Father Time is the personification of the previous year, usually depicted as an old man with wings dressed in white robes and carrying an hourglass. Traditionally, he “hands over” the duties of time to Baby New Year. Some of us will gladly wave 2017 goodbye, while the rest of us will be sorry to see it end.
Whether you had a year of adversity, testing, or blessing God was and is aware of your circumstance. As His children, we are not where we are by accident. Our Lord has either directed us to our present situation or He has permitted specific events. His goal is to transform us into the image of His son, Jesus. This cannot happen if there is no change or movement in our day, week, year.
Psalm 31:15 states that my time is in God’s hand. What does this mean? My time refers to events, experiences, fortunes, and occasions. In God’s hand refers to His power, force, and fellowship. Crucified hands that took our sins away through a blood sacrifice hold us close. Our Creator and Lord is not aloof. He sees all, watches over us, longs for our fellowship, and intercedes on our behalf. Scripture tells us that our names are written upon His hands. We are always before Him!
“See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are ever before Me.” Isaiah 49:16 (NIV)
In His infinite wisdom, God has placed us on a timeline: minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years all mark the passing of time. We cannot take back, reclaim, or reuse the time we have been given. We must say goodbye to Father Time and hello to Baby New Year. We would be wise to make each day in this New Year count for His good pleasure, whether our day is one of testing or pleasure. Both circumstances can be used to serve others and glorify God.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 (NKJV)
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)
We are running a spiritual race on earth. A race is not a “sit-in.” In fact, we are running an obstacle race with roadblocks and dangerous uphill assents. Our progress may be slow in some years and faster in others. The thing we must not forget is that we have a host of loved ones cheering us on and that we must persevere in running the race marked out for us. We do this by fixing our eyes on Jesus, the perfecter of faith. We all grow weary, but that is because we forget to toss our cares upon Him.
“Cast your cares upon the Lord and He will sustain you: He will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 (NIV)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
It may be very hard to look back on 2017 with a thankful heart, especially if your year was one of sorrow and adversity. But if you look at the details that arose from your hardships, you will find good. The Holy Spirit will help you to identify God’s presence within your circumstances and therefore give you reason for thanksgiving. God is love and is therefore always working for our benefit.
“You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” Psalm 30:11 (NIV)
It is my hope that your 2018 is a year of spiritual growth. I pray that each new day is perceived as an opportunity to grow in faith, unearth the mysteries of God, serve the Body of Christ, and chip away at the old man.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11 (NKJV)
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV)
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)
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