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#624 - "Day One" by Matthew West
Matthew West tells the story that inspired this anthem of mercy.

Matthew West's 2015 album Live Forever includes 11 new tracks inspired by digging deeper into more than 40,000 stories shared with him from people all over the world-- stories that six years and three albums later have had a profound ripple effect, beginning with 2010's The Story of Your Life then followed by Into the Light in 2012. 

From those albums, I've previously spoken with Matthew about "My Own Little World," "Strong Enough," "Forgiveness" and "Do Something" for behind the song devotionals. I had the chance to speak with Matthew about "Day One."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song. 

One of my favorite Bible passages is Lamentations 3:22-23 which says, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His Mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning." In those words there is a promise for everybody to remember that each morning God re-sets His mercy for us. It's like hitting refresh on your computer every once in a while. I get that image when I think about that passage. Every single morning with the rising of the sun, His mercy is new. The faithful love of the Lord never ceases. 

Often, I will think God's mercy is new every once in a while, or every time I'm on a spiritual winning streak, as though it's conditional based on our performance. It says nothing about us as Christians, or church-goers, or Bible readers, in that Scripture. There's nothing for us to do to qualify for that mercy that is new every morning. It just is new every morning. That makes every day "day one" and a new beginning in our journey of faith. 

After reading those 40,000 stories, the story that inspired me to write this song and think about my own life on a deeper level is a story about a guy named Josh who works for a pizza restaurant in a small town in Minnesota. I called the manager of the pizza restaurant recently and told him that his story inspired this song. 

Josh wrote that he made bad choices in his life and grew up in a rough area with a rough home life, and he got involved in using drugs and got into trouble. He spent some years in prison because of the mistakes he made. While he was in prison, he found God. He was worried as he was getting released from prison that people would think he found "jailhouse religion" and that it wasn't real. 

As he was released from prison, he made a commitment to show everyone that this was a real change in his life, and he wasn't going to go back to who he used to be. When he got out, nobody would take a chance on an ex-convict and give him a job. He was at the end of his rope, and as a last hope and prayer, a Christian couple who owned a pizza shop took a chance on an ex-convict and gave him a part-time job working in the back. Josh wrote that he took the job and ran with it. He worked and worked and worked, and today he is the general manager of that same pizza store. I thought that was such a cool story. 

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV): Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (The Voice): "How enduring is God's loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion. Here they are, every morning, new! Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day."
Lamentations 3:25-26 (NKJV): "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."
Hosea 6:3 (NIV): Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.

What is the takeaway message?

Josh made a commitment to not go back to who he was and not make the choices he used to make. He shows us all that it is possible. When you make the change, God will be faithful and show us what a new beginning can look like. 

This process of six years and 40,000 stories collected and three albums filled with songs all inspired by stories-- the process has become a marriage of where others' stories end and my story begins. With this song I can point to Josh's story, and the other part of that story is how his story impacted my life in writing the song. 

Every song is a personal expression of my own journey of faith. What I've noticed is when someone tells their story, it makes me look at my own life. When someone else hears this song, I hope they are thinking about their own life. When you tell your story, it causes a chain reaction, causing a ripple effect with each person who hears it.

My prayer with this song is just the reminder that no matter where you are in the story of your life right now, no matter how stuck you might have felt, no matter what last year signified for you in your life, whatever struggles you are facing, today is a new day. And tomorrow, guess what? That's a new day too. And the day after that it's a new day as well. 

So in our journey of faith, every day is day one. Every day is a new beginning. Every morning His mercy is new, and that makes this day one. The theme of this whole album is about moving forward into the chapters of our stories that are being written right now and the chapters that are yet to be written from here to eternity. The minute you decide to follow Christ is a new beginning, and the best of your life is ahead of you.

Well, I wish I had a short term memory
Wish the only thing my eyes could see
Was the future burning bright right in front of me
But I can't stop looking back

Yeah, I wish I was a perfect picture of
Somebody who's never not good enough
I try to measure up but I mess it up
And I wish I wasn't like that

I wish I wasn't wishing anymore
Wish I could remember that nobody's keeping score
I'm tired of throwing pennies in a well
I gotta do something
Here goes nothin'

It's day one of the rest of my life
It's day one of the best of my life
I'm marching on to the beat of a brand new drum
Yeah, here I come 
The future has begun
Day one

Well, every single day Your grace reminds me
That my best days are not behind me
Wherever my yesterday may find me
Well, I don't have to stay there

See my hourglass is upside down
My someday soon is here and now
The clock is tickin'
And I'm so sick and tired of missing out

It's day one
And here comes the sun

Every morning, every morning
Every morning, mercy's new
Every morning, every morning
Every morning, I will fix my eyes on You
Every morning, every morning
Every morning, mercy's new
Every morning, every morning
Sun's coming up, the beginning has begun

Starting over, I'm starting over
Starting over, I'm starting over, starting now
I'm starting over
Starting over, I'm starting over
Starting over
Starting over, starting now
I'm starting over

My behind the song ministry started in 2008, and I featured Matthew's song "The Motions" as song #41 in the series, which perfectly aligns with Matthew's music ministry these past 6 years. We are both telling the stories and Scripture connected to these songs of faith. "Day One" is my sixth song discussion with Matthew, and this is song #624 in the series. I've had the privilege to share weekly about God's unconditional mercy and grace. This song helps remind us that each day is a clean slate, to fix our eyes on the Lord, and to remember that the "sun's coming up, the beginning has begun."

The message of this song is a great follow-up to hit song "Do Something." While listening to this song, I am once again challenged to do something. Jesus commands believers to love others as He loved us and to show His love by helping people who can't help themselves. I applaud Matthew for once again convicting me that my faith is not just for me and God, but needs to be expressed in outward appreciation for what God has done for me. 

I am thrilled to feature the message behind the song which has quickly become my favorite song on the album. So many people can relate to the message of this great song, and the song convicts me to know in my heart the biblical truth from Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:22-23. God's mercy is new each day, and it is not based on our performance, or what we can do for God. He pours out His mercy despite what we've done, there's nothing we can do except trust in His Son Jesus.

We can lift up our hands in confidence to God and know that His mercy is unfailing. His love is never-ending. He is our refuge and our strength. God's ultimate will is not to bring affliction upon people, but to restore us so that we may experience His unfailing love. There are several lyrics that really speak to me, in particular: "Well, every single day Your grace reminds me, That my best days are not behind me, Wherever my yesterday may find me, Well, I don't have to stay there." Amen to that!

(Watch the lyric video here.)

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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