The New Year is such an exciting time. There is much anticipation about the year ahead. It is a time we put the past year behind us and thank God for all of the blessings and all of the struggles we went through! Take some time to give thanks for the many blessings of 2013. It is also important to recognize that the hard times are all a part of God’s plan and he uses those times to strengthen us and draw us near to him. If 2013, was a year you just want to quickly forget and move on to better things I encourage you to look at what you gained from the situations you went through. How were each of those situations a part of God’s plan for your life? I remember very well the New Years where I would feel so down and depressed because I was not satisfied with my life. Each year, I prayed things would get better.
It took me a long time to figure out and I am still learning that when I put God first and trust him life changes. My attitude and outlook are so much better. Negative emotions no longer control my life. I choose to be as positive as I can each day. Instead of worrying about situations out of my control, I am learning to pray more and realize it is all a part of God’s sovereign plan. Quite honestly this could be a new year where I jump on the negative bandwagon and feel down. A great friend of mine who I had the privilege to work with for five years just moved to Hawaii! If I were still my old Negative Nelly self I would still be down about it and letting it affect my whole life. Now, don’t get me wrong I did shed plenty of tears the last few weeks she was here, but ultimately I am so excited for her and her new adventure. God always has a wonderful plan and this year it was exciting to see something I had prayed for five years —my friend to find a Godly man to marry—unfold. We also always prayed that when it was time for her to leave Schafer’s that the right person would come along — and believe it or not that has happened! Now, I know God does not always answer prayers in the way we want but there are times when he takes care of the details so perfectly. His answer to these prayers was better than I ever could have imagined.
The New Year is such an exciting time because we are reminded of our new birth in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” It is hard to think of this verse and not get super excited! Because Jesus died on the cross for us we have new life in him. We are all sinners and he loves us any way.
So what can we do in the New Year to grow closer to Christ?
Read the Bible more regularly…It sounds so easy but it is hard to put into practice. Choose a time each day that works best for you. Most days, I do my reading in the morning because otherwise it seems like the day just gets away and then I use the excuse I am too tired at night. I like to read the Bible in the morning because it sets the tone for the day ahead. For those of you who have never read the Bible or are looking for more focused plans check out www.youversion.com. This free program offers daily devotions, plans to read the Bible in a year and much more. You can download this app to your smart phone, your computer or IPAD. So you have the Bible with you wherever you go and you can even set it up to send you a daily reminder to read the Bible. I know sounds kind of crazy but it is a huge help! And the site is loaded with great devotions focused on specific issues that you might be dealing with.
Choose a Bible verse to focus on throughout the year. Pick a verse that has special meaning to you right now in this season of your life. Print out the verse and put it around in places where you see it daily. Memorize the verse so it is with you always! Below is my 2014 verse to remember.
Get engaged! Find positive people who have the desire to know God more!
Breathe! Smile and be kind to yourself. Always remember we are all a work in progress and God will be with us every step of the way!
Wishing you many blessings in the New Year!