2015 is almost history. In just a couple of days, the year will be over. Finished. Done. For some, the end of this year is quite a relief. My good friend Pat recently shared with me her praise to God for his faithfulness and healing over her family, “This past year my husband was hospitalized eleven times and had three surgeries, but we are so thankful he is still here.” In the next few days, I plan to take time to look back, to remind myself of the ways God moved and answered prayer. I want to remember how He provided for me and my family. I will pause to praise Him. I will thank Him for His goodness, grace, and gifts. I hope you will join me in this time of preparation for the new year. As we look forward to the new year, it helps to ask ourselves these three questions:
1. What are God’s new directions for 2016?
Are you sensing there is change ahead? Welcome it. Don’t run from it. There’s a quote on Pinterest that says, “The three C’s in life: choice, chance, change. You must make the choice; take that chance, if you want anything in life to change.” Often the most difficult part of making a significant change is taking that first step.
“In twenty years, you will be more disappointed by what you didn’t do than by what you did.” —Mark Twain
Won’t you take a moment to pray through these passages?
“It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone’s life is in his power.” Job 12:10
“Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.” Matthew 16:25
“Everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.” Colossians 1:16b
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:1
“God’s wisdom…goes deep into the interior of his purposes…It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring our this best in us.” I Corinthians 2:7
2. Are there old circumstances that haven’t changed? Is God asking me to trust Him in a new way?
Have you been praying for a situation for more than a year? What about five years? Ten years? Twenty years? Longer? I can relate. There are circumstances I’ve been praying for that seems not to have reached God’s listening ear. I wonder if He is there or if He cares. As I ask Him to work, I am reminded that God does not keep time. God’s peace reminds me He does indeed know and He really cares about the circumstances, but more than that, He cares about the process He is taking me through. God loves me so much; He wants me to grow closer to Him while I wait for the answer—in His time.
“The only accurate way to understand ourselves it by what God is and by what he does for us.” Romans 12:3
“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, and settled on us as the focus of his love.” Ephesians 1:4
“I have always loved you.” Malachi 1:2
“I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth. Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you and will take care of you.” Isaiah 46:3-4
“You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!” Psalm 139:16
3. Determine to ask God for daily direction, discernment, and guidance in my decisions.
If someone asked me, “Who are you?” I would say, “I am Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner. I am a Bible-believing Christian, wife, mother, grandmother, and writer.” If I knew the person well, I might even mention some of my less-desirable traits: stubborn, insecure, average, middle-aged. But as a Christian, is this who I really am? We must see ourselves the way as a child of God. We should view ourselves the way God sees us. When we know, understand, and walk according to our beliefs, we are free to live our lives, glorifying God and sharing His love with others. God loves us. God’s word tells us in Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” Because God loves us, we can be secure in His love.
“There is no fear in love because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:8
We are created by God to do His will. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago,” says Ephesians 2:10 (NLT). So now that you are reminded who you are and Whose you are, don’t let anything or anyone hold you back from God’s best for 2016.
Poem by Russell Kelfer
From The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
You are who you are for a reason.
You’re part of an intricate plan.
You’re a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God’s special woman or man.
You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You’re just what he wanted to make.
The parents you had were the ones he chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,
And they bear the Master’s seal.
No, that trauma you face was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to share your heart
So that into his likeness you’d grow.
You are who you are for a reason,
You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God!
“I cry out to God Most High (El Elyon), to God,
who fulfills His purpose for me.” —Psalm 57:2
“Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” —Psalm 90:12
You’ve answered the questions above. I have one more question for you. Now that you are reminded who you are and Whose you are, what’s holding you back from walking into the new beginning this year holds?