The same routines, responsibilities and regrets carry over from the last day in December. It’s not like celebrating the Year of Jubilee, when all debts were erased and people really got to start again with a clean slate. Admittedly, we start off on January first with a new calendar, but still, the same old items to record in its pages. I’m not an advocate of New Year’s resolutions, either. I tried making them when I was a youngster but never managed to keep them until they became firm habits. I do believe in taking inventory, however, and now is as good a time as any for this.You can read a lot on this subject, but it seems to me success comes by taking tiny steps toward simple goals and keeping a record of your progress – and hopefully, success.
This year, I want to be more intentional about practicing the presence of Jesus. A sidebar to this is making my first-thing-in-the-morning quiet time just the beginning for a day long conversation with our Heavenly Father. For half day retreats I‘ll study passages where the word ‘new’ is used. Wouldn’t this be a good road map for family prayers, too? Here’s my list:
- Psalm 98 – Sing to the Lord a new song. A good place to begin?
- Jeremiah 31:31-37–The time is coming when I will make a new covenant…
- Ezekiel 36:26 –28– I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.
- Mark 16:17–They will drive out demons. The will speak in new (languages)
- Luke 22:20–This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.
- Romans 6:4–…just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too may live a new life.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17/Galatians 6:15/Ephesians 4:22/Colossians 3:10– Put off your old self and be made new in the attitude of your minds and put on the new nature.
- 2 Peter3:13/ Revelation 21:1–Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.
- Revelation 2:17b– I will also give him a white stone with a new name written upon it.
Focusing on these nine instances where ‘new’ describes something different, I’ll keep a journal of what I hear from the Lord using inductive study methods.Who knows? Maybe this exploration will take all year?
How might we bring this topic up with kids? I remember my middle school days when each fall I was fitted for a new winter coat to replace the one I had outgrown. If you asked kids to share what new thing they valued the most from their Christmas gifts, the response would be interesting. New technology update? New shoes or jacket? What? You could then point out that Jesus startled a religious visitor when he told him that he needed a radical, new makeover. He needed to be born again. See where that leads!
One of my memories from early childhood is the delight I found in a new box of crayons. Rows of perfect points, each cylinder’s paper wrapping unsmudged and intact. What’s not to love? It occurred to me that my Father regularly gives me a fresh box of ‘crayons’ with which to color my day. And the supply never runs out.
The Lord’s compassions never fail. They are new every morning! Lamentations 3:23