The New Year

Well, another year has passed, and what a year it has been. This past year started out fairly rocky, with my own dealings with doubt and anger, but ended with healing and hope. I love being able to reflect over the past year (see previous post) as well as being able to prepare for the year that is here. I started this blog a little over two years ago because I felt like I had a story to share, a message to speak life into others who needed it like I did. I honestly had no idea the challenges I would be faced with over the course of those two years. I walked the road of death, with two of my small group brothers in high school take their lives and walked through the death of both of my grandmothers. That was tough. I never thought something like that could happen, but in that, God moved. God always moves. In death I saw life happen in the way families came together and those who were affected made a choice to live the life God gave them. My brother-in-law suffered from addiction and went into Teen Challenge for a full year. In that year God moved. God moved in his life and saved him, giving him the strength to beat addiction and become renewed in the spirit. In my own life I faced doubts about myself, my ability to write and fears of the future writing and serving the next generation. I was able to see my writing improve and see the effects of people who commented on posts as well as people who came up to me and told me that I spoke to them. That’s all I ever want to do, make a positive difference in someone’s life. I also dealt with learning to forgive others who hurt me in the past and to overcome the second son mentality. I learned that without complete trust in God, I can do nothing, but with him, I can face all trials that come my way. All of these experiences and new lessons are projecting me towards this New Year, a new year filled with determination and a hope for the future.

Each year I like to choose a characteristic to live by and add to my identity. This idea is similar to the My One Word system, where you choose a word to live by each year. I put my spin on this idea and have decided to make it a personal trait I add to myself. I started in 2013 with choosing to be a servant, one who looks at the needs of others and helps them in whatever way they can. In 2014, I chose to be a hero, one who sacrifices their own life and desires for that of a greater cause. In 2015, I chose to be an adventurer, one who takes on new challenges and experiences, and thrives. And last year I chose to be a doctor, one who cares for people that are hurting and one who never gives up trying to save others. Each year I chose a new trait, this trait becomes a promise and a goal for myself. Each year does not make me forget about the previous, I simply add that into my being; I add that to my very soul. I spend the months of November and December praying through what my word should be, what does God want me to step into in the coming year? I’m a firm believer in the power of words, so when I choose a trait, I claim the truth that is within it. I experienced the way it feels to serve others, to sacrifice my own wants, to be thrown into an adventure, and to step into the life of someone that is hurting and join them in their spiritual battle. People may challenge my words and they will most likely challenge yours too, but God will honor our effort to pursue him and pursue truth. This year I will face many challenges, I will face the unknown and the things that seem to be very unsure, but I am choosing to trust God and step into the battle I will face.

This year, I choose to be an avenger.

Now before you giggle and think I’ve been reading too many comic books (even though I probably have), there is power in this trait of being an avenger. Now if you’ve read me for long enough, you know I love words and the hidden secrets held within them. An avenger is a warrior, one who seeks to fix a wrong that has been done, but there is more to it. In my quiet time I was wondering why this word kept coming back to me, it kept ringing true in my spirit. So I decided to do some research about this word. In Greek, the word avenge is translated from the word ekdikeo, which means, “to do justice,” or “to protect.” This made me think about the state our world is in. We are in a sinful world where people are not standing up for their brothers and sisters in Christ, I want to be a man who will stand for the people who have been made in the image of God, because we have all been created by God with a purpose. I did more research and found that in the Hebrew Lexicon, the word is translated from ga’al, which means, “to redeem.” This is the core of my walk with Christ, he has redeemed me even when I chose to do wrong things, Christ is our redeemer. In all things he gives grace. So I choose to be an avenger this year. I choose to protect those who have been made in the image of God, and I choose to redeem the lost and give people a chance to know that they are free. Because God avenged me, I choose to become an avenger. I choose to defend the people who are overlooked, the people that are hurting, and the people that feel like they’re alone.

Life is coming.

This year is big. I graduate which means I am going to have to step into the joys of finding a job and finding my flow in life. I wish choosing to be an avenger made sure that all things would become easy, but that simply isn’t the flow of life. This year I will have much to figure out and get ready for, and I can’t wait. I’m terribly excited yet also nervous, but I know that God will open doors. Last year I wrote about how I was going to write a book called, “Coffee Shop Thoughts,” well, I decided last year to put a break on it. I wasn’t sure what its purpose would be and what it would look like, and God was telling me I had to figure out somethings and relationships in my life, but now, I am excited to return to this project. It will be a devotional that can be used for your own quiet time and as a small group guide, it will focus on the fruits of the spirit and how to live into that. I am also excited to graduate (done with school, say whaaaaat). I am nervous because I will be looking for freelance writing work as well as finding a place in next gen ministry with hopes to turn both into something that will lift the name of God and help others. In all of this I am terrified, but in Christ I can face any mountain and thrive in the challenge presented.

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I am so ready for this year. I feel as if the past two years have been leading up to this moment in my life. I think the same is true for you. I think there are big things about to come on the horizon for each of us. This year I choose to be an avenger, and this year I think God wants you to make a choice. I think God wants you to choose a trait to add to your spiritual being. Young or old, I think God wants to use us for something so great. No matter what hurt you have experienced or how many bad days you had in the past years, God can use it to make a difference today. God has cultivated a desire in your heart, and I can’t wait for that to happen for both of us. This year on the blog I am going to put my soul in it. I want to share more stories and give you the encouragement to make it through the tough days. I want to be spiritually refueling for you on dreary Mondays. Join me as we walk into the future, because this New Year is going to be great.

Claim victory in your life today.

-Joshua Thomas

Leave a comment and a like below if you liked it. I want to have more of a conversation with you who read it each week. I like meeting new people. Let me know about your word or trait you chose for this New Year and I’d love to pray with you over it! Thanks for reading.

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4 thoughts on “The New Year

  1. I’m happy to hear of someone so steadfast in their faith in God. In truth, I’ve had trouble with my faith not because I don’t believe in God’s existence, I questioned his intentions. I hope this year further cements your faith and brings you both challenges to learn from and good will to keep you comfort.
    Happy 2017!
    -Author S

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