“But then I think about this, and I have hope. We are still alive because the Lord’s faithful love never ends. Every morning he shows it in new ways! You are so very true and loyal! I say to myself, “The Lord is my God, and I trust him.” ~Lamentations 3:21-24
“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” ~Psalm 30:5b
Starting not just a new day…
but a NEW YEAR!
Since the Word says that His GRACE and His MERCIES are NEW EACH DAY and that JOY comes in the MORNING…
How much MORE grandiose are those things at the start of a NEW YEAR!
Corny-sounding as it may be, the Lord pressed a slogan upon the new year…
Ear has not heard, nor eye seen,
What is in store for 2013!!!
Two-Thousand Thirteen…it’s like a BLANK SLATE!!!
Being a teacher and finding great joy in small things like a freshly cleaned chalkboard or whiteboard, the spotless without mark or remnant of ever being written on before, just begs for attention! A great deal of planning goes on in the mind, deciding how to begin afresh. Some routine things remain, but others need adjustment. Full considerations then take into account for lessons or events coming that are in the plans but not necessarily ritualistic in each day’s or week’s routines.
However, there comes these times, when the unexpected, the chaos, the teachable moment, or yes, even when things just don’t go as planned…
“What! This isn’t supposed to happen! It’s not part of the day! Why aren’t things going as planned?”
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~Philippians 4:13
These are the moments that Willie George describes as “times that you will have a heavy spirit but you can’t carry it long. It will destroy you and others near you!…The strength of the mighty is to call on God in times of weakness.”
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” ~2 Timothy 4:2
The best preaching here tends to be through actions. What’s done in those next moments are what matter most! Sometimes, needing to forget the plan, wiping the slate clean or well…smudged to somewhat of a usable state, and embrace where it’s going.
Ahhh, YES! Erase what’s on that board!
Mess it up a bit! Until…
Alas, all is calm and all is clear…
Selah! Yes, SELAH in the moment…
Then start afresh the next day with yet another clean slate.
“When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new!” ~2 Corinthians 5:17
This is the feeling starting this New Year…2013! Yes, it is just another year, but it’s BRAND NEW!
Think of things used every single day of life and sometimes even multiple times a day! Toothbrushes, socks, undergarments, etc…just love the feeling the first time one is used that is brand new! It’s like being a new person! That’s how the beginning of a new year, new month, new week, and yes, even a new day should feel. After all, His GRACE & MERCIES are new each and every day and His JOY comes in the morning!
At the start of each new year, this joy can easily be clouded and smoke-filled, trying to choke out and suffocate its very existence, with a nervous frustration over the should’ve-could’ve-would’ves of the previous year, the lack of a dream or vision that is clearly defined, or even the minute size of the future’s goals. A distractor to say the least.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~John 10:10
The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy…or so he thinks! He wants nothing more than to mask every ounce of His Joy. Yes, mask! He doesn’t take it away; he lacks that power due to his inferiority.
“Satan knows if we become sidetracked by the cares of the world, we will begin to neglect our time with God.” ~Joyce Meyer
“Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have ‘arrived’, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ.” ~Philippians 3:12-14
God is the Giver of Joy and nothing can void us from that Joy. It’s still there, just sometimes failed to notice. Too often the eyes and mind fixate on things and views of what others have or expect. To remain fixed and steadfast, the focal point of Joy must remain on its Creator!
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” ~1 Corinthians 15:58
Holley Gerth said it perfectly, “God-sized dreams are not really about size at all– they are about what perfectly fits YOUR heart.”
For the New Year, it’s not about how big or well-laid-out the plans are; it’s what is heard in the quiet moments, in the times at rest in Him. The countless small moments that add up to a bigger picture that may never be fully known until His Return.
Graham Cooke writes, “In this new territory that is unfolding, we’re not going to know the line of our boundaries and this is intentional by God!”
“God decided to let his people know just how rich and glorious that truth is. That secret truth, which is for all people, is that Christ lives in you, his people. He is our hope for glory.” ~Colossians 1:27
His plans, His will, are only to be discovered in fragments, as mysteries being sought after and unlocked, not just in time, but in Presence with Him. This is where we discover what fits into this life He’s so graciously bestowed upon and in Him.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matthew 6:31-34
Joseph Prince describes righteousness here as not just doing the right things, but in being right-standing before The Lord. Romans 5:17 refers to it as the gift of righteousness. It comes freely with the gift of salvation. However, it must be sought after through relationship and continually cultivated.
Yes, indeed a gift!
Challenged to approach in a different (spot)light, taking head to His Joy and Direction, and looking into the future, let’s dare to see His Joy fuller and clearer than ever before through the words that Ann Voskamp so poignantly puts for this New Year, “doesn’t need to-do lists like it needs to-God-be-the-glory lists”. Take Joy in counting (spending time with and noticing the Lord) and yes, do make lists! Write down what He’s showing and whispering to the heart and spirit. The To-Do’s will birth themselves from these Joys!
Find someone to do this together with and share the JOY of each day’s gifts! It makes a huge difference in your life and the life of others! And by all means, you don’t have to limit yourself to these Gifts; you will be amazed at other things that He points out and you start to notice through the day! Also I believe the One Thousand book and devotional are available on Amazon in Kindle format still for $3.79 each.
Informal List of Credits:
Ann Voskamp quote from her book, One Thousand Gifts
Joseph Prince description from his YouVersion daily devotional, Day 53
Holley Gerth quote from her blog via (in)Courage
Graham Cooke & Willie George quotes via Twitter feeds