New Year, New You?

new year, goals, plans, surrenderLast year is gone and a new year is here.  With the arrival of the new year our thoughts will often shift to reflection and review of the past year and how we could improve and do things differently going forward.  Some folks make resolutions or plans for improvement and there are probably more diets started in January and promises to begin exercising than there are at any other time of the year.  There’s just something about a new calendar year that makes us think about a clean slate and a fresh start and a desire to begin again in a better way and this is not a bad thing by any means.

But from a Christian perspective there are a couple of things that we need to keep in mind before we make any improvement plans or start any journey towards a goal and the first and most important of those is this: we are not our own.  We belong to Jesus and therefore anything that we set our minds to needs to be done in a way that brings glory to Him and His name.

We first need to prayerfully examine our motives (do we want to diet and exercise to be more healthy or just because our vanity tells us that we should look better in that pair of jeans?) and once we have done that we can then include the Lord in every step of our planning and preparation with the knowledge that the outcome and the victory already belongs to Him.

We can praise Him and thank Him for His provision and draw strength from His presence and from His counsel.  We are not alone and we best show that when we work towards a goal hand in hand with Him, filled by His Spirit.  Difficulties and challenges can and will be overcome if God is with us and our relationship to Him will be strengthened as we work with Him towards our goal.

The most joyful aspect of all of this is that our improvement and the power to reach our goals does not rest with us and is not dependent on our strength.  God provides based on our surrender to Him and our obedience to His Word.  We don’t have to wonder about what will happen or worry about the outcome.  If God is in it, it will be done!

And furthermore, we never have to wait for a new year to come around to decide to do things God’s way or to commit our ways and thoughts to Him.  He provides renewal and regeneration to all who come to Him and it is available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

I hope, like me, that you are excited about the new year and the new opportunities and challenges that it will bring.  I also hope that you are walking into the near year hand in hand with Jesus and secure in the knowledge that you belong to Him.  Because once you are in that position there is no power in the world that can stand against you and you will be amazed to see what God can do in your life.


Does Your New Year Have A New Theme?

Come and see that the Lord is good!For last year the central idea or theme of my life was living in thankfulness.  It is an area that God has been working on me for a very long time and it will continue to be something that I have to practice every day.  If living in thankfulness is not something that you are focused on then I challenge you to start doing so right now.  If you commit to doing so then I promise it will change your life for the better.

But this is a new year, and God has given me a new theme.  It is an invitation and it is very exciting.  It is simply this: Come and see!

God is asking me to come and see all that He is doing.  His invitation is for a lifetime but it is renewed every single day.  He says to me “this is a new day, come and see the wonder of my creation” and “this is a new day, come and see what I will do for you”.

This is the same invitation that He offered so many times in His book, the Bible.  Remember the shepherds in the field that night so long ago?  The angels appeared to them and said “Come and see the place where he is laid”.  Recall the story of Abram, before God changed his name.  The Lord said to him, arise and go to the country that I will show you (come and see what I have for you there!).  Even the woman at the well received the same invitation.  Jesus said to her “if you drink from my living water, you will never thirst again” (come and see the power of God’s word to change a life forever!).

Come and see!  Come and see!  Over and over when God meets us He offers us the choice to come and see.  He never chooses for us (because perfect love never coerces) but always with wisdom and love He offers the chance at a new life.  His power, if we let it, will bring that which is dead in us back to life.  His power will mend that which is broken and bring hope and salvation to the those who have wandered in darkness for so long.

I can’t wait to come and see all that He has for us in this new year!  No matter how good or how bad last year was for you, it is over.  It is in the past and you can’t go back and re-do it.  All you have is today (because we are not promised tomorrow) and the same invitation from the same God who loves you so much.  You have a new opportunity.  You have another chance.  You have the power to choose God’s way and then let Him show you how amazing every day with Him can be.  God is waiting to do awesome things in your life, in your home, in your family, in your job , in your church and in your community.  He just wants you to be there with Him.  Won’t you come and see that the Lord is good?