In my reading and devotions during this past week in the Book of Isaiah, I couldn’t help thinking and praying for the upcoming New Year. This blog started out to be brief. But the Holy Spirit kept encouraging me towards it’s purpose; getting you to think about the future events that will occur to you and I in 2012.
Isaiah 37:26, 28:
“[But, says the God of Israel] have you not heard that I purposed to do it long ago, that I planned it in ancient times? Now I have brought to pass” .
“But I [the Lord] know your sitting down and your going out and your coming in” .
Relax, I am not going to venture off into the Biblical Doctrine of Predestination. God can know a matter before hand without determining the matter to the point that you and I are excluded; as far as our will and participation in the New Year are concerned. Some religionists totally eliminate the will and role of man.
Since the theme of Hope had been expressed by my Pastor in December of 2011, I thought I might just give some encouraging thoughts for 2012. Let me give you a few more verses to look up in expounding on Isaiah’s words; “have you not heard”.
The Letter of James tells us to understand and let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak” (James 1:19). James doesn’t just leave us with just hearing from reading Scripture and listening to your Pastor on Sunday morning. He goes on to say, with a “gentle and modest spirit” we are to “receive and welcome the Word which is implanted and rooted in your hearts; WORD POWER” (James 1:21). How are we to use and demonstrate that POWER coming from the Word of God?
“But be DOERS of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yours [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]” (James 1:22 AMP).
Are finances a big question in you mind in the upcoming New Year? How about job security, healthcare; you can add other items that might be in your thinking right now. In fact, I suggest you get a pencil and paper and write down some of your unknowns or possible fears for 2012. Then, look to corresponding Scripture regarding your thoughts, your misgivings, your fears. If you don’t have an Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, get one a have it beside your Bible. Then pray those corresponding verses and claim the results you desire, then tear the list up or as I do, run it through a shredder.
GETTING STARTED WITH PRAYER
“And when they heard it, lifting their voices together with one united mind to God and said, O Sovereign Lord, You are He Who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything that is in them” (Acts 4:24).
Being “one united mind” in the praying, for what might be predetermined for the New Year, does matter and can change things. Look at the results of being united in prayer over a less than hopeful situation:
“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled was shaken; and they were ALL FILLED with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak the Word of God with freedom and boldness and courage” (Acts 4:31 AMP).
The POWER had been released as they prayed and spoke the Word of God. And that same POWER can be released, in any upcoming burdens you might run into this next year. If things don’t seem to be resolved in the matter, check your obedience and the POWER that comes from it!
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding (of our situations). He gives POWER to the faint and weary, and to him who has no mite He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]” (Isaiah 40:28-29). I added the words in parenthesis for emphasis.
WOW, if those words in Isaiah aren’t worth praying during the upcoming year, I don’t know which verse might bring more HOPE to you! Again, notice the POWER in it all!
“[Earnestly] remember the former things, [which I did] of old; for I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is none like Me. Declaring the end and the result from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure and purpose” (Isaiah 46:9-10).
God keeps His promises! When you are going through some things, “earnestly remember” the former things that God has done for you. After all, why did Jesus come into this world for? Yes, He did come to SAVE, but He also came for us to enjoy life:
“The thief comes ONLY in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they [that’s you and I] may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” ~ John 10:10 AMP.
TROUBLED TIMES AHEAD?
If you are thinking right now or once thought that when you become a Christian, “troubled times” would not be evident in your life, you are and were mistaken. The New Year will bring in its own trouble. How do I know this?
“The thing that has been–it is what will be again, and that which has been done is that which will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
That verse came from the wisest man ever. So the issue is not about whether trouble will come in 2012 but how we handle the circumstance when it arrives. Dr. Creflo Dollar says that “wrong words lead to wrong thinking” and “the right word will lead to right thinking“. “Wrong thinking” will eventually determine the wrong destination, where “right thinking” will determine your right destination in life (8 Steps to Your Destination). What is the right Word? The Word of the living Savior, Lord Jesus.
NEGATIVE and POSITIVE WORDS
FEAR of things that might happen in this next year, will lead you in the wrong destination and 2 Timothy 1:7 speaks to us about the destination of FEAR:
“For God did not give us a spirit if timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of POWER and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”
God doesn’t give us FEAR about “troubled times” ahead according to the apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy. God has given us a spirit of POWER, CALMNESS, WELL-BALANCED MIND, DISCIPLINE and SELF-CONTROL in the midst of our unpleasant circumstances. So if FEAR of things ahead didn’t come from God. Where does it come from? It comes from the enemy; the devil.
