Take Heart

Writing has been difficult lately. I’ve been hampered by illness, occupied by travel, and facing writer’s block as I process the intensity of the pain around me. My heart is heavy and broken for the pain I am seeing.  I have cried, and have cried out to God. And He has whispered to my heart to take heart.

A day can start out going one direction, and within seconds, change to a completely different one.  By evening, the landscape has changed, and sometimes it has become completely unrecognizable. Death and destruction have come, despair and derailment are realities, shattered hopes and dreams lie at our feet, and lives are forever changed.

And in the midst of all this pain is the search for answers and peace, help and hope.

Recently, I encountered several young people in their twenties who were going through very difficult times.  They were hurting, searching, and suicidal. I looked into their sad eyes and drawn faces, pained that I could not fix their problems and make their hurts go away. But thankfully, I was still able to help them. I gave them my time, my listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a hug, a prayer, and ultimately hope.

What hope do I have to share?  For those who want to give up the fight, I can tell about the One who fights for them. When they want life to end, I can tell them where Life begins. When they want to know peace, I can introduce them to the Prince of Peace. When they think life is meaningless, I can show them it has eternal purpose.

And if you are someone who is hurting and alone right now, know you are seen and loved. If you are someone who is suffering and shattered right now, know there is hope and healing available. Cast all your cares on God, because He cares for you. Seek His face and His strength forevermore. When all else shakes, He is the sure foundation, the Rock, the One who will hold you securely and never let you go. In times that are desolate and dark, His light still shines. When life is cold and bleak, the warmth and comfort of His presence can enfold you. When you feel lost and unsure of which way to go, He will hold your hand and guide your steps.1

Take heart.  His love will speak to your heart. 

Since before time began, a call went out to you. Even in the midst of a crowd, God has been seeking your heart as an individual. An invitation was developed with you in mind. From the time that the foundation of the world was laid, Jesus prepared to die for you and for each soul that would ever live. His sacrifice was arranged before you were ever a thought—before a single soul had ever lived. He did this so that you might have eternal life. Have you responded to His invitation? This call has gone out directly to you. God is offering you a most amazing prize: the gift of eternal life.  This gift was given in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV).2

His heart is for you. Take heart.


NOTES

1 See 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 105:4, Psalm 18:2, Psalm 62:5–8, Micah 7:8, John 14, and Proverbs 3:5–6.

2 Francee Strain, No Ordinary Invitation: Called to Live a Life of Eternal Purpose, (Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 2017), 4.

©Text and photo Francee Strain, March 20, 2022.

When Mountains Stand Strong, 2022

Mountains of difficulty stand in front of us.  They loom over us.  They look insurmountable.  But, I want to encourage us to hold fast, to continue pressing on, to endure.  Let us take hold of the One who will never let us go, and with Him beside us, we can traverse any mountain.

The following is a repost of an article I wrote several years ago.  I hope it will encourage you.


I am on the mountain of heartbreak, and I don’t want to climb it anymore. Every muscle in my aching body screams for me to stop, to give up, to turn around and get off this mountain—to run and hide rather than face what looms before me, to maybe wander off into a green pasture, to lie down beside a calm stream, to spend hours listening to the symphony of birds in the trees and crickets in the grass—anything but put one foot in front of the other on these craggy ledges and dangling precipices. I am tired from this journey that presents nothing to me but pain and arduous struggle.

The problems that loom in front of me are mountains of immense proportion. Their enormity is overwhelming. Just one look at them can cause my heart to sink into the lowest valley. Their height seems to reach to the heavens, and the length of the mountain chain seems to go on for miles with no end in sight. Whatever can my human heart do when this is what stands in front of me, staring me in the face with its cold, hard reality? These mountains are formidable opponents. Some people don’t survive the battle against these giants. Sometimes, I wonder if I will.

