The Great Exchange
I started cleaning out closets before the New Year, then again afterwards. I knew it was time to tackle the chore. Sometimes it is hard to part with some of those items, but I was determined to get rid of the old and make way for some new clothing in my wardrobe.
I also gave some older Christmas decorations to my daughter. They served their purpose but those days are gone. It was time for a change.
We are told to look ahead to each new day with a fresh hope in what we can accomplish. In God’s Word, we see God as a “Now God.” He is always doing a new thing. He says His mercies are new and fresh every morning. He says His grace is sufficient for this day. We can see that nothing is stale and nothing is stagnant in God’s Kingdom. He gave fresh manna daily for the people on their journey in the wilderness.
We can trust Him to give us what we need each day and look forward to living one day at a time. Old things have passed away.
In the New Year, I want to press toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus, not looking back to what I did not get done. I like to reflect on what I did accomplish for God’s Kingdom and then move toward what I can do in this year.
I have seen people live in their pasts and it places them in dark and lonely arenas. There is no life in the sea of regrets and hurts. That is a place of hopelessness and despair. Why stay there? We have the choice to live in the grace of God while praying His word over our lives for blessings like success, health, and prosperity. We need a new mindset: we are no longer victims of our past circumstances. They will not rule our lives. We are more than survivors – we are conquerors.
How do we arrive at such a place to step into that new realm? It’s determination to resist being pulled back or pulled down, and the realization that we can’t change the past. We can and do have the opportunity to live out today and our tomorrows holding onto God’s Word.
This could be the dawning of grand and glorious days. Purpose in your heart to move forward and leave last year behind you.
This new year can and will be great. So prophesy good things over your own life. Echo what God’s Word says about today and the future. Put on the garment of praise instead of a spirit of heaviness. Think about taking the old clothes out of the closet and making room for the new ones. You will have to agree that a garment of praise instead of a garment of heaviness is a great exchange.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)
“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” (Philippians 3:13, NIV)
Let us proclaim the Good News of God’s Word over our lives and the lives of others this New Year.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound, To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3, Amplified Bible)
Streams in the Desert – January 2
And there was an enlarging, and a winding about still upward to the side chambers: for the winding about of the house went still upward round about the house: therefore the breadth of the house was still upward and so increased from the lowest chamber to the highest by the midst (Ezekiel 41:7).
We ought not to rest content in the mists of the valley when the summit of Tabor awaits us. How pure are the dews of the hills, how fresh is the mountain air, how rich the fare of the dwellers aloft, whose windows look into the New Jerusalem! Many saints are content to live like men in coal mines, who see not the sun. Tears mar their faces when they might anoint them with celestial oil. Satisfied I am that many a believer pines in a dungeon when he might walk on the palace roof, and view the goodly land and Lebanon. Rouse thee, O believer, from thy low condition! Cast away thy sloth, thy lethargy, thy coldness, or whatever interferes with thy chaste and pure love to Christ. Make Him the source, the center, and the circumference of all thy soul’s range of delight. Rest no longer satisfied with thy dwarfish attainments. Aspire to a higher, a nobler, a fuller life. Upward to heaven! Nearer to God!
I want to scale the utmost height,
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray, till heaven I’ve found,
Lord, lead me on to higher ground!
Not many of us are living at our best. We linger in the lowlands because we are afraid to climb the mountains. The steepness and ruggedness dismay us, and so we stay in the misty valleys and do not learn the mystery of the hills. We do not know what we lose in our self-indulgence, what glory awaits us if only we had courage for the mountain climb, what blessing we should find if only we would move to the uplands of God.
–J. R. M
Too low they build who build beneath the stars.
Faith in perfection
“The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.” Psalm 138:8
Suggested Further Reading: Deuteronomy 31:1-8
There is yet another confession in the text—the Psalmist’s confession that all he has, he has from God. “Forsake not the works of thine own hands.” I will not, however, dwell upon it, but urge you who are believers to go home and cry aloud to God in prayer. Let this be a New Year’s day prayer. “Forsake not the work of thine hands. Father, forsake not thy little child, lest he die by the hand of the enemy. Shepherd, forsake not thy lamb, lest the wolves devour him. Great husbandman, forsake not thy little plant, lest the frost should nip it, and it should be destroyed. Forsake me not, O Lord now, and when I am old and grey headed, O Lord, forsake me not. Forsake me not in my joys, lest I curse God. Forsake me not in my sorrows, lest I murmur against him. Forsake me not in the day of my repentance, lest I lose the hope of pardon, and fall into despair; and forsake me not in the day of my strongest faith, lest my faith degenerate into presumption, and so I perish by my own hand.” Cry out to God, that he would not forsake you in your business, in your family; that he would not forsake you either upon your bed by night or in your business by day. And may God grant, when you and I shall come to the end of this year, we may have a good tale to tell concerning the faithfulness of God in having answered our prayers, and having fulfilled his promise.
For meditation: Do you open up every area of your life to the One who has promised never to forsake his people? Are there any aspects of your relationship with him which are not all that they should be (Malachi 1:6)?