Hope for Tomorrow - Girlfriends in God - December 31, 2013

December 31, 2013
Hope for Tomorrow
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).

Friend to Friend

A cloud of terror hung over the Valley of Elah as snarling threats and vile promises spewed from his mouth. The intimidator strutted along grassy slopes, swinging an enormous club, his mammoth, ironclad feet pawing the ground like an irate bull, ready to attack.

The huge, ugly monster was Goliath, a nine-foot giant who was the pride of Philistia.

Goliath wore massive armor; a bronze coat weighing 200 pounds, a solid iron spear, a heavy bronze helmet. The target of his ranting and raving was a frightened, helpless group of Israelites, cowering in their tents. For forty agonizing days, Goliath had come, taunting them, promising certain destruction and doom. The Israelites, paralyzed with fear, had given up all hope of escape, resigned to their tortured fate at the hand of this Philistine monster.

Then came day forty-one!

I am certain, as the sun inched its way over the mountains that morning, that neither Goliath nor the Israelites had any idea that this day would be different. A young handsome teenager stepped into the valley of fear, fresh from the presence of God.

David, the youngest in a family of eight boys could not believe the scene before him. Tossing the giant’s threats and obvious advantage aside, David refused to accept what he saw. Instead, he chose to believe what he knew in his heart; this giant was going down. With simple but certain faith and unreserved confidence in God, David stepped through the fear, ushering in the mighty presence and power of God. Goliath not only met David that day, He met the Lord of Heaven and earth. And the giant fell! Giants always fall in the presence of God.

We stand on the threshold of a new year – a new beginning! If you are like me, you face 2014 with mixed emotions. Personally, I am thrilled that I survived 2013! There were certainly moments when I wondered if I would.

My husband had his second heart ablation.

I had back surgery.

We moved … and oh, how I hate moving!

I experienced the worst battle I have ever had with clinical depression.

Financial surprises seemed constant.

Yep! I am glad to see 2013 go, but I am so thankful for God’s faithfulness and provision every day of that year. I learned so much. I didn’t always like God’s plan for teaching me His truths, and honestly, I often failed to understand why things had to happen the way they did. But I can also say with assurance that God was with me every step of the way – and His presence was more than enough to get me through it all.

Still, I am excited about a fresh start, a brand new set of days overflowing with new dreams and unmarked possibilities, but I also know this year is crammed full of the unknown as well as a giant or two.

I am not a fan of giants, and if I am brutally honest, I have to admit that the unknown fashions a pocket of fear in my heart where questions and doubts thrive. I don’t know what tomorrow holds but I do know that I have to face that fear and refuse to let it take up residence in my heart and mind.

The good news is what lies ahead is no surprise to God. In fact, He has already been where you and I are going. That reason alone empowers us to face every tomorrow with hope, knowing that whatever touches us passes through His hands, with His permission.

It is not God’s plan for us to dwell in fear or for fear to rule our lives. He has already set in motion the defeat and fall of every giant we will ever face. Our responsibility is to step through our fear, facing every giant in God’s power and with His promises. The Holy Spirit will guide the path of His truth to its destined mark, taking down the giants lurking in the shadows of every tomorrow.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever! The days ahead are saturated with the memory of Goliath’s fall when one very unlikely shepherd boy chose to put his trust in Almighty God, the Giant Killer. We can make that same choice.

So then, girlfriend, I ask you, what is there to fear?

Happy New Year!

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You by faith, laying every fear and worry at Your feet. I am not sure what this year holds for me, but I do know You are with me every step of the way. When I am tempted to worry, please remind me to trust You. When fear attacks, help me choose to pray instead of panic, knowing You are my Lord and my Shepherd. I praise You for Your faithfulness in my life, even when I don’t understand and can’t see the next step. I praise You, Lord.

In Jesus’ name,


Now It’s Your Turn

Take time to review the past year. What giants have you faced? Was your response to these giants right or wrong? What changes do you need to make as you approach a new year? Ask yourself the following questions:

How do I typically handle fear?

What has been my natural response to giants of the past?

How do the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ affect those responses?

Read Luke 2:8-14. Examine your life in light of this passage. Record your thoughts in your journal.

More from the Girlfriends

Can you believe 2014 is just ahead, like a clean slate filled with new beginnings and fresh starts? What did we learn in 2013 that will make a difference in 2014? As the holiday season winds down, I pray your heart and mind will look ahead to all that this year holds. Guard your heart and mind against darkness. Stand firm in God’s power and presence. He is faithful and He is sufficient for whatever tomorrow brings.

Looking for a Bible Study?Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. Don’t miss the new study, How to Tame the Tongue, beginning January 20, 2014.

Do you want to revolutionize your prayer life? Check out Chair Time, a new E-Book written by Mary’s husband, Dan. It not only will teach you how to hear from God – it will change your life! And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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Matthews, NC 28106

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Originally published Tuesday, 31 December 2013.