Dealing with the Unexpected in 2016

Title: Dealing with the Unexpected in 2016

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians 1 : 1-11

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Confidence; Faith; New Year; Commitment



Time magazine lists the 10 most often broken New Year's Resolutions.*

1.  Lose Weight and Get Fit
2.  Quit Smoking
3.  Learn Something New
4.  Eat Healthier and Diet
5.  Get Out of Debt and Save Money
6.  Spend More Time with Family
7.  Travel to New Places
8.  Be Less Stressed
9.  Volunteer
10. Drink Less

Some within that list do not apply to you, but I'm sure that a few of them do. Did you notice that not one of them on the list involved spiritual matters? Oh, I know that a few of them can be considered moral or ethical issues, but not one mentioned anything about living for the Lord, praying more faithfully, or sharing your faith with others. Of course, this lists comes from a secular magazine, so I suppose that it is to be expected. Still, there are so many resolutions we make that we end up breaking within the first month of the New Year. Sadly, most of us just give up and accept things the way they are. We need to know that God wants us to live victoriously – and, we can! To face the unforeseen with courage and growth in 2016, we need to follow God’s plan for us. It is not about resolutions; it is about a deep, abiding relationship with a living Savior!
People attempt to ensure a great New Year doing some very strange things. For example, on New Years Day people in Japan eat fish which are able to swim against strong currents, believing that this will enable them to move against the strong currents which they anticipate will face them in the coming months.
People in Hungry eat roast pig with an apple or a four-leaf clover in its mouth, believing that this will bring them good fortune and health in the coming year - but it didn’t bring the pig any good fortune, did it?
In another part of the world, women eat chicken gizzards believing it will make them beautiful during the New Year. Let Estee Lauder top that! If that were true, we could all just buy stock in chicken gizzard futures.
In America we eat black-eyed peas and greens as an attempt at providing a successful pilgrimage throughout the New Year with health and money. We know that there is no meal consumed on New Year's Day can ensure a good year ahead.
What can we do as we face an uncertain future? And surely we do face an uncertain future right now in our world. The economy is moving deeper and deeper into debt. Soon the debt government debt in America will be 20 trillion dollars - yes, that is TRILLION! Unrest in the Middle East threatens peace all over the world. The rise friction between the USA and Russia is dangerous and China is not sitting idly by during this time. Terrorism is still on the rise and ISIS seems determined to kill everybody on earth that doesn't agree with their religious views. And there are many problems in our personal lives that need attention or they might just erupt into conflicts and situations that we don't wish to face.
I heard about a man who had a defective clock. One night it struck 13 times instead of 12. He woke his wife saying, "Wake up, woman, its later than it has ever been before". Indeed, it is later than it has ever been and it is getting later all the time.

Today we are going to look at a man who had just come through a crisis year and was facing an uncertain future as well. We can learn from this spiritually successful man. He had several ingredients in his life which made him victorious even when everything around him seemed to be getting worse.

I. He Dealt with the Unexpected with Sure Redemption

He speaks of himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ. He knows he belongs to and serves the Lord, and that gives him confidence and peace. In fact, he mentions peace in verse 2.

We do not lose our salvation, even when we are disobedient. A farmer in Kansas had just gone through a terrific storm. He had an insurance adjuster to come out to survey the damage. The adjuster noticed that the roof of the farmer's barn had been lifted intact and placed on the ground by the wind about 50 feet away from the original site. He remarked, "I see you lost the roof to your barn". The farmer answered, "No sir, it's not lost, it just ain't where I want it to be". We may not be where God wants us to be, but thank God we are not where we could be if not for the saving, keeping grace of God in Christ!
You see, we have something that no terrorists, storm or hardship can steal from us. If you know Jesus Christ as you Savior, you have one investment that will pay off no matter what the stock market does. Jesus gave you a treasure that you cannot lose, destroy and no one can steal. So, look up child of God! The future belongs to the people of God, no matter what nations and political parties think or do. Like the farmer in the story, you may not have everything in your life where you want it to be, but you haven't lost what counts most!

II. He Dealt with the Unexpected with Sacred Responsibility

Paul called himself a servant and apostle of Jesus. He knows that as God's servant he has a sacred responsibility. So much that is said about the Christian life today relates to how the Lord will keep us from trouble. In verse 5 about the sufferings of Jesus overflowing into our lives. A servant must face the unknown with a determined sense of responsibility.

