E67: What will 2021 bring? A statement of faith!
Looking forward to 2021, we can have a spirit of faith for what the future holds!
It’s New Year 2021, and after the year we have just experienced, the future is as uncertain as it could be. But if we believe in God and His plans and His future for us, then we have every reason to be at rest and have faith that He is holding all of our days in His hands. It is written that He is very compassionate and merciful. He knows and plans all things for our very best, so we can rest secure in His love for us. Join Milenko and Kathy in the last podcast episode of 2020 as we look forward to 2021 with a spirit of faith!
Transcript: “Living the Gospel”podcast, E67: What will 2021 bring? A statement of faith!
Welcome to ActiveChristianity’s “Living the Gospel” podcast. Join us as we talk about how we can “live the gospel” every day, no matter who we are, where we live, and what our circumstances are.
Kathy: Hi everybody, and welcome to today’s episode of “Living the Gospel.” Today is December 30th, and it’s our last episode of the year. I’m Kathy and I’m here today with Milenko.
Milenko: Hi everyone!
Kathy: So, it’s kind of weird thinking it’s the end of 2020 already, isn’t it?
Milenko: It really is. It’s been quite a year, which we really don’t have to say that much about, everyone knows. But it’s really was not what we envisaged, I think, a year ago.
Kathy: It is just really weird to think that at the end of last year we had just absolutely no idea what 2020 was going to bring, you know? Yeah, and like you said, it’s not like we need to sit here and list things that have happened. Anyone can find out, or everyone knows, and depending what part of the world you’re in, too, you experienced it in different ways. But I think it’s been a pretty global experience that 2020 has been … how can you say it? Sort of a strange year?
Milenko: It’s been a very strange, remarkable year. I don’t think it’s the worst year in history for mankind, but I think it’s definitely been a totally unique year. And for at least our generation, we’ve never experienced anything like this.
Kathy: No, we haven’t. I just, I thought this morning of a line from a song that we have in our church songbook, Ways of the Lord, that says, “While the world around you storms, God your inner man transforms.” And how that’s the way it’s meant to be, you know. That everything that happens to me – and not just to me, but to the world around me – those opportunities that come are used for a purpose in my life. You know, like, that it’s not just that the world is storming around me and things are happening, and situations come and situations go and I remain the same. You know? But through it all, that there is something happening inside me, that these opportunities are being used the way that God intends. Which is that I am transformed and I am conformed to the image of His Son.
Milenko: Yeah, and that’s exactly what we’re called to. It’s amazing, that this is how it can work. That we can actually get that kind of result out of difficult situations. I always go back to that quote that I really love that we’ve spoken a lot about, that “We’re living here to be formed for eternity.” And if I really see that, that these situations, they’re helping me. If I take it in the right way, they’re helping me to be formed for an eternity with Jesus. And that we really get so much out of these situations.
Kathy: And then now, here we sit, looking forward towards 2021, right? So, it’s hard to sit here now and think, like, what is 2021 going to be? You know, I think like, the future is as uncertain as it could possibly be.
Milenko: That’s the thing, that you sit there at the start of a new year, usually, and it’s all fresh and new, you feel like you’re turning a new page, you make your New Year’s resolutions and you think, this year’s going to be a good year. And you’re expecting things to, in one way, move on as they always have. But this last year has taught us that that’s absolutely not something that we can expect in anyway. That things are going to be what we’re used to. And we don’t know what 2021 will bring, in any way or form. But what we do know is that we have this relationship to Jesus. And experiences that we’ve had in 2020, they can also help us through 2021, whatever comes our way, right? That you really see your own reactions to things. Whether it’s the normal, everyday situations we come into, or big global events, whatever they are, that we can really find ourselves: what is that human reaction? What’s coming up that’s negative? That sin that lives in me, you know, those reactions there. And how can this situation be turned around, that instead it becomes … my life becomes to God’s glory and praise. You know, where you would have expected that I start complaining or that I have my opinions about everything and come with this negative spirit, I can find that and do something about it, through the cross of Christ. We’ve talked about that several times, several podcasts this year. Really, how the cross, the daily cross that Jesus talks about, we can use that to crucify sin in our flesh. Those reactions. And what comes out instead? That’s virtues. The life of Christ and that really our life can be to God’s glory and praise. And think that 2021 can be, more than ever before, like that.
Kathy: Yeah. Like, I can sit here, look forward to 2021 and have faith for that for my life for the future. That regardless of what comes up, and I have no idea what’s going to come in 2021, but regardless, I can make this statement of faith, that whatever comes, I’m going to use it to become more like Jesus. I’m going to use it to overcome whatever comes up from the sin in my own flesh. And to learn of Him and to be prepared for eternity, like you said.
