Lessons from the Year

A woman thinking

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I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. – Philippians 3:13-15 The Message

The beginning of a new year always gives me the feeling of a new start. The lessons I have learned in the last year can be applied and expanded in the following year. God is calling me to follow him. The message to me is to keep my eyes on Jesus.

That is the message for all of us. Keeping focused on the goal of Jesus will help us to receive all that God has planned for us. If we get off track, God will find a way to redirect us back on the right road. Let’s encourage one another to stay on the journey mapped out for us by someone who loves us very much.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for this past year and all the lessons I have learned that have brought me closer to you. I pray this new year will continue to help me keep my focus on you. Amen

Faith Tip: Remember the lessons of the past year and determine how they can be built on this new year.

Looking ahead

E t h e r e a l

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:12-13).

Here it is the end of another year. The time has passed quickly and has been described as a blink of an eye timeframe for God. It almost feels like that to me, too. God has journeyed with me through this past year in all the ups and downs that life brings. The only constant thing that can be trusted is God. Nothing that happened this past year was a surprise to him. It’s difficult for us to imagine how God knows everything from the beginning all the way to the end, but he does.

His promise to us is that he is coming soon. We can rejoice in this fact knowing a new heaven and earth will be created and it will be perfect. What does a perfect world look like? I can only imagine.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for all that happened during the year. Although there were challenges and times of pain, you were there in the midst of it never letting go. You always have a purpose. I pray into next year that your glory will be experienced by all. Amen

Faith Tip: Begin praying into the next year for God’s glory to be experienced by all.

Happy New Year

Times Square New Years Crowd

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:5)

As the year comes to an end, we reflect on all that has happened. There were times of amazing joy along with the times of difficult struggle. Hopefully, we have grown from these experiences and learned more about God and his purposes.

As the New Year begins, there is a sense of newness. Resolutions are made to try new things, or to try to make ourselves new through the application of disciplines in our life. While these are good things to do, God has a promise for us. He is going to make everything new. While this specific promise is for the new world, doesn’t God give us opportunities every day to be recreated in some way? Each day holds a promise of hope. God has the power to make us new and, if we submit to him, he will do it.

Prayer: Dear Lord, as the New Year begins, I pray that I can not only reflect on our journey together, but look forward to the new experiences we will have and submit myself to your will which is perfect. Amen

Faith tip: Make a list of the highlights of the last year and give thanks to God.

Rest for the weary

Illustration of "The Christmas Dinner&quo...

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

For me, the month of December fills up the quickest on my calendar. There are Christmas parties, church programs, and special luncheons and coffees sprinkled throughout the month. These are all wonderful things, but at the end of the month, there is a desire for some quiet days. Reflecting on the goodness of God is one way I experience peace.

As the New Year approaches, we are guaranteed that it will not be a smooth ride. In John 16:33, Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world. This is evidenced in the year end clips of the past year of events that happened in our world. There were disasters, losses, and struggles. Individually we also have struggles, but I believe we see God’s best through our problems. It is through the challenges that we learn more about God, grow in relationship with him, and learn to trust him more. God calls for us to come to him as the world weighs heavy on us. Jesus has a new yoke for us and it’s so much lighter.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for your promises of rest. I pray that I will continually come to you to give you the yoke of the world in exchange for your much lighter one. Amen

Faith tip: Take time to reflect and be thankful for all that God has done for you. Remember the times you worried and how God carried you through. Remember the lessons learned and the growth experienced. Look forward to a richer relationship with God in the coming year.