NEW Year, NEW Hopes, NEW Thoughts, NEW Challenges

Hello 2018

Nothing in life stays the same, and we shouldn’t expect it to. God designed life in such a way that it thrives from growth, increase, expansion, and progression. He never wants us to regress, and He is forever rooting for us to succeed on every level. If we will continue to trust in His unchanging hands and allow Him to lead, guide, and direct us, we will be amazed at what we can accomplish. We will witness ourselves growing and transforming into the person that He has called us to be. This is a reason to celebrate! It’s one of the reasons why we should all be so monumentally thankful for the opportunity to see another year.

NEW Hopes
Psalm 146:5 (NLT) says, “But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the LORD their God.” When it comes to all the complexities, mistakes, and mishaps that come with life, we understand that it can be a rocky road at times, but God is our Rescuer, and we can place our every hope on Him. He has laid the path of destiny before each of us, and this destiny is our race to run. At this point in our lives, we may not know all the details of it. We don’t yet know all the wonderful things He has in store for us. We may not even have a fully persuaded belief about some of the things we want to achieve, but this we can know for sure; God has given us a good race to run. He has set us up to win it through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Hope is a joyful expectation. Hope sends the signal that we’re positioning ourselves to exercise the mental, attitudinal, and emotional stance that faith requires. Romans 12:12 (NLT) encourages us to “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Hope should cause us to rejoice because we know that our God doesn’t fail us. This confident hope will anchor us in hard times as we remind ourselves that trouble doesn’t last long. Heavenly Father will give us the victory when our trust is in Him. Our attitude should be one of continuing instant in prayer, and to keep on praying, knowing that God backs His promises.

NEW Thoughts
There’s a saying that tells us to shoot for the moon, and if we don’t make it, at least we’ll be somewhere among the stars. In 2018, we should kick doubt to the curb and trust that it will be a year of greater spiritual growth, better and tighter relationships with God and others, and increased abundance in every aspect of our existences. This is a mindset geared towards high-level thoughts, and we need to learn to encourage ourselves in the Lord so that we don’t lose it. Many of us start out the year with a bang, packed full of positive resolutions, but somewhere along the way we lose steam. We start to sink in our thought life. God has a remedy for this. In Philippians 4:8 (NLT), He tells us, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” When it comes to the negative thoughts of doubt and fear, we ought to adopt a mindset that if it’s not working for us, we need to cut it loose.

In Romans 12:1(NLT), through the Apostle Paul, God tells us, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Our Heavenly Father lovingly begs us to put Him first in our lives by presenting our entire being to Him. He wants it all, every disappointment, sorrow, insecurity, and shortcoming. God doesn’t want a dead sacrifice, He wants a living one. He tells us to come to Him as we are because we’re not going to stay that way.

NEW Challenges
In Romans 12:2(NLT), Heavenly Father tells us what to do to put our transformation in high gear. He said, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Sacrifices in life is a requirement. We see this in the life of Jesus Christ. He gave everything for us and asked for nothing in return. We have some wrong stuff programmed into our minds, and some of us have made a habit pattern of looking at what the world does and then copying it. Not God’s plan! He transforms us from the inside out when we change the way we think and put on the mind of Christ.

Our commitment to rise higher and overcome any obstacle that stands in our way requires us to discipline our minds and hearts. We are not going to be able to do everything we want to do. Some things we will have to give up. This can be a real battle, and it involves sacrifice; change always does. In some cases, we can’t hang out with the same partners, and go to the places we used to. Everybody that’s in our circle right now is not going to tag along as we reach for what God has for us. As we rise, some things are going to drop off. Recognize that this is a part of the process, and understand that God has already equipped you for the challenge. We must release our old nature, so that God’s love will have room to continue growing and thriving in our hearts.

We need to throw open the door to newness by putting out the welcome mat of new hopes and thoughts with this New Year—hopes and thoughts that are anchored in a commitment to rise higher in Christ. Once we get our priorities in check, put God in the number one spot, new things start to come. Ephesians 4:22(NLT) cosigns this by telling us, “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.” Again, whatever didn’t work for us in 2017, pull it off in 2018. Ephesians 4:24,31-32(NLT) is a must in our resolve to make this year one of the best. It tells us, “24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Our marching orders are clear. Put on your new nature, walk by the Word of the Lord, and you’ll be walking in an amazing 2018!■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“NEW Year, NEW Hopes, NEW Thoughts, NEW Challenges” written by JMack. 4theChristianMan.Com© 2018. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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