Sing a New Song

“Happy New Year!” is the common cry of the day, but I prefer to wish people a blessed new year. Not everything that happened in 2017 was happy. On an international and national scale, there were natural and man-made disasters of all sorts, leaving many people homeless and some mourning those dear to them who were lost. On a personal front, my mother died on Easter 2017, I had unexpected heart surgery in July, and without having planned or thought about it, as a result of the surgery, I went from being a classroom teacher to an administrator.

But there have been blessings: My second granddaughter was born in May; the change in job is definitely better for my recovery (way less stressful, and fewer hours!), and I am finding that the new job is actually where I am supposed to be at this time in my lfe. I recognize God’s hand in all that has come to pass.

So as we enter a new calendar year, with no idea what may be in store, may we always remember to praise God, and with the psalmist, sing a new song:

Psalm 96

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
    The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Have a blessed new year, knowing wherever it leads you, God is with you always.

 

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A Hard Teaching

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances?  Really?  Give thanks when the car breaks down?  When a loved one dies?  When I’m diagnosed with a chronic illness? When I lose my job? Am I really expected to do that?

The answer is yes.  The words of Scripture are plain.  Give thanks in all circumstances, for whatever is happening is God’s will for me.  In the last blog, I talked about our Sunday School lesson, and how God used the bad things in Samson’s life, even his weaknesses, to further God’s plan.  Our lives are no different.  Things that seem bad in the moment are ultimately working to accomplish something good.  Think about that.  What a wonderful hope we have when we trust in God.  We really can rejoice always because the bad word is never the last word.

So the next time I’m faced with a difficult situation, I’m going to pray and turn it over to God.  I’m going to react with hope and trust, instead of fear and dismay.  I’m going to give thanks in advance, for whatever good things God has in store for me and the world.