Milenko: Right. That’s that New Year’s resolution, right? You resolve to do something. It’s this firm, decided mind. Come what may, I’m going to do this, I’m going to live for Jesus. I’m going to live to God’s glory. And it can be a prayer in our heart too. Really, this New Year’s prayer, that, “God, I want to live for You, and show me and give me Your Spirit so that I can really do this and that I can live to Your glory. And the opportunities that I have, that really, they can be used in Your service.” And I think God loves a prayer like that. He loves people who want to live for Him. And He’ll give them everything they need to be able to carry through.
Kathy: Yeah, absolutely. I think though … It would be interesting to talk a little bit though about why does God allow a time like this to come over the earth?
Milenko: It does say that God’s ways, God’s wisdom, His depths are unsearchable. Like, we can’t understand all of God’s wisdom. But we do know that God didn’t create the world with sorrow and sickness and pain and loss and so on. And when we see eternity, that will also be taken away, in the new heaven and the new earth. It will be complete harmony, which is God’s creation. And all suffering came to the world through sin. Not that I’ve personally sinned, but that sin entering the world brought with it a curse. And that God has a plan with it all and I think we’ll be able to see more of that plan later in eternity. Things will be revealed for us. But at the same time, I have to think personally, me as a Christian, one who’s decided to serve God, who has promised to serve God, what’s God trying to say with this for my life, with my situations? And you can say, OK, as a Christian, maybe we would expect to be protected, that everything’s going to go fine, that, you know, everything’s smooth sailing because God’s got His hand over me. But that’s not actually what the Bible says, is it?
Kathy: No. Well, I thought about Job, actually. And this year I worked a lot with a video that we put out on ActiveChristianity. So it was with a woman named Teresa Dueck, and she shared with us a story of her experience of her daughter that was born with congenital heart disease. And maybe we can link that video after this episode, because it was so incredibly good and encouraging to listen to. But she talks a lot there about the story of Job and how that inspired her. And she said she read a lot the verse in Job that says, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” And that’s in Job 2:10. Where it’s so easy to think like, God’s just going to give us all this good stuff and you know, but He sends us adversity as well. And He sends it to us for a reason, right?
Kathy: Or, I don’t know if we should say He sends it to us. But He allows it to come over us.
Milenko: And it’s the same God who gives us the good things that also allows adversity. The same loving God. The God with that same purpose in our life. God with the same plan for our life. So that’s a good question Job asked. Should we only accept the good and not the adversity? But then the question is, why do we get adversity? And I think that’s a good question to ask yourself.
Kathy: Yeah. And for me, I think the reason is for the salvation of my soul! Peter writes about that in 1 Peter 1:9. He says, “That the end of your faith is the salvation of your souls.” So, when these things come over my life, it’s like we talked about, how do I use them? Do I use them to prepare myself for eternity, for the salvation of my soul? And then another verse that Teresa also quoted in this video was also about Job, in James 5:11. “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” Have I seen the end intended by the Lord? He’s very compassionate and merciful! He’s not allowing things to happen to me because He wants to see what happens when I experience hard times.
Milenko: Or doesn’t care what happens to me.
Kathy: Right. He’s compassionate and merciful. That’s the God that has an end intended for me. Do you know what I mean? Does that make sense?
Milenko: Yeah. And that end can be looked at in different ways as well. Of course, you’ve got the end which is the eternal life, that we’ll be together with Him. That He has promised that to me. But there’s also an end here on this earth. And you were talking about that earlier. That you really see it’s the salvation of my soul. That it’s the liberation from those negative things that come up in that situation. If I take up the cross, if I do what Jesus has taught me and what God intends for me, the result is that I can be finished with all that negative, all that stuff that wants to drag me down. And that the situation turns into a source of joy in my spirit.
Kathy: Yeah, exactly. If I place my life into His hands, I obey His commandments and I serve Him with my whole heart and I live completely for Him, then what happens is actually that my life becomes blessed, regardless of what my outward circumstances might be, right? Like, it’s not because my own expectations and demands about how my life should be are being met, but it’s because I find peace in doing His will. And then I get this rest in my life. And regardless of what goes on around me, I get rest and peace and a blessed life deep within, right?
Milenko: And it’s got to do with my attitude of mind, right? Like, if I think that things are going to be good if they go my way, and then I think my way is living according to my natural desires and tendencies, then I’m very mistaken. Or at least, I have no guarantee that I’ll have a good life, because most likely things won’t go my way the whole time. But if my whole attitude of mind changes, that my life, that is to serve God. So, if I want things to go my way, then what I’m really interested in, is that things get done according to God’s will. That His will is done on earth as it is in heaven in my life. And when that’s my way, then I’ll never be disappointed. Then life, with everything it throws at me, is a goldmine. Really, that I can just keep on getting these nuggets of gold from the situations. Which is that God’s will is done, and I get blessed. And my spirit becomes peaceful, and just this security, that I’m living in God’s will.
