OK, friends, so is it time for all of us begin our diets from all the turkey, ham, stuffing, pie, and other goodies we enjoyed during the holidays?
As we begin a new year, my heart is filled with gratitude for my family and God’s faithfulness as well as for all of you — our extended family in Christ. Here are a few thoughts to ponder as we once again enter into new things for the coming year…
From Exodus 3:3-4 in the New Living Translation (NLT):
“This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”
When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the
middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied.
The King James Version of verse three puts it this way: “And Moses said, ‘I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.’ ” And I believe that God urges to us as well to “turn aside and see.” The bush is a bush of our circumstances, and we can see Him through it all. God called to Moses in his circumstances and said twice, “Moses!” Even in the midst of our trials, we can turn aside and see.
If we listen through our own thought processes, we receive only dry crumbs. However, when the Spirit empowers or enlightens our listening and speaking, streams of living water will flow through us to others. We need to be a channel of God’s love, joy, and peace by listening to the Lord. Even in the midst of our difficulty, we can turn aside and hear Him call us by name, just as He did Moses. But the key is to listen in your spirit.
Here are some of the ways that God speaks:
• Through prayer
• Through others
• Through our circumstances
• Through His word
And if we listen, we will hear Him.
The Psalmist said, “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1 KJV). Often God keeps us waiting, but it is not time to strike our tents when there is no answer. God never keeps us waiting without assuring us of His presence and sending us our daily bread as He sees fit. In our last blog post, we talked about trusting God, and we need to keep that trust through all the seasons of life. The keys to seeing His will and His ways are:
1. Accepting where we are
2. Extending and receiving forgiveness
3. Cultivating hope
4. Walking in faith
5. Abiding in His peace, through the rest of faith
People may change in ways that are difficult for us, but even those times can work for our good if we continue to see God. Truly trusting God is the key to everything. It allows us to enter God’s rest and to remain peaceful through all our seasons.
Elijah lived in a time of severe drought, but God miraculously took care of him. Just think! He lived by a brook of running water. Ravens brought him food each day. But eventually the brook dried up (I Kings 17:7). This change in Elijah’s life wasn’t necessarily one that seemed to benefit him. There have been times in my life, and there will be in yours, when God changes something in our lives in order to help someone else. But He is using us as His agents of change in the lives of others. When we have finished our assignment — and been victorious in our circumstances — we can trust that God will promote us to a place that is even better than the one we left behind.
Trusting God in any and every situation is the main ingredient in living a life of peace, joy, and victory through every season of change. If you are in that kind of season and it seems that things are not working out, turn aside and see! The bush is still burning. Just be patient and continue being faithful to do what you feel God is leading you to do, one step at a time. Some changes in our lives may seem like a Texas cyclone. They are sudden, unexpected, and hinder us from doing what we planned to do as we live life. On planet Earth, not all storms are in the weather forecast. Sometimes our emotions flare up during turbulent times, but they will subside because God is with us at every turn.
It is not the difficulties in our lives that glorify and please God but, instead, the ability to have a good attitude during these seasons. Jesus never asks us to go where He has not been. He always goes before us and prepares the way. When we worry about tomorrow, we have wasted today. There is more than enough room in the Father’s house for our hurts, wounds, disappointments, injustices, and failings. So take all those into the Father’s house and prepare for His blessings, His ministry through your life, His love that never ends, and His everlasting faithfulness.
As we enter into 2020, let’s take the apostle Peter’s words to heart:
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if
something strange were happening to you (1 Peter 4:12).
Without the testings, we have no testimony. So don’t be amazed or bewildered by any and everything that comes your way. He is building our character, not our résumé or our success stories, to become more like His in our attitude, our relationships, and all the ups and downs that we encounter.
Our prayer is that His blessings, His strength, His grace, His unconditional love, and the power of His Holy Spirit will flow in and through you. May this new year be for you one of yet unrealized and unexpected depths and riches of His goodness.