“Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again.'” — John 3:3
The year 2020 has ended and 2021 is beginning. December has closed and January starts a new year. As we look back on 2020, it seems like a horror movie or a nightmare. We grieve over lost wages, closed businesses, the health crisis and shattered confidence. Many people yearn for better times.
As we think about a new year, we need short memories about our dropped balls and poor throws, and more focus on God’s amazing ability to put our past sins in the “never remember” box and give us new opportunities every day. In other words, like a championship athlete, we need a short memory and eternal optimism.
As God looks down from Heaven, He hears our sorrow and is concerned about our pain. The Lord reaches down in mercy and provides forgiveness and redemption for anyone who turns humbly to God. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
Though Nicodemus was a religious leader, he was still a sinner in need of a Savior. Therefore, Jesus spoke with him about a new life. “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again'” (John 3:3). When Jesus said these words, Nicodemus wondered how a grown man could go back inside his mother’s womb, but Jesus explained that it is a spiritual birth. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Since God provides restoration, David had a clean slate after failing the Lord in a big way. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). In a similar way, Zaccheus moved from being a greedy man to being a generous man. And the woman at the well moved from the disappointment of broken relationships to the everlasting hope found in Jesus Christ (John 4).
Thank God for better days and new beginnings.
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Ga.
If you would like to submit a reader devotional, please email all submissions to