RiverI wish time were arranged like the tracks on a music CD. When you finished listening to one track there would be a few minutes of silence before the next track begins to play. I wish there was a buffer between the years. Just a little time to mark the passing of 2002 before we move on to 2003. But here we are on the third day of 2003 already!

Still, it’s not too late to ask ourselves some fundamental questions to help guide us through the new year. And they are these: 1. Who am I? 2. What have I been called to do? 3. What are my resources?

As we begin another year I think of another beginning, Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan (Luke 3:21-22). At the beginning of His public ministry Jesus received the answers to the same questions. I believe they are our answers as well.

Who am I? At the beginning of His public ministry Jesus was reminded that He was God’s child. And that He was loved. The love He received from the Father was no reward for any performance on His part. He was loved because He was God’s child. And so are we, who know Jesus as our Lord and Saviour (1John 3:1).

It means that nothing that happens this year can make God love us any more. Or any less. Indeed whatever happens this coming year, the Lord’s love will be there to carry us through.

In a world that consistently rewards us on the basis of our performance, it seems crucial that we establish the basis of our self-worth and dignity as the year begins. You are special because you are God’s child and God loves you. Nothing can touch that.

What have I been called to do? Recorded later in the gospel of Luke is Jesus’ articulation of His mission statement: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor.” (Luke 4:18a NLT)

I believe we too have been enlisted into this mission. By Word and Deed we are to proclaim the reality of an in breaking Kingdom that is humankind’s only real hope. This message has never been more needed. However we all will have different unique roles to play in this divine enterprise.

I did a life-mission discovery exercise sometime ago. I came up with the following as my primary life- mission: “to transform lives through the relevant, accurate, and passionate teaching of God’s Word.” I believe it still holds. How about you? Do you have some rough idea as to your unique vocation for the Kingdom?

What are my resources? The coming of the dove upon Jesus at His baptism was a powerful reminder that God was anointing Him with all the resources He needed for His work. The dove was a symbol of God’s own Spirit. God’s provision of resources was the provision of Himself!

This New Year’s eve I did a short devotion with my boys as we entered the New Year. Our reading was Joshua 1: 1-9 which includes this injunction: “I command you—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (V.9)

I take it that there will be circumstances in our lives this coming year that will require strength and courage. And we can be strong and courageous because God Himself will be there for us.

We live in tough times and most of us live with chronic anxiety! But some of us have concrete reasons to be concerned about the year unfolding. Some of us are undergoing career changes. Others will be first time parents. For others it appears that our time on earth may be coming to an end soon. A number of you will be going through your first year as husband and wife with all the attendant joys and stresses. Still others will be facing major examinations. Or leaving home for the first time.

The rest of us have no clue as to what Goliaths will confront us in 2003. We just know they are there! God in His mercy and wisdom does not normally reveal the details of our future to us. Which is ok because whatever happens some things never change.

I am a child of God and God loves me. I am called to co work with God in His purposes. I am blessed with God’s very presence in my life.

Blessed New Year!