Through It All...


Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, you children of his servant Israel, you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones. - ‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:8-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

To be honest, when we realize that 2018 is already over and 2019 came out of nowhere, we start to think about all the things that we could have done better. We start to remember all the things we wanted to happen in the year, that didn’t. We start to remember all the goals that we made, that we didn’t accomplish. We remember all the reasons that held us back from our aspirations. The feeling of disappointment becomes very heavy. So as everyone is making their New Year's resolutions and setting new goals for the year, you may be sitting there hopeless. If you’re anything like me, thinking about the past years may make you lose hope in yourself, in your dreams…. and in the long run, as you remain in this mindset, you may start to lose faith in your future.

Instead of all the regret of what you did or didn’t do, let’s try to reflect. Let’s reflect on what God has done for you and through you. It’s easy to start to think about yourself, and that’s where I believe we go wrong. When reflecting on the last year, we are thinking back but looking forward. Some people say to move forward and forget the past, but I believe we need to be able to positively think back on our past, so that we can move forward in the right direction with wisdom and experience for the year to come. Morgan Harper Nichols beautifully said it this way, “When you start to feel like things should have been better this year, remember the mountains and valleys that got you here. They are not accidents and those moments weren’t in vain. You are not the same. You have grown and you are growing. You are breathing and you are living. You are wrapped in endless, boundless grace, and things will get better. There is more to you than yesterday”.

If you have ever had any thoughts of failure, regret, disappointment or hopelessness, this message is for you. Don’t let the thoughts of any unfinished goals begin to sadden you. Take it from me and many close friends and family of mine that I have talked to about this, who have allowed these thoughts into our minds, leading to feelings of depression. Because of the Word of God, I now have a whole new perspective when reflecting on the past year. While we can’t know what is coming in this new year, we can find hope, peace and joy in God’s Word. Through Him we are able to maintain a positive outlook that things will be better in this coming year. 1 Chronicles 16:8-13, has helped me with reflecting on the past and what to do/how to frame this next year.

This is how I break down each verse in 1 Chronicles 16:8-13 for a hopeful, positive, and God-focused perspective..

Verse 8: Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done.

This verse reminds me to always give thanks to God for everything and set my mind on His greatness instead of my hurts or pains. It also reminds me to tell everyone about what God has done for me instead of complain about all the negative things in my life.

Verse 9: Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.

When reading this, I am reminded to sing his praises throughout the day and it will help me set my eyes on all the good things God is doing in my life instead of focusing on myself. It encourages me to tell my testimony. My testimony helps me reflect on how God has turned my mess into a message and the tests into a testimony.

Verse 10: Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord.

I am reminded that as the year has come to an end, I will rejoice in new beginnings. I know that the joy of the Lord is my strength, so as 2019 is already here, I choose to receive the joy of the Lord to be my happiness this year. He will get me through each day with peace and joy. Because of what He has done for me, I will always start each day with worship.

Verse 11: Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.

As I hear this verse, it lights a fire inside of me. It helps me to know that I don’t have to do it on my own. It’s okay to ask God for strength, and not just strength of my own but His strength. I need to be continually seeking Him, not just once a year at the beginning or end of each year, but all day, every day.

Verse 12: Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles and the ruling he has given,

This verse is why I reflect on the past year. It helps me to remember all God has brought me through, what He has done for me and through me. Even when I don’t feel Him there with me at times, I know that He is working on my behalf. I sit here remembering that through those times I had no money, my bills were still able to be paid. Those days I had no gas, somehow I was still able to get from place to place. I remember all the healings that I received this year, I remember the prayers that were answered even if it wasn’t in the way I thought it would happen. Remembering the past is good when you’re reflecting on the wonders He has performed in your life.

Verse 13: you children of his servant Israel, you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.

I love this verse so much. This is a reminder that no matter what your past year looked like, you are chosen. No matter what you might have messed up on or did last year, you are still chosen. Nothing takes away from the truth that you are God’s child, He has chosen you. God saw and knew how 2018 was going to look for you, and it didn’t change His mind about you. His love for you is so great and unconditional.

God is faithful. Through it all, He is always faithful. When we reflect on the past year, we’ll find that He has been with us, and even if we don’t realize it - He has been working in our lives. January 1st was the first blank page of a 365-page book; let God be the author. This year give up control of your future to the one who knows the plans He has for you - plans to prosper and not to harm you. To the hopeless, He has plans to give you hope and a future. Whether you had a good or bad year, remember that He makes all things new. As a child of God, your future is bright. Carry that light everywhere you go. 2019 is your year. Our best days are in front of you.

Reflection

1. Reflect back on 2018 and instead of thinking of all the bad or negative things, I encourage you to think of all the things God has done for you last year.

2. Along with reflecting on all the things God has done for you, I encourage you to think about all the things God has done through you this past year.

3. I also want to encourage you to tell your testimony to at least one person this week, maybe write it down or share it with your friends on social media. You never know who has been through the same thing or who needs to hear what you have to say.

Prayer

Father God, as I am reflecting on the year, I give You thanks. Thank You for being with me every day of the year. Thank You for guiding me and protecting me. Thank You for making all things new and for new beginnings. Lord, I ask You to bring all things to remembrance of what you have done for me. Help me to set my eyes on You and continually seek You this year. Give me strength and courage as I go into 2019. Give me wisdom from my past experiences and to positively use it this next year. I pray that each new day be filled with joy and happiness. I pray for Your peace to fill our hearts, and Your love to fill our lives. Remind me of Your presence every day this year. Help me to live the way I should as each day goes on. I trust in the plans You have for us in this new year. I exalt You Lord, I lift Your name up. I give You the glory for all the great things that happened last year and give You the glory for all things to come. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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