A new year brings second chances, fresh starts, expectancy, anticipation, and hope. There’s just something about a year laid out before us. Who could we become? What could we accomplish? Who might we meet? What could be discovered? And sometimes, a new year also sparks fears about the future. Maybe we worry about being stuck, staying the same, meeting no one, discovering nothing. Maybe we fear sickness, job loss, financial problems, or family problems. Wherever you find yourself, we hope our new series, Reset, will help you do just that for 2018. Between weekend services, the small-group curriculum, classes, and this devotional, each of us has an opportunity to start this new year off refocused and renewed.
Our devotional will focus specifically on what God is doing to reset and renew all things, including our hearts and minds, and how we can join in His work. The author of the book of Revelation, John (the Apostle and Gospel writer), records these words from God: “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5 (ESV)). Knowing what we know and seeing what we see in our world—death, disease, suffering, tsunamis and hurricanes, broken relationships, aging bodies, and lonely, longing hearts—the idea that God is making all things new resonates deeply in all of us. We want to yell, “Yes! Please do! And do it soon!”
Over the next six weeks, and using this passage in Revelation as a jumping-off point, we will study many of the references in Scripture to the truth that God is, even now—whether we are hopeful or fearful—resetting and renewing all things. What is amazing among these passages is that the word for “new” in almost all of them doesn’t mean “freshly made” or “first created” but rather, “unprecedented,” “unheard of,” or “of a new kind.”
So, for example, when Jesus talked about and initiated the “new covenant,” He was saying that the new agreement—that His sacrifice was good for all—was unprecedented and unheard of. When Jesus’ teaching and authority were called “new,” this meant they were “unprecedented” and “unheard of.” And, when God promises, “I am making all things new,” He is saying, “I am making all things unprecedented, unheard of!”
A Prayer to Begin
Father, I long for the newness only You can bring. Not another fad or trend, but something that my mind cannot conceive. Something utterly unprecedented. Lead me into the hope of Your promises and the wonder of Your love. Help me to reset in You, to place my hopes and dreams, fears and worries, at Your feet. Open my eyes and allow me to see Your work in this world and in my soul to make all things new. Amen.
A City From God
Read Revelation 21:1–2 (ESV)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
- If you allow your imagination to wander, what do you picture a “new,” never-before-seen earth to look like? What physical attributes, what people, animals?
- Imagine the last bride you saw walking down the aisle toward her soon-to-be husband. What words come to mind?
- What emotions are stirred in you when you read John’s revelation that there will be a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Holy City?
Father, maker of all things, thank You for revealing what is to come. I cannot possibly comprehend all You are doing, but I long for this renewal. There is so much hurt and suffering here. Thank You that the pain of this world is only for a short time. Reset my heart and mind on this truth. Amen.
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