Monday, December 28, 2015

The Week Between Christmas And New Year's

It' is the week between Christmas and the New Year. Our bodies are heavier and our bank accounts lighter. The diet and exercise programs are advertising feverishly, and there's a deal at the gym. I've got a plan. No more Country Boy, no more Nothing Bundt Cakes, and a lot more exercise.

While I'm not a resolutions guy, I do like this time of year. I like it because it seems to encourage me  to reflect and at make a renewed effort to change. I even told the church that's what I would be talking about Sunday - where we've been in 2015 and where I hope to lead us in 2016. It's good to reflect, plan and take steps in the right direction.

Life requires vision and planning. This year my daughter graduated college and married, and my son graduated high school and started college. I preached through the "Farewell Narrative" of Jesus before Easter, preached through a series on Revival preparation before revival meetings, and have finished half of Nehemiah (the rebuilder of Jerusalem) as we have been remodeling our worship center. Our Wednesday adult prayer and study group walked through 1 Peter, Jude, and a great review of facing fear with faith. All of that required a plan, a vision.

Yet, much of what happened in 2016 was unplanned, at least by me. I didn't plan to lose one of my best friends in a tragic accident, and another through conflict. I didn't plan for a friend to have a recurrence of cancer. I didn't imagine I would spend the last month visiting multiple hospitals of seriously ill church members. I didn't plan all that, but God had all of that in His plan.

The trials were part of His plan for the perfecting of the saints. The interruption of human plans served as a powerful reminder that He alone is sovereign. In the middle of it all, and through it all, I and most of the people affected by these situations have come more and more to believe that "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to HIs purpose."  (Romans 8:28 - NASB)

So, as you face the new year, take time to reflect on the last one. Seek God's will for the new one. But, above all, seek to deepen your walk and faith in God, since He is the only one who already knows what will happen in 2016. What if, in this new year, the one resolution you kept was to follow Him every day of 2016? What would happen to all the other visions and plans in your head and heart if you carried out the vision of knowing Him more deeply, and loving and following Him more completely?