Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT)
“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Many years ago, I began journaling my walk with Jesus Christ. It began in ordinary plain tablets used as notepads then became small binders with pictures on the cover and an occasional scripture. Then they became bound notebooks made specifically for such a purpose. Endless chronicles of my thoughts, conversations and interactions with God sprinkled with the teachings of others throughout. Things I desperately want to remember and retain as well as times when I knew words would get me in trouble, all written and tucked away in little notebooks. Journaling was not my idea but a technique taught by mature Christians who felt that it aided in remembering things that may be foreign at first allowing us to go back and mull over the things of God to study and show one to be approved, it was a necessity. So I began journaling. I want to remember what the Lord is saying and do as He has instructed. I want to remember all that I have asked of Him and that God has promised in return. But today, although I am nearing completing yet another binder with one waiting right beside it to continue my journey of faith, I am elated by the Word of the Lord that says, “Forget all that...it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new.” Happy New Year everyone!
God in His Perfect Timing is gently turning our face from the past and facing us forward to the New Things that He is about to do! It is time to close the chapter on last year and open the New Life for the coming year. I love this time of year. Like the birth of a brand new baby that brings more love and optimism to a growing family, God is promising to do something new. In fact, His Word says, “See, I have already begun!” If this is true, why can’t we see it? Sometimes our plan becomes dominant in our life to the point that we hold tightly to it so when God tries to exchange our mediocre life for the Supernatural Plan that He has created, we struggle to hold all the pieces together. Life doesn’t end when everything falls apart for Children of God. It is the beginning of something new. So as you prepare to close the chapter on last year make it like the pages of a book, today we will close the cover of last year and welcome the New Year that God has planned for us.
I Corinthians 1:24-25 (NLT)
But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
To be honest last New Year’s Eve I was less interested in the coming year just completely satisfied that we all made it through 2011 alive. Our son had just finished cancer treatment at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida and we returned home after almost a three-month stay. I felt as though we had missed the holidays coming in the day before Christmas Eve and attempting to have a very Merry Christmas. It doesn’t take much when you are thankful just to be alive and together. But as the New Year arrived, I assumed that life would become normal once more. I just knew that after enduring so much that God would grant us a season of rest. Little did I know that the year would bring another round of cancer treatment and the challenges that come from battling this dreadful disease. I also had no idea that in the midst of such opposition our family would rediscover its faith and calling. Life is still not perfect. But I have decided that according to God’s Word, it never will be. I have decided that as I finish the final pages of this journal and approach the new year that I will choose the Plan of God over my own idea of what the coming year will bring. This year I am not even going to consider what I want but focus on what God desires for me with pen in hand I will wait to hear His Plan and stop wasting my time on foolish human thinking. God makes me strong. I have discovered this firsthand. For some reason, I feel stronger in the midst of overpowering odds and overwhelming circumstances when I yield completely to His Will. So this year instead of starting off in my own strength and coming to Jesus when it all falls apart, I am attempting a new strategy. Waiting and listening to hear what God has planned for my life. This will be my plan for 2013.
Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
This year I will focus on one thing – forgetting the past and looking forward. If every believer who has ever called on the Name of the Lord to be saved would take this one direction from the Lord and run with it – the Body of Christ would be empowered like never before. We live in a generation of regret. Instead of allowing God to take every detail of our life and work it out for good as He has promised (Romans 8:28), we try to do it. God never told anyone to step back into their past and work out the details. In fact, He warned the man who tried to bury his father to not worry with the “spiritual” dead but follow me. (Matthew 8:21-22) It doesn’t matter how good your intentions are in returning to the past, it is not God’s Plan for your life. You are to leave the past behind. So the one thing that I must do is forget the past. All of the hurt, disappointment, bitterness, regret, shame, guilt, remorse and sin must be left behind. Repentance is nothing more than turning away from your past (sin) and facing Jesus Christ (your future). The tough part is not turning back to the familiar in search of something you think that you have lost. Nothing in your past that is worth anything will be discarded by the Lord but instead He will work it all for your good if you are a Child of God. Press to reach the end of the race which requires endurance. Christianity is not a sprint but a marathon that goes from glory to glory. You are after a heavenly prize so try not to be too consumed with prizes and treasures attainable in this life. Jesus Christ is calling you out of 2012 into a extraordinary, faith-full, calling for 2013 will you look ahead or keep running back, it is up to you.
Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
The only thing that I “need” in the coming year is faith. To some this phrase seems so cliché but for those who have ever lost everything and had to rely solely on it, it is real and vital to their existence. My faith in God has been tested. I can trust God to do provide for me and bless me because if He doesn’t I can always get another job or work a little harder to survive. There is always an alternate plan. But God has never let us down before so we keep tithing and He keeps providing. I do not love money. I like to have it. But like Paul have experienced plenty and just enough when it comes to finance. It was not until money could not help me and I became totally reliant on my faith in God when it came to life or death for my son that the Lord gained my full attention. It is impossible to please God without faith. I cannot save my son no matter how hard I work. Medicine is not confident that it can kill all the cancer in his body and do feel the odds are in his favor. BUT GOD has promised that my son will live and not die. I have no other option but to trust God with the life of my child. In this experience, I have found that other areas of my life that I once believed were faith-full are not and have since been relinquished to God. In order to have any hope at all, I must believe that God exists and rewards faithfulness. It is all that I have in this situation. In 2013, I will work diligently to surrender every aspect of my life to God’s Plan by faith. I do not want any part of my life exempt from confident hope that is found in trusting God by faith. I want His Rewards in every aspect of living. Moving into 2013, I will “sincerely seek” the Lord body, mind and spirit leaving no part of my being unexamined and surrendered to God and His Purpose for my life.
Colossians 1:4-6 (NLT)
For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.
My faith was given to me to bear fruit. My tree has been less than fertile over the years with very little on the vine to represent the confident hope God has given me. My faith should cause others to seek the same source of hope that I have. It is high time for me to do just that and give honor where honor is due. This year, I have decided to be fruitful and multiply as God instructed. My faith should bring hope to others. It cannot do that as seeds tucked away in my soul but must be scattered to be effective. The Word of God released will bear fruit and change lives if I will just be confident in my faith and release it. God’s Grace is wonderful, amazing and awesome. It has changed my life. God’s Plan for His People requires reproduction. The confident hope that I have in Jesus Christ is to be shared. This year I intend to do just that.
John 3:30 (NKJV) He must increase, but I must decrease.
“Less of me and more of Jesus” is another Christian cliché to be re-evaluated in 2013. He must increase has nothing to do with the Lord and everything to do with me. God is God no matter what I think. Jesus reigns whether I choose to acknowledge Him or not. If I want more of Jesus in my life, I must make room for Him. Where sin prevails, there is no desire for God. Powerful statement that will change your life is continually considered in our words and actions. If you want to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, your life will continually be in the midst of transition as you move out the things keeping God’s Plan from fully taking over your life. Such discipleship is not for the casual Christian but for those who are intent on following Jesus into Eternity. This year I will be an intentional Christian radically removing the sin that sits between God’s Best and me. Your flesh will fight such a decision because it will be crucified daily as the Holy Spirit cleans house. Strive for holiness. Consecrate your ears, eyes and mind to only accept that which is acceptable to God. Faith flourishes when we guard our heart and mind from anything contradictory to Jesus Christ as our Spirit is free to work God’s Word, Will and Way through our meager existence bringing His Kingdom to the earth manifesting it in our life.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NLT)
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.
The news for the coming year is not encouraging. There are wars and rumors of war and the abasement of humanity seems to have reached an all-time low. The days of Noah are quickly approaching and this world looks more like Sodom and Gomorrah every day. Jesus warned believers that such times would precede His Return. Now they are finally here. What will we do with such knowledge? I have decided that I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in the God of my salvation each and every day of 2013. No matter how dark the days, they mark the Return of Jesus Christ, Lover and Bridegroom and if for some reason fear begins to mar such thinking. I will seek to know Him more. The time of the Lord’s coming should not bring fear or trepidation to His People but overwhelming joy! Each day He leaves me new mercy to continue this journey. I have a brand new journal to document these days! With pen in hand, I will meet the Lord each day and seek His Way and His Will through His Word. The Lord will be my strength! He is all that I need to have a prosperous New Year!
Lamentations 3:21-24 (NLT)
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”