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A Fresh Start

He who wanders from God will never be truly happy until he gets right with God.

The hustle and bustle of Christmas and the New Year are over for another year, and it’s time to look forward to what 2018 has in store. Of course the start of a year brings the annual round of promises of new starts and ‘New Year resolutions’ – often about things we are going to do better, or even things we are going to forgo. To live better, to get more exercise, to spend more time with family – I’m sure these aspirations will feature prominently.

The quest for a fresh start must involve more than desire; there must be the determination to see it through. In Scripture, Jacob was one who had a new beginning. He had always looked out for himself with little or no thought for others. But there came a day when things changed. He was ‘on the run’, but he was coming back to make amends with the brother he had deceived. While he was making his way home, he had an encounter with the Lord at a place called Peniel. Here the Lord took hold of his life and changed him. Jacob never walked the same again. It was a fresh start in his life and in his walk with God.

Perhaps 2017 saw you drift from God. Could it be said of you as the Lord said of the church at Ephesus, “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, thou hast left thy first love”. Searching words: do they describe your experience? Have you left your first love? You can recall earlier times when you were bright for God, when you served Him with all your heart, when you never missed being at His house. But now, at the start of 2018, you are not where you ought to be.
Is it not time to put things right, to get back to close fellowship with God and His people? He who wanders from God will never be truly happy until he gets right with God, but desire must be accompanied by determination to put things right. However you have left off following God – failure in Bible reading, attendance at God’s house, or in opportunities to serve – you need to recover the ground. There are no short-cuts!

All of us need to rededicate our lives to the Lord at the outset of 2018. O, for a greater love for the Lord and a greater zeal and enthusiasm for His work! There is no better time for a fresh start than at the commencement of this New Year. May we know help to “present our bodies a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable unto God”!

Rev. Garth Wilson.