Ending one year and preparing for the next year with purpose takes thought and prayer.
Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 NIV
Another year will soon be over. Changing the 2019 calendar reminds us of how fast time moves. For some there’s a sigh of relief that the long year is finally over. Others might feel sadness for the end of a great year. Reviewing the past year provides personal growth and perspective.
Think back over the past twelve months.
It is easy to remember the events or travels, but I encourage you to go deeper and ask yourself these questions:
- What was a highlight? How did God show up? Remember His faithfulness and praise Him.
- What was the biggest challenge? How did God help you in a tough situation? Thank Him for His presence.
- What have you learned? What brought you closer to God? Rejoice in His loving kindness.
2019 was a year of major change for us, seeking God for the next season of our lives. My word for 2019 was “trust.”
Reading through my journals, I see how God presented new situations for me to deepen my trust in Him. Rick retired from pastoral ministry after 45 years, concluding the chapter of serving local churches in Illinois, Kansas, and Arkansas. He accepted a different type of ministry position that required us to move 500 miles. We sold our home in one state and downsized in another state. We travel a lot in the new position, visiting pastors in many states to listen to their struggles. Our desire is to encourage those who serve the Lord week after week. Ministry is hard, but that’s a topic for another day.
Once you’ve looked back, prepare your heart and mind for the next year.
But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
The apostle Paul gives us some wisdom for the transition from one year to another, from one season of life to another.
- Forget what is behind. “To forget” in the Bible means “no longer to be influenced by or affected by.”*
Use the lessons you learned from the past be a springboard to the future. What do you need to release? Use the past events to help you go forward to become the person God desires.
- Strain toward what is ahead. “Straining” in Greek means “to stretch oneself forward to.”*
Grow forward in your faith. Many websites offer devotionals and Bible reading plans.
- Press on. This verb is translated “I follow after” and carries the idea of intense endeavor.*
Be diligent in your pursuit of deepening your relationship with the Lord. Serve the Lord right where you are. Obstacles will arise, but don’t let them stop you. Press on with the Lord’s strength.
Reflecting on the past will propel you into the next year, the next decade.
A new year brings fresh hope.
A new decade is on the horizon. God is faithful and sovereign, no matter what occurs in the future.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 NIV
Focus on the future, knowing God will guide you as He has in the past.
I pray that you will walk with God this year, believing He will do great things.
*from the Bible Exposition Commentary, Warren Wiersbe