Happy New Year! Hard to believe it is 2015. It is quite amazing when you think about it that another year is in the history books and you contributed to the greater story. That’s right – every action you make has an outcome that impacts potentially generations to come. It is not our story but HIS story we are blessed to be a part of – “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” (Jeremiah 29:11). I am especially blessed to know that God directs our path and every day is purposeful and strategic despite ourselves. He takes our mistakes and our successes, our aspirations and our trials and all are building materials in the Architect's hands: “A man's heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
It has certainly been a year of trials and tribulation both at home and abroad. The moral and spiritual decay of our nation has impacted every home and has left none unscathed. Yet we find our hope in God and it is through Him that we stand boldly at the front line seeing victory and not defeat. You have persevered in prayer – day and night you have given the enemy no joy in your countless words of petition on behalf of our nation, accompanied with powerful expressions of praise that are a sweet aroma to the nostrils of the Most High. Many of you have taken blow after blow yet you have demonstrated unwavering faith and determination to hold the standard high. In your presence I am often reminded of the words of Theodore Roosevelt who said:
It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
This year, the theme for the National Day of Prayer is “Lord, Hear Our Cry” and what a powerful statement to make – a beacon to this lost and wavering society that we must return to the God of our fathers in humble intercession. Abraham Lincoln said it best, “I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.” For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name (1). There is but one just use of that which He has given us, and it is to advance His will. May we always remember that it is not our will but thy will be done.
The Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us; so that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways... that all peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other (I Kings 8:57-58, 60).
Happy New Year!