Newness originates with God. “Behold,” he says to us from Revelation, “I am making all things new.” Because God is consistently promising us new, we must be intentional about releasing what we’ve always known and how we’ve always done things, in order to get a glimpse of where God is excitedly inviting us to venture.
Those who walk in God’s ways live more meaningful and effective lives. But Psalm 92:13 adds another reason for the long-lived fruitfulness of the righteous: they “are planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God”. In other words, they have been planted so that their roots grow deeply into God’s soil. They draw nutrition from a divine source that is never exhausted.
If you’re not asking what God’s will is for your life today, chances are you will be doing so pretty soon. When we wonder about God’s will for our lives, usually we’re thinking about specific paths we might take… While it’s certainly right to seek God’s will for such particulars, we will be helped to discern God’s specific will if our whole life is shaped by God’s wider will.
Ephesians 3:20 refers to God as the one who “is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Did you catch that? God is able to do way, way more than you can even imagine. God is able to do far more than you even know how to ask for in prayer. Amazing!
The words of Jesus, as well as the words found throughout the Bible, are full of the Spirit and life. Yes, they are challenging at times, even unsettling. But as we read, study, meditate upon, pray, and put into practice the words God has given us in Scripture, we will experience more of the Spirit and more of the full, abundant life found in Jesus.
As we look forward to a new year, we are reminded of the greater newness yet to come in the new creation. Last night at midnight our calendars changed, but the world was otherwise the same. Someday, however, God will renew all things. In that day, sorrow will be swallowed up by rejoicing… God’s justice will cover the earth.
As we approach this new year, my primary prayer for you is that you would be rooted and grounded in the love of God. I hope you experience the joy and security in the fact that God loves you and has already provided you with everything you need to succeed… the truth is that God’s perfect love for you is so vast, so wide, and so deep, that it expels all fear.
Living in exile is an opportunity for the demonstration of faithfulness. In uncongenial, even hostile, circumstances, we are called to do our work faithfully. Much of what we do may seem insignificant. There may be less recognition that our work is of value, since what is valued has itself changed in the world around us. Still, we can—as an act of faith and faithfulness—sing the LORD’s song in a strange land.
Isaiah 65 begins with a tragic thought. God stood ready to help his people, but they didn’t bother to call upon him. He was ready to be found by those he had chosen, but they were not looking for him… As I read this sad comment made by the Lord, I have to wonder how many times what was once true of Israel has been true of me. How many times has God been ready to help me, while I failed to turn to him?
Isaiah 64 is a prayer in which the prophet acknowledges God’s greatness and Israel’s great sinfulness. Then Isaiah turns to ask God to forgive and help his devastated people. The beginning of this supplication acknowledges two crucial images of God: Father and potter.