An old saying goes something like this....You can't move forward looking in a rearview mirror.
Hmmm. I see what they're saying but this year has made me rethink this old adage. Before putting 2020 too far in our past, I think we should take a long, thoughtful look at what has transpired in our lives.
IS IT JUST ME, OR DID YEAR 2020 CHANGE YOU? Perhaps your thinking, your habits, or your priorities?
Having survived 365 days of this 366 Leap Year, I'm feeling awfully blessed! You should too! A lot of horrific things happened this year and I don't have to recount them here to remind you of them. But hey, look on the bright side, by God's grace we're still here! That's why STEP ONE in getting ready for the coming year is to REFLECT on the good things that happened. Here's a peek at my list!
1. I lost some sweet Christians sisters and brothers this year (not all COVID related) BUT so many more survived and are committed to pray with me, stand by me, and encourage me no matter what happens in the next year! (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
2. I learned some key life lessons. a) I really can be content with less! Less busyness in my life. Less shopping. Less eating out. b) Eyes tell you more than mouths! With everyone behind masks, focus is drawn to a person's eyes. I now know if a person is glad to see me. Is lying to me, or impatient to leave a conversation. This keeps me from being rude, duped, or a pest! (Philippians 4:11-13; Matthew 13:16-17)
3. God really IS MY EVERYTHING. How many times have I glibly said this! This year, I've lived out a great portion of God's Word in a real and tangible way! There is NOTHING that I needed that He has not provided! With Him, I'm never lonely! He's a friend closer than a brother! I've studied more, connected with Him and other Christians more, and learned more about myself! This is what a trial will do for you if you surrender and I'm here to tell you I'm so thankful! (Proverbs 18:24; Philippians 4:19)
When computer systems go down you can't get important and often essential things done. It is inconvenient and very frustrating! Before calling the experts, you try everything in your personal trick bag but nothing works. You've been here before. You know exactly what the Pros will tell you. SHUT IT DOWN, WAIT AWHILE and then REBOOT!
2020 caused major breakdowns in our world systems. Through the Pandemic, God interrupted work, school, vacations, and businesses of every kind. Nothing man did worked long term. But what a blessing in disguise it was for those wise in the Lord! This was a glorious opportunity to start fresh and declutter all the junk in our lives.
So much of our routine is filled with things of no value or real purpose. Shutting things down for awhile gives us an opportunity to take a look at the pit we've dug ourselves in and then ask the Lord to get us back on solid spiritual ground.
The waiting part for some has been the worst! Everybody is in a rush to get back to normal! But what if the "normal" is what was killing you? Preventing your healing? Destroying your relationships? Time is needed to figure out what is going wrong. Time is also needed to develop a strategy to fix it. If 2020 has taught you anything, it should have taught you that time is not always on your side. It is precious and we must use it wisely. (Ephesians 5:15-16)
Although, I'm separated physically from many members of my local church family, I've been blessed to study, praise and worship with them virtually (via live stream, teleconferences, zoom) every week. This year however, technology has allowed me to connect more extensively. Over the past year, I've fellowshipped with Christians in Florida, South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Chicago, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, and Georgia. What a major reset to my thinking about service to God and others!
We are all aware of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) Therefore go and make disciples (learners) of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. But most of us think of this as a missionary's calling and never take it literally. God has workers EVERYWHERE!
We are also quite familiar with Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem (your hometown) and all Judea (surrounding regions) and in Samaria (undesirable locations) and unto the uttermost part of the earth. I've added my own emphasis here but the sentiments remain. There is absolutely nothing that should prohibit our evangelizing, teaching, and serving...not even a Pandemic. I realize that now having been a recipient this year!
Reflecting on God's Faithfulness, Resetting my Thinking and my Attitude are actions that make me look forward to Year 2021 and back in gratitude to Year 2020!
If the Lord wills and I make it one more day to hear the clock strike one minute past Midnight, December 31, I will be in the process of Rebooting! Seeking God's Plan for me; Storing up His Word, and Sowing His love to all desperately in need!
UNTIL NEXT TIME...