New Every Morning

Blog_SnowSunriseThe New Year brings with it the promise of new opportunities. When the calendar turns, we see a clean slate before us. Things we’ve been waiting to change finally meet the resolve that comes with a fresh start. As we reflect on the year that’s fading into memory, we consider the year to come and all we desire it will bring.

Unfortunately, many of the resolutions made with the turning of the year never come to fruition. A few weeks pass, and discipline wanes. Desire for change is overcome by the monotony of life, and it becomes easier to slip back into old patterns. It isn’t long before our resolutions are forgotten, and the guilt of not meeting our goals is buried beneath the tyranny of the urgent. “Oh well,” we think. “We can always wait…’til next year.”

Why must we wait? Why put off change for another year, when there’s an opportunity to change…now? God’s Word carries the good news that change is possible every day: “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

With God, every day is New Year’s Day. He supplies the power we need to change. We don’t need to keep putting it off. When we stumble and fall—when we wrestle with our old habits and ways, we don’t have to wait long for another chance to turn it all around. Every minute of every day is a new opportunity for transformation. Today is the day of salvation, this moment is the moment for renewal and change. We don’t have to wait another second, another minute…another year. This is the time for new beginnings—a new season, a new day.

Yet with this hope comes the somber reality that tomorrow is not promised. We never know when we will take our last breath. So why not spend our every breath living the transformed life we desire, rather than living dead in the grave of regret? Change is possible. Today is a new day. We may not have tomorrow, so let’s make the most of the gift of the time we have.


Five, four, three, two…

Blog_NewYears_TimePassingThe countdown has begun. Even before the Christmas décor was transferred to the clearance shelves, New Years items decked the aisles not far from Valentine’s displays, reminding us we have only a few days left to procrastinate on our resolutions. As the clock swiftly ticks away second after second, we down the last of our holiday sweets knowing it’s a matter of time before we trade the chocolate box for a gym membership.

Just the other day, I came across an ad for a decadent triple-chocolate cheesecake across from another ad for a miracle weight-loss program. Yeah, it’ll take a miracle to lose the pounds gained from eating a slice of that cheesecake before the next New Year. That is, IF I choose the miracle weight-loss program. OR any weight-loss program that takes me beyond the newness-inspired first month of the year.

But maybe there’s another option. Maybe I could choose to change today. Except, of course, that would mean resisting the urge to eat the whole cheesecake.

Actually, I don’t care much for cheesecake, though there are plenty other calorie-filled temptations out there to lure me away from a good resolution. But the whole thing has me thinking…why do we always procrastinate when it comes to change? We’re always waiting for the clean slate of tomorrow, or next week, or a new year.

What difference would it make to know that change is possible today, and every day, and every minute of the day? And that change doesn’t only have to do with shedding a few New Years pounds. Change is possible in the most impossible of circumstances, the most stubborn of habits.

I think of the story of a man named Zaccheus—a tax collector in Bible times who’d devoted his life to cheating people of their hard-earned money. Until, that is, an encounter with Jesus changed it all. His heart was so deeply transformed he gave half his possessions to the poor and refunded four times what he’d stolen. He didn’t wait for another day or a new year. The moment he was prompted to change, he repented.

That’s the GOOD NEWS. Change is not some obscure future event. It’s a NOW event. And we don’t have to wait for another countdown.

All Things New

blog_christmasgiftsretroIt’s over. The gifts are unwrapped. Toys are scattered across the floor. The cookie plates are empty of everything but crumbs. And we’re passed out in bed, exhausted from the whole ordeal.

In a few minutes the kids will wake up to play with their new toys. In a few hours, they’ll be bored. In a few days, at least one of those toys will be broken. The rest will be lost, worn down, or missing parts. In a few weeks, they’ll be forgotten; in a few months they’ll be in the garbage. In a year, the kids will be asking for new toys all over again.

It’s the circle of life, Christmas style. Have you noticed the theme? Nothing new stays new. No matter how we take care of our things, they’ll all waste away.

Yet written on our hearts is a longing for permanence. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything stayed new all the time? Instead, we watch our treasured possessions slowly disintegrate before our eyes.

The message of Christmas breathes life into the surrounding decay. It’s a reversal of things—the old made new, the dying made alive. The hopeless infused with hope. Everything of worth will last.

