A brand new year is before us - hello 2016!
Some of us have started the year with hopes of a fresh start, a clean slate, and new hope. Some of us have started with a list of goals and plans, while some of us may be too cynical to even attempt to set any. The failings of the past seem to be like a shadow continually following us, even into a new year, a seemingly new start.
Maybe you want to be a better parent, or work harder on your marriage. Maybe you really want to get out of debt, or finally start to walk towards that dream you have that always seems to get squashed into the background of your busy life. Maybe you just want to be kinder, or stop being such a pushover and start to stand up for what you believe in. Maybe you realise you need to believe in something - you realise that your faith needs to grow, and you really want to live for something real.
Whatever your situation, I really wanted to encourage you today!
So often people struggle, they miss chances, they muck up great opportunities, or they fall victim to failure and don't get up again. Many people lose motivation once the months start to go by, or they stumble into one of the worst traps that always seems to capture your vision and motivation - comparison.
Comparison is such a killer of dreams and giving things a go - it says, "don't even bother, you'll never be as good as them/as good as that". Comparison tells you that you needent bother, as you have problems and issues, unlike the others around you.
This is why I love the Truth of the Bible so much - God seemed to always use failures to do great things. He often used people who made massive mistakes to do amazing miracles, He used nobodies to tell His story, He used the unknowns to make Him known. That means He can certainly use you and me.
Whenever I start to focus on my failings and weaknesses, I find such hope in the fact that I don't need to be or do anything to be acceptable and great in His eyes - as I am He loves me, in my weaknesses He sees hope, in my failings and mistakes He can bring good things, stories of hope and strength.
"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 2:12
So wherever you are in life right now, whatever your plans are, your hopes are, your dreams are... Whatever happens this year, there is hope. You can do it - let's do this!
You are chosen to live right now in this time, you have been given amazing gifts and talents, you have so much to offer... Start with a smile, a simple word of encouragement to that person at work or that child that is causing you to want to tear your hair out. Don't just start this year out with fresh vision and hope, but start each day this way.
This is how you will have an amazing 2016, one day at a time, a fresh slate each morning, the mistakes and sorrows of yesterday gone.
May you find hope in the grace Jesus offers fresh each day.
My prayer for 2016 is this:
In 2016 may I forgive quickly and often. May I only take on the burdens of today (for grace for tomorrow's burdens will be available then). May I love & appreciate those around me, making the most of each moment. May I keep my eyes on God (no matter what), and bring life, hope & love to the table each and every day.
Let's do this!