Have hope in the new year

By Joan Clayton: PNT Columnist

Despite New Year’s resolutions, a New Year does give an opportunity to start over. What is past is just that … past.

Time wasted in reliving the past and time worrying about the future is counterproductive and a lesson in futility to say the least. God meets you where you are. He supplies a day at a time and he gives instructions for living it.

“Don’t worry about anything: instead, pray about everything. Tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 TLB).

I heard a story about Thomas A. Edison. On a cold winter night, his factory, which housed all of his dreams and practical realities, burned. Everything was destroyed. His records, blueprints, formulas and notes lay in ashes.

The 67-year-old inventor stood and watched everything he had ever worked for go up in flames. The next morning he looked at the ruins and said there was value in disaster because all the mistakes were burned up. Then he thanked God he could begin anew.

What a wonderful perspective this man had about life. His attitude made all the difference. So does ours. Things can appear to be disastrous at first. A financial failure, illness or any number of losses can make our personal dreams go sour.

Whether or not these things destroy us depends on our outlook. We have a chance to begin again. “With God, all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).

We can learn from past failures. We become wiser while finding a different approach for the future.

It is a pitiful existence to stop living because of past mistakes. A repentant child of God finds forgiveness, healing and hope. Repentance requires a change in behavior and the change can begin today. The repentant soul’s hope is not in a wretched past, but that soul looks to God’s hope of new beginnings.

Making someone else happy is a good start of new beginnings. In giving yourself away by blessing others, you will find happiness returns to you. All the material things in the world are simply a cheap substitute for unselfishness, kindness and love for others.

A renowned psychiatrist was asked what one should do if he felt a nervous breakdown coming on. The famous wonderful man replied, “Find someone in need and do something for him or her.”

Be constant in expressing appreciation, and you will find happiness in the New Year. Be grateful for every person who comes into your life. Be thankful for everything you possess. Be thankful for the problems you don’t have.

“Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NCV).

Be blessed in the New Year. May God’s love inspire you, and may his angels surround you. Whatever the circumstances, be hopeful, for God is on your side. Look on the bright side and live one day at a time. Be thankful for things money cannot buy … love, family, friends and a loving God.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 NIV),

Let us look forward to 2009 with strong faith, optimism and enthusiasm.

Have hope in the New Year!

Joan Clayton is a retired teacher, writer and religion columnist living in Portales. E-mail her at