2016: The Best is Yet to Come!
2016 is going to be amazing! I believe God is going to do some awesome things! Are you ready?
God Longs to Bless You
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29: 11
Many of us love this verse. It fills us with hope; hope that God is on our side and wants to bless us. And that is true. He does. He loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to take our punishment just so that we could be reconciled to Him.
And there is more to this story. After all, we don’t want to read it out of context. Let’s find out the rest of the story:
The Rest of the Story
“For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.” Jeremiah 29: 10-14
This message was given to Jeremiah the Prophet for the Israelites who were in captivity in Babylon. They had been under the reign of a bad king. They had been worshipping idols and had turned away from God. Now, God loves His people and it breaks His heart when they turn away from Him.
So, just like a wise, loving parent will allow his child to experience the natural consequences of his behavior in order to teach him a lesson, God lifted His protective hand from His people and allowed Babylon to capture them. God left them in “time-out” for a period of time to let them “think about what they had done.” But, He didn’t make them wonder how long. He told them exactly, through His prophet Jeremiah that there was hope. God wanted them to know that He was still there. He was still their God and they were still His people. Just like we are still there for our children, hurting for them as they go through their consequences, knowing that in the end, they will be better people for having gone through it. Although 70 years is a lot longer than 5 minutes in time-out, God knew exactly how long it would take for His people to return to Him.
God gives promises for His reconciliation with them after the 70 years. That they will call on Him and He will listen. They will seek Him and find Him. And God will restore them to the land that He had given them. God is so good!
Choose Life Choose Blessing
God gave us free will. He allows us to choose. Often we make bad choices. And often it takes us awhile to learn our lesson. Sometimes we make mistakes over and over again and continue going through the same consequences without learning the lesson. And our heavenly Father waits patiently for us so that He can bless us.
Another favorite Scripture reading of mine is Deuteronomy chapter 30. To summarize:
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:15-20
So, look back over 2015. Are there any lessons that God has been trying to teach you? Did you learn them the first time? Or did you spend a lot of 2015 in “time-out?” Just remember that God truly loves you, His dear child, and wants to bless you!
“For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12
What will you choose to make out of your 2016?
My choice, to quote Joshua,
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
I pray that you also choose God.
Please leave a comment below. We love hearing your thoughts.