Imagine a gumball machine filled to the brim with colorful candy. With just a bit of pocket change, you can fill up on vibrantly colored candy, but with time, the gumball machine empties out and the gum loses its flavor. Upon first glance, that machine may have looked completely full, but really it had many empty spaces and was easily poured out.
Reflecting on the past is an important part of preparing for the future. With 2019 rolling and school back in session, it’s important to take a moment to focus on what we learned in our most recent season, whether it was full of joy or maybe more difficult.
With that in mind, let’s take a look back at the verses we shared throughout December, viewing these through a fresh lens and how they can encourage us while entering into the new year.
“The Lord is not slow about His promises, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
Read this verse… and then read it again. Let the words sink in. God’s timing is perfect! He has never made a promise that He did not keep. Because of this, we can have confidence that God will bring us through any challenge, because the battle is already won. Victory is ours—and has been from the beginning!
Challenge: What is something you need to give to God and submit to His timing?
“For you are my lamp, oh Lord.” 2 Samuel 72:29
At the beginning of time, God said, “Let there be light” and there was light (Genesis 1:3). A declaration that God made thousands of years ago is still as powerful today as it was back then, as he continues to guide our lives and serve as the Light of the World. We encourage you to keep this verse close to your heart as you navigate this new year. Just like the light of the sun, God’s love for us is constant—it never fades. He is with us, and guiding us, in all that we do.
Challenge: What is one area in life where you can turn to the Lord for guidance?
“God is our refuge and strength.” Psalm 46:1
Strength goes far beyond our physical ability. It is an all encompassing word that has meaning in various areas of life: physical, mental and spiritual. Luckily, the measure of our strength is not up to us. Rather, it’s found in our perfect Father. God is our refuge and strength. He can bring us through anything if you call upon His name and trust in His unending strength.
Challenge: What is one way your can exercise your faith muscles this month?
“Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24
When a friend or family member is experiencing a tough situation, it’s easy to offer encouragement and support. Sometimes, when we are the ones going through difficulty, it can be harder to encourage and lift up ourselves, as we do with others. The good news? When we place our hope in the Lord, he gives us a consistent place to cast our worries. He is our powerful source of courage and strength, no matter the situation.
Challenge: Write down several hopes you have for the future. Challenge yourself to have the courage to give these over to the Lord.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8
God is good, all of the time. He is working all things for good and knows what you need before you even ask! Challenge yourself to rest in that truth. Take to heart the words “taste and see.” Those metaphorical verbs can become tangible senses if you allow yourself to be immersed in God’s love for you.
Challenge: What has God done in your life that made you “taste and see” His goodness? Share this with a friend over a delicious meal that you can really taste and see!
“Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5
“Out with the old, in with the new.” This is a phrase we all love to declare when a new year begins and we feel that changes are needed in our lives. Living a life contingent upon the hour of the day and the date on the calendar is not what God intended for us! He is a God of mercy, a God of renewed strength and unending love. With Him, you always have the opportunity to make a change and start fresh.
Challenge: What is weighing you down? Cast your burdens to the Lord. He can make all things new!