As Spring brings forth the promise of new life, so January 1st sets the stage for new hopes, dreams, promises and beginnings. A new year is a time for letting go of the trials and tribulations of yesterday and focusing on where you want to be tomorrow.
To all of my friends and followers, may the Lord bless you in 2017. When life seems too much to bear, remember the verses below. With God, all things are possible. And if you put your trust in Jesus, He’ll never leave you.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:58
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
~ James 1:2-4
When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies live at peace with him.
~ Proverbs 16:7
I [Jesus] am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
~ John 17:13-16
In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
~ 1 Peter 3:3-10
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 4:4-8
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
~ James 1:12
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
~ John 16:33
Notes: Today’s paintings are: Gustave Doré’s “The Stoning of Stephen”; Domenico Piola’s “Job and His Children”; Rembrandt’s “King David Playing the Harp to Saul”, 1629; Duccio i Buoninsegna’s “The Temptation of Christ on the Mountain”, 1308-11; Del Parson’s “Eternal Love”; Michael Malm’s “Saving That Which Was Lost”; Herbert Dicksee’s “Victory: Lion and Snake” colourized etching; and “Satan Bound for 1000 Years”, illustration from the Bowyer Bible. Header image is a detail of Daniel Seiter’s “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas”, 1700.