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The Hope of a New Day

Ten years ago, I was on my way to a family re-union in California. This trip served as a pain killer to avoid the reality of being unemployed. While sitting in an airplane on a cross country flight, I listened to the song Up and Up by Reliant K. The lyrics of this song examines life as a way to become a better version of yourself. Part of the chorus uses the hope of a new day as a source for motivation.

Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. 12 Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer, Romans 12:11-12.

One of the greatest promises in the Bible is made by a weeping prophet. Jeremiah had a tendency to be a bearer of bad news as Israel was going through a period of rebellion and stubbornness. Lamentations 3:21 serves as a transition, “But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation.” This hope of a new day is due to the Lord’s compassion, mercy and loving-kindness.

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope, Romans 15:13.

The apostle Paul provides advice for anyone who is on the verge of losing hope. Those who never lag in zeal, burn with the Holy Spirit in your heart, and are aglow with God’s resurrecting power will find hope. Paul uses the imagery of a natural spring, bubbling out of the earth, overflowing so that the thirsty can fill their empty jugs with water. May the song Up and Up help you celebrate the hope of a new day.

by Jay Mankus

A Brand New Day

If I didn’t put Lamentations at the end of the passage below, these words could have spoken or written by any disgruntled individual today.  Whenever anyone endures a stretch of bad breaks, failure and sadness, it feels as if God is punishing you for some unknown reason.  As a child I attended a church that over emphasized the Old Testament, painting a different picture of God from the New Testament.  Thus, I grew up without a limited perspective of God’s true character and nature, seeing the Lord as a disciplinarian, judge and punisher for those who do evil.

I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.  He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long, Lamentations 3:1-3.

The book of Lamentations has one of the most interesting chapters in the Bible.  The prophet Jeremiah begins by expressing the anguish of his depression.  This remorse continues like a tirade of complaining for twenty verses.  After letting all of his emotions out in the form of recorded words, Jeremiah transitions to the positive.  Despite how bad things may look, Jeremiah recalls a message of hope from the Torah, another name for the first five books of the Bible.  This promise altered his mood, bringing to light that each new day serves as a fresh start on life.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness, Lamentations 3:21-23.

While you can’t reset life like a video game without removing the consequences, altering your attitude is a good place to start.  The hardest part of any complete transformation is learning how to forgive yourself.  This is even more difficult for those who possess a quest for perfection.  While God forgives and forgets, casting your sins as far as the east is from the west, the Devil uses guilt to haunt your mind by bringing up secret scars.  For most of my life, I have fought a losing battle, overlooking God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy, distracted by past failures.  After hearing a song from the group Firefight earlier in the week, I know the course of action I must take; viewing each morning as a Brand New Day.

by Jay Mankus

Holding on to Misery

When a person is depressed, its hard to lesser their pain.  In fact, its only takes one negative individual to suck the life out of a room.  Before you know it, doom and gloom hovers over this place, like a dense spiritual fog influencing the behavior of others in a negative manner.

Known as the weeping prophet, Jeremiah was not a bull frog; rather he was a servant of God who was given mostly bad news to convey to Israel.  In a letter called Lamentations, Jeremiah pours out his heart to God.  Wrestling with questions such as why me God, this distraught man let’s his emotions out through the writing of this biblical book.  Lamentations 3:17 gives a quick snap shot of Jeremiah’s misery, “I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.”

Despite what the present may bring you, holding on to misery is the wrong choice.  Yes, a sad face is good for the heart, but endless complaining is not a healthy solution, Philippians 2:14.  May you follow after the example of Mary in John 12:1-3, as she demonstrated Jesus’ own advice in Matthew 11:28-30.  Whatever burdens are rocking your world, may you find rest for your soul at the feet of Jesus.  Hope is waiting for you on the other side of the door, Revelation 3:20.

by Jay Mankus

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