Welcome to 2023! I have never been to 2023 before, so I am just as new here as you are, but we are all in this together. I just realized I have not written a single thing all year! So I’d better get busy now. Some of us are eagerly looking forward to turning the page and opening a new chapter in our life. Some of us are very reluctant, and afraid of what might lie ahead. Either way I have good news for you.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6 NKJV
God’s goodness and mercy will continue following you all the days of your life, not just on the good days but on the bad days as well. God’s goodness and mercy will be with us just as much as on the day we die as on the day we were born, and every day in between. Can you look back and see how God’s goodness and mercy have been with you in the past, even on the worst of days? Perhaps you can share some brief testimonies of God’s goodness and mercy in 2022 in the comment section.
Maybe you are afraid to look ahead because you think past mistakes have ruined your future. Have I got good news for you! Just the other day I was reading Mark 16. Earlier Peter denied he knew Jesus 3 times in one night. Peter did not mess up three times in a lifetime, or a week, or even one full day. He totally messed up 3 times in one night. When he realized what he had done, like a lot of us do when we’ve failed Jesus, he wept bitterly. He probably thought Jesus had kicked him off the team after so many terrible mistakes, but it never changed Jesus’ plans for Peter. Read what the angels told the women at the empty tomb.
But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” Mark 16:7 NKJV
Peter was still on the team as far as heaven was concerned. God had great plans for Peter, and Peter was not able to ruin those plans. God’s goodness and mercy were much more powerful than all three of Peter’s terrible mistakes — and they were terrible! Still, God’s love was much greater.
Now look at what happens to all 11 disciples.
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. Mark 16:14 NKJV
These are some serious rebukes: Hardness of heart and unbelief amongst Jesus’ own disciples? Surely He will have to let them all go and get another group with softer hearts and greater faith. But look what Jesus tells this group immediately after rebuking them for having hard hearts and no faith.
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15 NKJV
Did you catch that? He just rebuked them for hardheartedness, unbelief, and then immediately sent them off with the most sacred responsibility in the universe. Jesus does not give up on us easily. He does not give up at all. After Peter’s blunders and everyone’s weaknesses and failures, Jesus still intends for them to accomplish His purpose for their lives. Friend, you may feel like you have blown it and God can’t complete His purpose for you anymore. I am sure you have already been told, but I will remind you, that you are not powerful enough to ruin God’s plans for your life. God’s goodness and mercy which follows you all the days of your life is much more powerful than all your mistakes combined.
We can’t deny we have all made some terrible mistakes. We can’t ignore them or sweep them aside. King Saul tried doing that and he lost the throne. God could not continue His purpose for a king who would not accept rebukes, but only made excuses instead. But another king, David, accepted God’s rebuke. There were still consequences and prices to pay. But God’s goodness and mercy stayed with repentant David all the days of his life, and he was able to do everything God had planned for him to do. The disciples accepted Jesus’ rebuke and God’s goodness and mercy changed their lives. When you read about Peter and his friends in the book of Acts you don’t see any hard-hearted unbelief. You see faith and courage even in the face of death. They, like David, accepted God’s stern rebuke and turned around and accomplished all of God’s purposes for their lives.
When we fail, let’s allow God to rebuke and correct us. Then, like the disciples, let’s go out in the power of God’s mercy and goodness and accomplish everything He has planned for us in 2023 and beyond.