|HIS PAST YEAR has brought a lot of growth, joy, blessings and also painful trials and hardship. My family and I have grown so much and at the same time we have been spiritually, mentally and physically pruned back for future growth. I guess you could call it growing pains. Did I forget to mention along with pruning there was also spiritual warfare? Although the pruning process and spiritual battles can seem lonely and indeed painful at the time we understand God is with us and that He allows it in our lives to grow us, strengthen us and refine us to bear more fruit. I'm not one to welcome pain or suffering but I know by faith God is faithful and sovereign and uses it to make us more like Christ ....but ouch does it hurt at the time. "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. - Romans 8:18 KJV |
The encouragement we receive from God to persevere through is the fruit God bears through our personal relationships with Him and our ministries. When we see how far we have come and what God has delivered us from, brought us through and how He took us out of the miry pit and set us upon a rock and also when we look around our congregation or when I receive encouraging notes through my writing ministry, we see how God has changed lives, renewed marriages, restored relationships and brought healing. We rejoice because we know and understand that it isn't us but God working in us and we are so blessed and thankful to Him for allowing us to see glimpses of His faithfulness. It encourages us that though times have been hard and difficult it has also been fruitful and that makes all the trials we have gone through well worth it.
I believe God reveals a taste to us to keep us moving forward by faith reminding us that He is working behind the scenes and at the same time in us and through us and that it's not us anymore. In Galatians it says, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. - Galatians 2:20 NKJV
The word that keeps coming to my mind for 2010 is, "Fresh". It's not necessarily a biblical term but I took a look at the Webster's Online Dictionary and it gave these definitions:
1. Full of or renewed in vigor : Vigor = active bodily or mental strength or force
2. Refreshed = restore, refresh, revive, renovate
3. Free from taint: Pure.
4. Received newly or anew.
After looking at these definitions I was amazed to see that fresh means; full of or renewed in vigor, pure, refresh, restore, revive, renovate and received anew. At first when I looked at these definitions it didn't sound right to me. When I think of a ripe fresh banana I don't see it as refreshed or renewed. I then recollected the idea that when an old house is being restored; what is one of the first things we want to do? We want to give it a fresh coat of paint. We are transforming something that may be old to be like new by just adding some fresh touches. A few fresh additions can go a long way to a house that needs repairs and restoration and in most cases adding a new roof, new flooring and other new necessities to an old house can transform it to be anew.
Are you ready for a fresh and anew touch from God this year? Filled with vigor that is active bodily, mental and I will add spiritual strength? I don't know about you but I certainly am! Perhaps you are in need of renewal, revival, restoration or refreshment. Turn to God in faith and allow Him to heal, refresh and restore you and He is faithful. Matthew chapter six tells us not to worry but to seek Him first because He knows everything we need. I encourage you to read the entire chapter it will bless you and remember seek Him (Christ) first and all these things shall be added or given to you.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, -2 Corinthians 4:16-5:2 NKJV
Whether this past year was considered a good year or bad year; we can look back and see God's faithfulness and also that He was with us through it all. We can now look forward in anticipation that this new year will be a fresh year of God's handy work, His Glory and yes I will say it again His faithfulness - filled with mercies that are new every morning and the plans that He has for us. He gives us daily manna from heaven through His Word and Holy Spirit and as our Heavenly Father He knows everything we need and will provide for us.
I believe the word, "Fresh" is a sovereign proclamation for this new year. My prayer is that God will give us a fresh heart, a fresh spirit, a fresh purpose and also a fresh vision that can only come from Him, from heaven above to glorify His name.
My question again is, "Are you ready for a fresh new year? Are you ready to let go of you, your desires, your wants and grab a hold of Him and live for Him? To say in your heart to God, "Not my will but thy will be done?"
If you aren't ready yet I encourage you to pray that God would make you ready and prepare your heart for whatever He has for you. According to Jeremiah 29:11-13, God knows the plans He has for us, plans for good and not for evil; to give us a future and a hope. Let us stand on His promises and walk forward by faith heeding His call and He is faithful.
Time is short and I believe He desires for us to be about our Father's business in a fresh and powerful new way, filled with His Spirit; Confident in His Victory - knowing the battle has already been won in Christ. I challenge you once again to pray and ask God to make you ready and give you a fresh heart to serve Him by faith and see what God does.
"But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:20-24 NKJV
Dear Heavenly Father,
Refresh me and make me new and show me your Glory through your son Jesus. Please give me a fresh heart and renewed spirit that says, "Not my will but your will be done." I want to live for you Jesus by surrendering and allowing you to live through me that you and your name sake would be glorified through me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen!
Filoiann Wiedenhoff is a pastor's wife, woman's biblical counselor, writer and columnist. You can visit her website at www.filoiannwiedenhoff.com and sign up for her free membership newsletter.
Filoiann Wiedenhoff is a Pastor’s Wife, Work at Home Mom, Woman’s Biblical Counselor, Bible Teacher and Writer. You can subscribe to her monthly newsletter and visit her website.
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