It’s come time to bid “goodbye” to the year of our Lord, 2023. This wasn’t an easy year for me. This will always be the year that we lost my dear brother, Randy. But there were several hard things this year: the charges brought against me, the animosity of former friends, the various struggles and heartaches of members of the flock here at Harvest, the devastating and demonic darkness descending on our country, and, of course, the constant battle with my own sin, the flesh and the Devil. Of course, I’m not unique in this. Every one of you could write your own list of trials and tears this year. We all walk the same road and experience the common brokenness and wickedness of this present age. As Moses writes in Psalm 90, “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble.”  

But there’s one thing that gives me great joy as I look back over this year.  The year of our Lord 2023 was truly the year of our Lord. Our Sovereign Lord ordained every detail of 2023 and, as such, 2023 was a colossal success. Nothing happened in 2023 contrary to, or apart from, His good and perfect will.  Every single thing that happened this year - in our personal life, in the church of Christ, or in the world around - happened “according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph 1:11). That gives me great joy. Our God triumphed this year.  King Jesus didn’t lose a single battle, did not suffer one solitary set-back, was not frustrated in a single purpose or denied a single desire. In every possible way, Jesus our Lord accomplished His majestic, redemption agenda. He perfectly carried out His glorious will and moved this whole groaning creation one step closer to the coming renewal of all things. 

In that regard, 2023 was a very, very good year. It served God’s saving purposes for us in every way. No matter what trials or heartaches we experienced this past year, we can look back with satisfaction and joy, for “salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand” (Romans 13:11).  

And the wonderful thing is – a year from now we will be able to say all the same things about 2024. It will be another year filled with trials and tears.  But it will be another year in which we are sovereignly protected and lovingly “kept for Jesus Christ” (Jude 2).  Every single thing that happens in 2024 will be according to our Father’s will, and our Savior’s purposes, and our eternal good. And so, we have every reason to have joy as we close out one year and face another.  No matter how hard the road of 2023 may have been, or 2024 might be – the goodness and mercy of our Lord will follow us all the days of our life.  And one day soon, we will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever (Ps 23:6).  Happy New Year! 

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