A New Year. A New You. That phrase, or some variation of it, often appears in commercials and print advertisements around this time of year. It’s used to motivate a consumer to purchase a product which will make a difference in a person’s health, appearance, or career choice in the new year. At least that’s what’s promised.
While such products may indeed change a person’s health, appearance, or career choice, a true version of the “New You” only comes through the One who created it all, the Creator God. Ezekiel 36:26, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
This same promise is repeated in the New Testament. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
How does God work to bring about the “new heart” or the “new creature” described in these verses? He’s sent His Word down to earth, to His Creation, to do just that. “And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” John 1:14.
By putting faith in His Word, that is, in His communication with man in the form of His son, Jesus Christ, a person can become a new creature.
Faith in Christ is what makes you a New You.
However, the New You must be renewed daily. Renewal in Christ comes through reading His Word. ” For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.
Why not start your daily renewal of the New You on January 1st? Explore all your options for daily spending time in His Word on these websites.
God’s love for you can never be restrained.
It bursts forth in smiles
from a cattle stall.
It shouts out in praise
from a heavenly host.
It cries out in anguish
from an old rugged cross.
I call it my “Reason for the Season” gift.
It’s a present that I hope will remind each recipient of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. My “Reason for the Season” gifts aren’t elaborate. In fact, most of them cost very little, and, sometimes, they’re simply stocking stuffers.
These gifts have been as simple as a bookmark with a Scripture on it or a keychain with a Christian symbol swinging from it. At other times, I’ve given someone a Bible, but, more often than not, I’ve given calendars or devotional books. For children, I’ve put Veggie Tale toys and DVD’s of Bible stories under the tree. I’ve also given mugs and ornamental plaques with Scriptures on them.
I started this practice several years ago when my daughter was a teenager, and I suddenly realized the true meaning of God’s “gifting” us with His Son was being lost in the hustle and bustle of checking things off her Christmas list. Now, purchasing these items from a Christian bookstore a few weeks before the big holiday seems to take the edge off the “Christmas rush,” and serves as a reminder of the purpose of this celebration.
This holiday also offers an incredible opportunity to share a gospel witness. That’s because a Christmas card is the perfect means of putting God’s Word in the hands of colleagues, friends, and relatives who aren’t open to hearing a verbal witness. While many Christian practices seem to be offensive to unbelievers today, a Christmas card depicting the nativity scene and a verse of Scripture still appears to be acceptable.
The “Reason for the Season” is a tiny helpless baby sent by a powerful, holy God to rescue a hopeless fallen sinner. This is indeed something to celebrate!
2 Corinthians 2:15: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”
A verse has been playing around in my head for the past couple of weeks. I read it during my Quiet Time one morning, and, since then, I’ve meditated on it, looked up the context, searched for thoughts online about it, and, perhaps needless to say, prayed about it.
Here it is: “He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.
The phrase, “He will exult over you with loud singing,” is the part that struck a chord in me–oops, sorry, just couldn’t resist that pun. As if it weren’t enough to picture the God of the Universe singing over me, this verse says He will do His singing in a “loud” voice.
When the children of Israel heard the voice of God in the wilderness, they were afraid they might die (Deuteronomy 5:25-27). They were so terrified of hearing God’s voice they asked for His words to be filtered through an intermediary, and Moses became the mediator between the people and God for that very reason. If this incident is any indication of how God’s teaching voice sounded, then I can only imagine what the sound of His loud singing voice might be.
Yet, the writer doesn’t seem to be saying, God’s singing is a fearful thing. In fact, the loud singing part follows another interesting descriptive phrase concerning God, one that pictures Him acting as a comforter: The verse, “He will quiet you by his love,” brings to mind a mother soothing a fretful, restless child by her acts of love–a lullaby, a pat on the back, a hug.
For this reason, I believe His singing is also an act of love, and, just because it’s loud, doesn’t mean God’s exulting over us is a frightening thing. Instead, this is where the first part of the verse, “He will rejoice over you with gladness,” comes into play. This phrase pictures joy, happiness, and exuberance, and in God’s happiness over His children, He breaks out in exuberant song.
What this sentence does is describe all the different aspects of a parent’s love for a child. It also gives us a complete picture of our Heavenly Parent–one who is able to rejoice over us, soothe us, and creatively express His joyful love for us in song.
I’m looking forward to that day when my Heavenly Father will sing over me. Perhaps, each and every day of eternity, He’ll compose a new song, a unique song, just for me.
And, if you’re His child, He’ll do the same for you!