"New Beginnings"

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By: Emily Watkins, Age 17

She Speaks Conference Graduate

Jeremiah 10:23, “I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps” (NIV).

As I write this devotion, I am tempted to get out my notebook and write down my goals for 2009. Making daily to-do notes is a habit of mine, and New Years is the best time for coming up with gigantic resolution lists! Oddly enough though, this time I could not even jot down one sentence. As soon as I took my pen in hand, I felt God speaking to me: “Stop! Wait a minute! What about Me?” He wanted me to take into account His plans for my life in the coming year. Who am I to think that I am wise enough to “direct my steps” anyway (Jeremiah 10:23, Proverbs 20:24)? After all, hadn't I given my life to Him? Hadn't I asked Him to reign in my heart?

In His kindness the Lord reminded me of my weakness and dependency on Him. God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, knows the beginning and end of all things. In comparison to His wisdom, mine looks like a tiny grain of sand. In His love He formed me, and I am merely clay in His hands (Psalm 139:15-16).

I don't want to hold my future, which was never mine in the first place, in a tight grip. Jesus told His disciples that “whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it” (Matthew 16:25, NIV). I want God to be in the driver's seat.

All I can say this year is: “Lord, here I am, Your servant; this year is in Your hands.”

I want to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength while I wait for His perfect timing on everything in my life (Mark 12:30).

My family and I have just moved back to the U.S. from Poland after having lived there 16 years as missionaries. This season has been one of major change, having to wave goodbye to my friends and city and start afresh with new places, experiences, and relationships. One chapter of my life has ended and another is just beginning. It's saddening to leave so much behind, but it's exciting to look ahead. Similarly, as we look to the New Year, sometimes we have mixed emotions. We don’t always want to leave behind the familiar, but at the same time we’re excited and hopeful for what the future holds. Moving, whether from one house to another or from one year to another, is an adventure and we don’t always know what the outcome will be. Thankfully, however, God does and He desires to guide us on the journey.

I encourage you to invite God into your plans as you look ahead into the new year. Ask Him into your heart and let the Holy Spirit guide you as you step into a new season. May we not lean on our own understanding, but instead trust Him with all our heart and allow Him to direct our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 10:23). May God, the Creator, further mold us, His clay, into His own all-perfect design.

We are just in the beginning of the beginning of our walk with Christ and there is so much more that God wants to show us! May he reveal more of Himself to us in 2009 as we completely surrender to Him and to His plans for this new year!

My Prayer for Today:

Father, thank You so much for a new year and a new beginning. Thank You for the blessings of family, friends, and the sacrifice of Your Son. Lord, I give You my heart this year – for that is all You desire. I trust in You to direct my steps. Thank You that no one whose hope is in You will ever be disappointed (Psalm 25:3)! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

For Such a Time As This, by Lisa Ryan

Want More Life?, by Natalie Lloyd

Think About It:

What do you like about new beginnings?

What does it mean to surrender your will to God? Why should we do it?

What are the things that may keep you from experiencing all God has for you in 2009?

Live It:

Write down some things, people, or situations that you are thankful for this year, and praise God for His blessings.

Surrender the new year to the Lord and ask God to give you a greater understanding and hunger for Him.

Instead of making a list of New Year's resolutions, ask God to speak to your heart and reveal His plans for this year. Write down anything you hear Him saying to you.

Power Verses:

Psalm 139:16, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (NIV).

Philippians 1:6, “…Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV).

Psalm 127:1a, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain” (NIV).

© 2008 by Emily Watkins. All rights reserved.

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