Happy New Year, RWJM

By Rev Don Rivers

Here we go again, one more time around the sun. With the beginning comes a renewed hope and expectation. What does the New Year hold for us? What opportunities and adventures await? How will we grow and develop given the opportunity to begin again? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

This past week the NFL regular season ended and with it came the assessment of the teams that didn’t make the playoffs. Long the gold standard of a team is making the playoffs. Some made immediate changes. As is the case in most changes the leader/coach was let go with the hope that they can find new leadership to mold the personnel we have into a winning team. While it isn’t always the coach’s fault, it seems much easier to change the head instead of the body.

That isn’t always the answer, I can think of a few NFL teams that have changed coaches more than some people change their clothes. The thought is that the coach is the problem. Let me share with you that the problem isn’t always the coach, sometimes it is an infection, a cancer that runs much deeper. A fundamental grass roots change in the organization, a new way of doing things is often what is needed. And that takes longer to change than a few months.

Racing is no different, the larger teams juggle personnel looking for the right “chemistry”. We have seen successful and talented crew chiefs lose their position for the good of the organization to move forward. Others have switched teams, partnered with other owners, looking for the right combination. Some never find it, changing all too often. Others seem to have the golden touch and whatever changes are made immediately show positive results.

As we look ahead to the weeks and days to come we have decisions to make. I wrote about the twin thieves that rob us of Joy in a column last December, ignorance and want. Alongside those two come stagnation and complacency, twins that will rob us of growth and prosperity. Having an attitude of anticipation for the days ahead, looking forward to tomorrow will go a long way toward keeping us moving in a direction that is beneficial for our lives. God does not want us to be stagnant and complacent.

Isaiah 43:19, NLT,

For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

God’s plan can overwhelm us and intimidate us into thinking we cannot possibly be a part of it. That is a lie. We were created to be an integral part of the plan. His plan is for us to discover the true meaning of life, to discover the true things of value. His plan is for us to live abundantly and overflowing.

It can be easy to fall into the frame of mind that defeats us and presses us down. That is not where we need to reside. Overcoming the things that bind us, negativity, success, possessions and the like will free us. When we truly see that life is not about what we have but about who we have a relationship with we begin to see things through God’s eyes.

God is about moving forward in hope, beyond what we can see. He implores us to have faith in Him and not to limit the future but to realize that He has a plan, a plan much bigger than we could imagine or comprehend. Our responsibility is to keep moving closer to him. When we think we have arrived is when we make the biggest error.

Philippians 3:12-14, NLT; I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

This is a personal journey for each of us. No one is at the same place, don’t fall into the trap of comparison. Our journey is ours alone and no one else can live it for us. We need to come alongside each other with support and encouragement helping us find our way to Him.

Ephesians 2:8-10, NLT; God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

God has a plan for each of us. Let me assure you He will not overwhelm us with the entire plan. He will however mold us and shape us as we allow Him and work this plan out in each of our lives. Allow Him to begin that work in you this year, allow Him to stretch, shape and mold you into His image. His plan is so much greater than ours. He sees so much more than we see. He can and will provide for us the most abundant life that is possible.

As we look ahead to the new year I ask you not to put the growth of your relationship with God in someone else’s hands. It is a personal relationship between each person and God. I encourage you to put forth the effort to know God better. Talk with Him and ask for guidance and direction. Wait for His response. Move forward with hope, having faith in the one that leads.

Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT; Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.

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