Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
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New Year Thoughts

            As we enter a new year we have much to look forward to and even more to be thankful for. Last year came with its trials and tribulations but God was with us and saw us through them. We must allow the trials of life to work what God wants, patience. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let  patience  have  its  perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  (James 1:2-4)

            Many will approach this New Year by employing New Year resolutions. This is a good concept, in that one must take inventory of himself, identify areas that need improvement and make the changes necessary to correct those things.

            We understand that we occasionally need change in our lives in order to correct things that are wrong or are lacking in our lives. This is the nature of man. Man lives in a physical world where nearly everything he has control of is ever changing. It has been this way since the beginning. Change is not always easy for all of us but it is always needed in order to comply with God’s instruction. When man first obeys the gospel he has to know that God requires a change in his life. During his service he is required to constantly grow or change in order to be transformed into the creature God desires. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

            God is a different being in that he is constant, unchanging and unwavering (Malachi 3:6). That is what makes God’s word so comforting. It is unchanging and it is the rock we can anchor our lives to. As long as we are changing in order to comply with it we can weather the storms of life and we never have to worry about losing our way.  We can look forward to a new year and the changes that are sure to come with it. We can actively pray and work to make these changes beneficial to God’s plan and take comfort in knowing that He will not give us anything we can’t overcome or endure as long as we pursue his will. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.  (1 Cor. 10:13)

            This year let’s all take inventory of our spiritual lives, identify the areas that need improvement and make the changes needed to separate ourselves from this changing world. All while securely holding to God’s unchanging hand and embracing spiritual growth. Let’s all resolve to not be the same Christian we were in 2015. Instead, let’s grow in grace and knowledge so that if we see 2017, inventory for 2016 will show us a more mature worker for the Lord. 

            "You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen"  (2 Peter 3: 17, 18).

 - Marc Hopkins