Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Mid-Week Message - Looking Ahead and Looking Back

"Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."  Psalm 103:1-5  (NIV)

A brand new year is upon us.  Welcome to 2019!  This will be the last time in most of our lifetimes that we will have a year will end with a "teen".  It seems to have come very quickly and at the same time 2018 felt incredibly long for many who were fighting physical, emotional, mental, financial or spiritual battles.  For those, the prayer is for a year of relief and resolution and rest.  

I don't know if you make plans for changes in your life each New Year or not.  Personally, the only prayer and plan I make is to be attentive and obedient to whatever and wherever the Lord leads.  I learned a long time ago that aside from Him I can do nothing and that His plans and directions are much better than my own.  So as we enter this time of renewal, let's remember how important it is to face forward and not dwell on the past.  We cannot go back and make changes there.  We can only hope that God will continue to use those moments to teach and prepare us for whatever He has in our futures.  However, we shouldn't forget the roads we walked before because in so doing, we will forget His faithfulness.

Though this last year was an especially difficult one for my family there was never a day that the sun forgot to rise and bring the reminder that Jesus is the Light.  Never did the birds cease singing the songs the Lord gave them.  Not once did we go without something to satisfy our hunger.  Somehow the bills were paid.  Each night we were able to say, "I love you" and know that it was sincere.  Every single moment we had the avenue of prayer and could kneel before the throne of Almighty God knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that He listened to every word we uttered and collected every tear that dropped from our eyes.  We had people all over the world interceding for us, and more importantly, we had Jesus Himself interceding for us.  Encouragement came from friends who are dear, some that we have never personally met.  We were ministered to by lovely souls in stores, coffee shops and restaurants, and by those who came to do work in our home.  Each moment that we drew breath we had the Word of God available to us.  In all these ways, God showed His presence and His great love for us.  

None of us knows what the future will bring.  We all pray for a year that will be filled with goodness and joy.  At the same time, we know that life will continue with all of its twists and turns.  We may experience prosperity but we may also experience grief.  We wish for good health especially if we have been in the midst of a health crisis.  We pray for peace in this world but are aware that there are those who wish to do harm.  The year will bring what it brings.  But we never have to fear that the Father will leave His throne.  He will remain in control.  He will never abandon us, no matter what we may feel in the moment.  His plans are perfect and He will see us through whatever comes our way, good or bad.  

My prayer for each of you is that your relationship with Him will continue to grow stronger.  As each day presents itself, so does a new day to walk with Him.  Stay in His Word.  Ask Him to allow you to see each person and event as He sees them.  Listen for the voice of the Shepherd and let Him lead you in the way you should go.  Take your joys, fears, sorrows, and frustrations to Him. He won't disappoint you.  He is the One who never changes, the only constant that exists, and He loves you more than you can even imagine.  Have a blessed New Year.

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