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Resolve to Rejoice

As 2008 stands ready to unfold, I wanted to share with you some sage advice I read in an article recently. The author suggested that we "resolve to rejoice" in the new year.

We're all probably familiar with Paul's command to rejoice: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" This isn't always easy to do. In fact, it can be downright difficult when we feel as though we're stuck in the quicksand of life's problems, some of which can be quite serious. We're reminded, though, that Paul wrote those words while in prison on trial for his life. He is obviously not referring to the outward circumstances in life!

Regardless of our situation, we have much about which we can rejoice. The writer points out just a few: the fact that we have a Savior who loves us, the knowledge that our sins are forgiven, that we have the Word of God to guide us, and the Holy Spirit to lead us through each day.

The article went on to remind us that, while we have no idea what the coming year has in store for us, we should not be afraid. Are we on the brink of a recession? Will the dollar continue to be devalued? Will the mortgage mess throw us into even more financial turmoil? What will happen in Pakistan following Bhutto's assassination? Will losses in the market continue to chip away at my investments? Will I lose my job? Will my business fail? Will my loved ones struggle? Will someone in my family face death or serious illness this year?

Christ tells us to "fear not." We may (likely) face challenges or difficulties in 2008; however, the writer reminds, though, of the certainty that God is with us today and tomorrow. His word remains.

Whatever our circumstances, we can be optimistic as we prepare to begin the new year. We can be confident and we can put smiles on our faces. We have a great God - and He walks with us. As the article suggested, "Chin up, child of God! Take your troubles, wrap them up, and give them to the Lord." Let us all throw open the doors to God as we prepare to journey through 2008.

The year will not be without trouble, but it will be great nonetheless, because we don't walk alone. We remember His promise: "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Each year at this time we repeat the verse written nearly 100 years ago by Minnie Louise Haskins, The Gate of the Year. Particularly in the context of the twin messages to "rejoice" and to "fear not" as we prepare for 2008, it seems quite fitting:

"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.'"

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