January 1, 2017
Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.
What better way to start off 2017 than in God’s house worshipping with God’s people? Our God is unchanging in his ways, and we can be confident that his faithfulness will not run out on December 31. We are not on our own as we begin the new year, for God is still on his throne, and still is for us, not against us.
God is at work among us at Grace, and there are some stories that need to be told. This coming Sunday we will have the opportunity to hear some of them, and respond by giving thanks for what God is accomplishing, even as our faith is strengthened for whatever 2017 may bring.
The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
This Sunday will be similar to Christmas Sunday, in that there will be a single one hour service at 10:00 a.m., with no childcare provided.
Making New Year resolutions is a venerable tradition. But they do tend to be a bit, shall we say, trivial. More substantial than weight goals. Matthew Henry (1662-1714) left us an example of how to set our hopes and dreams and expectations before the Lord, with eternity in mind.
As you consider a new year filled with opportunities, may the following resolves by Matthew Henry give you some ways to pray in expectation.
From the January 1, 1704 diary entry of Matthew Henry….
This New Years Day I have in much Weakness, and compassed about with many Infirmities, upon my Knees made a fresh Surrender of myself, my whole self, all I am, all I have, all I can do, to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, my Creator, Owner, Ruler and Benefactor; all my Affections to be ruled by the Divine Grace, and all my Affairs overruled by the Divine Providence, so as I may not come short of glorifying God in this World, and being glorified with him in a better World.
Confirming and ratifying all former Resignations of myself to God, and lamenting all the Disagreeableness of my Heart and Life therewith, and depending upon the Merit of the Redeemer to make this and all my other Services acceptable, and the Grace of the Sanctifier to enable me to make these good engagements, I again bind my Soul with a Bond to the Lord, and commit myself entirely to him; particularly, as to the Events of this Year which I am now entering upon, not knowing the Things that may abide me in it.
If this Year should be a Year of continued Health and Comfort, I commit myself to the Grace of God to be preserved from carnal Security, and to be enabled in a Day of Prosperity to serve God with joy.
If my Opportunities as a Minister, should be this Year continued, I commit my Studies, and Ministerial Labors at home and abroad, to the Blessing of God; having afresh consecrated them all to his Service and Honor, earnestly desiring Mercy of the Lord to be Faithful and successful.
If I should be this Year at any time tried with Doubts concerning my duty, I commit myself to the Divine Conduct, with an unbiased Desire, praying to know what God will have me to do, with a fixed Resolution by his Grace to follow his Direction in the Integrity of my heart.
If I should this Year be afflicted in my Body, Family, Name or Estate, I commit my All to the Divine Dispose; the Will of the Lord be done; only begging that the Grace of God may go along with the Providence of God in all my Afflictions, to enable me both to bear them well and to use them well.
If this Year I should be disturbed or molested in the Exercise of my Ministry, if I should be silenced, or otherways suffer for well-doing, I commit the keeping of my Soul to God as to a faithful Creator; depending upon him to guide me in my Call to suffer, and to make that clear, and to preserve me from perplexing Snares; depending upon him to support and comfort me under my Sufferings, and to bring Glory to himself out of them, and then welcome his whole Will.”