Grace Expressed: January Devotional


I love a fresh start.  That’s why New Year’s Eve and Day together make up my favorite holiday.  A new year, semester, month, week, day – they all provide an opportunity to start over.  As Anne of Green Gables asked Marilla, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it?” A great mystery and blessing of grace is that no matter our past mistakes, we can kneel before Jesus, lay our mistakes on the altar, confess our weaknesses, renew our consecration and jump back in to fulfill with verve the purpose He has for our lives.

God’s understanding of our human frailties becomes clear when we consider all the Biblical passages about renewal. He encourages us throughout our spiritual growth, continually giving us the hope and gift of a fresh start.

As 2018 folds into 2019, take encouragement from this sampling of scriptures that I gathered from the beginning of the Old Testament all the way to the Book of Revelation:

Exodus 23:20  “See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you.

Isaiah 43:19 “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. (23) Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Ephesians 4:23-24 “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. (24) Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

Philippians 3:12-13 “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. (13) No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,”

Revelation 21:5 “And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”

There is so much promise in these words.  God’s mercies begin anew each morning.  They never run out. He has already begun a new way – a path through the wilderness.  He is constantly creating a way as each year takes us where we have never been before.

Even the great apostle Paul declares that his focus is to forget what has happened in the past and to continue looking forward in his journey.  And hallelujah – the One sitting on the throne is so emphatic about resetting everything that He says to take notes – He is telling us that the promise will stand through time, and that we can keep coming back to it again and again.

But my favorite verse of the set, vis-à-vis the New Year, is the passage in Exodus. “I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely.”

If we could really get this in our heads and hearts; if each one of us believed fully that God is sending His angel before every step we take – that we are protected; if we knew beyond doubt that we would arrive safely on the journey – what could we accomplish in the New Year? Who could we help?  What impact could we make in our homes, our communities, our country, our world?  What heights could we reach?

My sweet friends, I am praying that I – that we – can embrace a year that is without limits in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  God’s promise is that this year, and every day in it, is fresh with no mistakes in it, anew in His mercy and grace.

Now that is exciting. Blessings to all of you as we begin 2019.  I can’t wait to see what the Almighty does in and through each of us.


January Faith Journaling Challenge: Pick one of these scriptures about renewal and create your own journal entry!