Happy New Year!

“Welcome, New Year,” said Captain Jim, bowing low as the last stroke died away. “I wish you all the best year of your lives, mates. I reckon that whatever the New Year brings us will be the best the Great Captain has for us.”
~ From Anne’s House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery

“What heavens are laid up in Jesus! What rivers of infinite bliss have their source, ay, and every drop of their fullness in Him! Since, O sweet Lord Jesus, Thou art the present portion of Thy people, favor us this year with such a sense of Thy preciousness, that from its first to its last day we may be glad and rejoice in Thee.”
~ Morning and Evening by Spurgeon

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Happy New Year 2016!

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A New Year Wish

What shall I wish thee this New Year?
Health, wealth, prosperity, good cheer,
All sunshine- not a cloud or tear?
Nay! Only this:
That God may lead thee His own way,
That He may choose thy path each day,
That thou mayest feel Him near alway,
For this is bliss!

~ Author Unknown

Happy New Year!

I had to have a tooth pulled yesterday, so there were no big New Year’s Eve parties for us. 🙂 Actually, we usually have a quiet evening at home on that night anyway. I don’t like to be out when there are going to be even more drunk drivers than usual, and our church wasn’t having its usual Wednesday night services. I thought about rescheduling my oral surgery for another time, but figured this would actually work out for the best since Jim would be home anyway. I wasn’t sedated – just had local numbing. Of course I’ve been dealing with varying degrees of pain since the numbness wore off, but it is not as bad as it was yesterday afternoon.

I don’t usually do New Year’s Resolutions, but I do usually like to reflect a bit on the coming year and things I need to work on. So far I haven’t really had time to: maybe next week. But in last night’s Daily Light reading, I came across these verses, which will give me plenty to think about in the next year:

Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. I Peter 1:5-7

I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11

And for my friends here, I saw this last year and was moved by it:

A New Year’s Prayer

May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making your path easy,
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you,
But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making your life always pleasant,
But by showing you when people and their causes need you most,
and by making you eager to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope and joy to you for the year ahead.

Anonymous

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(Graphic from crosscards.com)

Thoughts for the New Year

It is good to sit down and take stock every now and then, and New Year’s Day is as good a day as any. I was discussing with Lou Ann yesterday that in many westerns (what few of them I have read), the rancher has to occasionally ride the fences of his property to make sure all is well, strengthen weak places, repair breaches, etc, and that reminds me a bit of what we like to do as we approach the New Year. But we also look ahead to new ventures as well. Susan at By Grace shared a helpful post a few years ago about different areas for which homemakers can set goals.

I see both of these aspects in Scripture. Revelation 3:2 says, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.” And one of my favorite verses for the New Year in Deuteronomy 11:11-12 says, “But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.”

Even in those areas where things seem to be going well, we can be encouraged to abound more and more and  “excel still more,” as Paul encouraged Thessalonian believers: while commending their love for the brethren he encouraged them to increase in it.

I like the idea of goals rather than resolutions. There are times for Biblical resolutions, and I’m inspired by Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions, and this post about how to learn from them rather than be discouraged by them. But as Paul Tripp said here, it’s not usually the one dramatic resolution that makes a difference but rather the 10,000 mundane everyday decisions. A resolution can be the starting point, but unless we work into a goal or make plans to carry it out, it will fizzle out in a few weeks.

I’m also thankful for the reminder that we can come to Him for rest and grace when we fail in our goals and that our standing is based on His keeping us and not our keeping goals.

As I look ahead to this New Year, there are areas I need to “keep on keeping on” in, to strengthen, to excel in, to repair. So far we don’t have any big items on the calendar that we know of — no graduations, weddings, etc., but who knows what a day (or a year) may bring forth. I know God is fully aware of what’s around the bend and we can rely on His grace for whatever good or bad may come.

I’m still working on my personal goals for the year. One thing I am thinking about arose from the reminder several times this past year that as we grow in the Lord, we’re not just supposed to be separating ourselves more and more from sin, but we’re supposed to be following after and growing more and more in the positive Christlike qualities. As I wrote earlier this year, that kind of focus can make a difference and encourage us both in our positive spiritual growth and in “putting off” the old things. So I am thinking about making a study through the year of the fruit of the Spirit and other character qualities of God, maybe taking one a month or so and studying it out in Scripture first in how it is displayed in Him and then how it’s to be displayed in us.

I want to leave you with a little poem I just saw this morning at Susan‘s:

What shall I wish thee this New Year?
Health, wealth, prosperity, good cheer,
All sunshine- not a cloud or tear?
Nay! Only this:
That God may lead thee His own way,
That He may choose thy path each day,
That thou mayest feel Him near alway,
For this is bliss!

Unknown
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
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