In the book Quo Vadis, Peter is fleeing from Rome and the persecution there when he comes upon Jesus. He calls out to Jesus saying, "Quo Vadis" or "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replies that he is going to Rome to stand beside His persecuted saints. Peter decides to turn back and stand true as well. If you will keep your God-given responsibilities in the forefront of you mind, it will help keep your mind off the negatives on the the positives in your life. You see, when we are walking with Him, doing His will, bringing Him glory, a peace surrounds us that man, life and hardship cannot steal from us.
A man in New York committed suicide. His financial books were in good order and so was the rest of his life. He left a note. "Not a word of encouragement in 30 years. I'm fed up". Somebody is waiting for you to share an encouraging word. If we get our mind off ourselves, and see service to Christ and others as our sacred responsibility, it will not only bring us joy and peace, it will help someone else who is suffering.
An attorney gave his son a gift of 1 hour a day. He kept his New Year’s promise to the boy and renewed it each year. In Moody Monthly the son said it was the greatest gift his father ever gave him.
You can start your sacred responsibility at home, continue at work, and carry it out in your church. But, you can’t do this properly unless you make a full and deep commitment to the Lord. Like Peter, you will have to walk with Christ wherever He is going. It will never be a lonely path.

III. He Dealt with the Unexpected with Steadfast Rejoicing

In verse 3, Paul brings out in praise. He is writing to the Corinthians about a change in his plans to come to them. Even when things are not going as he planned, he is filled with praise. You can be sure that in this New Year your plans are going to be altered here and there. Everything is not going to turn out the way you planned or desire. The sign of a true servant is to praise God in all circumstances.

The God of all comfort comes from the word "paracletos," which means the God who stands beside us. Paul could rejoice in every situation because he knew that God was with him. William Barclay reminds us that between verses 3 and 7 the noun "comfort" or the verb "to comfort" occurs nine times.
No matter what the New Year holds, God will be with us. That give us cause to rejoice. I’m not just doing fine as I enter the New Year, I am blessed with the comforting presence of my Lord! “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)

IV. He Dealt with the Expected with Sincere Repentance

He mentions grace in this passage. Paul was always aware that he was a man forgiven and cleansed. This is important for us as we enter a New Year. We are not part of the kingdom because we deserve it, but because we are forgiven. This calls on us to repent and turn from the actions and thoughts in our lives that are not in keeping with God's holiness.

In Korean they celebrate the New Year with a kite ceremony. They write their sins and attach them to the kites. Then, as the kites fly away, they cut the loose. We have something far better than that. We take our sins to the Savior, who places them as far as the east is from the west, in the depth of the seas, and behind His back. They shall not haunt us or trouble us into the future.
The New Year is a good time to recollect our failures and leave them at the Cross. We should ask the Lord to forgive us and then we need to make a commit to Him that we will not repeat those same sins. In this service today, the last Sunday in this year, we can bring all those things from the year that are failures and lay them at Jesus feet. He paid for them with His blood at Calvary. Confession of our sins is a great help when entering a New Year. When you remember some failure from this year, you can go back to this day and remember that you repented and experienced a cleansing through Christ. You don't need to carry the weight of unconfessed sin with you into 2016!

V. He Dealt with the Unexpected with Submissive Reliance

Paul speaks in verses 8-10 about his total reliance upon the Lord. He even points out that some things that happened to him and those with him were to help them continue to learn that they must not rely upon themselves but rather must lean on the Lord at all times.

I read a poem some years ago, and I have long forgotten where I read it. But, I have not forgotten the words.

"Life is a book in volumes three
The past, the present and the yet to be
The first is written and laid away
The second we are writing everyday
The next and last of these volumes three
Is hidden from sight - God holds the key."
If I live, God is with me; if I die, I am with God! I was not born to lose, but born again to win as long as I remain submitted to His Spirit in my life. He will never lead me astray. I may go through some valleys, even the valley of the shadow of death, but He is with me and his rod and his staff will comfort me. He may not keep us from trouble, but He will take us through it to the other side. In fact, some of the most difficult times in my life have turned out to be the best times in regard to my learning to trust my Lord even more. We must pray to avoid problems and hardships, but rather pray to be His witness through such events. Pray for God to give us courage to make known the joys of the Christian life even when everything nailed down seems to be coming loose. Let us show his light where there is darkness. Let us show his peace where there is a storm. Let us show his love where there is hatred. The New Year will offer us opportunities to rely on Him and make Him known!


A man was working on a building one night. He slipped and fell and was able to hold on with the tips of his fingers. He cried for help, but amid the noise of the equipment no one could hear him. Finally, in total exhaustion, he let go and plunged six inches to a ledge below him.
The man was only six inches from peace and yet he was holding on in dreadful fear. Are you doing that in your life? Surely some of us are. When we let go, and trust God, we will discover that He is right there. He wants us to let go and let Him hold on to us. He will not fail us. He will not forsake us.
Don’t go into this New Year without Christ. If you do not know Him, come to Him now. And, if you are a Christian, don’t live a life fearing the unforeseen! We need to live a life that is victorious. We can, if we will practice the principles found in our Scripture passage today!

* Accessed at:,29569,2040218,00.html

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