25 days till Christmas.... 25 days till Christmas! Are you excited or does the thought put dread into your heart? What a beautiful time of year and what a glorious reason to celebrate, the birth of our Messiah, our King, our Saviour.
On New Year's Day many people set new goals, evaluate priorities, make New Year's resolutions. I want to submit to you the importance of looking back and evaluate 2014 before we head into 2015.
I think we can make wiser and better choices for tomorrow if we look back and remember and evaluate yesterday.
With Christmas just around the corner and New Year's 2015 just beyond that, let's take a moment and reflect on the past 11 months.
Who or what inspired you, who or what motivated you?
Did you have a purpose, a mission, a goal?
We can't just let life happen and expect to reach our goals. You have to be intentional.
How was God most glorified in this past year?
What are you most grateful for this past year?
What was your biggest priority this past year?
Have you experienced great victories or maybe you've experienced great loss?
Was there anything you were running from that you need to face instead?
If you weren't happy with yesterday start something different today. Someone has said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results.
What hard lessons have you learned this year that you want to take with into the next year?
Some of our best and most valuable lessons have been learned through the hardest times in our lives. What a waste it would be to learn a hard but valuable lesson but forget.
Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. —Matthew 10:27
I believe there are things we will only learn in the dark, or through trials and hardships that we would never learn in the light or in good times.
Have you ever been stuck in the mud or in the snow? You shift in drive and press the gas pedal and spin, you quickly shift into reverse, press the gas pedal and spin, back into drive, press the gas pedal and spin quickly back into reverse press the gas pedal and spin. You keep trying for 10 or 20 minutes but to no avail. Your car is rocking back and forth like a boat out on a stormy sea and you aren't getting anywhere. You just see a lot of smoke, the smell of rubber and you're more stuck than you were in the first place.
Life can get that way. Has it been for you that way this past year? Have you been spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere?
Maybe you've been stuck in a rut and you can't get out. That's a good time to look to God and ask, what are you trying to teach me? What do you want me to learn? How do you need me to respond? And it's very important to remember that this is not forever, so that we do not lose hope.
Nothing ever stays the same. Sometimes we are tempted to think that it will always be this way. But it will not always be this way. We have to grab a hold of hope and get the right perspective.
We may have started 2014 well. With high hopes and new goals and expectations of good things. And in between have been many highs and lows, ups and downs, twists and turns along the way.
But aren't you grateful for Grace? It's only by Gods grace we have made it through and can still be thankful.
Here's a quote from a devotional I had this month that I thought it fit so well with what I wanted to share.
"When we look back over our lives and see hardships, God sees learning experiences. When we remember difficulties, God sees how He helped us overcome them. When we see pain, God sees the foundation for a unique way to minister to others."-Tracy Miles
You've heard it said that hindsight is always 20/20. It's comforting to know that not only does God have 20/20 hindsight but he also has 20/20 foresight. He knows what 2014 held for us and he also knows what 2015 has in store. Aren't you glad that we serve a God who holds our very life in the palm of His hand? We have nothing to fear.
I pray that we will become like trees whose roots go deep into the ground, that we will be able to learn from the past and grow confident and secure even when we face trials or difficulties and even loss, that we will be able to withstand whatever comes and that ultimately God will be glorified in each of us.
So, in closing a quote from Augustine "Trust the past to the mercy of God, the present to His love, and the future to His providence."
Merry Christmas to all and God bless.