What's new this year?
January 13, 2014
by Pastor Jerry Nelson, Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church, Cokato

Things seem to slow down after Christmas, right before New Year’s Day. The fast-paced schedules of concerts and programs stop, and the high-energy rush to get ready for Christmas is done. The holiday food is mostly consumed, and the new gifts have been used to the point of boredom.

I usually have at least one full day to relax and do whatever I want. It’s a time that I like to spend with family playing games and doing projects around the home. I enjoy reading, thinking, and praying. What will this new year bring? What is the Lord saying to me about the past year, and the future? I find it quite healthy and good.

I might make some resolutions and make some “realistic” goals for myself for the upcoming year, but I also like to have a time of dreaming, a time of pursuing something bigger than myself. You see, I am limited in many ways in what I can accomplish, but God isn’t. His thoughts are higher than my thoughts and His ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:9).

God’s Word says in Ephesians that He can do immeasurably more than all we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). Do we truly believe that? Immeasurably more! I can think about some big ideas, but He can accomplish more than any of that. What a great God!

In our spiritual gifts class at Good Shepherd, we’ve been learning about personalities, spiritual gifts, passions, and life experience. Many from the class are praying for God to show them what they should change in their schedule, and what they should change in their use of time. For some, it may be a time of adding something totally new, and for some, it may be a time to drop things that God isn’t in.

In this new year, God may lead you to a person you can mentor, someone who is lonely whom you can visit, a ministry to start, or a book to write. He may lead you to feed an enemy or wash someone’s feet, start a new business, or run a marathon.

Our busy schedules and the fast pace of life keep us from thinking and dreaming, but in Psalm 5, it says, “Early in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” One version says, “I lay my requests before you and eagerly watch.” I need to have more expectation, and more eager watching!

God wants to do something new in 2014. The question is: Will I be aware of it?

Isaiah 43:18-19a: “Do not call to mind the former things or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?”

Happy “new” year!

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