Some times you've got to look back....

Happy New Year dear readers!  I, for one, am glad to see 2015 end and I look forward to what God has in store for 2016.  Normally I am not one for looking backwards.  What's done is done and there isn't anything that can change it.  But sometimes......... sometimes you've just got to look back.

Paul recognized this need.  In Philippians chapter 4 he spends several verses advising the readers to  find joy in everything, and to focus on the good.  (Philippians 4:4-8)  These are wonderful verses and would obviously be a blessing to anyone who implemented them.  But Paul seemed to know that even with the best of intentions people stumble.  And sometimes when we stumble things begin to look bleak.

In verses 10-18 Paul reminds the people of Philippi of the times that he faced hardship, that he "knows what it is to be in need".  When no other church supported him, the Philippians did.  When he was in Thessalonica they repeatedly sent him gifts to assist him.  God used them to provide for Paul.  Paul isn't trying to build them up, but to make it personal.  He is trying to help them see the part they played in God's provision for Paul so that they will connect with the next sentence.   This sentence:
And my God will supply every need of yours
according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

~Philippians 4:19
emphasis mine
God will supply every need.  Let that sink in.  God will supply every need of yours!  Sometimes we need to be reminded of what God is capable of, what He has already done.  That is why Paul made sure to point out the ways God had used the philippians to supply for his needs and make it personal for them before this verse.  And we can take comfort in the knowledge that it is still true for us today.  (Hebrews 13:8)

Sometimes we need to be reminded of just how much God has supplied for our needs.  Sometimes we get lost in the troubles, the darkness, the pain of this world and lose sight of this truth.  I know there were many times in 2015 that this was true for me.  And I am sure that there will probably be a few times in the year to come that it could happen as well. 

Might I encourage you this year to begin a new tradition - one of remembrance.  My family has used several different tools for this over the years.  We created a blessing jar for several years.  A simple jar that we kept on a shelf in our living room with a notepad beside it.  Every time one of us felt especially blessed by God we recorded it on paper, dated it and placed it in the blessing jar.  On New Year's Eve we opened the jar and read through them.  I was amazed at some of the notes as we read them.  Not that God had blessed us, but at the many blessings my young children recognized that I had begun to take for granted.  ("Thank you for the pretty yellow flowers (they were dandelions) in the yard.  They make me happy."  "Thank you for the rain today.  It was fun to play in.")

My pastor keeps a special chest in which his family saves "touchstones" to remind them of times that they have been blessed.  Items range from receipts to letters to candles.  Every member of the family can tell you exactly what the item represents and how God came through in that particular situation.

I keep a journal.  Nothing fancy, just a 3-ring binder with some tabbed dividers.  Inside I record scripture that speaks to me, prayers (and how god answered them), copies of emails that were sent to me by complete strangers with just the right words at just the right time, and so much more.  When I need a reminder of God's provision for me I open it up and flip through and am comforted by how my God looks after all of my needs and the needs of those I love. 

As a special New Year's gift I want to share some starter pages for you to create your own journal.  It is nothing fancy, just a few divider pages for things that I wanted to include in my own journal.  You can see a sample below.  Click here to download the PDF file. I pray that it helps you in those moments where you need to look back to remember that God's got this!


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