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| Author: Dele Oke

Welcome to 2003

" The threat of war, terrorist attacks and economic uncertainty pose major challenges both at home and abroad, the British Prime Minister said in his New Year message. "

Leaders all over the world could repeat this message. What exactly does 2003 hold in store for us? Does it really matter that we know in advance?

The Holy Spirit has already started to give us glimpses of what is to come. However, it should be clear that none of us will ever have the whole picture. Even those that do not believe in the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ will have to walk by faith.

2002 an eventful year
Many of us were so tied up in our little world that we missed the big picture of what was happening around the globe. Lets have a little recap.

We could go on and on. Many of the events of 2002 will be repeated again in 2003. Many Christians were also persecuted for their faith in parts of Asia, Africa and South America. Many of them paying with their lives for being dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ.We could go on and on.

Reason to be thankful
Maybe you did not realise just how chaotic the year 2002 was. It is so easy to get tied down with our own problems that we forget that other people are going through even more hardship.

In Luke 17: 11 - 19, we read the story of ten lepers cleansed by Jesus. Only one of them came back to give thanks. Of this Jesus said

" So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well." Luke 17: 17 - 19 NKJV "

Giving glory and thanks to God is one way of multiplying His blessing and protection over our lives. Lets learn to be thankful. Despite all you may have been through in 2002 give thanks to God for His kindness and protection. Our quick glance at 2002 above should show you that there is much to give thanks for.

Lift up your eyes
2003 is a year to get involved. Take thought for those who are less privileged than you are. Many Christian still live as if the rest of the world does not exist. Listen to the prayer of Jesus.

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done.
On earth as it is in heaven.
Luke 11 NKJV

Jesus specifically asked us to pray for His Will to be done ON EARTH. That means praying for a wider geographical area than your local church or Nation. Take an interest in the plight of people in other parts of your country and world. Pray that God?s will be done.

Many people will suffer if we Christians refuse to pray for them. If all the prayers and confessions you make are simply to bring YOU more financial wealth and prosperity then you have missed the whole focus of the Lords prayer and the heart of God.

God will not reward us in heaven for using His promises to live well on earth. That is simply our right. No one rewards you for spending your salary. It is your privilege. Praying for those that are less privileged than you is the work. Using your privilege and comfort to bless others is where our work begins.

For starters, take another look at our review of 2002 and start praying for some of the situations mentioned. Many of the hardships the people are suffering are still ongoing.

Our prayer diary will also help you to bring balance to your prayer life. After your normal time of prayer, use the prayer diary to pray for a particular issue. The diary will help you in praying for personal, national and international issues on a regular basis.

Wrapped in His promise
The days ahead will bring their own challenges. 2003 will be a year of the goodness of God in the midst of evil. Though we walk through the valley of shadow of death we should fear no evil (Read Psalm 23).

The promises of God are available to us all. Why not make a resolution to become steadfast in reading and studying God?s Word this year. Our new series Principles of life from Genesis, starting on the 14 January and Reading through the Bible guide are all tailored to help you grow deeper in your walk with God.

You could also use our reading guide to Romans, to take you through the book of Romans in the next 16 days. Whichever route you take, do something about becoming steadfast in the Word.

Pray for peace

" Daniel 10:12-14 Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 "Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision [refers] to [many] days yet [to come."] (NKJV) "

Read the whole of Daniel 10 to get the complete story.

Daniel has set his face to seek the Lord. The angel God sent to him gets held up by the ?prince of the kingdom of Persia? for 21 days. No doubt, this spiritual force is no small boy. The angel Michael had to come to the assistance.

The region known as Persia is presently at risk of witnessing another war this year. The people in the region have changed but the forces of darkness still remain.

Most Muslims are religious people, gentle and very easy to get along with. They have no ambition to kill their fellow human beings. Many Muslims came into Islam by reason of birth. They did not make a choice to become a Muslim. They are souls created in the image of God and loved by Him. We need to pray for them and love them.

Read Acts 10. The religious activities of Cornelius mentioned here resemble those of devote Muslims.

God does not want war. We should, as a church, pray for peace. Wickedness is the result of evil and spiritual forces. It should be addressed with prayer - our spiritual force.

The year 2003 need not be a year of war and death. Body of Christ, we have many things to pray for in the year 2003.