhonda.
After I heard Rhonda speak at our church’s last women’s ministry event, I told her I was moved by her words and her transparency, and I asked her if she would let me put what she shared on my blog. First, she graciously – and rightly – corrected me to give all the glory to Jesus for those words. Don’t you just love that about her?
Then she said yes!
As you will see, her words from the Lord go right along with our theme of writing God’s Word on our hearts for the purpose of changing to become more like Jesus.
Prepare to be inspired – and renewed.
Take it away Rhonda …
What are some things that require renewal?
- Driver’s Licenses
- Professional Licenses
- Hair color
- Car registration
- Can you think of more?
We might not think about it often, but our spirits also need to be renewed.
In the list above, we usually encounter signs when they need to be renewed: notifications, bills, roots, etc.
But what about spiritual renewal? Are there signs that point to the need for spiritual renewal?
What should we watch for?
Top 10 Signals You Might Be in Need of Spiritual Renewal
I might be in need of renewal if…
#10 Everyone around me is getting on my last nerve. My husband is grouchy. The kids are whiny. My friends are all so negative. I am working hard, but my co-workers are hardly working. So and so is such a gossip. You get the point.
# 9 The principles in every sermon apply to the people mentioned in #10, but never to me.
# 8 I feel TIRED. Weary. Exhausted. Depleted. Running on empty. Even before the day begins.
# 7 I am bored. Stuck in a rut. My excitement for life and God have waned.
# 6 I’m just going through the motions… At home. At work. At church. During my Bible study and prayer times.
# 5 I’ve gone past being bored and going through the motions. I find myself avoiding church, godly friends, and time alone with God.
# 4 God feels distant. Quiet. I don’t feel like He hears or even cares.
# 3 I feel discouraged. Sad. Melancholy. Weak. Alone.
# 2 I feel worried. Anxious. Guilt-ridden. Even depressed.
#1 I have an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction and discontentment.
I know that list is a little depressing. So let’s turn our minds back to renewal.
To be renewed means to be refreshed. Restored. Replenished. Reborn. Resuscitated. Refilled. Revived. Rested. Reclaimed. Recharged.
As soon as I was given “Renew” as the theme for this event, the Lord turned my thoughts to Psalm 51.
Several years ago I had a period of deep discontentment. I felt downcast and empty spiritually. God seemed so distant. During that time, I sought renewal from the Lord. I prayed through the verses of Psalm 51 many times.
Eventually God began to lift my head as I read His Word and prayed.
Psalm 51 was composed by King David after he was confronted about and convicted by his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the arrangement of the murder of her husband, Uriah, after Bathsheba’s pregancy was discovered.
Do you think David might have been feeling some of the things in our Top 10 list?
Psalm 51:11 (ESV): Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
In this Psalm, he cried out to God for forgiveness and renewal. In his cry for mercy, he appealed to God on the basis of God’s gracious character.
As can we.
Psalm 51:1-2 (ESV): Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
This Psalm paints a picture of David’s desperate need to be back in a right relationship with God – and what it takes to get there.
Psalm 51:10 (ESV): Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cost of Renewal
David mentions the fruit of renewal: Joy. Gladness. Clean heart. Steadfast spirit. Being in right relationship with God. All those outcomes of renewal sound great and are great! But I would be remiss if we didn’t talk about the cost of renewal.
Licenses, car registrations, insurance policies, passports, and subscriptions all come with a cost to be renewed. Right?
AND there is even a cost if you don’t renew!
First let’s look at the cost of not renewing.
I have a confession to make. For years, I had a problem with remembering to pay my car registration on time. Soon after we moved, there was a time when my car registration was overdue.
I didn’t get a notification to renew so I was oblivious to it (nevermind the date on my tag and the date on my last registration).
Well, I was oblivious until the day I saw blue lights in my rearview mirror and was pulled over. The nice police officer told me she had pulled me over because my car registration was past due, then she handed me a ticket. I tried to appeal to her graciousness by groveling, “This doesn’t seem fair; I never got a notification. Isn’t there a grace period?” She shot back, “Yes. But not when it is more than 6 months past due.”
Guess what? The cost to renew would have been minimal in comparison to the cost I ended up paying late. Not renewing in a timely manner cost me a late fee + the regular renewal fee + the cost of the ticket + a little embarrassment because of the blue lights!
A year later, a random stranger pulled up beside me at a stop light. She informed me that my tag was past due and that I could get arrested for that in Florida! Another year had passed and I still hadn’t received a renewal notice. In fact, I never did get a notice for the renewal of the tag on that particular car, but I have put the date to pay for it on my calendar!
Once again I had to learn …
There is a cost to be paid when renewals are neglected!
There is also a cost to be paid if we neglect to recharge spiritually on a regular basis.
According to Psalm 51, the cost is the loss of joy, gladness, and a relationship with God and others. Failure to renew can cause drifting, which can lead to temptation to find satisfaction in worthless things. Which leads to more drift.
Psalm 51:12 (ESV): Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
(Caveat: Sometimes we find ourselves in the spiritual dumps even when we are doing all the right things – but that’s a talk for another day.)
