I have been thinking a lot lately about my spiritual growth over the past 6 years since my baptism. It has been six interesting years. Not only have there been significant changes in my life (some in my eyes were for the better and some in my eyes were for the worse.) But there have been many changes in the political world, environmental changes, migration changes, economic and technological changes.
In may ways, I am in awe of how the world seems to be barreling forward in many exciting and many terrifying directions all at the same time. These are truly the days to remember.
But each day, I recognize my need for a closer walk with Jesus Christ. I need to be more comfortable saying His name; saying the name of Jesus! So for this I have decided to post this year mainly about having a deeper relationship with God.
A few years ago I posted a checklist for success in your daily walk with God. This year I will highlight only a few:
Talking to God about everything.
Giving God control over everything.
Expecting God to control everything.
Giving up everything that is unpleasing to God.
Sounds simple right? How do we get right on that?
These will be some of the topics I hope to brainstorm in 2018. But there is a topic I will weave over and over throughout this year. Praise and Thanks.
Before I get right into the “praise and thanks” explanation, I must say that I recognize that bad and good things happen to bad and good people. With that said, consider the following.
Throughout the Bible, God makes promises to His people It is an agreement. If you love me, keep my commandments. or, :If my people that are called by my name would humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and heal their land, ” 2nd Chronicles 7:14.
One of my favorites is, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” Psalm 37:25.
When i think on the past year, I can think about what seems like deteriorating health, heavy financial challenges, a baby in an environment with no time for a baby, family troubles many miles away, equipment breaking down and car breaking down with limited resources to pay…. There is so much …
But when I think of the blessings of God and how He has answered my prayers. How my family live in safe homes, are well clothed and well fed. How are daily struggles feel insignificant in the environment of laughter and love. I think of how God changed me from toxic to non-toxic, and how I know He that started this good thing in me will finish it until the end.
I thank God for His promises because that I all I have. I deserve nothing yet in my unworthiness and desperation, in my darkness and helplessness I heard the promises. Sure I still felt unworthy, I know my past and what I still struggle with so how could the promises be meant for me, one who has broken every command and trampled every rule.
But I learned that it had nothing to do with me. It was all about the promise maker. All I had to do is recognize the state I am in, and want to be changed. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,” John 1:2. He will give me the power to become.
What does this have to do with Deeper, or 2018?
Get in the habit of thanking God for His goodness. We know we are messed up, but once we realize how terrible messed up we are and turn to Him, we immediately start seeing His working in our lives. It is how God gets personal. He personally wants you to become a son or daughter. He wants to do this this year 2018. How can you not thank Him for that? The God of the universe is personally working in my insignificant life because He wants to be with me forever, and He is hoping that I want to live with Him forever also.
Our outlook on life, on other people, on our work, our families and our wives or husbands changes when we thank God daily. Praise Him for your life, and protection and when you clearly see how He has answered your prayers.
Recently, a church in Cambridge, Ontario in Canada took a Sabbath afternoon and knocked on doors in the community asking if there were anything that they would like the church to pray for them about. A community that may have little to do with prayer in their daily lives, when the invitation was received submitted their requests. While folks were knocking on the doors of the community, a prayer team were at the church praying for the people that were home that their hearts would not resist the invitation.
Because they believed in prayer and they know the God they serve, they went back into the same community two weeks later, to the same homes that requested prayer to ask how their lives were impacted because of the prayers made on their behalf by the church members.
When you pray, and your prayer gets answered, thank God. Praise His Holy Name. You prayed and heaven responded.
This year, 2018 has already started. We know we are in for some surprises this year, in the same way we met with surprises in years past. But our goal this year must be to be closer to God. To lay aside the things that are displeasing to Him.
“You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 20:7.
“because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” 1 Peter 1:16.
“You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:14.
“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.” Jeremiah 29:11.