Tuesday, January 1, 2019


O God, by the leading of a star You made known Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles. Lead us, who know You by faith, to enjoy in heaven the fullness of Your divine presence;

In January comes a New Year – 2019. 365 days filled with hopes, expectations and dreams for a bright future. Yet if this coming year will be like subsequent years past we know there will also come challenges and setbacks in the coming months. How will we make sense of it all as we anticipate a coming new year?

Why are you fearful, oh you of little faith?” Jesus asks His disciples on the storm-tossed Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:26). We are inclined and tend to fear when we try to play God, to face life by ourselves. Yet the Lord urges us to live by faith. To encourage us, the Bible gives us plenty of examples of people who lived by faith. (See Hebrews 11) As we begin a new year the story of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12) are perfect models for us. They believed God’s Word and acted on it.

These wise men, they really had little to go on. They saw the star. Yet they trusted God’s Word implicitly. As for you, whatever befalls you in this coming New Year look to Jesus and His perfect will for you declared in the Scriptures. In Christ, you find all you need; forgiveness, help in life’s perils, and everlasting life.   

On the church calendar it’s also a new season – Epiphany. In this new season we see Jesus for who He is – “the Word made flesh.” The theologian Augustine reminds us that Jesus has become our justice, our sanctification, and our redemption. Jesus entered time and space to be your Savior. Christ's active obedience (By doing what the law of God required — He has merited for you forgiveness and life.) is usually distinguished from His passive obedience. (Suffering for His people He paid the penalty for you) Yet every event of His life was a part of His payment of the penalty of sin. And every event of His life was a part of that glorious keeping of the law of God perfectly for you.  

We enter this coming year and this season of Epiphany connected to Christ. Christ has redeemed you. It’s easy to become distracted seemly focused on our own agendas and plans. Look instead to your Savior and His boundless love for you in giving His life for yours. And keep looking; for in His resurrection, the Lord Jesus, who took your sins as His own, now declares His righteousness to be yours. Godspeed in this coming New Year. 

Image Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Baron Julius, 1794-1872; German painter; trained principally at Vienna and Rome; earlier work shows influence of Duerer; later joined the classicists; became associated with Cornelius, Overbeck, Schadow, and Veit; later work in style of Renaissance; distinguished especially for his "Bible in Pictures," fill of creative power. 

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