new year

Stones of Remembrance

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As we stand at the brink of a brand-new year, I once again stand in amazement at all He has done this past year – hearing stories of hope, deliverance and growth; sharing rich fellowship, corporate prayer and worship with brothers and sisters around the world; and witnessing countless examples of Christ’s faithfulness despite our own human brokenness.

Reflecting on these brought to mind the Lord’s commandment to Joshua (Joshua 4) to set up twelve stones of remembrance to remind the Israelites (and their future generations) of God’s faithfulness, deliverance, sustenance and provision.

1 Samuel 12:7 also describes Samuel setting up an Ebenezer stone as a powerful reminder that the Lord came to the Israelite’s rescue in battle and ultimately enabled them to conquer the Philistines.

My question to you as we close out 2018: What “stones of remembrance” come to mind when you reflect on the year? Whether the year was a particularly challenging one or a season of abundance and rejoicing, how has God shown Himself strong, reliable and trustworthy in your life?

I’ll leave you with some lyrics from the hymn, “Come Thou Fount”:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here by Thy great help I’ve come!

Happy New Year!
Maranatha,

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Beginning of the Year Questions

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This is the time of the year that I typically do a lot of reflection on the past year and spend some time thinking about what may be coming in the new year. Perhaps you are like me. Here are some questions that can assist in looking forward:

  • What do I want to see the Lord do in my life now and perhaps in the coming year?
  • What are some of the burdens I have for my family, friends and ministry? How does the Lord want me to pray for these?
  • Is there one verse or promise that I want to pray for in my life in the coming year?
  • What am I anxious about as I think of the coming year?

These are suggestive questions. I really am not advocating detailed planning for the new year. I read in James this morning words of caution and perspective that brings focus to our hopes and plans.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:13-17)

May you see His amazing grace and goodness in the coming year.

Maranatha,
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End of the Year Questions

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This blog post comes to you just a few days before the new year.

This is a good time to take a few minutes to reflect on the past year with these suggested questions:

  1. What was most painful about the year?
  2. How did God intervene in your life this last year?
  3. What do you thank the Lord for from this past year?
  4. How have you seen His goodness in this last year?

Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly.

Hoping you and yours had a blessed Christmas and have a grace-filled new year.

Maranatha
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Guest Post: Christ the Exalted King

A wonderful guest post from my friend Pierre.
Wonderful thoughts to ponder this new year: We see by His example that in God’s Kingdom the way upward is downward.

Happy New Year to you and yours, Stacy.

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Today is January 2nd 2017. Already a New Year. And one day has already gone. Please accept my greetings. Happy New Year! May God bless you all as He has never done before.

As we start this New Year we are reminded by Paul of the exaltation of Christ. He concludes this scriptural portion of Philippians 2:5-11 with a hymn. Theologians and historians say it probably was a hymn sang in the Church even prior to Paul writing. It is called “Carmen Christi”. But it did not all start this way. It started with humiliation.

After Christ’s incarnation, identification with us, obedience and death on the cross, Paul says the Father “has highly exalted him and bestowed him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11, ESV).

We see by His example that in God’s Kingdom the way upward is downward. Do we seek recognition, or promotion, or any kind of elevation?

May this year be a year of total commitment to Christ. May it be a year of true paradigms shift, practical love, great humility, sacrificial service, costly forgiveness and willful obedience. May it be a year lived to honor God and glorify Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Questions to ponder?
* What am I aiming for in this New Year?
* Am I ready to sacrifice for others to grow?
* Who will be my example in ministry, Christ? Leaders of this world?

God bless you!