Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I can't even begin to give the Lord the praise He deserves for His work in my life this year. This year has been rather different from any previous year. Life has slowed down to a major degree... God has blessed with a job that appears to be steady. Life feels much more structured and planned out. There is still plenty of room for spontaneousness, which I love... but with the schedules of those around me and my work schedule, things in general are a bit more planned out than they used to be. It's a good change.

This year has had so many highlights... the one that really sticks out to me is getting to have a Bible study in our home. This has been something that I have desired for years and thanks to God and Him enabling life to be more structured, Bible study in our home has become a reality. I am learning so much through it about spiritual leadership and studying the Word to communicate it to others... or at least guide the study as the Holy Spirit speaks to the individuals. It has been a great delight.

I was reading earlier in Matthew 6 and this was such a great reminder for me as I enter the new year.
“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
If my life down to the very depths of my heart (motives and thoughts) would be more in-tune with the Lord and His ways, this would be a good year. I hope to have a godly carelessness about 2012. God is infinitely wise and knows my every need. Worrying about those things is not in any way honoring Him. Worrying about specific situations and how God is going to work them out is not honoring Him. Full trust based on what the Lord has done in the past for what is ahead is what honors Him.

God, You have blessed us with another year. As we enter 2012, I ask that You would transform each of us more and more into the image of Your Son. Cause our heart motives to be honoring to You... that we would not be satisfied with the empty praise of men, but only in the honor that comes from You. You are the only One that raises up and brings down. Bring me down to whatever extent is necessary this year to make me more like Christ. Raise me up to whatever level You have prepared me to give You all the glory and honor for. Provide for my needs... don't give me too much so that my dependence rests on anything but You... and don't give me too little that I seek to have my needs met through ungodly means. Take 2012 and use it for Your glory in my heart in in the hearts of Your people. Give me a heart of compassion and humility. Make me an encourager. Help me not just to serve You, but to love You with all of my heart. Grant joy in serving You. Grant contentment and sweet rest in full obedience to You this year. Put a guard over my mouth so that I speak as You would have me speak. Guard my steps so that I walk only in Your ways. Guard my eyes that I look upon only that which pleases You. Guard my ears that I give attention to only that which is well pleasing to Your ears. Put a guard over my heart that You and You only be the first in it. Put a guard on my thoughts, that I think thoughts of You and meditate on Your Word day and night. Teach me Your ways, help me to walk in Your truth, unite my heart to fear Your name this year.  Help me to yearn for only things that You want me to yearn for. Cause Your kingdom and righteousness to be at the forefront of my mind... that I seek to further Your kingdom and not a kingdom of my own creation.  Be first in my heart this year.

Make me more like Your Son in 2012.

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