Ahh…New Year’s Day 2013. I have but one resolution. Dedicate this year to letting God lead. My dear friend and Pastor Gary Walker asked us to reflect on six points as we evaluated 2012 and how God has moved in our lives.
- A passage of scripture that has moved you in some way
- An answer to prayer that gives God glory
- An area of growth in your life that honors God in some way
- A tough situation that God helped you get through and overcome
- A new vision of what God wants to do in your life in 2013
- How Connection Church of Franklin has enabled you to step out in faith in some way
We were to come prepared to give a 1-2 minute testimony on any of these areas. Knowing me like Pastor Gary does, he put in the disclaimer that he realized some would like to share more than 1-2 minutes and he knew some would just as soon not share at all. I stuck to my two minute limit, but did say that a book was currently at the publisher as I had a lot to say on these six points.
I have had many adventures in my life and I was pretty sure God was leading the way. What I have come to realize is that He was chasing after me breathless, trying to protect me from myself. I always seem to get the cart before the horse and wildly so. My studies of the last year have prepared me to realize the error of my ways.
The single most important thing that happened this year is the change in thought process which brought on a transformation of the renewing of my mind. Romans 12:2 NIV says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We must carefully guard what we allow to enter our mind. We can lament our worries and challenges or we can think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Philippians 4:8
My Christmas gift this year was a side by side bible which contains the NIV version which I use to study by and The Message version which speaks to me in a very direct way. Romans 12:1-2 MSG says “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Fix your attention upon God. You will be changed from the inside out.” It goes on to say “It’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, not by what we are and what we do for Him.”
It is a little embarrassing reflecting on my arrogance of wanting to do something with my helicopter field trip for God. If indeed I am to use the helicopters in some way to glorify God, then He will bring it to me, I won’t go in search of it. I had to be willing to let go of what I held so close.
My sister gave me the neatest journal for Christmas. On the front it says “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” My sister knows me like Pastor Gary does! This journal has every day listed and typically I write when the spirit moves me and the free spirit in me does not want to have to report in each day, but this is a journal just for 2013 and I loved it so I created a program of accountability. Each day I will record my prayers for myself and my prayers for others. I will also record my health challenges and then list the energy sequences I did and the outcome. Next I vowed to create the book I have been looking for but never found, the scriptures that really resonate with me and give me answers for everything in life. I am starting by picking a book of the New Testament and reading it with a critical eye toward those motivating scriptures I hope to use in my creative projects. This project gives me focus in my daily devotions and I record the scriptures I have longed to collect. I started in Romans.
Sometimes I have to hear things a number of times before I get the picture. So In Romans 3:28 MSG it says “What we’ve learned is this: God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. We’ve finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting Him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade.” I believe I have been leading the parade.
We all struggle with wanting to so something BIG for God. Romans 12:12 NIV says “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Today I will glory in my hopes and dreams. I will share them with God. He does promise to give us the desires of our hearts. I will accept my afflictions as Paul did the thorn in his side. Paul’s affliction was a chronic debilitating condition which kept him from working and was a hindrance in his ministry. Considering Paul’s role which God arranged, I think I can handle some affliction which keeps me challenged in work and hinders my little ministry. God gave Paul a greater grace, a stronger character, humility and the ability to empathize with others as a result. Others saw God at work in Paul’s life.
That is all we need to do. Let others see God at work in our lives. Use every simple thing in our daily lives as a way for God to lead us and as a way for us to show Him to others. And finally be faithful in prayer. I will use my journal to get to the point and remember all who I can pray for and it will be a wonderful way to record the answered prayers. Before you know it, our simple ordinary lives become extraordinary.
Happy New Year