One Ministry, One Church, One Message Worldwide
Another year has come and gone, and seeing the end of it can be bittersweet. Some people look back with regrets about loose ends, unresolved issues, and things left undone. Others look ahead with anticipation. Whatever our situation, God’s grace offers hope and a brighter future for everyone.
This new start we’re on the verge of is more than just the beginning of a new calendar year. It’s an opportunity for radical transformation, and a chance to take an entirely new direction than we have in the past. Some of us have realized that we need Jesus to help us move forward from past mistakes we’ve made. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We don’t have to fret about those things left undone, because God considers our future instead of our past.
Some of us have grown discouraged after useless struggles to change what we don’t like about ourselves. Our self-image has become less than favorable, and our efforts at self improvement haven’t amounted to much. Instead of cringing at what another year could bring, remember that God has good news for us. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV). If our thoughts toward ourselves don’t match this message, it’s time to start thinking differently.
Without a solid grounding in Christ, another year looming ahead can be frightening to us. We have no idea what will happen, and wonder how we’ll get through it. But, when we have faith in Him, we have nothing to fear. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7, 8, NIV). When we rely on this promise, we find strength and encouragement to face the future without anxiety.
A life without Christ is bleak indeed, but we’re energized when we look ahead and see Jesus waiting for us. His presence is the difference between discouragement and hope. We couldn’t possibly determine our direction in life without His guidance. With Him lighting the way, we can move forward with confidence. “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life’” (John 8:12, NKJV).
Some people are afraid that the mistakes they made in the previous year disqualify them from God’s mercy and forgiveness, but He wants to gather us to Him, not punish us. “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee” (Psalm 86:5). God wants each of us to face the future with Him at our side. It’s up to us.