Monday, January 30 2023 - 7:11 PM

Sharing Scripture — December 31, 2022

All Things New

 

For use: December 25 – 31, 2022
Texts: 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:3, 22; 22:3-5; 1 John 3:2, 3; 1 Peter 1:22-23; Isaiah 25:8

 

What comes to mind as you ponder 2023? Do you think about the midnight noise of New Year’s Eve, or the resolutions that are so often not kept beyond the first few days of January?

Facing a new year reminds some of the bills and expenses resulting from holiday spending, while others may be facing a new calendar page with remnants of health issues, relationships or unfortunate events of the past.

We see the difficulty of new starts being affected by the past as we peruse daily headlines such as those about a break from the monarchy. No matter what your ideas of the situation, one must agree it is messy. Whether it is a new Netflix docuseries, a podcast, or promotions for an upcoming book, we see that looking for freedom in a new beginning is probably tied very tightly to the past. How can a beginning not involve the untidiness of what we have already experienced?

It seems that whenever we begin anew, we have a trail of past experiences coming right along with us. As we begin a new year, how can we carry the best forward and leave some things behind?

We carry out traditions to help us transition smoothly to a new year. These symbols or practices remind us of new beginnings. For example, in Greece, onions hanging by the front door represent rebirth. In Denmark, jumping off chairs signifies jumping into a new year. Many other traditions supposedly foretell the amount of success, wealth, or health during the new year.

Whatever the tradition, it cannot bring a new experience. Many of the customs around the world point to expectation or potential, but none promise a completely new start. Our memories and experiences accompany us into any new experiences. As we look at the new beginnings in the passages of this week’s study, we see that all things new means exactly that, all things. A totally new start. Not a prediction or a guess. No residue or carry-over from the past. All is forgiven. All is changed. All is new.

How can this be? Paul gives us the answer in 1 Corinthians 15:52-53, where he describes that we will be changed, or transformed, depending on the translation you are reading. Can you imagine beginning a new year totally changed from the past?

John further describes the changes in 1 John 3:2-3. As children of God, we will be pure as God is pure. While earthly new beginnings always are tied to the past, we can look forward with hope, with expectancy, to the new beginnings promised to us when Jesus returns.

All things new means a new beginning to eternal life.

 

For Reflection

 

Connecting: It may sound cliché, but what are you looking forward to in the coming year? In a short while 2023 will begin. We see the start of a new year as a time of new beginnings. Share what you have on your heart as we celebrate this New Year.

Sharing: New beginnings mean that we leave some things behind. Which of this week’s Scripture promises regarding beginning anew at Jesus’ return speaks the most to you?

  1. There will be no more death and no more tears. Isaiah 25:8
  2. We will serve God and see God’s face. Revelation 22:3-5
  3. There will be new heavens and a new earth. 2 Peter 3:13
  4. Instead of a temple, there is God’s presence. Revelation 21:3, 22
  5. Every person receives a new heart, a pure heart. 1 Peter 1:22-23
  6. Other

Applying: You may have friends and relatives who weigh heavily on your heart, and you may pray for them to come to Jesus. What can you do to let them know you care? Could you invite them to church or to a small study group? Perhaps offering to help them with a project could show that you care. Pray that you will see opportunities as you reach out to these dear ones.

Valuing: Are there ways you would like to change as you move into the new year? Ask God to guide you and direct to make the changes that draw you closer to our loving God.

 

~ Joy Veverka

 

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