Monday, December 31, 2012

How to start the New Year

As I was thinking back on this past year, I couldn't help but be reminded of all the horrible tragedies that have occurred, and how the media only portrays all the negative things that happen in our world. I wanted to share this excerpt from a book I am reading called "Jesus Calling: Devotions for Every Day of the Year" by Sarah Young. One of my good friends lent it to me. This one is from December 28:
"I am your Refuge and Strength, an ever-present Help in trouble. Therefore, you don't need to be afraid of anything- not even cataclysmic circumstances. The media are increasingly devoted to fear-inducing subject matter: terrorism, serial killers, environmental catastrophes. If you focus on such dangers and forget that I am your Refuge in all circumstances, you will become increasingly fearful. Every day I manifest My grace in countless places and situations, but the media take no notice. I shower not only blessings but also outright miracles on your planet.
As you grow closer to Me, I open your eyes to see more and more of My Presence all around you. Things that most people hardly notice, like shifting shades of sunlight, fill you with heart-bursting Joy. You have eyes that see and ears to hear, so proclaim My abiding Presence in the world"
I found this to be extremely powerful and convicting as this year comes to a close. What are you going to do to help others see those small miracles and to find the presence of Christ amidst the darkness of this world? 


On a personal note, this year has been an incredible journey for me. It began with a week in Nicaragua which touched my heart in such a profound way. Since then, the Lord has only brought me closer and closer to His merciful Heart. He has pursued me every day and has called me to be more in love with Him. Because of my human failings, I have not been able to repay Him in the way that He deserves. But that has not stopped Him from loving me even more. He knows our hearts and our weaknesses. I often beat myself up for being human, but that only means that I need to be more humble and realize that my humanity is a gift that allows me to be 100% reliant on Him. He wants the same from all of His children. He doesn't need us to rely on Him, He wants us. The God of the universe wants you to not carry your burdens alone. He wants to help you!

This upcoming year brings about a lot of change for me. I have no idea where I will be this year, let alone the next month. My decision to drop out of the graduate program is leading me on a journey where the ending is uncertain. There are many things that are unknown. I think it is entirely appropriate that the timing of this comes around the new year. The Lord is bringing me through a much deeper time of reliance and trust in His plan for my life. I may not know what this new year will bring, but I know that the Lord does, and that He will not leave me abandoned or orphaned. My prayer for this new year is that we can all grow a little more in humility and allow the Lord to carry us through 2013 and beyond. If we allow Him to do this, imagine just how much more peace and joy we will have in this upcoming year? Only He can make our lives more whole than we every could have imagined. Yes, there will still be struggles, there will still be times when we fall, but isn't it better to have someone who loves you unconditionally right there to hold you up? Don't go through this year alone. Go through it in the arms of our Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.

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