Looking Ahead to a New Year


2017-jpg

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

I learned a long time ago not to make New Year’s Resolutions. Do not misunderstand me. I have nothing against them. I have just learned that they do not work out for me.  Many times in the past I have started my year with a resolution to lose weight, eat healthier, or save more money only to bomb after the first couple of weeks. I was left feeling like a failure before my year even got started. I do not know about you, but that is not how I want to start a new year.

I have learned instead to take some time and sincerely pray about what God has for me in the new year. I center my prayer time around tuning into the areas in which God wants to grow me more. I also pray and ask God to show me the things on which He wants me to focus.

Earlier this year I ran across a quote that reminded me what my focus should be in the new year.

“If you look at the world,

You’ll be distressed.

If you look within,

You’ll be depressed.

If you look at God,

You’ll be at rest.”

~Corrie Ten Boom~

Even the most well thought out resolutions will mean nothing for us if we do not keep our eyes on Jesus and His plan for our lives. I pray as you prepare to start a new year that you will take some time and ask God what He has for you in 2017. You may be surprised at the direction in which He leads you.

Happy New Year, my friend. May God bless you in every area of your life.

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No Cost Too Great


photo by: Flickr

photo by: Flickr

6″And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” 10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial.13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

                                     Matthew 26:6-13

How much does this cost? This is a question that we hear a lot these days due to the economy. We oftentimes find ourselves asking it as well, whether it be paying bills, buying groceries, or even taking the kids out to eat.

I believe it is a legitimate concern since we want to be good stewards with the blessings God has bestowed upon us. But what about when it comes to our service for God? Do you ever find yourself asking, “What is serving God going to cost me?”

When this thought first crossed my mind, my immediate response was, “Of course not!” but as I searched my heart further and I was honest with myself I discovered that, yes, I do ask this question more times than I should.

It should not matter what serving God will cost us. We are so important to God that He sent His Son to die on a cruel cross for our sins. We should be willing to give up anything that is needed of us in order to serve God.

As scary as that sounds, I have grown to understand that we can not out-give God. Whether we give of our time or our finances, God is faithful to supply our needs.  Philippians 4:19 says:

“But my God shall supply all your need

according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

The lady in this story was giving to God all that she had. She did not consider the cost. She did what she could to bring honor and glory to God.

As I read this Scripture and have continued to ponder it in my heart, I have discovered some changes that need to take place in my own way of thinking. Possibly you have too.

I pray today if you find yourself concerned with the cost of ministering for Jesus or serving Him, that you will think back to these verses and remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. John 3:16 tells us:

by: depositphotos.com

by: depositphotos.com

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,

that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

I have made the commitment this morning to stop focusing on what serving God will cost me. I do not want to be so concerned with the cost of serving God that I miss an opportunity to bless others. I want to share God’s love with those around me no matter what I must give up.

I pray today that you will join me in this commitment. I can promise that you will not be sorry. I am reminded of the Scripture that is found in Matthew 6:19-20

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,

where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy,

and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

One day all these earthly things will pass away and all that will matter is what we did for God’s glory.

There is a quote that I was recently reminded of as I helped one of my students work on a literature report. It is by Jim Elliot,  a missionary who was killed while ministering to the Auca Indians in Ecuador. Jim said:

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep

to gain that which he cannot lose.”

I pray that these words will find you encouraged and inspired this morning to continue to minster for God’s Glory.