Year 2016 - A Welcome Change

Year 2016 - A Welcome Change

2016

Each new day marks the end of the previous day and the beginning of a new one. Likewise does each week, month and New Year. Aren’t you glad to know that there are ends and new beginnings? I would imagine that not in each instance is there such a welcomed change especially when things are going well.  However, life is not the continuation of profit making, extended honeymoon, good health and just good news with no disappointment. Life is a mixture of good and bad. Nevertheless, the thought of a new day, week or month surely makes for good news after a challenging one. And more so the entrance of a brand new year represents a chance to fix some things of the old year, start all over again, make some changes and/or hopefully experience what some would prefer to say, “better luck.” Quite frankly I do not believe in luck, as I believe that God has a plan for our lives, which carries a sense of hope now and tomorrow. Therefore, notwithstanding whatever unfortunate circumstance of the past year, one can be assured that there can be a difference, not necessarily a year devoid of trouble and challenges but a positive outlook and hope of just knowing that I am in God’s protective care. He is watching over me, or in today’s vernacular, “He has my back.” So let the New Year roll in. Let the change take place. To ensure that we make the best of 2016, there must be a deliberate effort of ours.
 
Consecrate Yourself to God Each Day
For starts, I suggest that we begin each day in the New Year with God. If you are doing so then continue to make this a priority. Noted writer Ellen White counsels, “Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work” STC p. 70). A consecration of such recognizes one’s dependence on God and also one’s gratitude to God for life and opportunities. The Bible character Job understood the importance of time with God. He declared, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food” (Job 23:12 ESV). Time spent in daily consecration to God is not time wasted or lost. In fact, the benefits outweigh whatever sacrifices one makes. Certainly, this time spent lends to a new outlook on life or situations such as disappointment, illness or whatever comes. Connected to God enables one to see a way out and even blessings while others see despair. That is perspective for me. That is not being aloof to what is happening around me or indifferent. Instead, it is sensing the presence of God, which gives a calming assurance and remarkable hope. I can better appreciate Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (ESV). 
 
How Do We Consecrate Ourselves?
In consecrating oneself to God, begin by reading the Bible- preferably the book of John. You may start with just a few verses and move to a chapter. Next, just pray. Prayer is talking to God as “you would to a friend.” Don't worry about the fancy words, as you need not impress God. In fact, He already knows your heart. However, prayer changes us by transporting us into the very presence of God. Thereby your thoughts are bound to change. Your outlook on life can no longer be the same notwithstanding all the issues of life. It is not that you become immune, but you see God and the fact that He is still in control. Additionally, becoming connected to a church is important for nurturing. Choose one that will help you to grow spiritually and strengthen your faith in God.
 
Give Attention to What Is Important
Although we are busy people, we must make time for self-development, family, others and the job within the 86,400 seconds given to us each day if the New Year is to be better. Says a favorite author of mine, “If every moment were valued and rightly employed, we should have time for everything that we need to do for ourselves or for the world” (The Ministry of Healing, page 208).  Given the recent lay- offs at Bahamar and elsewhere, it is clear that persons need to be open to retooling and ongoing training to meet the needs of today’s employment. As for time for family, it is crucial as this is what many spouses and children need as opposed to the lavish gifts. I recall the following story of the little boy who asked his father, “Dad how much do you make in an hour?” Though reluctant, the father finally revealed the amount. The little boy got his piggy bank and counted his savings, which was less than his father’s hourly wage. He asked his father to loan him the difference. The boy then placed it with his savings and gave to his father the total amount for one hour of his time. I need not say more. Could it be that many of our young men wreaking havoc on society are lacking that emotional connection and feel devoid of love, appreciation and acceptance? Where did we as parents go wrong? Quality family time is a must!
Hopefully, in the New Year we will commit to regular exercise and a wholesome diet. A lot of the diseases prevalent among us could be avoided with basic lifestyle changes. I hope that with the proposed introduction of a National Health Insurance, a basic component would include educating citizens and residents of simple health steps. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not only committed to working with the government in this regard but launched in 2015 the initiative “I Want To Live Healthy.” Scores of persons have been trained to assist others in living healthy.
 It is equally important that we give an honest day’s work for an honest pay; and finally we need to get back to being communities. The more modern we become, we seem to lack a sense of community. We must remember that we are our brother’s keeper. I believe these simple but basic steps and principles, if embraced, will make for a great 2016.  Have a Spirit-filled New Year!