Now what about the cost of spiritual renewal?
Maybe that sounds odd or wrong to say that there is a cost to spiritual renewal. But thankfully, we can rest assured that God does the lion’s share of the work …
God gave Saul a new heart.
1 Samuel 10:9 (NLT): As Saul turned and started to leave, God gave him a new heart, and all Samuel’s signs were fulfilled that day.
God gave Israel a new heart.
Jeremiah 24:7 (CSB): I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God because they will return to me with all their heart.
God gives new hearts and new spirits all the time – as well as removes hearts of stone.
Ezekial 36:26 (ESV): And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
God will renew our heart and mind as we meditate on His Word.
Ephesians 4:20-24 (ESV): But that is not the way you learned Christ! – assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Yes, God does the heart changing. (Side note: see our heart-change prayer cards.)
However, we have work to do also. James says that faith without works is dead.
James 2:17 (ESV): So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
What is Our Cost for Spiritual Renewal?
Cost #1 – TIME
To know someone, you have to spend time with them. David knew God. We have to spend time with God to truly know Him.
Renewal comes in knowing Him through His Word.
- In worship of Him.
- In expressing gratitude to Him.
- In talking and listening to Him.
Lately, I have been listing the attributes of God that I come across while reading through the Word. That takes time. But noting them and reading back through those attributes helps to renew my faith and trust in Him, which in turn brings joy and gladness and peace to my soul.
Psalm 19:7-8 (ESV): The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
Time alone with God is especially important for renewal.
Cost #2 – PRIDE
David had been arrogant, which led to grievous sin. However, in repentance and humility, David asked for God to renew a right spirit within him. “Right spirit” can also be translated “steadfast spirit.”
That translation really struck me since nothing seems to be steady in our world. So many things are changing. Shifting views, definitions, the way we shop and work, technology (who can keep up with that?), etc.
So to have a spirit that stands steady and faithful is more appealing than ever.
David appealed to God’s mercy and love and power to forgive. He knew he had nothing to offer. He was contrite (sorrowful and remorseful over his sin) and wanted to seek reconciliation between himself and God.
David confessed his sin. He recognized he didn’t deserve forgiveness. He owned up to his sin. God was not to blame. He admitted that God would be justified in bringing judgment rather than mercy. He also highlighted the fact that offerings and sacrifices were meaningless unless offered with a broken and contrite heart.
Psalm 51:16-17 (ESV): For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Humility involves contrition + confession, which results in cleansing and renewal.
Cost #3 – OBEDIENCE
Something I’ve been learning lately is that just knowing about Him is not enough. We must also do. Bible studies that don’t lead to transformation are worthless. We must do what His Word says.
Colossians 1:9-10 (ESV): And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
I usually have a sponge sitting on my kitchen sink. If that sponge soaks up the most nutritious drink but doesn’t get rinsed and RUNG out, it is going to stink and not be good to use. It is the same with us.
We are not meant to just soak up the truth and goodness and beauty of the Lord and His Word without being cleansed and rung out and used.
Obedience is costly. To obey means to deny myself. It means to die to myself.
Luke 9:23 (ESV): And he [Jesus] said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
But obedience is not nearly as costly as disobedience.
Think about that for a minute.
The fruit of obedience is love, joy, and peace … and renewal of those things when they wane.
The fruit of disobedience can be found in the Top 10 list above.
Which fruit would you rather have?
Cost #4 – COMMUNITY
How is community costly? Sinful people living and working with other sinful people can be challenging. No doubt about it! We have such a tendency to withdraw from each other during tough times. But we need each other.
We were made to live in community.
For example, my friend Sarah gave her driver’s license while at a doctor’s appointment. The receptionist informed her that her license had expired a year ago! Someone helped her know she was in need. Because she was warned, she was able to take care of the issue before it cost her more than she wanted to pay!
We can do this for each other in a spiritual sense, as well. As Nathan did for David before Psalm 51 was written, we can help to restore each other to joy and gladness and a right relationship with God and others.
Note: You have to be new before you can be renewed.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV): Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
How can you be saved and made new?
Romans 10:9-10 (ESV): if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
If you have questions about how to be made new or renewed, feel free to use our contact tab on this blog. You can also read more information here.
2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (ESV): Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
Whatever you do, don’t miss out on renewal. Sometimes we don’t want to come to Him. We think it will cost more than we want to pay – Time. Pride. Obedience. Community.
Or maybe we just want to do what we want to do.
Yes, there is a cost.
But the rewards of joy and gladness are worth the cost – and God wants you to be renewed.
Ephesians 2:4-7 says that He saved us and made us alive so that He can show His kindness toward us – from now and into eternity.
So… remember to renew your spirit… and your car registration.
Back to Alyson … Thank you so much Rhonda for allowing me to publish your words from the Lord here today! May the Lord use them to bring about spiritual renewal to every reader.
*My prayer for you is … that this blog will inspire you to open your Bible every single day to seek God’s face and write His Word on your heart – because HE’S the key to lasting heart change!
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