Why can’t I have it the easy way? Why can’t I have the things that look so much more desirable, and that appear as though they will bring me so much more peace? Why do I have to labor and exert myself for hours on end to head to a destination that I can’t even see, that seems so far beyond my reach? Why do I have to do it? Because this is what He has called me to. Because this is His perfect plan for my life. He knows something that I do not know. He sees something that I do not see. He knows what I will find when I get to the end. He goes before me, He goes beside me, He holds me up from behind, and when the finish line is finally in sight, He will be there with arms outstretched and waiting to enfold me—to tell me well done, to tell me that I have gained the prize. It is His wisdom that outweighs mine. It is His sovereignty, His omnipotence, His love that will spur me on. I have to choose. I get to choose. Will I be spurred on? Or will I turn and walk back down the mountain to a destination where He is not? To a place where He is not walking beside me, or upholding me, or spurring me on to finish. Which will I choose? Which direction will I go? I choose Him. In all things, I choose Him. No matter what lies ahead, what difficulties I must face, what trials I must surmount, I choose Him. I would rather have Him than anything. This is what I do when mountains stand strong: I stand stronger because of His strength in me.

So although I am enveloped in a thick, confusing fog, with winds howling all around me; although the storm clouds rage and break upon my face, their roaring thunder striking fear into my heart; although there are sudden avalanches that make the situation even more unstable than I thought it already was, and torrents wash away what I thought I knew, I can look up. Yes, at these times, I can look up. My fear and unbelief will then be washed away by grace, because when I lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help, these heavy things have to flee and give place to hope, peace, and eternal love.

In my newly-washed perspective, I see God—the source of hope, peace, and eternal love. I see His goodness. His power. His strength and majesty. My heart can hope, and it can rejoice. Yes, although my feet are in the valley, my soul can soar above the mountaintops. I can stand strong because my Maker causes me to stand strong. Nothing compares to the awesomeness that He is. Nothing can lift my head like He can. Nothing can lift my soul like He can. Nothing can move my heart like He can. And nothing can move mountains like He can. He can give me the mustard seed of faith that can say to these formidable mountains, “Be moved into the sea!” When my Mountain, my Rock, battles against these mountains, they are no match, because greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. There is power in the name of this great God. There is none else like Him. When mountains stand strong, He stands stronger.


You are my rock…
Into Your hand I commit my spirit…
You have known my soul in adversities.
1


NOTES

1 Scripture portions taken from Psalm 31:3, 5, and 7 of the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

© Text and photo Francee Strain, February 27, 2022. Original post © Francee Strain, March 2, 2018.

Heart Pains

Recently, I was in the hospital emergency department because I was having heart pains.  I had such intense pain that it was all I could think about.  The pain was so bad I could not sleep.  After 48 hours of this intensity, I went for help.  It was an unnerving and very difficult experience on so many levels.  Without the hope and help of Jesus, I am not sure how that day would have turned out.  And then, just six days later, I was back in the emergency department with more pain elsewhere and another concerning situation.  And even though the situations seemed to be about me, I don’t really believe that they were.  Each of those experiences became something special, orchestrated by the hand of God.

While I sat in the waiting room dealing with my heart pain, I looked across the crowd, and my heart was pained in a whole other way. I saw suffering and agony all around me. In addition to the physical ailments and wounds, there was loneliness, fatigue, anger, frustration, impatience, disagreement, unkind speech, and tears were being shed. Some thoughts struck me as I looked across the room into the eyes of these hurting souls.  I wondered if this was what it was like when Jesus looked across the crowds that surrounded Him.  People came from every quarter, bringing themselves and others for help. He was moved with compassion for them as sheep who did not have a shepherd.  And He began to meet their needs.1   He did not come to be served but to serve and ultimately to give His life as a ransom for many.2  What would He think if He were sitting here beside me in the waiting room?  What would He do?  Did I do what He would have done? 

Jesus saw the pain in the hearts of the people around Him.  He knew of their fears and failures, their foibles and follies.  He knew of their sins: past, present, and future.  He knew of their doubts and hypocrisy, criticism and wickedness.  And He offered Himself to all and for all.3  And here we are today, with all kinds of pain in our hearts, but the remedy is always the same: Him.  If it is physical pain, He is the Great Physician. If it is spiritual pain, He is the Great Savior. If it is emotional pain, He is the Great Comforter. If it is relational pain, He is the Great Reconciler. If it is mental pain, He is the Great Omniscient One. 

