Facing 2018 with Hope in the Lord


“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

(Isaiah 40:27-31, II Thessalonians 1:3-12)

The last fifteen years that I have walked with the LORD, I can confidently conclude that those who always hope in the LORD will never be put to shame. In my journey with the Lord, I have learned that when one faces every circumstance with hope in the LORD, such will never be weary.

Today is the first day of a new year 2018. I thank God for letting us safely into this year. The journey is long, it will take 365 days to reach our destination in this year. To be able to travel through the days of this year, we must plan what to do each day of the year. I am certain that many of us here have made New Year resolutions. I am certain that many of us have laid down on paper a dozen of plans of the things we desire to do in this 2018. It is a good thing to live by a plan, I therefore congratulate you for your New Year plans.

I encourage those of you who have never had time to write down some of your desires and expectations to do so, it is never too late. It will never be late to set up goals in life, as C.S Lewis one time said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” You are never late to make your 2018 plans, to envision your New Year resolutions. It is biblical to make a plan. The bible says; “To humans belong the plan of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue” (Proverbs 16:1).

It is therefore a good thing for us to plan. We shouldn’t just let things happen by horoscope. But as we plan, we should remember that there is One who has better plans for us than we can plan for ourselves. He is the Lord God of heaven who has declared; “For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

For this reason, we should “Commit to the LORD whatever we do, and he will establish our plans” (Proverbs 16:3).

This morning as we gather here to celebrate this New Year and thank God for having brought us this far, I would like to encourage us to Face 2018 with Hope in the Lord. We have 365 days of the year. Each of these days are unique and special. The LORD is delighted to have you reach each of your goals if you are able to put your hope in Him.

This morning, I would you to consider these two key points to drive you through this year as you Face 2018 with Hope in the Lord.

  •        God has the power and will to make your desires and deeds to bear fruit
  •        Depend on God for the success of your plans

Dear friends, you may know this quite well but I would like to make it clear that God has all the powers to bring to fruition our desires and deeds. God is God, he is not a man. Therefore, his powers are unlimited. Theologically, we say that God is Omnipotent which means that he is all powerful. Until we are able to understand God in this way, we shall not be able trust our desires and deeds to him. God has all powers that the scripture has many times declared that “there is nothing impossible for God.”

The apostle Paul knew this quite well that while writing to the Thessalonians, many of whom were Gentiles with a very limited knowledge of God, he points them to this fact that God is all powerful to make their desires and deeds bear fruit. He writes;

“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith!” (II Thessalonians 1:11).

Yes, God has all the powers to bring to fruition all your desires for goodness. Remember the Bible is very specific that God doesn’t bring every desire to fruition, but he brings to fruition every desire for goodness. Some of our desires and deeds might seem right in our human eyes but aren’t any good for us and such will be sieved out by God. They won’t be brought to fruition.

So, as we start to count down through the 365 days of 2018, may we trust God for our plans, may we hope in God for the future days of this year, may we know that he has all the powers to make all our desires bear fruit. If we do know that God has such powers, we can confidently bring our desires to him in prayer.

I would like to encourage you with my testimony, of how I have trusted God enough to lay my plans before him. I have seen his hand in all the plans I have committed to him. In 2014 when in my final semester at Uganda Christian University in Mukono; every Saturday, I would climb at the top of Besania Prayer Mountain to seek God for my future. One of my desires has been to attain a doctorate degree before or when I am 40. I wrote this down and passionately prayed over it without having any foreknowledge of how this will come to pass. I graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Divinity (Theology) on July 4, 2014 and three months later I received an invitation to apply for a scholarship for a Master program. Before Christmas of 2014, I received an admission and scholarship to study at the Norwegian School of Theology.

I thank God that I graduated with Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues of the Norwegian School of Theology on June 16, 2017. And, early December last year, I got an admission for a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology which I am to start in about 67 days (March 8, 2018). I am hopeful that the Lord who has given this admission will provide for it and I hope to have graduated with this Doctorate Degree within the next five years.

Friends, I strongly believe in the invitation the Lord has given us to commit all our plans to him and I certainly know that the God whom I serve has all the powers to bring my plans to fruition. Having told you that God is ALL powerful to make your desires and deeds (plans) to bear fruit, I challenge you to Face 2018 with Hope in God. Praise the Lord!

This brings me to my second point, that we must depend on God for the success of our plans. It is one thing to know that God is all powerful to make our plans bear fruit but it is another to be able to trust him for every of our plans. We can only depend on God by faith. The writer of Hebrews rightly defines faith in this way;

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about things unseen” (Hebrews 11:1).

Our plans, our desires, and the things we hope to do aren’t visible until they bear fruit. It therefore takes faith that we can hope for these unseen plans to bear fruit. And, such must be faith anchored in God through Christ Jesus which lets us to fully depend on God. Sometimes our lack faith, our failure to depend on God counts for failing to reach our desired goals. May 2018 and all the other years the LORD will give us be years in which we shall solely depend on God. If we are to Face 2018 with Hope in God, we must be will to depend on Him.

Listen to what Matthew Simpson said;

If this is to be a Happy New Year, a year of usefulness, a year in which we shall live to make this earth better, it is because God will direct our pathway. How important then, to feel our dependence upon Him!

The prophet Isaiah had challenged the Israelites to learn to depend on him saying that those who hope (depend) on God will never grow weary. He rhetorically challenged the House of Jacob for complaining rather than depending on God in these questions: “Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God?” (Isaiah 40:27). The Israelites complained and murmured saying that God no longer pays attention to their cause and yet it was them who didn’t depend on God. As such, Isaiah continued in his message challenging them;

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).

The prophet points these people to the fact that the everlasting God is the creator of the ends of the earth, he is ALL powerful to bring to fruition their desires and deeds only if they depended on him. God gives strength to the weak to be able to carry on with their plans. This year 2018, the LORD is promising to give strength to all of us who will depend on him. Regardless of the circumstances that you will go through in this year, you only need to depend on God. Even if you grow weary, even if your strength will fade, even if your wisdom runs out in accomplishing your tasks, even if financial challenges will crop in; God alone is able to restore your strength, to refuel you one day at a time until all the 365 days will be successfully journeyed.

Listen to his promise,

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

May the Lord make you to soar above your challenges in 2018. May the Lord renew your strength to ably accomplish ALL your plans for goodness in this year 2018. May the Lord refill you, may he guide you, and may he make Christ be glorified in all you do. May the challenges which have worked against you in 2017 be no more. May each month of the year 2018 bring you peace, good health, success, prosperity, blessings, goodness, favour, and liberty. May ALL that the LORD has planned for you in 2018 never pass you by. May the Lord bless you. May Lord be good to you. May the Lord be gracious to you. May the Lord make you soar with wings like an eagle. May he be your Shepherd.

I wish you and pray for a blessed 2018 as you Face 2018 with Hope in the Lord. Happy New Year. Amen!

Rev. J

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New International version (NIV). Rev. Julius Izza Tabi (Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues) is a lecturer at Uganda Christian University Arua Campus

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