2017 The year in quotes
"When I compare it to eternity, it's really not that…
I relish the coming of a new year, even if I cannot anticipate what the time will bring.
This past year was amazing, with many unexpected blessings. Back in 2015 I felt the pain of losing the wife of my youth. I went to Vienna, Austria, and explored how I could aid friends who were part of the Danube Church of Christ. I spent 10 weeks there in 2016 and rediscovered the joy of working with godly people.
Shortly after returning from Vienna, I began having meals with Linda Samples. We became good friends, and I was impressed by her faith and her strength in facing many difficulties life had brought her. We both realized that God was the most important force in our lives. I returned to Europe in November for the Euro-American Retreat and spent a month with the Danube church. During those weeks, I realized how God had blessed me by bringing Linda into my life, and I resolved to seek to spend the rest of my life with her. We were married June 1, and blessings continue.
A new year is a good time to take stock and make plans. Since I was 12, I have loved learning from the Bible. For the past two years, I have concentrated on Isaiah. During the first part of 2018, I plan to pull my thoughts together on that book. Then I want to begin to study Jeremiah.
The words of these Old Testament prophets help to reveal so much about the nature of God and his expectations. The messages from God are powerful invitations to know him better and to see how he continues working in our lives.
I urge every reader to plan for Bible study next year. Choose a topic to explore, or study a book of the Bible you don’t know much about. Do what will be challenging and nurturing. We must all keep growing closer to God.
Strengthening our relationships is very important. Since April 2015, I have been too focused on myself. In the coming year I want to make a greater effort to reach out to my family — my six children (three by marriage), 12 grandchildren (four by marriage) and five great-grandchildren.
But I want to expand my circle of relationships and strengthen ties with longtime friends and new friends. I know that close relationships are good for the mind and soul.
I encourage you to strengthen your relationships. If there are broken relationships, make a special effort to mend and repair those connections. We all need to develop the spirit of Barnabas, who was ready to help and encourage in every way possible.
I have always been active in my church. I teach one quarter each year, and that is beneficial for me and increases my understanding of God’s Word. But there are many other ways to serve that can make me more sensitive to the needs of brothers and sisters.
I need to broaden my knowledge of missions and the opportunities around the world to let people know the Savior.
Please resolve for 2018 that you will be more active with your church family and the programs which serve that community as well as the community around you.
Life is always changing and challenging us. We do not have control of circumstances, but we have control of our attitudes and our responses.
Do not simply drift through the new year, but with a heart surrendered to God, move through the New Year with purpose and resolve.
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