Happy New Year! These are the words ringing from every direction today. Last night we kissed 2014 goodbye and said hello to a fresh new year. Some people were happy to see it go. Some were hoping the same good fortune of 2014 would follow them to the next. But whatever way we said goodbye to the old and hello to the new, what we all have in common is that this New Year is uncharted territory. Not one of us knows the twists and turns that may occur this year. Not one of us can plan for every detail or moment. Not one of us can even say that we will even be here when the ball drops again and 2016 is ushered in. Now don’t go getting all mad at me for saying the obvious. Don’t go and call me a kill joy because I am telling you the truth. How many of you could have ever predicted or planned some of the things that happened to you and your family in 2014? Well, of course you couldn't have! Now I know that sounds scary but that’s only when you are looking at it with the lights off. Let’s turn on the lights by putting God into our 2015 and then we have nothing to fear.
This past summer, for our anniversary, Dave and I took a trip up north. One day we took a hike in the woods. On that hike we had to step over roots, fallen branches and rocks so we wouldn't fall. There were paths outlined but they weren't paved. They were worn from others traveling on them but no matter what path we took, we still had to be aware of where we were walking. You would not have wanted to walk either path in the dark or else you would have gotten hurt. One of the paths led to a dead end and the other one led to a beautiful water fall. Dave and I found the path to the waterfall and followed it across an old bridge. We lingered on that bridge for a couple hours laughing, talking and snapping pictures and then we went on our way again. It was a really fun!
Life is like a walk through the woods, or if you want to be biblical you could say wilderness. We all are on a journey and the final destination will be determined by the path we take. Are we on a dead end trail or are we on the path to beauty?
Life is about forward movement. We count down to the New Year, 10, 9, 8 … but that's the only count down we do, the rest of the year we are counting up. We start with 1/1/2015 and end with 12/31/2015. We are counting up in years we have lived and counting up in the hours of a day. In some ways that giant ball drops like the button of a timer, and thus we begin our race through 2015. But what will that race look like? Where will we be walking? Or Running? Or will we chose to stay stuck, not moving at all? Will we strive forward on our life journey or will we linger and long for the past?
The path of the past we know and the path of the future is uncharted. Sometimes the path that we know we really don’t want to go down again. In fact, we will do just about anything to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes that we did before. Those mistakes, those trips and falls on our journey, are now in the light of the consequences of those steps. They are in the light of the past. They are familiar because we know the path. We learned from the bad outcome, or possibly even the good outcome, but we really don’t want to come that close to what could have happened. We don’t want to walk that path again because we don’t want to chance it. But the path before us, the future is uncharted. It looks dark and scary. So some of us will choose to walk down the familiar path over and over again until we know it by heart but it never leads anywhere new. We just end up in the same place over and over again.
Do you want a new destination for 2015? Well, then you need to take a new path. Stop going down the same one over and over again. Make a change. Come to the bridge and decide to cross over it.
The new path looks scary. We don’t know it. But did you know that God has given us a light for the path? His WORD! But light only works when it is followed. If someone you know has a flashlight on your woods walk, then you usually have them shine it in front of you and then you follow it. When you do that, then you are less likely to trip on something. Right?
God’s Word is meant to be FOLLOWED! In order to have this light on your path you actually need to do what it says.
Does that scare you? It shouldn't. It isn't hard. God has given us light, a map and an internal navigation system.
When I drive to a place I haven’t been before, I usually go to MapQuest and print the directions first. I take a look at the map and know generally where I am going. Then I plug the address into the GPS in my car. I know some people do not do that but I have had my GPS get messed up a few times so now I do both so I can make sure I am headed in the right direction. When I know the general direction after having looked at the map, then I can follow the GPS in my car. I listen to what the navigator is telling me and I do it. If it sounds like the GPS is off from the map, then I consult the map again. I also like to crank up the music in the car when I drive, so sometimes I have to turn that down so I can hear the navigator’s voice. If I don’t do what the navigator is telling me, or I have so much noise that I can’t hear the voice, then I will wind up lost, frustrated and likely late.
Well, the same is true for us and our journey through life. We need to look at the map of life which is God’s Word. We need to know where we are going and how to get there and He gives us very clear instructions in His Word. Then God gives us a GPS (God Provided Spirit) to help us navigate. That is His Holy Spirit. But let’s face it, sometimes we don’t listen to the GPS and sometimes we have too much noise in our lives to be able to hear it so it is always wise to have both the map and the GPS! But guess what, if you don’t go according to the map or the GPS, well you will likely wind up lost, frustrated and hopefully not late!
So where I started this blog post is where I am ending it. We are heading into uncharted territory. We have little to say about what twists and turns this New Year will bring. The road is unknown except by the one who has walked it before.
Wait a minute…is there someone who has walked the future??
Yes, in fact there is, His name is Jesus Christ. He is the only one that knows what the future holds. The only one who has lived the past, who lives today and also lives in our future. He is the eternal God of all heaven and earth and He is the light to our path. He is the one holding the flashlight on this woods walk. Will you follow the path He has worn? Will you follow His light? Will you listen to His Word? Will you turn down the noise in your life so you can hear the navigation system He has given you? Will you go in the direction He is leading you?
I won’t tell you that life will be smooth and without a few trips and stumbles, but I will tell you that He will be right there to help you back up and help you on your way. I will tell you that if you follow His path and the light that He is holding out in front of you that you will avoid a LOT of trips and stumbles. I will tell you that when you follow His path, you will come to something beautiful and it will be fun!
See, the path is not all that uncharted anyway. You have a guide who knows the way. In fact, He is the way.
So, do I seem like a kill joy? I hope not. Because true joy is found only in Christ. True direction in life, true beauty in life and true love is found in Him alone.
What will 2015 look like for you? Don’t go down the same old paths that will lead you to the same old thing. Do something new this year! You have nothing to fear with God guiding you! He knows the way. He knows the path. Follow Him and let 2015 be a happy year indeed!
The stop watch is ticking…NOW GO until He says, TIMES UP!
Here I go 2015! Thanks to Jesus I have nothing to fear! AMEN!
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children Ephesians 5:1
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? Galatians 5:7
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, Hebrews 12:1
Written by Sue Oberg:
Jesus Christ is my biggest passion. It is one of my greatest joys to share that passion with others through teaching, bible study, speaking and writing. It is my hope that others will know the love of God in Christ Jesus. But I will be honest, I didn't start out that way it has been a process that God has been working in me for quite some time. He takes the glory even for my passion. I have been a nurse for almost 28 years and now I am heading on to Seminary to follow the path God has shown me. Following Jesus was the best thing I have ever done! http://www.ontheottoman.com/