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Posted on Sun, Jan 1, 2017

by Pastor Bob Norton

The clock inches toward midnight.  Car horns blare in rhythmic celebration.  Firecrackers crackle like rifle fire.  Parties erupt into circuses of handshaking and hugging.  Confetti falls like snow; liquor flows like water.  It’s New Year’s Eve, the celebration of the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year.

 Or is it?  “What’s so new about it anyway?”

 When the celebration ceases, what’s really happened?  The same job and the same routines dominate our days.  The same friends and the same activities consume our nights.  The brimming boxcars of our intentions rarely get untracked from old habits.  We spin our wheels most of the time anyway.

“Oh, but I’ve made New Year’s resolutions.  They give me a new lease on life.” Not really.  New Year’s resolutions are aspirin tablets to dull the pain of our futility.  They are down payments on true change.  We promise a lot, but we can’t deliver.  Before the year’s first month is out, our resolve is ruined.

It’s not that we don’t want to change our ways; it’s that we aren’t able to.  The harder we try the harder we fail.  Just about the time we gloat over our accomplishments, we blow it.  A fit of anger, a vengeful retort, a subtle dig – we’re back where we started from, and that’s not very far at all.

But we have elected a new president who will bring new changes to our lives.  2017 could be a roller-coaster as America finds its way in a challenging world.  We are all hopeful for positive changes, new beginnings, that will make America great.  But what does this mean?  The promise of change is admirable…the realization of change is much harder.  Presidential candidates always make promises…and then reality sets in.

No wonder the question, “What’s new?” smears a sarcastic smile across our faces.  But wait a minute.  There’s good news!  New things – radically new things – are possible.  Our lives can be changed.  And the One promising change is fully capable of delivering it – no chance of failure.

It’s God that’s at work.  He’s doing new things for those who decide to trust in His trustworthiness, for those who stake their destiny on Him.  God stands ready to crack the hardened cement of our old habits and attitudes, to melt the frozen firmness of our bent toward wrong things.  God stands ready to sweep out the musty staleness of our stagnant living and invigorate our sagging spirits with the freshness of His own presence.  God is doing new things – new things for you!

May we experience together in 2017 God’s wonderful work of renewal, His great gift of newness.  As we start the New Year take some quiet time with a cup of tea/coffee by the fire and read and meditate upon the timeless, powerful words of our God.  Let’s sing a new song (Psalm 96).  Let’s receive a new Spirit (Ezekiel 11:17-21).  Let’s share a New Covenant (Hebrews 8:8-13).  Let’s obey a new teaching (Mark 1:21-28).  Let’s taste a new wine (Matthew 9:14-17; Acts 2:13).  Let’s become new men and women (Ephesians 2:13-18).  Let’s fulfill a new commandment (1 John 2:7-11).  Let’s participate in a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:16-21).  Let’s prepare our hearts to dwell in a New Heaven and a New Earth (Revelation 21:1-4) celebrating a New Age (Revelation 21:5-8).  Read and rejoice as you receive God’s empowering gift of newness.  With God 2017 will be great!


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