December 27, 2022 – Reflection on “God’s Newness!”

 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. Revelation 21:1-3.

         What is meant by the term Happy New Year? In the terms of the world ‘new’ is used with a new house, a new car, a new appliance! The teachings of Jesus include this alternate view of things we treasure. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21.

         What happens when we love God with our whole hearts, our souls and minds? Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19.

         At twelve, I saw my friends wearing blue earmuffs to school. It was the ‘in’ thing to own. I wanted a pair of blue earmuffs and often asked my parents to buy them for me. Those blue earmuffs taught me the meaning of the word fad. Much later, when they gave me a pair of blue earmuffs when no one else wore them. My interest in blue earmuff was gone, and I learned the difference between the meaning of the world and the Word of God.

         One New Year’s Eve, I came home from a teen gathering at church and after an evening of joy and found my Mother in the rocking chair with the Bible in her lap… at 11 pm. I asked what she was doing. She explained she was choosing a word to focus on for the coming year. I wondered how she could choose one word from a book that contains millions of words. Recently a Christian friend told me she chose the word, Faithfulness, for her word for the 2023. I still cannot choose one word.

         The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23. In these two verses, Steadfast Love, Mercies, Great. Faithfulness are more than just words.

         I remember when it was said that Mary pondered after the shepherds had worshipped Jesus. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:19. Pondering the teaching of God’s Word provides more nourishment than the world’s way of telling us what to think, usually from television. When we coddle our minds and bodies with comforts and acquisitions from the world, we forget one thing. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

         How can we glorify God? Through our obedience and following God’s Will and teaching. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31.

         Oh, sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless His name, tell of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! Psalm 96:1-3.

        “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35.

        We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. Romans 6:4-5.

         What happens when we follow the teachings of Jesus? We think of word ‘new’ as resolutions to have a better life. Instead, our newness is being changes to follow Him. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:2-3.

         How can we know we are growing in newness? Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 1:20-21. Happy New Year in Christ Jesus, the One who Loves us!