This week has always seemed to be a rather odd week to me, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. One holiday ending and another one right around the corner. The end of one year and the beginning of another. The media will be full of "year in reviews" for various subjects, i.e. news, sports, movies. There will be touching tributes to celebrities that passed away in 2011. In general, the week will be partly a look back on the year that was. But there will also be a great deal of this week invested in the practice of looking ahead...predictions for the upcoming year. These generally take the form of financial forecasts, political prognostications, and even some wacky predictions for the year. That’s what makes the last week of December unique. It’s the only week all year that we stop and "look both ways."
Spiritually we should always be looking both ways. One way, looking back at the many blessings that God has already bestowed upon us. For me personally, 2011's spiritual highlight was Teri and my trip to Lima, Peru with the International Commission. It was a fantastic experience as we shared the Gospel through various evangelical efforts. Below is a link to a video reflecting our ten days in Peru. Looking forward, I eagerly anticipate returning to Peru in July, 2012, for another mission trip. No doubt it will be just as meaningful, just as uplifting as this year’s trip. That’s how God works. His blessings just keep pouring down upon us. We should always look both ways, never forgetting what He’s already done for us, while having faith that He will continue to provide for us our daily bread, and more.
I think the past is something we can over-glorify at times. We like to call them the "good old days." We tend to think of things of long ago as somewhat better than the present. Truth of the matter is, while it’s nice to reminisce about pleasant memories, it’s also important to remember times, when, through God’s strength, we overcame struggles in our life. It’s those times that God shaped us, sharpened us, and shored up our faith. Any of these difficulties visit your home in the past 12 months?
**Family health problems
**Death in the family
If you’re like most of us, you dealt with at least one of these troubles in 2011. I have news for you: 2012 probably won’t be much different. Take the time to reflect on the blessings that you received when God carried you through these situations and let that reflection give you the faith to quickly turn to God when life strikes again in the coming year. That’s spiritually looking both ways.
I have been truly blessed throughout the past year. My wonderful wife suggested that I begin this blog in June, and through it I have heard from many Christian brothers and sisters, some from my past and some, no doubt a part of my future. I thank God for all of you and pray God’s blessings upon you in the coming year.
Our trip to Peru - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OhWaN98Kw4