A Fresh Start with Christ

Bob Roane Death, Eternal Life, Heaven, Hell, Loving and Trusting God

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. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)

New Days and Years

Anne of Green Gables is a 1908 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874–1942) and is considered a classic children’s book. The main character is Anne Shirley, an orphan. On one occasion, she was making a cake and by mistake added a skin medication to the mix instead of vanilla. Anne cheerfully told her guardian, Marilla, “Isn’t it nice that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”1 Anne’s error with a cake was no big deal, but our sins against God and other people are.

“New and improved” is a slogan often used in advertising. Companies call a product “new and improved” when they create a fresh version of something or make it better. The good news of the Bible is that God takes imperfect people and circumstances and brings spiritual renewal. We are responsible for our attitudes and actions, our choices and conduct. But the job is too big for us. We need God the Holy Spirit to rescue us from detours, to help us make u-turns, and to begin again with Christ, maybe for the first time in our life. And we need the same if we are already Christians. All believers still stumble and fall and do wrong in our thoughts, words, and deeds.2

New Life Starts with Christ

By the Lord’s sanctifying, sustaining grace, believers in Christ can get a new start every day, every year. The prophet Micah says, “God will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”3  That’s why Moses prays: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”4

The Bible teaches us that we receive time—years, months, days—as the Lord’s gift, to be filled up with loving Him and other people, glorifying and enjoying God. So it’s good for us to stop and deliberate who we are, whose we are, and how we should live. If God spares us, He will send us new challenges and opportunities in 2022. How will we respond?

Moses and Psalm 90

In this Psalm, Moses begins addressing the Lord as our faithful, covenant-keeping God, who is the everlasting refuge for believers in all generations. He closes the Psalm asking the Lord to make His beauty shine upon us and to establish the work of our hands. Moses reminds us that Christ creates us, our time, and all things. Compared to the Lord’s eternity, our brief lives are short and fleeting. A thousand years in His sight are like a day that has just gone by.5 The Lord knows all about us and we can’t hide anything from Him. All the wrongs we commit and wrongs done against us are completely known by Him. After our life on earth is over, everyone dies and faces Jesus’ judgment. How will it go for us?

Thankfully Micah also says: “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of His special people? You do not stay angry forever but you delight to show mercy.”6 The Lord is thrilled, excited, glad, and happy to demonstrate loving-kindness. The Hebrew word here is chesed. Psalm 136 says it 26 times: God’s love never fails and never quits. His mercy, graciousness, kindness, and compassion endure forever. This is exactly what Moses said of God back in Exodus.7

Our One Hope: God’s Love

These Scriptures remind me of the song “One Thing Remains.”

It begins: Higher than the mountains that I face, Stronger than the power of the grave,
Constant through the trial and the change, One thing remains, yes, one thing remains.

Then the chorus: Your love never fails. It never gives up. It never runs out on me.
(repeated three times)

Then the bridge: Because on and on, and on, and on it goes. It overwhelms and satisfies my soul. And I never, ever, have to be afraid. One thing remains, yes, one thing remains: God’s love.8

The song reminds us that Jesus’ love is like a fountain that never runs dry. It gushes forth to cleanse us from sin and impurity and to refresh us.9

Encouragement from Immanuel

People wish us “Happy New Year!” and mean well. But we need God’s supernatural encouragement and help now and all the time. The Lord spoke to Joshua 3,400 years ago as God’s people were heading into the Promised Land. Joshua had a gigantic assignment, way beyond his abilities. He was afraid of strong enemies and he knew that God’s people would face perils and dangers. But the Lord told him:

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go….Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”10

Joshua’s situation was unique, but we will also face challenges in 2022. Loved ones will get sick and die. We will have struggles in our families and friendships. We will have job, financial, and health problems. We will face big uncertainties and tough decisions. But thankfully what happens in this coming year is not left to chance. God is in charge and He promises to stay close. Many years after Joshua, the Lord Jesus made the same promise saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me….And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”11

Jesus Christ is Immanuel, God with us. That’s our only hope!

Prayer: Father, thank you for this new day and new year. Search us, O God, and know our hearts. Test us and know our anxious thoughts. Point out anything in us that offends you, and lead us along the path of everlasting life. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.12

Notes (various translations): 1 I owe this illustration Cindy Hess Kasper of Our Daily Bread.    2 James 3:2; 2 Chron 6:36; Psalm 34:13, 39:1; Prov 10:19, 20:9.     3 Micah 7:19.     4 Psalm 90:12.   5 Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8.     6 Micah 7:18.     7 Exodus 34:6-7.        8 Songwriters: Jeremy Hora, Dallas Smith, Daniel Craig, David Benedict, Martin Frederiksen.     9 Zec 13:1; Psalm 51:1-9; Isaiah 1:18; John 1:29.     10 Joshua 1:5-9.     11 Matt 28:18-20.     12 Prayer based on Psalm 139:23-24 NLT.