Reflections on the New Year

Texts – Isaiah 40:6-8; James 4:13-17


  1. Introduction
    1. Today is January 1, 2017.
    2. January is named for the Roman God Janus who was the God of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, doorways, passages, and endings.
      1. Notice that he has two faces: one facing forward and the other back.
      2. The New Years is a time to reflect upon the past and to look forward to the future. Let’s see what scripture says to us.
  2. Reflecting on the past
    1. Isaiah 40:6-8, Life is like flowers we grow; we flourish, and we wither.
      1. 16:31, “A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness.” (NAS)
      2. Instead of fighting the inevitable decline that takes place let us embrace it and discover the joys of advancing age.
    2. James 4:13-17, Life is like a mist; it appears and quickly disappears.
      1. Even those who live the longest among us, it is a very short time.
      2. 2:24-24, “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat and drink and find enjoyment?”
    3. God’s mercy is everlasting
      1. 3:22-24, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, / for his compassions never fail. / They are new every morning; /  great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ ”
    4. As we look back over the past year let us rejoice in our joys and successes; let us learn from our failures and successes; and let us search for the way of escape from the temptations we yielded to.
  3. Looking forward to the future.
    1. New Year’s resolutions are the subject of a lot of humor, because we tend to set lofty goals and then promptly abandon them. However, it’s better to have a goal and miss it by a little than to have no goals and hit them every time!
    2. Isaiah 32:8, “But the noble man makes noble plans, / and by noble deeds he stands.”
    3. 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, / and your plans will succeed.”
    4. Grandma Miller taught us, “Live today like you’ll die tomorrow, but make plans to live for 100 years.
  4. New Year is a time for reflection
    1. 3:5-6
    2. Look backwards as well as forward.