God has promised to make all things new. Because of Christmas, broken hearts can be restored, lives can be renewed. When all is lost, everything is gained. It’s then that we find life that is truly life—a hope that can never fade away.

So it’s not really over. Christmas is the beginning of all things new.


Photo Credit: Free photo: Retro Gifts, Christmas Tree – Free Image on Pixabay …

The Gift We Can Never Repay

Blog_ChristmasGiftsChristmas is a time of giving. As God gave the gift of His Son to us, so we give gifts to one another. The blessing of a gift is that it comes without cost to us. While there may have been great cost to the person presenting the gift, the gift is free to the one receiving it.

Too often we allow Christmas to become a contest in gift-giving. We want to see who can give the most costly or creative of gifts. If we receive a gift from someone, we feel obligated to give one in return—even if we had never initially intended to present a gift to them. A sense of guilt or shame comes upon the one who has nothing to give in return for a gift they’ve received.

God, unlike man, has given a gift that can never be repaid. Many times, we think that we can out-give God: that our earthly offerings can somehow surpass His offering to us. Even if God were never to give us more than salvation, it would be impossible for us to repay Him—for everything we have comes from Him. It’s like a child asking her Father for money to buy him a gift: truly, the child has sacrificed nothing to buy the gift. Her resources for her father’s gift came first from her father.

God has given us life and light. HE has given us all creation, and every good thing to enjoy. In Christ Jesus, He has given us abundant life here on earth and the hope of eternal life in His presence. What do we have that He did not give?

Our attempts to repay the Lord are an exercise in futility, because apart from Him we are bankrupt. He is worthy and deserving of our praise and thanksgiving: of our lives, and we give these gifts in humble recognition that He is the ultimate gift-giver. He is the source from whom we derive our being. When we give to Him, we are only returning what belongs to Him. When we give to others, we demonstrate God’s sacrificial heart. So let us gratefully receive the abundance He has given! And let us humbly give our lives to Him, knowing that all we have has first been given to us.

“For who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:35-36)

Why We Can’t Save Christmas

Blog_ChristmasDisasterI’ve watched enough children’s Christmas programs over the past few years to notice a common theme. Somehow, all the gifts get misplaced, lost, or worse yet—stolen, and Christmas will have to be cancelled. Even Santa can’t remedy the catastrophe. Yeah, he may see you when you’re sleeping, know when you’re awake, know if you’ve been bad or good AND travel at the speed of light delivering gifts to every child in the world between sundown and sunrise one night a year, but he’s powerless against this degree of loss. It will take a miracle to save Christmas.

Cue the average, insignificant kid, dog, reindeer, or one of Santa’s distant, unknown, and under-qualified relatives. If only they step up to the task and confront insurmountable odds in the nick of time, Christmas just might be rescued. There’s always hope, if only a faint glimmer.

These shows might be fun, colorful, and mildly entertaining. They may be likened to the macaroni and cheese of holiday programming. But they miss the central truth of Christmas. It doesn’t need to be saved. We do. And that’s why our savior came.

Just watch the news, read the papers, or scroll through the latest headlines and it’s clear. We need to be rescued. All the coexist bumper stickers in the world haven’t helped us to live at peace with each other. We need divine intervention. And that’s what happened over 2000 years ago in a manger in Bethlehem. God came down. He intervened on our behalf, changing the course of history.

Even without the presence of presents or the glow of a tree, it’s impossible to cancel Christmas. It was never about all that stuff to begin with. It’s about a greater gift—one that can never be taken away. Our creator God bringing salvation to a lost, dark, and dying world: a more glorious theme than even the best of Christmas programming.

It’s impossible for us to save Christmas. But because of Christmas, we can be saved. If only we receive the gift.


Photo Credit: 1905 Christmas Disaster Red Santa Sleigh Accident Raphale … | Flickr

A Light Will Shine


“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” (Isaiah 9:2)


Photo Credit: Northern Lights (4) | greenzowie | Flickr

There is Hope


It may not seem to be the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, with all that’s going on. It may not feel like the hap-happiest season of all. Yet if a song beautiful as Silent Night could be written in the midst of war, there is hope. God’s light is great enough to overcome the deepest darkness.


Photo Credit: Free photo: Winter, Night, Blue, Shade, Trees – Free Image on …