First off, Happy New Year from Sanctuary Family Farms. It is hard to believe that it is 2023.  When I was a kid, I never thought that I would make it to 2023. Honestly, as an adult, I never thought I would make it this far. This probably seems odd to most people, but here is the thing.  I believe, and was raised to believe, that every word of the Bible is true, from Genesis to Revelation. This means that in the beginning, God spoke the world into existence. No primordial slime, no Big Bang, and certainly no accident. This also means that one day a power will arise that will persecute true Christians and the earth will be renovated with fire.

Holding these beliefs and expressing these beliefs have put me at odds with many people in my life. When I was younger people didn’t like the idea that one day Christians would be persecuted and that I believed that God was calling me to prepare for this persecution.  When I was in college, my academic advisors didn’t like that I put spirituality before science.  I guess you could say my beliefs have never really fit in with the people around me.  I eventually graduated college and moved back to West Texas.

Times had changed a lot since I was a kid, and I found that many of my beliefs were better accepted. Life was good for me. I was making good money, I enjoyed my job, and I was in control of my destiny.  However, as often happens, soft times make soft men.  I will say that I was not relying on God the way I needed to and had slipped into complacency.

Then came COVID.  When COVID came around, my family decided that we would take a leave of absence from work until we could figure out what was going on and how safe our family would be.  I would pray every day that God would give me wisdom to make the right decisions.  However, as God often does, He used this situation to take me in a direction that I did not plan and was not looking for.  During this time, God called us to move away from our regular jobs and start working on our family farm. The farm would provide us with the ability to feed our family in hard times but also the ability to take care of other Christians both now and later. This meant a lot of changes for my family. This also meant that once again I would not be one of the cool kids. Again, I was on the outside. The good thing, though, is that hard times make hard people. I was again closer to God and needed His wisdom and reassurance everyday just to make it through.

Since quitting our jobs, God has blessed us amazingly. If ever I needed a sign that God was with me, the time since I quit my job has showed me that He is.  He has allowed us to put our children in a school where they can grow and learn about God without the indoctrination that is currently going on in public schools.  He has given us the ability to minister to multiple people in our community.  This has helped us to grow in confidence and not be ashamed of His word.  As usual though, as things have gotten easier, I’ve stopped relying on Him the way I should. Like a New Year’s resolution, when the new, the pain, or the struggle wear off, so does the commitment and dedication.

So how do we remain close to God in easy times and hard times?  For me, the answer to this is that God must be part of our everyday life.  He has to be part of our family. This means that every day we have to make an effort to talk about God and the things that He has done in the past and the things that He is doing now.  The reason that New Year’s resolutions don’t work is because we’ve never done them long enough for them to become habits. Once something becomes habitual, it becomes much easier to keep doing.

So here are two habits that I am going to work on this year. First, in order to know God, we have to understand what He is about and have conversations with Him. This means that we have to read our Bibles and pray every day. Secondly, He has to be integrated into our lives. One way of doing this is by telling the stories of Christ as often as we can with our families. Try to find opportunities to explain how what we are going through or doing relates to what Christ did or went through.  One way we do this is by leaving an empty plate for Elijah at Passover.  This symbolizes the return of the Messiah and indicates that He is always here; we also have a place ready for Him.  As we do at Passover, we need to make a place for Jesus in our everyday lives.

So, my New Year’s resolution is to NOT have a New Year’s resolution but a New Year’s habit. I will continue working on knowing who God is every day by praying and reading my Bible.  I will also make a habit of sharing who Christ is and was with my family every day.

— Written by Jeremiah