by Jennifer Duncan
Someone said that the days between Christmas and after the new year gets rolling, are confusing days. We can’t seem to figure out what day it is, where we’re supposed to be, or what we are supposed to do! Is it time to play…or time to work?
It’s also a discouraging time for many— a time when we think about all that we did not accomplish in the past year, and often settle in to feelings of regret and disappointment. But God’s Word encourages us to trust that He wants to work in our lives, beginning now.
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion….” Philippians 1:6
My husband was a pastor in Southwest Missouri for many years…and he rarely repeated a sermon. But every year on the first Sunday of the new year, he preached the same one. It was titled, “You Can Begin Again.” He reminded us, year after year, that no matter what has happened in the past, God wants us to know we can always have a fresh start.
We can begin again after failure.
Even when we have good intentions, we stumble. We make mistakes; we say things shouldn’t; we fail to perform. Yet God’s love is steadfast, and He picks us up from our failure and gives us a little nudge in the right direction.
“Forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on….” Philippians 3:13-14
We can begin again after grief and loss.
Sometimes our hardships are not anyone’s fault. Things just happen, because we live in a fallen world. But, if we will let Him, God will strengthen us, as we focus on His love and trust Him to help us heal. We must deliberately look at the joyful things, and the hope God gives, as we make a new start.
“Be grateful for what God has given rather than resentful for what He has withheld. One or the other becomes a way of life.” Elizabeth Elliott
We can begin again after disappointments.
Maybe a person has let us down this year — or a well-loved dream has fallen through. Yet, even if we were deeply wronged, we can decide to forgive and let it go. To begin again, we must release our strangle hold on those people and things which have disappointed us, and take hold of the Father’s hand.
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you….” Colossians 3:13
A good example of one who turned failure into a positive future is Charles Colson. A former White House Special Counsel, was convicted in the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. He served seven months in federal prison. Out of this fall from power and prestige, Colson came to know Christ as Savior and founded Prison Fellowship, a worldwide ministry to prisoners that is still functioning today. Charles Colson began again, after failure, loss and disappointment.
God wants to do a new thing in our lives this new year. He says, in Isaiah 43:18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not see it?” Won’t you take your eyes off of the problem, and focus on the Provider? He wants to fulfill His promises in and through you.
Jennifer is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is mom to two grown (twin) sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law and four granddaughters. Her late husband, John, pastored two churches in Barry County, Missouri, and one in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Jennifer serves in teaching, music and lay counseling through her church, Arnhart Baptist Church, Purdy, Missouri. She also enjoys leading retreats and Bible studies for women.