So, God laid it on my heart to pen a New Year’s message.
While I do breathe a sigh of relief that this year is ending, unlike so many, I am not desperately fleeing the turmoil of the year 2020, feebly grasping to the carnal hope of a better, more comfortable year ahead. Running away is for cowards. No, I am not running from anything; I am running to a future brighter than I could ever dream (see Eph. 3:20, 1 Cor. 2:9, & Joel 2:28-29). These are the days that our Christian ancestors longed to see. I can hardly fathom a more exciting time to be alive!
“Wait just a minute,” you say. “What are you talking about? Just look at this world. It’s falling apart at the seams—a global pandemic, wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters, and America is standing on the brink of civil war. And you have the gall to call this an ‘exciting time?’ Are you nuts, or what?”
Well, maybe I am a bit zany, but in all seriousness, I have good reason to be illogically hopeful.
First, I must ask: Is your perspective dependent on your current circumstances or on what Heaven has declared over your life? You will always find reason to complain about where you are if you look with natural eyes, and that will always cause you to see incorrectly. Only if you allow the Lord to open your spiritual eyes will you be able to perceive the truth of what I am sharing.
Perhaps you endured immense pain this year and that is the source of your disbelief, despair, and anxiety for the future. You can’t even imagine a good outcome; you are just hoping something else bad doesn’t happen.
Maybe you lost your job or business or house. Maybe you lost a family member to that virus. Maybe you lost a friend to suicide. Maybe you are feeling depressed yourself. Maybe you experienced all of this and more. I know that no words can express your anguish, so I simply and strongly pray that the Lord will heal your hurt and turn this evil around for your good.
Yet, has it really been that horrible of a year for most of us? Has the world really fallen into an inescapable abyss? Or has the ugliness, the blackness of soul, and the cowardice of our leaders, both spiritual and secular, actually been revealed through all of this turmoil for our benefit? Has the shaking actually been allowed so that the god of this age loses his deceptive power over humanity in order for the church to pull in the end times harvest?
Indeed, I believe the crazy concoction of confusion, crisis, cruelty, and chaos that manifested in 2020 has done more damage to the kingdom of darkness than it even currently realizes. The virus that the enemy meant for harm actually revealed the powers of darkness that are controlling our nation and the world. The enemy attempted to isolate and divide, but God has used this to separate sheep from goats and to unite His remnant.
The enemy killed, stole, and destroyed, but I see the living God on the move. I see a Jesus who is coming to bring life and life more abundantly to this nation and to all the nations of the world. He is breathing the breath of Life upon this suffocating world until His Life overflows our lungs, spills onto our streets, births revival, and sparks a great harvest of souls!
Yes, this is the beautiful, irrational source of my excitement! I know that a colossal move of God is always preceded by colossal calamity. It is always darkest just before the dawn.
AHA! That’s it! As the darkness becomes darker, His Light shines that much brighter. “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you” (Isaiah 60:2).
The deep darkness does not frighten me. On the contrary, it energizes me, for I know the bleak blackness of this moment provides all the more opportunity for God’s power to break through all the more mightily and His Light to shine through all the more brightly. Across the world, divine providence has set the stage for a grand victory for those who have trusted their God above all else, while grand defeat awaits those who have stood against Adonai.
Those of us who are enduring to the end shall be rescued, redeemed, restored, and raised up. Yes, the Lord will bless His faithful bride before the watching world. But even if our Rescuer decides not to rescue the way we expect, even if it does not look as if we were rescued, we will never apologize for standing for God when we were told to bow to an idol. We will never recant our decision to glorify the name of Jesus, even if it becomes illegal to speak that wonderful Name.
Bringing glory to God is my highest purpose and ultimate goal—no matter what it costs, how it looks, or who it offends. What about you? Is that also your conviction?
If I have not yet communicated this clearly enough, then let me say this now: I am not unwilling or afraid to suffer for Christ. In fact, the more suffering I face, the better. Don’t get me wrong; I’m no masochist. I am just so in love with Jesus that there is nothing I will not endure for Him. In our diluted, westernized brand of Christianity, we are taught that pain and suffering are curses and to be avoided at all costs, but in truth, God wields tribulation as a sword to prune and purify our hearts and to prepare us for great exploits (see Phil. 3:7-11, Rom. 5:1-5, & Jam. 1:2-4).
As the year draws to a close, ask yourself: how has God used the trials of 2020 to clean me up, to skim the dross off my life? What parts of my heart still need pruned? Ask the Lord to reveal whatever might be hindering you from going deeper in your relationship with Him, your Creator who knows you better than you know yourself.
I know. I know. It feels too awkward, too personal. After all, how often do we consciously move beyond the surface and seek out the core issue? How often do we seek after the One who seeks after us?
