A lot of people will be happy to see 2016 go. It was a tough year for a lot of people. Thousands of people were killed in more than 100 terrorist attacks throughout the world with the worst being in, Brussels, Nice, Orlando, Berlin, Baghdad, Kabul, Quetta Pakistan, Lahore Pakistan, and on May 23rd eight bombs in 2 Syrian cities. In the United States there were a number of police shootings of unarmed African American males that many believe were, if not racially motivated, the result of systemic racism in law enforcement. There was a very contentious presidential election campaign in the United States in 2016 that left the nation divided along racial, gender, economic, urban and rural lines.
Here is the Associated Press top 10 news stories of 2016. All of them was bad news:
1. US ELECTION: This year's top story traces back to June 2015, when Donald Trump descended an escalator in Trump Tower, his bastion in New York City, to announce he would run for president. Widely viewed as a long shot, with an unconventional campaign featuring raucous rallies and pugnacious tweets, he outlasted 16 Republican rivals. Among the Democrats, Hillary Clinton beat back an unexpectedly strong challenge from Bernie Sanders, and won the popular vote over Trump. But he won key Rust Belt states to get the most electoral votes, and will enter the White House with Republicans maintaining control of both houses of Congress.
2. BREXIT: Confounding pollsters and oddsmakers, Britons voted in June to leave the European Union, triggering financial and political upheaval. David Cameron resigned as prime minister soon after the vote, leaving the task of negotiating an exit to a reshaped Conservative government led by Theresa May. Under a tentative timetable, final details of the withdrawal might not be known until the spring of 2019.
3. BLACK MEN KILLED BY POLICE: One day apart, police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, fatally shot Alton Sterling after pinning him to the ground, and a white police officer shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop in a suburb of Minneapolis. Coming after several similar cases in recent years, the killings rekindled debate over policing practices and the Black Lives Matter movement.
4. PULSE NIGHTCLUB MASSACRE: The worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history unfolded on Latin Night at the Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. The gunman, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people over the course of three hours before dying in a shootout with SWAT team members. During the standoff, he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
5. WORLDWIDE TERROR ATTACKS: Across the globe, extremist attacks flared at a relentless pace throughout the year. Among the many high-profile attacks were those that targeted airports in Brussels and Istanbul, a park teeming with families and children in Pakistan, and the seafront boulevard in Nice, France, where 86 people were killed when a truck plowed through a Bastille Day celebration. In Iraq alone, many hundreds of civilians were killed in repeated bombings.
6. ATTACKS ON POLICE: Ambushes and targeted attacks on police officers in the U.S. claimed at least 20 lives. The victims included five officers in Dallas working to keep the peace at a protest over the fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana. Ten days after that attack, a man killed three officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In Iowa, two policemen were fatally shot in separate ambush-style attacks while sitting in their patrol cars.
7. DEMOCRATIC PARTY EMAIL LEAKS: Hacked emails, disclosed by WikiLeaks, revealed at-times embarrassing details from Democratic Party operatives in run-up to Election Day, leading to the resignation of Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other DNC officials. The CIA later concluded that Russia was behind the DNC hacking in a bid to boost Donald Trump's chances of beating Hillary Clinton.
8. SYRIA: Repeated cease-fire negotiations failed to halt relentless warfare among multiple factions. With Russia's help, the government forces of President Bashar Assad finally seized rebel-held portions of the city of Aleppo, at a huge cost in terms of deaths and destruction.
9. SUPREME COURT: After Justice Antonin Scalia's death in February, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the vacancy. However, majority Republicans in the Senate refused to consider the nomination, opting to leave the seat vacant so it could be filled by the winner of the presidential election. Donald Trump has promised to appoint a conservative in the mold of Scalia.
10. HILLARY CLINTON'S EMAILS: Amid the presidential campaign, the FBI conducted an investigation into Clinton's use of a private computer server to handle emails she sent and received as secretary of state. FBI Director James Comey criticized Clinton for carelessness but said the bureau would not recommend criminal charges.
On top of all this bad news it seems that there were an extraordinary number of deaths of beloved entertainers and other celebrities. From David Bowie who died on January 6th, to Debbie Reynolds on December 28th, in 2016 there were the deaths of Prince, Muhammad Ali, Fidel Castro, Gene Wilder, Garry Marshall, Florence Henderson, Nancy Reagan, Alan Thicke, Carrie Fisher, Garry Shandling, John Glenn, Arnold Palmer, Merle Haggard, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Patty Duke, Antonin Scalia, and on and on. So many deaths of that I saw comments like “2016 stop killing my favorite people”, 2016 stop killing our heroes, or “STOP IT 2016”, on my Twitter and Facebook feeds.
2016 all bad though. Here are some of the good things that happened in 2016. This from the Washington Post .
While the year was dominated by political toxicity, major celebrity deaths, social unrest and the specter of terror, a number of positive moments and stories emerged.
1. There was good news in the U.S. economy. Markets hit record highs, wages rose and unemployment dropped to its lowest rate in nine years.
2. On the press freedom front, journalists Jason Rezaian, Khadija Ismayilova and Can Dundar were released from prisons in, respectively, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey (though they shouldn’t have been there in the first place).
3. The United States saw milestones for diversity in government. A sampling: Catherine Cortez Masto became the first Latina elected to the Senate; Ilhan Omar, a former refugee, will be the first Somali American lawmaker; and although she went on to lose the general election to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton was the first female U.S. presidential nominee of a major party.
