As we cross over into the New Year with resolutions, plans, and intents in hand it may seem like we are facing the Jordan river, crossing over into something new; as we are still (silent) before the Lord we can almost sense Him saying, be strong and very courageous, there are times that are going to be tough, they will not always be easy or necessarily pleasant at the time, yet you will be able to rejoice in the outcome of what I do and how I use you. Be strong and of good courage for I am with you. Don’t back down in the face of opposition, stand your ground, stand on My word, quiet your inner thoughts so you can hear what I am saying, see what I am doing, then let Me speak through you (give you the words to say). Take courage, I’m with you not against you when you are walking in My will.
Can we say as Joshua did when there was a choice to be made after crossing over, “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord”? In the New Year can we let our words be full of life, hope, and encouragement, spoken with genuine care and concern for the individual – even when they are different than us; words that lift them up and not bring them down; that the only thing being torn down by our words are the works and plans of the enemy as we release truth, expose the adversaries’ plans, and love others with the love of the Lord?
Let’s not fear what others will think as we share what the Lord would have of say, He’s got our back and He backs up His word. We do not need to fear what is ahead, fear is of the enemy to try and stop us. We need to go forth but not go it alone, we need go with the Lord guiding us through; He knows the way, the pitfalls, and undertows. We make better decisions when we choose to do life with Jesus be at the center of all we do; as we go with the Lord his banner of love flies over us.
As we cross over into the New Year let’s be strong and very courageous, choosing not to be silent or serve other gods. As God was with Joshua, so he will be with us.
Ever strike up a casual conversation with someone in the checkout line and wind up talking about Jesus, then notice the encounter lifted your spirit changing the tone of your day? Or perhaps receive a call from a wrong number leading to an opportunity to pray for the caller?
I had a recent conversation with Mr. Vern McC…, a gentleman I had never encountered before, the initial contact was made through another individual. He began the conversation saying we had something in common; I was curious and listened on as he stated “we both love God”, that was a good opening line. What followed was a surprise, he stated “we both have a cat that scratches at our door”; at this point I start laughing knowing instantly his reference to an Ambassador article I wrote nearly two years earlier (January 2016).
In our conversation I learned he lights a 125’ tree topped with a seven foot star. The tradition began in 1983 as a surprise for his first wife when he brought her home from the hospital where she had been undergoing cancer treatment. Though she passed a few years later, the tree lit for his first love three and a half decades ago, has become a Christmas tradition remembering Jesus – his greatest Love. The first Saturday of December, rain or shine, finds a growing gathering of individuals for the tree lighting; there are hymns that include Silent Night while Mr. McC… plays the trumpet, a message by guest speakers focused on the birth of Christ; the joyful celebration on the true meaning of the season continues over hot apple cider, cocoa, cookies, and munchies.
What would cause someone to faithfully continue a tradition for so many years, in all sorts of weather; Mr. McC… gives a few reasons, first he feels it is necessary to remember how God takes care of him, including giving him another perfect wife; the star on top of the tree is a guiding light for those coming home in the dark – when they see it they know they are almost there. He also hopes the stars’ light will have a spiritual significance – just as the Wise Men followed the star to baby Jesus – that perhaps in some way the star on his tree will guide a wayward soul not just physically home but also to Jesus.
This Christmas season let’s challenge ourselves to step out and initiate an exchange as we wait somewhere in a line and share the love of Christ in a casual conversation, you just might be the guiding light showing someone the way to Jesus, lifting a burden with a kind or caring word, or make their day in some small way – perhaps even your own day. Chance encounters may just be a divine set up opportunity.
Hmm, on second thought – let’s carry it beyond the Christmas season, after all – isn’t Jesus Christ Good News year round.
Some words I feel the Lord is giving me are not as easy to release as others. I contemplated this one for a while this morning. For me it is a good reminder that I am not responsible to carry all the burdens of the world or to pick up other people’s offenses. It certainly doesn’t mean I don’t care for the individual or the situation, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be tempted to pick them up to begin with; I for one have enough cares of my own that I need the Lord’s help with that I don’t need to take on what is not mine to carry. I hope and trust this is an encouragement to someone else as well.
The invitation has been given – come. Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest as you allow Me to carry the heavy burdens you weren’t meant to carry. There is no need to pick up burdens and carry offenses that are not yours, leave them alone, they weigh you down and serve no purpose for you; they rob you of your own peace and joy, let the one responsible for them carry their own and deal (work through) with Me regarding them. Sometimes love means saying no and letting them face their issues being dependent on Me – not you; then you will be free to love, encourage, and support them from a different (higher) perspective as you are not bent over, looking down, under the weight of their problems.
As I contemplated today being garbage pickup day (in my city) what better time than today to release any garbage (burdens/offenses) laying around that will foul the air in our life (physically or spiritually). The adversary would like us to hold onto stuff and let it ferment – souring relationships and lives; let’s toss him (adversary) out with the garbage today and breathe in a breath of fresh air.
Grace and Peace to you,
The doors are open come on in. I am always happy to see you, sit with Me for a while, lay down your cares, set the busyness aside and just be with Me. Remember the day we first met and you invited Me in – I do; it was a special day and heaven rejoiced. It has been an adventure since that first day and we’re only getting started. Take My hand and let’s continue on, more awaits.