Joyful and Free

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Prayer:

Lord God, the whole new year lies ahead of me like a blank canvass.  I know that you have this year planned out for me.  You have prepared works for me ahead of time that I might walk in them.  I can’t wait to see what this new year brings!  Amen.

Devotion:

Luke 1:67-75

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— 72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

Zechariah hadn’t been able to talk for nine months.  And it was his fault.  He had doubted a message from God that he was going to be the father of John the Baptist.  He had doubted a messenger from God.  So, God took him voice for nine months to discipline him.

For the last nine months he had the chance to think about what the angel had said.  He had time to think about who this son of his was going to be.  He had time to think about the One who was going to come behind his son in short order – Jesus!  I can imagine that as Zechariah thought about what was happening in this moment words of joy and excitement built up in his mouth like a fountain, ready to burst out in songs of joy.

For the last month we’ve been thinking about who Jesus is and what he came to do.  We’ve been thinking about what his birth, about what his life, about what his death means for us and eternity.  We’ve been thinking about what all that means for our life here on earth.

Our God has come to rescue us from the hand of our enemies and to enable us to serve him without fear.  Zechariah wasn’t afraid of God’s anger or judgement anymore.  So he let loose with a song of praise.

This year let’s let loose with a life lived for the glory of our God and of our Savior, Jesus.  Let’s let loose with a life and life without fear and with great freedom.

There’s no pressure on it.  There’s no pressure on you.  You can go out and live with the freedom of a bird who just flits here and there without a care in the world.  The bird does what it does without a care in the world.  You can go out and live with the freedom of a newborn calf frolicking in the field when spring bursts out (spring sounds nice about now, doesn’t it?). You can go out and live without freedom. There is no pressure on you.  You can’t screw it up! 

First, heaven is already yours.  God has given it to you for free.  The blood of his Son is your entrance price to heaven.  Heaven is already yours, given to you as a free gift.  What you do and what you don’t do doesn’t make heaven more or less yours.  There is nothing you can do that will make heaven more yours.  There is nothing you can do that will make heaven less yours.

Second, you can’t screw it up. Even when you sin.  Even when you fail.  Even when you do what you shouldn’t do.  Even when you don’t do what you should do.  You can’t screw it up.  The future is HIS.  He rules it. And he leverages, uses, and even lords it over all the things that you do for his master plan of saving people. You can’t screw up his plan.  He’s the Lord of all.

So, let loose this year and live without freedom. Serve Jesus with reckless abandon. Pour yourself out for him and for other people with an overflowing joying.  He will bless this year for you in ways that you can’t even begin to imagine.

So let loose and live for Jesus. 

Additional Reading: Psalm 1

Family Questions:

1.    Dream a little bit.  What are you going to do together for Jesus this year?

2.    List the reasons you don’t need to be afraid of the future.

Going Deeper:

1.    Read Psalm 1 and make a list of all the blessing that God promises for those who spend time in his Word.

2.    Write down a plan to be in God’s Word this year.  There are some great ones on the YouVersion Bible app.

Prayer:

Our faithful God, we cry to you: Still bless us with your favor,

Blot out all our iniquity, And hide our sins forever.

Grant us a happy, good new year And, when the hour of death draws near,

A peaceful, blest departure. Amen.