In a few short days I’ll be heading to Oregon for eleven days to see family that I haven’t seen in almost four years. I can’t tell you how excited I am. This trip is compliments of my brother and his wife and came completely out of the blue and was a total surprise. Also, while I know I haven’t mentioned this previously on my blog, I have also lost 35 lbs and twenty of those pounds have just recently come off since October 10, 2011. And yes, the weight loss is intentional! Talk about excitement!!! I still have a number of pounds left to lose and I am psyched. I think 2012 is going to be the year for a lot of new things in my life, and I wish the same for you.
As I look back at the past three years I am amazed at how much I’ve come to realize that life is not just about “finding another job” even though we all need an income and money to survive in our culture. I can’t recall another time in my life where I have had to learn to “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7) as much as I have had to do now. And I can’t say most of it has been fun, but all of it has been worth it. Years ago, an old friend told me that “once you’ve seen Truth you can’t ‘unsee’ it.” He was certainly right on that account. But in order to see Truth you must look through eyes of faith to see what is not seen by sight.
I don’t know where you are on this journey of faith, but as a fellow sojourner, I can say with all of my heart to never give up, never doubt, never let the enemy get a foothold in your life; but if you do, pay attention to the signs God sends your way to get the enemy out of your life. Outwardly, you may have to give up a lot (e.g. material possessions, certain relationships, your profession or occupation, etc.) or maybe not as it’s your attachment to those objects that keeps you from God and not necessarily the objects themselves. He deals with us on an individual basis, so never compare your journey with someone else’s journey. However, inwardly He requires your whole heart–you don’t get to keep even a fraction of it for yourself. But if you truly seek Him and search for Him with all of your heart, you will find Him (Jer. 29:13). I like how The Message Bible states Jer. 29:13-14: “When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me. Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. God’s Decree. I’ll turn things around for you . . . bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.”
The key is total surrender. Nothing else will do. Are you willing to pay that price?
Another new year is before us . . . ripe with anticipation. Will we choose to go our own way as we navigate through it, or give it to the One who knows everything about us, who sent His Son to open the way for us to have a relationship with Him. There is no “half way” when we commit our lives to Jesus Christ. You don’t get to keep anything of yourself. However, that should not bring fear to your mind, but a love and a freedom unlike anything else this world has to offer. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” (I John 4:18). The Message Bible states it like this: “God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love” (I John 4:17-18). I don’t know about you, but that sounds a whole lot better than anything this world has to offer.
So this Christmas, if you haven’t already accepted the Gift of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, won’t you consider it? What is in your life, right now, that you are unwilling to give up? The road will not be easy at times, but it is worth giving up everything that stands in the way of a relationship with Him. And never forget that you really can’t out give God.
And for those of us who already know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, let’s ponder the words of the Apostle Paul as we venture forth into another new year: “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it” (Phil 3:12-16 MSG).
Yes, we are on the right track, and let’s stay on it!!!
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