So, when we are in the emergency department, or anywhere else, in fact, the eyes we look into belong to those Jesus loves, those for whom He gave His life.  Are we pouring out the love of Christ for them?  Are we able to shift our focus from the pain in our own hearts to the pain others carry in theirs?  Can we cause something different to begin to take place wherever it is that we are?  Can we move from focusing on the physical to focusing on the spiritual and what it is we can do to help and comfort others?  When we are compassionate, we sympathetically look on the suffering of others and desire to remove it.  Our hearts are tender and caring, gently and kindly reaching out to offer assistance. It is a beautiful experience to be able to step into the lives of these hurting people—to offer them words of comfort, to offer them physical assistance, to share helpful information, to direct them or assist them to the places where they need to go, to encourage them by offering prayer, to speak for the voiceless, to listen to their stories and hearts, and more.   

So, although I was in the emergency department for heart pains and other issues, I was no longer there for me, I was there for them, the people in the room with me.  And really, isn’t that why we are on this earth?  We are not here for ourselves, but for them.  We are the hands and feet of Christ until He returns to set all things right.  We are here not to look out for our own interests but for the interests of others.4  This is what truly matters because they are who truly matter.  They matter to God. 

So, let your heart feel the pains of compassion because hearts are pained. Give them help.  Give them hope.  Give them Jesus.


NOTES

1 See Matthew 9:35–36.

2 See Mark 10:45.

3 See John 12:32.

4 See Philippians 2:4.

©Text and photo Francee Strain, February 20, 2022

Thoughts of the Heart

The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.1

God has thoughts and plans in His heart.  Do you know He thinks of you?  He gave His heart to you in hopes that you would give yours to Him.

“Since before time began, a call went out to you. Even in the midst of a crowd, God has been seeking your heart as an individual. An invitation was developed with you in mind. From the time that the foundation of the world was laid, Jesus prepared to die for you and for each soul that would ever live. His sacrifice was arranged before you were ever a thought—before a single soul had ever lived. He did this so that you might have eternal life. Have you responded to His invitation?

This call has gone out directly to you. It does not involve living vicariously through someone else; it involves you living directly. The rewards of answering this invitation are beyond anything you could ever imagine. God is offering you a most amazing prize: the gift of eternal life. This gift was given in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV).”2

He has offered this love to generation after generation, and your time is now.  He has loved you with an everlasting love, and with lovingkindness He is drawing you.  Will you respond?  Will you choose His love?  Will the thoughts of your heart contain thoughts of Him?


NOTES

1 Psalm 33:11 taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

2 Francee Strain, No Ordinary Invitation: Called to Live a Life of Eternal Purpose, (Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 2017), 4.

©Text and photo Francee Strain, February 14, 2022

The Victorious Heart

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(Repost)

Life is a struggle. A battle. An uphill climb.

They say it takes heart, but my heart is weary. It is overloaded with pain and the cares of the world. It strives. It aches. It weeps. I feel like I am losing the battle and losing heart.

What can turn this around? Is there anything that can be done?

YES!

  • I can offer my heart to the Healer of brokenness.
  • I can offer the heart of this warrior to the one who leads the host of heaven.
  • I can place this lost, wandering, confused, and lonely heart into the hands of the One who knows every trail and trial, every battlefield and tear.

Every step of my journey is already seen and known before I have even stepped. Every battle has Someone to come alongside me. Every hopeless moment is waiting to be filled with the God of all hope. And every desolate battle cry (that sounds more like a whisper) can find its voice in I AM–the One who spoke the world into existence.

No longer will my heart lie downtrodden and defeated. No longer will it fold inward in silence. It will rise up in the power of God’s Spirit, and I will press on. For it is not by my might or power, but by His Spirit. He will lead me to victory. I will see it. I will taste it. I will know it. My heart will know it–because my heart knows Him.

This is the heart of victory.

 

©Text and photo, Francee Strain, February 13, 2020.  Reposted February 7, 2021 and February 13, 2022.

Author’s note: This article is one of three featured in a post entitled “The Heart.”   You may access the other two articles individually by searching the archives for “Hearts of Stone” and “Your Heart Can Rest.”

Still Running

How are the New Year’s resolutions coming along?  Did you happen to set a resolution to exercise?  If so, are you still walking, running, or working out at the gym?  Well, I am not a runner anymore, at least not in the physical sense.  I am more so focused on my spiritual running.  I am taking note of where I am right now and how I can keep pressing forward.  And as I look around at others, it seems like spiritual running is the needed conversation. 

