Everyone looks forward to a New Year and the hope it represents. “Well wishers” come at us from every direction wanting us to reap a harvest of joy and happiness, peace and prosperity. A “good new year” is a universal desire that everyone seeks. But how can we assure ourselves of having a Happy New Year? The answer comes from Isaiah 41:10.
First, we must honor the two “nots” – do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Fear and dismay will disturb our minds, trouble our souls and destroy our health. Only as we place our faith in the goodness and grace of God will our fears evaporate and our dismay vanish.
Second, add the two “I ams” – I am with you and I am your God. Our God is always with us and we are never beyond His reach. When problems arise He wants to solve them. When needs arise He will meet them. When foes would destroy us He will conquer them. When storms appear He will calm them.
Third, we need to mix them with the three “I wills.” I will strengthen you. He has all the strength we need with some to spare. I will help you. Here is help that is seeking us and is sufficient for every situation. I will uphold you. With what? The very same hands that hold the universe together!
If we want 2018 to be a Happy New Year we must begin every day of every week of every month of the year reading God’s Word and spending time in prayer.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to experience Your presence, enjoy Your peace, trust in Your power and know that You will provide for our every need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel – God with us!
The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will come to them.
For a child will be born to us, a
son given to us;
And the government will rest on
His shoulders!
And His name will be called:
Mighty God!
Eternal Father!
Prince of Peace!
There will be no end to the increase
of His government or of His peace.
The spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding.
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and
the fear of the Lord.
PrayerThank You God, for keeping Your word! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:2, 6-7; Isaiah 11:2-3
Russ Ortiz was an outstanding baseball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. In fact, in one season he won twenty-one games.
On one occasion a reporter asked him how he kept calm in situations when it looked like he would lose control of the game. Quickly he replied, “When I am on the mound and need a calming experience I look under the bill of my cap. You see, I keep a Bible verse there,” he explained. “When I started doing it,” he continued, “it helped me put things in perspective.”
The Christian is never guaranteed a life free from stress, strife or the worries of the world. It does not assure us of quiet paths and calm waters. But it does assure us that when we keep our minds securely focused on God and His Word we will know perfect peace even in the most turbulent times.
Isaiah, in a song of praise to the Lord wrote, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You!”
This is a powerful promise for the believer. His Word promises us that God will give us His perfect peace when we trust Him, obey Him and are faithful in following Him. It exceeds all of the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that we find in the writings of worldly authors. In Him we have everything we need: His unending and unchanging love. When we accept that fact, there is no reason for us to fear the chaos that confronts us or the confusion that surrounds us.
Prayer: Lord, may we accept the peace that You offer us through Your Son, our Savior. Help us to rely on Him and His power to protect and preserve us in all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
A group of men was preparing to climb Mount Everest. As the final pieces of their plan fell into place, a psychologist asked if he could interview them. They agreed and he met with them at their camp.
He looked at each one very carefully. Then, after a moment of reflection he asked, “Tell me, will you get to the top?”
The first answered, “I certainly hope so.” The second responded, “I’ll do my best.” The third, “I’m going to give it all I’ve got.” And the fourth said, “Yes, I will.” And he did – and he was the only one!
Our body can achieve what our hearts believe and our hearts believe what comes from our minds. A lack of faith enlarges our fears and turns them into facts. The shadows that our minds create become so dreadful that we are afraid to face them. Our worries eventually become walls that we cannot climb over or around.
Often when we are asked to do “something” for the Lord our minds create fears that are not based on facts or shadows that have no substance or windows of opportunity that become walls without ends.
Isaiah the Prophet boldly declared, “See, God has come to save me, I will trust in Him and not be afraid! The Lord God is my strength and my song, he has become my salvation!” 
If we truly trust God, all things are possible.