Kathy: I often think of that verse, it’s also in Peter. Where he says, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10.) That’s the goal that I have in my life. That that’s how it’s going to be for me. That I’m going to be perfected, established, strengthened, settled. Like, that’s … And I’ve experienced it somewhat, you know, so far in my life. And I believe that if I continue in faithfulness, I’m going to experience that more and more in my own life.
Milenko: This year, 2020, has been like that. That taking it this way has really taught us these things. That’s what I can say personally, too. That I’ve got so much out of this year. And looking back, it’s strange to say it, but it’s been a good year. But it’s been a good year from that perspective that living according to God’s will, that that’s also been my will, what I want, in that way it’s been a really good year. And the result is really that peace and rest and looking forward to 2021, whatever it will bring.
Kathy: We’re going to end with a song here today. A really good song. And I’m just going to quickly read one verse from that song that I think kind of sums up what we’ve been talking about here too a bit. It says,
“He who guides the course of earth and heaven
And who hold the oceans in His hand –
He is yearning to possess our spirit,
And for us He has a glorious plan.
When you turn your back on worldly folly,
You’ll show forth His glory and His praise.
If you place your life into His keeping,
He’ll transform and guide you all your days.”
Sorry, I can’t read that without tearing up a bit. Like, that’s incredible, to believe in that and to have faith in that for your life.
Milenko: Just think about those words; “He who guides the course of earth and heaven and who holds the oceans in His hand. He is yearning to possess my spirit, and for us He has a glorious plan.” That God wants to have communion with me. God Himself, the eternal God. This is His plan for me. And this is why He is allowing me to go through this. And this is what this new year is going to bring for me. I can have fellowship, communion with God Himself, who has a plan for me. Wow! That’s going to be a good year!
Kathy: And if I believe that, then the future is nothing but bright. It’s like we read, it’s a future full of hope and God’s thoughts of peace and not of evil for us. And we can believe in that with all of our heart.
Milenko: Right. And that my life, my body, my situations, the result is that I show forth God’s glory and His praise. Right? Instead of someone complaining or being bitter or you know, all those normal human reactions. Out of this comes someone who’s hopeful and full of joy and full of praise and full of blessing for other people. Who has learned to lay down her or his life. That’s what 2021 can bring.
Kathy: So let’s go forward in that spirit of faith, that that’s what 2021 will be for us. And not just 2021, but however long God has for us here on this earth.
Milenko: Yeah. That this is our life.
Kathy: Yeah. So thanks for listening again today, everyone. Thanks for listening this year.
Milenko: It’s been really good for us to do this as well. And we really, really do want to hear your feedback, especially from our regular listeners who’ve followed us for a while. So, send us an email at email@example.com. That’s livingthegospel in one word @bcc.no. And we really look forward to hearing from you all.
Kathy: Yes, we’d love to hear from you.
Milenko: Now we’re going to have a little break for a few weeks and we’ll be back at the end of January. And we really hope that you’ll continue listening and joining us in this podcast. So, thanks for 2020 and a very good and blessed 2021.
Kathy: Yes. Wishing you all the very best for 2021. And here is the song we were talking about. It is called “He Himself who chose us out in Jesus.”
Lyrics: He Himself who chose us out in Jesus
He Himself who chose us out in Jesus,
Even long before the world was there,
In the fullness of the time He called us
With a father’s tender, loving care.
Day and night His heart for us is burning,
With a deep desire to make us whole.
If you place your life into His keeping,
He will save you: spirit, body soul.
“Prove Me now,” we hear Him gently calling;
Blest are they who take Him at His Word.
Though all others leave you or neglect you,
Yet by Him each sigh will still be heard.
In the heart that feels its need and sorrow,
He creates with Words so wonderful.
If you place your life into His keeping,
He will open heaven o’er your soul.
’Tis no wonder that the soul rests calmly;
Sweet is rest beyond both death and grave.
All my days are resting in His keeping;
From all worry, by His grace, I’m saved.
When you put your confidence in Jesus,
Like a river, deep and wide, your peace.
If you place your life into His keeping,
You’ll be filled with joy that ne’er will cease.
Title: He Himself who chose us out in Jesus
Lyrics: Laurentze Mørch
Melody: Folk melody by Wilhelm T. Söderberg
Vocals: Lynette Heneveld
From the songbook Ways of the Lord #295
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