The End of a Thing
All too soon, the year is coming to an end. You likely started the year very excited and expectant; perhaps you had a mental road map of what the year would look like. Like a driver embarking on a journey, perhaps your year consisted of a flat tire, shortage of gas, sudden engine trouble and these stalled you a bit. Plans may not have been executed as expected, and the journey that seemed short, suddenly became a lot longer. It happens! We make our plans and resolutions from a limited perspective. God makes His plans from the big-picture perspective. Sometimes the delay, the stalling on the journey, the wrong turns save you from danger or disaster. God will break into your plans to save you from danger. Mary and Martha thought Jesus’ failure to come within the time they expected meant no hope for their brother, Lazarus. Jesus’ delay in getting there was in conformity with the big picture; that God’s glory may be revealed. When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it. John 11:4. While saving Lazarus from the brink of death would bring God glory, raising him from death would bring even greater glory. December is upon us and perhaps you think because things did not occur as you expected, all hope is gone. We serve a living God! He is not limited by time and He is not limited by your plans. There are times when God will push aside your plans and set you on the right course; that right course may take longer. However, just as certain foods taste better when they are slow-cooked; you can be assured that the longer process, the slower pace in your journey, will yield a worthwhile result. Exercise patience and allow God to prepare the proper proposal, the right man, the promised child, the job promotion that He has for you.
How are you ending the year? Your perception and attitude about the passing year will affect how you approach the coming year. In order to possess and enjoy what lies ahead of you must forget what lies behind you. Whether good or bad, look forward to what is coming and purpose to make it count! To progress in life, you must keep looking forward. Every new year gives us the chance to have a do over, to do things differently, to chart a new course; it’s a new slate. In Genesis 19:15-16, God mercifully gave Lot and his family a chance to start over; to free themselves of the toxic, sin-ridden environment. 15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.’ 16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. Don’t linger on that which is passing away. Don’t allow fear to keep you from progressing. To make progress in this life, you cannot keep looking back. Looking to and living in the past is a delay in progression. As Paul graciously stated in Philippians 3:14, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
If you dwell on the opportunities you missed this year, you may likely miss the new opportunities God is bringing in the new year. Don’t ever think the past will be better than the future. Ecclesiastes 7:10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. Despite the uncertainty we may feel of the upcoming year, God knows what 2019 holds and because He is a good God, He will be good to you. Nevertheless, you must prepare. Make changes now to make 2019 better for you. Resolve that you will employ new methods, new strategies to make the new year better. Preparation is key for any important venture. Before Joshua led the Israelites on the conquest into the promise land, God instructed them to circumcise every male. This group consisted of males born during their time in the wilderness who had not yet been circumcised and in conformity with the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 17:9-14), God made the order. At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again. 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth. Joshua 5:2-3. Circumcision is the surgical removal of foreskin. Though the process required pain, God needed to prepare the people of Israel to properly enter into the Promised Land. Likewise, the preparatory process into 2019 may require pain and discomfort. Some relationships, attitudes, mindsets, habits may need to be cut off in order to move forward. Don’t cross into your promise land with foreskins intact. Positive declarations and affirmations without preparation will produce a new year that is no different than years past. 2019 will have its own challenges, your faith will be tested, there will be smiles and there will tears, your preparation will set the pace for your year. As you make plans and make preparations, don’t leave God out of the picture. Commit your plans to Him and let Him establish them. Remember, God has already been into your future, and into your 2019. He knows what is ahead of you, so allow Him to lead you.