Finding Joy in the New Year #1

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New Year’s is a time when people review the past year and look forward to the days ahead. Pam and I usually take some time on New Year’s Day to pray through our journals. We consider what God has said and what He has done, listening for His voice of guidance.

Did 2014 turn out to be all you’d hoped it would be? I remember times of encouragement, but also times of substantial heaviness as good friends faced significant health struggles. How do we find joy in a world filled with such daunting challenges?

Jeremiah lived in a time of wickedness and was God’s prophet to announce judgment, particularly for God’s people in Judah. Tucked within a frightening announcement that armies of judgment were on their way, is this bit of hope:

This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,

justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”

declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23,24 NIV, emphasis added).

When armies of challenge advance in our own lives, our joy is found in knowing God. It is His character—His kindness, justice, and righteousness—that gives us hope in a world of brokenness. Who He is infuses our hearts with hope—and therefore joy—right where we are. He delights in walking with us through every circumstance.

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come” isn’t just for Christmas, it remains our hope throughout the year.

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