Matney: Hope and faith in the new year
Happy New Year! I love saying that because it rings with the hope and promise of good things to come. I believe we can expect many blessings in the new year. Yet, many times we ask, “Where did last year go?”
For many years, I have kept a journal in which I keep a record of phone calls, correspondence, visitation, appointments, hours involved and other information related to work and ministry. I also record many blessings that come my way through family, friends and other sources. My journals are a record of where my year went and a reminder of God’s many blessings. I highly recommend keeping a journal of your journey through life. God required this of Moses and the Israelites.
In Numbers 33:2 it is written, “At the Lord’s command, Moses recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stages…”
Numbers 33 goes on to record 40-some places the Israelites camped on their journey to the promised land. It would be good if we also slowed down enough to review our journey. If we will, we’ll discover the year has been full of God’s goodness.
Psalm 65:11 states: “You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.”
This past year has brought abundant blessings into our lives. Regular reviews of God’s goodness will add to the joys of living. Let us frequently reflect on our journey and give God thanks for his many specific blessings.
Write your blessing on a calendar or in a journal and review them daily. Talk about them when you sit at the table and when you tuck the kids in at night. “Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts,” it says in Psalm 77:11-12. If we will review our journey daily, weekly and monthly, we’ll see God’s many blessings, and have faith for the new year ahead.
One of the biggest reasons people’s faith is weak, or they lose their faith altogether, is because they fail to remember the good things God had done. The year past has brought blessings we should remember, and the new year will bring blessings also.
So, what does the new year hold? What do you want to accomplish? Have you made any New Year’s resolutions or set any goals?
I used to be against goal-setting because it seemed to be too self-centered and self-serving. However, I begin to realize godly goal-setting isn’t just about what I want to do, but what I believe God wants to accomplish. As Zig Ziglar has said, “Goals are fundamentally statements of faith — faith in what God wants to achieve through you.” And I learned a new acrostic for the word “Goals” from John Maxwell.
G.O.A.L.S.: Godly Objectives Assure Lasting Success.
So, what godly objectives and lasting success does God want for you? What do you believe God wants to accomplish in you, through you and for you in this New Year? What promise does he want you to possess, what godly character does he want you to develop, and what good things will he help you do for others? The apostle Paul summarized his goals this way in Philippians 3:10-14:
“I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Coming to know the creator better through the example and teachings of Jesus is a supremely worthy goal. It deserves to be at the top of our list. Read the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John throughout 2020 to get to know Jesus better. Don’t dwell on past failures. Press ahead toward what God has created you for. It will bring the greatest joy to your life.
At the beginning of 2020, let’s pause and review the past year, paying special attention to the blessings, and then let us look forward to the new year with hope and faith. And as we go forward in our journey, let us gratefully record, review and retell the many good things we experience. I need to do a better job of this myself. I hope you’ll join me.
Happy New Year and blessings to all!