January 1, 2019 @ 7:00 AM

I don’t write anything on my new wall calendar before January 1st. I like to see all the blank pages and squares when we first put it on the wall. Soon the pages fill up and sometimes begin to look messy with corrections and lots of entries, but for a brief time I am able to enjoy the freshness of 365 days of an uncluttered schedule. There is something exciting and refreshing about embarking upon a new year with empty calendar pages waiting to be filled. It is exciting yet also concerning as we face the start of a new year that will bring both good and bad things into our lives. There will be happiness and sorrow, pleasure and pain, good experiences and difficult ones. Sometimes we are sad to see the previous year end, and sometimes we are glad.

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions, set new goals, start a new fitness plan, and turn over new leaves. We may even do some self evaluation as we close out the old year and start a new one. What have we accomplished? Have we met certain goals? What have we learned? What did we do well? What did we not do well? What do we need to work on and improve in the New Year? What do we not want to ever repeat?

Self evaluation is especially important in the spiritual realm. None of us know if we will get another new year. The news typically reminds us each December of the famous people who have died that year. These are typically people who began last January without knowing it would be their last year on earth.

There are two excellent reasons to carefully consider what we will do in the New Year we are now entering. 1. There are 365 blank pages of opportunities to accomplish much and to bless others. 2. We do not know if we will get another new year. A new year can be the start of a new life in Christ. Scripture tells us, “….. If anyone is in Christ, he (or she) is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come.” II Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)

Someone has said, “Knowing Christ died is history. Believing He died for me—that’s salvation.” As we consider the newness of 2019, let’s also consider our need for newness in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Here is a three step salvation prayer (adapted from Our Daily Bread, February, 2018, Grand Rapids, Michigan):

  1. Admit our need for a Savior. The Bible says we all come into the world physically alive but spirituality dead. “… All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10) …. and “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
  2. Acknowledge what God has done for us. Jesus died on the cross in our place to pay the price of our sin, reconcile us to God the Father, and restore our relationship with Him. Because Jesus was both man and God, He was the perfect Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. When He rose from the dead on the third day, He proved that He had conquered sin and death.
  3. Personally believe and receive God’s gift of salvation. No one is saved by trying to be good. We are saved by trusting in Christ. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

This is not hard to do, but it takes a miracle of God’s grace to break through our pride and self-sufficiency. If you want to invite Christ into your life now, here is a simple prayer you can pray: “Heavenly Father, I know I have sinned against You. I believe that Jesus is your son and that He died and shed His blood for my sin. He rose again conquering sin and death. I accept your gift of eternal life. I accept Jesus as my personal Savior.”

Perhaps you made a decision for Christ years ago but wandered away from Him. Now is an excellent time to return, repent, and renew your relationship with Him.

If you prayed the salvation prayer, welcome to the family of God! If you have just returned to the Lord, welcome home!

Wishing you joy and sweet fellowship with Christ and in all your relationships this year.