Devotional

New Mercies for the New Year

As the year 2021 comes to a close, I am hearing a lot of talk about hopes for a better year in 2022. After all, who would not wish for a better year after the past two have left us all feeling like we have been hit by a mack truck.

Living through a pandemic is something most of us have never experienced before. Sickness and death have touched everyone’s lives to some extent. Medical and political issues surrounding it all have left us with more questions than answers.

If we include all the social, economic, political, and spiritual issues of the day, it is no wonder we are all feeling defeated.

A Fresh Start

There is always something exciting about the new year. It is time to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. We get a chance to put the past year with its faults and failure behind us and look forward to a fresh start. There is a feeling of hope that things will be better – that we will do better.

If you are like I am, your list of goals for the new year always look something like this:

  1. Start a new daily Bible reading plan
  2. Work on my prayer journal and pray consistently
  3. Lose weight
  4. Spend more quality time with family and friends
  5. Declutter my house

I also have other goals that have to do with gardening, blogging, and earning extra money. I want to learn some new skills, perfect some old ones, and try to follow through with everything I start.

But what are my chances of following through with all of these goals? What are my chances of even starting some of them?

If I know myself as well as I think I do, I will have to say the chances are slim to none.

What are your goals for 2022? How do you plan to accomplish those goals? What if you do not complete any of your goals? How will you react if the new year is not better than the last two? What if it is worse?

I do not know what the new year will bring. But I do know one thing for sure – that God is faithful!

My dear friend, Marty, loves Lamentations 3:22-23 and shares it with others every opportunity she can. It has become one of my favorites as well.

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

Imagine that! On January 1st we get a fresh start for the new year. But we also get a fresh start each day after that. As a matter of fact, we get new mercies from the Lord every single morning. He does not give us yesterday’s leftovers, nor does He borrow from tomorrow’s mercies. He gives us new mercies each day.

What is Mercy?

I remember being taught as a child in Sunday school that mercy means God not giving us what we deserve. While that is true, there is much more to the definition than that. Mercy also includes God showing us kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. He has pity on us in our suffering.

When Jesus walked this earth, He showed mercy everywhere He went. He fed the hungry, healed the blind and raised the dead, forgave sinners, and ultimately gave His life for us.

I think of the adulterous woman whom the Pharisees brought to Jesus and wanted to stone. Jesus’ answer to them was to kneel down and write something in the dirt – maybe a list of their own sins. Jesus told them that whoever was without sin could go ahead and throw the first stone at her. They begin to quickly walk away. Jesus turned to the woman, forgave her, and told her to sin no more.

This was mercy at its finest. The woman was clearly breaking one of the ten commandments. There were specific and harsh punishments for such offenses. Yet Jesus showed compassion toward her, forgave her, and gave her another chance to do right.

Jesus showed compassion and mercy on the thousands of people who came to hear him teach. They were there for 3 days and had run out of food. Rather than condemning them for not planning ahead or sending them away in anger and frustration, Jesus performed a miracle by taking a young boy’s lunch, blessing it, and dividing it up to feed all of those people.

Jesus passed by many blind, lame, and sick people as he travelled. These were often people whom no one else wanted to help. Yet Jesus stopped, talked to them, and healed them.

When Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, died, Jesus traveled to his home, wept with his family, and then raised him from the dead.

There are so many stories of Jesus’ mercy shown to others all throughout the gospels and many more that were not recorded. Yet the greatest love and mercy he showed toward the whole world was when he bore our sins in his body on the cross. He did this, not because he deserved it, but because we deserved it. Out of his great love for us, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins so we wouldn’t have to.

How Does God Show Us Mercy?

  1. He saves us. Titus 3:5 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Because of our sins, we deserve punishment and separation from God, but because of God’s mercy, we can be saved from our sins and from eternal punishment and separation from Him. If that doesn’t cause you to shout “Hallelujah” I don’t know what will!
  2. He offers help when we need it. Jesus became a man and was tempted in every way that we were, except that he never sinned. Because of that, we know that he understands us. Hebrews 4:16 tell us, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
  3. He forgives us of our sins. Psalm 86:5 “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”
  4. He comforts us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

Conclusion

As we begin this new year, let us remember the mercies that God bestows upon us. Remember, God is not here to knock us down every time we fail. He is not sitting up in heaven waiting to dole out harsh punishment each time we disobey. He knows we are but dust and our sinful flesh is strong. Yet the same love and compassion that sent him to the cross, is the same love and compassion that offers us new mercies every day of our lives.

Wife, mom, grandma, and country girl. I am living by faith and encouraging others to do the same. I integrate faith, family and country living.

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