by Ellen Ceely
“Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you. He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat. He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow. He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rules to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his rules. Praise the Lord!” - Psalm 147:12-21
What a passage to read on the first day of 2022! For many, including myself, this is the time of year I become more reflective. Rather than setting a “New Year’s Resolution,” I tend to take time to pause, looking over the last year to celebrate and mourn all that happened. This time to pause and reflect and pray reminds me of who God is and what he wants for my life. I begin to let go of what isn’t working and create a plan to move forward.
Our passage today continues the theme of yesterday as it continues to remind us how big God is and what we are to do in response. I find it the perfect way to begin the new year. Resolutions aren’t bad, in fact they can be useful and encouraging. But resolutions are only helpful if God is at the center of our lives.
The psalmist reminds us of how much God has blessed us and those who have gone before us. God is the one who strengthens us, blesses our children, and establishes peace. These are not things we can accomplish on our own, by our own strength or with our own intelligence. God is the one who feeds us and controls the weather. God alone is mighty and all-powerful. Just as he did in our passage yesterday, the psalmist also reminds us how we are to respond to God’s great goodness: with worship.
The truth is that we can make all the plans we want, writing down all the resolutions we hope to accomplish, but God is the one we need to lean on for guidance and strength.
As you walk into this new year, I encourage you to look back over the year you’ve had. For some it was wonderful with moments of pain. For others it was painful with moments of wonder. Take time to grieve and celebrate. Ask God to remind you of how he’s been working in your life this past year. Pray for wisdom on what he would have you do over this next year and talk to him about your desires and dreams for the year. Ask the Lord to remind you of your purpose in him as you walk forward. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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