It is time to celebrate! We celebrate because we are loved! We celebrate because God is good! We celebrate because we are safe in His love! Let's celebrate with the Lord and His Word so that we can bring in the New Year with style!
Another year is over and a new one is about to begin. The world has its way of celebrating this transition, but God has a better way! No matter what has happened this past year, God has been faithful to you! Even if you don't believe that right now...it's true!
If only we could see with spirit eyes the battle all around us. Angels at war protecting our health, lives, loved ones, possessions, and honor. We can only see what God allows to make us stronger in Him, not all that He keeps the enemy from inflicting. I encourage you to enter 2009 with worship, prayer, and God's Word. Why not gather together sometime this week with other believers who are serious about the things of God. Seek His face together as the New Year begins. The ball dropping in Times Square was not the highlight of our New Year's Eve celebration. Worshiping Jesus was the center of our celebration!
Jesus is our Promise Keeper! He has protected you this past year from untold tragedy, misfortune, and peril. We look at all that has happened, but so often we don't think about what might have happened. Maybe you lost your house this past year, a terrible thing, but you still have your family. Maybe you lost a loved one this past year, but you are not here in this world alone. Imagine the destruction that could have come your way that the Lord prevented.
We spent our evening last night with dear friends who love Jesus too! Early in the evening, we played games, laughed, and told jokes! Of course, there was delicious food like bean dip, cheese balls, and haystacks. As midnight got closer, we shifted gears and brought out our Bibles. We took time to thank God for all He's done for us (even what we couldn't see!) in the past year and shared a Scripture that was meaningful. Then someone got out the guitar and we worshiped until midnight. 2009 arrived while we were taking communion with one another--it's our tradition! We treasure this time each year as a way of looking back with thankfulness and looking forward with hope.
Beside my celebration with family and friends, I will have a personal celebration with the Lord. I will look back and evaluate the past year in terms of my obedience to Him. You see, I don't evaluate the Lord, I evaluate myself. Am I living for Him in a way that is honorable and upright? Is my heart pure? I will pull out my goals from last year and see which have been met and which are still in process. Each year that same goal to lose ten pounds hits the list, but others are different. They are related to my walk with the Lord, my relationship with my husband and children, mentoring ladies, friends, extended family, leading worship, homeschooling, writing, health, finances, and, even, my dreams. These goals are just between the Lord and me, but they matter to both of us. I really try to hear from the Lord as I make out my goals for the next year. Our God is good! We don't always understand His ways in our lives.
"When they had gone, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. 'Get up,' he said, 'take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.' So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'Out of Egypt I called my son.' When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 'A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.'" --Matthew 2:13-18
Mary and Joseph had just experienced one miracle and prophetic word after another, and, then, God speaks. He tells them to flee for their lives! What? The Messiah has to be protected? Isn't He God? By obeying the Lord, Jesus' life is spared, but many lives are taken. When destruction is raging, it is so important to incline your ear to hear from God. He will give you a path, but you must set time aside to listen for His voice.
When we hear the voice of the the Lord and follow Him, we stay in His protection. Each stage of life has a season. It is important to stay in God's will at all times, in every season. Don't be afraid! After a season, God again spoke to Joseph in a dream and told him that he could bring Mary and Jesus back to Israel. They settled in Nazareth and enjoyed the favor and blessing of the Lord. Be filled with faith as you welcome 2009! Remember the promise in Jeremiah 29:11--God has plans to prosper and not to harm us; plans to give us a hope and a future! We have every reason to celebrate! So, let's celebrate the New Year with Him and with the ones we love!
Here are some recipes to try!
EZ Bean Dip
3 Large cans Refried Beans 5 pound brick of Velveeta cheese
1 Large jar Salsa Tortilla chips
In a large crock pot, combine beans, cheese, and salsa. Set to high and let cook until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to "keep warm." Serve with tortilla chips.
EZ Cheese Ball
8 oz. softened Cream Cheese 1 envelope Onion Soup Mix
2 cups sharp shredded Cheddar Cheese
Mix ingredients together. Roll into a ball. Chill. Serve with crackers.
2 Cups semisweet Chocolate Chips 12 oz. Peanuts
2 Cups Butterscotch Chips 20-25 oz. Chow Mein Noodles
Melt the chips in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the nuts and the noodles. Drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Cool. Store covered in refrigerator.
May God bless and prosper you in 2009! May all you goals and dreams come to pass in His perfect plan and timing!