“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14
The year 2011 is drawing to a close. Perhaps this was one of the best years you have ever experienced. Maybe it was a painful year marked by loss or regret. Or possibly it was a year filled with change and uncharted waters. Whatever the case, you can be thankful to God that you have lived to see this year conclude, and grateful for the opportunity to faithfully serve Him in the coming new year.
God does not want us to dwell in the past or even in the future, which is all too often the case for most of us. God prefers that we live in the present. This means focusing on what He has for you today, so that He can use you right now, where you at–where He has purposely place you in life. Each day is a gift to be cherished and a chance to sprinkle salt and light into and throughout this darkened world. Daily we have a calling to be peacemakers, give hope, share Truth, provide encouragement, worship, meditate, and above all else live a life of love as a fragrant offering to God.
As you head into a new year, prayerfully consider how you will surrender yourself daily to God’s will for you. Ask Him how you can make each day count. Be willing to forgo the things that are holding you back from fully committing yourself to Him. You must shed your heavy burdens and travel lightly, so that your feet can quickly take you towards the places God wants to lead you. Let God be the eraser of past mistakes; the one to give you a clean slate or a blank canvas where he can write and paint a beautiful new story and picture for you. Never make plans of your own, but seek first the kingdom of God. Let Him write up your daily agenda and make it your own. And always remember never to venture anywhere without your spiritually armor. Sharpen your sword, prepare to defend what it is you steadfastly believe in, and prepare to fight the dark and demonic forces that seek to devour, destroy and conquer this fallen world.
Below are some scriptures upon which to meditate. I would say these are many of my “life verses” that God has repeatedly shared with me through the highs and lows of my life as one of His own. Let your heart be still today. Let your mind become focused. Close out the distractions around you. Give your Creator praise and worship. Let His voice speak quietly and softly to your heart. Listen earnestly to what He has to say to you and to show you. Surrender yourself to Him. Commit to His ways. Go out into the world and show it the love of Jesus. This is how real change occurs!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:25-26
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:33
“Show me your ways, O Lord,teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4-5
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'” Matthew 16:24
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-14
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:10-12
“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.'” Mark 16:15-16
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:12