Stepping into 2021

As I write, less than 14 of 2020’s 8,760 hours remain. What a year it has been!
Oxford Languages’ recently published a report entitled, “Words of an Unprecedented Year” in which it surveys the words and phrases that emerged most often in 2020. “A strange year? A crazy year? A lost year?” are three phrases in particular, which the report said witnessed a huge upsurge in use over 2019. One of the words and phrases that I found myself repeating was, “weird…it’s just weird.”  Whether it was another supposed impact of the “coronavirus” pandemic being touted by the media, or another “lockdown,” the unfolding of a ‘wacky’ election, or whatever…it does seem that 2020 has been “a strange, crazy, weird year!”

Notwithstanding all that and more, I know that 2020 has been another year in which God has been sovereignly in control from the moment the clock struck 12:00 a.m. on January 1, 2020. And what’s more, it will be so still in 2021. There are enough Old Testament Scriptures alone that testify to this reality.

Referencing any given day, David urges us in Psalm 118:24, ” This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Solomon points to God’s sovereignty in whatever any day may bring when he writes in Ecclesiastes 7:14: “In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider– God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.”  In Proverbs 16:9 he further reminds us that, “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Jeremiah concurs, exclaiming, “I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

Having staked our lives on the salvation from our sins through faith in Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:7-11), such Old Testament Scriptures are unparalleled words of comfort as we leave behind 2020 and step into 2021 – a year that is sure to have its own unprecedented days.

Here are some additional promises from the New Testament that further bolster our confidence in the Lord – come what may – as we step into 2021:

“He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU, so that we confidently say, ‘THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?'” (Hebrews 13:5b-6).

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace,” said Jesus, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also”

(John 14:1-3). 

“The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord”

(1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless” (2 Peter 3:10-14). 

A prayer for the new year from The Valley of Vision:

O Lord,Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in your presence, in your service, to your glory.Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour, that I may not be one moment apart from you,
     but may rely on your Spirit to supply every thought, speak in every word, direct every step, prosper every work,
     build up every mote of faith, and give me a desire to show forth your praise; testify your love, advance your kingdom.I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year, with You O Father, as my harbour, You, O Son, at my helm, You O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt, my lamp burning, my ear open to your calls, my heart full of love, my soul free.Give me your grace to sanctify me, your comforts to cheer, your wisdom to teach, your right hand to guide,
     your counsel to instruct, your law to judge, your presence to stabilize.
May your fear by my awe, your triumphs my joy.

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22)

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Ryne

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