Published January 5, 2010

Paul's Epistle...
"Confidence for 2010"

Time marches on. Exactly ten years ago we were all wondering what the new millennium would bring. (Remember the Y2K hysteria?) Well, here we are at the start of another new year — and some would say another new decade.

Have you seen any changes this past year? In your country? In your state? In your employment? In your personal life?

How many of those changes did you expect? How many of them did you really know were coming? How many were complete surprises?

Yes, the year was full of surprises — some of which shouldn't have been surprises at all, given the warnings many were sounding a year ago.

So — with that in mind, what about the year ahead? Do you expect things to continue as they are? Or do you think there might — just might — be some more changes in store for us?

In this life, changes are inevitable. Some are good. (Some are very good.) Some are bad. (Some are very bad.) But — remember this — not one of them ever comes as a surprise to God.

No matter what happens, we must remember that the most basic things in this life don't change. The fundamentals of faith that we know as Christians never change (even though, as we are warned in 2 Peter 2:1, false teachers are trying to change or deny some of those fundamentals). Our individual, temporal circumstances might change. But our personal relationship to Christ does not.

Oh, you might have days when you just don't feel close to Christ. But as the old saying goes, if you think a gap has widened between you and God, who moved? It wasn't God. He's the same yesterday, today and forever. (Heb. 13:8.)

So, are you ready for the changes coming in the year ahead? Oh, yes, there is absolutely no question that there will be changes — some good, some bad, most unexpected.

But if you know Christ, be assured — and rest in the confidence that — His love for you will never change. And He is the One who can help you through whatever changes this world might throw at you in the year ahead.

How do we know this? Let's look at some examples from Scripture...

Job, speaking to the Lord, said, "I know that you can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2)

Proverbs 21:30 reminds us that "there is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord."

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians called God the One "who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will..." (Eph. 1:11)

And I like what Jeremiah wrote to the exiles in Babylon – a truth and a promise that we can accept for ourselves: "‘For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jer. 29:11)

"Hope" and a "future." It comes from God! Not from politicians, not from bankers, not from retirement accounts, not from anyone else. As the Talley Trio sings, "My Hope Is In the Lord." It's the ONLY way to live — confident in the knowledge that HE is in control — and will always do what's right. Now that's really confidence you can count on.

We don't know what the next year, month, week, day, or even hour will hold. But we do know Who holds the future! What a contrast that is to what we can accomplish in our own power. Proverbs 27:1 reminds us, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." We don't know. But God does.

God will always do what He will. (Did you notice that while Global Warming alarmists worldwide were meeting in Copenhagen, the U.S. East Coast — and then the Midwest — got record-breaking snowfalls and cold weather? Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?)

But that is simply another reminder that the only plans that really count are God's plans. We must rely on Him totally – throughout the year ahead – and throughout whatever remaining time is given us.

I came across this interesting (anonymous) quote: "You may not always know the details of your journey or clearly see where the trail is leading, but God will always give you enough light to take the next step." That's very true. But you must make yourself open to perceiving – and accepting – God's leading for that next step, that new direction, as we move into this new year.

That's what would make this new year the happiest and most blessed year for you – ever! And that's our wish – our prayer – for you.

- Paul

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