Fresh Starts

Here we go again. It’s that time of the year when many of us reflect on the past year—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and resolve to do better this year.

Maybe you had a great year that exceeded your expectations. This is a great time to give thanks for the many blessings God has bestowed on you.

But, maybe this is a discouraging time as you realize that many of your expectations for the year haven’t become reality in your life. You ponder missed opportunities, or perhaps your failure to achieve goals you set for yourself. Maybe you experienced great loss this past year—a drastic change in income, a struggling relationship, or losing a loved one. Maybe your marriage relationship has been tested in the furnace of stress and everyday life and has emerged singed or charred.

There’s good news for those of us who come up short on a regular basis—who struggle to live like Christ who laid down his life for the church. That good news is the Gospel, the cross of Christ. As the lyrics from one of my favorite Vineyard songs says…

I know a place, a wonderful place
Where accused and condemned
Find mercy and grace
Where the wrongs we have done
And the wrongs done to us
Were nailed there with Him
There at the cross

For those of you who have gone through “The Art of Marriage” DVD series, you may recall a key quote from Paul Tripp when he said,“What the cross promises marriage, is fresh starts and new beginnings.”

Jesus, through the redemptive work of the cross, empowers us to do what we cannot do on our own. No matter how difficult or hopeless your circumstances appear right now, Jesus brings hope and healing through His grace, forgiveness, and power of the Holy Spirit—then you in turn can extend that grace and forgiveness to your spouse and others.

If this has been a difficult year for you, remember that the cross offers us fresh starts and new beginnings. Let this be a year that you don’t hang on to bitterness or un-confessed sin. This year, be intentional about walking in the light with your spouse and others. Don’t give the enemy a foothold in your life, but rather be swift to confess, repent, and forgive your spouse—and others.

“for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light”

Ephesians 5:8

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