“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”

This beautiful set of verses, taken from Hebrews 1:10-12, is a tremendous statement taken from Psalm 102:25-27. Both passages teach what God the Father is saying to God the Son: that He (Jesus Christ) is God incarnate and thus the Creator of all things.

God the Father moves ahead in time as He speaks of the heavens and earth being folded up and changed as a vesture. He addresses Jesus Christ in Hebrews 1:8: “But unto the Son he saith, ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.” The word “scepter” denotes “royalty and authority,” says Noah Webster in his 1828 English Language Dictionary. Bible inspiration carries us over the years to the knowledge that “thou (Christ) remainest … and “thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:11-12).

Many other Bible verses lend us the blessed assurance that, although Satan is currently the prince of early powers, that will all change one triumphant day when Christ resumes His governorship as “The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

The occasion of a new year’s arrival is that of folding away the past one and tucking it back into the dresser drawer of remembrance. As days multiply into decades, we think more of how blessed we are to have been given time to make business right with God and man. The last year was like all the others before it – tarnished with some regrets and yet beautiful in that it was God-given in its potential perfections.

We are quite familiar with the law of all things on this old earth – that of decay, disorganization and death. Paul the apostle wrote in Romans 8:22: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” We get up each day and try again valiantly to face our challenges and circumstances.

The difficult obstacles come often from ourselves and the ones who are nearest and dearest. It all become nearly futile when we engage the enemy without our being on God’s side. Everybody seems to be “against us,” and everything is made so much more complicated and difficult. Without the world view that the Bible affords, life seems not to have real value and indeed becomes merely a contest to get all we can and to think little of those we hurt in the process.

No serious follower of Jesus Christ has regretted his or her decision to put the Savior first in life. All things in 2017 were not good – for any person, family, community or nation. The ones “who are the called according to his purpose,” however, do “know that all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28).

It is not the circumstances of life, but rather how they can work together, that carries the value. We are so trained to expect all things to be fun and good for us personally that we can hardly tolerate life when it does not quickly come about to our liking. This is just one of the thousands of reasons that faith in Christ is so valuable – yea, imperative – for each one of us. When we implore God to take us in as His child through faith in His Son, we are given a completely new perspective and attitude.

As we yield ourselves and our ambitions more and more to the Savior each new day and year, we learn of new outlooks that were never ours before. We begin to understand that things need not happen just for our good but mainly for God’s.

Paul writes in Philippians 1:12 “that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” He pens these words, incidentally, from a jail cell, being incarcerated because he was guilty of preaching the Gospel of Christ. His anti-Christian attitude had changed in mid-air as he was vaulted form the donkey to the dust on his mission to Damascus (Acts 8:1-5). He had held an earthly perspective prior to his Christ-hating endeavor, but instantly his world view (and his life) was converted to a heavenly economy in this dusty encounter with the living Christ.

Paul’s heart was dramatically changed. The applications for you and me to ask are: “have I yet submitted to the Savior’s will for my life? Prior to 2018, have my ambitions been more for God’s glory or do I still live for my own? What are the areas in 2017 where victories for Christ took place, and where can progress be made for God in this new year?” We can each allow the Lord to make these vital benefits to our lives. It is then that we can pour out of our abundance into the lives of needful others on a more consistent frequency.

The fresh new year avails the refreshment of Biblical reminders for the child of God. Peter nudges our minds by saying: “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

The whole business of this little planet is minuscule in comparison to that which is to come. John the disciple writes in Revelation 21:1, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” He speaks of “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven” (verse two) and hearing a “great voice out of heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (verse three).

The next verse assures: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death … sorrow, nor crying, neither … pain.” God tells John to write: “Behold, I make all things new” (verse five). The child of God shall have “a new name” and sing “a new song” (Revelation 2:17 and 5:9). Each believer shall have a new body “fashioned like unto his (Christ’s) glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). We shall have a new mansion to dwell within (John 14:2).

Isaiah writes that the ransomed of the Lord shall “come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (35:10).

As we change the calendar, would we be willing to also change our convictions? How about an invigorating new life in Christ today and a re-inspiration of our confident hope in the newness of eternity? That would truly make 2018 a blessed and happy new year!

R.D. “Bob” Hottle is a retired schoolteacher, farmer and pastor of the Anchor Baptist Church.