Published January 5, 2016

Paul's Epistle
"New Beginnings"

Here we are at the start of another new year. Is it just me, or do the years seem to roll by much more quickly than they used to?

God made us in such a way as to be interested in, even fascinated by such things. "He has put a sense of past and future into [our] minds..." ( Eccl. 3:11).

Have you considered that days, weeks, months and years are all ordained by God? They are not just manmade contrivances. Years are determined by the earth's orbit around the sun. Months are loosely based on the moon's orbit around the earth. (See Exodus 12:2.) Days are pretty obvious, given the 24-hour day/night cycle. Weeks, which could be the most arbitrary, were also determined by God, all the way back at Creation. (See Gen. 2:2, Deut. 5:13-14.)

Each week, then, is a sort of "new beginning." We are to work six days then enjoy a Sabbath day's rest before returning to work. The same principle can be applied to years. Each new year seems like a new beginning — or at least an opportunity to make one.

And I think that's at least part of what God had in mind — giving us the chance to consider our ways. As the Lord graciously grants us entry into another new year, consider:

In fact, it's quite clear that God is a God of new beginnings.

The most obvious "new beginning" was at creation, when God created everything. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). Everything! "Creator God" loves to create! And He's still creating. The Psalmist cried, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10). And God has provided a way to do that for us through Christ.

God, as the Holy Spirit, made a new beginning of the church on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit came upon those believers who had gathered together, "and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit..." (Acts 2:4). Although many had come to a saving knowledge of Christ during His ministry, this was the church's "new beginning" – powered by the Holy Spirit.

I like to think of the "new beginning" Peter had when, after famously denying Christ three times, he encountered the risen Lord. And he was forgiven. And not just forgiven, he was commissioned to "feed" and "tend My sheep" (John 22:16). Now there was a real "new beginning."

But that's the kind of "new beginning" that God offers to all who follow Him. Paul tells us, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Cor. 5:17). It's a new beginning He gives each of us when we accept Christ as Savior and Lord.

Do you have misgivings about things that happened in 2015?  Let those "old things" pass away.  Now.

Rely fully on the Lord – more than ever – in 2016. And let all things, through His power, "become new." New, warmer relationships with family and friends. A new understanding of God's Word. A new, closer walk with Him.

Someday, in the new heaven and new earth, the God of new beginnings will, indeed, again "make all things new" ( Rev. 21:1, 5). But He very much wants you to be a part of all that – by letting Him make you new — now.

- Paul

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