New Year

Every 365 days, other than a leap year, we welcome in a new year with great fanfare and hope!

We long for the “new” of another year – for new mercies, new hearts, new circumstances!

The truth is, we live day to day, continuously and, each one of us has the opportunity to live in the “new” every day; for those who, have received by faith the finished work of Jesus, not just for the here and now but also for eternity.

In Christ…

We serve the God of “new” for His mercies are new every morning; great is HIS faithfulness. *

We are redeemed by the One who is making all things new! **

We can rejoice as we, by faith, put our hope fully in Him because “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new…anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person.” ***

We are carried by the One who knows the beginning from the end, who will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus even when we cannot see and even when our emotions threaten to undo us as we set our eyes on what is true not on what is passing as truth.

So, if you started the year with all the focus on making new choices and new beginnings, great! It is an opportunity to make so many plans. There can even be much refreshment in setting new goals, making new plans, desiring “new” in our lives. But don’t miss the joy and opportunity of every day being an opportunity for “new.” Don’t get down the road and become discouraged because those goals and plans and desires have not come to fruition. Reset or reconsider, but don’t despair.

Take hold of God’s new mercies every morning. 

We don’t have to live in the shadow of our past choices, the wearying tug of our past hurts, the persistence of “pet sins” that we have long coddled rather than battled, the cloud of sadness or fear of the present or future, or the regrets of today. We don’t have to live by our emotions and the “what ifs” or “might have beens.”

We can stop and submit all of that in each new morning and, in some circumstances, throughout each day, and know we will find fresh grace in our time of need; He will pour out His mercies and carry us, fight for us, battle with us, and equip us to live in newness of life! He will help us take every thought captive and deal with our very real emotions in a way that frees us and glorifies Him.

Don’t give into the meager attempts of the enemy of our souls to shift our gaze from our Living Hope and the true reality to the fading happinesses and discouragements of what we see and experience in this world. He has given us life to live abundantly; at times, it may be a battle to “feel” that abundance, that joy, and that hope, but we run to the truth and let that truth permeate our hearts and minds so that our feelings don’t define our emotions and our responses.

The Bible was written to a particular people in a particular time, but it was written for His people to come, those of us who have accepted and will by faith accept Jesus’ work on the cross – His death and resurrection – and are ready to lean in, learn from, and submit to a very good and gracious God, who is Mighty and Holy, Tender and Kind.  He makes us new creations…for our joy and for His glory!

If, in this new year, you know about God, but you don’t know Him, you can. 

Take joy, my friend, in seeking and knowing the One who created you, who calls His children by name, in whom we are His! Call on that One and dig into His Word in a new and fresh way, asking Him to give you all His wisdom and clarity, standing on what is true and unchanging, every word!

His mercies are new every year, but even better, they are new every morning, every minute that we call on Him!

And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

(I John 5:11-13, 20)

As I lay out some of the Scriptures that came to mind as I wrote this and connect with the above, I also share some thoughts on them after each.  As you read the Word of God, read it in full. These are verses pulled and yet they are written in full books and chapters that God wants to us to hear and there is such joy in knowing more of the God who has written these words that we might KNOW Him!

Isaiah 40:11: “Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in the fold of His robe…”

He is the like a Shepherd who guards and protects His sheep; in Christ, we are like those sheep and He guards and protects, even if at times His rebuke is for our good.

Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I love that we can come to Him and lay our requests before Him, but He tells us to do it with thanksgiving! We thank Him before the answer comes knowing His answer – be it yes, no or wait – is always from the heart of the good God who knows far more than we what the best answer will be. And we can come to Him with thanks, after the answer is clear, even if it is through tears, knowing He is faithful and true and will carry us when the answer is not what we would have wanted.

Psalm 16:11: “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

We can be in His presence as we call on His Name, as we read His Word; we can be encouraged and challenged and find delight as we spend time with others who also love Him and are finding their joy in His true hope that does not disappoint!

Romans 5:1-6, 8-11: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

So, in this new year, in this new day, we can live with great joy and expectation as we give thanks for our Living Hope, that One, Jesus!

John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

*Lamentations 3:22-23

**Revelations 21:5

***2 Corinthians 5:17

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