Daily, we are haunted by our repetitive and seemingly endless losses, failures, mistakes and missteps. And even though Christ is the only One who can redeem us, we conclude that if only we can strive just a little more, we will be better and do better. So, we firmly resolve to lose weight, finish projects, get in shape, get a job, stay in touch with loved ones, make more money, eat better, parent better, study better, pray better.
Wait, where is God in all these well-intentioned plans of ours? I guess that’s the point, isn’t it? Where is God? Why does He always end up at the bottom of our lists? Why is He treated as a burdened afterthought, only to be afforded space in the postscript, if at all?
Why, when He is the solution to every issue we could ever face, do we take Him off of our heart’s throne and replace Him with worthless idols? If you are feeling convicted, that makes two of us. God does not condemn you for it, and neither does this unfinished project.
Together, let us repent of carnality and idolatry. This year, join me in giving Him the preeminence He deserves. Honor Him again by putting Him first in your life. Let your unswerving resolution be to serve the Lord and seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:31-33).
I encourage you to read the following resolution aloud and to make it personal. If you wish, print it out or save it to your phone and refer to it whenever you need encouragement or are feeling the temptation to give up.
Let all those assembled here now resolve:
Without God, there is no “getting better.” No amount of striving can fix what is broken inside us. No fleshly commitment or human resolve can right what is wrong in this world.
So, God. I resolve not by might nor by power, but by Your Spirit that I will not go into 2021 as the same person I was when I left 2020. Ruin me for you. Wreck me until I am beyond recognition. Whittle me away, until only You remain.
I will serve however You want me to serve You. I will suffer however You want me to suffer for Your Name. I pledge all that I am to You, even if it costs me my life. I pledge my life to the saving of souls.
I am an empty vessel, open to You only, ready and waiting to be filled with Your power and Glory. I will do great exploits for You in Your Name. I will be part of the remnant that shakes this world upside down for the Kingdom of Heaven.
I cast aside all the disbelief, doubt, and uncertainty, shedding fear like dead, useless snakeskin. I will not be overcome by evil; I will overcome evil with good.
Starting this year, I will love well. I will love the Lord my God with my whole heart. I will love my neighbor as myself. I will love more than I ever have before.
Christ died to make me free; He paid the ultimate sacrifice. Thousands of Americans also paid the ultimate sacrifice, so that I could enjoy the ability to worship You freely.
So, I fight for Your Name’s sake. I fight for righteousness’ sake. I fight for Your Kingdom to come, Your will to be done in America as it is in Heaven.
I declare that child sacrifice ends this year, that the last trace of the plandemic disappears this year, that godly, traditional family values will be restored this year, and that Your Name will once again be revered in the public square this year.
There will be no more tyranny, no more chains, no more isolation, no more spiritual wickedness in high places. Not in my land. Not ever again.
“Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:47).
In Jesus’ Name, I resolve.
P.S. If you have not yet invited Christ into your heart, there is no better time to do so than right now. If you want to experience the Love that heals bodies and hearts, if you want confidence, comfort, and courage to face the trials of this life, if you want not just a better existence, but a transformed life, if you want freedom from the curse of sin and death, if you want to know the One who made you and who loves you and who wants you with Him forever, don’t wait until tomorrow to say “Yes” to Jesus.
Don’t start making excuses. You know that you need this more than anything, and guess what—it’s free. You just have to reach out and receive it. Take the leap into the arms of Jesus today. Believe and do not doubt.
Say a prayer like this. Say it out loud if you can.
Dear Lord, I come to You as a sinner. I confess that I have sinned and fallen short of Your glory. I humbly ask You to forgive me. Thank You for loving me so much that you sent Your Son Jesus to die for me on the cross. I accept His sacrifice as payment for my sins. Jesus, come into my heart and make me new. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Today, I make you the Lord of my life.
I have died to my sin, and I have risen with Christ in His resurrection. I resolve to serve You with my whole being. I surrender my heart and soul to Your all-consuming fire because I know You don’t take anything without giving something even better in return. Help me to continually grow in faith and love. I want to know You better and deeper every day. Thank You so much for saving me and loving me! In Jesus’ Name. Amen!
Congratulations, brother or sister! You are now a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Happy New You! You now have a home in Heaven with Jesus forever! Nothing will ever separate you “from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:39)! Your future is so bright!
I highly encourage you to start reading the Bible every day. It is the inspired Word of God, and it is His love letter to you. Learn to hear His voice and follow His guiding.
And if you gave your life to Jesus here, I want you to share that in the comments. Be bold in the Lord! Your new family eagerly waits to welcome you in. We are here for you to support you in your journey of faith.
If any of you needs prayer for something in your life, please post it in the comments so we can all be lifting you up before the throne of grace. If anyone wants to share a prayer, please do that, too!
If you feel so led, please share this word with all your loved ones and across all your platforms.