How to Face an Uncertain New Year (Part 2)
New Year, new you! 365 new opportunities! What other saying often accompany the new year? In part one of this blog series, we learned that the new year can actually be a time of fear for many people. But, how do we move ahead into 2018 in spite of our fears?
Read part one if you missed it, HERE.
We learned that in order to face an uncertain future, we must set up a plan. The second thing we have to do in order to face an uncertain New Year is:
2. I Stay In The WORD
Joshua 1:7 Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.
Don't turn to the right or the left. What does he mean? Don't get sidetracked.
You can take a little switch and flip it and move a giant train from one track to another. If it's easy to sidetrack a train, it's easy to sidetrack a life.
Why is it that some people start out so good in the Christian life then get sidetracked? God gives the answer: they didn't stay in the Word. They didn't stay in the Bible every day.
Coming to church every week is not enough. That's like eating one meal a week; you need to eat every day. How healthy would you be if you fasted six days a week and then on the seventh day you pigged out? You'd have spiritual indigestion! You need to read the Bible everyday, feed on it everyday, not just have a big feast at Sunday dinner.
Joshua 1:8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
God's promise of success is based on our commitment to His word. Why? The word of God is the owner's manual for life. These are the operating instructions for life. When in doubt consult the owner's manual!
So God says, set up a plan and stay in the word. Joshua was a busy man leading a nation of a couple million people, but he made time to set out some plans and to stay in the word every day.
Proverbs 16:1 (MSG) Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.
We always want to get the last word from God before we go make a decision. If we're not reading the Bible everyday and thinking about it, meditating on it and talking about it, we might miss that word.
3. I Step Out In FAITH
I like the word "step out" because faith is action. Faith is not just believing something. Faith is action. You can believe a plane is safe to fly, but you don't have faith in it unless you get on board. You can believe a chair will hold you up, but you don't really have faith in it unless you sit down in it.
It's an action step. It's more than just saying, "I believe." More than just believing IN Jesus. So does the devil. It means more than just knowing about Him; it means committing yourself TO Him, letting God be number one in our life, calling the shots, the CEO, the chairman of the board, helping us make the right decisions.
Three times in this chapter God says to Joshua, "Be strong and courageous." Joshua needed courage. What is courage? It is not the absence of fear. Courage is when we move ahead in spite of our fear. If we're not afraid then we don't need courage. We need courage when we move against our fear.
When you want to possess your future, do the thing you fear the most. How do you get rid of fear? Move against it.
Joshua 1:9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Afraid and discouraged are the two enemies that will keep us from possessing our future. They will keep us from becoming all that God wants us to be.Fear keeps us from getting started. Discouragement keeps us from keeping on, keeping on.
The bottom line is it is fear that keeps us in the desert. The actual number of days it would take to walk from Egypt to where Israel is when Moses led them from Egypt to go into the promised and was just a couple of weeks. But it took them 40 years! They were wandering around in the desert. They came up at the first and they were afraid. They wanted to go back to Egypt: it was painful there, but at least safe -- they knew what it was like. A lot of times we go back to painful situations because we know it's predictable rather than force the issue -- get counseling -- move into the promised land.
Literally he said, “Step out in faith.”
You have no way to control the future. We don't even know what it is much less control it. But the good news is, God is in control.
The name Joshua means savior, deliverer. Several thousand years later, God told another mother to name her baby Joshua. God told Mary to name her baby Joshua. Jesus is the Aramaic phrase of Joshua. They are the same name in different languages. Jesus would be a deliverer, a savior, just like the first Joshua. But the second Joshua -- Jesus Christ -- doesn't want to take possession of a piece of land. He wants to take possession of your life. He wants to be your deliver, guide you through an uncertain future. He's been there.
Phil. 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.