Happy New Year, Dear Friends! January ushers in a new year, new beginnings, and thankfully, a clean slate. That spells relief for yours truly, how about you?
There’s a verse in the Book of Lamentations I’ve always been fond of: Lamentations 3:22-23 says,
The ESV says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end…”
One year, I put this verse on our family’s New Year’s card. This past year, two of some of my favorite authors happened to write about this verse.
When things like this happen from two different authors, in two different books, written in two different years, I’ve finally realized I need to sit up and take note.
The first book that grabbed me is a wonderful devotional by Paul David Tripp called New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. I learned about this from Ann Voskamp and several of my friends are now enjoying it. My dear friend Judy Russell told me she’s reading thru’ it now for the third year.
While I don’t know Paul Tripp personally, he seems like a no-nonsense guy loaded with passionate, challenging information centering around several verses each day. On tackling our verse of Lamentations 3:22-23, he begins by reminding us “the battle for your heart still goes on.”
He suggests we consider how blessed we are in a twofold way: one as recipients of God’s “steadfast, faithful, and never-failing love.”
Paul reassures us:
“God will never give up on you.
He will never walk away in disgust.
He will never regret that he placed his love on you.
He will love you just as much on your worst day as he does on your best day.
This gift of love is yours forever.”
The worst day/best day point is my favorite! Isn’t that the best news?
The second way he shows us how blessed we are is comforting: Because we are God’s children, “we’re blessed with eternal mercies that are new every morning….fresh mercies for you today, formfitted for all the things you will face.”
Oh, and I’ve got even more good news! Pull up a chair, a pen and some paper, and let’s do some math…
Mark Batterson taught me this in his book, If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities.
Mark begins by confessing he has trouble remembering things. Oh yes, I can relate. I remember phone numbers from when I lived in Lexington, thirty-five plus years ago while I forget hamburger at the grocery when we’re making tacos…
He says, especially of Scripture, if he can find a song to learn with Scripture in it, he’ll listen to it over and over and over. One of his favorites is From the Inside Out by King and Country.
It opens with “A thousand times I’ve failed, still your mercy remains.” Sounds like our verse, doesn’t it?
Then Mark teaches us the Hebrew word for new. It’s hadas which means “different—as in never before experienced.” Therefore, Mark relays, “Today’s mercy is different from yesterday or the day before or the day before the day before. Just as the seasonal flu vaccine changes from year to year, God’s mercy changes from day to day. It’s a new strain of mercy.”
Here’s the math:
Jot down how old you are.
Multiply that by 365.
(I told you at the top of this post, I’ve received 20,440. You do the math. Smile.)
That’s how many mercies YOU have received from God. Call me crazy, but dare I say few of us have thanked Him, much less realized we’ve received that many mercies?
Good at guilt (!!!), I think, “Oh man, I’ve wasted so many.” But hey, we all must remember God is not a God of guilt, He’s a God full of grace, readying to gift us with yet another mercy tomorrow.
May we begin tomorrow morning, before that first cup of coffee, to praise Him for another new mercy.
‘Til next time!