2013 — Blessings or difficulties?

A friend asks for a good verse for the coming year. How about a Bible filled with verses of wisdom and guidance.

We do not know what the Lord has in store for any of us in this coming year. We do know that the Lord is able to meet our every need. Therefore I think a couple of good verses to keep in mind this New Year could be Philippians 4:12-13. These read: “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

We all hope for a great year — if not prosperous, still happy and good. No one wants to think there might be hard times ahead. Can you trust God in good and in hard times?

Might there be difficult times ahead in 2013? No one is likely ever to be called on to endure such sufferings as the hardships experienced by the apostle Paul. He summarized them as follows: “… in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I 40 stripes less one (39).  Three times was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep. In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren. In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” (II Corinthians 11:23-27).

The apostle Paul had suffered all of these things and in each case, he found the grace of God sufficient. All of this was still several years before the end of his ministry that finally was terminated by months in a miserable Roman dungeon and then execution by beheading. Yet he could still say, very near the end: “The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work … Grace be with you. Amen” (II Timothy 4:18,22).

Our own problems, whatever the coming year might bring, will surely be trivial in comparison. The probability, the fact, is that our blessings will be much greater than our burdens. But, in any case we can say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

And Paul could count on God’s promise: “My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9).

If your trust is in the Creator God, the God of the Bible, who alone does wonderful things, you can face this year with peace of heart. Because He is faithful who has promised. Promised to give us eternal life through Jesus Christ alone. Promised to be with us, to guide and help us.

If you have a Bible question, write to Pastor Lenard Huebscher, Grace Baptist Church, 12721 75th St. North, Stillwater MN. 55082, or call 651-430-3132.  www.stillwaterbaptist.net.