Embrace upcoming new year with hope

Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist

We have a brand New Year upon us. It has not been lived before. Make each day a masterpiece. Live it to the fullest. Know: “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

You can become a brand new creature, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17.

The New Year brings a chance to begin again. In spite of past mistakes or regrets from last year, you and I can start anew and resolve to: Forgive, pursue peace, flee self-pity, guard our words, encourage others, be happy anyway, reject negativity, be a good example, stand against wrong, give thanks always, live one day at a time, weep with those who weep, sing, pray, rejoice, believe the best is yet to be, find something good in everything, smile, laugh, giggle, let the past be just that…the past, have hope in spite of circumstances, fill our days with meaning and purpose, refrain from criticizing and finding fault, treat everyone as if this might be the very last time we see them on this Earth, see every person as one of great worth because Jesus died for them, receive each new day as a gift from God, live every day of this New Year leaving precious memories in the lives of others, have joy, be grateful, be cheerful!

The New Year is an opportunity to expect the best, to look for the good, to see every trial as a challenge, and to grow in faith and courage. We are on a divine destiny and the way we live this life determines our future. Turn disappointments into God’s appointments.

Psalm 37 gives a wonderful blueprint for a successful year:
1. Do not fret. Stress is a killer. Think, will this situation be important 100 years from now? Do your best and God will do the rest.

2. Rest in God. How many burdens can one carry? Give them to him. He can carry them all.

3. Delight in the Lord; he will give you the desires of your heart. (verse 4)

4. Commit your way to the Lord. He is a “lamp unto your feet and a light unto your pathway” (Psalm 119:108).

5. Be still and patiently wait for him. Getting ahead of God blocks what is best.

6. Refrain from anger. Anger brings a multitude of problems but a “soft answer turns away from wrath” (Proverbs 15:1).

These principles will calm the anxious heart. God is faithful and the Bible is filled with example after example of God’s faithfulness. Imagine how the Israelites felt when they saw Pharaoh and his army behind them with the Red Sea rolling in front of them. Some 600,000 people had to cross the Red Sea at night and they had to hurry. I hardly think Moses stopped to think of the enormity of the situation. On the contrary, he simply believed and trusted God, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:13-14 NIV).

Be like Moses. Trust God. He is a shield from grief, anxiety and sorrow. A lack of trust fills lives with untold stress and health problems. The future is secure for the child of God. He does not forsake those who trust him.

Embrace the New Year with hope and live victoriously. Have a meaningful life by making every day special. Hold every smile, every touch and every kindness in your book of memories.

Embracing hope and trusting in God enables you to look at the world through eyes of faith.

Happy New Year dear reader!