Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Beginnings

I am not one of those people who watches or reads "the year in review" on TV or in articles. First of all, I consider it a lazy sort of journalism. Certainly there are some current news stories (besides jets crashing in the ocean) that are worth covering. Second, do they really think that we have forgotten what happened this year? And what makes them think that I want to be reminded. I do not want to see the Ferguson riots again or be reminded of who died or recall the horrific things that happened to people. As Jesus said, "Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Didn't the apostle Paul say that we should be "forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead"?. If bad things have happened we can perhaps learn something from them, but don't want to dwell on them. We can be thankful for the good in our lives, but we don't even to dwell too much on those things either. We can get complacent with where we are in the Lord and not look forward to what God has for us in the future. We all still have plenty of room to grow spiritually. God still has more great things for us.

Now I do want to remember the good things that God has done for me and those I care about. I always thank God at the end of the year for His faithfulness in the past year. Then I ask God about what He has for me in the new year. He doesn't generally tell me too much, but He always has some little word of encouragement.

Some people make New Year's resolutions. I do not. That does not mean that I do not have things that I want to improve on. I do. But what I want to do the most is improve in the areas where God wants me to improve. And I know that any fleshly effort will end in failure. I need His help and guidance. I need grace. A lot of resolutions fail because they are carried out in the flesh without the Spirit of God in it.

At this point you might be thinking that New Year's is not that important to me and you would generally be right. But there was one New Year's Day that sticks in my mind. It was 31 years ago today. January 1, 1984 was a Sunday and we went to church. I do not remember all the preacher said but I do remember him talking about how a new year can bring 'new beginnings'. I heard those two words, 'new beginnings', over and over in my head for the next week or so. It absolutely was God speaking to me.

At the time we were living in Pennsylvania, going to a good church in Ohio, but we had been barely getting along financially for years and I was cut off from my family. I was making minimum wage in a dead-end job and I had nowhere to teach the Bible as I desired to do. Then God spoke this Word into my heart and everything began to change. Within a month, I was reconciled to my parents. In April, I visited my parents who had moved to Chincoteague and my father offered me a job running his new store. We moved to Chincoteague immediately. Soon after we moved, I was asked to teach about the gifts of the Spirit in one Bible study and was asked to start another in another couple's home. These were definitely new beginnings for us.

I don't know all that God has in store for us in this new year, but I know that He has "plans for good and not for calamity." I believe it will be even better than last year though it may have its challenges. As for the bad stuff that happened in the past, forget it.

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