Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a New Year’s Eve Thursday…It’s All Going to be Alright.
New Year’s Eve is always a special time. Around the globe it will be celebrated this evening as it is each year, albeit differently than it has been in most years due to the pandemic and the restrictions that imposes on our ability to gather in large crowds. I haven’t been watching the news enough to know exactly how…But I am sure it will look different in Times Square, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Paris, and the other cities we are used to seeing the television networks show us what the celebrations looked like as New Year’s Day has made its debut around the planet.
The questions will all be the same as in years past. What will the new year bring? What will change…what will remain the same? What New Year’s resolutions will really take hold and which will fall away in the coming weeks, days…even hours?
Paul had some things to say in his letter to the Philippians that I think are timely for remembering as we ring in 2021. Philippians 4:4-8,11b-13 (NIV) Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
As I have made mention of before in recent weeks, God is always being so very, very good to us. Learning to recognize that as fact is one of the real evidences of our faith and trust in Him. I am coming to a real understanding that is what God desires for me. I think back to when I was a child. If I was with my father and he took my hand to lead me across a street or he was directing me to do something a certain way…I did not question his intent toward me, he is my dad…of course his intent toward me is good. God wants us to walk with Him in the same complete confidence. Knowing that about Him is what allows us to be at peace in completely tumultuous circumstances. In this Scripture Paul gives us some instructions on how to allow that to become the norm for all of us.
First we have to learn to rejoice…no matter what we are facing, or whatever the level of uncertainty. This is so important that Paul made a point to repeat himself. I will say it again…rejoice. Joyfulness, thankfulness, gratitude are the things positive change in our attitudes are made of. Do they always change the situation for the better…nope. Do we make better decisions about how to handle our circumstances when our spiritual position is improved? You bet we do. So as Paul instructed…rejoice.
Are you feeling anxious about anything in the coming year, month, week, day, hour? Pray. Petition God…again with a thankful heart, knowing you can be confident that whatever He chooses to do in the situation you are praying about will be best. Paul says that the result of such prayer and confidence in God will result in a peace that is literally out of this world!
Thirdly, Paul reminds us that if we want to live victoriously we have to focus on the victory. We cannot remain focused on the things that bring us fear if we want to have an overcomer’s mindset. We cannot have victim thinking if we want to have victor action. So he gently reminds us to reposition our mindset to what God desires it to be… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul instructs that the way we win battles of the mind is to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. This is the process by which we accomplish that.
Finally, Paul reminds us of something here that I find incredibly timely on New Year’s Eve as we look ahead to 2021. It isn’t about what we will have or not have. It isn’t about what freedoms we will regain and which will still be restricted. It isn’t about what we will find enjoyable and what will be less so. It is about learning to live in a state of contentedness and knowing that has not come because of what we possess or what we are free to do or not do. It comes from understanding that no matter what the circumstances of 2021 bring…we can do all things, anything…because of the strength that walking with Jesus brings.
So now, walking with Jesus and allowing that to make you view 2021 as you ought to…go be awesome!