The Faithbook

A place of writing and reflection…

Hello New Year!

new-years-day-234443_1280
Another year has come and
gone. Where has all the time disappeared to? Looking back, 2013 was
quiet the event:

  • Algeria had a hostage
    situation.
  • The Pope resigned.
  • Meteors fell on Russia.
  • The Boston
    Marathon ended in deadly disaster.
  • An
    Earthquake hit China.
  • Bangladesh had a factory
    collapse.
  • Yahoo bought Tumbler.
  • Human stem cells were cloned.
  • A
    tornado wrecked Oklahoma.
  • A cruise ship caught
    fire and left people stranded.
  • Egypt ousted
    Mursi.
  • Detroit filed bankruptcy.
  • Syria was blamed for chemical attacks.
  • The stocks flopped.
  • Tokyo won the
    bid on the 2020 Olympics.
  • Washington saw
    shooting at the navy yard.
  • Iran struck a
    nuclear deal.
  • Kenya had a mall
    attacked.
  • The Middle East witnessed church
    burnings.
  • The U.S. government
    shutdown.
  • The Philippines was left with the
    aftermath of a typhoon.
  • Nelson Mandela
    died.
  • The Chinese put a rover on the
    moon.
  • Pastor Saeed remains detained in
    Iran.
  • The American right-wing/left-wing war
    raged on.

We saw a good bit of change even
here in our own little corner of the world here in Missouri. My
husband and I went to our first marriage renewal dinner hosted by
our church. I took my first trip to Chicago via train to see my
best friend only to have her stay with us later in the year.
Charles worked hard at our church’s yearly Missions Conference and
I went home overly exhausted after helping at our college’s big
dinner event. We said hello to new friends and goodbye to old ones.
We got burned by a few people and comforted by others. We
celebrated birthdays and our first Mother and Father’s day with the
birth of our daughter, Charlize,  in early June. We moved into
our first apartment then to a bigger one a few months later. We had
our first Thanksgiving and Christmas at our new home this year and
bought our first Christmas tree. It was definitely a year of ups
and downs; good times and bad but it has been well worth it (much
of which I still have yet to write about). Now there’s a new year
ahead and now doubt we’ve all got things underway in the planning
department. According to Wikipedia the world has lots to look
forward to:

  • Winter Olympics in
    Russia
  • World Cup in Brazil
  • UK & US  planned withdrawal from
    Afghanistan
  • The Euro is to be adopted into
    another country
  • NASA and space researchers
    everywhere will also have an eyeful of comets and other space
    happenings.
  • Even a cure for baldness is
    predicted for this year!

I can’t say I’ve
got an incredible amount of things planned out for this coming
year. I do need to get that new calendar up on
the wall and start putting away Christmas decorations after the
first of the year. There will be work to be done, cleaning to do,
people to see, and places to go as always, but what can we look
forward to in this new year? No I’m not talking about the
fated-to-possibly-fail-or-be-forgotten New Years resolutions.
(I personally never bother because to-be-forgotten is
their likely fate with me
.) Paul reminded the
Philippians:

No, dear brothers and
sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my
energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward
to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and
receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling
us up to heaven.

—Philippians 3:13-14
(NLT)

No, Paul’s not
saying he was eradicating the past from his memory like deleting a
hard drive. (Wo could forget the things he had done in
the past and the work God had done in him since!
)
Weather it was a new year for Paul or not he was not going to keep
the past his focus. What was coming was what he planned to keep his
focus on. There were churches to write to and people to speak to.
(Now he was in prison for his beliefs at the time so he
couldn’t go very far.
) Regardless of Paul’s condition or
state, however, he pledges to keep “looking forward to
what lies ahead
“—the things that God had for him much
later on. The guy was in a dirty, stinky dungeon and he
was “looking forward to what lies ahead“?
Some might find Paul a tad bizarre or even looney. But he wasn’t.
He was a man looking forward with expectancy at what God had to
bring—not just for himself, but also to the churches he had helped
establish. He wasn’t overly focused on his failures or hurts of the
past, but was rather excited about what was to come. Even in his
own no-so-nice circumstances,  we see a still optimistic
sounding guy here. Let’s try and take a lesson from Paul here for
this new year: Quit focusing on the hurts and failures of the past
or reveling too much in the great moments of the past year. A new
year has come and with it comes God’s grace, fresh hope and
something—a surprise maybe—to look forward to. What do you have to
look forward to? And most importantly, what does
God have for you to look forward to?

Copyright The Faithbook
2014

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In Mosul, ISIS militants marked with a spray-painted ن (the Arabic letter for “N”) all Christian property to be seized after the ultimatum. “N”, or ن , is the first letter of the Arabic word for Christian, “Nasrani” or Nazarene. #pray4thepersecuted

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