“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

(Hebrews 13:8).

A businessman had to travel to a small town for a meeting and he invited his wife to go with him. She was excited about the trip until she learned her husband would be flown to the small town in a twin-engine Cessna plane.

“Honey, I’ve decided not to go,” she said. “What! Why not?” “I am not going on a little bitty, twin-engine Cessna.” Her husband smiled knowingly. “Honey, your faith is too small.” She responded, “No, the plane is too small.”

The businessman really wanted his wife to go with him, so he cancelled the Cessna and booked their travel on a major airline. His wife was once again excited about the trip, not seeing that the object of her faith determined how much faith she decided to have.

The beginning of another year offers us an opportunity to look in many directions. A new year offers us the opportunity to look back on the past year, take stock of our lives and the choice to look forward to the year ahead with great optimism. The Scripture says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). So wherever we look, we can be assured that Christ is never far away - He stands in eternity, which has neither beginning nor end. Let us look back, look forward, look inward and look to Jesus.

Let us look back at the past year positively and thankfully. Acknowledge how far God has brought us as a people and as a nation and how far we still have to go. Last year was a difficult year, but we are still here. But for the grace of God we are here. We give God thanks for the evidence of faith overcoming doubt, hope overcoming despair, courage in the midst of suffering and eternal life overcoming death.

Let us also look forward to the year ahead with faith, hope and love. Love conquers all things. It is not a coincidence that the New Year comes right after Christmas. Christmas brings good news that God is with us and if God is with us who can be against us? In Christ we have a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Because God is with us we can look at each new day with keen anticipation and hope. Because God is with us we know that tomorrow is going to be alright. “He is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Let us also look inward. Take stock of yourself. Ask yourself: Am I where I want to be? Am I doing what God wants me to do? Am I growing in love with God and increasing my faith? Am I offering my time, talents and treasure to help the least, the last and the lost? Am I maximizing my potential or am I just taking up space and marking time? The Psalmist prayed “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24).

Finally, let us look to Jesus “the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2). In 2016 let us seek to spend more time with Jesus who endured the worst so that we can have the best – a personal relationship with God in this life and the next.

Imagine a conversation an unhappy kite was having with itself. The kite said, “If only I could get rid of this string. If the string was not holding me back, then I could really fly. I could fly above the clouds. I could fly as high as I want to. If I could get rid of the string, there would be nothing holding me back! I am limited by this string.”

One day the kite got its wish. The string broke. The kite did not fly high above the clouds. Instead the kite came crashing down. What the kite did not realize was that the string that secured the kite to earth, kept it up in the sky. Cutting the string did not free the kite. The severed string meant a downward spiral and the end of its possibilities.

Staying connected to Jesus in 2016 will keep us uplifted. Whatever we may encounter tomorrow, or next week, or next month or six months from now, let us look to Jesus each day growing more like Him in faith and love. He will see us through to new possibilities. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).

Pastor Mike