Happy New Year
Happy New Year 2019! It is time again to make your New Year’s Resolution(s); time to go back to the gym, give up a bad habit, and/or change your diet. Resolving to make changes in your life at the start of a new year is an age-old tradition that dates back to the Babylonian period (approximately 1720 – 539 BCE). Making resolutions sounds good and we do, for the most part, fully intend to see them through. The problem is, they are as Mary Poppins put it, “cupcake promises” easily made and easily broken. You see, we break promises to our self-first because we accept our own justification however flimsy it may be. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, came up with a better idea in 1720 when he enacted the “Covenant Renewal Service”; The purpose of the service is to set a time for the people to reaffirm their vows that they had made to God. During one of these services on New Year’s Eve 33 years ago in Atsugi Japan, at the Pastor’s prompting, I asked God for one thing in 1986 and that was for God to choose a wife for me and to start a family. I did not ask God for a person by name, I did not have one in mind, and I was not seeing anybody. God did not ask for me to make any promises nor, did he demand a sacrifice of any type simply, that I will be obedient and wait for him. Because I was obedient in waiting for him and not following Abraham’s misguided attempt at helping (Gen 16), he came through for me. When I got back from Japan in late April of 1986, I was lying in bed and an angel spoke in a loud audible voice proclaiming that I would marry Janine Christians and the name of my first-born son would be Joshua. I had met Janine two years earlier prior to going to Japan. Prior to the angel speaking to me, Janine and I had not dated nor spoken to each other with the exception of two letters (one from her and one from me) and that was to ask for a Kimono. We went out on a date a day or so later and I fell head over heels in love with her and asked her if she would marry me; we married in May of 86. We have been happily married for now 33 years this May. I am nobody special and what God did for me, he can do for you. The secret is not where you recommit your life nor, is it when you recommit it; simply that you be obedient and wait for him; if you ask God to do something in your life with no preconceived notion He will come through (Psalms 37:4)! My encouragement as you look to 2019, is that you recommit your life to God and then ask him to do something wonderful for you this year.
God said to Solomon, “Because you have asked for wisdom and have not asked for yourself a long life nor for wealth, nor for the lives of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to recognize justice, 12 behold, I have done as you asked. I have given you a wise and discerning heart (mind) so that no one before you was your equal, nor shall anyone equal to you arise after you. 13 I have also given you what you have not asked, both wealth and honor, so that there will not be anyone equal to you among the kings, for all your days (1st Kings 3:11-13).
You do not ask for our riches nor, do you want our stuff; simply, you want us to be obedient to you in all that we do. You have plans for our life that we cannot possibly comprehend. The problem is, many of your plans for our life go undone because we try to help instead of letting go and getting out of the way. Help me to be obedient in this new year 2019 to what you have called me to do. May each and every one of you has the best year of your life.
May God richly bless you this year