Mountains – Oceans. Some people love the ocean more than they do mountains. I admit that I like to look at the ocean on occasion, but I love mountains! Specifically, I love my mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina. What I truly enjoy is getting to an overlook or valley and then marveling at the vista splayed out around me.
I hasten to add that I am an equal opportunity mountain lover. We have been privileged to see a number of mountains in our country, and I have loved every minute of it!
When I stand looking out at the grandeur of the mountains and contemplate the forces that created them, my soul sings to the Creator God, my heavenly Father, in praise and worship.
What does this have to do with the new year? A great deal.
We are temporal, mortal, and our days are limited.
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.
In fact, the Bible affirmatively states that all we have is this moment, and even it is a gift from God. James, the half-brother of Jesus, says it like this:
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.
He advises us that we are not to think that we will be here on this earth forever, rather we are to make plans according to the will of our Father. So, it is good for us to look back at the vista of 2016 and see how we did on that directive. Use the beginning of this new year to consider the condition of our relationship with our God so we can more effectively grow in 2017.
- When were we close to God;
- When did we do His will;
- When did we say “I will” when He prompted us to say something to an individual;
- When did we learn from His Word;
- When did we testify to others of His great mercy and grace,
- Now, you add your own points to consider, as each of us will have different things to ponder.
The year 2016 is in the record books. It is over and there is nothing we can do to change what was said, done, or experienced. The stuff we planned to do, but didn’t, will not get done in 2016, it is over. The relationships we intended to nurture, but didn’t, will not be stronger today because of anything we did in 2016, it is over.
As Scripture points out, the only time we have is today. We don’t even have any guarantee that we will see much of 2017 other than the moment we are in right now.
So, take the time to consider your life. Renew your dedication to focus on the Lord God Almighty rather than on the temporal things of this world. Those things that you were going to do in 2016 but then neglected — now is the time to get them accomplished.
Write the letter, send the card, make the phone call, give the hug, encourage the fainthearted, reach out to those who are hurting.
Whatever you need to do, do it in the name of our Lord and Savior. Don’t wait until 2018 — now is the time to do that which our God has asked us to do.
Remember how the Lord blessed and protected you in 2016, how He secured your salvation through Christ our Lord, and how the Holy Spirit worked in your life during the year, and praise Him for it.
Then, as you look ahead to 2017, praise Him for what He is going to do in and through you as you rely on His strength, power, wisdom and love.
The great hymn “How Great Thou Art” details much and can provide a springboard for your praise to our God. Here is the hymn sung on the Concordia Publishing House album Hymns for all Saints, Adoration, Praise, Comfort. Daily, let your heart and soul sing out in praise to our gracious heavenly Father. You might even want to add your voice to that song!
Father, thank You for being with us throughout our life as You lead and guide Your children in Your will. Thank You for sending Your Son to be our Redeemer and thank You for providing Your Spirit to indwell and empower us we grow into the likeness of Your Son. As we look to the new year, may we always remember that You are the only living Almighty God and may we sing praises to You in all that we do.