Today I’m thankful for God’s sovereignty. Listen to what Isaiah 52:12 says. “…for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”
As I think about this new year, there are many things that I could be anxious about. There are also many things that I’m excited about. I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know what tonight or tomorrow will be like, but I can trust that God is there ahead of me. He will lead and guide me along the way.
I remember kayaking down the Colorado River a few years ago. I was a bit nervous at times about what was around the corner. Would there be a power boat rushing at us? Would I be able to navigate around that log or that rock that’s jutting out up ahead? I had to learn to trust our guide who had navigated this river hundreds of times.
As I think about this new year and all the unknowns, I can trust my Savior and Lord. I may not know what is around the corner, but He is already there! He’ll know how to guide me around that corner.
That verse also says that He is our rear guard. I take comfort in knowing that He protects us from behind as well. Sometimes, bitterness or regret or frustration or anger creeps in from our past. As I read that verse in Isaiah, I am encouraged to know that God will guard us from those things as we move into the future. There’s hope in knowing that He walks with me before and behind.
I pray that as we move into this new year, that we ask God for his courage to step into those new adventures, for His joy and forgiveness as we move through things that have happened in the past and for His hope as we consider His sovereignty and His active care for our lives.
One of the things I’m thankful for in the summer is the slower schedule and the time to slowly savor God’s Word in the morning. This morning I was reading 1 Thessalonians and was encouraged.
Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking about the phrase “Relentless Positivity” that I got from the conference. I’ve ALSO been thinking, though, about how much I want to enjoy this week and make it go slow because I am a bit nervous about how the new school year is going to go.
Change is hard. I know it’s part of life, though, so I’ve been praying that I would find the joy even when things change. This morning as I read 1 Thessalonians, I was reminded, once again that the joy comes from our God and Savior.
“We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thess 1:3 NIV
Look at that!! Our endurance comes from hope in Him! I don’t have to trust in my own strength to make it through life but I can trust in Him and find joy and hope in Him. He is my Savior and Lord, and I can find strength and endurance in that. Paul also was encouraging the Thessalonians because their labor was prompted by love. That love comes from Him as well. Is my labor prompted by the love of Christ?
I don’t have to go into this year stressed about all the change. I can trust that He knows me and loves me and has a plan for me. I pray that as you start this year that God would remind you to find hope and joy in Him and not in circumstances of life.
Last time, we thought about how HOPE starts with being HONEST with where you are. He already knows what you’re thinking and feeling. He wants to meet you there!
Today we’re going to think about His promise that He will never leave you nor forsake us. The O in HOPE is going to stand for God’s OMNIPRESENCE. He is AWAYS with us. He hears everything we say and think. He knows when we need to just be held in His arms. He knows our fears and our tears. He is OMNIPRESENT!
We have to remind ourselves of the truth even when we don’t feel like it. It’s like living in a new way. You and I need help to act on God’s truths even when we don’t seem to experience it. We need to remember that God is always with us even when we don’t feel His presence.
There will be times where we have to step forward in faith even when we feel like the water is crashing down on us. Because He has promised that He will never leave us, we can trust that even if we don’t see what He’s doing in this moment in our life, He is working-it might just be somewhere where we can’t see it.
How can we take comfort in the fact that God is always with you (even when it may not seem like He is)?
Grab a cup of coffee and take some time on this New Year’s Day to read Psalm 46. Get out that journal or that piece of paper or open up a new document on the computer.
List names of God from that Psalm. Then write about how that name of God gives you comfort/hope.
Here are some I’ve thought about this year.
My Counselor–He listens to me.
A Great Light–He shows me the way when I feel that I am in darkness.
My High Tower-He is higher than my troubles. He is a place of calm and refuge.
Why don’t you try these…
My Strong Rock
King of Glory
Check out Psalm 46 and other psalms for other names of God too.
Maybe make a bookmark to keep in your Bible or write them on an index card and hang it on your fridge or in your car.
Let’s thank God today for His OMNIPRESENCE! In this New Year we can remember that no matter what comes, He promises to never leave us alone.
How do we find joy and hope this coming year? In my next few posts, we’ll take a look at the word HOPE and use an acronym to help us look for hope. The H in HOPE will stand for “HONESTY.” The first step in finding hope is to be honest about where we are. Be honest about our feelings. Be honest about our circumstances. Be honest about our sin. Be honest about our dreams and desires.
Take a look at the list of feelings below. Find a journal or an index card, and write down 3 feelings that you’re feeling right now. I know there are a lot of feelings, but try to choose your top three. Come back tomorrow or next week and choose three more. Our feelings change constantly, but God meets us there in each moment!
Be willing to be HONEST about your feelings! People may tell you not to feel this way or they may tell you to get over it. Be willing to take a risk and name your feeling-name your suffering, your pain, or even your joy.
Now take those to God. Continue writing in your journal if you’d like or just talk to Him. What makes you feel that way? What has happened in your story? Describe those feelings. What do they feel like, sound like, look like?
How does this feeling show up in your life? “When I feel____________, it shows up in my life in the following ways…”
Thanks for being honest! Stay tuned for a next step in finding HOPE in this New Year.