Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Year's Eve Message - Don't Forget

Over the past couple of days, I have heard so many people say the same thing about 2020. Most of them would prefer to simply forget that the year even existed. Their calendars would go from 2019 to 2021 and make no mention of the year that shall forever be nameless. Some lost their jobs due to the shutdowns. Others had loved ones in the hospital from COVID-19. A few lost loved ones and friends to the pandemic. In addition, we saw riots and civil unrest. Many were injured or even killed. We mourn the untimely passing of individuals. Add in all of the other issues we faced and we see a year that is seemingly better forgotten. In short, 2020 is a year that will forever be remembered as the year that should never have been.

But, even in the times of struggle and strife, we should always remember that Father God is always with us and blesses us. Each day we are alive is yet another opportunity to serve Him as well as His children. Instead of concentrating on the good, we prefer to look at the bad. If each of us sat down and began to make a list of everything that went wrong in 2020, we could, within minutes, fill a sheet of paper. If I asked each to write down the good things, it would take longer to even think of one good thing to write down. In short, we tend to concentrate on the bad and often forget the good things.

As 2021 rapidly approaches, we should not look at 2020 as being a year to forget, but, rather, look at it as a year of learning and growing. I can easily say that I have grown spiritually. I, like most, began to concentrate on the bad and almost refused to look for the good in life. Each day seemed like just another day of problems. I turned on the television and there were still more problems facing the world. But, I began to do something else. I stopped watching the news. I just caught the headlines to know what was going on, but I refused to just see the bad. When I began to do that, I felt as if a weight were lifted from my shoulders and I stopped worrying about things that I could not control.

Jesus, in chapter six of the Gospel of Matthew, tells us, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Jesus reminds us that our Heavenly Father provides for all of our needs and that we don’t have to worry about what to eat, drink or wear. We don’t have to worry about shelter. God always provides for all that we need. All we have to do is have faith in that fact and allow God to direct our steps. Faith marries belief and action. We have to take the first step which is believing that God loves us and will provide. The action is moving past the constraints of this world and putting your trust in God.

When we do that, we can see God working the miracles in our lives and providing for our needs when we least expect it. As I faced a lot of uncertainty in my life, I witnessed many miracles and was able to overcome the struggles not by relying on my own strength, but, rather, relying on the everlasting arms of our Father. As we see those wonderful miracles, we must thank Him for His strength and the gift of His miracles. When we see more struggles and fear begins to creep back into our lives, we must stop and reflect on all the other times that God saw us through trials.

Peter, in chapter of five of his first epistle, writes, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

As our Father, God loves and cares for each of us and we, as His children, have the ability to go to Him in prayer. The one word that we should always remember is “all”. We don’t have to worry about anything. We can give all of our worries and cares to Him. God wants us to enjoy our lives and live each day in worship and not live in fear, uncertainty and doubt.

David, in Psalm 103, writes, “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” 

This psalm should be our song at the end of the year. We should reflect on all that the Father has done for us and all of the blessings that He has showered upon us. We shouldn’t be concentrating on the bad and simply ignore or forget the good. Our lives are too short to worry and lament about our past struggles. God provides for our needs when things seem their darkest. The joy of the Lord indeed is our strength. 

So, as we come to the close of 2020, don’t allow your heart to be troubled with the struggles we endured, but, rather, praise God for all that He has done for you. Lift up your voice in praise and remember all of the good things He has done for you. When you do that, I can guarantee that you will finish 2020 with a light heart and look forward to 2021 with optimism and the ability to stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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