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On the Journey...
Monthly Insight From Pastor Phil Yoder
January 22, 2020
THE RECIPE FOR A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
This is the beginning of a new year, but more than that, it is the beginning of a new decade. None of us knows what this decade will bring. We entered the beginning of the decade we just came through, with much gloom and despair. As a nation, we were in the midst of a very great recession, and like the Great Depression, some wondered if we would ever recover from it. We were embroiled in two wars overseas. Politically, we were a very divided nation. The end of the decade feels quite different than the beginning did, and yet, some of the same issues remain with us.
Nobody knows what this new decade will bring, but if it is like all decades that have gone before us, it will certainly bring things we cannot see now, natural disasters, political turmoil, wars, economic uncertainty, social unrest, new technology and with it new kinds of fraud, along with personal loss, disappointment, and unfulfilled dreams. Jesus warned that these are a part of life on the earth (Matthew 24), and that there is no real security on this earth. Sometimes we wonder how much longer life can continue on the earth, and yet, it does. And I suppose it does because there is a nonhuman hand that will determine how long the world will stand.
The beginning of a new decade is a good time for us to reevaluate our lives and our faith, and make sure we are building our lives on the solid rock that the storms of life cannot destroy, that we are deeply committed to God and to the things of God, and that we are doing things to build faith, things like daily prayer and Bible study, and that we are deeply committed to the church, the body of Christ in the world. It is not enough to simply believe some things about God, we must be actively building and investing our lives in God every day. That means practicing good spiritual disciplines and surrounding ourselves with things that build faith.
Recently a friend, who is nearing the end of his earthly life, told me that Psalm 23 has taken on new meaning to him. Psalm 23 reminds us that The Lord is our Shepherd, that he leads us through the good and peaceful times (to green pastures and beside still waters) and that he still is leading us when we go through the valley of the shadow of death, through the most threatening, uncertain, and fearful times. Our Lord is with us through every event, every crisis, and every moment of our lives and even through our death. That is our only true security and our stability in a very unstable world.
As we begin a new decade, and the uncertainties that come with every decade, let’s make sure that we are walking close to our Shepherd, that we are clinging to Him and not too tightly to anything else, that we are doing everything possible to build a strong bond between us and our Shepherd, and that our eyes are focused on Him. He is the one who will be there, leading us and caring for us through whatever comes our way, even if this world should pass away!
Every day we see people who look at the uncertainties and disappointments of life and throw their hands in the air, and cry out in despair, and act in desperate ways, because they don’t see any hope. But we, who live by faith find our hope in knowing that God is still on the throne, and that “The Lord is still our Shepherd, and HE is carefully leading us!”