A perspective on the year ahead.
Already many resolutions will have been broken – we are fickle, and although our intentions may be good, our flesh is weak. Thank God that He values our intentions but we need to learn to “lean” on our beloved to see them transform into lasting actions.
As we enter the New Year we revert to our routines – work, school, family life, church – our year is carved into chunks of time where certain things have to happen. This is not bad, but as believers I think we need to strongly consider that business is NOT as normal. We cannot “lean” on our schedule, our habits, our bank accounts or in fact anything that is not Jesus Himself.
Even a mere glance at the news should be enough to alert us to the increasing lawlessness, rage and fear that is rampaging across the globe.
- The earth is groaning at a more rapid and continual rate than has been seen before – the extreme weather conditions alone during the whole of last year is such evidence of this;
- Economies are straining under so many sticky plasters it’s difficult to find the real cause of the pain any longer;
- Immorality is reaching peak levels with pornography, murder, human trafficking, slavery, paedophilia, homosexuality and theft at previously unknown depths of depravity – and increasing with such speed
- So many families are broken, foundations are smashed to pieces, many are totally unaware of any benchmark of right or wrong;
- Self-harming figures in the 12-13 year olds tell us that 1 in 12 children in this age bracket in the UK are systematically and daily cutting themselves through lack of self-worth and emotional pain.
- Obesity, depression, and other mental health issues affect the majority of the western population
- Education is rivalling finance as the prevalent god of our age where many seek to rob innocence in the name of "education"
- As a society we pass the buck, shift the blame, and avoid responsibility believing our own rights are of paramount importance.
So, anything new under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1:9) No, but I think when we look at the overall picture, with a biblical view of eternity, we will see that human history is heading towards its climatic peak!
As we see the increase of darkness invading our world at an unprecedented rate, we can be encouraged that the light is making Himself known at the same pace (Matthew 13:30).We need to wake up church! Take our place in this moment of history and “know” God. Seek Him out, fall in love with His Word, nourish ourselves with it, strengthen every aspect of our being through it, live it, breathe it, be intimate with it and know it.
I believe it is time to put our own individual houses in order – but in His strength not ours. We must make our primary focus the first commandment, get that under our skins and we are promised that every aspect of our life will align. (Psalm 1:2-3)
I believe the Lord has shared with me that in these coming days, His presence will feel weak in comparison to the pleasure of “knowing” Him. He is after intimacy and partnership. It is no longer enough to serve God, He did not ransom His beloved Son for servants (John 15:15) but for willing, loving partners who will enjoy Him and be enjoyed by Him, love Him and be loved by Him, stand with Him, share with Him – even the Gethsemane seasons, (Song of Songs 5:6-7) and trust Him as He entrusts us.
As we place the first commandment first, we will automatically live out the second, as His love changes us and it overflows through us onto others – not so much in deeds, although these are important, but by countenance.
Over twenty years ago my home-group leaders at SW Vineyard, gave me two books by Mike Bickle, and endeared them with a personal note encouraging gifts of intercession, prophecy and evangelism. I have enjoyed the presence of the Lord over these years and He has enabled and called me into using these gifts in various ways at various times.
Never, however, has He more urgently guided me towards prayer in the way He is now. I believe He has shown me that I need to learn to intercede like Jesus does – day and night, reading and hearing what is on God’s heart, allowing what is on His heart to affect mine, speaking what is on His heart out loud and back to Him so that it moves His heart to action.
No time any longer for shopping list prayers, no time any more for my words and thoughts to batter the gates of heaven and plead with the Lord to move at my bidding! Psalms 1 and 2 are my starting point for the coming year – as Jesus enters the scene in Psalm 2:7, the first thing He does in this dramatic prophetic vision given to David, is “…tell of the decree” and He repeats out loud what the Father has said to Him “You are my Son”.
If Jesus uses His Father.s words to move His Father into action, then so will I. His story is our story – we need to live it as fully as we are able at this time. Speak out to yourself daily “I am His Son” (We are all sons and all brides of Christ – lets just get over the gender issue!!) As we speak this to ourselves, something within us will change. The knowledge and confidence of our real identity will grow as we grow in Him.
I believe this will be an adventurous year. A year of learning, preparing, experiencing and enjoying getting to know Jesus more and seeing what He does as the time draws nearer for Him to return.