Thoughts to start the New Year
Don’t let mistakes of the past blur your vision for the future. Focus on the good to come.—Mottos for Success (MFS)
A story is told of an elderly woman who slipped and fell on a busy street. Several people quickly went to assist her, but she was already struggling to hoist herself up. “I’m all right,” she assured them. “I always fall forwards, never backwards.”
When we’ve “taken a fall,” instead of dwelling on the mistake or hurt, we need to make it a fall forward by learning from it and looking to the future.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on … forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.—St. Paul, Philippians 3:12–13
I am willing to go anywhere, anywhere, anywhere—so long as it’s forward.—David Livingstone (1813–1873)
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.—George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)
Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.—William Carey (1761–1834)
“When you pass through the waters ... they shall not overflow you.”1 God doesn’t open paths for us in advance of our coming. He doesn’t promise help before help is needed. He doesn’t remove obstacles out of our way before we reach them. Yet when we are on the edge of our need, God’s hand is stretched out. Many people forget this and are forever worrying about difficulties which they foresee in the future. They expect that God is going to make the way plain and open before them miles and miles ahead, whereas He has promised to do it only step by step as they may need. You must get to the floodwaters before you can claim the promise.
I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”—Isaiah 41:13
Faith gives us courage to face the present with confidence and the future with expectancy.—MFS
A teacher took her primary school students to the assembly hall for a lesson with a difference. Standing at the foot of the steps leading up to the stage, she asked, “Is anybody good at jumping?”
Quite a few young hands shot up.
“Well,” she continued, “could any of you jump from the floor here up onto the stage?”
No hands went up this time.
“I can,” said the teacher, “and I’ll show you how.” Beginning at the foot of the steps leading up to the stage, she hopped onto the first step. From there she hopped onto the second, and so on until she reached the top.
Many things can only be accomplished little by little, step by step. When a task looks daunting or the way ahead too steep, just take it one step at a time.
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.—Hebrews 12:1–2
Commit your life, your plans, your hopes, your dreams, and your fears to God through prayer every day. In return you will have peace in your life.—MFS
Never hesitate to trust the unknown future to a known God.—MFS
A family had a few apple trees at the bottom of their garden. The trees yielded more fruit than could be eaten immediately or given to neighbors, so some needed to be stored for the coming months.
One fall, little Tommy was finally big enough to help his mother store the apples. They had been picked and piled up in a basket with care, as bruised apples will spoil. Now it was time to transfer them to storage racks in the cellar.
Tommy, eager to help, put his arms around a dozen shiny apples and tried to carry them over to the rack. To his dismay, one by one the apples dropped out of his arms until they were all on the floor.
His mother wasn’t too worried. “Here, let me show you,” she said gently as she put his hands around one apple. “Take this one and put it over there, and then come back and get another one.”
Too often we try to put our arms around a year or a month or a week, but God tells us, “Take it a day at a time.”2 We aren’t equipped to carry all of our future cares at once, but we can if weface each challenge as it comes.
As your days, so shall your strength be.—Deuteronomy 33:25
The New Year is set before us like an unwritten volume, all of its pages blank. Let us write upon each day’s page things that at the end of the year we will look upon with rejoicing rather than regret.—MFS
The world is a book and every step turns a new page.—Alphonse de Lamartine (1790–1869)
The path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.—Proverbs 4:18 1
1. Isaiah 43:2
2. Matthew 6:34