Thursday, January 6, 2022

         In the early days of almost any January, the word “new” is used a lot.  We can even go overboard with it.  Not everything is new just because the calendar changes.  And “newness” is not restricted just to a ball drop in Times Square and the first days of January.  Depending upon your translation, the Bible uses some form of the word “new” nearly two hundred times.  One such occurrence is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17. Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come.”  In the Old Testament, Jeremiah wrote these words in Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” 
            From Paul and Jeremiah, we learn two important truths that can impact our faith and life.  First, we learn that God makes us new.  We experience a new birth through our faith in Christ Jesus.  We leave the old life of sin behind.  We are forgiven and remade through God’s grace.  We are not the same after we come to Jesus as we were before we came to Him.  Second, God’s compassions or mercies are new each day and suitable for each day.  God never has to recycle His mercy.  It is always new and we are the beneficiaries of that mercy.  So, even though the calendar changes and 2021 gives way to 2022, we still hold on to some old truths.  We are new creatures in Christ Jesus.  And God’s mercy is new for us every day.  Those realities sound like we are the real winners.
            I have had several conversations recently with people who are considering “what is next in life?”  These conversations involve possible job changes, upsizing for some and downsizing for others.  For some folks, change is exhilarating.  For others, change is frustrating or fearful.  But change happens.  You are older now than you were when you started reading this devotion.  You have expended more breaths and more heartbeats than you had when you woke up this morning.  Life brings change.  But in the midst of this change, we can always hold to two unchanging realities—we belong to the Lord and His mercies are fresh every day.  We age but God does not.  We build our faith on the Lord who is the same yesterday, today and forever. 
            On the first Sunday of the year in 1867, Charles Spurgeon preached the following words to those who had gathered to listen to him preach.  “Let us be as happy as we can during this year. You have your trials and troubles to come—do not expect that you will be free from them. Herein is your joy, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ will never leave you nor forsake you.”  That sermon was preached 155 years ago but it is just as relevant as tomorrow morning’s sunrise.  Nothing that happens today, tomorrow or ever will change the joy we have of knowing that the Lord will neither forsake us nor leave us. 
            Maybe Spurgeon’s words are for you today.  Maybe along with the newness of this new year there is some anxiousness, worry or fear.  But God is good and He has taken up residence with His people.  Be joyful because the Lord has come!  Have a wonderful Thursday!
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