A neuroscientist once said, “When you think, you change the structure of your brain.” – We decide what we think. And our thoughts influence our mood, our actions, and much more. Therefore, take this advice to heart: direct your thoughts completely to Jesus Christ!
On the first day of the new year, the familiar song “Jesus, lead the way, lead us every day” is sung in many a worship service. This is what every congregation and every child of God wishes for. But then the lyrics continue, “In You, constantly abiding, trusting in Your faithful guiding.” Do we really want to? That’s what matters, and only then can we truly say: “Lead us with Your hand to the Promised Land.” We need this guidance, and nothing is better for us than this. Therefore, “Keep in remembrance Jesus Christ!” (2 Timothy 2:8)
What goes through our minds on the first day of the new year? King David penned these meaningful words: “They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed” (Psalm 34:5). We may all have experienced that what we think about and look at can be negative and affect and burden us. But those who look to HIM will be refreshed.
At the beginning of the year, everyone looks questioningly into the future. We would like to see a lot of what might happen, but in reality, we see very little. The future is hidden from us, and the Apostle James says: “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow” (James 4:14). Even the promising predictions of great people do not often come to fruition. They certainly do not leave us completely untouched. When faced with worrisome questions, some like to look back and think of better times. Others, however, look ahead courageously and hopefully even in the face of suffered losses!
But in both views, most do not lift their eyes above the earthly domain. The author of Psalm 121 praises God when he says: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
This man’s gaze went upward beyond the mountains to God Almighty! He had a personal relationship with his Creator and had experienced Him as a gracious guardian in life. This same God watches over you and will not let your foot slip. He also guards your soul, as well as your coming in and going out, all the way to eternity!
Included in that Psalm is the faithfulness of God’s guidance at the end and beginning of each year. What a joyful and blessed certainty! Yes, dear ones, our Lord wants to guide us, provided that our eyes look to Him and our heart seeks Him. A poet wrote, “We can feast from His goodness in all quietness. You can always have Him if you want Him.” And that is exactly what our Lord is watching and waiting for.
From the beginning, the New Testament leads us to the name “Jesus.” His name is Jesus; He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world! He came into the world, a world full of misery, fear, and destruction, a world full of selfishness, enmity, suffering, and struggle. This world needs a Savior and Redeemer today!
Jesus Christ is the main theme of the Bible, and since He is the light of the world, He also provides the best direction in the increasing chaos of this world. He alone can give our lives meaning, orientation, and purpose. This is what the message of Jesus is meant for.
If we want to get through this year safely, we need God’s Word, the Bible. It is in this spirit that the 119th Psalm begins, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.” Then the writer asks, “Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.” A faithful pilgrim once said, “I leaned on God’s Word all my life, and it was always a good and reliable support for me.”
After the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, they encountered severe trials of faith to test them. Distressed by the burdens of the day, the people looked to yesterday and to tomorrow but failed to look up to God in the moment. Let us be careful to look to Jesus today and every new day. Therefore, if you are tempted and struggle, know that you can win with Jesus. If you suffer injustice, remember that Jesus endured far greater injustice. If you are shunned and despised, know that He was “the most despised and unworthy.” If the burden of your life seems too heavy for you, know that “He carried His cross,” and He also knows your cross and your burden and wants to help you carry it. Oh, how profitable it is to look to Jesus!
Therefore, “keep in remembrance Jesus Christ” and that “Those who look to HIM will be refreshed!” With these words, we wish everyone a joyful and blessed year’s journey!