4. In sports, Bethesda’s Katie Ledecky dominated in the Rio Olympics; the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908; and the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers gave Cleveland its first pro sports title in 52 years.
5. It was announced that Harriet Tubman will appear on the front of the $20 bill, relegating Andrew Jackson to the back.
6. Colombia’s congress approved a peace deal with the FARC, the rebel group the government has been fighting since 1964.
7. The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened on the Mall.
8. President Obama visited Hiroshima, the Japanese city where the United States dropped the first atomic bomb, and called for the end of nuclear weapons. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will join Obama this month at Pearl Harbor to “pay tribute” to those who died in the war.
9. Former dictator Hissene Habre of Chad was convicted of crimes against humanity; former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
10. Good news for Earth: U.S. carbon dioxide emissions dropped to their lowest level since 1991, renewables’ energy capacity overtook coal’s and the Paris climate agreement went into effect.
11. Good news beyond Earth: Astronomers found new evidence of a ninth planet, and the Juno spacecraft entered Jupiter’s orbit.
12. Obama banned solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons.
13. The Pentagon lifted its ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military.
14. The National Park Service celebrated its centennial this year; Obama expanded a national marine monument in Hawaii to create the largest ecologically protected area in the world and designated seven other national monuments, including the Stonewall Inn in New York, the first national monument to the gay rights movement. Obama has now surpassed every other president in the amount of land and water he has protected (more than 548 million acres total — more than twice as much as Theodore Roosevelt).
15. Leaders of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches met with each other for the first time since 1054.
16. Giant pandas were removed from the endangered species list, and the tiger population rose for the first time in a century.
You may not agree with all of these and you probably have some others. The point is that although 2016 may not have been the best year it was certainly not the worst of all years.Good did happen in 2016.
One story they didn’t include that I think was one of 2016's was;
100 Percent Of Patagonia’s Black Friday Sales Will Go Toward Saving The Environment. Patagoina, the high-end outdoor apparel and gear retailer Patagonia announced it will donate 100 percent of its Black Friday sales to grassroots environmental groups that protect local communities’ air, water and soil. The groups that will receive the money are small and typically underfunded, according the company’s press release.Patagonia is expected to make over $2 million on Black Friday, CNN Money reported.
My Good News
The 2016 good news for me is that millions of people were saved in 2016, millions of people were healed of sickness and disease in 2016, I got to spend a lot of time with one of my daughters and granddaugthers in 2016 who have blessed me more than I can describe; God has blessed me to see my 72nd year; I’ve written I don’t know how many blog posts, and preached several sermons; my Internet ministry is growing; I was able to visit with my 94 year old mother, who is still in good health; I entered a relationship with a wonderful woman; I continue to grow in wisdom and knowledge, I could go on and on and on. So while 2016 wasn’t perfect, some bad stuff happened to me in 2016 too it wasn’t all peaches and cream, it was a good year despite it all.
Now on to 2017
Two years ago when trying to decide what to write for the New Year I ran across a quote from the book Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” That’s what happens at 12:00 midnight January 1, 2017. There are no mistakes at exactly 12:00 midnight. It’s a new beginning. A beginning with excitement and anticipation so start it with the Word of God. I started with 15 for 2015, In continued with 16 for 2016. Here are my 17 inspirational scriptures for 2017. They include the same 15 that I had for 2015, the same 16 that I had for 2016 plus one more for 2017. God’s Word never changes and it is the same today as is was in 2015 and 2016.
17 for 2017
Hope for the Future
Jeremiah 29:11 (HCSB) For I know the plans I have for you”--⌊this is⌋ the LORD’s declaration—“plans for ⌊your⌋ welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Hebrews 11:1 (HCSB) Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.
Romans 8:28-30 (NLT)28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
A New Creation
2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, ⌊he is⌋ a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
Isaiah 43:19 (HCSB) Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
Psalm 98:1 (HCSB) Sing a new song to the LORD, for He has performed wonders; His right hand and holy arm have won Him victory.
A New Heart
Ezekiel 36:26 (HCSB) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Forgetting the Past
Philippians 3:13 (HCSB) Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,
Hebrews 12:1-2 (HCSB) 1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.
Learning from Past Mistakes
Hebrews 12:10-11 (HCSB) 10 For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. 11 No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Proverbs 24:16 (HCSB) Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin.
Wait on the Lord
Psalm 37:7 (HCSB) Be silent before the LORD and wait expectantly for Him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the man who carries out evil plans.
Isaiah 40:31 (HCSB) but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.
God's Timing is Perfect
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (HCSB) He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end.
Habakkuk 2:3 (HCSB) For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.
Each New Day is Special
Lamentations 3:22-24 (HCSB ) 22 Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! 24 I say: The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.
2 Corinthians 4:16 (NLT)16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
Let's ring out the Old and Ring in the New meditating on the Word of God which is light and life.
Psalm 119:105 (HCSB) Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
Proverbs 4:20-22 (HCSB) 20 My son, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings. 21 Don’t lose sight of them; keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, and health to one’s whole body.
Yes, on the whole, 2016 was a good year for me, despite all that went on in the world, but I look forward to and expect even greater things in 2017. Greater things for the United States, greater things for my friends and family. Greater things for the Body of Christ. Greater things for my church, The Church of Divine Guidance in Los Angeles. Greater things for the Faith The Evidence Ministry. I look for the blessings of God that take us, as my Pastor says, “from glory, to glory, to glory”.
If Jesus doesn’t return, which will make it the best of all possible years, I pray that 2017 it will be your best year yet.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.