The POWER SOURCE is the answer: “For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage of FEAR, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! (Romans 8:15 AMP). FEAR will put you into BONDAGE, locked up with your troubled circumstance.
JOY and POWER is Available to those who believe!
THE LETTER OF JAMES encourages us to be not just joyful but “wholly joyful” this next year:
“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations” (James 1:2 AMP).
James is not telling us to have joy FOR the trouble but be “wholly joyful” IN the trouble, the trialS, the temptations and not FOR the circumstances. He even gives us reasons and solutions to the trials ahead of us:
“Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience” (James 1:3).
You might be saying to yourself right now, “I don’t want endurance, steadfastness and definitely not patience when trouble comes. I just want it to go away!” James gives a promise next that should give you HOPE in going through it all:
“But let the endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, SO THAT you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], LACKING IN NOTHING” (James 1:4).
Colossians gives us another directive regarding the JOY and POWER for the upcoming year:
“[We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with ALL POWER according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with JOY” (Col. 1:11 AMP).
If God’s Word doesn’t give you HOPE “when“, not “if” you face trials this next year, I don’t know what will. Trouble is going to be in our lives but we need to know God’s promise of deliverance when they occur.
“Then I shall be joyful in the Lord; I shall rejoice in His deliverance” (Psalm 35:9).
Saying to yourself in this next verse,
“Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my exceeding joy; yes, with the lyre will I praise You, O God, my God! Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? HOPE in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my [sad] countenance and my God” (Psalm 43:4-5 AMP).
The Psalmist is speaking to his trouble rather than speaking about his difficulty. There is a big difference when troubled times show up!
THERE WILL BE “WEEPING” AND “GRIEVING” IN 2012
“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that you shall WEEP and GRIEVE, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into JOY. So for the present you are also in sorrow (in distress and depressed); but I will see you again and [then] your hearts will rejoice, and no one can take from you your JOY (gladness, delight)” (John 16:20, 22 AMP).
HOPING FOR THE BEST IN THE NEW YEAR
“For in [this] HOPE we were saved. But HOPE [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For how can one hope for what he already sees? BUT if we HOPE for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure” (Romans 8:24-25 AMP).
HOPE is best defined as, “A heartfelt and confident expectation of a thing with an outstretched neck” in whatever the circumstance is. It has to do with the unseen and not what you are seeing in the trouble now or in the future.
How difficult is hoping in the future or during the troubled times? Turn with me next to THE LETTER OF PAUL TO THE EPHESIANS:
“By having the eyes of your [insert your name in place of the word “your” i.e., MEL’s] flooded heart with light, so that MEL can know and understand the hope to which He has called you MEL, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones). And [so that you MEL can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His POWER in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength” (Ephesians 1:18-19 AMP). That makes the words personal!
YOUR PRAYER ON JANUARY 1st, 2012
Pray Psalm 86 on day one of the New Year; an example of what prayer does when you are feeling poor, distressed, needy and desiring:
— “INCLINE YOUR ear, O Lord, and answer me” Be bold when you ask God in your circumstances (verse 1).
— Remind God of who your are in Christ Jesus. “I am godly and dedicated“; “save me” from destruction for “I trust in you” (verse 2).
— “I cry all the day” for your help (verse 3). Keep on praying in your circumstance, crying out! I “cry all the day” in times of trouble, maybe even face down on the carpet. If the carpet gets wet…that means you’ve been crying out. That’s called fervent prayer”. You will need fervency during times of feeling poor, being distressed, being needy and desiring that the troubles will soon end.
— “Make me, Your servant, to rejoice, O Lord, for to You do I LIFT MYSELF UP (verse 4). Rejoicing, regardless of how hard it seems to do in the middle of a trial; it will ALWAYS lift your spirits up! YEP…ALWAYS!
— “In the day of my trouble” is definitely the time of prayer. “I will call on You, for You will answer me” (verse 7).
— And when you are going through it all, claim this verse: “Teach me Your way…that I may walk and live in Your truth” (verse 11).
Let me leave you with an exercise for you to practice on this next year. See how many other keys you can find in Psalm 86 that will help and comfort you in times of trouble. Write them down and put in your Bible as a reminder.