2016-01-06 / Religion

‘Facing the Impossible Challenges of 2016’

Inspiration

(Pastor James Scarborough, Donalsonville Assembly of God)

With Christmas behind us and the New Year before us most of us are rushing along preparing to face whatever lies ahead. But we would do well to slow down enough to reflect on what we have just finished celebrating and take time to allow the spiritual impact of it all to sink deeply into our hearts so that we can be strengthened and directed by it during 2016.

In Luke’s account of the birth of Christ, the writer included this comment: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, New International Version). Certainly the mother of the Christ-child had seen, heard and experienced a lot and she was unwilling to allow it to fade away without her deeply considering the immeasurable value of it all. May we, too, refuse to rush away from the lasting meaning of Christmas and dash into the new year without grasping what God has done for us through the lasting Gift that was born in Bethlehem. As we think upon those events surrounding the birth of Christ so long ago, there are some practical things that we can glean that can be of tremendous value to us in the new year.

One thing that we can glean from the birth of Christ is the example of good citizenship. Luke 2 tells us that the government of that day required the people to go to their home towns to register. Joseph did what he was supposed to do; he went to Bethlehem just as the law required. From that it is safe to say that Joseph was a good and obedient citizen. As we go through 2016, it should be our desire to be the best citizens that we can be by obeying the laws of the land.

Another thing that we can glean from the birth of Christ is encouragement to endure adversities with faith and obedience. Joseph and Mary entered Bethlehem as Mary reached the time when her baby was to be born, only to face the heart-breaking truth that they had no place to stay because there was no room in the inn. That had to be exceedingly disappointing, yet it did not deter them from continuing to obediently fulfill God’s plan.

2016 will have some disappointments and perhaps even some failures for each of us, but we can face them as Joseph and Mary did — with faith, obedience and determination.

Obviously no one knows what 2016 holds, but we can rest assured that God not only knows the future, but He is absolutely in control. As we trust and follow Him, even in a world that is full of uncertainties, we can gain assurance from the words that the angel spoke to Mary before the birth of Christ: “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). In the face of so many unknowns around us as we attempt to navigate through a world that is filled with adversities, it should put our minds at ease to be reminded that God is able to do all things. The birth of Christ is proof of that; our lives are living example of it as well.

As we leave 2015 and move into 2016, we can gain strength to move forward as we follow Mary’s example of treasuring the mighty works of God up in our hearts and thinking deeply upon them. No matter what the new year holds, God is able to do the impossible. What a peaceful truth!

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