My Winning Words©
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
There are only two days left in 2017, and the anticipation of what the coming year will bring is growing. For example, I heard one man say that he already dreads the New Year: “The holidays aren’t even over yet, but I’m already about 90 days ahead on my calories and 90 days behind on my bills.” And perhaps some of us can identify with that sentiment. Others among us may be looking forward to good things as we leave the present year—with all its ups and downs, joys and sorrows—in the past to press on toward the future God has in store for us. But, regardless of which category we find ourselves in today, it is important that we remember that our calendar year did not come down from above but instead was established by human minds. In God’s mind, there is no real reason why one day on the calendar should bear more significance than any other day of the year.
As Jeremiah so aptly reminds us, no matter what the calendar says, God supplies our daily bread, bears our burdens, and forgives us of our sins each day. Yet, even though God’s grace is always sufficient and even though His mercies are fresh each morning, we give the changing of the year—the going out of the old and coming in with the new—a great deal of meaning and significance. It is a time of hope and a time of planning. To use a business “buzzword,” it is a time of vision-casting. And, of course, the beginning of the New Year is always a time for resolutions.
Ready or not, January 1st is seen as a time to set our lives on a course of self-improvement. The New Year reminds us that time is passing, and that it is up to each of us to maximize the potential of every moment. The coming of the New Year forces us to face the question: What will my priorities be this year? Almost without exception, all the usual resolutions we make on New Year’s Day are macho, austere, and instantly depressing. Most of our resolutions only succeed in casting a grey pall over the brand New Year. Midnight strikes and we vow to lose twenty pounds, or rise an hour earlier every day in order to exercise, or master some new work-skill. We promise ourselves we will give up chocolate, or TV, or fats, or carbs—and then suddenly we realize that a whole year of doing without stretches out ahead of us. Our usual resolutions only serve to push the limits of our abilities and test the strength of our self-denial.
But what if we looked at the New Year as a sea of possibilities, instead of an ocean of responsibilities? What if we resolved to relax more, or sleep more, or play more? What if we resolved only to make and eat really wonderful food? Or cuddle more? Or sing more? What if, instead of resolving to shed ten pounds, we look to add five new friends or reclaim five old friends? In other words, what if we resolved to be more of what we can be, instead of resolving just to be less of what we already are?
What would happen if you were to celebrate the New Year by letting God make the resolutions, both about your past and your future? With regard to your past: God resolves to forgive your sins, blot out your transgressions, and help you accept your limitations as you embrace the memory of the past with gratitude and grace. With regard to your future: God resolves to give you the direction and diligence, courage and caution that you need to move forward with faith and foresight.
If we resolve to let God set our priorities, we can go merrily into the New Year at the stroke of midnight Sunday evening because God resolves to go behind us and ahead of us—to forgive our past and give us a future full of hope. And what more do we need than those two things to make this a happy new year?
Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
~~Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Question to Ponder: “What would happen if you were to celebrate the New Year by letting God make the resolutions, both about your past and your future?” Ponder what it would be like to allow God to be your resolution maker!
A Prayer to Offer: Gracious God, as I anticipate the future full of hope you have for me in 2018, I am filled with gratitude for your goodness to me in years past. I have come so far on this highway to health and wholeness. Yes, I still have a long way to go, but by your grace I️ am making one-day-at-a-time progress. Thank you for showing me the way, and for patiently waiting for me to learn my lessons well. Thank you for giving me a vision of the good things you have in store for me. Help me to hold that vision ever before me as I make plans and set priorities. Thank you for the Holy Spirit, guiding me into all truth. Thank you for forgiving my sins so I️ can leave my past in the past and run the race you set before me in Christ-like form. Amen.
An Action Step to Take: If God we’re the one setting your priorities, what would be the number one task on your list? Make that your number one step too, and list five things you can do each day to make that goal a reality.
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