Looking Ahead

Dec 10, 2017 | The Chuck Wagon

Hello again. I hope you’ve had a great week. I’d like to start by asking a question: Are you excited about 2018? In my experience, most people when asked that question will come back with one of three answers:
1. No, not really
2. Yes, let’s just get this year over with
3. I haven’t thought about it
Even though answer #2 has a positive tone to it, all three of those attitudes have the potential of keeping next year from being any better than this year was. And let’s face it, even if this year was really good for you, I’m sure you would like next year to be even better.

All through the Scriptures, God tells us He is with us regardless of what our present circumstances might seem like. Even during a particularly long season of struggle, He is there to see us through. One of the Bible’s well-known verses that assures us of this is found in Jeremiah: “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11; NASB) As great and encouraging as that is, there is even more encouragement when we look a little closer.

Israel was in exile in Babylon, not a pleasant place to be. We all have our periods in life when we feel like we’re in some sort of exile. God was speaking through Jeremiah to the Israelites attempting to get them to stop listening to the false prophets that were telling them their misfortune was going to end soon. It wasn’t going to end soon, but God arranged for them to sustain, and even prosper to some extent, during their time in exile. He tells them “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.” (Jer. 29:7; NASB) The Lord is telling them that if they pray for those who have taken them captive, and for the place they’re being held captive, they’ll have welfare there. That’s incredible! Even though they were about to go through one of the worst periods in their history, God was going to provide welfare for those who would pray on behalf of the city they were being held captive.

He still does the same for us today. He is with us through the good times and the bad. He has a plan for each of us. It includes a future filled with hope and prosperity. In the Psalms He tells us that if we do not stand in the path of sinners, but meditate on His Law, He will give us strength to prosper in whatever we do (see Psalm 1:1-3). Your prayer life will dictate how 2018 will go for you. Even if there seems to be trouble all around, the Lord can bring you through it with hope and prosperity. Start your new year prayer plan now. If you don’t have one, make one. Then make a conscious effort to follow it. The blessings you’ll receive from the effort you put forth will be countless.

Have a great week and God bless.

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