2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
I love New Year’s. It’s not because of the New Year’s Eve celebration; it’s not because the busyness of the holidays is over. I love New Year’s because it signifies the end of a chapter, one that probably didn’t reach my highest expectations yet holds the hopes, the dreams, and the possibilities of a whole new year.
Even though a new year almost seems “artificial” in some ways — only minutes from one to the next — I see it as a brand new start, a start that I need every year to help me get past the past. A New Beginning in Jesus Christ.
No matter how hard we try to plan and maintain a handle on (or control of) our own lives, each year all of us are faced with situations and circumstances that are completely out of our control.
At times like these, Jesus speaks to us just as he did to a father named Jairus when he found out his daughter had just died: “Don’t be afraid. Just trust me” (Mark 5:36, NLT).
Looking back upon 2011, I see disappointments in relationships, I see missed opportunities in business, I see friends and family who have gone through sickness, loss, and pain. I see poor decisions in how I reacted to situations and how people reacted to me. I see how I hurt others and others have hurt me. But in order for me to move forward, to continue growing in Christ, I have to leave the past behind. I encourage my fellow Christians to do the same. Forgive and receive forgiveness. Proverbs 17:9 says, “He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.”
Paul says: “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going … for our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurable great glory that will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 17-18, NLT).
Isn’t it wonderful to know as you begin this New Year that you have God’s Spirit with you, His Spirit carrying you, leading you, and guiding you? Do you realize that this New Year can be a year in which you can serve God with a fresh new excitement? As you’re walking with Him and being obedient to Him, you will feel the sense of His pleasure in your life.
Pleasure doesn’t come in the pursuit of happiness, but in the pursuit of holiness. Far too many miss God’s divine plan for their lives as they’re bent on pursuing all the things in this world, hoping to find some sense of joy.
As you set new goals, new priorities for the days ahead, check out where God is in your plans, in your decision-making. What’s on your calendar for today, this week, this month, this year that will make any difference for the Kingdom?
One thing will always remain: God. And because He is immutable-unchanging-He will always be the same, and He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). He is always there with arms opened wide, your everlasting Father God. With this New Year, cling to the fact that He will never change.
Remember, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). In this New Year, where will you run? Will it be to food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, another man or woman? When the hounds of trouble, worry, and fear pursue you; when the dogs of temptation, corruption, and evil seek to overtake you; when your energy is spent; when weakness saps you; when you feel you cannot run any longer, where do you turn? Who is your refuge?
If you desire a fresh new start, determine He will be the One you will run to. Run to Him and bury yourself in the security of all He is.
Scripture of the day: 1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. ~ Psalm 23:1-6
Pastor Peter Okereke Jr.
The Living Word Ministries Inc.
Copyright Reserved, 2011.
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