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A Fresh Start

December 31st, 2008

“You crown the year with Your goodness.” Psalm 65:11 NLT

“A new soul is the way to have a fresh start, and that fresh start is living courageously.”

A change of calendar is a time when many reach for hope and optimism, but can a calendar change alone make that difference? Here’s a great promise from God, “You crown the year with Your goodness.” Psalm 65:11. Whatever else, your year can be filled with certainty that your past is settled in grace, confidence that the present is safely in His direction, and courage that what’s ahead is securely in God’s hands, and blessed – “crowned with goodness!”

Being certain of that truth gives you the courage for a fresh start. Without knowing your circumstances, I do know that things didn’t always go the way you planned this year. They never do. Situations are not always what you hoped. Relationships do not always endure, as you would like. And explanations rarely come when you want.

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul . . unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” G. K. Chesterton. A new soul is the best way to have a fresh start, and that fresh start should be to begin living courageously. That won’t happen apart from God.

Courage is a character strength you grow into. Strong and courageous are not things that happen to you; they are qualities of character that you choose. They grow in you by every right choice you make along the way, many of them small but all of them right. What better time than right now to make a fresh start to live as God would have you live?

Courage is a choice you make to bravely face your fear for the greater good that’s ahead, often for another’s benefit more than your own. In varying degrees, everyday life demands some measure of courage. A little bit here; a lot there. There are those whose occupation requires the greatest courage, such as firefighters, policemen, and soldiers. But ordinary people show courage every day as well. People face decisions and challenges with no promise of how their situation will turn out. David sang, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26.

Courage is a conviction you hold that when you don’t know what is ahead, God does. There are times when people need courage just to get up in the morning. Life hasn’t been kind to them lately. The doctor’s diagnosis was not what anyone wants to hear, and the prognosis is not good. Life does not allow you the chance to see and prepare exactly for what is ahead. Yet God promises to always “go ahead of you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT.

Courage is a confidence born from faith, that by God’s grace and your obedience, what’s ahead will be better. Marriage takes courage. Parenting takes courage. Business takes courage. Leadership takes courage. Obedience takes courage. Doing the right thing takes courage. And you choose to do the right thing because you believe that makes a difference now, and forever.

My prayer for you is that your heart knows that God, “crowns the year with goodness.”

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