Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. --Joshua 1:9

Each year at this time, thousands of them stand in the cold in Times Square, New York. No big event beckons them. No ballgame is being played. No rock concert is getting underway. It's simply a huge, lighted ball that drops from a tall building. And within a few seconds, hardly worth fighting traffic and crowd pushing for, it descends marking a new year.

Why has this nonevent turned into a huge, money-making holiday? Most other holidays celebrate a reputable person, famous birthdays, document signings, or a noted event. But New Year's Eve only celebrates the passage of time—something that most of us would rather not recognize. We make a huge deal out of it because it signals the end of an old era and the start of a new one.

The old year's problems, heartaches, and struggles seem to vanish and become a faded memory when we think of getting the chance of a new year and a new start. It must have been the same way for the Israelites when they stood with Joshua looking forward to a new era ahead of them. They had wandered for 40 years in the desert, and finally they could see land flowing with milk and honey ahead. Better yet, they had God's promise that He would never leave or forsake them.

As you stand with your back to the old year and look forward to the new one, you can have hope in the promises of God. You will certainly face both trying and joyful times ahead, but you can rest assure that He "will never leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:5). That promise is enough to celebrate the new year ahead!

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Ask God to give you courage, strength, and faith in Him to face the days ahead. Thank Him for being faithful and for never leaving your side.

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