Here we are again. It’s time to say goodbye to another year. For some reason, a new year always holds the potential for something better, perhaps something greater than what we leave behind. Definitely, as the year closes, we are reminded of all the wonderful people God called home, some after a long life, others after a short visit. Some people ask, why. A few people ask, why them? Why not me? Yet, all in all, as believers…we seek comfort in the promises of God.
At the end of another year, we contemplate on the past twelve months. We are thankful for God’s blessings, and promises, that He never forgets, and grateful that He keeps no record of our wrongs, and humbled by His abundant grace. I am most appreciative for the bloggers I encountered this year who shared their spiritual knowledge, insights and personal life, that made me feel like I was a part of something greater than my little life. As the world grows ever so wicked, as the false prophets take to the pulpit to spew their false teachings, their false prophesies, it is such a blessing to know that there are Christians in this country that struggle for the cause of Christ, that live for and defend the Word of Truth.
A new year can be a new beginning by saying goodbye to bad habits, perhaps learning to maintain a positive attitude. A New Year, for many is a fresh start, or so they desperately want to believe.
A New Year, truly is… just another year that we meet with success, tragedy, or failure, personal or business, or all of the above. Proverbs 19:21 (NKJV)
“There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.”
A New Year promises nothing more that what we bring forward. And resolutions don’t mean anything unless it’s something we’re already working on and have a strong desire to commit to. We tend to make New Year resolutions so haphazardly. I know this, because I’ve made many a resolution and failed to followed through on any of them, so I stop making them. However, this time last year I had a strong desire to get to know God on a more personal level, so I committed to reading through the entire bible. I made it a daily task. I am so glad I did, because the Lord opened up the windows of heaven and showed me some awesome stuff. He taught me more about Him than I could have imagined. He also revealed the ugliness that still lingered inside of me. And He’s still at it.
As cynical as my notion on resolutions sounds, a New Year’s spiritual commitment can have a tremendous impact. It can transform lives, renew minds, heal broken hearts, bind spiritual wounds, restore joy, and restore relationships, but there’s only one way to experience this transformation. How? Well, surrendering your life to Jesus Christ is the starting point. Reading the scriptures daily, getting to know the living God, praying without ceasing, allowing God to direct your steps, and allowing God to meet you where you’re at. “No improvement required”
Most mature Christians posses the knowledge on how to develop a closer relationship with God, or at least they should, but even with a plethora of bibilical knowledge, the things of God are spiritually discerned, and the “things”, the “demands” of this world too often drown out the things of God. New Christians, and Christians that rely wholly on the pastor’s preaching for spiritual food and growth instead of the Word (and there are many), well these believers are too often the ones caught up the muck and mire of the world and need to get into God’s Word. There is no other way to learn to discern bibilical truth.
“These days it’s the blind leading the blind…” Rich Mullins
I promise, once you get into the scriptures… you will never take your relationship with God for granted.
“It says a lot of things in there. Proof-texting is a very, very dangerous thing. I think if we were given the scriptures it was not so that we could prove that we are right about everything. If we were given the scriptures it was to humble us into realizing that God is right and the rest of us are just guessing.” Rich Mullins
I have been a believer for over three decades and I admit, I considered myself a mature Christian, but when I started meeting with God on a daily basis, well…I felt like my grandson when he was learning to walk…wobbly at best. I also have to admit, these days, I feel a bit socially awkward in this wicked world of ours, more so after my spiritual experience this past year, but I would not trade it for anything. After all, this place is not my home.
I like to imagine God in the clouds, looking down on his children, patiently waiting for us to call on Him. Dare we call on the Almighty in our time of need? Yes. And every other time too. Dare we start a New Year without putting God first in everything we do? No.
At the close of every year I reflect on my life, especially my childhood and I always wish someone would have shared the gospel with me when I was young, for lots of reasons. And believe it, or not, I was a regular church goer. Nevertheless, this makes me think about the great disservice we do to children, all children, when we don’t take the time to share the gospel with them. Sharing the gospel starts at home. But, that’s another topic for another day.
Gosh! As we prepare to ring in 2015 I am so thankful and grateful, so completely overjoyed to know that the God of Creation, the Savior of the world…calls me by name. What an awesome God!
Psalm 51 (NKJV)
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.
So many things happened this year. These are a few images that define events in 2014 that had a tremendous impact on my spiritual life.