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Fresh Beginnings

Did 2016 come in as a bang at your house? Or maybe it quietly crept in while your household was snuggled soundly asleep. How ever it came, it’s here now and it’s already rushing us into the second week of the month! It seems like we were just caroling “Oh, Holy Night” and now we’re putting up new wall calendars and packing away last year’s ornaments. The speed of this new year’s arrival is already leaving me breathless.

But even though I’m dragging behind a bit (on all fronts), I love the start of a new year because it always holds the promise of new opportunities. I like scanning through last year’s journal before closing it and storing it on the shelf with others that represent decades of history—each filled with evidences of God’s faithfulness. I love opening up a fresh page, the first page of the new year of a brand new journal.

The year began with this journal entry:

[box]So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:16–18)[/box]

This passage is the foundation for my spiritual focus for 2016. The word that has been laid on my heart is: surrender. This is to be the year of the yielded heart, surrendering all to Him. Living the “Not my will, but Yours” life—moment by moment.

I like to think that I’ve already done that. I yielded myself as a child to follow Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I yield to Him daily, asking for His will to be accomplished in my life. I sing “I Surrender All” and lift my hands signifying—all I have is yours.

But I’m being challenged anew with this thought—Has my will completely yielded all I most hold dear?

Can I say with the Apostle Paul that: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”?

Am I truly surrendered at the outset of this year to every painful lesson He will teach me, all the sorrows that will be inscribed on these fresh journal pages, and each tear that will fall—is my heart in the position of surrendering it all to Him? Now, before I know what He is asking me to give up? To yield?

Do I have a settled understanding that all I hold dear here is only transient . . . just like the closing of the cover on last year’s journal?

Read again the first sentence of my Scripture passage for this year: “So we do not lose heart.” This is the key to not losing heart—surrendering my heart to His plans. Knowing that whatever affliction this year may hold, it is temporary. The affliction is temporary, but the eternal weight of glory that is formed through that affliction is eternal. Eternal.

And is eternal glory not worth more than all the temporary affliction?

In knowing His character, there is joy in the surrender. His character is good and merciful. His mode of operation is redemption!

Further down on the journal page of January 1, I inscribed this statement that God gave me back in October: If I truly desire God’s glory, I will embrace every affliction God appoints for me.

He brings afflictions and He brings abundant goodness. In all of it, He is working out a beautiful plan—an “eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”

[box]Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! (Ps. 31:19)[/box]

How did you enter 2016?

What are you asking God to do in your life this year?

How are you asking Him to use you to impact others?

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4 Comments

  • Paula Price

    2 Corinthians 4:16-18 are the verses I have been clinging to as I begin 2016. God called my dear 30 year old son home unexpectedly on Sept. 29, 2015. Many people accepted Christ at his service. Our family is asking the last sentence you wrote on this blog, “How can we use this to impact others?” I follow your blog everyday and appreciate how you challenge people to surrender all to the Lord. If you would like to see a little more of our story, google “The Day My World Changed Forever on YouTube by Brittany Price.”

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Dearest Paula ~

    I am moved to tears this morning. Tears and worship as I watched Brittany’s video. I am so very sorry for your family’s loss. So painful. And Paula, I’m grieving with you as I think about how much you will miss your son.

    Shortly before I read your comment this morning, I’d sent out a text to some dear friends, in another state, who’ve walked through a painful funeral this weekend. Loss and the sorrow of death is a continual reminder of the eternal. Losing a loved one who knows Christ, lived a life well, and used his short time to glorify God, brings such joy because of the testimony of their impact. But it is still a painful surrender.

    How gracious to know that many people accepted Christ at Patrick’s service. From the little glimpse I got of your son’s life through the video and Pastor Hunt’s message, I could tell that he would willingly surrender his life for his friends (1 John 3:16). Paula, thank you so very much for sharing your son’s story with me.

    I’m wondering if you and Brittany would be willing to allow me to share her YouTube message here on the blog? It presents such a God-glorifying and clear message of the gospel and the power of God’s grace at work, and I believe many people would be impacted and challenged to consider their own commitment to Christ.

    My husband and I have paused to pray for you and your family. What a beautiful display you’ve shown of the power of the gospel ~