If you are not a believer, I pray that these words will draw you into the arms of the most precious One.
If you are a believer, I pray that these words will encourage you, dig into your heart deeply, but most of all, open your heart to new possibilities that Jesus Christ is waiting to give to you.
So much discussion happens this time of year about the ending of a new year and the ushering in of a new one. I find myself, in spite of myself, reflecting, thinking, and wondering about the past year and what the new year holds. Yet, I know that the scripture says that the mercies of the Lord are new every morning. We should not wait until the new calendar year comes to step back and reflect. It really should be a daily event that takes place. Because His mercies are new EVERY morning! What that really means is that every day, every moment really, is new in Him. His grace and mercy are an endless fountain that never stops flowing, giving, and renewing our lives. We should not wait for the end of a calendar year, or the beginning of a new one to stop and drink from that fountain. It is ours for every moment and every day!
A resolution made at the beginning of a calendar year most often falls by the wayside, trampled by the messy business of life. The dear Lord has shown me in recent years that His mercy and grace are available for me, every moment of every day... and I do not need to wait for a new calendar year to feel I have a new and clean slate. Today, right now, whenever and wherever you are... you can have a new slate in Christ Jesus! His love never stops pouring out, reaching, cleansing, and changing us into His image. What a joyful thing to know this! I don't need a new year's resolution. I just need Him. I just need more of all that He has to offer... His grace is sufficient!
So, in recent years the Lord has undertook a great work in my heart teaching me that above else, I must follow Him, and not follow the forms, fashions, and traditions of men. It seems that whenever the traditions of men would beckon to me, I would hear the voice of the Lord calling me to come closer to HIM, and to walk a different path. And I've learned such beautiful lessons along the way, that following Him should cause all of us to walk a different path than the mainstream world around us. He is calling us out, beyond, and above all that the flesh and its desires would have around us.
Jesus is calling each of us to walk in places that seem fearful to the natural heart.
Our dear Lord is daily calling all of us who have believed on Him... to press ever forward, and onward, as we follow Him. This is not a journey for the faint of heart. He is calling us to tread in places that our natural mind and heart shrink from ~ and fear.
You see, the greatest thing that the Lord Jesus wants to deliver us from is fear ~ fear of man, fear of what other's will think, fear of the unknown, fear of ______ (you can fill in the blank!)
I've asked the Lord why suffering and pain are an inherent part of the gospel and following Him. After all, one need only read the book of Acts, and the gospels, to understand how true this is. Great trials and suffering always accompanied the greatest miracles and blessings of the Lord. Why Lord, WHY?
Indeed, I've questioned this to the Lord many times. Why does He call us and bring us to places of great difficulty? After looking into the Word of God ... it doesn't take much reading to see just why He does this. The greatest purpose of the Lord in our lives is to refine us by the fires of suffering, difficulty, persecution, temptation, and trouble into the vessel He desires us to become.
1 Peter 1:6-7
Wherein ye greatly rejoice,
though now for a season,
if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
that the trial of your faith
being much more precious than of gold that perisheth,
though it be tried with fire,
might be found unto praise and honour and glory
at the appearing of Jesus Christ."
One thing I have learned in this journey of pressing in, onward, and ever forward is that the greater my surrender in being obedient to the voice of the Lord, the greater the outward struggles and persecutions will be. It really is so. I need to count on it, expect it, and open my heart to it.
Are you running from a difficult situation, hoping to outrun it, outsmart it, and change it? Are you trying to control your world around you in a desperate attempt to make it what you want? If you, as a believer, are doing this... you truly are thwarting and rendering silent the incredible blessings of the Lord in your life! It really is a truth that upsets the apple cart of your life. It certainly has mine!
If you really want to unlock and open the windows of heaven in your life... then may I suggest allowing the peace of God - which passeth understanding - to take your problems, your heaviness, your difficulties, and look at them in a different light. These things which are troubling you, these fears which are binding you... these things could be the "trial of your faith" that the Lord is allowing in your life... being much more precious than of gold that perisheth... why? ... though your faith be tried with fire, that it might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ!
The very thing you are struggling with may be the very thing that the Lord is using to polish and perfect you so that your faith will be found with praise and honor at His appearing!
Today, I know the Lord is saying simply... trials and sufferings may be allowed, for the present time, because they polishing and cleansing us, preparing us, and making us into the vessels He has designed us to be.
Don't look at this new year as another year to write a resolution, only to see it fall by the wayside in the midst of life that gets in the way of keeping it.
Instead.... seek Him. Search after Him. Long for Him. Put your life into his hands, truly... just do it. Let the fears and worry go, and trust that His Grace is sufficient for you today. Don't let the fears of tomorrow overwhelm you. Don't let the failures and mistakes of your past haunt you. Accept the fact that difficulties, pain, sorrow and suffering may just be your portion today... but if it is, His grace can and WILL BE sufficient! Look to Jesus... in Him you will find all you need for this year, this month, this day, this hour, this moment, this second... right now! His grace is sufficient... trials may come and go... but His Grace is what you can depend on, no matter what you are facing!
If you are struggling with a burden that seems too heavy to carry, just understand that it is not yours to carry. It is His, and His alone. Don't try to fix it. Don't try to change it. Change your thinking, and accept it, look at it as a joyful thing that is changing you, perfecting you into the vessel He wants you to be.
It is a mindset change, a different way of thinking, a wonderful lifestyle of living that will make this difference. Trust Jesus. Accept that impossibilities and miracles walk hand in hand. Believe it. And trust Jesus for all that you need. He is sufficient!
As I write this, the tears are falling softly as I write, because I know that many of you, my precious readers, if not all of you, are facing some impending difficulty or situation in your life that seems immense and overwhelming. But the Lord has shown me time and again, that it is in those very difficult moments, that His grace and peace come, and He is sufficient. I hear Him saying this to you today... as clearly as He is saying it to me... press onward, forward, and in to me. Come unto Me. My grace is sufficient for whatever and wherever you are.
He is sufficient!