Country Coordinator Tom Edwards, who has served in full-time lay Catholic evangelization for forty-six years, originally shared the following post in a newsletter update for the ministry of Tom & Jean Marie Edwards (Tom Edwards Evangelistic Assoc, Inc.). Tom encourages readers to enter the New Year with a heart in tune with God’s heart.
Like most of us, you have probably discovered that all of the uncertainties of this year have been a catalyst for increased prayer and spiritual seriousness. We can count that as a good thing. We want to seek the Lord for the days ahead. In some ways, things may become even more strange, further away from what we have considered to be normal in days gone by. I’m listing a few steps that you might find helpful as we begin the new year, all based on God’s faithful Word to us.
1. Take seriously what God has said to his people in the past, even those who had been terribly remiss in their trust of Him. “For I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, Do not fear, I will help you” (Is 41:13). In prayer, extend your right hand to Him. Believe that He will walk with you hand in hand all the days of your life.
2. Give Him everything. Trust Him obsessively. Hold back nothing! “So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds” (Jas 4:7-8).
3. Stir up the gifts that the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon you. Get fired up with a zeal for the purpose for which God has called you. Know that you can start afresh right where the Lord has you now. “For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control (2 Tm 1:6-7). You know He has given you talents, don’t bury them. Remember the smallest act of obedience can initiate a monumental result.
4. Take authority over your thought life! “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8). Do not allow the worldly news to drive you to anxiety and worry! Just say “no.”
5. Remember that Jesus has promised you a peace that surpasses all worldly understanding. “Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you'” (Jn 20:19).
6. Know that you are not alone or lost! Jesus has called you to share fully in His victory. “But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57). “And even when you were dead [in] transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions; obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross, despoiling the principalities and the powers, he made a public spectacle of them, leading them away in triumph by it” (Col 2:13-15).
7. Rejoice in the fact that Jesus is coming again soon! The last two verses of the Bible guarantee this promise. The best way to be prepared for his second coming is to be found doing what He said on his first coming. “The one who gives this testimony says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. (Rv 22:20-21).
Walking hand in hand with God into 2021 is a new adventure. Let’s all seek to serve Him together, let that be our resolve, let that be our determination, let us be bold and of great courage. The soverign God of the universe, the creator of all, has taken our hand and will lead the way. We have nothing to fear.