More Than Happiness

It’s over. 2019 is gone and 2020 has arrived. We’ve now entered the twenties.

Over the last few days, there’s every chance you’ve been exchanging the customary greeting of “Happy New Year” with anyone who happens to cross your path.

Even while you’ve been trying to grab a bargain at all the post-Christmas sales you’ve probably had complete strangers not only hurriedly scanning your discounted items from the other side of the counter but wishing you happiness for the next twelve months.

We wish each other happiness as we draw a line under the year that has gone and look forward to the fresh beginnings of a new year.

We want the next year to be better than the last.

Each year I hear a lot of people talking about how tough their year was personally. Reading through Facebook I see so many describing 2019 as one of their hardest years ever. Some have described it as a roller coaster with some real highs as well as deep troughs.

I’ve heard many people despair at happenings around at home and the world with everything from the massive fires of the recent weeks in Australia (which are still destroying all in their paths) to terrorist attacks, natural disasters, political instability, inhumane treatment of asylum seekers and other heartbreaking situations.

Others have spoken of the many great lives we’ve lost during the past twelve months. It’s no wonder we want a little bit of happiness in the new year.

But is happiness what it’s really all about?

Of course, I want to wish you a happy new year but I don’t want it to end there. I want more for you than happiness as you launch into 2020.

Happiness comes and goes and we all know that you’re not going to sail through 2020 with a smile on your face the whole time. There will be struggles and disappointments.

I’m not wishing you difficulties but I’ve been on this planet long enough to know that each year will bring a mixture of good and bad.

Sometimes there’ll also be extreme highs and devastating lows. With that in mind, my wish for you goes deeper.

I wish you joy for 2020.

Joy is different than happiness. It’s more. It’s not so dependent on circumstances. There’s a strength in joy that goes beyond the happy times. It’s a confidence that no matter what we’re facing, we can go on.

I wish love for you in 2020.

Love means a lot of different things for a lot of different people. We’ve all been let down, even by those closest to us. That’s not the kind of love I’m talking about. The kind of love I wish for you in 2020 is a deep, abiding love that never changes, leaves or disappoints. That’s the kind of love we need during the tough days in 2020.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow, not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below, indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39

I wish grace for you in 2020.

What is grace? It’s been described as undeserved favour but there’s more to it than that.

Grace is not only God’s disposition to do good for us when we don’t deserve it. It is an actual power from God that acts and makes good things happen in us and for us.

God’s grace was God’s acting in Paul to make Paul work hard. So when Paul says, “Work out your salvation,” he adds, “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Grace is power from God to do good things in us and for us. – John Piper

And more than wishing … I pray these things for you in 2020

I could pray for a happy year for you. I could pray that whatever you do, all runs smoothly. A great job, a close family, healing from illness are all wonderful things that I want for you, but more than that, I pray that 2020 will be a year that draws you closer to the one who created you.

I really can’t go past this prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesian church.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:14-19

Wow. Being filled with all the fullness of God? That sure beats ‘Happy New Year’.

There are many other things I could wish for you in 2020 like hope, peace, strength, and wisdom but I’d be interested to know what you’d like to wish for others as we begin a new year.

(This is an updated post from previous years.)



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A Decade of Blogging

Blog

It was a Monday, just over ten years ago. I sat at my computer and typed the following words.

I’m sure it’ll all work out. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it. I’m sure I’ll be able to post stuff that’s not about trying to work out the technical side of blogging.

I’m just trying to set up the template so it has the kind of stuff I want on it. Then I’ll get down to business.

It was, as the title of the blog post suggested, the dreaded first post.

That was the 3rd of November 2003 and there have been a lot of blog posts since then. Over a decade of blogging.

The second post wasn’t a whole lot better. It was titled, Does It Look OK?

I think I’ve got things sorted out.

I guess that means I should introduce myself. My name is Rodney and I live in Perth, Western Australia.

The loves of my life are God, my gorgeous wife, my adorable kids and cycling.

I’m sure this blog will take its own shape so I won’t predict anything at this early stage.

I’m hoping you’ll agree that things have improved since then.

Back then I had only recently returned from cycling from Perth, Western Australia, to Hobart, Tasmania. It was the fifth time I’d cycled across Australia. (I really need to arrange another ride across the country.) Earlier in the year I had visited India for the first time. I’ve been back twice since then and I’m always open to offers to return.

When I started my blog I’d been married for almost 11 years. I had a 7 year old daughter. I had a 5 year old son.

It all seems so far away.

At the time I was working for the Bible Society. I left the Bible Society the following August to go back to 98five Sonshine FM where I’ve been working ever since.

Blogging was very new and exciting back then and it wasn’t long before I felt part of a community of bloggers. We would stay up to date with each other’s posts and often leave comments. I’m still connected to people around the world thanks to the early blogging years.

The posts here have been less frequent over recent months but I’m sure that things will pick up again soon. I’ve been breathing life into this blog for over ten years. I’m not going to let it die now.

If you’re new here, why not check out some of the archives and read some older posts?

If you’ve been reading my blog for years …. thanks. It’s meant a lot to me.



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