As 2015 comes to a close tonight at 11:59, I would like to take a few moments to comment on the good, the bad and the ugly of this current year. I realized this morning that for us, the end of 2015 was very much like the beginning of 2014. It was a time where we were completely focused on moving! Last year it was 3000 miles from the West Coast to the East while this year was but a hop, skip and a jump about 20 miles south-east to the countryside near the little town of Fuquay-Varina from the apartment we had been leasing in Morrisville, NC. Each of the moves had their own unique challenges but both were loaded with the visible evidence of the Lord’s hand throughout the accomplishment of them!
Looking back over the entire 12 months of 2015, I can see all the positive lessons I have learned from both the good and bad experiences of life. Like I stated above, my wife and I have incurred a great multiplicity of examples of Papa God proving His love, His grace, and His abundant provision to us as we have sought to stop, look and listen to Him through His Word, prayer and the leading of the Spirit deep inside of us.
One of the roughest lessons I’ve had to face and learn through was the shocking personal realization of how fear and depression can totally incapacitate an individual. That understanding was cemented yesterday as I conversed with Piper’s homecare nurse about the powerful effects of depression. It has solidified my resolve to never allow it a foothold in my life! (and believe me, with the battle for my wife’s health, I have LOTS of opportunities!) It makes me remember my wife’s ability to turn the threat of depression into an opportunity of praise and worship to our heavenly Father. It was the caveat that empowered her to write and sing simple praise tunes to the Lord that numerous generation of kids that we worked with over the years are most likely teaching their own kids and grandchildren today!
Over the last month I have noticed many negative prophecies being shared in various Christian circles. They highlight what the prophet declares is all the terrible changes and fearful things that we can look forward to in the next year. The threat of terrorist attacks is being fueled through the TV and online news and talk shoes. When I observe these reports I clearly see the enemy of our souls standing behind the scenes whispering: “Fear!" "Fear!" "Fear!”
But when I read the Word of God the pressures of those fears are erased as I hear the voice of the angel as he spoke to the shepherds in Luke 2:10 expectantly declaring: “FEAR NOT: for behold I bring you tidings (or in modern language: ‘good news reports’) of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (KJV)
I hear the reports from the Gospel of Mark where the writer boldly documents the works that the Lord Jesus has empowered each of His children to do on this earth and then sums it up with the iron-clad proof that he witnessed in the following years declaring that: “they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and CONFIRMING the word with (miraculous) signs following.” (Mark 16:20 KJV)
And then the icing on the cake being the Apostle Paul’s peace-giving and confidence building statement to the young Pastor Timothy expectantly expressing the truth that he himself regularly experienced in the face of the continual dangers that affronted him with the faith building words that “God has NOT given us the spirit of fear, but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND.” (II Timothy 1:7 MKJV)
So with all that, I am boldly, excitedly and expectantly looking forward to the victories that the Lord has for me and my wife in 2016. I am boldly, excitedly, and very expectantly looking forward to how the Lord will use my wife and I to share His loving, grace-filled and exceedingly, abundantly above Word of life with those we come into contact with throughout the New Year ahead!
I declare in agreement with the Word that fear has NO hold and therefore NO place in me. I choose to face and live the daily occurrences that I experience in 2016 through the filter of my increasing intimate experiential knowledge of Christ’s love, as Paul prays for us in Ephesians 3:19 and 20.
How about you? What does the New Year of 2016 hold for you? Remember 2 Corinthians 2:14 tells us in NO uncertain terms: “NOW thanks be to God, who ALWAYS causes us to triumph in Christ…” (2 Corinthians 2:14 MKJV) Do you really believe that?
May the Lord bless you and fill you with His Love, His Grace, and His power as you walk each day in service unto Him in 2016… and through it all keep asking yourself… “Just what am I expecting in the New Year?”