Reflecting on ’16 While Looking toward ’17

I’ve noticed people posting their “word for 2017″ on Facebook. There are two words that come to my mind that I feel a need to grow in: Faith and Victory.

This past year, I really struggled in those departments. It is so easy to let the cares of life bring one down and yet, when we do that, we are failing to communicate to the world that we serve a magnificent God who is greater than our burdens.

I also want to be more of an encouragement to others this year. This will require focusing on others more than myself but, with God’s help, I want to do that. There are so many hurting, lonely people in the world. I pray that I will do better at pointing others to Jesus, who is the Hope and Life that they need.

I know that I will be tested on these things. Any time God is working, the enemy of our souls is also working to discourage us and keep us from fulfilling God’s plans for our lives.


We never know what a year will bring, but we do know that, if we walk with the Lord, He will walk with us through every storm that we face.

I am blessed with friends who have stuck with me and encouraged me this year when I felt like they should have left me to wallow in my own misery.  That is the sign of a true friend: one who will not be pushed away by negativity but will continue to be there to listen, pray for you, and just “be there” for you. I am so blessed to have people like that in my life.

This reminds me of how much we need the Body of Christ. Don’t take your Brothers and Sisters for granted. If you find that person who knows how to encourage you and is not afraid to challenge you when you need it, treasure them. Friends like that are hard to find and yet sometimes we don’t notice them because we are too busy with our own lives to pay attention.

May this coming year find you drawing ever closer to our Lord and Savior. May we all become more selfless and more God-full. May this be our greatest year yet!

A New Year for God or Another Year for Me?

When I was a young child in gradeschool, I can remember that every New Year’s Day, our parents required us to sit down and write out a brand new list of resolutions. I can distinctly remember putting down things like: 1) I resolve to read all the way through the Bible, 2) I resolve to be nicer to my siblings, 3) I resolve to obey my parents more than I did last year, etc., etc.

High school was quickly followed by college where I first began training for the ministry. I continued to make my new year’s resolutions but along with the read through the Bible resolution, now they seemed much more substantial. They included things like: 1) I resolve to keep myself pure, 2) I resolve to serve the Lord and give Him my whole life, 3) I resolve to spend more time learning to love God than I do in pleasing myself, etc., etc. Of course, now that I was in Bible college, I had to include some resolutions that would show to others that I was fully resolved to do better than I did last year.

Whether it was grade school, high school, or college, the truth still remained. Within two or three weeks after the 1st of January, I was normally back to where I was before. My “new” resolutions were but a distant memory and very little, if anything, ever really changed. I convinced myself that I was not a bad guy and that there were plenty of others who did not keep their resolutions so I was in good company.

Continue reading