New Year devotions: A New Path for a New Year

Ephesians 4:26b         “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”

At every wedding to which I have the privilege of conducting, I usually quote this verse from Ephesians. I say something like: “Each day do two important things – firstly say “I love you” to one another and secondly, never let the sun go down with anger or bitterness in your hearts because life is too short to hold grudges against each other.” After the wedding service a couple of guests usually come up and complement me on the practical advice that I’ve offered to the newly married couple.

There’s a lot of wisdom in what Paul had to write long ago. I try to practice what I preach, but sometimes I fail and allow grudges to ruin my week with my wife, my children or even my friends. I carry the burden of emotional pain and hold on to my hurt for too long. Instead of letting go of the trivial past, I nurse my troubles and pander to my bruised feelings.

With the coming of a New Year, there is always a golden opportunity to let go of past pain and instead to let God heal my hurts. I can begin again and throw off previous disappointments, broken promises, and harsh words. I can forgive myself and others through Christ, but only if I choose to let Him. I can start the New Year with an act of faith and allow myself and others a clean slate.

If I can do this, then surely you can too?

Prayer:                       
Lord Jesus, at the threshold of this New Year there are many positive possibilities and fresh starts. Help us to embrace Your guidance and goodness, Your love and laughter, Your mercy and grace. Rid us of our anger and disappointment. Heal our hurts and subdue our hostilities. Grant us peace and a new path for a New Year. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to pastor@erinpresbyterian.org.

Today’s image is one of John’s last drawings for the year. It’s called “Star Messiah” and depicts the baby Jesus in the Bethlehem manger. If you would like to view a larger version of this drawing, please visit the following link:
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About stushie

I'm originally from Scotland and have been a Presbyterian pastor for over twenty years. I live in Knoxville, TN. I enjoy art as a means of therapy, but also as a creative way to strengthen my spiritual connection to God.
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