Dear Church Family:
I love the starting of a New Year! As we celebrate the start of 2017, what a great reminder to us all, of the need to let go of the past. No matter what challenges, what pain, what struggles, or what mistakes we have had in our lives, now is the time to give them over to the Lord, and leave them in His care.
I heard on the K-Love radio station of a church that asked their members to write down all the things they wanted to give over to the Lord from the past year.
Then, each person would bring their written confessions, and feed them through a large paper shredder. It was a symbolic way of reminding all, of the need to confess our sins, and ask the Lord to bring healing from past hurts. We are reminded in 1 John 1:9 NIV, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What a great way to start the New Year off right, with a clean heart before the Lord.
Second, as we face the New Year, what an exciting time to make some positive changes in our lives. Each day, it is up to us to decide what our attitude will be. Even if the situations in our lives are challenging, we can still choose, with God’s help, to have a positive attitude. I think of Paul, and Silas; who had been arrested for preaching the gospel, and healing a young slave girl. They were dragged to the authorities, stripped of their clothes, beaten in public, thrown into prison, and locked in chains. In the middle of all their trouble, we find them in the middle of the night praying, and singing hymns (Acts 16: 19-26).
We can all understand them praying, but what did they have to sing about? Maybe they could sing, because at least they were still alive, and still had feelings left in their bodies. Maybe they could sing, because they now had an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other prisoners, and even the guards. It was the Holy Spirit that met their needs, and will meet our needs. With the help of God’s Spirit in our lives, we can face the uncertain days of a New Year with a song in our hearts. Like the Apostle Paul, may we be “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3: 13-14.
Happy New Year!