It’s a Wrap!

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“That’s a wrap!” Have you ever heard that phrase? Movie producers often say it after shoot ing a scene. I’ve heard it after a musical rehearsal. Hard work has produced a successful result, and the participants are free to leave. Sometimes I wonder if God looks at December 31 and announces, “That’s a wrap, folks!”

What would that mean for us? How would we define a successful result for 2018? I quickly see three things that would help us end 2018 well.

Forget the past

If we attempt to carry into 2019 the mistakes and failures or areas where we missed the goal in 2018, it’s like heavy baggage. God urges us to leave it in 2018. We aren’t perfect and probably won’t be in 2019. But we must keep moving forward, not looking back. It’s the sign of mature faith.

12 It’s not that I’ve already reached the goal or have already completed the course. But I run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and 14 I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. 15 Whoever has a mature faith should think this way. And if you think differently, God will show you how to think. Philippians 3:12-15 (GW)

But mistakes and failures aren’t all we need to lay aside. Psalm 45 is a love song used in weddings. Imagine the wedding to the King. He is regal and handsome as he waits for his bride who is dressed in a gloriously stunning gown. Many gifts are brought to the wedding.

The writer of this love song has some advice for the bride, advice that is good for you and me. Imagine being the bride of Jesus. He invites you to turn to Him, to focus your attention fully on Him and to forget what you’ve known in the past. The good successes, the bad failures and the ugly relational issues. He greatly desires your beauty. Are we beautiful? Yes, to Jesus we are!

10 Listen, daughter! Look closely! Turn your ear {toward me}. Forget your people, and forget your father’s house. 11 The king longs for your beauty. He is your Lord. Worship him. Psalm 45:10-11 (GW)

How can we focus on beauty in spite of all we may have been or done in 2018? Beauty comes from a word that, in Hebrew, suggests our beauty comes from God giving us insight into who He is and who He says we are, from our Creator God’s ability to guide us going forward. If we truly knew who He is instead of our preconceived notions about Him, we would easily find Him trustworthy and loving. This is the beauty He longs to bring forth in our lives.

The key is our speech. Speech is powerful and brings us either God-life or a death inside. Our beauty is enhanced when we focus on and talk about His great love for us and His delight in us. Consider how 2019 might be different if we would talk about who He says we really are. 2018 isn’t all-powerful; our speech in 2019 has power to change us.

Forgiving and being forgiven

Matthew, who clarifies how we live out what God taught Israel, uses two different words to define what we forgive. In the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew uses “debts.” Luke, in his version of the Lord’s Prayer, uses “trespasses.” The God’s Word version helps us understand the difference. (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4)

12 Forgive us as we forgive others. . . 14 “If you forgive the failures of others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:12-14 (GW)

We need to go into 2019 with a clean slate, forgiven and forgiving. God easily forgives us when we acknowledge our mistakes and failures to Him. If God is willing to forgive us, we must then forgive ourselves for those mistakes and failures. We also must forgive those who have hurt us. Some of those hurts are deep and horrendous, but they only serve to drag us down if we don’t forgive them. It doesn’t mean we think what they did was right, and it doesn’t mean we are required to trust and maintain the relationship. It simply removes the burden from our shoulders and releases it so God can work in their hearts. God would love to help them change their ways.

Know God is fully capable of a new 2019

No matter what 2018 has been, God has not lost His ability to complete His purpose and plan for us.

6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 (NLT2)

Hebrew is made up of symbolic characters rather than letters as we understand and use them. Two of them are powerful when we consider the future.[1]

Ponder the symbolism in the characters below. Tav symbolizes that as a Christ-follower, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 1:22). Stamped with a signet ring to declare you are secure and will be kept safe. He then restores you to the purpose He had for your life. He does not see your failures being the end. Rather, He restores the plan He had for you all along so the end is never the end, but the beginning of something new because of what Christ has done for you.

Tav – mark, sign, seal, truth, perfection, completion, the restoration of all of existence to the essence and purpose of one’s life, the end was set from the beginning, end is never really the end, but the beginning of something new, vehicle of sacrifice

So go forward into 2019, realizing that even within the mistakes and failures, God sees hidden good. Nothing is lost because you are a container where things change and are transformed for His purposes. And He only does good things.

Teith – realization that even within the bad things that happen there is hidden good, pregnancy, kindness and mercy of creation, everything is eternal and nothing is ever lost, womb, container where things change and transform

As you celebrate the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, it is my prayer that you are saying “It’s a wrap!” In 2019 may you see the beauty Jesus sees in you.

 

Carol Boggess, author and speaker

Rivers – A Journey of Restoration From Broken to Breakthrough and God Sees Broken Hearts

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[1] http://www.walkingkabbalah.com/hebrew-alphabet-letter-meanings/ accessed 7/22/17