A New Year

I’m not against the New Year.


Really, I’m not.


I mean, I guess that celebrating one more rotation around the sun is a fairly good idea, what with all the implications of getting to start over and maybe do better this time, but it’s not like you or I have any control over the earth’s orbit. 


So, the sentiment is all well and good, but let’s face it: A vast percentage of the North American pubic will wake up on the very first day of this brand-new, shiny New Year suffering from headache, nausea, dehydration, and/or regret –which are exactly the kinds of things people make resolutions about saying they are never going to do those things again.


And that’s the thing about hedonism. It’s a cruel, cruel religion.


It makes promises it can never keep –like if you’d only dig a little deeper, you’d finally get out of that hole you’re in.


Oh, how we do disappoint ourselves.


Eventually, it gets to the point where we loathe ourselves because even though we try and try, we keep falling back down again. Every time we promise ourselves we’ll never do THAT again, the moment we recover from the ill effects of doing that, we convince ourselves we can do that one more time, only this time, it will be glorious!


But it never is, is it?


So, we end up standing before the judge we call ourselves condemning ourselves for being weak and useless and… well, stupid.


If I write about this in such a way that it sounds a little too personal, it’s because it is. 


I was that guy. 


It’s personal because I was that failure. I was that guy who couldn’t quit. I was the stupid loser who never got it right.


Maybe that’s why I’m no fan of celebrating this holiday. Because it’s not a Holy Day. It’s a day of bad memories.


But, as I ponder all this, I really need to share with you something John Lynch shared with me in his book, “On My Worst Day.” 


(I haven’t even finished reading this book, and it’s already one of my favorites.)


Anyway, Lynch drew my attention to Zechariah 3:1-2:

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” (NIV)


So, we have the high priest Joshua, Satan, and Jesus standing before the LORD God. Satan (the Great Accuser) is all set to accuse Joshua, but the LORD God won’t even hear of it! In the NLT, the translation is, ““I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan.”


Joshua has been snatched from the fire. He has been rescued and saved. He will NOT be burned up in the fire.


In the following verses, Joshua is relieved of his filthy clothing and given clean clothes to stand before the LORD. His sins are taken away, and he is told that if he is obedient, he will be given authority over the Temple and its courtyards. He is allowed to walk among the holiest ones around God’s own throne. He is told that what he has experienced is a symbol of things to come.


And, he is promised that the LORD will remove the sins of all people of the land in a single day. 


That day came for me some 36 years ago.


Jesus took all my sins away. The voice of the accuser and all his claims were rendered null and void. God refuses to even listen to what I have been forgiven of. I was a stick snatched from the fire. He cleaned me up, put fresh clothes on me and to this day lets me walk among His holy ones. I’m not in charge of the Temple or its courts, but I am His child and He is my Father and God.


And I am free. 


It’s a glorious freedom and I am so grateful I no longer live in a hole I dug for myself. I didn’t get a New Year. I got a New Life.


If, on this first day of the New Year, you are where I was, if you are stuck in a cold, dark hole of your own making, there is a way out and His name is Jesus. You will find Him in your Bible and on Kinship Christian Radio. 


He can and will silence the accuser of your soul and pull you up out of that hole.


Today’s Praise

“Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. Zechariah 2: 10&11 (NIV)



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