So, I will begin the conversation with a question, and as I ask you, I am asking myself: Are you still running?

What type of running, you ask?  Running—in your heart, mind, and soul.

Are you still running from God?  Is your heart closed off to Him?  Is your mind resisting Him?  Is your soul cut off from Him?

Have you heard Him call for you? He wants to love you and save your soul. Have you let Him do this?  We cannot save our own souls by doing good deeds, following religious rituals, or sitting in a church pew every weekend.  Only our belief in Jesus’s atonement and the acceptance of His forgiveness can save our souls.  We just need to ask Him for this salvation.  He is drawing us to Himself with an everlasting love.

Have you heard Him ask you to do something?  Are you stuck running in place or even running away from what it is, perhaps because you are afraid, disinterested, or not in agreement with what it is?  

Are you still running from your past? From the need to forgive or to be forgiven?  

Are you still running the race of faith?  Did you ask Jesus to be your Savior at some point but have since slowed to a walk or even left the course?  Have you run off to find fulfillment in other things?  These days are very difficult.  They are full of many challenges, myriad distractions, and much pain.  But let us lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily besets us, and let us run the race with patience.1  Let us endure.

Don’t quit.  Don’t abandon God.  Keep on keeping on.  Run in such a way that you may win the prize.2  Jesus finished His course, and this completion purchased salvation for all who would accept it.  Your course has an important purpose as well. 

May our dying breaths find us still running the race of faith and then running toward His open arms.


But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.3

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.4


NOTES

1 See Hebrews 11:1.

2 See 1 Corinthians 9:24.

3 Isaiah 40:31

4 Hebrews 11:1–2

Scriptures taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

©Text and photo Francee Strain, February 6, 2022

The Breakthrough

Can you answer me? Will you answer me?

Have you ever said these words and waited for the answer to these questions? What did you do while you waited? We have two choices while we wait: we can wait patiently—to hear the words when the speaker is ready to deliver them or thinks we are ready to receive them—or we can grow impatient and demand we get an answer now.

Are you waiting for a breakthrough? A breakthrough that will bring you an answer? A breakthrough in your healing? A breakthrough in a thought process? A breakthrough in a relationship? A breakthrough at the workplace? A breakthrough of freedom from addiction or pain? What do you do while you wait for the breakthrough to come? Do you wait with patient expectation? Or do you demand that it happen sooner? Do you try to force it to happen prematurely—either before the circumstances are ready, or before you are?

I have been trying to root a plant. I cut off a 3-inch stem and placed it in a glass of water. There were a few leaves on the stem when I did so. Four months later, the stem is still three inches long, and there are just a few leaves on the stem.  Things look pretty much the same from the surface vantage point.   What has been going on with this plant?  Anything? Where are the changes and the growth I expected to see in the realm of height and leaves?  Has there been a breakthrough? I need to investigate further to find out.  I need to get to the root of it!

So, I pull the stem out of the glass. And what do I find? There, below the surface of what was visible, something has been taking place. Root after root after root has been growing, growing, and growing! And besides all the roots that have been growing, there are even more that are ready to sprout out of the stem. Well then, what is going to happen once I take this stem out of water and put it into the dirt? There is going to be a massive breakthrough! Root after root after root is going to break through the soil.  And then, seen and unseen, this plant is going to flourish.

So, what do I do while I wait for the breakthrough and the answers to come in my life? I just hang out. Suspended. Seemingly unchanging to the eyes of those that are looking at me from the surface. But down below, where no one can see, something big will be happening. I will be growing roots. Roots of faith. Roots of hope. Roots of patience. Roots of expectation. Roots that are strong. I will be sending my roots deeper into the well of my salvation where the Living Water of Jesus is.  And I will be waiting, just waiting, to be placed into the perfect soil so that my roots can take off. And once I am planted in the perfect place, once all of my roots are deemed ready by the Master Gardener, I am going to have a breakthrough! My roots are going to push through the fertile soil, and I am going to grow onward and upward to God. I will seemingly begin to flourish to the watching eyes around me, but really, my greatest flourishing will be happening where they cannot see—in my spirit, where I am being rooted deeper into Christ.

