Thoughts for a New Year

Like most people, at the end of every year I find myself looking ahead and wondering what the new year will bring. One more trip around the sun: 8,760 hours. Last year most of those hours turned out as I expected. But a few thousand did not. That’s where the excitement comes in—and the worry.

On many coins and city gates of the old Roman Empire appears a bearded figure with two faces poised in opposite directions. This was Janus, the god of gates and doorways, and the god of beginnings. A new beginning is a doorway of sorts, a marker that you have moved from one spot in life to the next. And so the first month of the year, January, is named for this figure who looks one way to the past and the opposite to the future. Why is it important for us to have a perspective on what has passed? The best way to enter the new is with a considered awareness of the old.

How might the year ahead unfold? Or this month, or even this week? I can speculate about opportunities and challenges, pleasures and pains, but I just don’t know what this next piece of future will bring. And I’m sure it’s a good thing I don’t.

Only God knows the future, and, more importantly, is the caretaker and Lord of the future. In Christian faith there is a bedrock truth that enables believers to move into the future with assurance: providence. More than the idea of a deity with two faces who looks ahead and behind, the biblical God is above all reality, encompassing in his vision and embracing in his power past, present, and future. God purchases no calendars, he keeps no schedule on a smartphone, he doesn’t develop project charts. He is never surprised by what happens, but is alternately pleased and displeased by what does happen. God talks us toward a good future, pointing us toward a life goal that no human being would have conceived. The good path is always just the next few steps in the direction of the good end.

Providence is the ongoing activity of God in preserving and governing everything that he has made in the creation. It is exactly what you would expect of a Creator whose work of creating is an act of love. How could he possibly act indifferently to his creation, which he bestowed such care on at the start of it all? He not only put the pieces of the universe together when it was all created, but he is still putting pieces together and broken pieces back together. Providence is care that precedes, and care that proceeds. It is the benevolent attitude of God toward what he has created. God respects what he has done.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6)


16 thoughts on “Thoughts for a New Year”

  1. Planning for the new year with a look backward and forward like the Roman coin image is a helpful reminder. I liken it to Scott Arbeiter´s early December message on Joseph, who learned to “see in the dark” with God´s enabling power through Jesus Christ. Thanks Mel for your persistence in reminding us that God is with us whether we take all our notes on the PDA (mine is a paper agenda book) or if they are just fashioned in the head and heart. This should be a good year as we keep our eyes and heart fixed on Jesus!

  2. I agree with what you said! God truly does hold everything all together. My wish is that we all will make an extra effort to speak with the lost and tell them about Jesus.

  3. There was a beautiful anthem our choir sang when I was an organist years ago in Wisconsin. “What is ahead, we can not see, He gently shields our eyes…” As we pass through the door into 2014, may your words of wisdom be a present guide.
    Plan to share them with my Friday morning Bible Study, here in Sarasota, Florida this week!
    Perpetual blessings and joy!

  4. Christ in us the hope of Glory! I agree in all that you said! We must look to Christ for everything for he is the author and finisher of our faith!! We must stay in the word, and stay in Christ and worship and adore him daily!! Worship is a great source of strength and joy!! Our world is not our home, but Christ and his father and his precious holy spirit, they are our home. We must stay in them!! Our families, our friends, our jobs our children, should all come second!! Christ must be first, in order to establish a good relationship with everything and everyone else!! If anyone comes before Christ in our life, we are on the wrong path!! I pray for your ministry every nite!! Keep following his spirit and doing what you do for Christ!! May the Lord Bless you in all that you do!!

  5. Greetings from Malaysia & Best Wishes !
    Actually there is only one direction in God’s scheme of things for us. Follow the directions, terms and conditions of the Old(Fundamental) Covenant & the New(Advanced) Covenant. Matthew chapter 5, lines 17 – 20 gives us directions on what to do irrespective the time element
    Also,I believe Solomon and his team of wise men did an analysis and wrote his findings in the Ecclesiastes; the conclusion is chapter 12, lines 12 and 13 is worth remembering and doing on a daily basis and making this a everyday habit.

  6. I am very appreciative and thankful for your mature Biblical view of our Christian reality. I look forward to receiving more of your insights and instruction. Your perspective on the new year was particularly enjoyable, since January is my birth month. Thanks.

  7. GloriaChildofGod

    Be Holy Because God is Holy:

    Just fix your eyes on Jesus, live a life in righteousness meaning, obeying God’s Law, its Commandments and Statues and be holy, because God is Holy. And don’t forget to make a new resolution in 2015 and that is to preach Jesus the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer, sharing (boldly) the Gospel — the message of the Cross, repentance, and God’s salvation, wherever the dear Lord sends you. I myself walk with my vow to God in Isaiah 6.8. Amen. To understand the meaning of Isaiah 6.8, please read Isaiah 6:1-8. God bless you Pastor Mel, and happy and blessed 2015.

  8. Our Sunday School class began looking at the flaws in “Open Theism” so your thoughts on the “biblical God is above all reality” were greatly amplified. Truly how could we expect God to “possibly act indifferently to his creation, which he bestowed such care on at the start of it all?” It is great to be reminded that God is “pointing us toward a life goal that no human being would have conceived” (Jer 29:11). As God looks back on my 2014, I know there are things that brought Him tears, but I trust that “the benevolent attitude of God” will continue to lead me and you to a “good path is always just the next few steps in the direction of the good end” in 2015.

  9. Thank you for the messages ,
    I really love to read this messages ,
    I do really save it to my bookmarks
    More Powers to you Sir Mel Lawrenz
    Glory To God. SHALOM!

  10. The Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel) and the 12 Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi)

    and I Declare you are One of the Last Days Prophets .
    More Powers Sir Mel ,God Bless !

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