The rush of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are over. The deadlines of finishing work projects, gift-preparation and gift-giving, making last-minute tax deductible arrangements, cooking the feasts—all in the past. The guests have gone home, the decorations have been removed, and your waistline is back at last January’s measurement, when you did your previous crash course in power-walking and dieting.
Maybe the last year sucked for you. Or even the last two or three. The economy tanked, a loved one died, a relationship or marriage broke up. You're waiting for the country song to be played backward so you can get back to the life that seemed to have an upward direction.
The daylight lasts a few minutes longer now. It’s time to paint the kitchen, rearrange the garage or attic, prune the rose canes, approve the budget at work or church or home, start a new school term… Renewal time. Start over.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them. Matthew 9:35-36 NIV.
Think of that! Jesus renewed all the towns and villages by healing every disease and sickness, and showing His compassion. He made every diabetic and cancer sufferer free from disease (and the painful treatments). He gave sight to the blind and even the presbyopics! He turned the asthmatics into distance runners. He took those afflicted by demons and mental illness, and let their human spirits soar free and unafraid. He made the handicapped into dancers, and those disfigured by skin disease had bodies as fresh as the day they were born. He preached the good news that the kingdom’s gates were open to all whom God loves.
Renewal is one of the greatest gifts the Lord gives us. When He forgives our sins, He doesn’t file them so He can drag them out and zap us with guilt the next time we mess up. He throws them away in an inaccessible place, and He forgets them. That is truly a miracle, because I remember my sins, and Satan certainly brings them up again and again. But God declares that my sins are forgiven and that He has wiped them from my account. Gone. Poof!
“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people…And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” Jeremiah 31:33-34 NLT.
How we love the Lord for forgiving and forgetting! That’s where we find healing and renewal: in the knowledge that Jesus has paid the penalty for our rebellion, and that He remembers our sins no more. He said that even if a mother could forget the infant at her breast, God could not forget us, His beloved, because He has engraved us on the palms of His hands—the nail prints. (Isaiah 49:15-16)
In this new year, come back to Jesus. Ask Him deep in your heart, where He’ll write His will for you: that you be buried in Him, and Him in you, forever.
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5 NLT.
All things—new. What a promise. It’s trustworthy and true.