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Through the goodness and mercy of God, we stand at the portal of another year. Like you I cannot help but look back at 2020, reviewing the many testings, trials, trumphs and even defeats and failures. While doing so, we attempt to look into the next year of 2021. We don’t know what surprises or sorrows are in store for us, but we face tomorrow full of hope. Isaiah gives us hope for a happy new year. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness (Isaiah 41:10). Isaiah gives us three reasons why the Christian does not have to fear but be encouraged and have hope.

  1. God’s Presence: “I am with thee.” - The all-powerful, all-knowing, always present and all loving God is with us. His wisdom and power go before us and will lead us into the New Year.
  2. God’s Relationship: “I am thy God.” - We are the sons and daughters of God. He is our God and He loves His children. God’s love is why I have hope and He is the One I love, and the One I obey and give reverence and honor.
  3. God’s Promise: “I will strengthen thee”, “I will help thee”, “I will uphold thee”. Isaiah shares this three-fold promise and as we move into a New Year we can rely on God’s strength that He will give us courage equal to anything we face.

We are encouraged by what God will do. God will fortify our hearts as we face any trials, afflictions or suffering. He will shield us in the battles, meaning He will join in the conflict and actually fight for us. God will hold us up in work, fellowship, honor and in all we do in 2021. God will hold us up with His right hand. The right hand is usually the hand we hold out to work with others. We use the right hand to shake others hands and on whom we wish to place honor. We NEED EACH OTHER!!! We can rest and depend on Him as we face a New Year. When the need arises, God will meet those needs. When our enemies appear, He will defeat them. When the clouds linger low, God will dispel them. May these verses encourage us as we see what God will do.

2020 has certainly been a challenging year. One like we have never faced before. We have been challenged with COVID, and with this pandemic we have seen changes in how we do church. We have been challenged by life and death. We have been challenged with what is next as we walk together in these last days. We are challenged by not knowing what we may face in 2021 and we ask, what next? I can’t see into the future. I cannot tell you this year will be better. I believe the New Year will bring more challenges because every New Year does. I am deeply encouraged with what God will do and His promise in Isaiah 41:10, but our greatest challenge is going to be what will we do?

We will continue to be a Great Commission and Great Commandment denomination. We must obey Jesus command. Our greatest joy is to see others come to know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord. Let us:

    G - Grow
    R - Build Relationships
    E - Equip and
    A - Assimilate the Christian Army and
    T - Teach and Preach God’s Word with relevance.

Yes, we will continue to be a G.R.E.A.T. church and denomination. One committed to the Great Commission and Great Commandment.

We need to LOVE one another. We need each other. You encourage me to keep going and persevere. You challenge me to be stronger, wiser and better than I could be on my own. I believe we can do more together. I love you and I am thankful for everyone of you. An army prevails when they fight, fellowship, and serve one another. They depend on each other and put their fellow soldier before themselves. I pray we Love one another.

The greatest thing each of us can do is found in Hebrews 12:1-2. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

We are in a race.

  1. I pray we are motivated by the cloud of witnesses that remind us we can not only run the race but finish our race. Don’t give up, keep on running for along your race there are those who encourage us and give us the strength and desire to persevere.
  2. I pray we run a successful race by laying aside every weight. The weight that can become a burden and hinderance as we race heavenward. There are all kinds of weights. The weight of worldly ambition and prosperity. The weight of sorrow. The weight of service and ministry and the weight of bitterness. Lay aside every weight and the Sin that so easily besets us. Any sin is too heavy for us to finish the race. I pray we lay aside every weight and sin that so easily hinders us from running our race successfully.
  3. I pray we “Look unto Jesus.” We must look unto Jesus for He is our hope as we enter into a New Year. My prayer is that we do not get distracted by all that might happen in 2021. Let us stay focused on the race we are to run. Look unto Jesus for He is our healer, our help and our hope.

We need each other. Let us love one another. I found this prayer for such a time as this.

Pray:

To Have Eyes That See the Best In People.
A Heart That Forgives the Worst.
A Mind That Forgets the Bad,
And A Soul That Never Loses Faith IN God!

Dr. Mike Holbrook
General Superintendent