Clay Center, Kansas –A long time ago there was a King named David.  His Kingdom had grown, and he became great in the eyes of his people and surrounding nations.  One day he decided to take a census to see how large a Kingdom he had.  He was highly regarded as a godly man, but in this case, he neglected God.  David’s military general questioned the wisdom of the order, but David persisted so the census was carried out.  Eventually, David received his numbers and was pleased.  However, God was angry and severely disciplined David’s neglect and pride.

This ancient story from the Bible reminds me of our day.  The mainstream of thought being broadcast to hundreds of millions is to enter a new year without any consideration of God.  Through a casual survey of radio stations, articles, news items, podcasts and videos about the upcoming year, most of the content is godless.

The Scriptures give us advice on this saying, “Come now, you who say ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”  (James 4:13-14)

Neglecting to seek out God’s counsel in our decisions, is like not checking the weather conditions before heading out on a trip through the Rocky Mountains in the middle of winter.  Logically, it does not make sense.  God is our Creator and being so, it seems logical that we should go to Him for help.  He is all-knowing.  He knows about our problems and the burdens we bear more than we do.  He can see them in complete detail, knowing all the facts and solutions.  God is all-powerful.  No matter the challenges we will face in 2019, they are not too big for God.  He is the God of the impossible.  The God of miracles.  The God of the supernatural.  Nothing is a challenge for Him.  Additionally, God is mysterious.  No one can see Him.  He is an unseen Spirit that fills the universe.  However, He has sent us a Messenger to communicate to us what He is like – Jesus.  Do you wonder, “Who is this God I should be involving in my decisions?  What is He like?”  You can discover first-hand by learning about Jesus, His only Son, through the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Bible.  There you will learn about Him through the stories and teachings of Jesus. 

What you will discover is the main reason why we neglect to invite God into our plans, hopes and dreams.  It is us.  The pride and spirit of independence in our hearts resist yielding to the wisdom of God.  The writers and talkers all around us refer to believing in yourself and achieving your hopes and dreams.  They encourage this pride and independence.  But to receive all that God has for you, you must willingly lay down your life.

Jesus illustrated this, when He suffered and died on the cross.  He laid down His life, not for His own interests, but for the interests of God His Father and the multitudes of others, like you and me.  As a result, three days later, He rose again from the dead.  When we lay down what we want and choose to follow God’s ways, admittedly, there’s a high cost to pay, but if we remain faithful, there is also a great blessing.

A prayer for you to pray– “Lord God, as I begin a new year, I apologize for not always putting you first in 2018.  I often put my desires and plans first.  I am sorry for neglecting you.  Today, I begin a new year by choosing to turn from my ways and put my trust in Jesus and follow Him with all my heart, no matter the cost.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

Clint Decker is President & Evangelist with Great Awakenings, Inc. Hope for Today is a syndicated column that appears online and in newspapers from North Dakota to Texas. If this column has been a help, let Clint know atcdecker@greatawakenings.org.

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