Happy New Year 2021

It seems the whole world has given a collective sigh of relief to see 2020 reach its end. With all the isolation, distancing, and even divisiveness, have we yet not all gone through something together, something understood, somehow bonded together and unified in our struggles, no matter how we have each experienced it differently and been uniquely impacted? Here we stand, at the start of a new year, with new anticipation, new hopes, new expectations. Thanks be to God!

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Happy New Year 2020

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Happy New Year 2020! The picture above is the first sunrise of the year that greeted me this early morning.

Over the years, it has been my pattern to write down a word or theme for the coming year. I’ve had themes around prayer, Bible reading, “firstfruits,” the Lord being our Shepherd, “whiter than snow,” “God is Light,” the fear of the Lord, and others. Each year I’ve written about the word or theme to record it. Read more

Happy New Year 2018!

Happy New Year! As I type these words, my son’s plane should be taking off, flying him back to college. It’s been wonderful having him home for the last three and a half weeks. This brings an end to the holidays, and I’m thankful for a quiet morning to reflect.

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Happy New Year 2017

The clock is ticking. Midnight is approaching. A new year is about to dawn.

Pressure. I’m already feeling pressure. I haven’t composed a list of resolutions or reflected on the past year while looking forward to the new one. We are just back from 10 wonderful days in Montana for Christmas with my sister’s family. I am thankful for a flexible job that allows me to pick up and miss so much time any time I ask, even nearly last minute! I rushed home from our trip, though, anxious to catch up at work, catch up at home, and catch up on life.

Catching up. I’m already playing catch up as the new year begins. I feel the need to slow down and breathe. To take a moment to sit and be still, to know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). He holds all things in His sovereign care, in His powerful arms, and I can simply rest.

Rest. Do you also need that already, before the new year even begins? His yoke is easy, His burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30). Bring your cares before Him, casting all your anxieties upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

It’s not too late! There are two hours left before the clock strikes midnight. I’m going to pause, grab my Bible, journal a little bit, reflect on my word for the new year (that I do have, as I like to have a theme for each year), be still, remember what God has done the past year, look forward to what lies ahead, and pray.

Pray. I today remembered a couple who invited us over to their home several years back to bring in the year with prayer. We didn’t know any of the other couples there, but it was really a sweet time. What a great thing to do to pray in the new year!

In our coming year, one child is wrapping up high school and thinking about college. The other is learning to drive. My husband is writing new books, and I am involved with several events and projects at church. Why not take time to pray for these forthcoming new things, the things set before us, to commit our ways to the Lord and trust in Him to act (Psalm 37:5), to pray for His will to be done in our lives, families, friendships, schools, and workplaces.

After 10 adventurous days away, we didn’t have much planned on our New Year’s Eve calendar. And the night is turning out just right. How is your 2016 ending?

I wish you a happy New Year as we welcome 2017.

 

A New Year’s Resolution

For the coming year, our church is encouraging us to all read the entire Bible together. They have provided a wonderful resource to guide us through it, based on the Discipleship Journal’s plan.

Two years ago, I wrote about my first experience of reading through the Bible in a year as I considered my new year’s resolution. (You can read that here.)

This past year, I started again to read the whole Bible in a year, taking a different approach than chronological. This time I read four different parts of the Bible each day, using the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan, and reading For the Love of God by D.A. Carson, daily devotions to accompany that plan. I invited a friend to do the same.

It was absolutely one of the most beautiful studies of the Bible I had ever done. I was fascinated with seeing the big picture of the Bible, the ways things from the Old Testament were tying into the New Testament. It gave me a place to go each morning when otherwise I would have wondered where to read.

Sometime during the year, though, I started a Bible study and stopped my daily reading plan, thinking I couldn’t do both. I have missed it. And I had long forgotten starting the year reading my Bible with my friend and talking about that with her — until I got an email from my friend this morning. She told me she had just finished reading her Bible all the way through for the first time, thanking me for that encouragement to do this.

It surprised me. I hadn’t thought about it in months. She is reaping the reward of that diligent reading of God’s Word that I missed. And it struck me that with a little encouragement and support, this is something we can all do together.

The reading and study of God’s Word, which is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), has so many benefits (Psalm 119, to name a few) and will not return void (Isaiah 55:11). It is so worthwhile and can literally change our lives. As Bible teacher Nancy Guthrie once said, “Day by day, as I was in the Word, the Word did a work in me.”

I’m looking forward to reading the Bible this year with my church and invite you to join me in this, too!

Happy New Year!