Looking Ahead to a New Year


2017-jpg

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

I learned a long time ago not to make New Year’s Resolutions. Do not misunderstand me. I have nothing against them. I have just learned that they do not work out for me.  Many times in the past I have started my year with a resolution to lose weight, eat healthier, or save more money only to bomb after the first couple of weeks. I was left feeling like a failure before my year even got started. I do not know about you, but that is not how I want to start a new year.

I have learned instead to take some time and sincerely pray about what God has for me in the new year. I center my prayer time around tuning into the areas in which God wants to grow me more. I also pray and ask God to show me the things on which He wants me to focus.

Earlier this year I ran across a quote that reminded me what my focus should be in the new year.

“If you look at the world,

You’ll be distressed.

If you look within,

You’ll be depressed.

If you look at God,

You’ll be at rest.”

~Corrie Ten Boom~

Even the most well thought out resolutions will mean nothing for us if we do not keep our eyes on Jesus and His plan for our lives. I pray as you prepare to start a new year that you will take some time and ask God what He has for you in 2017. You may be surprised at the direction in which He leads you.

Happy New Year, my friend. May God bless you in every area of your life.

The Gift of a New Year


2014 gift

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14

Wow, a new year is here. It seems almost unreal that the first day of 2014 is upon us. It seems like yesterday we were preparing for the year 2000. People were running around preparing for the computers to crash. Some were even preparing for the world to end, yet here we are. Where has the time gone?

I love New Year’s Day. I have always enjoyed the start of a new year. Some people do not see much point in bringing in a new year. Many people sleep right through it. My dad use to tell us, “It will come whether I wait up on it or not.” I have always enjoyed “bringing in the new year.” There is something refreshing about saying good-bye to an old year and welcoming a new one. For me it is almost like taking off old tattered clothes and putting on new ones. I have always seen New Year’s Eve as a time to reflect. Some times it was to reflect on good things and some times it was to put away old painful things. Either way, the new year always brings about a new-found hope in my heart.

I sat last night and enjoyed watching the old year come to an end and a new one take its place. As I did I thought about all of the possibilities a new year brings. We never really know what a new year will hold, but I always find comfort in knowing that God does. What I see as a book with empty pages waiting to be filled, God sees as a masterpiece already written by His own hand.

As I thought about what I wanted to write today, the image of a gift came to my mind. I began to think about how a new year is like a present, given to us by God. It is crisp and neatly wrapped, waiting for us to open it and see what is waiting inside.

Here are a few things I imagine you would find if you could open your new year like a gift:

First, I think you would find a journal, beautifully covered, with gold-tipped pages. On the front of this journal would be your name. As you open it, you find crisp, clean pages waiting to be filled. This journal is your life story. Remember, however, you will never be able to write this story alone. No, the only way you will ever fill these pages with anything that makes sense is to place the pen in the hand of your Heavenly Father. Give the control to Him. I promise you, He can write a much better story that you could ever imagine.

Next, I think you would find a Bible. You see, this is God’s road map for your life. If you are wise you will not set it to the side and leave it there, but will take it with you and use it. Allow God to speak to you through it. Share it with those around you. Spread God’s word to everyone you meet.

Then, as you keep looking in the box, I think you would find a clock. This is to remind you that time is precious. Yes, we have been blessed with another year, but honestly we have no idea how much of that year we will see. We all pray that God will grant us the blessing of seeing many years come and go, but we are never even promised tomorrow. Let this clock be a reminder to you to make each moment count. Use your time wisely. Use your time for the Lord.

Finally, as you reach the bottom of the box, I believe that you would find a mirror. What could this possibly be for? No, it is not so you can look at yourself and find all the flaws. It is not even so you point out others’ flaws. This mirror is to be used to reflect God’s love. You see, you do not have the power in yourself to love other people the way that God wants you to. What you can do is allow God’s love to come into your heart, and then with His help you can reflect this love to those around you. Let other people see God’s love shining in you. This is the only way that we can lead others to Him.

So here is my question for you today: What will you do with the gift that you have been given? How will you use the things that God has given you in this gift called 2014? The choice is yours. The box has been opened, a new year has begun. The choice you have to make is what will you do with the contents of the gift? Will you take each piece out and use it as God has asked you to, or will you leave them where they are and wander through this new year alone?

My prayer for each of us today is that we will accept this gift of a new year. I pray that we will take each piece of this gift and allow God to use it in our lives. We have been blessed with a brand new year. The possibilities are endless, the adventures unimaginable. One thing is for sure, there is no way we can make this new year what it is supposed to be on our own. The only hope we have is in Jesus Christ. Let us put our trust in Him. Let us allow Him to lead, guide, and grow us as He sees fit.

Happy New Year, my friend. I pray that God will bless you today and all throughout the year to come.

A Countdown to a New Year


new year

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

James 4:13-16

Christmas day has come and gone. The tree that was once filled to capacity with presents of all shapes and sizes now stands empty. All the wrapping paper has hopefully found its way to the trash. The feast that was enjoyed with family and friends yesterday is now tucked away as left overs.  So now what?

For many of us these next few days will turn into a time of resolutions. We will begin to think of the many new year’s resolutions we would like to make. Some of us will plan to lose weight, others will plan to save money. Some of us may even resolve to find a new job or seek out a new position at work.

How many of the new year’s resolutions that are made will be kept? How many of them will start out with a bang only to fizzle out within just a few hours?

Please understand, I have no problem with setting new year’s resolutions. I do it every year. What I want us to think about today, however, is the type of resolutions we set.

As you recover this week from mounds of turkey and dressing, as you ladies get your houses back in order after droves of company, as you men put away your tools from countless hours of putting toys together, let us begin to focus on reasonable resolutions for the new year.

The verse that I used today tells us that we should seek the Lord’s will. How much better do you think our new year’s resolutions would go if we took the time this week to seek God’s will?

I have a challenge for you and me. I would like to challenge you to take some time this week, as you plan for a new year, and get alone with God. Seek out His will for your new year. Ask God what He would like to do through you in 2014.

My favorite Scripture verse is Jeremiah 29:11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)

As we prepare for a new year, let us seek out God’s will for our lives. While we are standing on this side of 2014 wondering what it will hold for us, God is standing on the other side and he already knows what lies ahead. Knowing this brings much more comfort to my heart than any resolution that I could plan on my own.

I pray you had a very blessed Christmas. I pray that as you prepare for a new year that you will allow God to lead you. Seek His will for your life as you begin to make your new year’s resolutions. God bless you.