This is the hope of my breakthrough, for my ultimate hope comes from Christ: the One who broke through the bars of death and burst forth from the tomb, the same One who sent His Spirit to live in me, the same One who has made His resurrection power available to me, and the same One who someday will break through the clouds and return for me. A great breakthrough is coming, and I can hardly wait! But I will. I will wait patiently for the answer to come, instead of demanding that it come sooner, before I am ready and before the Giver is ready to give it. I will wait. And then I will break through.

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For in You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.1

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.2

…and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.3


NOTES

1 Psalm 38:15 taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

2 Psalm 91:14–16 taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

3 Matthew 24:30 taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible, public domain.

©Original text and photos Francee Strain, January 29, 2018. Revised January 29, 2022.

The Hope of No More Tears

I wrote the following article just over four years ago, having experienced more pain and grief than I could ever remember having experienced before.  And then in May 2021, I reposted the article, noting the overwhelming amount of grief surrounding me again, grief both my own and that of family and friends.  New grief was being experienced; former grief was being relived.  Loss was inundating our lives like it always does, but it seemed to have risen to a new level.  And then it continued to rise.  Loved ones were lost, some suddenly and some slowly.  Health declined, jobs disappeared, dreams had to change, and tears ruled the day—and the night.  The anniversaries of what had been lost showed up on the calendar as they do every year and had to be faced as surely as the day had to dawn.  And here at the outset of 2022, I realize I have just come through a year full of more grief than I have ever known before.  But with that realization stands the same underlying truth I knew in 2017 and early 2021, hope and comfort comes, too, because I know the God of all hope and the God of all comfort.


(Repost)

No More Tears

“Whew!”  That is about all I can say right now.  How about you?  Is your heart heavy and hurting?  It seems that everywhere I turn, people are in great pain.

I must admit that I have been crying my share of tears this year, even just this month; yes, even just this week.  Difficulties just pile and pile on.  Relentless.  Tears cried in a hospital.  Tears cried at a memorial service.  Tears cried in my home.  Tears cried in anger.  Tears cried in pain.  Tears cried in disappointment, frustration, offense, ….

Well, I have news for you, for us.  For those of us who have Jesus as our Savior, someday there are not going to be any more tears.  No more hospital tears, funeral tears, angry tears, pains-of-all-kinds tears.  Nope.  Not a one.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 KJV)1


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.2

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.3


NOTES

©Text and photo Francee Strain, January 16, 2022.

1 “No More Tears” and photo were originally posted November 15, 2017.  Revelation 21:4 taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible, public domain.

2 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

3 Romans 15:13 taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

Prepare Him Room

Last week, my post was entitled “Joy to the World.” I wrote about the joy Jesus brought to the world during His earthly life and the joy we can experience now while we await His return. Since then, I’ve been singing and thinking about the lyrics from the Christmas carol “Joy to the World.”  One phrase says, “Let every heart prepare Him room.”1 Have our hearts prepared Him room?

How do we prepare Him room?  First and foremost, preparing Him room means inviting Him to be our very own Savior.  When we invite Him in, He will come to dwell with us and will forgive us of all sin.  He will stay with us through the entirety of our lifetime, helping us, guiding us, and comforting us; and He will prepare us a place in heaven. 

After we have laid that foundation, our hearts can undergo a remodel that makes even more room. We can make room for thoughts and behaviors that are in alignment with His.  We can do things that matter to Him and please Him.  For example, think about the New Year’s resolutions we have just made—are they all about us or all about Him?  Are we focused on what to do for ourselves and how to make our lives better this year, or are we focused on letting Him remake us and give us the best life possible?  Will we follow His teaching?  Obey His commands?  Give of ourselves, time, and resources for the sake of others?  Essentially, will our lives be filled up with ourselves or filled up with Him?  

We talk about advancing our careers, losing weight, getting in shape, accomplishing some goals, beginning new hobbies, going certain places, making more time for ourselves, and organizing the closets. But are we making room for Him to guide us into the careers for which He created us?  Do we make good choices to care for the bodies He has given us?  Do the goals we want to accomplish consist of temporal things or eternal things?  Will we go anywhere He asks us to go?  Are we investing our time sacrificially or spending it selfishly?  Have we organized our lives so that we have gotten rid of the junk and made room for Him?  Are we making room to love God and love others? 

These are some things to ponder as we journey into this new year. What we make room for matters. Preparation begins in the heart, with our core, with who we want to be…and whose we want to be.


