This Is My Year…I Promise

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16.

Another year has come and gone. There is a buzz in the air as the world comes together to recognize a new beginning. We say goodbye to 2022 and usher in the new year. We ponder and discuss all the interesting occurrences that happened in the past year; the good times, the bad times, the frustrating times, and the fun times. We share what valuable lessons we learned from our experiences, what God showed us and how He was faithful through all of it

We do this as a closure to one year and then an opening to the next. How do we harness the incredible opportunity and hope each new year presents to us? What new experiences will we go through and what new lessons will we learn? It’s all fresh and new and that is exciting. Isn’t this the longing of every heart? Regardless of what season of life you are in or the circumstances you are facing, there is a belief that the future will be better. There is a belief that this could be our year.

The new year gives us a fresh new outlook for the coming year and enables us to leave the past where it belongs, not that we forget the past but learn from it and move forward into our present future with opened hearts and minds to receive whatever God has for us. This is your year.

Start out the New Year with a fresh point of view on new experiences, memories, and blessings. Having an open mind and heart to where ever the Lord may take you with full assurance and confidence that He is with you “…And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Then consider the possibilities. There’s no limit to what God can do in your life and nothing is impossible with God. God opens doors that no man can shut and also closes doors that no man can open. The possibilities are endless with God. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

Find your purpose this year.  God always has a plan and a purpose for what you will go through and experience in 2023. Remember that God always has a reason for what He allows in your life and through it you can trust Him completely. “Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance.” (Proverbs 1:3-5)

Gilbert K. Chesterton said, “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.” This could be your year.  It may be filled with hardships, but it could be a new beginning for you where you see the Lord move and experience His presence more and more.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some areas in your life where you want to see change in 2023?
  2. Think of the past few years.  What struggles have you had in implementing changes in your life?
  3. In what ways has God given you a “new you” to help navigate 2023?

It’s All About Focus

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” – Psalm 16:8-11 (NIV). 

The start of this passage sets up our daily challenge: “I keep my eyes always on the Lord.”  Peter quotes King David’s words in Psalm 16:8–11 in Acts 2:25–28 (NIV). “David said about him:“‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;  my body also will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life;  you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ 

It is all about focus. Focus is an interesting thing. A powerful thing. It is a primary factor in making change possible. I think that’s also why the Bible spends so much time teaching us to keep our eyes on Christ. Because our focus determines our direction.

If you read through the book of Exodus, you will see numerous times the Lord reassures Moses that He will deliver the children of Israel from bondage.  Exodus 6: 1 says, “Then the Lord told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!” Verse 4 adds: “And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners.” And finally, verse 8 says, “I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!’”

They had been in bondage for many, many years and they had lost all hope of ever being free. They were too focused on their situation; and not on what the Lord said He was going to do. All too often we mirror the children of Israel and forget that God really does have a plan and He is in control. There is no reason to lose our focus because we can trust Him, His way, and His timing.  

This quote about gratitude by Ann Voskamp in the book “Faithful” sums it up: 

“Sing, heart, sing your thanks,

Grow your gratitude muscle,

Grow in thanks to God.

Grow strong in God

and trust there is no calamity,

agony, enemy, or catastrophe

that can change this certainty:

Mercy meets you

and grace names you

and hope holds you

and courage carries you

and the King of Kings claims you

so no past can ever shame you,

no scar can maim you,

no choice could ever stain you,

more than His love faithfully sustains you.”

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What are you focused on today? This week? How should your focus change? 
  2. It’s not uncommon to doubt God when life gets hard. What does this imply about what we believe about God?