Looking Ahead for 2011

Dear Zion,

It seems like the New Year has snuck up on us again, and with 2011 comes all sorts of new experiences: new hopes and new fears for what the new year may bring, new possibilities, as well as the feelings of regret and loss that can come as time marches on. Many people spend the New Year thinking about new resolutions to make and ways to change. But how should Christians think about the inauguration of 2011? How are we to “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:16)? While there are surely many ways to think about these issues, here are some especially pertinent, biblical concepts to consider.

The Sovereignty of God in 2011
No matter what the new year brings, we can be sure of this: God is in control of 2011. All times are in His hand, and since He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last (Revelation 1:8), we know that He makes the ends known from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Every day that we live in 2011 has already been written in His book (Psalm 139:16), and nothing that happens to us can happen apart from His will. Life and death, health and sickness are in His hands (Deuteronomy 32:39). Neither a sparrow (Matthew 10:39 – 31) nor a hair from your head (Luke 21:16 – 18) can fall apart from God’s will. So for those who love God and are called according to His purpose, the future of the new year doesn’t need to be a scary thing, because He has promised that all things will work together for our good (Romans 8:28). As we make our plans for 2011, we should recognize God’s absolute power and control over all the decisions we make, and ultimately entrust ourselves and our plans to Him (James 4:13 – 17).

The Second Coming and Missions
It could be that 2011 is the year in which Jesus Christ returns “to judge the quick and the dead,” and to bring His people home to God. I can’t think of a more glorious idea! We pray with the saints down through the ages, “Come quickly, O Lord!” (I Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20). When the date is written out 2011 A.D., that stands for anno domini, or “the year of our Lord,” and it reminds us that time is waiting for Christ to return. The Second Coming of Jesus is the blessed hope for all Christians, and one we eagerly await. As we wait, we are to strive to live in a manner worthy of His calling.

But we are also to spread the Good News of God. If Jesus doesn’t return in 2011, may the Lord use this season for the advancement of His Kingdom! Jesus reminds us that in every age “the fields are white for the harvest,” and so we should “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2; John 4:35). How may God be calling you to support missionaries and evangelistic efforts through prayer, finances, and your own time?

Personal Holiness and Spiritual Growth
No matter what God’s will for 2011 may include, you can be sure of this, that part of God’s will for you is for you to grow in holiness (I Thessalonians 4:3). That is true in all times and all places. Many New Year’s Resolutions include weight loss and stopping bad habits, but how many of us take time to plan how to grow in our faith? How many of us purposefully seek deeper discipleship and richer communion with the Triune God? If it would help you, notice the Bible reading plan included in this newsletter[1]. Perhaps you would like to join or start a prayer meeting. May God grant us all a zeal to be holy, even as He is holy, in 2011 (I Peter 1:16).

Praying with you for faithfulness in 2011,
Pastor Brian
[1] This is referring to M’Cheyne’s Bible Reading Plan.

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