SO WHAT’S NEW ABOUT THE NEW YEAR?

There is something exciting about getting something new. Maybe for Christmas you got that new book or tool or kitchen gadget or clothing item. You have already tried it out. Hopefully it did not tear, break or get soiled…but it will because new stuff gets old. That is just the way of life.

So what’s new about the new year?  Resolutions? How many really last? Fresh start with a new calendar? The days roll by and the check list grows, and it begins to feel like old hat, right?

Let’s think about this question about what’s new in the new year.

ANSWER: NOTHING.  Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:9 “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”  Well, that is a depressing note.  It sounds like we are doomed to go over the same ground…again this year as last year. Does history repeat itself?  Is there no hope of change? Is that what Solomon means? That there is nothing new under the sun does not mean that man does not invent, that he does not genuinely reflect his Creator by building and making wonderful new things. But think about this. Man does what he’s done since the dawn of time. He invents, works, builds, barters, eats, drinks, walks, sleeps, and dies. What leverage do these activities give mankind? One generation comes and another goes. Do we remember the greatest rage in entertainment in the early 1800’s in America? Can we recall the greatest athlete in the 1600’s? Does your young grandson even know the meaning of the phrase “like a broken record?” Can he even recall what a dial-tone is? Eventually everything is forgotten. That cycle keeps repeating. Solomon’s whole point in Ecclesiastes is this: Without God life is purposeless, vain, empty, doomed to many points of failure. The endless cycle.

ANSWER: SOME THINGS. Paul teaches us in II Cor. 5:17 that when a person is born again he becomes a new creature in Christ. Old things are passing away and all things are becoming new.  Paul also reminds us that God’s goal is to change us and bring us more into the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29). This transforming work is constantly going on in us and as we read God’s word and speak to God in prayer, the changes the Holy Spirit makes in our thinking and behavior make us look more like Jesus than the day before…and the year before! That is new stuff for us.

ANSWER: EVERYTHING.  I love Jeremiah’s take on what God is doing in the days to come in all of our lives as believers. Lamentations 3:22-23 says “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end. THEY ARE NEW EVERY MORNING; great is your faithfulness.”  Imagine that. Every morning when I wake up and face the day something new from God is going to come down in the form of a mercy. Think of what was going on here. Jerusalem had fallen. A dark hour in history for Israel. Jeremiah the prophet is in pain and full of grief. Then he recalls the steadfast love of the Lord. It never goes away. In fact God’s mercies come to us new every morning, no matter what happened yesterday. That is what keeps us going. Today may be a mess, but tomorrow promises new mercies. It happens every day.

So what’s new about the new year? Nothing…Some Things…Everything. Never forget the words of Jesus in Revelation 21:5 “Behold, I make all things new.”  That is our hope.There is a new future. God is in the business of making us new. Are we living by faith banking on God’s new mercies? Are we resisting or complying to God’s new thing(s)?  Think it thru

HOW DO WE HANDLE “THE POST-ELECTION SYNDROME?”

day-after

Kevin DeYoung in a recent blog entitled A Prayer on Election Day concluded with these words:

Grant us the courage to stand up for what is right, the strength to try to make a difference, and the gospel-formed humility to accept that there are no Messiahs except for Jesus and no heaven on earth except the one awaiting us at the end of the age.”


Our new president is no Messiah and no elected official can deliver heaven on earth.   In fact according to Paul’s words to Timothy in II Timothy  3:1ff there will be a continued downward spiral in our world:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty for people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power….”

The challenge before us is not to put our hopes in Washington, but our confidence in the power of the Gospel to bring lasting change to the hearts of men and women.  That does not mean we are to abandon our prayers for our leaders. In fact…just the opposite. If we believe the Gospel is the answer for our culture then that very truth will drive us to our knees to pray for their salvation and that God would bring decisions from their hands that will further the Gospel in our land.  The story of the two eagles in Ezekiel 17 reminds us of the sovereign hand of God over the governmental affairs of nations [look it up and read it some time] where God brings change in spite of those who rule.

Our hope for the future is grounded in the triumph of the resurrection.  If God conquered death in Jesus Christ, then the rest is a “piece of cake.”  The darkness on the earthly horizon now  is always eclipsed by the glory of the future horizon yet to come! God isn’t done! The Spirit isn’t done! The Church isn’t done! Think it thru