December 29, 2020
by Peter Amsterdam
2020 has certainly been a year unlike any that most of us have experienced before. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many aspects of our lives, causing unexpected difficulties, challenges, and hardship. Some of you, or your loved ones, have contracted the virus, suffered through its course, and thankfully, have returned to full health. Others of you are in the process of being healed. Most of you have not been touched at all.
We thank God that in spite of the unusual circumstances we have experienced throughout 2020, He has continued to faithfully provide and care for His children in these challenging times. Beyond that, He has also made it possible for members to minister to those in need, resulting in physical comfort and aid being given to the ill as well as the opportunity for them to receive spiritual healing through salvation.
Maria and I are so proud of you for continuing to do your part to bring God’s light and truth to the world during these challenging times when people need to hear the message more than ever! May He continue to work in and through you throughout 2021 to reach a world in such need of the gospel’s hope and promise. Our prayer is that the Lord’s presence will be with you each day in the year ahead, that He will meet your needs abundantly, and that you and your loved ones will be safe under the shadow of His wings.
With much love and prayers,
Peter and Maria
Following are some inspiring prayers and quotes by Christian writers which we hope will be a blessing to you.
✦ Our God is a “with us” God. On the heels of the celebration of the birth of our King, that reminder has the power to carry us right into a fresh, new start. He is Immanuel, God with us. And though things and people around us shift and change, our God never changes. When you start to think that things should have been better this year, remember the mountains and valleys that got you here. They are not accidents and those moments weren’t in vain. You are not the same, you have grown and you are growing. You are breathing, you are living, you are wrapped in endless, boundless grace.—Morgan Harper Nichols
✦ 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!—Matthew Simpson
✦ Nothing paralyzes our lives like the attitude that things can never change. We need to remind ourselves that God can change things. If we see only the problems, we will be defeated; but if we see the possibilities in the problems, we can have victory.—Warren Wiersbe
✦ Resolutions can become reality when we turn to the One who makes it possible, the One who truly makes all things new, Jesus Christ the Lord.—Deacon Keith Fournier
✦ You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.—Psalm 65:11 NKJV
✦ Rules for a Better Life this Year:
Expect a Little
Give a Lot
Live with Love
Meditate on God’s Words
Best of all, Be with God!—Unknown
✦ A wonderful year is awaiting us, to be lived according to the teachings of our Savior; only then will we be able to attain true happiness.—Unknown
✦ Dear Lord, I choose to find my joy and strength in You today. I choose to walk in love. I choose to set my eyes on You and off all the struggles and chaos of this world. I choose Your peace over worry. I choose kindness over hurry. I choose forgiveness over disunity and resentment. I choose Your Spirit-filled power over relying on my own strength and ability. I know that my life is far from perfect, and the enemy would want nothing more than to take me straight down before I even get out the door. But I believe in Your truth, and I have You in my life, and because of that, I have all that I need to live free, abundantly, for this very day.—Unknown
✦ We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it—but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.—Oliver Wendell Holmes
✦ Whether you’ve just walked through the greatest year of your life, or are incredibly glad to see this one finally over, one truth still rings clear amidst it all: You are not alone. Not ever.—Unknown
✦ Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we, thine unworthy servants, do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men. We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; by the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful; and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.—Book of Common Prayer, 1928
✦ God, help us to remember that You will never leave us, that You’re our Refuge and our Strength, an ever-present help in trouble. We know that the enemy wouldn’t be fighting so hard against us if we weren’t making a difference for Your Kingdom. He wouldn’t be trying so hard to stop us if he didn’t think we had so much good still in store. Remind us that the battle belongs to You, and whatever we’re up against can be taken down in one fell swoop by Your Mighty Hand. Help us to trust You more, to never waste time spinning our wheels and wrestling or fighting in our own strength. Please forgive us, Lord, for the times we’ve failed to lift our hands in praise to You, for the days we’ve forgotten to come to You first. Fill us with the Power of Your Holy Spirit this day. Fill us with Your joy, fill us with Your wisdom and discernment, fill us with constant reminders that Your Presence will go with us and that You will give us rest.—Unknown
✦ Lord God, as I think about the year ahead I do have hope, but I admit I have some fears as well. I am carrying into the new year some problems from the past year. I also know that it is always possible that unexpected things might happen. And so I throw myself on Your mercy, dear God. In You I take refuge. I am glad that I can entrust the upcoming year to You, and to entrust my very self to You. Purify my heart, O Lord. Teach me Your ways. Help me to make good, right, and healthy choices. I also entrust my loved ones to You. I know how much they need Your care. Please protect and guide them.
And, dear God, we pray for peace in our troubled world. We ask You to protect the innocent from evil. We take comfort in Your words, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Even in our weakest moments, Your power and might and love are always going to keep us in all our ways. We can have that peace that passes the understanding of our minds because You have promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6, John 14:27, Philippians 4:7, 2 Timothy 2:13).—Unknown