I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.2


“Joy to the World! the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King; Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room, And heav’n and nature sing.”3


NOTES

1 Watts, Isaac. “Joy to the World.” 1719.

2 Psalm 9:1–2

3 Watts, 1719.

Scriptures taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

©Text and photo Francee Strain, January 9, 2022

Happy New Day, 2022

Happy New Day!

What?! 

You were expecting me to say Happy New Year, weren’t you?  But really, we can have a new year every day that we have a new day.  We do not need our lives to match the calendar’s transition from December 31st to January 1st to experience joy and good plans.  We can turn the page on our old lives and let God make them new this very day.  His mercies are new every morning, but we do not even need to wait for the morning to dawn; He covers the entire day.  So, anytime we are ready to have a happy new year, we can begin it with our present day, our present moment.  His presence is available now.  And His power is forever.

People usually spend the month of December talking about the upcoming new year, but this year, people have been talking about it for months, and some people for much of the year’s entirety.  People have been saying they want 2021 to be over and that they can’t wait for 2022 to arrive.  But flipping a page on a calendar to read January 1, 2022 is not going to change the reality of what we are facing today.  A new page on the calendar does not equal a new day.  A new day equals a new day.

How we live today is what changes the calendar for tomorrow, which eventually changes the calendar for the year. Who and what we prioritize is what fills the squares and fuels our goals.  Well, that’s how things typically work, right?  But what about in a year when things seem to be out of control and we do not get to make the decisions or resolutions we typically make?  Looking beyond the now will help us. 

It is true we cannot control or change a good portion of what is happening, but we can control and change ourselves and the type of legacy we leave behind.  We can take our focus off the temporary and put it on the eternal.  We can put Christ first in our lives, and thus, our days, and live for something beyond ourselves and the trials of this life.  Christ is not just for Christmas and not just for our new year’s resolutions for better living.  Christ is for every day, holiday or not, and for every day beyond the resolutions we do not keep.  He will never abandon us, and it would be excellent if we would never abandon Him.  We can allow Him to make our days eternally significant—every single one of them. 

How do we accomplish this?  By entering into every day with Him—by being deliberate in our steps to follow Him, by being thankful to Him and blessing His name, by seeking His truth and gaining knowledge of Him, by heeding His voice and exercising discernment.  We can fill each day’s page with Him—with His eternal salvation, comprehensive forgiveness, incomprehensible joy, unconditional love, and all-encompassing peace.  We can allow Him to remake us into new and beautiful creations. 

Let’s let the old be gone and the new come.  There is no need to wait for 2022 (or any other new year).  We can see the Light and Joy now.  His presence is here now.  And His power is forever.

Have a happy new year full of happy new days! *


*Author’s note: In this article, my focus was on the word “new” rather than “happy,” but what about the “happy” part of the new day and the new year?  What if our circumstances are terrible, miserable, depressing, or desperate?  We want to be happy, but the reality is we cannot always be.  Things devastate us and break our hearts.  Misery and despair come knocking on our doors and minds.  This truth is the reason I actually prefer to say “Joyous New Year” rather than “Happy New Year.”  Joy is different than happiness.  Happiness is circumstantial, but joy is definitive.  I am not talking about living in denial of reality, I am talking about knowing something deeper than what is happening in our current situations.  I am talking about a knowing in the depths of our souls.  We can always keep the seed of joy planted firmly in our hearts.  We can take joy in the fact that Jesus loves us and will forgive every sin, that He will never leave us nor forsake us, and that He is coming back to get His own.  These truths do not change based on the circumstances of our lives.  This is why joy can remain when happiness flees.

We can take heart because one day, our calendar pages will not contain scribbles and overbookings, stress loads and tear stains.  We will not have to worry about changing pages, because time will be no more.  One day, a new page will turn; eternity will begin.  We are approaching that day, are you ready?  There will come a time when Jesus will make all things new for those who have placed their trust in Him.  For now, He can make us new–new creations in Christ, where the old has passed away and the new has come.  Let us press on toward the prize of the upward call in Christ Jesus, press on for the joy set before us, press on for the new day.


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

Revelation 21:4-5


NOTES

Scriptures taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

©Original text and photo Francee Strain, December 31, 2020. Updated January 2, 2022.