I am sitting here thinking about the last year. It was a full year. In many ways I look back at the year contented, but I am also aware that there can be so much more. Life was good, but it can be better. My relationships with God, my wife, my children, friends, and others can grow in quality and depth. My experience of life can be better and better. Where there is life there will always be growth.
When I look to the New Year 2011, I find myself thinking about growth. I see myself growing in my relationship with God, my connection to Jesus. I see myself growing in the quality and depth of relationship with my wife. I see myself connecting more with my children in mutually meaningful ways. I see myself moving more from the potential of all God’s realities in my life to experiencing those realities. 2011 is the next step in realizing these realities. The following verse from scripture gives me the hope, the confident expectation, that God has already prepared the way for me to grow. I want to hold His thoughts towards me in my heart and mind.
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 NIV
This verse speaks so much of the promise for the coming year. God, Himself, has extraordinary intentions for your coming year. The Hebrew word for plans refers to His thoughts, plans, devising, intentions and purpose. These are not fleeting ideas that just randomly pop in and out of His mind. These are carefully thought out and focused on. His intentions for you are not here today and gone tomorrow. He holds them in His heart and mind continually.
What are these thoughts, plans and intentions? The Hebrew word for prosper is the word shalom, usually translated peace. Shalom is a huge word meaning: completeness, soundness, safety, welfare, health, prosperity, peace, tranquility, contentment, friendship, etc. It encapsulates the idea of everything that life should be. The Greek word for shalom expresses a very similar concept: a tranquil state of being that comes from experiencing harmony, security, safety, prosperity, etc. God desires you to experience a quality of life that keeps getting better and better.
God’s thoughts towards you this coming year is shalom NOT harm. The word harm has to do with breaking to pieces, i.e. distress, injury, calamity, disagreeable, unpleasant, or giving pain, unhappiness and misery. Basically, everything that is not shalom. It is inevitable that this world will bring storms your way, but you can be confident that God will stay with you to lead you to shalom, even in the middle of each storm. He guaranteed this through what Jesus accomplished in His death, burial and resurrection.
Hold this reality in your heart and mind: God is for me, not against me. He esteems me and values me. He loves me. His intention for me is always SHALOM. In Him, my life is getting better and better.