The transition from one year to another is a human invention. Naturally, God created the universe in such a way that each year would have 365 days. He is also sovereign, and he makes the significant changes in epochs and eras. “He changes times and seasons;he deposes kings and raises up others.” (Daniel 2.21).
But the moment when one year crosses over into another is a creation of human culture – just look at the different New Year celebrations around the world, all marked on different dates! So, in one sense, it doesn’t matter at all. Nothing really changes from December 31st to January 1st. It’s just an arbitrary marker we’ve made.
Nevertheless, it’s a chance to take stock, evaluate what we’ve done; and to commit our lives again into his hands. So, let me encourage you to put your life, your year into his hands. We are making this January a focus for prayer in our church community, to connect with God and his purposes.
We are organising many opportunities for you to join together in prayer. Please take advantage of some of these. But if your schedule doesn’t permit you to join in, because of family or work commitments, make it a special emphasis in your home, or during your lunch break. Give thanks for his provision over 2018, and commit 2019 to him.
He encourages us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4.6). Talk to God as your Father, who cares for you: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7.11).
No request is too small: “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Luke 12.7). But besides asking, spend time listening. Prayer is meant to be dialogue not just a monologue. And the main way he speaks, is through Scripture, as we ask his Spirit to illuminate our reading, so it comes alive to us.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3.16). One way to attend to what he’s saying, is by keeping a journal, and recording the impressions we receive as we read his Word. That way, over time, we can sense how the Lord is speaking to us.
I myself will be taking some time off in January – to rest, but also to seek the Lord, and spend time with him. In this way, I hope to receive some guidance for the future; as well as simply enjoying time in his presence. I know I can confidently leave the church in the capable hands of the leaders he has raised up in this fellowship. I am privileged to serve alongside such a brilliant bunch of sisters and brothers.
God bless you all.