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December 1, 2015

Saying Farewell to 2015…..using 4 R’s

As we begin the final month of 2015 and anticipate the new adventures God has in store for us in 2016, I encourage you to set aside a block of time, void of distractions, to ponder this past year and prepare for next year.  Consider focusing your time in four areas: Remembering, Removing, Resolving and Running to Win.


As you reflect on the past year, thank God for His grace, mercy and faithfulness in providing protection, meeting financial needs, offering wise counsel and coming alongside to ease your load and heal your hurts.  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).  He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Praise Him for covering past failures.  Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  Express your gratefulness to Him for the gift of faith and renewing your spiritual strength as you allowed Him to work in and through you this past year.  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2).


Unpack and process those things that brought disappointment, hurt, and sorrow in 2015 and remove them from your consciousness.  They will only grow heavier and drag you down if carried into the New Year…..let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1).  Confess and set aside any selfishness that may have caused you to place and pursue prestige, power, possessions or pleasures above God. Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal (Matthew 6:19-20).


Commit to spending more time with your Lord and Savior. He longs to develop an intimate relationship with you.  He will not force Himself on you, but hopes that you will invite Him into your world.  Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually (1 Chronicles 16:11).  No matter where you are in the world’s pecking order, your zip code, or how you have filled your days in the past, He desires to meet with you. Don’t shut Him out.  Taste and see that He is good!  Through prayer, discover His heart’s desire for you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you (James 4:8a). Dig into His Word to better know His will. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105). Meditate on His precepts, statutes, ordinances and commandments.  Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You (Psalm 119:10-11).


To win your race in 2016, live your life in close fellowship with Jesus. He has an incredible adventure in store for you if you will join Him.  Allow Him to determine your path and set your pace. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippines 3:14).  Expect to encounter problems or pressures which will either draw you closer to the Lord or drive you away.  The Deceiver will try to get you to doubt God’s love. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3). His path may seem right and provide immediate pleasure, but it will eventually lead to heartache, sorrow and death, not joy, peace and life (There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death (Proverbs 14:12).  Although we don’t know what 2016 will bring our way, we know our loving Lord, who does know the way.  Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6a). In His abiding presence, press on knowing that no good thing will He withhold from those who walk in integrity and in obedience to His Word. For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity (Psalm 84:11).


Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in (Hebrews 12:2a).


Dave Dagwell

Assistant to the President