How do you view this new year of 2023? Do you foresee a nightmare – or an opportunity?
Seeing and experiencing the difficulties of the present time, how comfortable did you find it to say or write Happy New Year to others?
Welcome to January's Word for the Month, and a special welcome to those joining us for the first time. May God bless you richly as you read on. At the end there is a prayer, and a blessing.
How blessed are we to be children of the living God! Everything has become new, and that includes the way we now view the world. In other words, our outlook, our perspective, our ‘take’ on all that goes on around us is different to that of the world. We have a dual perspective: the world around us, and the Kingdom of God. How we deal with that duality will shape our lives throughout the coming year.
Two men looked out from prison bars,
One saw the mud,
The other saw stars.
We have good reasons for Christian hope, but let’s be realistic and set the scene first. We all know that it isn’t a very attractive one.
We are surrounded by the loud voices of challenge and warning. What will Putin do next? Will this be the year when tactical nuclear weapons will be used on the battlefield for the first time? Will war with Ukraine spread into other European nations? What are the implications of Russia turning away from the West towards China and Asia?
Domestically, will the UK’s political and economic difficulties ever resolve themselves? Why do we find ourselves in such a mess? Whose fault is it? How will we get out of it?
So many people will find themselves hard pressed this year. High inflation, high taxes, rising living costs and reduced income (in real terms) will be a challenge for many. The choice for some really will be – to eat or to heat?
If we find ourselves primarily focused on those realities and fears, we could be forgiven for sinking and drowning in despair, depression, anger, negativity, and even desperation.
We cannot hide by pretending that the events of the current season are not real. We cannot bury our head in the sand and ignore the world. As Christians, we should seek to be well informed about what is happening around us, recognising the present challenges and grounds for the world being fearful. We then hide by burrowing into the mercy and grace of our heavenly Father, not leaving the world behind but taking the world with us and laying it before his feet with cries and prayers.
For the believer, while the state of the world affects us all – after all, it’s the environment we live in – it isn’t supposed to be the primary focus of our attention. That place belongs to Jesus, and to him alone.
We see all this well illustrated by the story of Peter walking on the water.
Let’s be real. A man climbing out of a commercial fishing boat into the sea and going for a walk – crazy and impossible. Goodbye Peter! Yet we read that when Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus, all was well. His eyes were fixed on Jesus, and Matthew records that Peter came safely right up to Jesus. (14: 25-33) He was safe.
But, having conquered the water and the fear of drowning, his attention drifted away from Jesus and onto his circumstances, and he became fearful because he saw the wind. Until then he had been looking at Jesus, but now the world had captured his attention by its noise. As a fisherman, he knew how dangerous the sea could become. He had found himself in a situation where he couldn’t survive. He began to sink…
Jesus acted. He had no intention of seeing Peter drown in this stormy environment. He immediately reached out and grabbed him, saying: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt”?
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, this new year will still be challenging, perhaps stormy, but as long as your primary focus is fixed on Jesus, those waves will be under your feet, not over your head. Look towards your Lord and put your faith in him for this year. Focus on him and him alone. He is your Saviour and Redeemer for this new year.
When the roaring wind of the world lifts its cantankerous voice, do not allow fear to overwhelm you, or you will begin to sink… stay looking steadfastly towards Jesus. He is the Lord over this coming year who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the tumult of the people. (Ps 65:7)
So how should we be looking at 2023?
With faith, trust, and hope. It’s an opportunity!
- An opportunity to rejoice more in God’s love for you
- To enjoy more of his mercy and blessings
- To explore his promises further
- To see more deliverances
- To walk in new victories
- To arise again by God’s grace every time you get knocked down
- For praying more outrageous, faith-filled, world-changing prayers
- For speaking out more blessings
- For sharing with others, whether financially, practically, or by giving the reason for the hope that is in you
- For calling out more workers for the harvest
Here’s how to embrace this new year in the present season, as in every season:
Make a New Year’s Resolution right now to –
- Keep your life focus on Jesus and on God’s faithful promises to you. Ensure that he alone remains your Lord.
- Make the world your prayer focus, NOT your life focus. Keep the world in its proper place, however loudly it shouts, roars, or screams. Never deny it. Pray for it.
- Engage with the world with mercy for those you can help, in all the ways you can,
for as long as you can, for as long as you live.
- Let the name of Jesus and the ministry of spoken blessing be like fresh mint on your
With your perspective determined like this, Roy and Daphne Godwin and team freely and confidently say to you – Happy New Year!
Heavenly Father, you alone are the King of Kings and the ruler of all. I look to you for strength and sustaining words for this coming year. Please help me to keep my perspective right. Sharpen my understanding of what is going on around me in the world and shape your prayers through me.
Lord Jesus, Saviour of the world, Lion and Lamb of God, help me to fix my eyes on you.
Holy Spirit, please help me to be faithful in life and witness throughout 2023. Help me to help others. When I begin to sink, lift me up and refocus me.
I bless you in the name of Jesus, that He might be with you throughout the coming year. I bless you that He might strengthen you and enable you to remain standing in any and every storm.
May He bless your resources and everything you undertake this year.
I bless you in Jesus name that you might end this year with stories of mercy experienced and fresh grace received, with songs of victories through Jesus on your lips.
If you have found this Word for the Month to be encouraging, would you please share it with others? Thank you. If you have any encouraging words for us in response to this Word, or to previous Words for the Month, please let us know through E: email@example.com
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© Roy Godwin 2022