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A happy and blessed New Year to all! The beginning of the calendar year gives us the opportunity to reflect and look back on the past year. It gives us the opportunity to look back and see how God has been working in our lives. It gives us the opportunity to thank the Lord for His continued work in our lives. It also gives us the opportunity to ponder what the New Year might bring.

What will 2016 hold in store for us? Will the New Year be a good year for our vocations, our careers, our families? Will the New Year bring God’s blessings of children or maybe grandchildren? Will that new job finally come? Will the price of gasoline continue to drop? Will the housing market in Fort Collins continue to rise? Will 2016 be a healthier year? Will our world, our country be a safer place to live?

The world we live in is in a constant state of flux and change. Our lives have a fair amount of movement and change as well. Whatever the New Year brings, St. Paul reminds us that one thing is certain, one thing is never in flux, one thing will always remain the same; God’s love for us in Christ Jesus!

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:35, 37–39

This is a wonderful promise! Nothing will separate us from God's love in Christ! Nothing! Not one thing; not hardship, not persecution, not even when you go hungry, not even when you can’t afford to pay all your bills, not even when you’ve hit rock bottom, not even when your life or your health seems to be in danger. Not even then will you or I be separated from the love of God. This is a wonderful promise, a big promise!

And God doesn't just make big promises, He keeps them! He kept His promise to Abraham and Sarah, his name was Isaac. He kept His promise to Israel, it's name was Canaan. And still God kept another promise to Israel, the same promise given to Eve, to Abraham and to David, His name is Immanuel, His name is Jesus. Indeed, all of God's promises find their “yes” in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20).

As we ponder what the New Year might bring, we can rest assured that no matter what comes our way, one thing remains certain; our God's love for us in Christ! Not only will nothing separate us from His love, but nothing will separate us from Him! He is Immanuel, God with us! Good or bad, joyful or heartbroken, rejoicing or grieving, the God who keeps His promises will be with us every step of the way! You can count on it!

Blessed New Year!
Pastor Nettleton

Rev. Shawn Nettleton is Senior Pastor at Saint John’s Lutheran Church. You can reach him in the church office, by email at or at 970-305-2420.