In this post, Stephanie begins looking ahead to the New Year 2016. She points out that, whatever the new year might bring, God is in control.
New Year 2016
It’s shiny and new. Twenty-sixteen lies before us. It’s a year of excitement and expectation for some of us. For others, it may already overflow with uncertainty and fear. Either way we can’t know for sure what will come our way in the next 12 months.
For that reason, among others, I rejoice in the promises in James 1:12-18 (ESV), which says,
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
God Stays The Same
When circumstances change, even when we fall short, God remains the same. It isn’t because we deserve the blessings He pours out. Those good and perfect gifts come from the unchanging Father of lights, the God who loves us more than we can imagine.
Many of us have just celebrated the Christmas season. God the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to become the Saviour, Redeemer, Messiah. Thankfully, Jesus didn’t remain a baby. In Luke 2, the same chapter that tells of His birth, we read in verse 52 that “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”
And yet, still that wasn’t enough. After approximately 33 years, only three of which He spent in public ministry, the Lord Jesus was crucified. He gave His life on our behalf, to pay the penalty for our sin. While that is amazing, it still wasn’t enough. On the third day, He rose victorious over sin and death. That was the plan all along—even before creation.
Coming To Saving Faith
It is only by accepting the fact that we are sinful and can never accomplish enough good works to make up for that sinfulness and then asking Jesus Christ to be our Saviour and Lord that we can come to saving faith. It is only as we mature in that faith that we can remain steadfast under trial as today’s passage says.
Trials, tests, temptations … James 1 refers to all three. Life isn’t easy. Yet, in this same passage, we read that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” These gifts come “from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” He is 100 percent reliable. Our situation often changes without warning and even the most faithful people in our lives will let us down from time to time, but the Lord is not like that.
God Will Accomplish His Plans And Purposes
Throughout the next 12 months, we will face ups and downs, joys and sorrows, mountaintops and valleys. Things will change, sometimes from one moment to the next—but God WILL NOT!
He will accomplish His plans and purposes. He is trustworthy and unchanging. We can have confidence in Him—no matter what life throws at us. When the circumstances are beyond our control, we can trust Him. When we are enticed by our own evil desires and succumb to temptation, we can ask for forgiveness and we can trust Him.
And if we learn these lessons, think of what a great example that will be for our children.
We must be careful not to minimize their fears, concerns, and heartaches, but we can point them to their heavenly Father, the one they can depend on 24/7.
Together we can dig into God’s Word and learn about the Lord’s character. What a wonderful theme for our family devotions!
We can make a list of Bible verses that refer to God’s character and memorize them as a family.
We can set up weekly or monthly times to celebrate what we’ve been learning about the Lord.
When our situation or world events tempts us to question what the Bible teaches us about God and His character, we must pray and study the Scriptures even more diligently.
Times of personal study and family devotions are wonderful. If I could turn back the hands of time to when my children were young, I would do so far more often. But we must never forget how important it is to fellowship with other Bible-believing Christians as well.
These are all great ideas to incorporate as we look to the year ahead.
I pray that 2016 will overflow with rich and abundant blessings, and most of all, I pray that you will get to know the Father of lights better than you ever have.
If you have enjoyed reading this post and wish to send us a comment or share a prayer request, please don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know.
Images courtesy of:
New Year – KeraMark Solutions
Party Hats – Shondra Hull