Another year has once again passed us by and a new year begins. I want to encourage you to start the year with HOPE.
The word hope appears many times in the Bible, and reading about it gives me just that.
Here is one encouraging example: Romans 5:1-5. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
The dictionary definition of hope is "a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen."
What are we hoping for in 2015?
With a new year ahead usually comes high hopes for many things. Often we make resolutions and set goals for the coming year, hoping to follow through.
Hope is placed in our hearts to keep us going. When things get hard, it is the hope within us that will keep us from giving up. One example would be a woman in labour. The gift that is to come from her hard work helps her get through it. I have been in labour knowing that I will likely lose that gift shortly after. I can speak from experience that when you are expecting to hold a healthy baby when you are finished, it is easier to endure the pain, than when you don't have the hope within you for that.
God wanted us to have hope for good things to come. In Jeremiah 29:11 He tells us,
Things are not always pleasant here on earth. There are times it is really hard to get through our daily battles. Our eyes need to be on Jesus and His rewards to come. Seek ye first the kingdom of God. I have had times when praying became a part of breathing for me. If I stopped praying, I could not keep breathing.
Really, I asked for it. Many years ago, I asked God to bring me so close to Him that I would be able to endure anything. I asked Him to make my faith so real and take me so deep that I would just be completely wrapped in Him, no matter what. He is still working on me :) To be able to rejoice in the Lord while in the middle of a storm is an incredible thing. Step by step, He brings me nearer to Himself. Have you prayed for God to bring you nearer to Himself this coming year?
Does your heart ever ache for someone who is walking in darkness. If so, you likely pray for this person. Do you pray once and never think of it again.? If it is someone you are very involved with, you are most likely praying for him or her on a regular basis. You have the hope within you that God will answer that prayer and therefore do not give up. Again, the hope for good results.
There have been times when I was praying for someone, that it looked as though the situation was completely hopeless. I asked God to give me a glimpse of hope for the situation . He has often done just that and it kept me praying about it. Ask the Lord to give you enough hope for whatever battles you face, that you will never give up. I have been so blessed in those moments of renewed hope.
I didn't set any New Year's resolutions, but I do have high hopes for good things to come. By good things I mean, God will answer all my prayers, that I prayed according to His will. Hope in the Lord keeps us motivated.
Because of the hope within me, my goal for the coming year is to keep running the race.
Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith..."
When I have finished the race, I want to be able to say:
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
Looking back at 2014, you may have created many great memories that will be dear to you forever. Or maybe it was the hardest year of your life and the memories are painful. Either way, God was in control. God leads His children along.
"Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long."
Let's allow God to keep leading us along.
"Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
With every passing year, we leave a bit of ourselves behind. Each day is a God given opportunity to live for Him. What do we want to leave for 2015. What kind of memories do we want to create? What is the legacy we want to leave.
One day our time here will be finished. It is when we are gone that people will remember who we were more than ever. Will they remember us as someone whose hope was fully in the Lord and finished well? May we keep our eyes on the finish line this year.
I also want to encourage you to encourage one another this coming year. Open your hearts to new people and don't be too quick to close the doors on those who are already in your lives. As sisters in the Lord, keep each other in prayer and when you see someone struggling along, give them a hand. Be quick to forgive and to ask for forgiveness when needed. In doing so, the world will see our good works, that will bring glory to God. May HE receive the glory for all our good works.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
1 Peter 1:3-5
God's word is what will strengthen us and build up our faith. His word will give us continuous hope. I shared quite a few verses with you today, but I would encourage you to seek Him and search the scriptures for many more. Lets all walk through this coming year close to Jesus.
Father in Heaven,
I thank you for seeing us through another year and I would like to walk even closer to you in 2015. I don't know what the year will bring but I know you will be in control. Help us to keep our eyes on you more and on the distractions of life less.
For each person who reads this post, I pray it will bring them fresh hope in their walks with you. Open our eyes Lord, to the needs around us, so that we will serve You, by meeting the needs in the way You call us to.
Fill our lives with the heavenly blessings of joy, peace and love. In Jesus' name. AMEN.
By Nancy Wall