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Pastor viewpoint: Got any plans for the New Year?

By Chaplain Tim Sackett, Transport For Christ

Ahh, a new year! What will we see in this new year? If you think 2017 was a shocker, what might happen in 2018? There's no way to really know.

In the Bible there is an interesting way that the apostle James looks at the future. In James 2:13-15 it is written, "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You're are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that'."

James is not trying to make our lives trivial by thinking that we are nothing but mist. He is helping us realize that we are often trying to live our lives on our terms, our plans and our schedules. New Year's Day is a very common day for us to make resolutions (or something that resembles a resolution). God has a better way for us to go about this. He loves it when we make plans. We can all prosper when we have a vision for something or even a yearning for something. The important message from James' words is to trust in the ways of God first and foremost.

In the Old Testament book of Proverbs, it is written, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." (16:9). There is another verse to support that one. "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." (16:3)

Whatever your tradition is for New Year's Day, make sure that all your resolutions and plans begin with prayer. Seek what God has in store for you. There are many people who seek out other people with "special powers"; people who are mediums or psychics for example. They are not working in accordance with God. There are wise people who can determine God's plans. The wisest people have read God's word and put their trust in it and in him.

As Christians who believe and trust in Jesus as our savior, we have many gifts from God. We have the gift of a new life which was given to us from our gracious savior. Within this gift of a new life are many more gifts. Knowledge of whom God is, a right relationship with him, and the faith to trust him are gifts we have because of this new life. Jesus called this his new covenant. In the church we use the phrase "new life in Christ." We know about this new life because it is explained in Romans 6:4 and 2 Corinthians 5:17. Everything we need in this life is based on the covenant Jesus made with us.

Now we can plan for the New Year and beyond. Make plans that will line up with your relationship with God. Let him determine your steps. Accept the covenant Jesus has offered. Then make resolutions with his help.