Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life


Beginning the New Year

As we begin 2018, wouldn’t it be great if we could all have a fresh start? Hardly anyone ends the old year without a regret or two.

For those of us who want “do-overs,” there is good news! No one is forcing us to repeat last year’s mistakes. And our decisions that turned out well are just waiting to be reinforced and repeated. God is giving us a blank slate, ripe with potential and bursting with opportunities.

The prophet Jeremiah wrote, "Thus says the LORD: 'Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls'" (Jeremiah 6:16).

Billy Graham wrote this beautiful and still-relevant prayer for the Saturday Evening Post in 2008:

Our Father and our God, 

As we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.

We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You.

In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love. In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need.

In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost. And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are in need.

We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives.

Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your Word reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33:12)

As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us—far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation of our lives.

And so, Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who has given us hope both for this world and the world to come. Amen

We can’t see exactly what situations we’ll encounter in the next twelve months. We don't know what changes are coming; some will be welcomed, some not. We are unable to imagine what blessings the Lord has planned for each of us. But whatever 2018 holds, we don't have to be afraid. Jesus Christ is waiting there for us.