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Good-bye 2020! I will not be disappointed to see this year come to an end. But I am extremely optimistic about the promise and the opportunities 2021 will hold.
One of the best things I was able to accomplish in 2020 was to read the Bible (yes, both Old and New Testaments) in 90 days and then read it a second time, at a little slower pace, the remaining 275 days of the year.
Reading the Bible in 90 days provided me with an eye-opening perspective of God’s hand on human events from the beginning of time to present day. Reading the Bible more slowly allowed me to chase some fun theological rabbits that came to light in the 90 day reading plan. What I gained by reading the Bible two different ways was a totally different point of view of how active God is in what is going on in the world. Nothing is random. Nothing escapes his notice. Nothing is beyond His power.
Maybe the most encouraging thing I could share from what I learned this year, and depending on what circumstances you are currently facing in life, it may actually be the most important, is that God is very active in your life, too. He knows every intimate detail of your life. If things are not going quite the way you think they should, could it be that you have some things out of order? For example, Matthew 6:33 says, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Are you seeking God first, above all else? Getting your life in the right order, by putting God first, allows God to fulfill a promise that “all these things will be added to you.” Focus all your effort on putting Him first in 2021. Make that your one and only New Year’s resolution and see what happens.
Here is another encouraging promise from the Bible.
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:13-16, NKJ)
The Bible says when things aren’t going well – pray; when things are going well – sing; when we are sick – call the elders to pray for us. Why? Don’t miss this: because God is active in His creation. And because He is active in our lives, the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous person makes a BIG difference. God is not some cosmic killjoy waiting to pour out His wrath on us when we get out of line, but rather a caring God who hears us when we pray and delights in working with us through the tough spots in our lives.
I don’t know what 2021 has in store for us, but I would like to encourage you to join me in reading the Bible in the first 90 days of 2021. Whether you try to read the Bible in 90 days or not, reading His word each day is part of seeking Him first.
Now imagine that by putting Him first, we then allow Him to add to us things that are even greater than we could even dream of. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians that, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (vs 2:9)
Just imagine what fun we could have in 2021 if we started the new year by putting God first. What if we were to say to Him, “God, I love you! I am Yours! I commit to putting You first in my life. Surprise me beyond what my eye has seen, my ear has heard, or what my heart can imagine in 2021.”
I, for one, am optimistic about the future because I am certain, beyond any doubt, that God is in control of the affairs of mankind. He takes notice of what we do. He knows what we are going through. He knows how we feel. God will be with us in everything that we will experience in 2021.
So, good-bye 2020. Hello 2021 – believing the best is yet to come!