Well, it has already been a few weeks into the New Year… Christmas is put away, the holiday season has come and gone, and here we are getting ready to truck along for 2014. Businesses, churches, stores, and people have all set up new goals/resolutions in hopes of achieving a good solid year, always aiming for the improvement of the one before. I am so thankful for all the things the Lord has shown me and brought me through this past year, and I hope this upcoming year I will continue to grow closer to Jesus as I keep in mind that this earth is only my temporary home.
Is there a goal or resolution that you made for the Near Year? Is it something you want to improve? Something new you want to try? Somewhere exciting you want to visit? Most of the things people hope for are in the future… that’s what hope is. Hope is a longing for something to eventually come your way, not now, but later. Jesus teaches us to place our hope in Him (“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” Romans 8:24). Day after day as we live this life, we are called to look to Him. Our hope is in Him, but what does hope look like in action? Our hope is not to make us sit around and wish for something good to happen…we are called to take action now (“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Romans: 12:11). Jesus calls us to go out and make disciples.
This is something that has been on my heart lately as I think about the New Year…so many people have hopes and dreams for their future, and eventually they let those hopes and dreams go because they either forget about them or never acted on them in the first place. As the year continues to pass us by, don’t wait for your goals or resolutions, but take action( as long as it is in the will of God). Many churches pray for leaders to rise up, people to come forward to serve the church, and hearts that hunger after God..we ourselves pray for the Lord to improve different characteristics in us that we need to work on. Not only are we to pray for those things, but the Lord does provide many opportunities for us to take action and try to fix them. All we need are eyes to see and ears to hear. We often pray prayers for the future, but what about praying for the here and now? With the time we have been given now, are we using it wisely?
I was at a Youth Leaders Conference at Calvary Chapel Murrieta Hot Springs about a week ago and it was such an amazing experience for me. The Lord was moving that day in each of the leaders’ hearts and it was such a blessing to be surrounded by other people who are called to shepherd the youth of this day and age. I honestly have to say it was such a life-changing day for me…it wasn’t like God was calling me to do something crazy or extraordinary somewhere else in the world. It was simply that I felt such a great peace and encouragement from the Lord to continue serving in ministry faithfully.
One thing a pastor at the conference had said that really stood out to me was when he spoke about time in prayer and I realized how much free time I really have… The pastor asked us what we are doing with the blessed time we have been given. If I am not reading the Word, praying to the Lord, ministering to others, or serving the church now in this present time (especially since I have little responsibilities compared to all the homeschool moms out there!), then why would I do it any other time in the future? The call from the Lord is to serve Him faithfully now, not later. We are not promised anything in this life and I have seen a few examples of unexpected life changes in some of my own friends’ lives. Events may occur and decisions may be made that doesn’t make sense to the world, but with the Lord, sometimes there is no common sense. There is only His will. And even if a decision does not make sense to others, as long as it is what God wants, then be faithful to that calling. He will take care of all the details. We simply need to listen and obey.
Live you life with the hope of one day being able to spend eternity with Jesus, and it truly changes the mindset in how to act. I’m currently reading a book by Tim Chaddick called “Better” and it’s about the themes of Ecclesiastes. I have to admit, I was kind of nervous to read the book because I know Ecclesiastes can seem like a downer on life, especially when I am content with the way things are going right now. But that’s the beauty of challenges. This book is challenging me to not only be content with where Jesus has me, but to question the vanities of my life and what the purpose of life is. It is keeping me on my toes and reminding me not to get caught up in the ways of the world, but to continue to keep my eyes open for opportunities to reach the unsaved, the unloved, and the unknown. Don’t be so content with this life that you fail to see the needs of those around you. It’s not our own dreams we seek after, but rather, His present Hope.If you have been living with your eyes closed, the beauty of God’s grace can open them wide for you to see His sheep who need tending to.
For those who are saved, remember what your life was like without Jesus and reflect on the time when He first saved you and called you to follow Him. As I reflect on the day the Lord reached out to me and the many other times when He forgave me for the wrong choices I made in the past, my heart is overwhelmed at His patience and grace for me. Oh how He lovingly gives us chances to follow Him and how His grace is boundless.
Don’t let the New Year pass by you with regrets or mistakes like it did the year before. Don’t wait until later to get right with the Lord. If you have veered off the path, it’s never too late to come back and walk with Jesus. Time is not promised to us. The vanities of this world will try to discourage us and keep us off track. But that’s where fellowship with other believers, prayer, and the Bible become so much more important in order to be able to walk side by side with Jesus.
“Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago…” Isaiah 51:9
“Church arise. Arise and shine. Shake yourself from the dust. God is calling us to go.” -Leeland
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45