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New year, new potential

A new year message from Commissioner LYNDON BUCKINGHAM, leader of The Salvation Army in the UK and Republic of Ireland 

It is my faith that gives me confidence to embrace the new year

I AM in the process of moving to the United Kingdom and am looking forward to spending the first few months of 2018 settling into life in London. Ahead of me are a new job, a new team of people to work with, new places to visit and new friends to make. It is all very exciting and just a little overwhelming. The unknown can be daunting.

Although I’m apprehensive, I’m also enjoying the prospect of everything being new. The new year can be like a clean sheet of paper with the joy of being able to start again. This is reinforced by the practice of making new year’s resolutions and the idea of moving into a new year with a clean slate. What’s in the past is in the past. Things are going to be different this year.

As I prepare for the future, I am aware that to embrace fully the potential of the new year I will need to let some things go. Life will not be the same in 2018 as it was in 2017. I have to be willing to accept this reality if I am to have a positive year.

The uncertainties of the new year can bring a sense of apprehension or even fear. Rather than a clean sheet of paper and a fresh start, many people will carry burdens into the coming months – problems to tackle and obstacles to overcome.

I can relate to such worries. But I find these realities manageable because of my faith in God. God has promised never to leave or forsake me. He has promised to guide, direct and sustain me in all circumstances. It is my faith in him that gives me confidence to embrace the new year with all its uncertainty, potential, opportunity and challenge. It is also what gives me a sense of excitement about what might be possible.

The Lord Jesus has brought me through many challenges, and that’s why I encourage others to get to know him. Knowing he is by my side as I enter a new year is such a blessing. It is the reason for the spring in my step, the joy in my heart and the peace which remains whatever my circumstances.

None of us knows for certain what this new year will hold. But I do know that if I put God at the centre of all of it, he will see me through.

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