2007-01-01 - Some Things to Remember in the New Year
Originally Published 1997-01-01
I hope you are all having a blessed New Year's weekend! I thought today would be a good day to look at what God has for us in this New Year. The first thing that comes to mind for me is one of my favorite verses:
Jer 29:11 (NIV) For 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.
God has hope for us, and a future -- hope and a future, for YOU. I like David's idea of personalizing verses by inserting names. So how about reading that verse again, and inserting your name, like "I know the plans I have for Jan...." etc. : )
Perhaps 1997 finds you going through a difficult time in your life. I want to share with you a quote from my Sunday School lesson book from this week: Bible Discovery, Adult Student's Book "John the Baptizer 'appeared in the wilderness.....' The wilderness was the traditional place where God came to meet the people." That really caught my eye. I think that some of our best lessons in life are learned while we are in the wilderness. And sometimes, at the time we are there, we don't even realize that we are learning. But often, we will come out stronger on the other side.
I believe that the key is to remember that if you are in the wilderness, God our Father is THERE with you.
Mat 28:20b (NIV) And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Sometimes for different reasons, we cannot "feel" God's presence. But He is there. And sometimes I think He manifests His love in other people, through their love and care. I myself have gone through periods like that, where it seemed God wasn't answering my prayers, that He was far away. And what seemed to help me, was to just keep reading the Word every day, and praying, and going to church, doing the spiritual disciplines even when I did not feel like it. And eventually I felt closer to God again.
Whatever your spiritual or emotional or physical or material condition right now, remember that God loves you a LOT.
1 John 4:10 (NIV) This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Also remember that we have a new year - in which we can be a better disciple of Christ. Remember that not only is every year a new slate; every minute is a new slate with God.
And if any of you do not know Christ as your personal Savior--if you are not sure that when you die, you will go to Heaven, please write either David, Tim, Mike or myself. We would be delighted to talk with you about this!
Happy New Year!