Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Nearly everybody gets excited at the start of a new year. We are eager to leave the negativities of the past behind and start afresh. We share the same sentiment regarding the New Year that Anne of Green Gables had regarding a new day. She said, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” At the outset of another twelve months, we gladly leave behind the mistakes of the past determined never to make them again. We enthusiastically make New Year’s resolutions and list things we want to accomplish. But, how many of us give thought to what God wants us to do in the New Year? How many of us have taken the time to ask God what He wants us to accomplish in the New Year?
We ought not to get carried away with making our own plans unless we first consult with God by prayer and through His word. We ought not to trust in our own will to make things happen in the New Year. Rather, we ought to “trust in the Lord” and allow Him to make things happen for us. “Our own understanding” will only get us so far, and sometimes it will get us back into the same, sins, failures and mistakes that we are trying to get away from. We must “acknowledge” God in all our ways so that he will “direct our paths” in the New Year.
In light of these words from the wisest man who ever lived, allow me to share with you ten things that God has on His to-do list for you in the New Year:
1. God wants you to meet with Him every day in the New Year. Notice David’s words in Psalm 42:2: “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” How many mornings went by this past year in which you did not deliberately appear before God? God wants to meet you in the morning, every morning. Some call it a devotional time, others call it a quiet time. Whatever you call it, you need to do it every day if you want the New Year to be a success. Spend time every day reading your Bible and praying, listening to and talking to God. Helen Steiner Rice said, “If you meet God in the morning and ask for guidance when you pray, you will never in your lifetime face another hopeless day.”
2. God wants you to pray without ceasing every day in the New Year. First Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” To pray without ceasing means to constantly be in communion with God. You can pray short, one-sentence prayers at anytime throughout the day. To get yourself in the habit of praying throughout the day, you can set an alarm on your phone or on your computer that will remind you to pray at intervals of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour. Meeting with God in the morning is great, but that doesn’t mean you can shut God out of the rest of your day. Talk to God and invite Him to talk to you throughout the day.
3. God wants you to read the Bible in the New Year. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus Christ said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Everything God wants to tell us about Himself can be found in His book, the Bible. However, a LifeWay survey shows that only 20% of people who claim to be Christians actually read the Bible on a consistent basis. If you want to learn more about God and grow in your relationship with Him, then you must spend quality time in the Word. Perhaps, the start of this New Year would be a great time to begin one of those plans which allow you to read the Bible thru in a year.
4. God wants you to meditate on His Word in the New Year. As Joshua assumed the leadership of the people of Israel following Moses’ death, God told him, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night…” Meditation is “the act of focusing one’s thoughts: to ponder, to think on, to muse.” When you are doing activities that don’t require much mental concentration, choose to think on God’s Word. Fill your mind with what God says instead of the devil’s lies and negativity. The devil will try to discourage you, but God’s Word will keep you encouraged. A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter was in the hospital for ten days with a very serious issue. One of the things that helped us get through that time was meditating on the Word of God — particularly those verses that remind us that God’s children will experience trouble in life but that it will all work out for their good. If you want, you can choose one verse to meditate on throughout the day. Ask God to give you insight into His Word and into Himself as you think on what He has written.
5. God wants you to hide His Word in your heart in the New Year. David said in Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Bible memorization is very important because God’s Word is a weapon that we can use against the devil when he comes to tempt us to sin. If you have God’s Word stored up in your heart and mind, then you can pull out a verse or passage to remind yourself of what God says about something when the devil tries to pull you off the straight and narrow path. Commit yourself to hiding one verse or one short passage of Scripture in your heart each week in the New Year. Start by memorizing those verses and passages that deal with issues you struggle with on a daily basis.
6. God wants you to obey His Word in the New Year. James 1:22 says, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only.” There is no use in reading God’s Word, meditating on God’s word, and hiding God’s Word in your heart if you do not obey God’s Word. It is likely that most of the problems you and others have had this year stemmed from your own disobedience. Eliminate that source of trouble in your life by being obedient to God’s Word throughout the New Year.
7. God wants you to witness to others in the New Year. Jesus Christ left His saints with one command: “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.” The “world” includes your neighborhood, your workplace, your extended family, and your circle of friends. Start sharing your faith with others by witnessing to the people who are already around you. And, then, if you cannot reach someone on an overseas mission field yourself, support those evangelistic ministries that are spreading the Gospel around the world.
8. God wants you to help others in the New Year. God told the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 15:11, “The poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” One of the most visible ways in which Christians show the world the impact God makes in our lives is how we help the less fortunate. There are people in your community who need all kinds of assistance. This year, choose not to focus only on yourself, but go out of your way to help others. Sacrifice your time, ability, and money to make someone else’s life better.
9. God wants you to love your family and other people in the New Year. First John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” One thing this past year has certainly taught us is that someone can be here today and gone tomorrow. You better love the people around you while you still can. Don’t just love them mentally — tell them that you love them and show them that you love them through your actions.
10. God wants you to be thankful in the New Year. First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Often, for some, the passing of an old year is a time of grumbling and complaining over bad things that happened and those good things that did not happen. Instead of indulging in that, choose to be grateful for all that happened in the past year — the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you learn from the bad and ugly situations of the past year, you can use those lessons in the New Year to make this year the best year of your life. Be thankful for everything God sends your way — the sunshine and the rain. You will have rainy seasons in the New Year as well. Don’t grumble and complain; instead, be thankful.
Finally, God wants you to enjoy your life in the New Year. The wise preacher said in Ecclesiastes 5:18, “It is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him.” God is far more interested in His children having fun and enjoying life than Christians give Him credit for. I believe that one of the questions God is going to ask you when you get to Heaven is, Did you enjoy the life I gave you? As Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions sang, “It’s alright; have a good time.”
My friend, God has great plans for you in the New Year — as Jeremiah says, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.” If you consistently do these ten things that God wants you to do, it will set you up for great success in the New Year and beyond.
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If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you briefly how you can be saved from your sins and be guaranteed a home in Heaven with God today.
First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.
But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.