Prayer: Lord, in Your grace You bring so many opportunities and challenges into our lives that allow us to honor You. Help us to trust in You and be victorious. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid;‘ For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’”
Marie had to stay home from school because of her measles. Her mother, knowing that the bright sunlight coming in through the window would cause her infected eyes to hurt, completely darkened the room as though it were night,
Sitting near her on the bed, her mother asked, “Are you afraid?”
“No, mother,” came the reply, “as long as you sit where I can touch you.”
Feelings of being alone or abandoned or rejected haunt each of us at one time or another. We draw feelings of strength, encouragement, hope, significance and inspiration from others. But, what do we do when we feel as though no one is with us?
When those moments come we need to claim the promise that “He will never leave us or forsake us!” That promise is unlimited, unconditional, unending and unwavering. If He says it and I accept it and believe it that ends it.
Whenever we have feelings of uneasiness or are frightened or afraid or lack the necessities of life that is God saying, “There may be no light but if you reach out to touch Me, you will always find Me available.”
Whatever need we may have, God is right there with us. No matter how far we have fallen, how often we have failed or how deep is our doubt, He’s there with us.
Prayer: Lord, we all want to be strong, filled with courage and have the ability to conquer life. How thankful we are to know that when we need You, You are there. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
A group of visitors was watching a potter fashion an object from shapeless clay. Intrigued, one of them asked, “What are you making?”
“Something very beautiful,” he answered.
“How do you know it’s going to be beautiful?” asked the visitor.
“Because I can see it in my mind,” he replied.
Isaiah made a profound statement about the potter and his clay. “Lord,” he began, “you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand.”
Whenever and wherever pottery is mentioned in Scripture the story is the same: the potter has power over the clay. He can do with the clay what he will and shape objects that have a wide variety of uses. One may be used as a vessel to carry water or store grain. Another may be used to contain oil for a lamp that will shed light in dark places. Again, the potter may make a bowl for soup or a plate for a feast. The clay has no power or influence over the outcome of the process. The potter has control over the clay and will shape the clay carefully according to his will to fulfill its purpose.
Likewise for the Christian. God has a specific plan in His mind for each of our lives. For us to fulfill His purpose, He must shape us and mold us as a potter does with his clay until we are ready for His use.
Prayer: We thank You, Heavenly Father, that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us. May we be patient and willing to be made into Your likeness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 64:8 Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Little Jeanie and her Mom were saying their “Good Night Prayers” together. Suddenly, she said in a bold voice, “God, please take care of Yourself. If anything happens to You, we’re in a mess. We really need You, God.”
Thankfully, Isaiah had some comforting words for Little Jeanie. Knowing others would have the same concern, God inspired him to write, “Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the earth? He never grows faint or weary!”
What encouraging words from the Lord Himself! Here we see Isaiah describing our God’s power to create, His power to sustain what He creates and His presence to help when we call upon Him. Our God is almighty and all powerful. Yet, with all of His greatness, He cares for each of us individually and our concerns and cares are not beneath Him or beyond Him.
Our God is beyond description and when we try to describe Him with our limited vocabulary, we only limit our understanding of Him. But this we know:
There is no limit to His love and no end to His forgiveness. No problem is too large for Him to solve nor any person too small for Him to recognize. He is not kind one moment and hateful the next. He is not strong one hour and weak the next. He does not want what is best for us one moment and then forgetful of us the next.
Prayer: Thank You God, for being our God. Thank You for being present today and every day and for Your promise of never leaving us nor forsaking us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 40:27-31 …The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom…
For years Thomas Edison tried to perfect a long lasting storage battery. During this time he conducted thousands of experiments that were unsuccessful. One day one of his employees came to him and said, “Isn’t it a shame that you have wasted all of this time? All of the tremendous labor and time that you have spent on this project has not achieved any results that will work.”
“I’ve got plenty of results,” said Edison. “You see, I’ve discovered several thousand that won’t work!”
To his credit, Edison was able to look at what he was doing as a way of learning and solving problems. When he failed he did not look at it as final. He looked at it as a stepping stone to something else. How fortunate is that person who can see beyond the moment of defeat to the joy of victory!
Often we fail to see God at work in what we are doing. We look for the approval of others believing that our rewards come from them. Scripture reminds us, however, to define success in terms of being faithful to God and what He has called us to do. God rewards us for being faithful to Him, for doing what He calls us to do even when we fail in the eyes of the world.
Struggling through difficult days and trying times proves that our trust is in God and that we look to Him for our rewards. “Fear not, I will strengthen and help you.”
Prayer: It’s natural, Lord, to want the approval of those around us. Often we think that they are the final authority. Remind us, however, that we labor for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
George’s lifelong dream was to climb the Alps. It took him years to realize his goal but he was finally making his first climb. As he made his way to the top, he was accompanied by two strong guides - one in front of him and one behind him.
As they reached the top, the guide in front of him stepped aside so he would be the first one to see the majestic view. Just as the young climber stood up a strong gale threatened to dash him to destruction. The guide on his left pulled him down and shouted, “On your knees, now, sir. You are not safe here unless you are on your knees.”
Wherever we are and whatever we are doing we are never safe unless we are on our knees acknowledging our need for God’s protection. Even when we think that we are about to see the beauty and wonders of God’s handiwork in our lives, we can be overwhelmed with the storms of life. When such moments arise we must be quick to get “on our knees now!” God is the only one who can stop the winds of destruction and the forces of life that would sweep us away in a downward spiral. He can take every problem and turn it into a prize of His grace. He can take the worst tragedy that life has to offer us and turn it into the very best blessing we could ever imagine.
We must always remember that we are not safe anywhere unless we are on our knees, now and always.
Prayer: Father, we recognize that You are the Lord over all of life and we are only safe when we are on our knees trusting in You to sustain and save us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

During World War II a sergeant was driving a visiting evangelist to speak to the soldiers in the mess hall. On their trip across the military base the driver pointed to a sign that read, “Be All That You Can Be!”
The evangelist asked him, “Are you all that you can be?”
“No, but I would like to be,” he replied.
Then the evangelist said, “Here's how you can become all you want to be:
“First you must surrender your life to the Lord and be born again. Once you do that, you can begin your journey to becoming all that you can be because He has a plan for your life.”
“Then,” he continued, “you need to seek God's plan for your life. You know, Sergeant, God has a plan that He designed especially for you and unless you do what He wants you to do, you will never be all you can be.
“His plan for you is special and specific and if you read His Word, seek guidance from Him and wait for His directions, you will become all you can be because you will become all that He wants you to be – now and throughout eternity.”
Prayer: Help us, Father, to be all You intended us to be and to be faithful in fulfilling the plan You have designed for each one of us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

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