I was jolted awake near midnight by the sound of firecrackers going off across the community.
The last of the new year celebrants were getting a collective kick out of rattling the nerves of those who dared to sleep.
As the fog in my head cleared, I realised that the church next door was still in full swing. Loud singing and shouting filtered through fruit trees and hit my ears, and I marvelled at the stamina of the members. From the sound of things, they had a full house and the moment they were all waiting for had finally arrived.
Bring on the firecrackers and vuvuzelas.
At that point, there was no way I could work my way back to a proper snooze and I groaned audibly.
For me, the new day – like every day before it, since the dawn of time – had begun unceremoniously at sunset, so I have never understood the need for a hullaballoo at midnight. Every breath, every minute, every hour is an undeserved gift from the Omnipotent Creator God. Daily graces that we barely notice as we rush from one self-imposed task to another.
So you have a new year. What will you do with it?
Are you committed to walking as Jesus walked?
When the adult Jesus stepped out of the tomb – almost 1,985 years ago – on the first day of the week, He left behind neatly folded grave clothes rather than a crumpled mess. His desire for order and neatness had not waned one iota since He set worlds in motion and hung stars in place.
What must He expect of His followers in the twenty-first century?
If we aim to keep buzzing around like chickens without heads, wearing ourselves thin by our own intemperance and attempting to play catch-up, we will miss the mark completely.
There is a better way. Our Heavenly Father will be delighted to lead us through each day of this new year if we purpose to lean on His Word. If we learn to be still, He will fight our battles for us. Our God is Faithful beyond measure.
As we begin to make decisions in this new calendar year, here are a few questions we all need to ask ourselves:
- Will we submit daily to God’s leading and order our steps according to His Word? (Ephesians 6:17; 2 Timothy 2:15)
- How can we improve on our stewardship of time? Will spare time be spent in frivolity or useful service? (1 Corinthians 10:31)
- Will those within our sphere want to know Jesus through their interactions with us? (Matthew 5:16)
- Will the gatherings we plan to host cater to the needy, or just to those who can return the favour? (Luke 14:13-14)
- Will we dare to give thanks to God in all things, or will we continue to engage in selective thanksgiving? (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Challenges will abound in this new year and we will need to embrace the clouds and navigate those hard places – one way or another. We do, however, get to decide under whose leadership we will do so.
By God’s grace, I will follow the One who has a reputation for granting unfathomable peace, even in the midst of storms. His track record is undeniable and landfall is guaranteed in due season. Today, I will say with Peter: “Lord, to whom shall [I] go? You have the words of eternal life.” (NKJV, John 6:68)
I pray that you will choose well.
Blessings and peace to you and yours, today and always.
*Images: Pixabay (CC0 Public Domain)