To Love • To Forgive• To Believe & Prepare: What I’m Taking into 2019
January 4, 2019
Day 3 of 365; in the blink of an eye we are living in 2019. Many of us are already on the same hamster wheel that we left in month 6 of 2018. Full of goals and new ambitions, hopes and aspiration, are we. We’ve already committed to read the entire bible this year, to get into the gym and meet goals of having our best bodies. We have finally decided to walk away from those toxic relationships and in doing so we are reassessing our lives and removing bad habits. Usually, I’d be 1 of 7.7 billion setting SMART goals. I’m sure it’s not to your surprise that I am still in 2018, reflecting on how that year began and ended so quickly. 2018 was a year of high-high’s and low-low’s, many semantics apply, BUT; GOD! He was with me ALWAYS in ALL WAYS. There’s no way I could give a quick synopsis on everything that happened this year, but here are 5 things that I’m taking with me into year 2019.:
1. Belief in my prayers.
This past year my faith was tested in new ways. I spent many days in functional exhaustion, disobedience and frustration, because of those things my prayer relationship grew silent. During this time of minimal communication with God, the enemy worked intentionally to make me believe that whatever I prayed for would never manifest. I was down long enough, but when I got back up Christ reminded me that my prayers hold POWER. My prayers are a direct line to His heart, and a weapon against Satan that cannot be defeated. When we pray, we should speak with confidence, clarity and authority. (1 John 5:14-15) “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” He hears us, even when things don’t come to fruition according to our timeline He is there! PRAY WITHOUT CEASING! (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
2. How to love, forgive, and behave as a spiritually mature individual.
The re-evaluation of my heart happened and it wasn’t the most comfortable process. I thought that I understood how to love unconditionally, and if you know me personally you would agree. Believe you me, I was just as surprised as you are to come to realize that in all my doting bubbly-ness that I was indeed a critical grudge holder. Let’s take a moment to remember that nothing is prideful, arrogant or boastful about love and to love means that we have to forgive and also behave as the spiritually mature. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” Imagine if God turned His back on us with every offense, if He didn’t forgive us maybe we would be in a spiritual timeout for offending Him. He does none of these things. He loves us, and there’s nothing we can do to make Him stop. He’s a gentleman in redirection when we step into unrighteousness. He moves closer to us and extends His hand when we are far. He says “I love you so much that I knew you would sin and that it would strip you away from me. I sent my son Jesus and His blood cleanses you from all wrongs.” If we are lovers, we MUST do ALL of these things.
3. How to maintain my simple FAITH and JOY.
I remember several times this past year where I was unhappy, depressed or discontent and all of those were based on my circumstances. I had to realize that in any of those incidents of worthlessness that I felt, I could’ve just thanked God for who He was and what He’s done for me and the transformation of my heart would begin. Simple faith is thankfulness, if you can’t remember a single thing that God did for you last year, remember that the greatest gift He has already given is LIFE. Not just any kind of life, but the kind that guarantees you eternal blessings. (C’mon somebody!) Once you realize that you are connected to Christ, understand that your heart is the host of His Spirit. God’s Word says that once we’ve accepted Christ into our hearts He is within us, God’s Word also says that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” Consider and remember that if you have God, you have access to Joy. This doesn’t hinge on circumstances, or good deeds. (James 1:2-3) “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” The battle may be uphill, but it’s rewarding. Don’t lose faith in the stride. Maintain your joy by resorting to thankfulness and don’t let it terry.
4. The importance of organization and worshipful REST.
I learned a lot about rest. We spend so much time packing our planners with things to do and we find it almost rewarding to be busy. God showed me how there is nothing honorable about being busy and lacking in rest. As a modern day Christian I don’t see many honoring the sabbath, but we should. Even God rested and when we rest He calls us holy. Disorganization also had its hand in my restlessness. I can’t function in clutter and I found myself there often. Keeping a tidy and organized life is conducive to getting rest. God reminds us of how resting is holy and how cleanliness is next to godliness. Resting is not just lounging around in slothfulness, it’s spending time with God, in prayer and devotion. Not only did I learn how critical it was, but I learned how to do it. True rest is found in Christ, alone. (Matthew 11:28-30) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
5. How to be productive in my waiting season.
I know that patience has been an area of work for me. When I desire something God has 3-5 business days to get back to me. I’m laughing at that exaggeration but it’s partially true. We ask God for things and we go practically crazy when those things aren’t with us when we deem fit. Waiting can be a pill, I’ve learned that we don’t have to sit still while we wait on these things to manifest, instead we should become productive in preparing for them. In a devotional titled “Wait Is a Four-Letter Word” I learned that waiting grants gifts of love, purpose and growth. I find comfort in knowing that God gives to us, through times of discomfort. Waiting can be excruciating if you are idle. Elizabeth Laing Thompson explained it best when she wrote “Growth is how we partner with God to make life count, to give TIME purpose.”
As I’ve reflected and shared the most memorable highlights of my year, I pray to have encouraged each of you to do the same. Who are we if we don’t make adjustments to how we’ve once lived? As always I have prayers for you all to move forward and never step back. This year will be fruitful for us. We will continue to pray with authority. We will love, forgive and grow in spiritual maturity. Our joy will be sustained because we are children of The Most High God. We will be plausible and orderly in our lives. When we are waiting, we will better identify the season as one fit for preparation. With Him, we will NOT fail.