Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. II Corinthians 5:17 RSV
As I drive to and from church, I see many new houses replacing old ones, reminding me of the above scripture. I think: What was there before the old house was torn down? Is this how God thinks of our past–forgotten? In this New Year we can think of what is ahead–not what is behind us. A life lived with Christ is a life with bright tomorrows. You can forget what is behind and “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called (you).” Philippians 3:14. Praise God for new beginnings.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:12 NIV)
Paul says in Philippians 4:4 that we are to always rejoice. Rejoice when things are going well. Rejoice when things are not going well. Rejoice in the difficult times knowing that your character is being perfected. Rejoice that you have Jesus to grab hold of during the difficult times. Jesus said the prophets were persecuted and we can expect persecution. Remember the story of Elijah who was pursued by Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings 18:7-10; 19:2)? God provided a safe place for Elijah. He sent ravens to feed him. When the time was right he brought Elijah for a great showdown with the false prophets. God was with Elijah and He is with you. Rejoice today know that God is with you.