Who Will You Be in 2019?

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Dr. Bob Jones, Sr, often said, “There are no stains on the pages of tomorrow!”  That’s a challenge, comfort and encouragement.  Truth is, what I plan today has effect upon my tomorrow which will become yesterday and then collectively a life.

With that in mind, I want to share some resources to help you move forward in your walk with Christ, your growth in the knowledge of God and the application of the Word of God on a daily basis for 2019.

The most important thing you will do in 2019 is keep your eye on Christ and watch what He does through His Word.  I am so intrigued that on His divinely human side Jesus did what we are to do:  Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel (John 5:19-20). I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me (John 8:28).

First of all, what is your plan for reading God’s Word in 2019; His fresh Love Letter to you?  The YouVersion Bible app provides many plans for you to follow.  May I remind you that the goal of reading the Word is not to check off boxes, but to come to know the mind and heart of Christ whereby we think and act biblically (Psalm 119:9-11; Matthew 4:4; John 6:63; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12).

Along with reading the Word of God, may I strongly suggest using a journal to record what God says to you each day.  It may be one sentence or a whole paragraph or more.  Think about it!  The God of Heaven and Earth is speaking to you; your Heavenly Father if you are born again (John 14:6)!!  Therefore, it is important to watch Him as Jesus did.  You don’t want to miss it! Then after a few days, read back over what you have written and see how God is leading you, what He is teaching you about Himself, and what He has revealed to you about you.

Use a spiral-bound notebook, a journal, your tablet or a journaling Bible.  I simpley record the day and date, the Scripture passages I am reading, and even what the weather is like on that morning.  Here is what my journal looks like from yesterday:

Tuesday, Jan. 1                                          51 degrees, partly cloudy

Matt. 1:1-17; Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 1; Genesis 1-2

As I read through these passages today, the Lord reminded me that Christ Who was active in creation and came to redeem a genealogy of sin, is the One I am to be a witness of as I delight and walk in His Word, planted by the rivers of living water.

That thought ran through my mind all day.  As Denise and I were enjoying our annual New Year’s Day brunch at Cracker Barrel, I was brought to tears as I looked at all kinds of people in the restaurant and wondered if they knew this Christ, my Savior.  The Word I had read in the morning moved me to see people as Jesus does and softened this old, selfish heart for them.

I will share more tomorrow about some other resources.  Let me close by sharing the following.

Last Sunday morning, a dear, godly lady said to me after the morning gathering, “Pastor, last week I was going through some things and counted 16 spiral-bound notebooks of my Bible study notes.  I don’t want to throw them away.  Perhaps they will be found someday and be an encouragement to my son who needs the Lord.”  I can attest that when you are in conversation with this dear saint of God, you are speaking to a Word–filled believer.

Let’s meet with the Lord today!  He is waiting for you (Matthew 11:28-30; Luke 10:38-42).  Listen to Him (Revelation 2:7).  Start with a clean page.

New Year’s Response

Happy New Year!!  And even more than that, a special thank you to all of you who have faithfully read this blog.  I am honored and quite frankly overwhelmed that you spend some time on this site.  Nevertheless, thank you, thank you, thank you.

2015, as in previous years, and for the rest of our lives, will present us with many decisions, disappointments, delights, dangers, discouragements, and dreams.  For them all, may I encourage you to respond with Hebrews 4:14-16?

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

For all the situations of life, respond with, “Well, let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of the grace.”  Why?  Read verses 14-15.  Jesus Christ is our high priest who has passed into the heavens and understands all of life, all about life, because He is life (John 14:6)!!

So, Happy New Year, and let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace!

Spiritual Weight-Loss Plan

Due to three months of not being able to run plus all the good food of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I have put some weight back on. I’ll be the first to tell you I’m more than ready to start hitting the country roads and pushing away from the table. Before surgery, I had run a 7K and the next weekend, a full 10K. The feeling of accomplishment was so great! I never dreamed that I could run without stopping for one hour. Due to constant exercise and a right diet, weight was not a burden to my life.

How about you spiritually? Is there a weight in your life that needs to be dropped that is hindering your spiritual growth? Do you need to change your diet? Be honest. Is it anger? Is it bitterness? Is it laziness? Could it be gossip? How about pornography? Perhaps unforgiveness? Whatever sin it is, you know what it is. The Holy Spirit has revealed it to you many times. And praise the Lord, you can by His grace, overcome any sin (Romans 5:20). So, what is your plan this new year to overcome the sin that clings so close to you (Hebrews 12:1)? The Lord desires for us to live in freedom, to be able to serve without hindrances, and to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

Here are some suggestions to help your spiritual exercise/diet plan:

  1. Get honest with the Lord and yourself about your sin (Psalm 139:23-24).
  2. Search the Scriptures for what God says about your sin. Compare what God says to why you like your sin. What’s the verdict?
  3. Choose a verse or passage to memorize and use every time you are tempted (Psalm 119:9-11).
  4. Work through the Scripture passages, one-a-day, for 40 days. Record in your journal what God reveals to you about your sin and the victory that He can give.
  5. Share your ups and downs with your spouse or an accountability partner. This is for help and edification only, not judgment. An accountability partner can be a real source of prayer support and a spiritual cheerleader.
  6. Remember Proverbs 24:16, For a just man falls seven times but he rises up again. If you fail, don’t stay down. Rand Hummel has said so often, “There are two kinds of men. Those who fight sin and those who give up.”

So, let’s run the race that is before us, dropping off the weights, and finishing strong! (Hebrew 12:1-2)