Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Happy New Year! I know many of us are excited about a new start and 365 days of opportunities ahead. Getting a new start begins with our attitude. We can’t choose what happens to us, but we can choose our attitude about it. How is our disposition currently? Are we negative or positive about what the future holds?
2020 provided many things to be negative about indeed! We were forced to be socially distanced throughout the numerous challenges of last year. Although it has been a trying time, it is important that we don’t draw back from God. Have the challenges of 2020 caused you to be socially distanced from God? A new year gives us a fresh opportunity to prioritize the things we need to, it is a great opportunity to hit the “reset” button if we need to in our relationship with God.
Q: What are your spiritual goals for 2021?
Learning through hardship
In Isaiah, God sent the Israelites into exile (In Babylon) for 70 Years because of their sin and it was a long, difficult, uncomfortable time for them. Being forced to quarantine and suffering the loss of loved ones and life as we knew it were difficult things to endure in 2020 and could feel like being cast away from God’s care and protection. When things are not going well, we can either fall apart or we can bring our broken pieces to God for the healing and guidance we need.
Check out this video from Bible Project on Exile:
For the first half of 2021 our theme as a church family is renewal. Just as God promised the Israelites that he would restore them and renew his relationship with them, his love for us never fails. Yes, God expects for us to do our very best in exile, but promises that he will come for us. He is our deliverance and prepares a way for us to come through hardship and be renewed. Spiritually, do we have faith in God’s sovereignty and trust him as our good Shepherd?
Questions for Reflection:
Q: How are you doing spiritually?
Q: In 2021, in what ways do you feel you need to reset spiritually?
Q: How is your relationship with your brothers and sisters in the church helping you to reach your goals?
Q: What area(s) do you not trust God with and need greater faith?
As we put a difficult year behind us, let us hold onto Jeremiah 29:11. God knows the plans he has for us and promises us an ever better future.
Thanks for reading this Christian Blog series: “Sermonized”. We will have a blog post every Monday ready for your quiet time!