Bringing in the New Year!
The wisdom of Scripture gives us helpful perspective as we face the turning of seasons:”For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV. We would do well in living wisely by recognizing the different seasons that God brings us through, accept the season and adjust to it appropriately. Perhaps this prayer would be helpful for us as we approach 2023: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” -Serenity Prayer
Many of us have tendency to resist change. Sometimes this can be good when the changes are ungodly or unwise. Nevertheless much of the time we resist the change God wants to bring in our lives by His Spirit. This is what our flesh does and we must conquer the passions of the flesh and make sure that we are following God’s leadership.
The changing of seasons offer us an opportunity to change for the better, to reset, refocus, reorganize and renew our commitment to those things that matter most. Sometimes we are forced into painful and difficult seasons of life that we wouldn’t choose for ourselves. Nevertheless, we can always trust that God will make something beautiful with our lives even using our griefs & failures in 2022 to magnify His glorious grace in 2023!
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV
God is sovereign over every season of our lives! God is good and has good things stored up for His people.
So how can we can respond wisely and redeem the time in this moment we find our lives in at the end of 2022 looking forward to plans for doing God’s will in 2023?
Listen to God in 3 ways:
Scripture - Choose a plan to read and reflect on Scripture and commit to reading through Scripture every day. Aim for quality reading and communion with God through Scripture not merely covering much biblical content to check a box and feel better about your accomplishments. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16). This can happen by reading through the entire Bible in the year or simply and slowing reading through passages of Scripture that stir your heart move you to magnify Christ, live on mission and love people. Let’s steep our souls in Scripture in 2023.
Silence & Stillness- As Jesus faced challenges, pressures and decisions he spent time alone. The crowds were “pressing in” on him and his disciples. I could imagine they felt exhausted many days. We have multiple distractions pulling at us through our phones and screens. The devil’s work in our digital age is to distract and disorient us. Then he seeks to deceive us. Our greatest weapon to demonic deception is Scripture & The Holy Spirit helps orient us in the objective truth of Scripture and experience it’s sanctifying effects in our lives. (John 16:13,17:17). Paul reminded Timothy of powerful he had inside him: “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
To most effectively counter the evil one’s scheme to distract us we must get still and silent. This will help ground us emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Let us spend much time in listening to God in 2023!
Journal - As we write out our thoughts and prayers clarity will come in the presence of God. When we take heed to what God has said and is saying and express that by being an eager note taker through journaling, God will grant us more direction, clarity, insight, discernment & wisdom to walk in. Jesus:
“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.” Mark 4:23-24 ESV.
May we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us!
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 2:29 ESV
Written by Pastor Keith