The ancient Romans called the first month of the year January, naming it after the Roman god Janus. You see, Janus has two faces. One face looks back at the year past, and this face is filled with sorrow and dismay and perplexity; the other face looks forward to the new year with hope and cheer and confidence. This cycle repeats year in and year out, with the new year becoming the old and optimism turning to despair.

On New Year’s Eve, you can feel the excitement in the air. It’s almost electric. But as those two faces of Janus reveal, it’s short-lived. A funny thing happens a couple weeks into January: People begin to realize that the problems they had last year followed them. Whatever catharsis they received from saying goodbye to the old year and ringing in the new one has faded away.

However, we who love Jesus Christ don’t have to tie our hope to a new year, nor do we have to wallow in grief when that new year disappoints. That’s because the God we serve is the same “yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the God who overrules our past sins and forgives our trespasses. He rules over the present, and He also guarantees our future.

Because this is true, it doesn’t matter what date it is. Whether it’s January 1 or December 31 or any day in between, we can spend every day thanking and praising the Lord for each circumstance that comes our way. We are free to praise God and thank Him for the ups and downs of life. We can worship and be grateful on good days and bad. We can bless the Lord for the joys and for the sorrows. Why? Because God’s promises to us are as sure as God Himself.

Here’s one of the greatest promises in the Bible: God says to us, His children, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). This promise was for last year. This promise is for this year. This promise is for all our future years, whether we are here on earth or with Him in eternal glory. Whatever the future brings, those of us who love God and follow His Son can have peace and confidence, for our God will never leave us.

Prayer: Father, I praise You for the promise of Your enduring presence. What a gift to have the Lord of all on my side, orchestrating all things for my good. I give You all the glory for the peace and hope I have in You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Marking the New Year: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

Email Sign-up

Sign up for the TWR360 Newsletter

Access updates, news, Biblical teaching and inspirational messages from powerful Christian voices.

Thank you for signing up to receive updates from TWR360.

Required information missing