Here we are in the first several days of the new year. It’s that time of year when people make promises, or resolutions, about how they will act in the new year. Sometimes, this is a new habit, acting a different way, committing to a course of action that is different from last year or even vowing to continue a behavior that has been part of the past.
It’s when we wipe the slate clean from last year and contemplate the kind of person that we want to be in the future. Last year at this time, Janet and I committed to read the New Testament during 2021. And in the one of our rare acts of total commitment to a resolution, we actually completed Revelation on Christmas Day. Check!
It’s no wonder that health clubs advertise like crazy this time of year. Many of us vow to get into shape, exercise more, work out some number of days per week, etc. Health clubs know that this is the time to strike. And they also know that most people will discontinue being committed to their new “routine” by the end of February, at the latest. Years ago, we actually joined a health club in the beginning of the year. So we know firsthand that it’s tough to keep resolutions.
For the most part, Janet and I gave up resolutions many years ago. Those things that we do decide to pursue generally have some sort of spiritual component. We are still contemplating whether or not we will start to read the Old Testament – but we realistically think it would take more than a year to do. And I start to teach the Soul Sisters on Thursday when we will begin the study of Exodus, having done Genesis last fall.
I have even started to think about our home Bible study group when we re-convene late this spring. We are slowly working our way through the Psalms with intermittent pauses to pick up a book here or there in the New Testament.
I also find that I don’t get overly anxious about the new year and all that comes with it. When we were younger, we got all amped up about watching the celebration at Times Square and the magic of beginning a new year. As a boy, I actually remember Dad going out and getting the newspaper to show me the date on the front page – it read January 1, 1959. I wasn’t yet 6 years old until February 19th of that year. It made quite an impact on me. In fact, I remember Dad showing me the paper the day before and telling me that I would not see the date 1958 again. That was something I actually had to process in my five year old brain.
Come to think of it, Eisenhower was still the President of the United States, the first televised presidential debates between Kennedy and Nixon happened the following year; and I have absolutely no recollection of seeing the decade change on January 1, 1960 on the front page of the newspaper. It’s strange some of the things that impact us while other seemingly more important things are barely noticed.
There is, however, a time when things will become new again. We are told in the book of Revelation that God will make everything new. There will be no more tears, there is a description of our eternal surroundings and at the center of it all, God Himself assures us that He will be our God forever. There will be no more night and just as the Bible records that it all started in the Garden of Eden, we will also end up in a garden – just like was supposed to happen in the beginning. God provides a way for us to return to Him.
Our verse for tonight is the one that highlights the promise of God regarding this awesome future for those who believe in Him. The apostle John, the author of Revelation, tells us in Revelation 21:5-7, “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”
My encouragement this evening is that no matter what last year brought, or how you acted many years ago, we have God’s assurance that when we accept Him as Lord and Savior, everything is forgiven. We don’t need the end of a year to get a do-over… My prayer is that we will relax in the life that we have for now, keeping focused on the future and how new everything will be. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…