Faith & Worship: “A New Year…A Fresh Start”

Published 2:37 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2018

“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

I know that Christmas was almost two weeks ago, but I have to share with you a thought I had while watching one of my favorite holiday movies, “Christmas Every Day.” If you have never seen the movie, I encourage you to look it up or demand that the “25 Days of Christmas” channel puts it back on their lineup (I prefer both)!

The story is told of a teenage boy named Billy who is having a difficult time enjoying Christmas due to family problems, living in a small town, relationship issues, and horrible basketball playing abilities. After a terrible Christmas Day, Billy mockingly wishes that Christmas came every day with his sister (who adores Christmas)!

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Little did he know his wishes came true, and Billy was forced to relive the same Christmas every day until he understood and truly appreciated what the day was all about.

It really is a great movie! As I was watching it for the 22nd time of my life (yes, I have seen it every year since its release in 1996…), I had this thought: Wouldn’t everyone like to have a fresh start? What if you could start a day over? What if you could re-do a year or even a specific moment in your life? I’m sure we all would love to do that, but you know that’s not how life works. We all know things we shouldn’t have said or done over the years that we wish we could take back. So what do we do about it? Is there really a way that we can “start over?”

God tells us “Yes, you can start over.” It all begins with a personal relationship with Him. In Isaiah 43:19, God promised His people that He would give them an opportunity to start over by Him doing “a new thing” in their lives. After many years of living in sin and judgment, God gave them a gracious opportunity to repent and renew their relationship with Him. This promise to do a new thing meant they would be restored, and all people would ultimately be given the greatest gift of all: an opportunity to have an everlasting relationship with God through Him sending His Son, the promised Savior, Jesus Christ who would save all of humanity from their sins.

I have the joy of sharing with you the most wonderful news you could ever hear as you begin this 2018 New Year: the invitation to “start over” is still offered today by God. You can be given a fresh start right now if you would place your faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17).

If you already know Jesus as your Savior, you can have a fresh start right now. Every moment of every single day God blesses and provides you with opportunities to commit your life to Him. I know that there are things in our past that have hurt others and us, but God can use those moments to heal us, help us, and lead us into a new direction.

I urge you today to seek His forgiveness for your sins. I urge you today to forgive those who have wronged you or to seek forgiveness of those you have wronged. I encourage you today to allow God to heal your heart. He is doing a new thing, and that new thing is freeing you from guilt, shame, and sin that so easily takes us out of His will for our lives. While we may not get to relive our days, we can receive God’s grace and mercy, which is “new every day” (Lamentations 3:23).

I love the writings of Henry and Richard Blackaby. In their book, Discovering God’s Daily Agenda (2007), the authors state “If your past feels like a wilderness, know that God wants to make a road through it…If your past feels like a desertland of death, know that God will make rivers of redemption flow as He brings beauty out of ashes” (Blackaby and Blackaby, 2007, page 8).

It’s very possible that you desire a fresh start this 2018 year. You have an awesome opportunity to give your new year and your whole life to Jesus Christ. We have no idea what this year will hold, but we can trust that God is up to doing a new thing in your life – a new thing that holds blessing, opportunity, and promises that are yours if you will commit your life to Him!

May God bless you immeasurably this year! As always, if I can ever be of ministry and service to you, know that I care and am here to help in any way I can. God bless you.

Rev. Peter McDonald, Midway Baptist Church