It is the end of another year. It is also the eve of a New Year. We have decisions to make.
Will we change anything about our lives? Will we be more aware of the needs of others? Will we focus more on our own needs? Will we desire to grow or are we content to stay where we are. Please now that we are created , redeemed, and loved, to serve God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
At the same time, we serve a creative God who can change our lives and guide us forward into new places. That is of course predicated on the idea that we would allow God to do so. We (I) can ignore God's nudgings and seek our (my) own way (Romans 3:23). Changing from 2016 to 2017 doesn't change who we are anymore than combing our hair differently would. What changes us is a profound understanding of God's grace and forgiveness. Here, next to God's mercy, we realize something bigger than our own strength just entered into our reality.
God demonstrated grace and forgiveness to the nation of Israel time after time. It is God's nature to do so. Ironically, it was Israel's nature to turn away from God (our nature too). Why is that always true? Most times with me, it is because I choose to go my own way and think I have better answers and outcomes than the Lord. I listen intently to all the commercials that tell me I can have it all, do it all, and be all I can be. Yes, those commercials literally drip with humanism and self-reliance. No wonder I fail to grow my relationship with God! I'm too busy picking my face out of the muck of another stumble and fall. It is time to lean on the Lord. How about you, are you ready to join me in the leaning club?
I want to change my focus a bit over the next 12-15 hours. I want to see where God is calling me to go and I want to identify new gifts God may be placing in my spiritual toolbox. I want to be fully open and available to God and it begins now. I want God to place me into situations that I personally can't handle on my own. I want God to overwhelm me with His glory and reveal to me new things to do, new people to serve, and new places to brighten.
God is the mover and shaker of all things good and all things new. Check out Isaiah 43....
"This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together,and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. (Isaiah 43:16-21, NIV)
Friends, we have an opportunity in front of us. No more dwelling in the past over hurts and failures. It's a new year and new time to embrace all that God wants to do in our lives. Regrets are kicked to the curb. Remorse for our harsh words spoken and vile actions needs to guide us to the foot of the cross. We need to change. It is the best way forward into 2017.
The Verse of the Day (2 Corinthians 5:16-20) for December 31, 2016 fits nicely, don't you think? My family and I wish you a Happy and Blessed New Year!