Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV) 22 Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
This week I have been sharing what the Lord showed me as my theme for 2017. This is something I believe God wants me to study, grow in understanding of and walk in for this new year. I believe it is also the foundation for the message I am called to bring to the body of Christ in 2017.
We have looked at the beginning of this chapter in which we found out that Israel was once again in a dire situation due to their own sin. The prophet Jeremiah was ministering at that time and in verse 20 we see that he has lost hope because he remembers just how ungodly Israel has been. In verse 21 he remembers something that changes everything. Since they have not been utterly destroyed, God’s mercy is still at work. Because of this, Jeremiah can hope again.
We also learned that hope flows from God’s compassion. Compassion is the aspect of God’s love that moves him to meet our needs. The Hebrew word carries the idea of a mother protecting an unborn child. God’s compassion led him to extend mercy to Israel. Mercy is the aspect of God’s love that does not give us what we deserve. It does not excuse sin, but it allows God to continue to love us and deal in our lives even when we do not deserve it. Israel could expect God to move because God’s compassion moved him to extend his mercy. So can we.
As I was praying about the actual theme it was the next verse that the Lord brought to me. We are going through a time of transition here at Living Word. As I have said, my wife and I will be handing over the local duties of pastoring in Greene to my son and daughter-in-law. We will be traveling in an apostolic role to build up the body of Christ around the world. This is a new thing for all of us and it can be unsettling.
As I continued to pray, I realized that in the United States of America we are also undergoing an historic time of change. Some like the results of our latest election and some hate it. Nevertheless it has happened and there is no doubt this time that something very different is coming to our government. Since the policies of the US Government affect the whole world, this change is going to extend far beyond our borders.
For many, particularly in the American church, believe that this election is a reprieve from judgement, many others do not. In either case we know things are going to change. What is it we need to know about this change? I believe we need to know what Jeremiah realized.
For those who know and trust I God, we will not be consumed. This is not true because of any deservedness on our part. It is true because of God’s mercy. His mercy is extended to us because his compassion will never fail. He will continue to love us. He will continue to protect us.
That brought me to verse 23. Both God’s compassion and his mercy are new every morning. As we see change we need to remember this. As we face a new beginning in a new year, we need to remember this. The devil will condemn us with our mistakes from 2016 but God’s mercy is new in 2017. He will bring up the sins you committed in 2016 but God’s compassion has not failed. They are both new for 2017.
God spoke it to my heart this way. If you have a bank account and you spend all the money that is in it, the account will be empty. However, imagine is someone refilled your account every morning with enough money to do anything you need to do every morning. Your account would never be empty.
I believe we need to learn from our mistakes. Although we should never walk in condemnation, it is important to remember them so you do not repeat them. I believe in repentance from sin. 1 John 1:8-10 make it clear that when we repent God is faithful and just to not only forgive but cleanse us from unrighteousness. We are not sinners saved by grace, we were sinners who got saved by grace. Unfortunately, we do still sin and sin causes problems. We need to remember what we did and learn from it so we do not repeat it.
Having said all that, it is just as important to remember that his compassion, mercy and grace are new every morning. Our account is refilled every time we wake up. There is enough to cover all our mistakes and honor all our repentance. God is for us. He was for us yesterday and he is for us today. He does not carry over to today our failures from yesterday!
As I have been praying I believe what I need to do this year is to remember that each day is a new beginning. This year is a new beginning. There are many new things happening in my life and in the world. They carry a great deal of uncertainty. However, uncertainty can also be seen as expectation. We can expect new provision for new challenges. We can expect a deeper understanding of our relationship with the Lord. We can believe that all the new experiences we will face this year will cause us to grow in faith, love and the knowledge of God.
This point of view is possible for us just as it was for Jeremiah because God’s compassions do not fail. God’s mercy never runs out. They are both new every morning. Our compassion, mercy and grace accounts have been refilled for 2017 and for every day of the coming year.
Here are some things God said to me for this year. I would like to extend them to you.
· Every day you wake up God’s mercy is waiting for you
· With his mercy comes hope for new things
· 2017 is a blank slate upon which God’s mercy is writing new and wonderful possibilities for your life
· We simply need to believe it to see it
Here is a link to a song I wrote a number of years ago. Maybe you would like to give it a listen. The Album “Shepherds Eyes” is available on Amazon. Cut and paste this link into your browser to play the song. https://db.tt/UTfDSb8dqz