Life Lessons January 2024
By Doug Harrell
As I sit down to write this January 2024 Life Lessons it is a few days before Christmas and I am thinking about the importance of the birth of Christ in our lives. His birth, death on the cross, and resurrection from the grave gave us the ability to face a new life like a new year gives us the ability to face a new year. The only difference is that He gives us a clean slate to start anew, where here on earth we must carry the burdens of the past year with us into the New Year. If we truly have Him at our side we can start anew anytime but the beginning of a new year can allow us to press restart.
The foremost goal for most of us is to achieve a greater sense of happiness and peace in our lives each year. I recently wrote a daily devotion that I would like to plug in here for each of us to think about as we approach January 1, 2024.
“When you stop and really think about what you want in life I would guess that the underlying desire is to be happy. We desire joy to be the dominant theme in our lives. So many times we search for this happiness and joy in things of this world. The earthly pleasures that can be found around us, the problem is that these things rarely, if ever, bring us lasting joy.
The only true joy we ever find is between the covers of the world’s most popular book, the Bible! We tend to think of the Bible as a book of rules and regulations, things that cause us to fear and worry, not necessarily bring us joy. The amazing thing is that though the Bible does contain laws and rules by which we are to live our lives, the most frequent command in the Bible is to be happy! That may surprise some of you but when you study what God is telling us it is that He wants us to have happiness here on this earth!
Think about the word “rejoice”, think about the meaning of that word! The word rejoice is found 282 times in the Bible. When you add the fear-nots and the be not afraid’s the number is amazing!
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4 KJV
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 KJV
True happiness comes when we truly learn to give thanks in all situations. To understand that even though we might be struggling with events around us, through Jesus we can still find joy eternal.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:11-13 KJV
Even in the depths of despair, we can find comfort if we are truly a child of the most high God, our Abba Father. Learning to hold on to this love in the storms of life makes all the difference in our lives now and forever.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 KJV
Today understand that we obey and honor the words of our Father because He loves us and wants us to be happy. We obey because we love, not fear Him. Take these words to heart as you move forward today. Make a conscious decision to be happy, not downtrodden.
As we move into the new year, understand that the directions God lays out for each of us are there to enable us to have the joy and peace that only He can provide. My prayer for each of us is that we claim a new start with the start of a new year. Wishing each of you a blessed and Happy New Year.
Doug Harrell is a lifelong resident of Mitchell County, Owner of Harrell Hill Farms, a member of Bear Creek Baptist Church, and former publisher of Blue Ridge Christian News. You can find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/doug.harrell.77
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