A Bountiful New Year
by Jennifer R.
As we approach the turning of the calendar year, a good number of us begin to reflect on all that the last year has brought us, and we look ahead to what we desire to see happen in the coming year. In some ways, it is an arbitrary moment in time, and it can be over-hyped with all the talk of “New Year’s Resolutions” that are statistically broken rather early in the New Year. But, as Christians, we can bring real meaning to this particular “moment in time” if we choose to use it to focus on God.
Whether it’s exactly as the clock strikes midnight, or sometime in the general vicinity of New Year’s Eve (say, give or take a few days either side), we can seize this opportunity to assess where we’ve been and where we are going. Are we still on the path He’s laid out for us? Or have we taken a detour, a turn to the right or left, or do we have trouble even remembering what path it is we are supposed to be on? Whichever of those categories you may fall in to, God is eager to speak with you and give you direction for the coming year.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
God does not want us to get stuck on our past failures and let them prevent us from moving further on in the plan He has for us. Neither does He want us to dwell on our past victories for too long, and be content with where we are. God’s desire for us is that we go up higher and walk in a greater fullness of His plan and purpose for us with each passing day.
So here in Isaiah, He says He is doing a new thing… that NOW it springs forth. I have a note in my Bible next to this verse from a mission trip to the Philippines that I was a part of in late 2002. We ministered at a Women’s Conference up in Baguio. Some women had walked for 3-4 days down out of the hills to attend the conference. It was an honor and a privilege to minister to these precious people who were so hungry for God. The note says, “Not a new thing to God, but it is new to us!” Indeed, He goes before us and prepares the way out ahead of us. God lives outside time, and He has already been to our future. That can be a little bit of a hard concept to wrap our minds around, but if we will grab hold of it by faith, life becomes less of a guessing game and more of an adventure. God sets us up to succeed!
“You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy.” Psalm 65:11-12 NLT
2011 can indeed be a year that is crowned with a bountiful harvest! This portion of Scripture was recently highlighted to me by a woman in Northern Ireland who was at a ladies’ meeting I attended the day before I came home. We’ve all endured some “hard pathways” in life. We’ve been in “wilderness” places. We’ve seen “hillsides”, or mountains, rise up in front of us. But with God, all of these things are turned for our good. With God, we “overflow with abundance”,l experience “lush pastures” and “joy”.
“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” Romans 8:28 AMP
We can all look back at 2010 and find an abundance of things to be thankful for. And we can orient ourselves towards 2011 with a greater expectancy than we’ve ever had that we will see God’s goodness in greater measure in our lives. Focus on Him each day. Trust that He is leading you in the BEST path possible for you. He knows you better than you know yourself, and He knows exactly what will bring you the most happiness and fulfillment, and at the same time, will further His kingdom on the earth in the greatest way.
Shortly before this year began, a pastor I know from Europe said, “2010 is the year of WHEN.” WHEN this happened, or WHEN that happened… did you experience it? I sure did. I realize just how true this was as I look back over the last year. This year, the same pastor recently said, “2011 is the year of heaven”. EXPECT 2011 to be a year of heaven on earth!
God bless you richly and super abundantly in this coming year. Happy New Year!