Thanksgiving and Christmas have left us once again looking into a New Year. We all will make resolutions and promises to ourselves and like the previous years many of them will become a good intention that just didn’t get completed. I’m just being truthful. In most of these cases there are no serious long-term effects for failing to follow through on these resolutions or promises. I want to challenge you this year to look at the New Year a little differently. Let me share with you an experience I had that ended 2019 and may reshape my entire life and with it a perspective for facing the future.
Thanksgiving Day 2019 during our family meal I experienced a numbness on my left side, nothing that really concerned me at the time. I explained away the numbness and didn’t see a doctor until the next day. I was hospitalized overnight and after an MRI I found out I had a stroke. I was discharged from the hospital with well wishes and the promise of doctor appointments for follow up.
I’m not sharing this for sympathy, I am sharing it as a testimony of Gods work in my life during a difficult time. 2020 is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives, how that chapter begins, and ends will depend a great deal on attitude and Faith!
For the New Year lets take time to evaluate our circumstances. They are constantly changing, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. If we are born again, whether we are on a mountain top or in a valley we know the Lord is always with us. As you can imagine I am currently in a valley but I do not feel like I am in this all alone. Actually, I believe 2020 is going to be a tremendous year. And, you should too. None of us have a crystal ball to see what the future holds in store, instead we have something much more valuable. We are heirs to the creator of heaven and earth, the one who not only looks back but looks forward into the future. Think about that for a moment. God knows tomorrow before it gets here. Nothing has ever occurred to God! He is never sitting on His throne and then thinks about Terry, I better check on Terry. No, He already knows where I’m at, what I’m doing, what I’m thinking and what I need. He knows the same about you.
When we look ahead, we should do so understanding that God already knows what December 2020 and beyond looks like and He knows every breath we take from beginning to end. Knowing all of this should cause us to ask; how should we go into the New Year? Let’s begin with three simple but productive things.
First, let’s go into 2020 with joy in our heart. Right now, there is a lot going on in personal lives and in our nation. A lot that can depress and discourage. Paul say’s in 1 Thessalonians 2:20 For ye are our glory and joy. Paul found joy in the presence and thoughts of fellow saints. Let’s lift up each other joyfully this year. Even in the valley’s there is a great deal to be joyful about. Focusing on the goodness of God and His presence in our lives can only bring joy. Likewise, share that joy with others. It will make a difference. The joyful presence of the Lord will show in our faces and it is contagious. Try it!
Second, let’s go into 2020 prayerfully. I’m talking about a dedicated prayer life that continues every day. Begin and end your day in conversation with God! Talk about reducing stress, talk over your deepest concerns with the only one who can really do anything about them. We go to many skilled and gifted professionals seeking solutions to our problems. How often do we first turn our trials and troubles over to the one who can provide the total solution?
Third, let’s go into 2020 reading our Bible. I’m convinced this is the one thing all of us can do more of. Our prayer life and our attitude will most definitely improve if our reading of Gods word improves. Joy is our attitude toward others, prayer is our communication to God, but reading our Bible is Gods communication back to us. We talk to God, He talks to us and our joy increases. Get the picture! Reading for personal devotion is the most rewarding time spent during our day. I personally prefer early morning, fresh out of bed and sipping a cup of coffee while digesting text from my Bible. Of course, I know folks who end their day just a peacefully as I begin mine. However, it works for you go into 2020 reading your Bible.
2020 is a New Year and chapter in all of our lives. For some of us it begins in a valley and for others it begins on a mountain top. But for all of us reading this 2020 has begun. Now the question remains, how will we move into it and through it? I hope this article has given you some inspiration for the coming year.
Until we meet again, either in print or in person, may God richly bless you is my prayer.
Terry provides pastoral services at McDowell Missions Ministries