Thursday, January 1, 2015

Pastor Stephen Nash encourages us with words of hope for the New Year

      Happy New Year!  

     I, too, believe there is reason to hope.  God is not finished with us yet and nothing is impossible for Him.  Praise His glorious Name!

Pastor Stephen Nash says it well, I think, so I'm posting today's column from The Daily Rant.

Hope for the New Year

How many reading this article have a genuine hope for 2015? I guess it depends on one’s perspective. Could it be that attitudes and perspectives, carried over from the previous year, have a great bearing on how we look into the future? Some may think that having a republican controlled Congress will solve many of the nation’s ills. I’m not so sure about that. Too many times I have become a bit disillusioned by hopeful politicians who promised great reforms.
No man or woman can straighten up the mess we have gotten ourselves into. Therefore, our hope must be redirected to someone who has promised and can deliver for the coming New Year! How about Isaiah 43:19 where the Lord has this to say: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” That sounds refreshing to me. We could use those “streams in the desert!”
Some may think that God is done with us. He has given us plenty of time and opportunity to get it together and repent of our wrongdoings. We have been unfaithful and rebellious like many others who have gone before us. Still, I hear the voice of the weeping prophet, Jeremiah, in Lam. 3:22-23: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness!”
What about all the lawless, wicked, evil and hateful people who take advantage of the defenseless innocents? This world is not a just place; there is no fairness in any land. Psalm 31:23-24: “Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.  Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord!”
But it is hard to change my attitude that always seems to bring me down as well as those around me. I’m tired of always being so negative! Ephesians 4:22-24: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires (thoughts);  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
These leaders will never change. They are corrupt and that’s just the way it is with most all of them! Proverbs 21:1: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord. Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” And then there is Ezekiel 11:19: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a soft heart.”
You’re probably thinking by now, “Pastor, you must be kidding me. You’re quite the dreamer!” You may be correct, but I can tell you, God did that in my own heart and life. I was much worse than most of the bad people you may be thinking about. As John Wesley said, “But for the grace of God, there go I!” I am hopeful, but that is what the New Year is all about, isn’t it? If we cannot hope for a better tomorrow, we are to be pitied. I have to hope as Micah did in 7:7: “But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”
Can you dig deep and search hard for better days ahead? Can you grab hold of just a glimmer of hope for 2015? Is there a way to see through all the fog of despondency? My friend, hold on to Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Hope has with it the condition that we willingly decide to take God at His Word. As Peter said, “Where else have we to turn, for He has the words of eternal life!” As the cliché says, “Go with God!” Begin this New Year a different way this time. Efforts to make resolutions we never keep, and simply “hope for the best,” has not worked in the past and won’t work for today. Surrender your entire will to God and He will give you a brighter outlook for 2015!

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